Monthly Archives: October 2014


I am convinced that there is God’s beauty to be found in every place.  Sometimes you need to look a little harder than others, but God sure outdid Himself at this time, in this place. The scripture that comes to mind is Psalm 37.4 Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

When you ask people about Lokichoggio, the report usually includes the words: hot, dusty, and dry.  In my mind, I pictured brown, dirt, a land desolate and ugly.  In my heart, I prayed for God to meet me in this place.  You see, I love beauty.  I love life.  I love flowers, trees, waterfalls; and quite frankly I wondered how my soul could survive the desert.

I also know the heart of my Savor who loves me.  In our quiet time, He spoke to my soul, saying, “Trust me, my darling.  I’ve gone before you. Just follow me; dance with me.”  I took a deep breath, and in anticipation of what He had for me, jumped into the next phase of our Africa journey.

I smile as I write this, because God ALWAYS goes above and beyond our meager expectations.  In this place, I found beauty.


The hills looking out from our front gate.  The guys on the motorcycle are heading into town, about 1/4 mile to go.



The road up to the gate.



A pale green butterfly drinking some nectar.



Jericho is our driveway, and this gorgeous tree greets me every day.


The beautiful desert rose flower from the tree directly in front of my front door.

I never cease to be amazed at God’s Creation.  My heart blossoms in the beauty around me.

Even more beautiful than these are the souls He’s put in my path.   *sigh*  I could try to describe Eunice to you, but you need to see the light in her eyes, and the shine of her face amidst a trial that would break most of us to truly see her soul.  She is faith in Jesus being lived out.  Beautiful.

The daytime gate guard who checks on me to make sure I have water when Joel is out flying, and takes care of refilling the tanks if they’re running low.  He trusts me with his family concerns, we pray for them, and he stops by every few days to keep me updated.  He teaches the gospel to the local men who congregate outside our gate looking for work.  Beautiful soul.

The Salvation Army officer who leads the church service at the Loki Airport on Sunday mornings.  He made a point to be at the airport the first day to greet and welcome us, and warmly welcomed our family at the Sunday service.  This man loves people, loves children, and loves the Lord.  Beautiful servant.

I asked for beauty, and God has blessed me more abundantly than I could have imagined.

                        Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Clenched Fists

     I had a tough day today.  Just irritated.  At life.  The kids.  Planning dinner.
     Then came my devotion today: My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me (Song of Songs 2:10 NIV).  Truthfully, I tried to escape.  I didn’t want to engage my heart.  But as I made the decision to open the page again and re-read the Scripture, I felt Jesus ask me, “Will you let me romance you?  Can you let go of the grip you’re so desperately trying to keep and let me romance you?”
     I’m undone yet again.  It’s hard to relinquish control in this place where so much feels out of control.  Tears come as I let go.  I think battling emotions is as tough as dealing with this new environment.  I’m in the right place, this I know.  *sigh*  I just wish transition could be easier.
     I look out the window.  The kids are outside playing volleyball, laughter filling the air.  I smile and head to where they are.  To the right is the beautiful Desert Rose in bloom.  Such beauty in arid conditions.  I feel the constriction loosen in my chest, in my hands.  Yes, there is beauty wherever the Lord is.  Beauty in laughter, beauty in nature. I’m reminded why I love Him so, why I’ve agreed to trust Him with my heart, with my life.
     I thank God for rescuing me once again, and loosening my grip.  I thank Him for opening my eyes to His glory, the beauty that He romances me with every day.

Week 2 – Time to Streeeetchhhh

The end of Week 2.

We had a major thunderstorm last night, giving some well needed rain.  It also makes some roads difficult to travel over.  The air is sweet and warm this morning, still not cool though.

The Hurds are in Nairobi for 10 days, so their very old, very sweet dog, Titan, has set up residence in our covered shop area. Jay and Marcy (the cats) are NOT impressed with his protection.  Poor Titan couldn’t chase them even if he wanted to.

