Monthly Archives: October 2013

October

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The end of October is drawing near, and I’m suddenly aware that I’ve done a terrible job in blogging this month. I wish I had a good excuse, but I just haven’t made it a priority. School is in full force, and my routine doesn’t include much computer time. Anyway, in an effort to keep you precious people in the loop, I’ll try to summarize the highlights of one of my favorite months.

We started the month with a little weekend getaway to Naivasha. We stayed at Enashipai Spa and Resort, which was fantastic. The boys loved the pool, the play areas and our visit to Crescent Island.

Levi at Enashipai pool Noah in Enashipai pool Jacob in Enashipai pool

Aaron had the rest of the week off from work, so the boys and I struggled to maintain our normal school schedule. The co-op forced us to focus and the following weekend’s event gave us some things to look forward to. First, we had a missionary chili cook-off. Everyone wore their tie-dyes shirts and taste-tested 12+ varieties of chili.

Chili cook-off with tie-dye shirts

Then, I spent Sunday at a 10th anniversary celebration at a local orphanage. It was a wonderful experience, and I am delighted to be helping with WGM’s orphan ministry. (I’ve been helping with the budget and record keeping. It’s not a glamorous job, but it uses the gifts God gave me…and it doesn’t require much travel or time, which is nice since most of my time is spent with school.) Below is a picture of a few of the hundreds of people who came out to celebrate and contribute to the orphanage.

Orphanage Celebration

The MK co-op observed Columbus Day with 2 days off of school, so I took the boys on a little filed trip to the river. They waded in this shallow part, and then they dug for gold and found ‘special rocks.’ Jacob insisted on carrying several of these large rocks home. The way home is all up hill…it’s a good thing Noah has become a kind and helpful big brother because I (being the meanest mom in the world) refused to help him. All boys and rocks made it safely home. Later in the week, as we studied rocks and memorized Scripture about Jesus being our Rock, I was glad that brotherly love got those stones up the hill. We decorated them and put them in the flower boxes on our front porch.

Columbus Day field trip to river

The week was full of travel. Aaron had to travel out of town 2 times for interviews. And then, I went to Nairobi with a friend to do some massive shopping. It was the first time I visited Nairobi since the Westgate massacre. The malls were heavily guarded and I never felt unsafe. In fact, the streets and malls were emptier than usual, so I felt safer than I have in the past. After 3 malls and Maasai Market, we headed home to our husbands and boys. Home sweet home…

soapstone pumpkin

were I attempted to decorate for fall. The weather is beautiful and sunny here, but my heart is back in Pennsylvania with the changing leaves, pumpkin patches and fall wardrobe. Since I can’t wear boots and sweaters or take the boys on a hayride, I’ve bought as many real pumpkins as I can find, I’ve been making pumpkin-y treats as often as I can, and I even bought this soapstone pumpkin from James, a local carver. Plus, a dear friend that I’ve never met in person brought me a few fall decorations. My dining room actually looks nice and festive.

But since we do live in Kenya, where leaves don’t change color and fall to the ground, we enjoy perpetual spring. The boys helped these two men make a swing…And then, Levi tested it. It works great!

the makings of a swing Levi testing the swing

Last night, we had a compound Fall Festival. The boys got their first taste of trick-or-treating. Noah was Darth Vader, Jacob was Black Spiderman, and Levi was Hulk. They got all dressed up, played games, ate sugar and collected a lot of candy. The little ones just went door-to-door to most of the missionary homes. Noah’s age group had to complete a photo scavenger hunt in order to receive candy. The oldest group did a movie scavenger hunt! Holidays are BIG deals here at Tenwek, and we are blessed by all the effort put into making these celebrations so special.

Costume Party Star Wars characters

Once we got home from all the un-Halloween festivities, Daddy, Jacob and Levi had a little after-party face painting event. I think Levi looks more like Oscar the Grouch than Hulk, but he definitely acts more like Hulk. I’m not sure what Jacob is supposed to be, but the blue make-up won’t come off. He looks like he’s wearing blue eye shadow today. If another bath doesn’t work, I’ll have to get my eye make-up remover to do the job.

Jacob's after-party face painting Levi's after-party face painting

Well, that pretty much wraps up our month. We leave Tenwek again on Wednesday for a Samaritan’s Purse safety training/spiritual care event. This month has been an adventurous one…Maybe that’s why I’ve not been blogging. I’m too busy being adventurous. šŸ˜‰

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for community. Life here is a blessing. While we miss friends, family and fall, we love raising our family here. We praise God for the community we have here!

2. Praise God that my dad’s cancer is only on his vocal cords. Please continue to pray for him as he finalizes treatment plans and then must endure them.

3. Praise God for growing, maturing, learning children! Levi is learning Swahili and so much more in preschool. Jacob is reading and becoming quite the know-it-all in kindergarten. Noah is developing a beautiful servant’s heart and is learning as much as ever in second grade. My cup runs over!

