Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life as a Spiket

Recently in my free time I have been delightfully devouring a book by C.S. Lewis.  Usually the best chance to crack open the pages is in the evening after the house has been reassembled and the last of the hugs have been given and goodnights said.  The other night there was a quote that caught my attention, it goes something like this…             “the Glory flows into everyone, and back from everyone: like light and mirrors. But the light’s the thing.”And so it is with our lives.. and with this thing people have called “ministry.”  We are the mirrors, the clay.. the branch abiding.  It isn’t about us.. it isn’t because of us.  It is about Him.. and most CERTAINLY it is ALL because of Him. 
I was thinking this morning and I just thought of my life as an old rusty spicket… The sort that can be found behind some old dilapidated abandoned farm house.. long forgotten since the discovery of indoor plumbing.  And so someone comes ambling by… and stops and opens the valve and waits…. And out sputters water… first only a few drops.. Scaring out a resident spider or two.  Then comes the slow study stream of water… red with rust and dirt.  And the ambling, searching, seeking, soul finds no reprieve… nothing to satisfy here and so he wanders on.  See this world is full of people searching… people thirsty.. and when they are exposed to us through conversation or observation what are they seeing? ..what are they receiving from us? 
You see we are like that spicket… we give what is inside.  And if we are not choosing Christ… if we are not abiding and drawing from His living water.. the only thing we have to offer is this rusty water contaminated with anger and jealousies and selfishness. We have nothing of peace.. nothing of joy… nothing of hope to offer.   Often the soul that has come to us has long been tasting of that stagnant water..
they need something more.
We need something more!
And we have learned and found again and again that this life… this journey is nothing about us.  It has always been Him.. and it must ALWAYS be, if this world is to receive anything of value.. anything to satisfy.  We must be drawing from a well, an inside.. filled with Christ! Then the people on the street, the people in the office and the people in our home will be exposed to Living water.. spilling over and sufficient for all.
Hallelujah!! ..it is Christ!

Since the last update life has looked a bit different.  And it has been a blessing.. and God has been faithful!
We are now a good month into doing the feeding program in the new location.  I think the change of environment has breathed new life into us and we tackle Saturday mornings with excitement.  A school has generously allowed us to use their facility for a small fee.  Most of the familiar little faces have found their way to us by now, along with a good number of new ones.. curious to see what is happening behind the door.  It usually doesn’t take them long to run home and return with their plate.. or container.. or plastic sack.. eager to enjoy a hot meal! We also feed the high school students who are at school studying on Saturdays.  Wish all of you could come and join in on the fun.  There has been water fights.. near spillage of beans too heavy… jump-rope in the rain.. and loud robust praise to the Lord from little mouths awaiting food to fill.  We thank God!!!
Our house is the new meeting place for the BTS(Born To Shine) mentoring program.  So nearly every night we have between 25 and 30 preteens filling ALL the space between our walls.  Around six o’clock our house gets a whole lot hotter, louder, and livelier.  We keep the same schedule and try to share the responsibility of teaching as evenly as we can.  It has given us the awesome privilege of getting to know them much better.  What a blessing to grow in Christ together.  All of us teaching and learning as we interact. Last Saturday we had a birthday party to allow them to join in on celebrating our 22nd year.  It was so cute as some of them came up to us with small gifts they had bought for us.. a sucker.. some bisquits..a bracelet.   It warmed our hearts! They are so dear! The growth that we are witnessing is incredible.  I think being with them day in and day out can sometimes make these changes easy to miss.. but when we sit down and take time to actually consider it we are left with big smiles and thankful hearts!  Just last night no one was showing up for prayers so we had considered it off when a group of girls came flying through the gate and in between gasps for breathe explained the delay and asked if they could go ahead and pray… “They would lead it," they said. So we said sure and got to sit and listen as they organized themselves and began.  Their time was limited but they managed to spend time thanking God for their lives and everything in them.. and then they prayed for their families.. the orphans… and the persecuted church.  Wow! It was so encouraging.  I think when I was their age the persecuted church was not something I had ever considered! In a culture of “give-me” we are seeing them share and care for others.  In a culture of demanding.. we are hearing “Please, can you help me with.”  When left on their own we sometimes walk in to hear them sharing different things they have been reading in their bibles.  Certainly God is not done working here.. but the progress is Great cause for thanksgiving! School is now finished until next year so we have been trying to organize something for them to do everyday for at least 2 hours to keep them busy, together, and away from less desirable influence.  They have made Christmas cards for orphans, taken food to widows and families in need, done chores for various families and gone on two prayer walks.  Let me tell you.. a walking trail of 25 or so kids and two mzungus quiet in prayer causes people to look twice!! We are loving the opportunity to grow and serve together!!  Forgetting ourselves and our own situations and serving others proves to be SUCH a blessing!
Last week found us sitting in a house unlike anything we had ever seen.  It was a service day for BTS and we decided to visit the home where three of our members stay.  The daughter that lives there is one of our most involved and “on fire” kiddos in BTS.  A week or two before she had made a comment in passing about how she “slept in the ‘big’ chair and sometimes her little brother would too.”  And there we sat, staring at that ‘chair’ and remembering the comment.  All the foam and padding had been worn down and disappeared until all that was left was a small pad on which to sit.  One arm was missing and the whole chair sat at an angle.  Her mother sat in it that day.  Tears chasing each other down her cheek as she thanked us and asked if we could help.   She has six children of her own.. the oldest sixteen and the youngest one and a half.  Her husband doesn’t have a job and she has one but the little that comes in just doesn’t do it.  And in spite of not having enough for them she has also cared for an in-laws child since he was 5.  She said with a smile “he is now one of my babies.”  And our mouths were shut in wonder.  Our eyes traced the rough dirt walls.. and bare floors. They were exposed and open… not covered like in every other home I have entered.  There was the ‘big chair’ and one other in similar condition and a few crude stools for sitting.  And one bed.. and one small mat on the chair.  Besides the basins under the bed and a small cupboard in the corner.. that was all. Nine people.. and that was all.  She said thank you for what we are doing or her children.  Sharing how her daughter previously stubborn and unwilling, now does chores without being asked.. eager to help!  On and on she talked.. sharing her story.  A story of poverty and pain.
But we serve a Redeemer.  We serve a Mighty Rescuer.  There is a Light that wants to envelope her.. wants to consume her and her family.  There is Someone who wants to be her Provider.  There is Someone who has sustained her thus far.. and for a reason! So we are trusting and praying!! There is a better life for her than making and selling alcohol.. and struggling in darkness.  She needs a revelation of Life!!!! Our visit ended with a wet skirt clear through thanks to her sweet baby asleep on my chest.  A one and a half year old.. without pants nor diaper.. asleep.. its inevitable! :D   
We are currently in the process of registering this whole organization thing with the government as a Society.  It would give us a wider scope into which we can reflect the Light.  We are excited about that and ask for your prayers!
Thanks for all of your caring and praying and giving! You are a blessing!

waiting for lunch :)

brought baby siz!

awesome BTS helpers!!

