Monthly Archives: April 2014

Retreat Recap

Standard

As I sit here in Greece, I finally have the opportunity to write a post about retreat!

The IT department has been in the process of upgrading our internet speed for what seems like decades, and therefore our internet isn’t working consistently. And when it is working, sometimes we are blocked from viewing our own blogs! While this is very frustrating, it is also a lesson in contentment and patience. I don’t really NEED to be on-line. I do, however, want to keep all my prayer warriors up-to-date with our lives…We’ve experienced some answers to prayer, and I really want to say THANK YOU and give you a little update on what happened at our first retreat.

Each year all the WGM missionaries in Kenya gather in one place for a time of spiritual renewal, rest and relaxation. This year was the first year we’ve been invited (we were in the States last year at this time), and we were delighted to go!

The trip to the coast of Kenya isn’t an easy one. First, we had to drive to Nairobi…Well, we rode to Nairobi while our Kenyan driver took care of the actual driving. Then, we spent the night at a guest house in order to get the airport at a decent time. It was a short flight from Nairobi to Malindi. Then, we took another van from the airport to the resort. Finally we arrived at our destination!

The climate along the coast is very different than the climate we enjoy in Tenwek. The heat almost knocked us over as we departed the plane. My already sick body was not happy that we had to live in the hot humidity for over a week! However, by God’s grace, I not only survived the weather but I also enjoyed most of the time there.

Lots of seaweeds and other debris when the tide is out.

Lots of seaweeds and other debris when the tide is out.

Along the Indian Ocean, the low tide leaves a huge area to explore. I’m not sure the boys truly appreciated this experience. (Don’t they know that very few American kids get to walk out on the Indian Ocean to see tide pools filled with life??) Once we pranced around the seaweed, we saw eels, fish, crabs, starfish, a puffer fish and lots of other stuff. (I tried to post more pictures, but it’s taking too long to upload them…Aaron posted some on facebook, so I hope you saw them there!)

The pool and the ocean were amazing, and that’s where we spent the majority of our afternoons. The mornings were occupied by classes. Aaron and I learned about Jeremiah from Stan Key, our guest speaker. The boys attended a spy themed VBS program, which they loved. They even performed a few songs for us at the closing ceremony. Too, too cute. (I’d post the video, but I’m not even trying to upload video!) Some other special events included a baptism service in the Indian Ocean (how awesome is that!?! I was bummed that I’d already been baptized!), a sweet communion service, and a graduation celebration for the two MKs graduating from RVA. Overall, a wonderful time!

The one thing I took away from the retreat was something Stan Key taught on Lamentations. Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations in response to his grief over the fall of Israel. Lamentations is an alphabetical list of all the things he was missing. Stan suggested that we use the same format to help us process our grief. When Stan was preparing this message, he had no idea Aaron and I would be in his audience, he didn’t have us on his radar…But God did. Stan had no way of know that I was having a hard time that week, that I was missing Hannah so much that it physically hurt, that I really needed something new to help me work through this new wave of grief…But God knew!

We serve an amazing, personal God! Our God loves us and cares for us so tenderly and deeply. I’m always amazed how He helps me each and every day. Aaron and I both felt prompted to start lists of what we miss about Hannah. Today, I started one with the boys. I thought it would be a good thing for them to work on, especially as we anticipate another person entering our family. They seem so focused on the moment and/or the future, which is good. However, I never want them to forget their sister and to never think this new baby will replace her. Once they’ve completed their list, I’ll post it. I’m sure it will be priceless!

I’ll close with what I’m guessing is the most popular verse in Jeremiah:

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (29:11)

 

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God that I am feeling SO much better! After 2 weeks of severe nausea and mild weight loss, I am feeling great. I’m tired, but what first-trimester pregnant lady isn’t? I’m showing A LOT! It’s pretty obvious that this is my fifth pregnancy…My stomach muscles aren’t even trying to hold anything in! Thank you for praying me through those 2 horrible weeks and for your ongoing prayers to sustain me throughout this pregnancy.

2. Praise God for a wonderful retreat! Thank you for praying us there and back!!

3. Praise God for this opportunity to be in Greece! Thank you for praying for us as we travelled. Aaron and Jacob both threw up, but we managed to make it to the conference without changing clothes. Praise God! Noah just threw up a couple of times, so please pray that he’ll be back to normal by the morning…AND that Levi and I won’t get whatever this mysterious bug is!

4. Praise God for His creativity! Each time we visit a new place, I’m once again amazed at the diversity of the human race and beautiful array of landscapes. It’s a privilege to witness each culture and place as we travel.

5. Please pray for the boys. This is the first time we’ve been out of Kenya in a year, our first time in the first world in a year. It’s a little overwhelming. Please pray that we’ll enjoy this time away from Tenwek, but that we’ll also look forward to being home. Pray against greed and selfishness. Pray for contentment and peace and thanksgiving. Pray for Aaron and I as we navigate this new wave of consumerism, that we may have wisdom in leading the boys through it.

