Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Big Announcement!

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Introducing…

Joshua Hunt Baraka Kelley

Joshua H.B. Kelley

Born October 25, 2014 at 2:45pm

Tenwek Hospital

Weight: 6 lbs, 3 oz

Length: 19 in

Psalm 127:3-5a

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.

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Swallowing Dust and More from the Kelley Boys

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No, this isn’t a birth announcement. We hope that post will be coming soon. This is a little update on the 3 boys God has already brought into the world.

First up, Noah:

Oh, this kid and his brain. I still haven’t figured him out. Despite my lack of understanding on the ways of his mind and heart, he is doing really well in school. Almost all of his classes are co-oped this year, and he likes it better than homeschooling. Today, his class visited the hospital’s endoscopy lab because they’ve been learning about the digestive tract. Apparently, the combination of the hospital setting and the talk of tumors was too much for him. He had to come home for a few minutes to cry and talk about Hannah. She would be 2 years and 9 months today.

On a funnier note, let me tell you the story of the birds and the bees…courtesy of Noah. As with each pregnancy, the boys have asked lots of questions about babies. I’ve read all three of them a very basic book about the topic, but I knew this time around Noah was ready for some more details. Last Monday, I found myself playing on the floor with only Noah. We were building Lego houses and such when he brought up the subject, with a little too much enthusiasm. I told him to go get the book (the second phase in the book series we own on the topic), and he returned with even more excitement. “This is gonna be a really good book,” was his reaction to the silver medal on the front cover. Before beginning, I asked him some questions. He knew more than I thought, but when I asked “How does the baby get in my tummy?” I was not ready for his response. He said, “I don’t know. Maybe mommies swallow too much dust?” Wow! That’s based on his Biblical knowledge of creation, but no where close to being right. This was going to be interesting!

And so, I began the book. About half way through, when we got to the part about mommies and daddies fitting together like puzzles, his face was priceless. All of the excitement was replaced by utter disgust, and he said, “That is totally gross!” I finished the book, and he was still shocked and disgusted. Even at dinner that night, he couldn’t get over his new, and now unwanted, knowledge on the baby subject. He told Aaron that the medal must be an award for the worst book ever! Well, at least now he knows, whether he likes it or not!

Next up, Jacob:

Our sweet little Jacob is turning into a monster. Not really. He’s still the most obedient and compliant one of the bunch, but he’s having a turn at the testing game. From poor table manners to rude comments addressed at adult strangers to fighting with his brothers, sometimes I wonder who this kid is! On the flip side, though, he is doing very well in school. All of this classes are co-oped, and most of them are taught by the same person. He enjoys school and finds it quite easy on most fronts. No funny stories from him lately. I’m too busy trying to keep his mouth in check!

He’s not very anxious for Joshua’s arrival. When I asked him how much longer it would be until Joshua is here, he estimated a month and a few days. Oh, I hope not! That would put me quite overdue! We are trying to prepare them for Joshua’s delivery, which could be any day, but we aren’t being so successful. I guess life as they know it is too good to look forward to this inevitable change.

Next is Levi:

Levi goes to preschool for 2 hours three days a week. He seems to really enjoy the social aspect, but he’s not learning much. At this age, Jacob was reading short words, and both Noah and Jacob could write their names and so much more. Levi can’t identify the letters of the alphabet. How can these three boys be so different??

He’s probably the most excited about Joshua’s arrival. He loves talking to his baby brother and is eager to teach him all kinds of things. I’m guessing he’ll be quite disappointed when Joshua does arrive and can’t even do a thing! After a few months, I’m sure all three boys will find ways to make Joshua laugh and then the teaching/learning can begin. Levi has recently realized that he does not remember Hannah. It’s sad. He wants to remember her so badly, but he knows he can’t. We just keep showing him pictures and videos so that he’ll at least have stories from those. His favorite is the one when he tried to change her poopy diaper. Who knows what shenanigans Levi and Joshua will get into?!?!

Last but not least, Joshua:

Like I said, Aaron and I are ready and waiting on God’s perfect timing on Joshua’s appearance. We are so happy that this pregnancy has lasted so long, but we are anxious for the day we get to meet Boy #4 face-to-face. We wonder what he’ll look like and what his personality will be like. Will he be a good, easy baby like Levi, a lazy baby like Jacob or a tyrant like Noah? Probably none of the above. We can’t wait to find out!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God that we are 36 weeks, 5 days today! I really didn’t know if we’d make it this long. Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers!! Please continue to pray for God’s perfect timing, for the boys to be ready, and for health for both me and Joshua.

2. Praise God for no more bed rest! I can cook and take care of the boys like usual! Of course, my back hurts from all this added activity, but I’m thankful that I can enjoy whatever time I have left of this pregnancy.

