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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.
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!
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.
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
1 Year Anniversary!
We’ve hit our 1 year in Kenya point! Thank you for your faithful financial and prayer support. This year had its challenges, but it would have been much more difficult without a strong team standing with us.
A glimpse into the work we do…
We wanted to give you a quick update as to what is happening here in Kenya. Joel has been flying full time for the last 5 months. Most of his flying is in support of AIM missionaries in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. We also provide a number of flights for AIC (Africa Inland Church), SIM (Serving in Missions), SIL (Wycliffe Bible translators) along with a number of other Christian organizations working throughout East Africa.
This last trip was probably one of the most impactful for Joel. It was a 6 day trip taking the CEO of a mission organization along with 2 Kenyan pastors and an AIM missionary to revisit villages where last year they had distributed solar powered audio bibles in 7 different languages. The testimonies we heard were amazing. Almost all of the people in these small villages are illiterate, so to have the bible in audio format in their language has had an incredible impact. Most are also nomadic and move around in search of grazing areas. We were hearing stories how 5-8 families gather together every night to listen to the one audio bible they have for 4-6 hours until the battery dies. They then recharge it in the sun the next day and do it again. Every day. We also came across literacy classes of women being held under shade trees. They had been listening to the New Testament on the audio device and wanted more, so were learning to read. When we stopped by, they were reading Genesis for the first time. Such love for the Word. Oh, the things we take for granted!
The trip also took us close to the northeast border of Kenya where we met with over 20 pastors from that area working with people coming over the border. The testimonies of conversions because of these devices were amazing. The New Testament, in their own language, in audio format.
In all, we met with over 70 pastors gathering impact stories and developing strategies on how to get more devices into more hands. We covered 1000 miles in 6 days with meetings at each stop. Doing this in an airplane was incredibly efficient. It was a privilege to be part of it, seeing God using multiple ministries to reach so many.
This is just one of several similar trips Joel has participated in. God is moving in great ways.
Moving to Lokichogio
As a family, we are in the process of transitioning to northern Kenya. We knew we would not be in Nairobi long and feel God is leading us to Lokichogio where AIM AIR has a North Region base. We will operate 2 airplanes with 2 families mostly in and out of South Sudan and northern Uganda. With all the unrest in South Sudan this is a very strategic location for us to operate out of. It is still in Kenya but close enough to South Sudan and Uganda to be a very effective support to our missionaries and others operating in those areas. Lokichogio is a fairly small town, mostly built around the airport. The airport is a customs clearing port for traffic in and out of South Sudan. It is also the last stop on a dirt road into South Sudan.
We will live on a compound with the other pilot family; and although there is a house there for us, it requires quite a bit of work getting it livable again. AIM has been awesome, diligently partnering with us to get supplies and skilled workers from Nairobi to Loki. What a challenge! It’s a 3 day drive on some pretty rough roads. We are confident that this is where God wants us, and in His timing we will be there. A truck left Nairobi Wednesday of this week with a load of building supplies to repair the house. We optimistically anticipate an early September move.
Solar-power/ Vehicle Status
Thank you for praying about this! The solar-project has been fully funded and purchased! THANK YOU!
In other great news, we have sold our Subaru Forester to another missionary family and located a suitable vehicle for up north. We require a more rugged vehicle with 4 wheel drive and more ground clearance. The sale of our current vehicle gets us 1/3 of the way there. This is an urgent need as we will potentially be without a vehicle in 3 weeks’ time. One of the most frustrating things about Kenya is the cost of vehicles. The customs and import tax to get them here makes our cost astronomical. The price we have to pay for a 15-20 year old vehicle is obscene, but unavoidable. For security reasons, a reliable vehicle is a must on these roads.
Step 1: Pray (Most important Step)
Step 2: If you feel lead to contribute financially there are several options.
Option 1: Online with a Credit Card either one-time gift or regularly. Simply Click Here. This is a very secure online option.
Option 2: Mail a check directly to AIM made out to Africa Inland Missionwith a separate note stating that the gift is for Joel and LaReina King Vehicle Project.
Africa Inland Mission
Attn: Receipting Department
P.O. Box 3611
Peachtree City, GA 30269-7611
We are trusting the Lord completely in this…
He has provided abundantly for our financial, emotional, and spiritual needs this past year. Thank you for standing with us in this journey. Your prayer and financial support has brought us this far, and we know He has details for this next transition covered as well. Please pray for us, as this is a fairly urgent need to operate in this new assignment. We are excited for the opportunity to serve in Loki and are all moving with willing hearts. The rest we are leaving to God.
