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Thursday, October 29, 2009


I don't know how it's slipped my mind to mention this, but can you guess whats happening in about 7 weeks?

Here are some clues....






Yep, "I Will Be Home For Christmas!"

I cannot tell you how EXCITED I am :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


What words come to mind when you hear the word...

famine ?

Perhaps, hunger, lacking, starving, poor, sad....? Does the word make you feel uncomfortable? Does it make your heart break or make you want to block it out of your mind and forget about it?

The dictionary defines it as "extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area." Well, that large geographical area happens to be Kenya right now. Due to the drought, lack of rains, and extreme dryness here, there is a famine. For a while, here in Nairobi we were on a water ration as well as electricity ration because... there were no rains. I thought we had it bad. Then, I went "upcountry" where they truly, truly know what the word famine means.

The Church that I attend here in Nairobi is led by a pastor who grew up in Kenya and has a huge heart for those suffering in this country. In church we have two offerings. One for our regular tithes, and one for those suffering from the Famine and lack of water.

Once a month my pastor leads a "Famine Relief Trip" upcountry to these places of suffering to allow our church family to see what it is like in other parts of the country and to be able to play a roll in helping those suffering by purchasing food (maize, rice, beans, flour...) and delivering it to churches in the areas hit hard by the drought and famine.

The drive was looooooooooooooong to get to these places. I think after 3 hours I had put my head down on the window and let my eyes wander outside at the passing people, cattle, acacia trees and such. And then, in the distance I spotted Kilimanjaro. That was about the point of the trip that I knew we were FAR from home. The landscape became very dry as we approached the town we would be visiting. Everything was covered in dust and dirt and you could tell by the lack of vegitation that rain has not been spotted in a very long time.

Things like this break my heart. Its so hard for me to understand God's will sometimes. How something that most take for grandted, rain, can just not come to a place that so deserperately needs. it. I do know, however, that God is God.... He has a plan and He loves these people.

And you know what the best thing about these people are? They KNOW that God loves them. WOW. They are in so much need and yet, on a Saturday, over a hundred showed up at the church to give thanks to us for bringing food and for praying for them. The joy on their faces can only come from God alone.

It's challeneged me to try that sometime. When I feel like I am in need or that God is not providing the way I think he should, to smile anyways. To be so in love with my Savior that I can't do anything but trust in Him for his provisions and to be joyful in all circumstances.

The trip was hard but necessary to visit these places so that I now have mental (and actual) pictures of what it is like to be in a place of real need, real famine, and real drought. Please continue to pray with me for those suffering from the drought and the famine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Desert.

I was a child when I realized my thirst. I remember the desert, and the void. I heard about a man who could quench that thirst forever. “How is that possible?” I wondered. I was a human, a sinner in need with a thirst that could not be satisfied by anything…anything on earth.
Then He came to me. I was sitting at the well under the heat of the sun, lost and in need of a savior. He asked me for a drink. I asked "why?". Then he spoke the words that would change my life forever.

“If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

My curiosity was peaked. “How?” I asked.

“Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

That night, I drank from the water He provides.

I was the woman at the well… and I often find myself there still. Not because the well has run dry, no, He promised that would never happen. I find myself there because I have neglected to drink from it.

If anyone would ask me “How has your time in Africa been?” I will return an honest answer. It is not easy. For those who have been joining me on my journey, you know. You know how many times I’ve been in a “desert” while out here. After the events of this summer I felt like I was plopped in the middle of a desert, mid day, no hat, no sunscreen, no water, no map. Not only did I want to get out of the desert but I wanted to fast.

I remember calling my dad up and asking him if I can just come home, end my time here early and leave. I didn’t want to be here and I especially didn’t want to learn any more life lessons. I had anticipated a warm welcome to come home. Anticipation and expectations are my downfall. He encouraged me to stay the course, stay committed, stay encouraged, but most of all stay in constant seek of the Lord.

