Monthly Archives: July 2013

Nairobi … Day 1


Key Word: Yet

As I woke up this morning, realization hit home. We’re really here. In Africa. This is our new home.

I embraced the morning as I looked at the view outside the dining room … concrete buildings, large birds that I can’t identify yet; trees, flowers, and green that soften the grey concrete. Our hosts at the mission guesthouse are polite and helpful as they welcome us and offer a word or two of Swahili to start our learning.  “Karibu” means welcome. “Asante” means thank you. Thank you, Lord for their patience and understanding as they welcome group after group of foreigners who really don’t know or understand their culture yet.

After a brief overview of what our next few days will look like before we head out to Machakos for the “real” orientation, our facilitators took us for our first look at our new homes. Since it is not within walking distance, as most shopping is around the guesthouse, we experienced our second ride on Nairobi streets.  Our tame ride home at 10:30 at night was nothing like Saturday afternoon traffic!  Last night I was able to appreciate driving on the left side of the road and the passenger side being on the right side of the car, but this afternoon was an eye-opening experience.

Now to back things up, I’ve spent 5 years driving in Miami, where the speed is fast and furious … kinda like a symphony concerto … exhilarating, stimulating, but with a resemblance of order and flow. My first impression of Nairobi traffic is of a composer we studied in homeschool this year (can’t think of his name) who strategically never put notes that naturally go together … together. Still music, but not the soothing sounds of a Beethoven or Bach.  Traffic was of course on the left side of the road, cars were pushing into intersections, and I was told that if you’re not an aggressive driver, you won’t go far because everyone pushes in around you. I was thinking to myself, “Really, God? Aggressive really is not my nature …”  Again I smiled as I remembered my first days driving in Miami. I just don’t have the rhythm of this traffic dance yet.

Onto supper conversation of bartering. Yep, another arena which has not traditionally been my strong suite. In fact, my first bartering experience when I was 20 in the Dominican Republic had me pay twice as much for a necklace. Now over the years I married a better barterer (that’s a mouthful!) so I have not encountered bartering since that woe-some day. I smile as years have taught me that gentleness and honesty can soothe the angriest of souls. I wonder if that applies here, or if bartering requires that same assertive demeanor I’ve been seeing today. I internally smile to God and trust that He will use who He has made me to be to … barter. I pray that my heart remains tender and compassionate as I encounter areas that I don’t understand and am not proficient at … yet.

New encounters are great, aren’t they? They stretch and grow who we are and expand our little worlds to see and understand our brothers and sisters better. Ah, the Muslim call to worship in the distance. I pause and think about why it is that I worship Jesus … about His love, how He has forgiven my sins and healed wounds that were keeping me from real life – life to the full … how I can talk to Him, just as I talk to you, and He answers to the deepest part of my soul where He lives. Tears flow down my face and peace floods my soul as He reminds me that I am His. Through traffic, bartering, different religions and cultures, I remain His Princess, daughter of the King of Kings. And that IS NOT a “yet“.

Saying farewell for now!



It is so hard to believe that when we started this journey to Africa 3 years ago it would have taken this long to get to this point.  But on the other hand with all we have had to do it’s hard to believe that our departure time is finally here.

We have been in Canada this past week spending time with LaReina’s family and saying our good byes.  We leave this evening for Atlanta, GA where we will spend 3 days at the home office of AIM.  On July 11, we depart for Nairobi, Kenya with 2 other families and 2 singles also on their way to serve with AIM.  One of the families we have had the pleasure of getting to know while we were in Orientation in North Carolina.  They have 4 children of which 2 are Renee and Ian’s age.  This is a huge blessing for the kids to have friends they know to travel with.  Once we arrive in Nairobi, we have a few days at AIM’s guest house to recoup from travel and meet a few of our co-workers prior to us heading 3 hours East of Nairobi to Machakos.  AIM holds its Africa Based Orientation at Scott Christian University there in Machakos.  This will be 3 full weeks of culture, health, security, and language training for both the adults and the kids.  Please pray for this time that we are able to absorb all the information so that we can adjust well in this new environment.

Stay tuned as we get aquainted with this beautiful country and wonderful people God has called us to.

Everything has a place …

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Part of moving to another continent is the necessary discernment of what goes and what doesn’t. What gets packed, what goes into storage, and what makes it’s happy home once again in your parent’s basement (so lucky for them!).

As we’ve been going through Round … ummmm … 5 of scaling down, I found a smile creeping over my face. I was reminded of something I heard from Dave Ramsey (the Christian financial guy).  He said that every dollar needs to have a destination, a mission, or it just gets lost and spent on something totally useless. I was thinking how every piece of our “stuff”, no matter how trivial, needs a destination. A mission. Either to add comfort and familiarity to our new life in Africa, be put into storage, bless someone else, or meet Mr. Garbage Can.

Then I starting thinking about how each of US needs to have a destination, a mission, or we just waste precious days in the monotony of life. I imagine God shuffling His people in their perfect destinations … their perfect fit. Kinda like trying to fit one more thing into a packing box. Some things fit perfectly. Some … not so much.  It’s all in the fit.

It’s comforting to know that as hard as transition is, this journey is more comfortable than a life that’s an uncomfortable fit. We’re right where we need to be.