Birthday snacks

everyone brought their own cup for chai

the people that it in the house

Chris and mama!

the crew!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Lord is the Maker of them All...

Go back with me.... lets say August 2008...
The alarm goes off. I reach over and thrash about until i find the noisy culprit and grouchily flip it into silence. I lay there a few moments longer underneath the mound of covers dreading that moment when I am forced to emerge from such comfort. I finally convince myself and scurry to the shower.. and return to my room to take my place there in the doorway of my closet staring at my rack FULL of clothes wondering what on earth i can wear. Mostly i peruse the newest additions... just recently added to begin this new year of school. Clothes come off the hanger slip over my head and fall to the floor as i assess my options. Finally it is decided and i fly down the stairs to stand in the doorway of another "closet" as I face the next dilemma of my morning. What to eat for breakfast. There is the different boxes of cereal.. there is toast.. eggs... last nights supper.. so many options. I open the refrigerator grab the juice and pour some in a glass as i sit down to eat my first meal of the day. My eyes scan the newspaper dad had brought in from the mailbox before he left for work quickly flipping the pages until they settle on the comics. ..My stomach and mind being delighted all at once. I run to do my hair and put my "face" on... steal several last glances in the mirror and then run out the door and hop in the car with my best friend as we head off for our first day of school. (16 with a passenger wasn't necessarily legal at this point :D )
This marked the end of two months of "freedom." Sleeping in late... swimming... white arms turning tan under the watchful rays of the sun.. shopping.. spending the money we made from the different jobs we had... staying up late around camp fires and in front of screens catching the latest movie. At 16 that was "THE LIFE!" Boys were on the brain and parents were seen as obstacles in our road to freedom. We were flying high.. with the radio blasting. Responsibilities were minimal and we took full advantage.
I look back on this time and there are some good memories and we still get good laughs from some of those crazy days. There was a lot of wasted time and energy but we thank God that He didn't leave us there. Soon after, we both started feeling the call to come away from that path that was so wide with distraction whose end was destruction.. and to follow a wholly different way. We looked at our lives and realized we were really standing in miry clay and desperately needed saving! And we found The Savior... or rather He found us!

And now... we are here. And we have another 16 year old in our lives.. but her story looks a little different.
She wakes up in a house the size of that bedroom that used to be strewn with my clothes and shoes. Her alarm is the cries of her baby sister who joined the family several months back. She rises and in the darkness of the morning and dresses herself and her baby boy and heads out the door.. walking along the dirt paths crossing numerous streams and ditches to be in school by 6. There is no wondering what wear... she has one uniform. There isn't a bathroom with a nice shower to wash the sleep from her eyes. There is no wondering what to eat. Instead of bringing in the newspaper her dad brings in alcohol on his breathe and violence in his hands. She gets out of school at 5 that evening and hurries home to change before arriving at our door to pick the little man that shares her eyes. She sits a spell and then heads back down to her home to attend to the numerous chores and homework that awaits.
When she has a break from school there is no swimming... and there is no shopping unless she can find a place to earn money. Dad doesn't have any extra cash to give to his eldest daughter.. it is needed to quench a thirst that never is satisfied. She helps her mom take care of the 5 littler ones and there is her own that needs her attention. And she works.. usually washing someone's laundry. When asked to go out to eat chicken and fries for lunch she eagerly consents. We don't go far... just out of the slum to a place nearby... a 10 minute ride. And food is placed in front of us and we eat.. and talk. She shares that she has never been this "far" out of the slum. I wonder at that statement. 16 years spent in the slum... never leaving.. food is bought at local shops and when new clothes are required there is the local market. Always just those same paths... the same dirt and dirtiness. The chicken fulfills its destiny and is fully enjoyed.. as is evidenced by fingers licked and a smile shining. But half is saved and wrapped in a napkin to take home to the little ones who wait. When school is on break there is one meal a day in her home... the same thing 7 days a week, ugali and skuma. Tea in the morning to get them by until dad makes it home at night.
Lots of neighbor girls share her situation. Girls like we were in 2008 but they with young ones that share their features gracing their hips. In her school there are at least six other girls who have children. She said one has a six year old. Many around her simply drop out and forget school and what could come after that... submitted to living the life that they have always known. But she has chosen school... trusting there is something MORE to life than babies.. and men taking.. and then leaving you to deal with the one growing inside.
She has dreams for the future... 3 more years of school and then she wants to get a job so she can help her mom and siblings.
At 16 i don't think many of us were considering finishing school so we could support our family.So we encourage and help when we have the resources sufficient. She comes to church and listens and learns and we speak of the ONE who can do something. The only One who change this all and give hope and a future. We pray and trust that the Spirit is working and that eyes would be unveiled and her heart will receive revelation and LIFE.

Sometimes we talk and wonder if there is something MORE we should be doing right now. Moving all the way to Africa to babysit?! We were doing that back at home... but now we don't get paid. And people ask about ministry and we tell them and wonder what goes through their mind. There is the mentoring every evening and the bible study and feeding on Saturdays... but... babysitting??? And someone with an evil voice bent on our destruction speaks and says.. "and you expect people to support you?" "your wasting your time... your wasting their time." And we rebuke the evil and turn to the pages of scripture.. Then we see how the angels rejoice over just ONE. and why should we do any less?!
So by His strength and grace alone we will be faithful where He has placed us as we pray and seek ways to serve Him and the one's like her better!