Thank you so much for all the support and prayers you have already directed our way. It is an honor to serve here in Africa in partnership with you. We will continue to rejoice in the victories for the Kingdom we have seen and those to come.
Moving to the Country
Our time in Nairobi is drawing to a close. Joel received his Kenyan Pilot’s license 3 weeks ago and has already accumulated close to 50 flight hours covering 1000s of miles of East Africa. The thing about following God in His plan for us is that He never disappoints. Being a part of moving God’s people and Word into these remote locations has been an honor and dream come true. Our eyes have been opened to the many ways God is working, but also to the great needs of the missionaries on the ground. Especially the areas in North Kenya and South Sudan.
Through a lot of prayer and conversation, we have accepted a request from AIM AIR to leave Nairobi and join the pilot-family currently serving in Lokichoggio. Loki (for short) is in the northwest corner of Kenya, 30 Km from the South Sudan border. It is a prime location for AIM AIR to serve the mission stations in this north region, including Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. While AIM has had a base in Loki for a while, it has struggled due to a lack of families willing to live there and support it, combined with not enough airplanes in the fleet to permanently base one there. By finishing the Cessna 206 project when we first got out here, AIM AIR now has three 206’s in the fleet and the ability to have a permanently based airplane there. We also have a third Cessna Caravan 208 coming at the end of this year which will also be based in Loki.
We are excited to see God’s hand working in this. Our first thought of Loki was “absolutely not!” Loki is extremely hot, remote, desert terrain. It is a 3 hour flight or a 3 day rough drive (the roads are an adventure in themselves) north of Nairobi. All the conveniences and comforts we have become accustomed to here in Nairobi are non-existent. Once again, God has laid an incredible peace in all our hearts (even the kids!) about His provision and protection over us. We feel excitement and the blessing of being a part of His plan unfolding. Through this whole journey, He has NEVER let us down. So we go with open hearts and open minds for what will be. Not our will, but His will be done.
We can’t do this without you.
Our first urgent need is a vehicle that can handle the road conditions (our Subaru Forester that served us well in Nairobi will be eaten by the potholes, mud holes and 12 inch ruts). A larger, 4 wheel drive, reliable vehicle is an absolute necessity to operate safely in these areas. We are budgeting $20,000 (in addition to the sale of the Subaru) for this vehicle. If you would like to contribute to this project you can do so online (click here) or contact us by email.
Our second need is a solar system. There is city electric that is privately owned, expensive, and operated at the whim of the owner. Last year it was shut off for 3 months due to disagreements within the town. The remote location also adds to the unpredictability. With the kids being home-schooled (fans will be essential on 100+ degree days) and Joel periodically away on flights, a reliable solar system providing electricity for the house will help maintain sanity on the home-front. We are budgeting $8,000. If you would like to contribute to this project you can do so online (click here) or contact us by email.
Our goal is to move “to the country” as soon as possible. Work is currently being done repairing our Loki house and preparing it for its new occupants. The house is on a compound with the other pilot family (they have kids Renee and Ian’s age and a cute baby that Renee loves!) We estimate July for move date.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support. God is on the move through these transient village and war-torn areas. It is a great honor to join those on the front lines bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to these areas so in need of His peace.
We also remain in prayer for the civil war in South Sudan and the unrest here in Nairobi. The bombing and shootings have been in the Somali Muslim sector of Nairobi, well removed from where we live, work, and go to school. All flights Joel or any AIM AIR pilot have into South Sudan are monitored closely for unstable activity on the ground. That being said, we appreciate prayer for discernment of events and continued safety for our family and fellow AIM families. Ultimately we trust our Lord and Savior and His call for us to be here.
Nothing Happens Without God Knowing About It!
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” …the Armor of God Eph 6:12
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” …Jesus speaking to the disciples in John 14:16
I got really sick yesterday. Violent vomiting, screaming headache, left eye pain that felt like a dagger was thrust in my eye…not fun. I was considering the wonderful mango I had just enjoyed and wondered maybe if I had eaten bad fruit. The enemy likes to work that way, doesn’t he? “Look over there! That’s your trouble right there…yep, that delicious mango that you love so much.”
I had prayed mid afternoon for God’s healing and against evil forces invading my body. I knew that to be my first course of action. But I wasn’t getting better.