6. Pray for Tenwek Hospital. Many of the long-term doctors from Tenwek are in this conference, so please pray for the visiting staff and the long-termers who are left to fill in the gap.

Advertisements

Tenwek and Ten Weeks

Standard

As many of you are well aware, we serve at Tenwek Hospital. The hospital had very humble beginnings decades before God called us here. The origin of the name Tenwek is uncertain, though several theories exist. One such theory is that Tenwek is a combined, shortened form of “ten weeks,” because it took a man 10 weeks to find his way to the location. These days, it doesn’t take ten weeks to find your way to Tenwek. (Praise God for paved roads and fast-moving, durable vehicles!) Even on our initial trip to Tenwek, when we didn’t know the way, it only took us a few days to find it. There may not be GPS to help us, but we’re thankful for the many people who have paved the way for us (and the many others who are serving here right now) to arrive at such a wonderful place!

I say all this to introduce an entirely different subject…In light of this theory on ten weeks, I would like to make an announcement: WE ARE TEN WEEKS PREGNANT!

Baby Kelley #5

Baby Kelley #5

When we first arrived to Tenwek, February 2, 2013, I had 4 beautiful children with me. Hannah had just turned 1 year old, and I was already having baby fever. I remember thinking that I wish I could have a baby in Kenya, but I wasn’t feeling a go-ahead from God. Logically, it doesn’t make sense for us to attempt a pregnancy and delivery in rural Kenya. I’ve delivered all 4 of my babies early; only Levi was full-term but just barely. It wasn’t worth the risk…unless God gave His clear blessing.

Well, you all know our lives turned upside down six weeks after arriving to our new home. Hannah got really sick and passed away. While this didn’t take my baby fever away, it did make me even more aware of the delicacy of life. Part of me wanted to fill my empty arms as quickly as possible. The other part of me was too afraid to make the decision to conceive and deliver a baby in Kenya simply because I was bored. I feared losing another baby. My emotions would sway from desperate desire for a baby to paralyzing fear of having another baby. I just prayed and poured out all my fears and feelings to God. I told Him that He would have to make the decision, because I was too emotional to do so.

In July, God made it clear to both Aaron and me that we needed to trust Him with Baby #5. We stopped preventing pregnancy and trusted that God would provide whatever was needed whenever it was necessary. Months and months went by with no conception. Sometimes I was tempted to wonder why. As I look back, I see how God used this time to heal our hearts a little more, to increase our desire for another baby, to decrease our fears as we learned to trust Him more and more, to show He loves to be involved in every detail of our lives. We are still trusting Him day by day.

On March 4, 2014, as we were anticipating the hardest week and days of the year when we would mark the 1-year anniversary of Hannah’s death, God gave us a little treasure to hide in our hearts. On the morning of March 4, I saw the faintest pink line on my pregnancy test indicating that we were pregnant! God, knowing our hearts and wanting us to feel loved and remembered by Him, saved this blessing to be revealed at preciously the right time, a time of deep pain. What an awesome God we serve! While the pregnancy provided great joy amidst a very hard time, it has also brought about new aspects of grief. More than anything right now, I grieve that Hannah is not here to be a big sister to this new baby. At the same time, though, I praise Him for blessing our family with another precious person!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God, for He is the Creator! Marvel at the way He knits new people in the wombs of their mothers!

2. Praise God for a restful, spiritually renewing time at the Coast. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf during this retreat!

3. Praise God for bringing us home safely. While vacation is great, it’s nice to settle back into our normal routine. Please pray for the kids and teachers as we begin school tomorrow.

4. Praise God for His passion and love for us. As we near Easter, praise Him for His sacrifice that saves us from hell. Pray that many will come to a saving knowledge of salvation this Easter season. Pray for our hearts, as Easter has a whole new depth of meaning to us after the loss of our only daughter.

5. Praise God for the way He has sustained and prospered Tenwek Hospital and the surrounding community. Pray that He will receive all the glory and honor He deserves for every blessing He provides.

6. Praise God for my health and energy! Thank you for praying me through a terrible 2-week sickness!! I was sick partially due to the pregnancy and partially due to the malaria medication I was taking. I still have 3 doses left to take over the next 3 weeks, so please continue to pray for me. Pray that I will be able to eat and drink, that I will have energy to take care of the boys and all my responsibilities here at Tenwek, that I will feel good for our upcoming trip to Greece, and that I can resume my exercise routine to keep my body as fit as possible during this pregnancy.

7. Praise God for this baby!! Please pray for a perfect, healthy, full-term baby. Pray for an easy pregnancy and delivery. Pray for our hearts as we miss Hannah more with each thought of another baby coming into our family.

Romans 3:25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Psalm 139

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.