Monday, September 1, 2014

One Year

Last Wednesday marked one year. One year has passed since the plane touched down in the dark and we stepped out onto the ground of our new home. We came not knowing much except that this is where we were supposed to be. We had no organization backing us up.. no ministry established.. no work permit. But we were here!
Slowly we settled in and got used to this new life. We were carried by strength not our own further into the endless frontier of knowing and experiencing our God. Each day widening our vision.. opening our minds.. beckoning us to come take another step along the path. Some days we grew weary of the unknown.. weary of the waiting. But we would pick up the Word and find encouragement to keep on. We learned thankfulness... to wake up with expectation.. to grab each moment and cherish it. To thank Him for days that stretched quiet.. time allowed for growth and digging deep into Him... for preparation. It made days that could have been ordinary.. sparkle and shine with life. We learned how to live with someone else... we were brought face to face with our selfishness and need for our Savior. We have got to experience the sufficiency of His grace and strength.. to love and hold and play with the stream of little ones that came through our various doors. We found His wisdom available for the hard conversations and tough personalities. We learned a little bit of holding loosely to possessions and homes. We saw His perfectly timed provision when it looked like we had reached the end of funds.
It has been a year of growth and roots reaching deeper and hearts and minds being blown open to the endless possibilities of Him!
He has been COMPLETELY faithful.
He will ALWAYS will be completely faithful.
..and this is the only the beginning. we still have endless hills to climb.. valleys to cross.. and plains to traverse. The frontier stretches out... ever before us!! Oh, isn't life rich?! :)
The BTS program last week went great! Thanks to the tireless efforts of brothers and sisters willing to serve. Truly we have been so blessed to be able to share in ministry with so many here. The kids got to learn how to make banana shakes and marble art work.. they learned about communication.. choices and consequences... growing in character.. and they had teaching on foundational Christianity. They got to praise and pray and learn and play together for three days. They would come early and stay late.. taking advantage of every moment they could. Friday God provided and we were able to take them for a day of swimming. Laughter and splashing echoed all around. We are thankful for all who made it possible! We know that Gods word is spoken and accomplishes what it set out to do.. it doesn't return void.. so we look forward to seeing how lives are changed! We pray that as they head back to school they would infect and affect their environments and shine the light of Jesus like thirty little cities blazing from the top of a hill! All praise and thanksgiving to our Great God!!
As we look ahead to another year... excited to think what it is going to hold.. anticipating a closer and sweeter communion with Jesus we find a challenge in Exodus. In chapter 36 it says:
"Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do work. And they received from Moses all the offerings which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. Then all the craftsmen who were doing the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and then spoke to Moses, saying, "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do." ch.36:2-5
... the children of Israel brought much more than was needed for the work. And I look a my own life... and i want that. Too often my fingers are tightly grasping, sweat dampening what God has given me. I forget what I have has been given, and instead cling to it as if it is my possession. I hoard it.. keeping my hands tucked by my sides my eyes darting to see if any observe. I forget His hands outstretched... relinquishing all.. as He, the spotless Lamb of God, was raised to the sky between two thieves. And i draw my arms in tight... and curl fingers 'round...
It is our prayer that this year we would learn to FREELY give and FREELY love... holding nothing back so that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly.. and be Glorified!!!
That we may run into the sunset called eternity with arms open wide... wind blowing through fingers outstretched! Giving our all... our BEST.. to the One who truly gave ALL!

One year ago... ready to head out

reading their bibles!

Nicko teaching

young men in the making!

art class

the results

Saturday feeding program

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"As Perpetual Incense"

Aaron was to burn incense always. Every morning he was to burn sweet incense. When he tends the lamps.. he was to burn incense. At twilight he was to burn incense. It says.. "a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations." As i read that phrase "perpetual incense," it resonated within me. Isnt that what my life is to be?! A never ending swirl of smoke and fire ascending before the throne of my God. Not only spreading upward but also outward. Infecting the atmosphere.
You know when i think about it we are all incense of some kind i guess. We are all giving off something.. leaving some kind of lingering impression. Our words and actions dont go without noticing. They all affect something or someone. The way i handle myself affects the atmosphere of my home.. it affects the atitudes of those i brush shoulders with. Am i leaving the aroma of Christ.... or the stench of "all about me?" My attitudes.. my preoccupations.. they dont just affect me. Am i the pebble or the giant stone upon the surface of the water of the soul. Do i leave gentle ripples... spreading Christ's love as they expand. Or do i come crashing down.. and water shoots up... and spreads in waves to engulf all it in its path?! It is convicting!! I pray that in His faithful ways He will teach me how to walk in ways that please Him and cause others to see His greatness... His beauty.. His worth!! Oh that i would be as perpetual incense before the Lord affecting the generations for His glory!!
This past week was a blur of tall dark beautiful girl bouncing around our house... waking us in the mornings... attempting funny English.. filling the spaces between the walls with laughter. A local church had a week long VBS and brought in 17 children from there mission post in northeastern Kenya. We had the privilege of hosting a beautiful 13 year old young lady. The life she knows is quite different from the privileged and royal life we have here in Nairobi. There was a bed.. and a pillow and more than enough food... new clothes.. and elevators and escalators( OH MY!!) There was the fizz tickling her throat as coke was drank down.. there were forks(who needs em anyway?) ... and ear buds.. and new friends. We were reminded of the things we take for granted!! We got to exercise our Swahili knowledge.. and enjoy her phone conversations home in her mother tongue! One night when we came back from BTS i found some music on YouTube in her language and got to watch as beads were pulled out and she danced. Later we showed her our attempts and our ears were filled with laughter as she nearly collapsed at our attempts! Needless to say we all enjoyed the moments we had!! Now she is back home in the heat and desert atmosphere... we look forward to the day we are able to go visit and step into her world!
Schools are on break right now.. we have one more week before all the kiddos are back to the books. Next week we are hoping to have another BTS week. Lord willing we will have at least 3 days of teaching. Depending on the budget for lunch and material we will decide how many days we can do it. The last time we had a week like this there was a big turn out so we are looking forward to it.. and praying that God will bring them through the door! We would ask you who are reading this to join us in prayer. That the teachers would be prepared... that the hearers hearts would be soft and open to receive and that Gods word would be sent forth and believed!! In all things that He would be praised and lifted high!!
It has been encouraging to see little glimpses of change in some of their lives. In the bible study.. in prayers.. in discussion we know that Gods word is being sent forth into their lives and it will not return void. Our responsibility is simply to be obedient.. to freely share and freely give.... not to work for results but to be faithful to carry out our calling. But when God gives us glimpses of change it does inject some added joy.. it adds fire to the flame! Some of the questions asked show that there is movement there within the soul!! The prayers and discussions we have here during the girls bible study... all sitting tightly packed into our little room.. never fail to leave a smile on our lips and joy in our heart. To see the young ladies catch a vision for what life and womanhood CAN be... what a privilege to walk with them into that endless frontier!
The little men that keep our days busy with feeding and changing and playing are growing! I am forever thinking it is impossible for them to get any cuter... but then a tooth comes through.. or laughter escapes... or a wobbly step is taken with arms flailing... or he wakes up from a nap and reaches his little hands out towards you.. and you fall a little harder. The day is brighter with each smile and giggle!! Laundry is so much more enjoyable when there are jeans rolled up with little toes dangling.. suds all around. Washing dishes brings more joy(and more water on the floor) when little hands want to "help". Sweeping the floor seems less monotonous when there is someone holding on to your leg walking beside you. The only thing with the laundry one is that you have to be careful.. because who knows maybe he will think it looks so inviting that his hands also need ot join in on the fun.. and that means he has to lean over EXTRA far for his little fingers to reach. And then that disrupts the delicate balance and it isn't just his little toes and fingers crowned with suds! But we laugh and take every opportunity to love and life grows sweeter every day!!
Chris did get burnt on his face because of an accident at home on Sunday.. so we would appreciate prayer for his complete healing!!
The Saturday feeding continues... the BTS kiddos have done great at stepping up and helping out. They help all of the little ones that come color a bible picture.. learn a memory verse and sing songs. We have really appreciated the extra hands! If left to their own devices all of those little feet start running and dust starts rolling and chaos ensues. Last Saturday i looked through the window from my place at the fire and saw benches grouped together and children sitting and coloring.. a welcome change! :) These days we recognize many of the sweet faces. We know the ornery ones given to trouble... and have made friends with the timid little guy who was unsure of such light skin.. the newness has worn off and it has become more familiar! Always we walk up the hill with more dirt and sweat then when we had walked down that morning... but with hearts full!
Life is busy... but life is rich! Everyday holds something new. We aren't ever sure what will happen in that time between our climbing out of bed in the morning and falling in bed at night.. but we know that it will be good.. and if we allow, it will bring us closer to Christ and reveal Him in a greater way. Whether it is taking someone to the doctor.. helping with school fees... treating someone to lunch.. or sitting at the table and talking about life with a young lady who has known heartache and hardship more than most could imagine... GOD is good!!! That is something that can never change!
Recently we have seen a need here and have been praying and dreaming about a way to help. We know that we will be given the wisdom and direction from our King that we need.. so we will wait upon Him.. and continue in what He has for us now until He opens the next door!
Thank you to all who lift us in prayer we truly feel it every day! And thank you to all who are supporting us in the endeavor... who have sacrificed to allow us to be here. May the One who sees in secret reward you openly!!
Wherever we are.. whether working or going to school or living in a foreign land.... May we be found burning bright... spreading His light and His love.. "as perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations!"

