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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grace: (n.) the free and unmerited favor of the Lord.

The Lord sure has His ways of extending his love and grace to us. Over the past week I have been blessed to see these ways more clearly. About a week ago I started coming down with a cough, which progressively worsened throughout the week. If you heard by voice you would think that I had been smoking a pack of cigarettes every 10 minutes…don’t worry, I can’t smoke that fast. Just kidding, I don’t smoke at all haha. Anyways, so as the weekend hit, my body decided it wasn’t happy with me and revolted anything I consumed. By the time Monday morning hit I figured it was about time that I go see a Dr. I ended up at Nairobi Hospital to be seen right away. Because of how early it was in the morning, the husband of a friend I met here drove me and waited with me until one of AIM’s Physician Assistants joined me through the process. After I bounced from line to line to get registered, I sat down in the waiting room waiting for a bed in the ER to open. As I was sitting there, Jim said he would like to pray for me and for the doctors who were about to see me. Prayer, duh! Others have been praying for me, but to be in prayer and to be prayed for in person was such a breath of fresh air. One of the things that Jim prayed for me specifically was for grace. I like the definition of grace above. The free and unmerited favor of the Lord. I was seen shortly after we prayed. After some blood tests and being seen by a doctor it was determined that I had an upper respiratory and bacterial infection in my stomach. I was given antibiotics and some medications to lower my fever. The PA that joined me was incredibly sweet and helped me get back home with some sprite to calm the nausea. During this time, I saw the Lord’s grace with me, not only with my health but the ways that he provided so much help from the AIM family here in Kenya. I received many text messages and phone calls from missionaries wanting to hear how I was feeling and letting me know they were praying for me. A few hours after I got home from the hospital and was able to rest, one of the missionaries I’ve gotten to know well sent over some homemade chicken noodle soup, crackers, and j-ello. The soup is MmmmmMMmm better than Campbell’s!

After resting last night I’m starting to feel better but still taking it slow. A few moments ago I went to the Duka (small African store) next door to my house. The owner, and my neighbor, Rose, asked me if I was feeling better than told me that I am looking much better. She then added, after I asked her for four bottles of Pineapple soda, “You are in love with Pineapple!” Haha…that’s the only drink that my stomach seems to be able to handle right now.

Although I’m not sure I would say that the sickness has been a huge blessing, I would, however, say that the lessons I’ve learned through it has been a huge blessing. I learned that no matter how much of a stranger I am to those here or they are to me, we are all still a family. I’ve only been living in Nairobi for a week and I already have people making me chicken noodle soup and calling me up to see if I’m feeling better. I even have a Kenyan neighbor who cares about my health…and recognizes my love for pineapple! ;) As I begin to settle my life in Kenya the Lord breaks me, challenges me, and encourages me in ways that produce refining in my heart and character. I’m thankful for these lessons. As I’ve said before, even if the graces from the Lord were not so evident as it has been recently, it does not make him less graceful…. it just means I might have to seek a little harder to see His grace.

Thank you to all you at home who were praying for me and continue praying that I feel better. Your emails and messages have been a comfort…its not always fun to be sick in another country.

Below is a picture of the ER room I was seen in!

JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!

I am excited that I have had my first Kenyan Hospital experience…I’m not sure what I was worried about, its just like an American Hospital…however I did get through to the ER much quicker than I would have in America! (Hannah, if you ever want a job in an ER in Kenya, I know one you can work at and its probably pretty similar to yours, as far as the type of people go ;) )

Friday, March 20, 2009

Started off as a visit to the market...ended up on a Safari!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Warning...very girlie post: I spent the day today decorating my room. One thing I didn't realize before contracting myself to this job was that there are NO paint rollers to be found here. right arm is pretty much dead now after painting from 7am-2pm with a single paintbrush. As I was painting I kept getting new ideas of what I wanted to do, which is why it took so long. Its amazing what a can of paint, paintbrush, and tons of painting tape can do! Except for a dresser and a possible chair, my bedroom is finished! :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fun little African finds.