4. Please pray for our hearts as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach. While the holidays here are big and special, they will be hard without our princess. Pray for our families too. I’m sure the holiday season will be hard for them.

I Peter 1:22 “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

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7 Months

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Seven months…

Today marks seven months since I saw my princess breathe her last breath. It marks 7 months since Hannah was ushered into heaven where she could be treated like a true princess, a daughter of the King. It’s 7 months that I have walked this earth with a broken heart.

Princess Hannah turns 1!

(We tried our best to treat her like a princess while she was with us! This picture was taken at her first birthday party, which was also Noah’s 7th birthday party and our going away party. She loved her princess outfit!)

After 7 months of valley walking, I’ve fully accepted that my baby girl is in her forever-home. However, it’s harder to live with the fact that I must live without her, that I must continue in my calling with a broken heart, that the likelihood of my homegoing is still decades away. How can I carry around this broken heart for so long?

Some days, it seems unbearable. It’s hard to breathe my next breath at the thought that I still have so much to live for. I do have a lot to live for. My boys and Aaron are enough to keep me choosing joy, but it seems like I’m dishonoring Hannah when I’m choosing to move on with life. The guilt is caused by lies straight from hell, I realize that, but that is where Satan has tried to attack me. Because no matter the steps I take to arm myself against the devil and his lies, Ā this fact remains: in comparison to what is waiting for me in heaven, I can’t stand the reality that I’m stuck here, in this cancer-ridden, fallen world.

Many of you who follow us on facebook know that my dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. Oh, how I hate cancer! I never thought I could hate a disease so much; it is a retched consequence of the original sin.

My dad with Hannah at Christmas

And yet, God continues to prove Himself trustworthy and good. Every time I’m feeling down, I am given a gift straight from heaven. Whether it’s something a friend says or something I read in a devotion, God is real and alive and speaking to me. He saves me from the snares of Satan and puts me feet on solid rock.

Here are just two examples of the way He’s spoken to my heart the last month:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

That is my life verse for this season. While it may seems like forever until I get to join my princess in heaven, once I get there it will be so overwhelmingly good that all these troubles will seem like nothing. This broken heart will be healed and whole the moment I see my Savior face-to-face. What a glorious day that will be!

The second example comes from a book calledĀ God Remembers: A Spiritual Journey After Loss of a Child by Sherry Bibb. It’s a book of sayings, Scripture, poems and essays. While it wasn’t my favorite ‘grief book,’ (I’m not much of a poetry fan) there was one entry that really comforted me. It made me feel normal.

Will Power

Sometimes it is with great exertion of my will that I cling to faith that says God is good and only does what is best for me.

Sometimes the pain in my heart is so overwhelming that it would block out the enjoyment of any beauty around me.

Sometimes the desire for my heavenly home is so strong that I am tempted to bypass the good things God has for me right now.

But I make the choice – To believe in the goodness and wisdom of God. To see the beauty despite the pain.

Sometimes I am surprised by joyful sensations and situations; simple pleasures and treasures.

Sometimes God speaks to me from His Word and comforts me in ways so real and precious.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the abundance for which I have to be thankful, and say God and life are good.

That pretty much sums up this phase of grieving. Most days are good and normal. Then, a wave of grief will pass over me unexpectedly. I’ll cry and wrestle with God once again. In the end, every time, God renews my strength and joy. He is so good!

Walking our path

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasuresĀ at your right hand

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God that school is going so well. The boys and I love it! They are learning so much, and I do enjoy being back in the classroom as a teacher.

2. Praise God that He is Healer and Comforter. Pray that He will heal my dad of cancer. (My dad was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer. He has another CT scan on the 16th to see if there is cancer anywhere else.) Please pray that He will comfort my parents through this process, especially through all the waiting.

3. Praise God for the church! I attended the 10th anniversary of a children’s home (orphanage) yesterday. It was a blessing to witness the body of Christ caring for the children in such practical and sacrificial ways.

Sacrificial giving

4. Ā Praise God for a wonderful vacation. We went to Enashipai, a resort and spa in Naivasha. While there, we swam, ate a ton of food, played and visited Crescent Island. (I intended to write a whole blog about it, but I didn’t….I’m sure you saw Aaron’s report.)

Boys at Crescent Island Enashipai

5. Praise God because He answers prayers. After requesting prayer about the purchase of a vehicle, so many people get us good information. We’ve decided to wait on that big purchase…We’ll be asking for wisdom again in a couple of years. šŸ™‚

6. Praise God for my precious boys, the visitors who come to Tenwek, and all of you who support our ministry. We love you and appreciate you so, so much!

The boys tie-dyed their Kelleys in Kenya shirts!

7. Lastly, please continue to pray for our broken hearts. It’s a scar that is well earned and of great value to us. Just pray against the attacks of the enemy. Pray that we remain steadfast in our faith and that we always remember to put on the full armor of God!

Thanks, friends. We do love you!