A selfie while she called home

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Breathless Awe

The sun rises and the sky fills with brilliant blue and puffy white. As we spin it stretches its warm rays to kiss the cheeks of little boys and girls in amazon forests.. and tall dark men following cattle across the plains. It reveals the scars and tear stains on cheeks where war wages on.. and its rays reach through the tint of windows as men and women head off to another day at work. As curtains are stretched wide it splashes in on little ones hair all a fright.. reaching up to receive love from a mother. It reveals both beauty and pain.. life and death. And when we take time to slow and look it causes us to marvel... surely He is a great God!! The same sun that today darkens our skin was the same that shone on the face of our Savior as he walked the dusty paths declaring the heart of the Father. Imagine if somehow it had a memory and was able to comprehend all that it illuminated.. the stories it could tell!
And yet there is One.. who see's ALL, and knows ALL. Psalms 139 tells us that
"HE knows our sitting up and our lying down, He knows our thoughts afar off, He comprehends our paths.. there is not a word on our tongue, But behold, He knows it all together!

And we ask.. Where can we go from Your Spirit? Where can we flee from Your presence?

And we are told... If we ascend into heaven... He is there! And if we make our bed in hell... He is there! If we dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea... EVEN there His hand shall guide us.

And we say.. Surely the darkness shall fall on me." And think that just as the sun when it disappears leaves us hidden, so shall we be in His eyes.

BUT we discover.... Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from Him, but the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both ALIKE to Him.

So unlike those beams that find our skin everyday and then are gone at dusk.. this God we serve.. this One who Created us.. is always beholding and ever seeing! Nothing is hidden all is laid bare and naked before Him. He knows even our thoughts before we think them. And for some of us that can seem a bit troubling... those things we think are hidden behind our eyes and between our ears.. He knows them. He doesn't just hear our words.. He reads the motives behind them.. He doesn't just admire our actions, He knows why! ..nothing is hidden. And that is why the that structure made of wood.. and those three nails.. and that agony manifested in drops of blood is so Incredible and Humbling and Breathtaking. Because He is ALL knowing, and yet ALL loving. And He asks us to come and follow Him and learn of Him. He sends His Spirit and our insides are illuminated and revealed and when allowed He begins to refine and we find amazingly that we are being changed and made more into the image of the One who created.

Breathless awe!

It seems days have been flying by like the clouds suspended in the sky. Babies to fill our arms... teenagers to keep us laughing and praying.. school fees to pay.. beans to clean.. and hungry bellies and souls to feed. It seems our days fill up quite easily. But we don't mind so much :) Imagine two young girls with this crazy dream of one day living in Africa.... and God answered and led and that crazy dream became reality! We thank Him! When we get really busy and our legs and arms and mind beg for a rest we have to remember... we are living our wildest dream!! We most unlikely of all candidates.. God sure works in mysterious and delightful ways!
Nearly every week day we have two little boys to keep us busy. We are convinced that they are the cutest around! One with chubby cheeks and huge personality.. loves to eat and make noise. The other small and quiet.. but with a smile that can light up the room. They have brought us lots of laughs and laundry! It has proven to be a great source of amusement as we walk the streets... people wondering about white ladies with black babies. One of the little guys doesn't have parents in his life and the other has a very young mom still in high school. Caring for babies here looks a bit different than what we are used to. Instead of cracking open a jar of baby food.. it is cooking rice, potatoes, noodles, eggs and mashing them to toothless consistency. Instead of a rocking chair... we have our arms and legs. Instead of baby rattles and stuffed animals.. we have cords and keys and jars full of safety pins. But we found that the results are the same! With lots of love and by the grace of Jesus we are trusting that they will grow up to be Men for God!
BTS the mentoring program for young teens fills up most of our evenings and weekends. Monday night is prayer, Wednesday night Bible Study, Thursday night is movie night, Friday evening is group discussion, and then Saturday the usual feeding program and meeting with them. Every other Saturday the young ladies all come to our house for a bible study on True Femininity. It has been so fun to discover a-fresh with them the amazing picture of what a lady can be when fully surrendered to Jesus! As we spend time with them we learn more than just a name... we get to know them, their personalities, their story. They were recently all blessed with their very OWN bible. The delight as they turned the new crisp pages.. uncovering the treasures within was awesome to behold. Imagine if the Holy Spirit awakened 40 young hearts to the realities of life in Christ... oh what expectancy we have!
We still have visitors at our door nearly daily. They don't come like they used to, as school is in session and we are a bit more busy... but we still enjoy seeing them. Just yesterday some faces appeared that we hadn't seen for some months.. so chores were dropped and we instead opted to sit on the doorstep and allow our laps to be filled with little bodies. Those moments are pretty sweet... when time seems to slow and no words are even needed.. there is just silence and smiles and arms folded 'round. And of course... there is bread and jam eagerly inhaled!
The past month has been full of smiles, laughter, and prayer as we continue on in this grand adventure! Each day holds some new gem just waiting to be discovered. Sometimes it is found in the laughter of a baby, sometimes in the humble thank you of a mother as she accepts money so her daughter can go to school... sometimes in the evening walks with a boyfriend. :) Life never ceases to amaze and delight!!
BTS kiddos learning during our BTS week

