Tag Archives: Salem

Going back home


The first three weekends of April kept us very busy last month! Both our sending church and our hometown church celebrate missions in the month of April, so we headed to Pennsylvania several times to go “back home.”

The first weekend of April called for us to travel to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Allentown was our home before moving to Kenya. Aaron completed internship, residency, and fellowship there. I birthed three children there. We found a wonderful church and great Christian friends there. We loved our time in the Lehigh Valley, and it was where we had planned to return to serve this Home Ministry Assignment. Of course, we all know that didn’t happen, but we were excited to return to this home.

Leaving Goode, VA early Saturday morning, we were on our way to Macungie, PA to help kick off our sending church’s missions festival. Salem Bible Church set aside the month of April to focus on missions. They not only highlighted the missionaries they support but also encouraged members to get involved. We were privileged to be a part of this massive endeavor.

Aaron was scheduled to give the sermon to both Sunday morning services. Then, we were planning to stay for the international lunch and festival. As one of several missionaries on furlough, we were just a portion of the ‘entertainment.’ We set up a mock Tenwek Casualty department with the help of our pit crew (the group designated by the church to be our main support people). Everything was planned and re-planned and prepped.


God had different plans however. There was a strong wind storm in the mountains of the Lehigh Valley Saturday night, and it knocked out the power to thousands of residents in the area. Unfortunately, Salem Bible Church had no power and therefore had to postpone the Sunday morning activities. Aaron, having to work early Monday morning, left for home. The boys and I stayed and re-planned our weekend.

Power was restored by Sunday evening, and the missions lunch/festival was turned into the missions dinner/festival. This was great news, except that it meant that I had to perform the Tenwek skit without Aaron. Pit crew to the rescue again!


One friend acted on Aaron’s behalf, and even wore his white coat. Other friends read the lines for the patients and students. Noah volunteered to be the Masai injured by a hippo. Everyone pitched in at the last minute…And it was great!

The boys and I spent the week in PA. Half of our time was spent catching up with friends in the Lehigh Valley, and half of our time was spent with my parents in central PA. We were reunited with Aaron on Saturday back in Macungie. He delivered his sermon to both services on Sunday morning, and then we travelled back to Goode.


Believe it or not, Joshua LOVED the baby chickens!

Our week at (our Goode) home was super busy with appointments and school and life as usual. Then, we loaded the van again for another trip to PA. This time we returned to our hometown, Mifflintown. Mifflintown, PA is where Aaron and I both grew up. We started dating in high school and attended Cedar Grove Brethren In Christ Church together before heading off to college. We were excited to visit this other home church and to see so many familiar faces.

Again, our weekend was fully planned. We attended the missions dinner and had the opportunity to share what God had done in our lives during our first term at Tenwek. The theme was Kamping with the Kelleys, and several people brought their RV’s or tents to camp out in the church parking lot. My dad and his friend roasted a pig, and we ate way too much food.

The next morning, we were scheduled to speak during the Sunday School hour. Aaron spoke to a combined adult class, while I taught a combined children’s class. I’m sure Aaron gave a great presentation, but I know that I had a lot of fun with the K-5 class! We sang in Swahili, ate yummy treats, looked at pictures of our daily life on the field, and learned about the Kenyan flag and mandazi.


As soon as we were finished with our presentations, we packed up and raced back home, our current home. School and daily life always come too quickly when we spend the weekends away from home.

Since these three weeks of travel, we have enjoyed more downtime. In fact, we don’t have any more travel plans until late June. July will be another busy month with many nights away from home, but until then we will treasure our time in Goode. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our newest family member, and we all need this time to rest.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1.) Praise God for His sovereignty! He is a good, good Father. May we run to Him even when we don’t understand what He is doing.

2.) Please pray for the Nichols and Hentzel families as they mourn the loss of Harold and Randy. If you haven’t heard this sad news, please read Aaron’s blog post about it.

3.) Please pray for us as we continually seek God’s will for our lives. May we trust in His timing, His provision, and His plans.

4.) Please continue to pray for homeschooling and my pregnancy. I’m feeling good, and I’m hopeful that I’ll finish up the majority of school in the next 2-3 weeks and that I won’t go into labor before then.

Psalm 33:4-11

For the word of the LORD is right and true;

he is faithful in all he does.

The LORD loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of his unfailing love.

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,

their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;

he puts the deep into storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the LORD;

let all the people of the world revere him.

For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded, and it stood firm.

The LORD foils the plans of the nations;

he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,

the purposes of his heart through all generations.




VBS Missionaries


The sweetest, most humbling thing happened this evening…

If you follow us on facebook at all, you might have seen that we are the featured missionaries at our church’s Vacation Bible School. Each year our church, Salem Bible Church, chooses one missionary family to support. The missionaries speak to the kids through presentations, hang out at their display table to chat during craft time, and challenge the kids to raise enough money to reach a goal.

This year, we are those people. Monday, I introduced the family to the main group of kids and gave them the monetary goal. (Aaron was working, so I had to public speak!! Yikes!) I made a little display to keep track of the money raising. For every $200 raised, we put a member of the Kelley family into the plane. The goal was to raise $1200 by the end of the week so that all 6 of us would be in the plane together. In the picture, we hadn’t collected any money…

On Tuesday, Aaron and I presented to each of the 3 groups at VBS. (Our church is awesome and runs 3 separate VBS curriculums based on age. I love my church!) First, Aaron talked with the main group of kids, those that completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Then, I spoke to the preschool group. And finally, Aaron spoke to the middle and high school group. Each presentation was a little different, but we basically explained our plans to leave in January for Kenya to be medical missionaries.

Today, since Aaron had to work again, I was by myself at the display table. Here is what it looked like on Monday…It looked a little better tonight, but I didn’t take any pictures. I think you get the idea though.

Not too many kids approached the table, but it was nice to chat with the few who did. Here is where the sweetest, most humbling happened. One little girl came right up to me and asked if I was the missionary. I said that I was, and she plunged her hand into her pocket and pulled out a fist-full of change. Then, she spilled it out onto my display table. How generous! You see, the offering is taken during the opening, but she was late and didn’t have a chance to put her money into the bucket. I think most kids would have kept the money, but not this little girl. She was determined to get that money to me, and she wasn’t waiting until tomorrow. I just love her faith and willingness to obey.

It reminded me of the story in the New Testament of the woman who gave a small amount of money but was counted more generous than the man who gave a lot. (Mark 12:41-44) Wow! I am so challenged by the faith and generosity of these kids.

We leave for our training tomorrow, so we won’t be able to attend the last two days of VBS. That means that we won’t be in attendance to receive the money these kids raised at the closing program on Friday. I’m sad that I won’t be there to witness the joy these kids will have when they see how much money they collected to help us get to Kenya. I’m trusting that God will work through these kids, that He will multiply their gifts, and that He will bless their lives. We serve an awesome God, a generous God, a God who loves a generous giver. He is well-pleased with at least one little girl tonight. Well done, good and faith servant. Well done!