Today, I ventured out with a friend. I definitely needed to get out of the house. My friend, Cathy, was going to this glass blowing factory called Kitengela. I hopped along for the ride. And quite the ride it was! It was seriously in the middle of nowhere. At one point, Cathy pointed out the window and said "Look at the horizon over there, its Nairobi!" I squinted my eyes and could just see trees, dirt, and dust. "No...look further!" And sure enough...we were FAR from Nairobi! We had left the city life behind and were driving through land that looked like a scene from the Lion King...minus the animation, of course. To further the point of how far out there we were, as I looked out my window, there were zebras, antelope, and baboons! I couldn't believe it...we weren't even in a safari park, but these animals were just roaming around! I was really hoping we wouldn't run into any wild hungry lions out there!

Ever since I moved into the house, I've been searching for cheap ways to decorate. One thing I was thinking of buying was some glass jars and somehow tying twine around the rim and hanging them up with flowers. Well, I walked into the bargain part of the glass store and looked above my head, and there they were. Flower vases with leather string tied around the rim to hold flowers! Even better than I was imagining! I practiced quite a lot of swahili with the glass blower to try to get the best price possible. I ended up with 8 of these hanging vases and he threw in one for free! I already cut flowers from my back yard and hung them all up on all the random nails in my house...amazingly there were 8 nails already in the downstairs wall which left one vase for above my kitchen sink!
(Aren't they beautiful?)

I was going to the grocery store yesterday and stopped by the market. I've been looking for a lamp shade for my ceiling light but hadn't found one thats caught my eye. In the market, I found this woman who makes these really sweet looking ceiling lamp shades. From what I understand, she dips twine into colored glue and wraps it around a balloon and leaves it to set and dry. Once dry, she pops the balloon and then you have a really cool looking lampshade! I found a blue one that totally completes my bedroom!

(More pictures of the house is on the way, but not till the house is finished)

The other African find that I wanted to share with you is kinda silly, but I thought it was fun. Check out their bananas! I put an egg next to the bunch just so you get an idea of the size. I laughed when I saw them because it seemed like even fruits are going for the smaller "100 calorie pack" sizes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Better than words can describe!

I am now in Nairobi...praise God! One of the blessings tonight, other than moving into my new house, was to have better internet! I was able to video chat with my dad and siblings. At one point I was even talking to EVERYONE in the family because my dad ended up calling my mom on the phone and putting it up to the speakers, haha. It was incredible because this was the very first time in 2 months that I got to see the faces of my family!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two days till I move into my first home ever!

Maureen recently moved in with my Kenyan family. She is the house-helper…and quite the language helper for me too! She is from up-country in a more rural village and came here looking for work to help save money for school loans someday. Her dream is to become a Swahili teacher for Muzungu’s like me, which works out perfectly for the two of us. I get to come home from my class and practice what I had just learned and she gets to practice correcting and encouraging me! When the two of us are not conversing, however, she has a list of responsibilities to complete each day. Maureen wakes up at 5:15am to start preparing breakfast so that Baba can have it before he leaves for work. Every morning she boils milk for our chai, walks to the store to buy bread, makes porridge for mama, and sets the table for the rest of us. Never have I woken up and there hasn’t been bread and chai on the table waiting for my hungry mouth. At this time of the morning (7:30am) she is already busy doing chores. She has to “mop” all he floor with a bucket and a rag which ends up just as dirty as before she mopped due to all the dust in the desert air. She also washes all of our laundry by hand. There are 9 of us in the house right now…and you can imagine how laundry piles up if it is not done on a daily basis. Maureen has an efficient system. She sets a bucket under the faucet and has to wait about 25 minutes as the dripping water fills up. She then soaks the clothes, scrubs with a bar of soap, rinses (somehow, still haven’t seen this step), then rings and rings and rings and rings the clothes… finishing up with placing them on the clothes line. I’m always so impressed with how clean she can get the dusty clothes I’ve been wearing for 2 months. Once I tried to wash my own…it wasn’t the same at ALL. After she is done with the clothes she then heads back to the kitchen and washes the dishes used from breakfast and puts away all the uneaten food. At this point, I’ve already left for language but I assume she finishes mopping all the floors before she starts to heat up lunch. I’ve never been around for lunch but I arrive home shortly after when she is washing the dishes from lunch. Around 2:00, Maureen begins the preparation for dinner. Our meals consist of (I have no idea to spell these so just imagine phonetically what they sound like) sukumo-wiki which is like chopped spinach with tons of salt and boiled, ugali which is corn meal boiled with water into a thick paste, and stew which has a thick chop of meat boiled with various chopped vegetables, salt, and oil. We don’t eat until 9:30 at night, but the meal requires the attentive eye and stirring of Maureen.

