Monthly Archives: May 2013

One Wild Weekend

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I’m happy to report that this week was less eventful than last week. Noah’s eye is healing nicely. Safari was amazing. Jacob and Levi are alive and well….I guess the only excitement we had was the safari, so I’ll share some pictures and some of the experiences we had last weekend.

me jumping

My prayer for the weekend was that God would show His glory through our safari. Of course, I wanted a fun, relaxing weekend away from the compound, but I needed God. He delivered. (I’ll try to share different pictures than Aaron. You should check out his blog too. www.aaroninkenya.com)

Saturday morning started with a long, dumpy ride to the Masai Mara with the Roberts family. Four adults and 6 boys (ages 10, 8, 7, 7, 4, and 2) anxiously awaited the wild life. God delivered! We saw giraffe, zebra, warthogs, and many other animals before we arrived at the safari club.

giraffezebra

Once we checked into the Fairmont Safari Club, we enjoyed some time in the pool, ate lunch, relaxed in the sun and gazed at some hippos. Yes, hippos swim in the river right next to the club! Then, at 3:30 Aaron and I joined 2 other people for our first game drive. It was amazing!

Hippo

Elephants, gazelle, lions, and so many other animals were added to our already long list of animals. It’s awesome to see these animals in the wild. You can’t really appreciate their size, camouflage or demeanor unless you see them in their natural habitat.

elephantslioness

Our last stop of the day delivered 2 lionesses and 4 lion cubs. I was silently praising God for such an amazing day, but He was not finished. As we drove back to the club, the biggest pink sunset appeared. The pictures Aaron took are beautiful, but they cannot give justice to the handiwork of God. Again, I praised God and thanked Him for this blessed assurance that He was with us, but He was not finished with the outpouring of blessings.

Pink Skies at the Mara

After changing for a quick evening game drive followed by dinner in the lodge (at least that’s what we thought was going to happen), God surprised us again. We saw hippos grazing and then were treated to a bush dinner. Masai came to perform for us. We were served a huge outdoor buffet of gourmet food. And we were protected by a man carrying a very large gun. Then, we got to retreat to our beautiful tent for a restful sleep. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Bush DinnerFairmont Safari Club Tent

Sunday involved 2 more game drives. This time, we saw many of the same animals, but we visited the rhinos who are protected by Masai guards. Despite our guide’s best efforts, we never spotted a leopard or cheetah. I guess we’ll have to go on another safari!

rhino

Since Sunday’s drives were a little less eventful, I had time to reflect on the weekend. Thinking over all the blessings we’ve received through our 2 1/2 months of mourning, I began to miss Hannah all over again, like it was fresh and new. The realization that the entire weekend would not have been possible if she was perfectly healthy and here with us hit me. I’ve been missing Hannah terribly ever since. I’m so thankful for friends and family here and all over the world that are willing and eager to listen to me, cry with me and pray for me. Please continue. Each day brings its own set of mixed up emotions. Fortunately, each day also brings God’s new mercies! Praise Him, for He is worthy!

Praise and Prayer Requests:

1.) Praise God for being Elohim, Creator God! What an amazing God we serve. He is holy, just and big!!

2.) Praise God that Aaron and I had a fun weekend away.

3.) Praise God for the community at Tenwek. They are so wonderful and accommodating.

4.) Pray for wisdom while Aaron and I make decisions about how to fit into our Tenwek community. Parts of us want to jump back into life with full force. However, that doesn’t seem to be working. (Aaron’s headaches are most likely stress related.) Pray that we will move at an appropriate pace even if it’s slower than we’d like.

5.) Pray for us as we near the 3-month mark of Hannah’s passing. June 14 is also our 10 year anniversary. What a bittersweet day that will be. Pray that we know how to plan for that weekend.

Psalm 119: 89-94

Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.

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A Roller Coaster Week

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We are still overwhelmed by the daily uplifting of God’s people. Thank you for your continual prayers and your regular words of encouragement. I’d like to give you all a little update of the week. It’s been a rough one, but many blessings are evident as well. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word bittersweet more in my life.

Saturday was a friend’s birthday party, so the boys got to enjoy water games, cake, and a BOUNCY HOUSE!! Bet you didn’t know we missionaries in Africa had such great parties, huh?

bouncy house

The highlight of my weekend, though, was video session 4 in my James: Mercy Triumphs study. Beth Moore talked about Shekinah, the glory of God manifested in His people. (This is more than the Holy Spirit’s presence. A believer always has the Holy Spirit.) I’ve been experiencing Shekinah ever since the night Hannah stopped breathing.