You know the Murphy’s Law thing? Well, come to find out it applies to missionaries too. Jerry and Breanna left on Thursday for Nairobi.  An emergent flight request came up Wednesday night for Joel to take on Thursday.  Jerry prepped Joel with all he would need to know about where he was flying into, and Breanna gave me a detailed map of where everything is in town, numbers to call, and all I should need for the next 10 days.  Joel takes off, Hurds leave for Nairobi, and all is well. I have Eunice, my incredibly wonderful house-help who comes daily from 2-5; John, who is painting the doors; and Peter and David, who are cleaning up the landscaping.

I see my first monitor lizard (a baby) next to the backyard sink where I do laundry. I think he was more scared of me than I of him.  I hadn’t researched them yet to know if they were trouble, so I keep the back door closed and wait until John came back from lunch.  He assures me that they are harmless, but gets the little guy moving on his way.  Man, can they run fast!  That in itself is kind of creepy. So thankful that God allowed me to start small with these new, exotic creatures.

Monitor_Lizard[1] Disclaimer:  This is just a picture I downloaded to show what they look like. The camera was inside, I was outside. My guy didn’t have rings on his tail.

At 5:00, all the workers are packing up for the day, I give them their wages for the day (the gardeners and John receive 300 ksh/day – about $3.50; and Eunice is 100 ksh/hr – more about her later), and Joel calls from his satellite phone. This isn’t a good sign.  It means he doesn’t have cell coverage from where he’s calling.  Yep, he’s calling from Juba, South Sudan.  He had a tight schedule to get everything done, and had a few delays during the day.  He wouldn’t make it home tonight.  All is well, he just ran out of time to make it back to Loki safely.  Perfect. The night the Hurds leave is Joel’s first over-nighter. Breanna texts the Bishop’s number if I need anything.

The kids and I do well, continuing on in our routine. I’m always praying, but I add an extra prayer this evening.  I pray that Jesus himself would take Joel’s place tonight as head of this home, and husband to me.

I get the joy of doing the evening house sweep for unwanted creepy-crawlies (uggg!) and find a centipede in Ian’s room. Centipedes pinch and have an awful bite, millipedes do not.  The little critter is able to run under the baseboard, so I spray Doom under the baseboard, but I have a bed-mate all the same (Ian refuses to sleep in his room not knowing if the centipede is dead).  So thankful Joel usually has that job!  He’s taken care of a couple of wolf spiders (big and ugly, the size of a woman’s palm, but don’t have a poisonous bite), and beetles of all shapes and sizes.

The night is uneventful, and Flight-Following texts from Nairobi to let me know that Capt King should be arriving in Loki at 9:25am. Yaaah!


The house is pretty much unpacked, and I think our sofa, loveseat, and coffee-table will be coming on the next Caravan flight. Maybe next Monday, but not sure.  That just leaves the dressers to come out and we’re settled.  Wow.  Feeling God’s protection through this transition.  When I think of all that has happened and the peace that we’ve had … wow.


Renee: continues to thrive here.  She’s diving into school, and seems happy.  She’s got 2 tests this week, 1 is on Canada.  Her teacher is really hoping she does well (smiley face!)

Ian: saw baby scorpions this week.  He handled it well, considering scorpions were a major fear for him. He misses Isaiah terribly even though he has only been gone 2 days.

Renee, Ian, Grace and Isaiah are starting to build a tree fort. Fun!  …and a lot of hard work.  Love it!

Joel: killed his first spitting cobra (a baby, but it still counts.  Baby cobras grow into adult cobras.).  I think that’s all that’s been sighted on the property is baby ones.  Joel is getting into the flow of procedures in Loki (scheduling, price quotes, flight planning, landing strips).  AND (in his spare time – ha!) he continues to direct the outside workers and tackle house projects. Please pray for him.  He’s got a lot going on.

LaReina: Joel got the washing machine hooked up and running!  Joy, joy, JOY!  I don’t know how the woman of old did hand-washing all the clothes.  It takes SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY!

003 That is my trusty, white washing machine is the background and Joel working on the plumbing to it!

I drove the old, standard truck into town on Saturday.  I only stalled it twice.  Thank goodness there’s not really traffic to care.  And reverse is super hard to find, so I started just parking parallel to the road so I wouldn’t need reverse.  The town kids are so excited to see Mzungas (white people) that they swarm the vehicle when it’s parked.  Not fun when you’re trying to get the truck in reverse AND not run over a kid.  That wouldn’t find favor with the locals.  Oh, I’m gonna LOVE our truck when it gets up to Loki!