That was the last thing I wanted to hear but after much prayer I knew it was true. Staying the course would be difficult and bring pain but I needed to. I continued to feel the heat of the desert. I knew the Lord was there but I continued to wander. I tried to quench my thirst with different things… advice from friends, different Christian books, and so on. It was like coming in from long summer run, needing a drink and instead of grabbing a refreshing glass of ice water, you are handed a glass of hot chocolate. It might taste amazing but it will never quench your thirst...

I left for my OFM trip still feeling the desert and ironically that’s exactly where we were heading…the desert of Northern Kenya. As you all know, I was TERRIFIED of the bugs, to say the least. I had already set a glimpse in my mind of what life would be like up there; constantly swatting flies, brushing off spiders, sleeping with cockroaches, and showering with scorpions. Ohhhh wait, that’s right, I DID shower with a scorpion…but that’s another story.

The first night in the desert I found out that there were two other young single missionary girls my age stationed where we were filming. They were great. We stayed up late chatting about life. We talked about our lives back in the states, those we left behind, the transition to coming here, and our lives now. It was exactly what I needed. Slowly I began to realize that God was providing. There were NO bugs in site but there were two girls that provided me with some much-needed community.

That night before I went to bed I opened up my bible. I turned to Psalm 107. This part of the Psalms has never stood out to me but I read and am forever glad that I did. These verses pertained to me so deeply. Read them with me…

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithfulness endures forever. “

“Some wandered in the desert, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety.”

“For he satisfies the thirsty.”

“He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry land…But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into flowing springs.”

It was as if could hear my soul crying to God with those same words, “Lord, help!” Once again, He and I were having that same conversation again and I was reminded… “Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.” It was as if a glass was being offered to me, pressed to my lips, and suddenly I was drinking. It wasn’t hot chocolate but the crisp fresh taste of clean, cold, refreshing water. And it was restoring.

The time in the literal desert continued to be incredible. Our team spent five days up in Korr and Karungu, Kenya (Apparently not even on a map). We took one of the 4 seater planes up there which was flown by one of my team members, Mike. We all have to do many different jobs on the team….thankfully flying a plane will never be a requirement for me. It was two hours after take off when we finally started to descend. In the middle of nowhere! Gotta love my job…. Not going to lie.

Our job was to film for our new documentary on nomadic people, take notes for articles, and snap as many pictures as we could in those 5 days…. Ok, maybe I took too many… oh well, that’s my passion!

The trip was rough for photography. With no cloud in site and a very bright sun above us mean harsh shadows, which just means a little more moving around to get a good shot.

We got to hang out with the Rendillie and Samburu tribes, drive through miles and miles of desert, walk on lava flow, chase dust devils, follow a huge herd of camels, and bask in the beauty found in the desert. I loved waking up in the mornings to the bright sun coming over the African desert, feeling the heat and the wind combine together as it swirled past me.

I loved getting a chance to sit inside one of the Rendillie houses and share a cup of warm goat chai with homemade mandazis…

Its ok, I too thought the sound of it was kind of unappetizing especially at the tail end of an extremely hot day of shooting…. but cool to experience it, none the less!

The children up there were so cute. They were so eager to have their pictures taken, to grab my hand, to have me twirl their little naked bodies in the air.

I just love how curious they are...

Whether it’s touching my skin to see if my white will come off onto their little black hands or touching my camera lens while I take their pictures. They are all precious.

One of my most memorable times in the desert was getting a chance to talk with the missionaries about their ministry. Whether in Korr or Karungu, they all had such amazing stories to share. Humility and their trust in the Lord graced their stories through and through. They have done great things with these tribes and I felt honored to sit and listen to these stories.

The Lord continued to provide during that week. He continued to remind me as we sat at the well together that he will always be there through the deserts and through the springs. I know, as I continue my walk with the Lord here in Africa and wherever else he leads, that He and I will have many chats by the well. He told me from the beginning that He has living water. I drank… but I’m also a stubborn human and often forget that water is more sustaining than hot chocolate will ever be.

"This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just thought you might want to know....

It's finally, really.... RAINING IN KENYA!

Thanks for all the prayers!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Living in Kenya is....

I'm still working on my post about my trip to Northern Kenya. In the mean time.... some friends have been asking what is it really like to live in Kenya... here's just a few examples.

Living in Kenya is...