Hannah at Tenwek ICU

I can’t explain it, but I never in my life felt closer to God. His presence was so strong in my life that I was feeling like a superhero, like I was indestructible. I know that sounds silly, but I felt the power of His presence in such a real and awesome way that I wasn’t afraid of anything. However, while listening to the video on Sunday afternoon, I felt the Holy Spirit warning me that it would be leaving soon. Although it is not completely gone, I can tell that it’s fading quickly. It has been fading for weeks, but I’ve been trying to hang onto it as long as possible. If there was anything I knew to do to hold onto it until I die, I would do it. But it doesn’t work that way. So many people have posted songs to our Kelleys In Kenya facebook page. We so appreciate your thoughtfulness. Now, I’d like to share a song. It’s the ONE song that most accurately describes how I’ve been feeling these weeks of Shekinah.

 Mercyme – The First Time (with Lyrics) Fisher of Men – YouTube.

Monday was a sad day. It was Aaron’s first full day back to work. We found out that his grandmother passed away. And we were missing Hannah in an overwhelming way. When people tell you grief comes in waves, they are right. Monday was the beginning of a tidal wave.

Grandma Rebholz and Baby Jacob

Tuesday was a little better. Pretty uneventful. Aaron was on call, so he spent some time on the phone with the doctors in training. Although the pager was quiet after midnight, we didn’t sleep well. It’s hard to rest when you know the pager could beep at any moment. Below are pictures of Levi and one of his friends, Ellie, playing with Hannah’s toys. This happens almost daily. It’s beautiful and sad all at the same time. I love to them watch remember Baby Hannah, but I often have to fight back tears.

Levi with Hannah's dollLevi and Ellie playing with Hannah's toys

Wednesday morning delivered another highlight. This time, it was from You are my Hiding Place, a devotional by Amy Carmichael. As Shekinah was still lingering in my mind, especially the coming loss of it, chapter 12 entitled ” Trivial” Profanities spoke clearly to me. Maybe it hints to ways we can keep, or at least not risk loosing, Shekinah. After a discussion of the relationship between the world’s entertainment and reaction to God’s love and best plan for each of us, she wrote, “…we who love our Lord, and we whose affections are set on the things that are heaven for us today – we voluntarily and gladly lay aside things that charm the world, so that we may be charmed and ravished with the things of heaven. Then our whole being may be poured forth in constant and unreserved devotion in serving our Lord, who died to save us.” She goes on to say, “Therefore, we may bind ourselves to God with the kind of vow that commits us to this: to look upon the world, in all its delights and attractions, suspecting that traps are set there for us, reserving ourselves for a higher way. The world is not for us.” Wow! What conviction! What a reminder of how close God is to us all the time. So often, we just miss Him.

pink sky with a rainbow

Thursday morning began with a blow. Aaron got his first ever migraine. It caused him to stay in bed almost the entire day. Fortunately, a wonderful neighbor (Amy Bemm, thanks so much!!) brought a prescription that eventually kicked the migraine, and Aaron was able to eat supper with us.

Friday. Today is going well so far. We are tired. The boys are exhausted despite my best efforts to rest them every afternoon and get them in bed nice and early. Aaron is on call again, so let’s hope it’s a quiet night at Tenwek.

We especially want a restful night of sleep tonight because we are going on our first safari tomorrow!! After waking up super early, we’ll spend the day looking for wild animals in the wild. We are so excited!! Aaron and I get to spend the night. The boys are coming back to Tenwek with friends (thank you, Jenny Roberts!!!) so that Aaron and I can have a little quiet time and more adventure in the Masaii Mara!

Praise and Prayer Requests:

1.) Praise God that we survived this week despite the roller coaster ride it was. He is faithful. The Holy Spirit was faithful to deliver words of encouragement and challenge, songs of wisdom and emotion and praise, and friends with open arms and listening ears all at the right times.

2.) Potty training is still going well, but he still has daily accidents. I’m looking forward to the time when he can string a couple of accident-free days (or even weeks!) together. In the meantime, please pray for us during this disgusting part of parenting. Pray for him and the Roberts this weekend! Ben and Jenny will have their 3 boys plus my 3 boys. Potty training will add another challenge to 6 boys under the same roof. God bless them!!

3.) Pray for rest and relaxation for Aaron and me this weekend, for a spectacular show of animals on our safari, and for blessings to all who are making this weekend possible. (We are getting the night at the hotel and meals free!)

4.) Pray that Aaron will not experience a migraine EVER AGAIN!