The story about Eunice: Eunice is the sister to Breanna’s house-help.  She has 5 children that she cares for on her own since their dad left them for another family.  I started to be shocked, but then thought, “Oh, that happens in America all the time.”  My heart saddened because she’s absolutely delightful.  Our wages pay for food and school fees.  She also makes bead necklaces in town in the mornings.

There were 3 ladies that have a good track record in Loki, and are known to be good workers, reliable and punctual. The third lady (Christine) has part time work, but she will be coming Monday morning to hopefully make tortillas and maybe some breakfast muffins.  All 3 ladies are single moms with many children to feed and school.


Next week:

Joel will try to get back into S Sudan to 2 runways that were rained out last week. Christine comes over to hopefully bake. The rumor is that she has done some baking for other missionaries.  We have daily baked bread that is delivered every day by Martin (he comes by on his pedal bicycle and rings his bell, so quaint and fun!  I feel like I’m in a ‘50s sitcom!), so if she can make tortillas and muffins weekly, that eases my cooking workload and can focus on teaching.

Joel has the South Sudan Run that goes from Loki to Arua stopping at all the mission stations in South Sudan along the way. He stays overnight in Arua then returns the next day again stopping at stations back to Loki.  AIM AIR does this run every 2 weeks to support these stations.

I need to investigate the pharmacies in town to see if they can order in the malaria meds we’re on (and how much it’ll cost).  They have the cheapest kind (Doxycylone), but Malarone is the best long term.

I would love to venture into the beading store, see what they have, and meet the ladies.

We really need to brush up on/learn more Kiswahili. Everyone in Nairobi spoke English.  This is not the case in Loki.  The shop owners speak English, but the Bishop needed to come over to translate to the workers the other day.

It’s good to keep learning, right?  And stretch comfort zones? I can feel God’s smile upon me.  Yes, it’s good to learn.  It’s good to stretch.  He’ll make sure I don’t stretch to the point of breaking.