When only having power twice during the workweek is completely normal.

When you think your grocery store is really expanding when they place ten jars of powerdered flavored creamer on their selves and sell it for $10. Watch out world.

When you can keep your cool having a bus drive at you head on and swerve back into their lane at the last second.

When a drought causes there to be no chicken breasts for sale at the store for a week.

When you start thinking in Swahili rather than English.

When a stranger stops you and asks you if they can pet your hair.

When it feels like Christmas the moment the clouds open up and rain pours down.

When the Internet Company decides to shut off your service without telling you except through email that you can’t check because you have no Internet.

When live lizards are a common natural wall decoration.

When buying 20 roses cost $2. Yes… $2.

When a rule from the video store is to eject your DVD directly after viewing due to frequent power outages.

When water from the tap is like poison and you avoid it like the plague.

When driving on the left side of the road and driving in the front right seat is completely normal and the other way around seems backwards.

When you live on a guarded compound in a house with bars on the windows, a steal door, and another door with two locks, plus a required “safe room” in your house. And it somehow gives you a sense of security.

When your car can drive through pot holes and other crazy places that people back home would call “undriveable”

When running out of water and having to ration is just everyday life.

When dinner conversations with friends consist of creepy insects, snakes, break-ins, war zones, indigestion, jungle illnesses…..

When you run on a treadmill with caution unsure of when the next power outage will hit causing an uncertainty of what THAT would do to you.

When you can order something off a menu from a restaurant by pointing at it to the waiter and having something completely different brought out to you.

When you are ok with the little bleach after-taste of fruit.

When you have to have your windows rolled up in traffic because people try to sell you anything from passport holders, air fresheners, and fruit to car jacks, news papers, and knives.

When packs of howling dogs keep you up at night.

When the man from the mosque starts praying out through the speakers that happen to be right outside your office window.

When the gas station is out of gas when you need a fill up.

When walking outside your gate after sunset is a big “no-no.”

When everyone you meet is somehow related to your president. “Did you know Obama is my cousin?” “Yes… yes I did.”

When your seasons are flip flopped from what you are used to. (To all those freezing right now, I’m sweating… but I sure do miss pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, apples, apple picking, apple pie and all the colors of autumn.)

When walking down the street can seem challenging due to a huge herd of Masai cows blocking your path.

When you think you couldn’t possibly drink another cup of tea.

When you don't think twice about the man walking next to you carrying an A-k47.

Living in Kenya is when you wake up everyday to the sound of birds singing in the trees, having the most beautiful blue skies, and enjoying a breeze to cool off the heat from the closeness of the sun. When you rejoice in rain. When you don’t check the weather predictions but let whatever comes your way, come. When you can drive twenty minutes and encounter a lion, zebra, giraffes, rhinos, and buffalo. It’s being intoxicated by the joy within Kenyans and captivated by their smiles.

Living in Kenya is hard and has its challenges, but it also reveals the raw, unaltered, undefiled beauty of our creator.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


They were tired, battered, and fleeing for their lives. The army was on their heels. Not only had they stood strong during the plagues, the persecution, and the whips of the slave drivers, but they were now being led by one man who seem to have brought so much pain with him.

Their leader stood with courage. He had been given orders and was carrying them to the best he knew how. He felt blind and unsure of his next move. He could hear the wave of whispers from the people in the crowd, “They are almost here… why, why did we follow this man? We’re about to be massacred. It would have been better if we had stayed.” Even so, their leader had yet to complete his mission, so he pressed on. As he and the crowd crest the hill their hearts sank as they saw what was before them. Surely they would now die.

“Let my people go.” Moses recalled his repeated request to Pharaoh. God commissioned Moses to do just that. Although such a task seemed impossible, God provided. It took perseverance and trust, but God followed through. Now His people were free and yet trapped between army and sea. The Israelites stared at Moses with angst in their eyes and fear in their hearts. He looked heavenward and approached the sea with passion. The army was advancing. So was the Lord. Moses raised his staff into the air and with great strength, struck the sea.