Tired just listening to all this girl has to do in her day? Get this….she is only 19 years old! I couldn’t believe it when she told me that. Her day seems exhausting! Once I found out how young she was and how far away she is from her family I stared making more of a point to talk with her throughout the day. Last week , while she was attending to the dinner, I went in the kitchen with her to teach her how to make tortillas! We had a fun time talking about our families in Swahili. Of course laughter filled the kitchen as we mixed the dough, rolled it, and placed them on a hot skillet. I told her how much I loved these tortillas…and they truly are amazing when made from scratch! She too enjoyed snacking on them as we continued. One mistake I did make, however, was making the tortillas in the first place. Ever since I initially made tortillas, ‘momma’ has wanted more ever since. I’ve made over 130 tortillas in just two weeks! Wowza. Good thing I found a rolling pin…the first time I made them it took me over 2.5 hours cause I had to try to flatten each tortilla with the palm of my hand.

This morning I woke up a little late, trying to catch up on some sleep that I had missed over the past couple of nights. I was the only one at the breakfast table and filled my cup up with chai. I was about to grab for the bread when I heard a ‘psst’ from the kitchen. I strained my neck and looked around the corner to see Maureen washing the dishes with a huge smile on her face. She was whispering “njoo” (‘come here’). I went into the kitchen and Maureen handed me a plate. The plate was covered with another plate to keep whatever was inside warm. I lifted the top plate and found two round flat pieces of warm dough. “Tortillas” she said with a smile. I smiled back and said thank you, thank you, thank you! It was so cute that she made me two tortillas on her own for me for breakfast. Most likely that meant that she woke up even earlier than normal to make these for me. When I got back to the table, I opened the plate again and got a closer look. These tortillas were dowsed in oil. I’m pretty sure had she not been watching me I could have wrung out each tortilla and filled a cup with oil. Another ‘gulp’ moment for me. I knew I had to eat these considering that she had made them for me and that she had stopped washing dishes to watch me eat them. “Mmmm, Maureen!” I said with a smile. “Nzuri sana…Anante!” (Very good…thank you!). My taste buds and stomach weren’t quite saying the same thing to me. Each bite seemed to squirt out more oil in my mouth. I finally took to swallowing huge portions until the ‘tortillas’ were gone and then chasing it all down with my cup of hot chai. Unfortunately all our filtered water ran out last night so I couldn’t even try to compensate for all that oil.
Despite all the oil, however, how sweet this action was. Out of Maureen’s busy day she wanted to show me that she had learned something from me. She put to practice what I had taught her just as I continually practice her language. One of AIM’s goals is to make me into a “Lifelong Learner.” This time spent in a Kenyan home has broken me most of my standers of living. I’ve been challenged with bathing with a milk can and a basin, washing my clothes by hand, making food from scratch, trying food I’ve never would have wished to try…but its all been great for me. I don’t say “broken” as a bad thing. I think the Lord knew how closely I held my comforts in Northern Virginia and too knew how hard it would be to break me of them. I’ve been humbled this month indeed. There have been times, like today with the ‘oil-tilla’ or the other day with the flies and larva that I would like to refuse what is placed before me and stick up my nose to say that it wasn’t what I eat, and no thank you. But that’s not what it is about to be a “lifelong learner.” Maureen’s actions today displayed what a “lifelong learner” is. She may not have nailed the tortilla recipe down, but she tried. I know that I didn’t learn everything about this culture in this one month but its been a continual learning experience…and I’ll continue to learn if I trust and try.