new bibles!!!

circle games

Getting lessons from friends across the Atlantic!

makes every day brighter!

sweet baby boy

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The 'THENS' of Life

You know most of you reading this(myself included) knew a relatively charmed childhood.  For me I was built in a house where love was being learned and taught and felt.. where God was declared and believed.  The house sat there in the middle of green miles that seemed to stretch endless.  My days were filled with grass beneath bare feet, sun kissing pink cheeks, little legs trying to keep up with brothers off creating a new adventures. Three times a day we were beckoned from our play and chores to a sit and share and love around a feast laid before us.  There was a father and mother learning grace and love and by a strength not their own they passed it on to the brothers and I.  There was time and words, discipline and fun, poured forth over and into us.  Then as the sun said goodbye to another day there was the fathers voice reading from That Book and there were the prayers and kisses as we climbed the stairs and were tucked in to bed by those work worn hands. As a little girl it was thought that this life I was living was the norm.  It was not until I had grown a bit older that the world showed me that this life I had known was rare and special.
And so as we grow and see, and the world lays hold of our childlike innocence we are left with a lot of wondering.  We grow hearing and reading that, God, He is sovereign!  But when you look into eyes and hands reaching out for nourishment, and when you hear of the fists flying, and you see the young girls facing grown men and their twisted propositions.... a soul and mind like mine raised knowing the "charmed" is left wondering. And so God in His mind blowing faithfulness, as we read and seek, His quells the questions.  And we read and our soul hears:
"They wandered in the desert in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their souls fainted in them. THEN they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their troubles.  ....Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down and their was none to help. THEN they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. .....Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.  Their souls abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. THEN they called out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. ....Their soul melts because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. THEN they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. "
Psalm 107:4-6,12-13,17-19,26-28
And as we read the fog is lifted and we begin to see... we see Him... once again coming face to face with the fact that His hand is in it all.  Sometimes it seems to takes many encounters with a truth for a soul to grasp it.  But He stays there, ever faithful.. showing again and again.  Calling the wondering mind to come and see and KNOW.  And so slowly the seed finds ground and goes deep and begins to take root.  And as it grows so do we! And our minds and hearts find that allusive answer and the result is praise and thanksgiving and peace.  Understanding that the "THENS" in life are all there for a purpose.. bringing us to the place where we call on The Rescuer, The Savior.. doesn't mean that the pain caused by hearing the stories and seeing the faces goes away.  But it gives such strength to the soul.  KNOWING that He is in control.  Knowing that every circumstance every situation is perfect... drawing us, leading us, sometimes it seems 'throwing' us to His feet.  It doesn't cease the flow of empathy but it does fill us with words that can bring life.  There is a time for sitting and listening and holding... that is important.  But then comes the time for reaching out with prayers and words and hands and lifting the weary arms and tongues to join you in the giving of thanks.  Thanks for the freeing understanding that it is all for our good and His glory.  And when we learn this art of thanks for the 'THENS" in life... well then, we can declare with lips washed white as snow.. "any life... any where that means MORE of Christ!"
So as we watch God raise the sun over this city with each new day and as we walk out and encounter the things that it holds we are learning to walk and talk and see differently.  We are learning how to speak LIFE... we no longer have to cower behind our wondering but we are learning to embrace the 'THENS" and encourage others to join us.  We don't have to hang our heads and look up and ask why... He has told us.  It can be a slippery seed to grasp at first.. but we are trusting Him, in His strength, to grab it and plant it deep. 
This lesson has been proven to be so timely as we are now becoming involved in a program for teenagers.  The things that you hear and are made aware of are sometimes shocking.. the things that some young boys and girls are facing are so far removed from anything I could have ever imagined at such a tender age. When divided and asked to do a skit we sat there and watched as the two dramas unfolded... and realized what it is we are dealing with.  Ten to fourteen year old youths doing skits on sex and witchcraft.  And I cling tighter to that truth.. and tighter to my Savior, Strength, and Hope praying that He will become the same to them! That they will be able to read Psalm 107 and declare amen as there souls digest verse 43.....
"Whoever is wise will observe these things (the "THENS" of life), and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord."
To think that all of this that they face.. and all that we face... that it helps us know His lovingkindness..
.....and just maybe it IS His lovingkindness!!!

We will be having a week long conference for them this coming week and would appreciate your prayer! We are excited to see what God does!

We have been so overwhelmed with the support that we have received... thank you seems so weak.  But we declare it daily.. and know that God hears and see's your deeds done in secret and will reward you!! Thank you and as always we pray.. that God may be glorified.. and may souls be called.. and may His words be declared.. and may Life be found!

Friday, April 4, 2014

To Give Thanks!