Time stood still. Egyptians and Israelites stopped at the very view before them. They were mystified. God was in the sea. They now understood. He too was in the plagues, in the death of the sons all throughout Egypt, in the cloud of dust by day and fire by night… and now their eyes were open to see that He too was in the water before them. He’s in everything. Moses claimed victory for the Lord and placed his sandaled foot onto the coral-ed sea floor. He was in the presence of the Lord. He turned around and welcomed the Israelites to join in on a great once in a lifetime adventure...

To walk with the Lord THROUGH the Red Sea.


When I approached the Red Sea, I didn’t quite get the same experience… although when my goal was snorkeling, I’m glad that the sea did not part. As the waves rocked me and I swam further out I couldn’t believe what I was doing. I was swimming in the very sea of miracles. There were so many amazing sites in the sea. Colorful coral, large and small fish, star fish, great depths… so many cool things to look at. I wonder what it was like the Israelites crossed that sea.

On the way to the Red sea, our plane soared over a range of rocky mountains. Ryan squinted his eyes and looked out the window and told me to look for a mountain top with a small white church on top. We finally found it and as I’m staring at it Ryan said “That’s Mount Sinai.” “Wait…… hold on…. WHAT???????” Mount Sinai….. the mountain that Moses met God. The mountain that the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The mountain right below me was THAT Mountain. Can I just pass out already??? Haha. I was in awe the entire time I was in Egypt.

My trip began with us going to the top of this mountain outside of Cairo to get a great view of how big the city was. It was HUGE. The view was spectacular. Only in the Middle East would you find huge mosques that take the cake and are the focal point in the skyline.

The sun setting over the city allowed for some sweet pictures… and so, of course I had to take tons. The place we were at was the home of an Egyptian Coptic Church within a cave of the mountain.

It was an awesome structure. Everywhere there were carvings of bible stories and scripture in Arabic.

The next day I got to spend two hours in the Egyptian museum. Unfortunately no camera’s were allowed inside the building so I can’t provide you pictures of the Rosetta stone, King Tut’s Mummy, and other fascinating items but they are there! It was kind of insane how the Museum is set up. I’m used to museums in the US where EVERYTHING is blocked off so you cannot touch. Guards are everywhere. One time I was at an art museum where my friend Ethan touched a piece of Art and got verbally beat up by the guard who had nothing better to do than protect that one piece of art. Now, however, priceless artifacts were just out in the open in Egypt. When I first got into the museum I was overwhelmed with all the tour guides speaking Arabic so I just went on my own. I found these sweet wooden carved coffins that at one point cased the Mummy of an Egyptian Pharaoh. So I look around and I touched it! I waited… and no guard was there to verbally beat me up! SAWEEEET! I was touching Mummy coffins and I didn’t feel a bit morbid. It was art, it was history, and I was getting a chance to encounter it all. I was touching the coffins that Egyptians long ago carefully carved out. Although it was a coffin, it was their art. Their chance to let out their creativity, to express to others the beauty they see in a single object. And it was beautiful. As you can see from my pictures, I’m obsessed with textures, color, and antiqued items so of course I spent a long time looking at everything.

The museum was so big that I probably only saw 60% of it within two hours. I was amazed with how many artifacts they were able to discover. Other than the beautiful carved coffins, my favorite part was the parchment writings in Ancient Egyptian. Each small icon painted on weathered cloth was beautiful. I tend to think anything is beautiful though…. Poor Ryan had to stop and wait for me to take all these random pictures of things such as these bricks that had Arabic written on them. I just thought it was beautiful.

We got to go to an Egyptian market that day too. Everything was beautiful! I got to buy a few Middle Eastern Looking candle lamps (glass), which amazingly made it back to Kenya without being broken!

That night we got to meet up with one of Ryan’s friends and have dinner on the Nile. Another one of the amazing biblical references on Egypt. Hello, baby Moses’s personal little river to royalty! It was a beautiful place. His friend was hilarious, he wanted to know American phrases so that he could say it to all his Egyptian friends. He, unfortunately liked to try them out on our waiter. So phrases like “Get lost” or “Scram” didn’t go over so well with our waiter. We tried to teach him context too… it was good for a good laugh though!