3. Praise God for He is Healer! Please pray for each of our hearts as we still miss Hannah and as we prepare to welcome another child into our family. I’m not sure what, if any, emotions Joshua’s presence will bring up concerning Hannah. Please pray for God’s closeness to be evident to all of us.

4. Praise God for electricity! The new turbine is complete, so our power is more consistent. The old turbine is under repair. We look forward to having both turbines work together. It should eliminate power outages and rationing.

I’m still plugging away at memorizing I Peter. I’m in chapter 4, but I still love this passage in the second chapter. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to all authority instituted among men, whether to the king as supreme authority or to governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right. For it is the Lord’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom for a cover up of evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. I Peter 2:13-17

Change of Plans

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Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and thoughtful prayers on our behalves. I so appreciate how many of you use the praises and prayer requests at the bottom of our posts to earnestly petition God. In regard to that, I wanted to let everyone know that Aaron and I decided that he should stay home this week. Despite his obligation to the intern, we thought it best for him to stay closer to me during this phase of the pregnancy. I am 35 weeks. (Praise God!!) I’ve had a few contractions this weekend, and we both know that my labors happen too quickly for him to get home from the interviews in time to see Joshua’s birth if I would go into labor this week. We’ll keep you updated as things happen…or fail to happen! 🙂

Baby Shower Fun

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God has blessed me beyond measure. I could write post after post about all the ways He provides over and above anything I could ever ask or imagine. This post is just one expression of praise to God for giving me such a wonderful group of ladies to do life with here at Tenwek. From the ones who have lived here for over a decade to the ones who just arrived, all the ladies in this Tenwek community are loving, supportive, creative, and sneaky! THANK YOU, ladies, for throwing me a very special baby shower for Joshua!!

Well, not unlike several times before, I reached the 34 week mark of my pregnancy and no baby shower had taken place. This is when I begin to wonder whether my friends and family have forgotten to throw me a shower or they just decided that I’ve already had my fair share of them and refused to go to all the work again. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame them for just saying “enough already!” and foregoing the party, but God has always blessed me with a wonderful group of friends who steps up to the plate. And they always want to surprise me.

I’m not the easiest person to surprise. With Noah, we lived 6 hours from family, so I had to plan the date of my shower according to my teaching schedule. No chance of a surprise there. I almost missed Jacob’s baby shower because I was SO tired. Our small group had to call Aaron and I to tell us to attend the meeting because it was actually our shower! Oops! Sorry for spoiling that attempt at surprising both me and Aaron. I don’t even remember a shower for Levi, and I can’t find any pictures on the computer. Without his scrapbook, I have no way of verifying whether we had one or not. Hannah was already born when her shower took place. Maybe it was the stress and worry of her being in the NICU that clouded my intuition, because her shower is the only one I didn’t know about.

This time around, I was beginning to worry that everyone was too busy to throw a shower. I’ve had all the time in the world to think about such details, so I suspected that the first Tuesday night ladies’ Bible study might be an opportune time to plan the shower. Plus, there were little hints along the way. One friend told me that she had “something” on Tuesday. Ok, people, we live in a small community. Not much happens without everybody knowing it! I immediately thought I wonder why she can’t tell me what she’s up to on Tuesday. Another friend came over insisting that I not go to Bible study without her. Then, Jacob came home requesting to go to the Bible study because Meredith (a girl on the compound) was going. I’m sure there were a few other comments or clues, but these three were enough to make me really suspicious. And sure enough, I was right!

When I walked in the house, everyone yelled “Surprise!” and I saw a room beautifully decorated to a baby boy shower and full of beautiful, smiling faces. Just seeing the love on their faces would have been enough, but they knocked my socks off! There were paper onesies on one wall. A “Joshua” banner with African animals on some of the other walls. The mantle was overflowing with stuffed animals.

Joshua Banner Onesie Blessings and Due Date Guess Gifts and Decorations

The food was amazing and African themed. There were safari pops, fire and spice nuts, chips and salsa (they know I love Mexican!), the cutest fruit and lots more.

Cute and Yummy Food!

The games were super fun. I especially liked the one I won! Apparently, I’m the fastest diaperer in Tenwek. Everyone could write blessings on the onesies and guess the delivery date. We also played a baby animal games, which was quite challenging.

Diapering Game Baby Animal Game

The best part, though, was getting to Facetime with my best friend from the States. That was a surprise and a blessing! Even though she was at ChickfilA without me (didn’t you promise to fast from ChickfilA until I return??), it was so special that she got to see me open my presents, join in on the shower festivities, and see the group of ladies that are loving me in her absence.