 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!  Glory in His holy name, Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face forevermore.”  Psalm 105:1-4
As I sit down to attempt to put these past weeks into words these verses are on my mind.  To give thanksto make known His deedsTo sing to Him and talk of His wondrous works.  And my prayer is that in the end it will cause us all to seek Him to glory in Him and His name!
Life has this awesome way of showing you who you really are… It is like some circumstances are these big mirrors and you can’t step away.  You are forced to just stand there and see yourself for who you really are.  And at that point there are two options.. either one can stand there and let the waters of despair rise as you continue to stare at your lack.. OR you can choose to turn and stare at perfect strength and grace sufficient found in the person of Jesus Christ.   And you realize that the lack.. that you were just moments before trembling before is actually something to embrace.  Because if you had looked inside of yourself and thought there was strength enough that you could muster up then you would never have found that in Jesus.  And so these past two weeks we praise God for the numerous opportunities we have had to embrace our total lack and find Jesus completely sufficient.  It is one thing to read and have the knowledge that He will always provide and will never leave your nor forsake you.  But when God through life situations takes you to the place where you know that because you have experienced it…. THAT is a whole different thing. It is completely amazing…  this endless frontier never fails to provide new growth and adventure with each horizon. It leaves us with lips dripping with thanks and hearts near to exploding with gratitude to the King of the Universe. 
Saturdays at the hall where we do the feeding program it can be quite rambunctious.  Kids running and jumping and falling and skipping and laughing and crying as the dust swirls ‘round.  Two weeks ago some boys were playing on top of a water drum when one took a tumble.  After all was said and done he was left laying in his hospital bed awaiting surgery the next day.   Bernard is a real fighter…  He was brave and strong.  Yesterday he stopped by bringing the receipts from his check-up… he is all smiles and learning to live life as a lefty.  He stayed at the hospital for 4 days.  When we would visit his one request was always to ride the elevators.  The shiny doors would slide open and he would walk in with wide eyed delight.. pushing the buttons like a pro!  He was glad to come home but did enjoy his stay! A big bed.. a flat screen T.V. and three meals a day.  He was treated like a king! 
For those few days we were kept quite busy between hospital visits and trips to Immigrations to finish up our work permit process.  We want to praise God and tell you with a thankful sigh that we now both have them.  Chami received hers just hours before we headed to the airport so she could catch a flight home to surprise her family.  Certainly she wouldn’t have been flying home had we known all that would have been happening… but God knew all along.. He surely works in mysterious ways!!
The following weekend found me and some friends at a different clinic with a small a baby in need of some medical attention.  I met him down at the school/baby-care that we frequently visit.  He was acting a bit weak and I knew that he was under weight so I just wanted to take him for a check-up. I am no medical expert but I could tell that he was not as he ought to be.  As we were in the matatu I shook my head and thought “here we go again..” taking someone’s child to the doctor… praying that God would work it all out.  I had only been with the baby for one day… we had only gotten permission from the teacher at the school… the mother was oblivious to it all as she sat in school.  It turned out to be a very good thing that we went.  He was in serious need of fluids…  the doctor get him hooked up as fast as he could.  I had to leave him there sleeping under the watch of two dear friends while I went back down to the slum to wait for his mom.  She is in 9
th grade and so I had to wait for her to get out of classes. Two hours later we were finally on our way back to collect the little bundle.  Yesterday he was here at the house and doing much better! He is 10 months old.. weighs 11 pounds… and has the sweetest smile in the world.  By Gods grace we hope to help him grow in strength and the knowledge of his Maker!  It seems I will have the awesome privilege of caring for him while his mom is at school.. needless to say I am just a tad bit excited!! J I am sure there will be more than enough photos taken to keep you updated!
Oh and also… NEW house! I’m beginning to feel a bit like a nomad... 3 homes in 6 months.  The dear moving guys are getting some good business from us.  It feels kind of strange to load all of your earthly belongings on a cart and watch it be paraded through the streets... past the shops and the people walking and working.  I should have taken a picture… they don’t mess around… it is stacked and packed to capacity!  After it was all unloaded, the house was cleaned, and the curtains hung I sat down and thanked God that once again He provided the perfect place in the perfect timing.  … Just like we knew He would!  One thing is for sure.. we have been blessed with some of the most incredible friends one could ask for.. we have it good indeed!  Now there are new neighbors, new kiddos, new shops and a fresh adventure!!
So that is some of what has been happening in the past two weeks. 
We are changed.
 We are thankful. 
Thankful for the prayers that have been poured out on our behalf. Thankful for the support that we have received.  Thankful for the body of Christ that remains connected across the miles.  Thankful for human weakness and Divine strength.  Thankful for sickness, and lack, and all of the things we face in this world that drive us to Christ!!
Isn’t He good!!!

Some of the young ladies we are doing the bible study with.

 The baby with his new friend!
 cutest ever!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An attempt at painting pictures with words