The next day Ryan and I headed out for the Pyramids! Before we left for them, however we had breakfast. We sat at a table and although there were tons of open tables, a Nigerian man decided to sit with us. We all shared some small talk and he found out that we were Americans. He looked at us in all seriousness and with a strong Nigerian accent and asked this question: “Are you Asian-Americans or Afro-Americans?” I seriously did not know what to say. I just looked at Ryan with my food just resting in my mouth. I knew if I swallowed I’d probably choke as I was already holding back my laughter. I mean really? As if we look Asian or African…and as if those two were the only options we could be.” Ryan just looked at the man and said, “Oh no, sir… we are just regular American.” Not sure what a regular-American is either but I guess since we weren’t the other two options that fit better. After breakfast though and as soon as Ryan and I got in the elevator, we died of laughter and have since referenced that question many times.!

Ok, back to the pyramids! I saw them from a distance and couldn’t believe it! The cool pyramids I saw in National Geographic and history books was now RIGHT in front of me! Ryan surprised me with a horseback ride through the pyramids! ☺

The one thing he didn’t know, though, was that I had never ridden a horse! Haha. Here’s how my first experience went down: I was pretty nervous but more nervous about my horse getting spooked by something and then galloping off into the desert with me on its back. As we were walking down the city streets to get to the sands of the desert, a car rounded the corner I too was rounding. He was driving really close to me and a little too aggressive. I thought for sure my horse was going to get spooked. My instant reaction was to do all possible to not have the car hit my horse. And my reaction was to kick my legs out so that the car would hit me and not my horse. Next thing I know, my foot hit something and the man’s side mirror was flying into the air and landed a few feet to my left. Ryan was in front of me and didn’t see it happen so I tried to do that yell/whisper thing to get his attention. “Ryan, Ryan….. I just kicked off that guy’s side mirror OFF and I think he’s pretty mad.” Sure enough, I turned around and the man had stopped his car and was getting out to retrieve his mirror. That should teach him to drive more carefully around horses and nervous tourists! ☺ His car was still there when we got back from our tour but thankfully there was on repercussions!

The pyramids were awesome! I stopped my horse constantly to take pictures. They were HUGE! I just kept saying “Oh my….. Oh my….” Then Ryan pointed out the Sphinx. ... WOW!

It was all amazing and beautiful. I snapped tons of pictures and just loved being there. With my brother. He was incredible…

totally fluent in Arabic. I would suggest hiring him if you ever want to tour Egypt. Best tour guide, and best translator! It never ceased to impress me. Hearing him speak really taught me that perseverance pays off. He’s been taking Arabic for about seven years now and now can speak it amazingly well! I felt privileged to hang out with him in Egypt where he could use this skill of his.

After the horse back ride, we walked around the pyramids for a few hours, touching them, taking sand from them, and just standing in awe. We got a horse carriage ride back down to the bottom of the LONG hill and ended our experience with PIZZA HUT!!!!!!! This pizza hut had the best view! Here’s a view from our window looking out at the pyramids could it get any better than that? Pizza and pyramids. I submit that it cannot.

We got invited to an anniversary party to one of the hottest lounges in Cairo and so we went. I got to meet up with an Egyptian millionaire, owner of the lounge, and the Paris Hilton male equivalent of Egypt. I had to laugh because I’m just a little missionary in Kenya and here are all these big-wigs. Life.

The next day we flew out to Dahab to spend some days at the Red sea. It was SOOOO relaxing. Our hotel room was right on the Red Sea and had a beautiful view. Nights were spent lounging at many of the town’s lounge restaurant where you sit at low tables and lounge on pillows. So relaxing!

I was sad to say goodbye to Ryan because it was sooooo fun! Thanks for everything, Ryan. You are the best older brother, EVER! ☺

My flight home was pretty eventful too! I happen to get the plane that held the Kenyan Golf Team, Cameroon’s Pro-Futbol team as well as Congo’s Pro-Futbol team. For a Red-eye flight, it was pretty rowdy!

And THAT, my friends is my trip to Cairo in a big nutshell.! I’ll be writing about my trip to the Kenyan desert as soon as I edit the photos!