First week in Lokichoggio, Day 4

     The view from our front door
Thursday morning:
    I’m sitting in the front room with a warm breeze coming through the window. The trees are swaying, and the birds are talking to each other.  It’s peaceful out here.  It’s 10 am and already hot (92 F in the shade), but not unbearable. The house is about 3/4 unpacked … we cooked dinner in our house for the first time last night.  It was nice to be able to sit around the dinner table with just us.
    The house needed A LOT of cleaning when we got here.  Confession time: I did it.  I am a mass spider killer.  I’ve killed many, many Daddy Long-legs, destroyed their homes, and even took out a maternity wing.  I feel no remorse.  Other than Daddy Long-legs, there are some big spiders which I haven’t seen in the house, but are not friendly.  Not deadly, but pack a bite.  I think I heard the flies rejoicing that we were here.  Little do they know they’re next on my hit list.  On the upside, Breanna had gone through the house in the first cleaning and got the cockroaches and their eggs out.  I haven’t seen one yet.  We served a nice cocktail of boric acid and sugar if any stop by.  I’m afraid we’re not very hospitable to the previous occupants.
    So the heat.  We’ve got fans in all the rooms, and just ordered one more from Nairobi to help us out until the A/C gets here and Joel figures out how to make it work.  I think we all agree that the bugs (mostly flies right now but Breanna says it’s just for a season) are the worst.  The mosquito nets keep the big ones out, but little ones are getting through.  The screens on the windows need replacing – should be coming up from Nairobi on Saturday.  We just sleep on top of the sheets until half way through the night when you want just a sheet over you.
    Went downtown (ha!) with Breanna and Joel today.  Breanna introduced me to the town folk and I was able to see what they have here.  Gotta say, it is WAY better than I thought!  I have a lot of cooking ingredients coming up from Nairobi as flights are coming this way, but I can get most of it here.  I think if I ask for them to get things like tomato sauce and show them the bottle, they can probably order it for me.  Some prices are crazy, but most are close to Nairobi prices (which is expensive, but oh well).
Friday morning:
    Yesterday was a warmer day. Over 100 in the shade.  Our house does pretty good, but we’re seeing the heat we heard about.
    We were out of water (we have well water) yesterday, but the Bishop (who is in charge of the compound) came by multiple times and restored water to our house.  The water is good, but we still pass it through our water filter (the one we had in Nairobi).  It tastes good.  Soft, but good with no egg smell.  Lots of mineral deposits though. We’ve been taking a liter water bottle, filling it half full, laying it on its side in the freezer, and then having a big ice-cube in the water bottle.  Works great!!
   Joel has a short flight planned for Monday.  We should have the house ready by then.  Joel was able to figure out a shower solution (trying to hang a shower curtain that would keep some of the water IN the shower) and we all took our first shower last night.  No hot water yet, but it’s not terrible.  Even doing my hair wasn’t too bad.
    I tried to make tortillas last night. They need a lot of help.  They were edible, but need help.  I think I’ll try another recipe.  I’m back to sea-level cooking (I had just gotten used to high-altitude baking!)
    The cats:  Kibebe came back the first night, but we didn’t see her again.  There are other cats on the property, but I’m losing my optimism.  Jay Jay was crying for her for the first few nights.  Poor kitten.  She was closest to her mama.  Marcy is in heat too and wasn’t here for breakfast. *sigh*  Worrying about the kittens is probably MY toughest part of being here.  Jay is particularly expressive and you can see the fear and worry in her eyes.  She’s calling for Marcy.  Breaks my heart …
    Ian:  Is having a blast playing with Isaiah.  He loves it here.  He loves being able to go out in the open space and not have to worry about locked gates and city worries.  They just got rain in Loki, so everything is green and pretty.  It may not stay this way, but it’s a wonderful welcome!  Thank you, God!  There are dirt (dust) roads throughout the compound, so the boys can get around.  We will bring Ian’s bike up, and I think Renee now wants one too to ride with Grace.  The bugs are bugging/scaring him, but that’s his only hiccup in transitioning.  He has a rash that I think is a heat rash.  It doesn’t itch.
017   Happiness is…having a friend.
    Renee:  Loves to be settled.  She set up her room as soon as absolutely possible.  She has organized the next 4 weeks of school (we’re starting next week) and has started in.  She’s bored.  She is getting along fine with Grace, but likes more quiet time by herself than Ian who is ready to play 5 minutes after he wakes up.  The first couple of days were rough for her, but once we got a net on her bed that actually kept the gnats out, she’s doing better.  She’s been reading “How to Make Friends and Influence People – for girls” and making notes on important points.  I love that girl!  She’s also been sneaking peeks into the girl’s bible study I will start next week with her and Grace.  Good resources for her to grab onto.  She’s also been playing her keyboard.  She played Hush Little Baby for us this morning.  It’s good to see her smiling and happy.  Joel’s showing her how to make mango juice smoothies with ingredients we can get here.
003 Princess loves her “tent”
    Joel:  Is the reason we’re as settled as we are.  He’s amazing in his ability to organize, see a plan, and initiate the plan.  He knows what to ask for and how to get it.  Tomorrow will be a good day as some things that we really need from Nairobi are coming up.  I think he was really worried that we wouldn’t adjust to being up here, and I think he’s quite relieved that we’re doing so well.  Even his queen and princess.    So thanks to Joel, all the beds have mosquito nets, the shower is up and running, we have internet, we have a light on our porch (it gets DARK at night!), we have TV (we watched a movie last night), and we’re organized enough to function.  I love this man!!!!
002 Ahhhh, the allure of power tools.
    LaReina:  Is doing really well.  It’s WAY BETTER than I thought it was going to be.  I love the country.  I love that I can get most things I need to cook up here.  Well, veggies are pretty scarce except for carrots, potatoes and cabbage, but green beans are supposed to be coming on Saturday and there is canned corn in the local shop.    Looking out of my windows, I’m not seeing concrete.  I don’t have multiple locks and gates to get out of my house.  I love that I have a huge support base in Nairobi that is willing to shop and send things up.  Breanna has been awesome in welcoming, but not smothering.  I can see how our life will look when we are settled and IT IS GOOD!!!
    Thank you for your prayers and support.  God knew what He was doing when He put this place on our hearts.  He knew long before we did!