You know they say that a picture is worth a thousand words... I am thinking in our case a video camera might be the better option, but since we dont have that I will do my best to paint some scenes in words. Please pardon my run-on sentences and horrible grammar.. we hope you enjoy these snapshots of our lives! May God be seen and glorified!
It is hard to even know where to start.. our life of following Christ is just so rich.. as I am sure each of you who know Him could testify! Some days in the heat of the moment my spiritual taste buds fail to taste that sweetness but as He carries me through and I look over His shoulder at what we just came through I see Him everywhere and in everything! Oh isn't life with Christ just GRAND?!
As you all know we have the awesome opportunity to share part of our evenings with various kiddos that come through the gate. I dont know what your mind see's when you think of us over here.. whether you picture them running through the gate and happily playing, attentive to our every wish and command.. or whether you see t more realistically. You know I used to be that person who liked to be in control of a situation.. to have it pretty well in hand. I am not saying that I have been cured but let me just say that this life He has us living doesnt seem to leave much room for that control option. The other Sunday we stayed home and listened to a sermon online. We sat there on the couch for quiet some time after the last word was spoken. For some days we had both been wondering if it would be possible to escape and find solitude on some deserted island... we had this longing for refreshment... to collect our thoughts and just relax a bit. How amazing to find that after two hours of sitting under teaching breathed by God our souls were swelled and reveling in the refreshment they had been longing for. So often we think that the answer is a vacation some great escape... only to find that in turning to Him we have EVERYTHING that we need! So that afternoon we unlocked the gate and the house began to fill as normal. For some reason it is nearly always all little boys... every once in a while a girl will grace us with her presence. But this Sunday it was all boys. We were removing my braids(a quite extensive process) while they all were engrossed in their various activities. All of the sudden we both just stopped and took in what was going on around us... it was like God gave us this moment and time seemed to stand still as we took in the various commotions happening around us.. the result was LOUD howling LAUGHTER!(sorry neighbors!) There was one boy standing over against the wall the small air pump stuck in his mouth as he vigorously pumped it in and out... his mouth expanding to capacity with each pump. The boy standing next to us had the other two air pumps propped up on the table with the ends up the other air passage God gave us on our face. A less desirable option from our stand point... but hey, whatever works bud! His brother was seated there beside him with worship music being pumped into his ears at maximum volume. Laying in front of him was a bible depicted in cartoon form and he was flipping through the pages exclaiming over the various depictions with words that we dont allow in our home. He knows that they aren't allowed but that apparently escaped his mind as he took in the scenes laying before him. We thought it rather ironic that he was reading the bible and listening to praises and cussing all at once!! Four of the youngest boys were running about with loud shrieks and yells as they beat each other over the head with deflated soccer balls. Meanwhile incessant banging could be heard over it ALL as one boy tried to keep the other boy outside.. as the door was forced open a sliver by the little muscles on the outside "I am going to kill you!!" was screamed as loud as possible. Then the door would slam shut again only to be pushed open moments later and the threatening message repeated. Ohh I cant imagine what someone would have thought if they were to innocently walk through the gate at that point. Some days it is calmer and we smile at each other as kids happily play.. other days after the last foot steps over the threshold it looks like a hurricane just went through. Whichever scenario we just thank God that we were able to have another day with them. We really have come to love each of them!!
The last two weeks we have been scurrying around finishing up our work permits. I think an accurate description would be that one that talks about chickens with their heads cut off. Only it hasnt been that bloody.... and we both still have our heads... i think!?!?! Turns out one trip to immigrations just doesnt cut it... it takes at least 7 or 8. We dont want to complain though.. we have had excellent help! and... we have had lots of opportunities for more laughter.. i dont think we can ever have too much of that! We have been required to step outside of our comfort zones and embark on new adventures as we hunt down the various things we need. We always step up to the counter smiles on our face confident we have the papers needed in hand, only to be told we need "a copy of this" or "you need to fill this out" or "you will need to get two passport sized photos." So we turn around and walk past the line we had JUST conquered, back down the stairs, off to retrieve the requested. This has resulted in many firsts.... some of them are as follows..
-Passport photos being taken in a bus shelter on a busy street... the little camera man whips out a white backdrop that someone holds while he snaps the posed beauty... you are told to wait 5 minutes while someone heads off to an unknown destination, camera card in hand, to print them. People stare... we stand and wait ..trying to erase the painful memory of posing for a picture in front of such a rapt audience.
-Running up stairs to the 5th floor at least once if not twice a day. By the time you round the last corner our hair is looking more frizzy, the sweaters are feeling more unnecessary and our breath seems to be coming in more of a wheezing gasping sort of way instead of the usual.
-On one occasion we had to fill out a form that we didnt have. That meant walking around town trying to find a cyber. People were probably wondering about the two white ladies with their eyes looking anywhere but in front of them as they desperately search for the hidden cyber cafe. After repeated questioning of various victims there arose a small cry of triumph.. one had been spotted! ...but ALAS, all our hopes and dreams were left lying there in the doorway as we were informed they didn't have power.. the search continued. Finally we found one but the website wouldnt work and as i sat there desperately clicking the refresh button... our phone died. I just had to sit there and laugh... that seemed to be the best option at that point!
Up, down, in out, run here, run there, our adventures at immigrations have not yet come to a end.. Though it can seem to be a bit of a hassle deep inside I find myself kind of glad..I mean who knows what adventures it might create tomorrow. After all... we wouldnt want to get BORED!
The stories could go on and on! We have learned so much.. we are so thankful that God takes us slowly by slowly. He doesnt just drop us off in Africa and leave us hanging. As we walk the streets and face the challenges that each day holds we are never alone! He doesnt ever leave us to fend for ourselves. And some of the situations we find ourselves in that seem so impossible.. in the midst, we are able to acknowledge and thank God.. knowing it is the exact thing we need! Growth is such an amazing thing... sometimes when we think we dont want anymore... when our flesh is yearning for jus a little break.. we catch ourselves and realize.... no, we really and truly would not have it any other way!!! We are blessed. God is good... That can never change!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lessons from the Grass

I was standing there, my arms resting on top of the van roof catching the intense rays that were shining down from the heavens above.  Music was flowing through a wire and being deposited in my ears as I gazed out across the vastness of Masaai Mara.  We bounced and jerked our way across the Savannah catching our breathe at the beauty that was all around us.  Truly my Dad is awesome!! I saw His fingerprints across the sky in the sunset as it framed the hills.  I saw His beauty in the majestic Elephant as it crested the hill in the distance and made it's way toward us... in the giraffe as it gracefully ran through the grass... in the lion as he rested his head in the shade to escape the heat. It all shouted MAJESTY, and GLORY, and HONOR, to Him the Great Creator God... my Dad, the One who dreamed it all up and spoke it into existence.  And as I stood there my head bobbing to the praise that was being piped into my ears and soul, I was astounded by what I saw.  We had been driving for a while across the empty grasslands.. there was not another soul in site... and as we dipped down into another valley I noticed the grass.. tall and graceful, swaying in perfect time to the music I was hearing.  ALL of creation is praising Him... and i get to join in! What a privilege!! There was the grass... not toiling or worried.. just standing where God had put it, praising Him.  Waiting for someone to notice so that they to could join in its song and dance to the One who is WORTHY! And there I had been an hour before lost in thoughts that primarily revolved around me instead of Him.  Consumed with wondering about the future and what it might hold. Worrying about the details as if i could change them.. as if my life was n my hands and i could direct it's course.  And I was stopped in my tracks... that grass beckoned me to come and join it... to just stand where God has planted me and praise Him!! And so moment by moment as I am learning this art of abiding I am seeking to be like the grass...  not to toil or fret but just to stand... arms lifted.. swaying in the breeze of His beauty and grace!!
We are loving the time spent with family! We have felt like we are on holiday.  It has been a real blessing for sure!!  These are the moments when we wish time could just slow down... but it doesn't so we just take every moment... and try to take it in and be thankful!! We have been spoiled by all of the gifts that were brought.  I know many of you contributed and we want to say thank you! We were blown away as we went through the bags.  God does not forget such kindness shown.. and it is our prayer that He will repay!
We are settled in our new place! Trying not to get to attached to these temporal things.. but to remain open and sensitive to the Shepherds leading! You can pray for us! It seems the devil doesn't want our door to be open after school for whatever little one desires to come.  We are facing some opposition but we know the One who is greater will sort it all out!! The faces continue to grow.. in the last week it seems we have been shaking new hands almost daily.  Most of the new ones that are coming are not from this nicer area where we live.  It has been so fun loving on them and playing with them. The shy looks and smiles don't last for long... usually some tickles can drive them out! We don't know what their lives are like.. what they need.. but Jesus does and we pray we can be vessels through which He can work! Some are hard..  dominating by their street smarts.. others are so soft and practically melt when pulled into your arms for a hug.  We love them all and pray that their lives can join those of the Redeemed.. That they might experience life as a child of God!! That they might have a revelation of Christ and like the swaying grasses simply stand.. and praise Him where they are.. trusting Him for what is to come!!
Showing off some of the gifts.