By evening I was getting concerned. The AIM team is brimming with medical professionals and experienced Afrikaners, and it seemed maybe a virus moved into our little group through a function we had on Sunday. One friend who had come back to Nairobi from the village had to go the ER for hydration midway through her stint with the bug. Stuffing ice-chips in my mouth, I prayed my body wouldn’t become dehydrated. Again, the enemy’s voice whispered, “Keep your family away so they don’t get sick like you…”
Then my sweet Renee came in to show me what she had been working on.
I love this girl’s heart! As I continued in prayer, I was reminded that the origin seemed to have started from the remote village. I started to pray,
“One and only living God, creator of all and creator of me, I come to you. By the blood of Jesus and the power of His resurrection, I align myself as your adopted daughter in Your Kingdom. Evil curse from ….. (eliminated for privacy) you are forbidden to stay in my body, a holy temple of the Lord Jesus. You must leave now. All symptoms of neck and head pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and weakness must leave now in the name of Jesus. Father, heal me now from any and all damage that has been done to my body.”
Within 30 minutes it was all gone. I praise my Lord for providing the Spirit of truth. I thank my sweet daughter for speaking to my heart with her words. I thank my husband and countless others who prayed for me over the day, lessening my symptoms for a bit to think clearly.
You may think this a little out there, this power of prayer and aligning ourselves in the Kingdom of God. I can tell you this is the third time I have prayed specifically against a known curse (known because of the Spirit of truth), and the third time it has left when pleading to Jesus hasn’t helped. I think God wants us to examine His Word, discover the power He has provided TO US through Jesus’ name, and trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth. Truth not only for tangible direction in our lives, but also truth into the spiritual realm that we cannot see. Then He wants us to stand in His truth.
Today is a new day. The birds are singing outside, the kittens playing in the backyard, a gloriously sunny day. I feel blessed. I AM blessed. I’m a daughter of the King.
Why are we here?
Why are we here in East Africa? Why are we doing this? The process to get here has been long and at times very frustrating. All the prerequisites and hoops that have to be jumped to be ready to do the job we were sent to do. I have asked myself this question many times along the way. I have questioned the process and why all the different steps and training.
I am nearing the end of all the certification and training requirements to operate here in East Africa. Part of this is to do operational route checks to the different areas we operate and serve. I did one of these route checks this week and saw firsthand why I had to go through all the training and prerequisites. In the areas and conditions we fly this training is an absolute necessity to operate safely and efficiently.
Most importantly I saw and experienced why we are here. We are here to serve and bless those who are here serving and blessing and ministering to the people of East Africa. We are here to provide safe reliable transportation of people and supplies to the farthest reaches. We are here to encourage and fellowship with our fellow missionaries who are living and ministering in some of the most remote areas of this continent. These missionaries have answered God’s call to share the Gospel to the remotest areas of Africa. Hot, dry, dusty, barren locations in the middle of nowhere. But this is where a lot of African people live. This is their home and livelihood. This is where their ancestors have lived for decades. So this is where we go to share the great news and love of Jesus Christ.
There are mission stations scattered all over Northern Kenya, what we call the NFD (Northern Frontier District). Every 1 to 2 weeks we do a scheduled circuit of these AIM and other mission stations doing medical and evangelical ministries. These stations are a base for the missionaries who then travel and work in the surrounding areas. There are no paved roads out here. Most the roads are single track and most the time very rough and rutted. During the rainy season which can last for months, they are washed out and impassable. Travel to Nairobi is a multi-day adventure at best, if possible at all. So this NFD run is a life-line to these missionaries.
I wanted to share a glimpse into one of these NFD runs.
I arrived at the airport at 7 am to start preparing the airplane and cargo for departure. We knew from the day before that the airplane was going to need a repair before we could take it. It had come back late the day before with a failed vacuum pump. The maintenance crew here in Nairobi is fantastic at keeping this equipment in top shape. They had arrived earlier and were already in the process of replacing the pump so that the airplane would be ready for an 8:30 am departure.
Cargo out of Nairobi consisted of vehicle parts, a generator, medicine, medical supplies, groceries and 2 pails of chlorine. Most of these stations are in very dry areas with no means of growing fresh fruits or vegetables. They mostly live on rice, beans and flat bread, so any type of fresh produce is an amazing treat. The chlorine was for a swimming pool at one of the stations. This was one of the hottest locations we visited and that pool gets lots of use by the missionary kids and adults alike. There were no passengers on this first leg.