I can’t believe that I have only these two more days left with the Kenyan family. I think back on a month ago, talking with my parents on the phone and saying, “I’ll give it one week…JUST one week. I can’t do more than that because its just too hard for me to do it alone.” And yet, here I am…one month later and LOVING all that I was challenged with and learned. The confidence I’ve gained from each step of the way is priceless. I also laugh thinking of how slowly I unpacked my things. The first week I still was living out of my suitcase thinking that at any moment I would call the coordinating missionary to tell them that I need to move out cause its too ‘different.’ That second week I moved my clothes to a shelf but left everything in the trunk…just in case. Now, however, you would think I’ve been living here forever. I have one shelf dedicated to all my books, one to my clothes, the bottom shelf holds my flip flops, my scarves are hanging up, and my toiletries are in the bathroom. Its going to be a process to pack up in a few days. Hmm could this be foreshadowing of my time in Kenya? ;) So scared to make this my “home” for now…but if I just let the process of change and settling happen, I wonder how God will provide and humble me next? I wonder what different “shelves” he has in store for me to place my gifts and talents to start to build roots here? I wonder how hard it will be to collect and pack up once my time here is through? One thing is for sure…I’ll be learning along the way…learning for a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Social Manna

One thing I have been craving lately is fellowship with people my age. I've started missing my friends like crazy this past week and whenever someone asks me for prayer request my answer has been: friends. I've SO enjoyed getting to know other missionary families here and their kind friendships have meant the world to me...but hanging out with some American 20-somethings would be amazing.

I met my Swahili teacher today at a local coffee house. It was a great new environment to be able to converse with each other and to practice what I've been learning. I successfully ordered us some coffee, samosas, and a cold Sprite for Ireri. To my surprise, during our hour and a half at the coffeehouse, I was able to use minimal English! It didn't feel like a class, rather felt like hanging out with a friend but speaking about our lives completely in Swahili! At one point Ireri began to say that he teaches a class 26 American students my age before he meets me for my tutoring. My heart sank. It was that "so close yet so far" feeling. What I've been craving recently...fellowship with exactly those he teaches right before me. I SO wanted to say "Can I come to your class???" but instead waited and listened to what he had to say about his class. My ears perked up as he continued. I caught some words "phone...who?..."kate"" As I began to put the pieces of the language puzzle together I realized what he was saying. Yesterday I had to call him to confirm when we would be meeting. Apparently when I called he was in the middle of teaching these students. After we talked he hung up the phone and all the students were curious as to who he was talking to since he was speaking in English. He told them another American who has recently moved to Kenya alone. He concluded that they wanted to meet up with me but he wanted to ask me first if I would like to meet with them. "INDIO!" (yes)...haha not to sound TOO excited, but come on... another answer to a specific prayer...who wouldn't be excited??? I figured it would probably not come about but I did let him know that he could pass on my email if they ever asked again. As we concluded our lesson, I said goodbye to Ireri hoping that he would remember to pass on my email to the other Yanks. I remained seated in the coffee house and picked up my newest book. Within 5 mins I was already engrossed in it's pages, clueless of my surroundings. All of a sudden I looked up and saw Ireri again. Not just Ireri though, he had two others with him. Two other AMERICAN 20-somethings! "Uh Bibi Kate, I was about to leave and noticed two of my students outside!" With that Ireri left and they sat down to join me at my table. Brijal, Ryan, and I quickly introduced ourselves and laughed about how great it was to meet other Americans in Kenya. We agreed that while it has been AMAZING getting to know Kenya, her language, and her beautiful people...sometimes its great to converse with those from the 'Motherland.' It was indeed that moment, the Lord was providing me with my very own "social manna!" The guys told me that they are a part of a four-month study of the Kenyan culture and Swahili with 24 other students from around the world. Although they will be leaving in May they invited me to start hanging out with them and to further explore Nairobi. Exploring Nairobi is something I'm very excited about but never wanted to do it alone. AND to further my amazement, their own compound is just a few compounds away from my office. We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up next week with the whole group. I'm sure I will have some fun stories of our adventures together in the future. One things for sure...never underestimate the Lord. Even something as tiny as craving some social interaction is cared for by our Savior. Thank you to all who have been praying for this for me! :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

If you want to confuse a Kenyan...