Our lovely visitors!

Saturday feeding
The Valentines meal was a success!!

A typical day!

Mom and Dad had just crossed this.. There may have been some
shrieking involved. hehe

A full table!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bwana Asifiwe

Just sat down with my bowl of oats ready to write this J We are sorry for the long delay…I actually had a blog written out and forgot to post it in the middle of our move and company. The weather is starting to cool off around here as the rains are coming in. It is a very nice break from the sun and all its family! So yes we moved!!!!! We have a house now with our own compound :D When our friend went to meet the Landlord to confirm that we got the house (but he wasn’t going to pay her until we saw it)  there were 3 other people there wanting to rent it and he had no choice but to go ahead and pay her. So that took care of any uneasiness as we had been praying the whole day that He would give us peace about it if it be His will and close the door if it wasn’t. It was a little bigger than we thought necessary and more than we wanted to pay but that is in the Lords hands. There isn’t much time to think and pray when it comes to renting a certain house… they go fast! Whether He is going to fill it up or we are going to move in a few months we are not sure..but we know He knows what He’s doing :) Moving was quite a site for those watching… we had lots of help. I led a trail of about 12-15 kids through the streets to our new destination, each with something in hand. Most of the somethings-in-hand were too heavy or big for them to carry well but they were all very determined and we finally made it. 1 white girl with a train of kiddos. Dickson had the big green laundry basket on his head dancing all the way and little 2 year old Marvel was carrying a heavy trash can about the size of him, happy as a lark to be helping out J
Our dear friend Crissy is staying with us until Wednesday, a total of 12 days J She was our leader on our very first trip to Kenya! She came without a plan just wanting to do as the Lord lead…We laugh and laugh at what we can find ourselves doing. The other day found us laying under a tent with a HUGE needle stuck in our arms, giving blood at a hospital in town. Haha We had been planning something totally different for the day. A friend had a baby and had lost a lot of blood, so her husband was asking for anyone willing to give blood. You can also be praying for her, as she is still very weak and has been in the hospital for 7 days now. Her name in Norah.
Our friends introduced us to a school called Rusinga that we will now be doing school ministry at every Wednesday morning! We went last week for the first time and had sooo much fun! We each have our own grade so we are very excited to get to know the kids well.
Saturday, our friends watched Eric Ludy’s mens conference simulcast at our house while we did the feeding program. So it was the 3 of us Americans with 200 kiddos. We were very thankful when a friend showed up and helped keep the wet firewood burning. It was soo much fun…the kiddos are really getting comfortable with us and we are starting to get to know them pretty well. The guys have started a mentoring program for the kids 10 and up so they stay after lunch and learn more in depth. This coming Saturday we will be serving the kiddos at their Valentines dinner with Jesus J The guys came up with this idea and we want to help make it as special as possible for them. The kiddos are from rougher homes and I doubt they have ever done anything very fancy! The boys will be escorting the ladies to their seats and they will each receive a flower J
Thank you all for your prayers! We are very excited to pick up Holly’s parents from the airport this Friday J Like very very excited! May Jesus Christ receive all honor and glory. We are so thankful for His life, to be clothed in His righteousness and salvation! We don’t have to spend our days worrying about earning our righteousness and salvation, but we can spend them rejoicing that we already have it! All PRAISE to our GREAT GOD!

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout before all the nations.  Isaiah 61:10-11

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Battle

Every day around 7:00 in the evening an epic battle is fought in our little abode.  It is the battle of wills.  It is a battle of strength.  The cause is simple… the sun has retired for the day and the ladies who live at the house are ready to clean up and call it a day.  However, the forces of the smallish visitors are quiet considerable and so the show-down begins.  Some days it is short lived and both parties happily wave, smile, and bid adieu. Then some days like yesterday the battle ends with the gate slamming shut and little fists pounding in irritation.  Then the whiter party runs indoors before the opposing forces decide to give it another go.  My view from the window yesterday was quiet amusing.  My comrade inarms had taken the skirmish out the door… she was successfully shoving them out the gate when one with a ornery gleam in his eye ran past.. I was shaking my head thinking “here we go..” when suddenly to his surprise her arm shot out and caught him by the overalls.  He swung around, eyes wide in shock, and was forced to submit.  The taller, whiter, party stood and with a sense of satisfaction in her eyes turned around to discover the friendly construction workers peering around the corner fully enjoying the show.  The evening came to a dramatic finish with one of the friendly viewers ran at the opposing forces brandishing a stick in warning.  All quickly vanished.   
                Some days this little drama is amusing.. other days we don’t have such attitudes.  However we are thankful.  We are thankful for the dirt that is left on the floor.  The pencil marks on the wall.  The friendships that are being formed.  The opportunity to have our door flung open wide as an invitation for them to come, and relax, and play, and we pray.. see Jesus. The other day we had a matatu(a small van used for public transport) in our living room.  All of our chairs were lining the wall and business was in full swing.  It was unclear where it was headed at any one time.  There were several conductors shouting out their price and intended destination from on top of the table.  Others were scurrying around collecting fare from the somewhat battered passengers.  I just had to stop in the middle of the chaos and smile because they were getting along and playing as friends… that is something we have been noticing lately and it is exciting!
                We seem to be hitting a pretty consistent number of around 200 kiddos on Saturdays.  Sometimes we wonder how much they get from the devotion but we are trusting God to do a work.  After all, our words aren’t what affect the change it is a personal revelation that they must receive from Christ.  January is the hottest month here so it can really get blazing.. the heat radiates through the metal roof.. but that doesn’t seem to deter them.  I am thinking a massive water fight might be in order one of these days!!
                Recently we gained a young roommate.  Her mother works at night and so the only option was for her to stay alone.  We heard the result of this as we were eating supper the other night.  I opened the door to find her standing outside crying in the dark.  Her mother asked if we could help and so it was decided! She ran around in her new fuzzy pajamas in delight as we prepared a mattress for her.  Life changes and we thank God for yet another opportunity to learn more of Him.  We gladly admit our weakness because we know it is THEN that He is strong!!!
                And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come.  Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely!  Revelation 22:17
Face painting before lunch on Saturday
Trying to hold still
Patiently waiting for their turn
Cuties that fight in the opposition ;)