Facetiming with Bec

 

And speaking of presents, I was overwhelmed! I guess having a fourth boy is more fun than I expected. Since I have everything I need, they spoiled me with fun stuff. Most of it came from Amani Ya Juu, a great store in Nairobi (and other places) that helps men and women learn a trade (like sewing) to earn an income. These are among my favorites from the night.

African Art! African mobile

All the details were carefully planned and special. I loved the time of prayer. Even the favors were great: basil plants. They symbolize blessings for Joshua to grow in grace and favor with God and among men.

Basil favors

Even if I almost always manage to spoil the surprise, I never tire of being showered with blessings! Thanks again, friends, for making this momma of 5 feel special, loved and blessed beyond measure!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise God for His perfect timing! God has proven Himself trustworthy time and time again. Please pray that we can peacefully rest in His sovereignty once again. Aaron will be out of town from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday evening and then again Wednesday afternoon through Friday evening. Please pray that Joshua will wait to make his appearance until after Aaron returns from his interviews! (He’s interviewing students who want to do an internship at Tenwek.) Pray that the boys will help me even more than usual in Aaron’s absence.
  2. Praise God for friends and family! Truly, every baby shower has been a unique blessing, and I am thankful for each and every one of my friends and family members who took part in showering me with blessings with each baby!
  3. Praise God for being our eternal Light! As the last shipment of parts for the new turbine arrived last week, our hydro-electric plant upgrade is almost complete! As a result, the team of engineers and workers had to turn off both turbines for a short time. It’s estimated that we will be without the hydro plant for 10 days, which means all of our power comes from KP&L (Kenya Power and Light). Over the first 24 hours, we enjoyed a whole 6 hours of electricity. It’s been better since then, but we still need prayer. Please pray for the engineers and workmen. Pray for their safety and wisdom while they work. Please pray for the hospital, that patient care would not be compromised during the power outages. The hospital does have a generator. Pray for us missionaries, that we would be patient and flexible. Pray that our freezers and refrigerators would keep our food cold.

I’ll close with the passage of Scripture that Jacob and his class has been memorizing. I LOVE how their minds so easily soak in Truth!

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

The Nursery!

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After 4 weeks on modified bedrest (with only 2 weeks to go!), I’ve made it to the critical 34 week point of my pregnancy AND have the nursery as completed as I can until more supplies make their way to me. I thought it would be nice to share some pictures of my handiwork. 🙂

My first sewing project was to make fitted sheets for the mattress that we cut down from a twin-sized foam mattress. Crib mattresses are not available locally, and we didn’t think a standard crib mattress would fit anyway. We just bought a twin mattress, measured the dimensions of the crib, and cut it with a bread knife! I managed to pull together four fitted sheets without any elastic.Then, I covered the pillows to coordinate with the sheets. Isn’t the owl cute? I got it at Banana Box, a great store in Nairobi.

Pillows and Owl

My last sewing project was this “J” shadow box. The shelf needed something other than these adorable African animals we got at Masai Market. The shelf was there when we moved in. It is above the twin bed that we are keeping in the room. I figure that the bed will give me a comfy place to sleep on the really bad nights.

shelf above twin bed

The Lion painting was purchased locally. Anthony, the painter, is a Kenyan who works with the Least of These Ministries in Nairobi. I’ll eventually get it framed, but that requires a trip to Nairobi…And I’m not allowed to travel that far these days! The mosquito net is not decorative. We actually use them to protect us from nighttime attacks from mosquitoes. The green blanket was knitted by me. I ran out of yarn on the last row, so it has a little bit of pink woven into one end. It will remind him of his sister that he’ll never meet this side of heaven.

Joshua's crib

Everything else was pulled into this room from other parts of the house in order to make it feel complete. I think it turned out pretty well, especially considering there are no craft stores and my budget was quite small. It’s definitely better than what the other boys got. Hannah is the only one who had a nice nursery, and she didn’t have anything this nice here in Kenya. Regardless, I had a lot of fun creating and coordinating the room. Plus, it kept me busy during the first 4 weeks of my solitary confinement, I mean bedrest 🙂

Joshua's nursery: view from bed Joshua's nursery: view from door

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for the 34 week mark!! Statistically, most babies born after 34 weeks do quite well right here at Tenwek. I think all the pediatricians took a big sigh of relief this weekend, and so did Aaron and I! Please continue to pray for God’s perfect timing in the arrival of our Joshua. Pray also for all the doctors involved with Joshua’s delivery and wellness.

2. Praise God for the rain! We are entering another rainy season. We have a short rain most days around noon, and then it will rain longer many nights. We pray for bountiful harvests in Kenya!

3. Praise God for all the work He is continuing to do as a result of Hannah’s cancer and early homegoing. We stand in awe of how He makes everything new and creates beauty from ashes.

I’ll end with one of my favorite verses: Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”