5.) Pray for our extended family as they celebrate the life and grieve the death of Grandma Rebholz.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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As my Mother’s Day comes to a close, my heart is blessed and heavy at the same time. Aaron and the boys did an amazing job at honoring and loving me today. However, I’m sad that I only got 3 cards instead of 4. It may sound incredibly selfish and ungrateful, but that’s not what I’m trying to say. It’s not the number that breaks my heart. It’s the lack of a card from Hannah. It’s that I miss her so badly right now. It’s that I mourn the loss of today, and many more Mother’s Days, with her. Oh, how I anticipated sharing Mother’s day with her many years from now when she too would be a mother…

my four monkeys

Again, as my heart is heavy, I must choose joy! Look at these precious children my Father has given me!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m studying the book of James. In one of the lessons this week, I was taken to Deuteronomy 30. It’s right before Moses hands over the leadership to Joshua. Here is what verses 15-16 and 19-20 tell the Israelites who were about to enter the promised land and us who have our own promises of God:

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Every day, no matter how I’m feeling, no matter the circumstances, I choose life! I, along with James, choose to “consider it pure joy” when I “face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2) It doesn’t mean that I’m always happy. Sometimes I’m in physical or emotional pain. Evenso, I need to choose joy. To choose anything else is to live in defeat. I refuse to do that. If God is God, then He is faithful to turn my pain into joy. He would not allow this pain of grief to enter into my life if He didn’t want to use it for good. I trust that, I believe that, I hold onto that every day. And I choose life…because God is my life!

Praise and Prayer Requests:

1.) Praise God that the conference went well and the boys did great. Levi did regress a little, but he’s doing well. I’m really proud of him.

2.) Pray for Jacob. He went to bed feeling yucky and with a high temperature. Although it’s probably nothing, I tend to get nervous anytime the boys get sick. Pray that I don’t overreact out of fear. Pray that I have discernment and that I can care for him appropriately (not too much or too little). Pray for my peace over this. I know it’s normal for me to feel uneasy about tummy aches and fevers as a result of Hannah’s sudden illness. However, I also know that God does not give us a spirit of fear.

3.) Praise God that I got to facetime with my parents today. Technology is great, and our internet has been faster than usual. Praise God for that!!

4.) Pray that Aaron and I will sleep restfully.

5.) Praise God for a wonderful support group. Thank you for all the Mother’s Day wishes. I pray that your mother’s day is blessed!!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

 

Home, Bittersweet Home

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Welcome Home Sign

We are back in Kenya, settling into our Tenwek home.

To say it’s bittersweet is obvious. We love that we’re back. The boys are in heaven; they jumped right back into Tenwek life. I chose to start school with Noah and Jacob and potty training with Levi right away on Monday. Plus, I’m relearning how to cook and manage life here…without Hannah. It’s easier in the sense that I only have 3 kids to pull me in 3 different directions, but it’s harder in that I have to grieve and find my new normal.

My new normal is without diapers. It is with a spare bedroom. It is without hair bows and pink. It is with a void that cannot be filled. I love it and hate it at the same time. I jumped back into a routine so quickly because I want the boys to have consistency. And I need to have a plan. Otherwise, the jet lag and grief will overwhelm me. I refuse to be shaken. I will not give Satan a foothold. Therefore, I am diving into potty training, homeschooling, cooking, shopping, having fun with the boys, meetings, Bible studies and Scripture memorization. I am re-entering community life because I need to do this. I need to feel as normal as possible.

My 3 Boys!

I think it’s working. At least for today. I mean, that’s all I can do, right? I can just take it one day at a time, counting my blessings at every step. And I have a lot to be thankful for. This Tenwek family hung a “Welcome Home” sign on our porch, showered every room in our house with Scripture, provided entertainment for the boys, gave us space and grace, and so many other things. We are humbled by their love for us, and we are so grateful. Our families back in the States are nothing but supportive. Our friends all over the world have diligently uplifted us in prayer. We feel it. God is still tenderly loving us at every turn. Thank you for the part you have played in our mission, in our mourning, and in our personal lives.

Prayer Requests:

1.) Potty training is going well, but it’s still potty training. Please pray for Levi this weekend especially. Aaron and I will be attending a conference and Levi will stay with Aunt Amy…Maybe you should pray for Aunt Amy too! Pray that Levi will not regress despite my inconsistent presence.

2.) Pray for Aaron. He still needs to revisit the hospital and return to work.

3.) Pray for wisdom. I have committed to teaching middle school math next year to several missionary kids. Pray that I will choose the best curriculum for these kids, that I will know how to best serve them without being stressed or neglecting my own children’s needs, that I will be wise in making my new schedule for the upcoming school year. (I know this school year isn’t over yet, but we are planning and preparing for next year!)

Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”