Today, 'Momma' asked me to help her with her recent research paper. The help she needed was for me to research how to do a Turabian Citation. What the? Well as we are researching she noticed the picture on my background (the one up above). The picture was taken days before leaving for Africa. I was on my way to church and wanted to buy a few more tank tops so my sister (Megs on the left) and dear friend (Kate on the right) took me to Tysons corner to shop. We ended up at H&M and all happened to like the same shirt. Being silly, trying to mask sad emotions about being separated on my departure a few days later, we decided to do a photoshoot in the dressing room. Ok...back to the story. So 'Momma' asked "which is this?" She thought it was somehow a picture of me tripled! I can see her confusion since we are wearing the same shirt and have the same hair color and length. But it did crack me up. This broke yet another one of my stereotypes. Here I was thinking that all Africans tend to look the same to me (until I get to know them of course) but it seemed so foreign to me that she couldn't tell us apart...even with me sitting right in front of her! Pushing the idea of research aside, she kept asking me to point to each picture and say who is who. I finally realized it was a lost cause trying to say "This is me...and this is Kate." (?!?!?!) I enjoy conversations like this...we both laugh hysterically. She knows that I find humor in our confusions just as she finds humor in my confusions about learning the Kenyan culture!

OHHHHHHH and I feel like I need to inform you all of an update on the Brownie situation in Africa!!!

Today I tried my hand at baking brownies...from scratch. Yes, from scratch. I know back in America its hard to comprehend having enough time to sit and wait for brownies to bake...yet baking them from scratch? Inconceivable! Well, when you are in Africa and time isn't really an issue anymore you can indeed bake brownies from scratch. I got a recipe from a new friend here, Ruthanne. She has been such a great friend here to guide me in learning how to live in Africa as a single woman. She is now married but spent several years single in West Africa and can therefore sympathize with me not quite knowing the ropes. So I got this recipe from her recently and decided today was the day to practice my skills and see if I can beat the beloved, Betty Crocker. (Drummmmmm Rollllllllllllll, Please!) I brought the brownies in for tea time and set them before 'Momma.' I eyed her curiosity and waited nearby to see what she would say. I was afraid her response would be "what is this?" knowing that it was nothing like the brownies I had baked before....nothing like Betty Crocker. "Kate! These are too good!" "How do they compare to last time?" I asked. "Much better!" Ahhhh, take that Betty Crocker! And now I sit with the plate already half eaten by the family...and I only placed them on the table 15 mins ago! Let me tell you, these brownies are incredible! Seriously...So moist and chocolaty! (Don't worry Justin and Shannon...I'll bring you a batch to Mombasa when I come! ;) ) I thought I'd include the recipe if any of you all decide to venture out from the American time crunch and practice a little good 'old fashion 'from-scratch' baking! Who may never reach for Betty Crocker again!

"Better than Betty Crocker Brownies"

2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups baking cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
4 eggs
2/3 cups shortening/butter/or oil
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F (or 178 C).
Mix together and place in a greased 9x9 in pan. Bake until the batter seems solid when you shake....about 35-40 mins (might be more but that's what it seems to be in the oven here in Kenya). Enjoy! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beauty from Ashes

The lesson I learned today in Swahili class was priceless. No, I didn’t learn how to bargain prices on earrings or how to tell off a matatu conductor for charging too much. I learned a lesson of pain, redemption, strength, and faith.

My teacher, Ireri, and I sat ourselves down in an open classroom. Apparently the room had been used earlier in the day to teach English to Kenyans. Most of the words had been erased but the ones that remained were: Fasting, prayer, resurrection, and Jesus. I have never discussed religion with Ireri mostly because I assumed he was a Christian since he taught at the school but also because he rarely left room in our lessons to be personal. This morning, however, he exploded that opportunity to get personal. The only thing he said as he walked in was “do you fast?” Obviously he noticed the board. I started to answer in English eager for the conversation but he would have none of it. I figured that this was going to be a difficult conversation since I didn’t even know how to say, “fasting” in Swahili. As I continued as far as I could with the conversation in Swahili, he finally allowed us to speak in English. “What do you do when you fast?” he asked. “ Well, I normally don’t eat!” I couldn’t help my smart remark but then continued further. “I take the time as I fast throughout the day to pray.” Ireri shook his head at me. With disbelief he asked “you pray THROUGHOUT the day?” “Ummm, yes I do! When do you pray?” “Only at night and in the morning” he said and then asked me how I can pray throughout the day. Trying to give him a good example I smiled and said “Well, whenever I’m afraid on a matatu I just say in my head, “God, you got this one…Please keep me safe!” He laughed at the thought that I would just pray right then and there. I wasn’t quite laughing but my curiosity was struck. “Ireri, why don’t you pray but just at night and the morning?” His answer was short and to the point. “I don’t have time to pray other than those time.” “God has time to listen though, Ireri.” He agreed with me but I knew there was more to this conversation.