Our first stop was in Wamba to drop off a set of truck springs for a pastor’s Landrover. These roads are so rough the vehicles take a beating. The area had recently gotten a heavy rain and the airstrip had areas of standing water and mud on the approach end and middle. After a low pass we picked an area that was suitable to land, came around and landed. Our pastor was there waiting and extremely grateful for the delivery of his parts. We calculate very carefully every take off and plan abort points according to conditions. We had to take into consideration the standing water and mud for this takeoff. With a strong wind in our favor we easily made our calculated performance numbers and were on our way.
The next stop was to drop off the medical supplies and generator in Sedar and pick up 3 passengers and an infant. One of these passengers had been a missionary with AIM for a number of years and is now training pilots to come out. He is here with a short- term team and had spent several days in the bush. We were bringing him back to Nairobi. The other two and infant are missionaries with AIM and had been at a regional missions’ conference in Kurungu and were headed home to Karabara.
Karabara is 45 minutes north by air and up at 4400′. The runway is on the side of a hill with a pretty good up-slope and drop off on the approach end. The wind was whipping through there making the approach a little challenging. We dropped off our friends and their infant along with groceries we had brought from Nairobi. They are in a very remote area doing a fantastic job ministering to the people in the Hurri Hills area.
After careful calculation, we determined that with the winds as strong as they were, an uphill takeoff was our best option. We easily made our numbers on takeoff and were off to our next pick up with one passenger on board. This next stop was a short hop back down to the desert floor to Kalacha where we were picking up a passenger who had been working as a short term missionary helping out the station there in Kalacha. She was headed back to Nairobi to catch a commercial flight back home. We were also carrying some cargo and finances for the station. Yes, sometimes we are also the Wells Fargo non -armored money truck.
With 2 passengers back aboard we were headed to our last pick-up in Gatab. Gatab is a “special procedures” runway on a plateau. It sits at 5200’ with a drop off at both ends. Winds can be very strong here and they were. This airstrip requires additional special training and a check out by our chief pilot before operating here. Since this was my first time landing here, I did not make the landing but observed how to approach it. I will return at another date to get a full check out on this strip. In Gatab we picked up a young German couple who had been out here for several weeks working with missionaries from their home church in Germany. With our last 2 passengers on-board we headed back down to the desert floor and the shore of Lake Turkana. We were also bringing down fresh fruits and vegetables to the mission station which is a huge treat for these missionaries. It is hot and dry and almost impossible to grow anything.
With weight restrictions and the short runway coming out of Gatab, we had to be light on fuel in order to take-off. There are no gas stations or fuel trucks in these parts of Kenya but we do have fuel stored in several places with longer airstrips. We were only 10 minutes from one of those stashes of fuel. A quick stop to fuel and drop off the produce and we were on our final leg back to Nairobi.
Back across the vast desert plains, climbing in elevation to the Aberdare National Park full of forest elephants, past Mount Kenya and over the sprawling tea fields leading into Nairobi. It was a race against time to beat the 6:30 pm sunset, the limit for landing piston engine aircraft in Kenya. It’s much cooler up here in Nairobi. We sit at 5,500′ above sea level and really appreciate that cool air after spending a day down on the desert.
So again, why are we here? We are here to serve Christ. We are here to serve the Church of Africa. We are here to serve our fellow missionaries who have given up so much to reach the people of East Africa with the good news of Jesus Christ. We are here to serve those who serve. We are a life line to these servants in these remote areas. I came home hot, tired, satisfied, and reminded why God has us here.
I was hungry this morning. I really wanted eggs and toast. I knew that I had used the last of our eggs yesterday, and was planning on going to the duka this morning. I used my best Swahili to politely ask for the eggs and how much they would cost. Just an average day.
Eggs was not the reason I was called out this morning. I can reason that I didn’t go last night because it got too late. The truth is the lady I encountered there needed prayer. Burdens of health, family, fear-filled nightmares … her face said it all. As we prayed, I felt the heaviness lift. Our God was faithful once again. My sister whispered, “Bless you, my Friend. I looked for you. And here you came. I walked and walked, praying and praying. You finished it.”
There’s a gentle breeze outside my door. Once again, I’m amazed at our God. How his Holy Spirit, like the gentle breeze urges us onward. Uniting, breathing life into each of us, breathing life through us.
I’m not so hungry now. I’ve just had my morning manna.
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.