A few differences:
No snow! This is good and bad. We are actually starting our summer. I think we all miss the snow a little.
We are so excited to have a Christmas turkey! It came from Nairobi and had to travel 5 hours through the heat in a cooler, so we prayed it would not thaw on our trip back to Loki. We also brought up a turkey for one of the missionary families Joel delivers supplies to – a huge blessing. There are no turkeys to be found in this region, and very few chickens. Pork, and therefore ham is hard to come by and extremely expensive (and it just doesn’t taste like home).
To make Christmas cookies, we bring up frozen blocks of butter when we visit Nairobi. It’s a challenge to buy butter in Loki; sometimes it’s available in small quantities, but most of the time is unavailable. The temperature outside is topping 100 degrees F (38 degrees C) and getting hotter, so to have the oven on is an early morning endeavor (and LaReina does not necessarily love early morning endeavors, hence it’s two days before Christmas and it’s still not done).
Nairobi is very expensive to buy gifts, so we did the same as last year; we ordered gifts from Amazon and had them brought over by folks who were heading to Nairobi. Thank you to those who helped facilitate this! Another huge Blessing!
The Christmas tree lights are run on solar power, so we limit the time they’re on. We only have so many hours of sunlight to recharge the batteries and a lot of options to USE power, which means we need to consider and choose where the energy goes. Laundry trumps tree lights some days! We use city power for air-conditioning, so we want to be mindful of our use of city power beyond that. So far our balancing act has been working! Thank you again for those who helped with the solar project and enabled air-conditioning. Life in Loki would be very difficult without both.
It was a pleasant surprise to be greeted by our brother-in-law, Will when we arrived back in Loki from 3 weeks in Nairobi (we thought our schedules would have us miss each other). What a delightful gift! We only had a few minutes before both pilots needed to continue on their way, but the sweet moments with family warmed our hearts. God is so generous!
Every time we go into Loki for groceries (we live about ¼ mile out of town), the local children wave and come running to greet us. Most of the time it’s with outstretched hands hoping they will receive something. The Lord impressed on LaReina’s heart that the only way to change the perception of these self-named “Forgotten People” is to invite Him into their lives. Though many have looked past the Turkana people to assist the refugees of South Sudan, God has seen their need and never forgotten them. We will be joining with the Hurds and a Turkana friend to bring Jesus’ birthday party to the streets of Loki. The local women’s group (Akimorikin Agaberu Anatenoyek or ANA – meaning “A strong women” in Turkana) is making 100 Jesus bead bracelets that we will give out after sharing the Good News of Jesus’ birth. We will share carrot cake and pray that the seeds that are planted in their hearts will grow long after the cake no longer satisfies their hunger.
Joel has developed a wonderful relationship with our Saturday gardening crew and general help (Jasimbo, John and Jimmy). Jimmy (far right) has adopted us as Mother and Father, bringing 2 of his daughters to meet us, extending an invitation to his home, and offering 2 goats (Yes, we now have goats). Joel has been working with them developing work ethics, listening to life problems, offering guidance, and praising wise decisions. All the things that OUR Father provides for us. The trust and respect is opening the doors to deeper conversations. It’s amazing what God can do with fertile hearts…
Last year at this time, Joel (and AIM AIR) was busy evacuating missionaries from South Sudan as tensions were high. We were on alert this year, but so far all is peaceful. Praise God! We continue to pray that Jesus will heal tensions between the Nuer and Dinka people groups.
This has been another year of transition for our family. We feel the move to Lokichoggio has been a successful one. We recently spent 3 weeks in Nairobi packing up the last of our stuff that was there and attending our annual mission conference. We were also able to squeeze in a short family get-away to Lake Naivasha. But in the end we couldn’t wait to get back home to Loki. The kids and LaReina are adjusting well and enjoy the quiet pace of rural living. Joel on the other hand has been kept quite busy, which seems to suit him well. We all are looking forward to new opportunities to get involved more with the community in this coming year.
Joel, LaReina, Renee and Ian