A week ago Ireri inquired to my friends and I if we could guess the ages of his children. He finally told us “Last year, my youngest was 7, now my youngest is 10.” I figured this sounded more like an African proverb than a huge reality of life. “Ireri, how is that possible? You can’t age 3 years in one year!” I said smartly with a little chuckle. My laughter soon died when I understood what he was saying. Last year had he lost his youngest child. He didn’t go into much detail and I didn’t push for more…until today.

Our conversation continued. “Ireri, how do you think loosing your child effected your faith?” I asked. “Ohhh, it strengthened it. You see, last year my child was diagnosed with cancer. We tried to get treatment but the cancer was too strong. Within three months time he passed away at the age of 7.” *gulp….I don’t know how I got through all this with just a few tears surfacing.* Ireri went on to tell me how this effected his entire life. He said that he was angry, confused, and sad but that he had to be strong for the rest of his family. His wife hadn’t handled it well, in fact she blamed everything for the cause of it…their marriage, the house, spirits. At one point she begged for a divorce so that another one of their children would not suffer. Ireri told me how he had to be so strong for both of their faiths. He had to constantly reassure her that God was in this and that it was not the work of evil. He told me how he had to walk her through each of her doubts about the cause of the death. He told me how he spent so much time searching and strengthening his faith as a result, “You see, I am not happy that my child died, but I can see now how God has turned his death into something good. I would not have the faith that I have today. My wife wouldn’t either. We miss our child but I am not angry about it.”

WOW. Seriously? How devastating that is to loose a child but be able to rejoice in the Lord because of it? Incredible, powerful….awesome. We once again rounded the conversation back to prayer. “Ireri, your faith and your testimony is powerful. It encouraged me, Asante Sana (thank you very much)! Just as God hears you during that hard times, he never leaves your side during the day either. He is with you not just at the morning and at night.” Smiling and laughing at the “silly” idea of praying throughout the day, he said “Yes, maybe I will try it sometime. Something like OH GOD!” “Haha, yeah, something like that, Ireri.”
I kept thinking about Ireri’s story after I left. I got home from class and laid down, closed my eyes and listened to my ipod. One of my favorite songs started playing. “Beloved” by Tenth Avenue North (If anyone is interested, its great!). The song is essentially a love song from Christ to us. It talks about Christ’s pursuit of us and how He loves us to the point of laying down his life so that we may live with him forever.

“Love of my life, look deep in my eyes. There you will find what you need. Give me your life, lust and the lies…the past you’re afraid I might see. You’ve been running away from me. You’re my beloved, lover I’m yours. Death shall not part us, It’s you I died for. For better or worse, forever we’ll be. Our Love it unites us, it binds you to me. It’s a mystery.”

Christ is always pursuing us. Even in the hard times where we don’t “feel” Him, He is right there. Christ wants us close to him in all aspects of our faith. He wants to hurt with us, He wants to rejoice with us. Ireri could easily have thrown his faith out the door when faced with the death of his child, but he held strong and allowed the Lord to pursue him and comfort him. Ireri’s story reminded me of the strength the Lord offers us. What a love that is for a Savior who’s throne is in heaven to come down to earth and sacrifice Himself so that we have the opportunity to live eternally with Him. The Lord has been teaching me TONS about rejoicing in Him. It’s a refining lesson and not always easy…but I’m learning! Submission to rejoice in ALL circumstances has been Christ’s theme for me these past few weeks. Even yesterday I laughed when I opened my devotional book finding the topic to be “Rejoicing Always.” Its becoming a habit to send a little wink up towards heaven when moments like that occur knowing how directly God is intertwined in every facet of my life. I love it when He shows himself through conversations, scripture, or words from a friend.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finally got ONE picture uploaded...only took 30 mins!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I was blessed to get a phone call from my parents yesterday. Sunday afternoons are usually our time to chat till the phone card runs out....and I'm normally in the middle of saying "Ok....I lov *click*(e and miss you) as the call gets cut off. Thirty minutes flies by but I'll take any amount of time to get to hear what is going on at home and share with them what the Lord is doing here. My parents were asking how my week has been going and I quickly filled them in on it..."Oh great, I had language classes but this time I had to ride all the way into Nairobi which took quite some time and I was a little nervous about getting lost........" As we chatted about the transportation and such my mom paused to tell me that a friend of mine from my home church had been waking up in the middle of the night with me on their mind. Not sure why I was on their mind they immediately would go to the Lord and pray for me knowing that if I were on their mind then maybe I needed prayer at that moment! Well middle of the night back in America tends to be afternoon here in Kenya. We started putting some pieces of the puzzle together and I sat amazed. Like I said, this week I had to take a different route of transportation through Nairobi. One of the days I was in a hurry and apparently boarded the wrong bus or the right bus...still not sure. Anyhow, mid journey the bus decided to take an abrupt that I had not anticipated. This was one of my worst fears....getting on the wrong bus and being brought to the middle of no where. I quickly slapped on my war paint and ran to the front of the bus reapeating to the driver "Mimosa stage, Mimosa stage? Apparently he saw the panic in my eyes but rather than helping me out he whistled to the driver to stop, handed me back part of my fair and rather politely kicked me off the bus. I was still miles away from my end destination. GREAT! I had thirty mins to find another bus, get down the road, get off, walk another 20 mins and make it to language on time. Like I said...panic mode! I think had I been with others I would have felt fine, but I was alone. This whole "alone" thing is new for me. I've always had an independent streak but that was voluntary....this,however, kinda goes with the whole "single misionary" package I'm learning how to deal with. I tightened my back pack and said my new "game ON" prayer... "Ok, God...just you and me...strength and courage!" I found another bus station not far from where I got kicked off. I now had ten shillins left. I stood at the bus station trying to look disinterested in the matatus hoping that a big bus would drive by. I didn't see one coming so I started negotiating prices with one of the matatu conductors. "20 bob." I only had ten. "20 bob!" "No thanks!" I said. He grabbed onto my backpack hoping that I wouldn't be able to find another matatu driver. Only thinking of where I needed to go, I hopped onto that matatu. Lesson #253 of that day: Don't get on a matatu of a conductor who grabs your back pack. After bumping my head on the ceiling bad enough to cause a headache I sat down thankful that I was no longer on the street. The matatu snailed down the road as the traffic got more congested. I kept glancing at my watch and watching the people walk by quicker than our wheels turned. I finally had a chance to look out the window to get my barrings. I knew where I was. I finally tapped the conductor to let me out so that I could walk. "I need to walk because I am late!" I forgot that I was talking to an African about time...time and Africa...those two concepts don't always mesh! I have a feelign the conductor didn't understand what I was saying because he just laughed and didn't budge to let me out. For ten more minutes I sat in the slow-moving, speaker-breaking, not-letting-me-out matatu. Finally I saw my stop and yelled "Mimosa!" so that there was NO confusion over the loud music. If he didn't understand me, the driver sure did! I got out and crossed traffic faster than I ever have here and BOOKED it to my lesson. It was great to see my friend's faces after that crazy ride! "Still a little early!" they said. I just laughed and said "after my transportation this morning I'm glad I even made it! I guess I walked faster than normal...must be my tenis shoes!"

All these things were a little unnerving I must admit. This was one of those moments where I felt like a little lost girl in the middle of a big store not being able to see over the clothes racks. Although I was praying its amazing to know that someone else had me on their heart to pray too! (You know who you are and I am so thankful for those prayers! ;) ) I realize it wasn't a horrific story (Thank the Lord for that) but I just felt so AMAZED when my mom told me that someone was praying for me when that was going on. How awesome is that? God didn't have to allow that detail to get back to me but He did! It encouraged me so much and reminded me of the support that I have back at home.

I may be a single missionary here, however, I am anything but alone. You all are as much apart of this mission and adventure as I am! Thanks for joining me! ;)