Wednesday, November 17, 2010


As a missionary in Kenya it is customary and encouraged to hire house-help. Our house help is Shuke. She is the sweetest woman I have met here, and possibly anywhere. She understands more English than most, but if she doesn't understand she'll still smile, nod and probably laugh. She is known in the community for her honesty and generosity. We are leaving all our donations with her to give where it is most needed Two weeks ago she made chapatis for us, and I stayed to learn how! Actually, she taught me to make Anjera, Chapatis and Tortillas all at once! It was great spending so much time with her and sharing with eachother about our families. This was in some ways my goodbye to her. She had us over for lunch (on my birthday!) and gave us traditional Gabra cloth dresses as a goodbye present to us.
There were alot more events in the last week that all helped us to say goodbye. Here are some of those stories.
The youth put a party on, which mostly involved fingerfood chapatis, beef and spaghetti. The party was also a welcome back for the chairmen of the youth who had been gone to Secondary School. An odd thing about being the guest of hon.or -- they essentially serve you food and then leave you completely alone till the eating is done. Only then can mingling happen.
Another day we went up to David and BJ's camp in the Huri Hills. They are white nomads who own tons of camels, sheep and goats. They had a 2 day old camel calf that had a very protective mama that got right in Emma's face! We also slept outside under the stars right next to all the sleeping camels.
The very last night we walked around and said a few more formal goodbyes after playing a game of pingpong with Duub. I'm not sure Duub understood that it was our last day, but he really enjoys pingpong so I don't think it matters! Then we ran into the two pastor-friends we made, Stephen and Benard. They so graciously helped us with the last bit of painting the living room in our house. They didn't mind one bit becuase we paid them with cookies and swimming!

Now we are in Kabete waiting for conference to start on Friday. I believe there are even plans for a Thanksgiving party tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Miscellaneous Joy

We had prayer retreat in Kurungu last week. People from all over Northern Kenya came to it. It was very refreshing for me to take a step back from Kalacha and reflect on my time here and what God has been working in me personally as well. I have been able to come back with a renewed sense of ambition and purpose. Every day since has been filled with activity and ministry. Thanks to all who have been praying. We only have 2 weeks left in Kalacha and my biggest prayer request is that as we depart we show the love of Jesus as perfectly as we can, and that God gives them understanding about the shortness of our visit.

I've really taken to learning as much Gabbra as I can even though it is only 2 more weeks. I know all the greetings now, but I have to prepare myself before using them because it is still very complicated. The other day Asako was coming towards us and I prepared myself to greet him. He beat me to it though and said 'Hello'. Since I was prepared, I still said 'Bara ki'. He responded first in Swahili 'Nzuri' but then realized it was Gabra I said so he switched and said 'eh Bartu'. 3 languages in 3 seconds= Awesome!

I'm developing a Kenyan Accent. I apologize ahead of time to any and all whom I use it on when I return! I use it on Emma quite frequently now, and she 'tells me off' for it! Her accent and mine are both becoming quite obvious when we teach spelling to the children. Emma will say the word spattering with a lazy 'r' and the kids will spell 'spattaing' but then I will say it with a lazy 't' and they will spell 'spaddering'. Lately we'll let them choose which accent they'd rather listen to!

On Monday a fish lorie (truck) from Lake Turkana got stuck in the Chalbi Desert. It was in the clay layer of earth underneath the sand. Eddie went to free it and he was paid in fish! So we've had plenty of meat lately! The fish lorie was still stuck on Thursday though! It kept sinking deeper and deeper! The whole thing nearly spoiled on the desert! This is even more ironic because the Gabbra people do not eat fish. They think only sorcerors eat it! A few of the locals still smuggled it into town though!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Andersens!

Let me introduce you to the lovely children that we homeschool and care for.
Uriah is 8 and is the oldest. He's been nicknamed 'Dances with Chickens' He goes and checks the coop everyday for both eggs or chicks. It's a good thing too because there are about 13 chicks just in the time we've been here! But it's not just chickens: he LOVES birds! When we were still in Kijabe, all he could talk about was wanting to be here and go bird trapping! I told him I want to see every bird he traps. I also used the bird ID book they have to get him to actually enjoy drawing. (He hated it before!)

Ja-el is the oldest girl. She's 7. She doesn't mind getting dirty and what's even better Rachel doesn't care that she's dirty either. So at the swimming pool, with no hesitation, I did this to her! She loves to tell, read and write stories. I tried interrupting her reading to ask something and she was determined to keep reading, she stopped when she heard 'swimming' but still finished the chapter! She's a complete space cadet most of the time and is way fidgety. However her desire for learning is really fun to watch! Even Rachel says she's 'wierd smart'.

Acacia just turned 6. I'm sure she's named after the tree which is in the background of this picture. She loves to help with baby Ezra. Sometimes we call her 'mama-sita' but she gets real shy about it, as she does alot of things. She has a very tender heart, which I understand, so I work on that with her from time to time. But she's so adorable, its hard not to tease a little bit! She's a girly-girl and has enjoyed all the artistic endeavors I've taking them on. She's taken hundreds of pictures on both Emma's camera and mine for this very reason!

Miriam is 4. She's a silly goose! She named her feet! Kanza and Konzo. Ones a boy and one's a girl. Hilarious! She and I butted heads a bit at the beginning. I didn't let her cuteness let her get away with stuff. But lo and behold her opinion has changed! She was very proud to be able to count to 7 one day and I just so happened to be up to 7 in Swahili so we counted together! Funnier still is Eddie and Rachel then counted in Gabbra! We're all learning here!

Silas is 3. He's adorable!!! He's only three, but talks always in complete sentences. 'Can you do it Si?' ' I Can!' Rachel always says he's a grown man caught in a little persons body. This is kinda what she means:
I call him a squeaky toy, because it's a squeak when he says 'huh' (meaning uh-huh) Most of the time he's really quiet and just loves to watch what you're doing. One time I was sitting with him, and he grabbed my hand and put on this cheezy smile and said 'I'm holding your hand!' This kid's gonna be a heart breaker if he keeps that up!

Ezra's the baby! I love every chance I get to hold him. Rachel cheers when he spits up on anyone. He wants to stand up already! Salo, one of Rachels' house helps, sings to him in Gabbra. He bacame mezermized by my cards during a card game the other day. It looked like he was trying to play!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An adventure & notes from the 'quote book'

I have SOOOOO much to say! But since Emma has already said a few things I would only be repeating, I'll be directing you to her blog. She put in so many hilarious details, I really couldn't have said it better: And if that has not enticed you enough perhaps this photo will:

And yes, that would be a broken rear axle!

Now for some humor and pure randomness:

Because it is very modest here, I often say 'Ah! I'm exposing my knee!'

There is this thing called squash that is just a highly concentrated juice that you pour in the bottom of your glass and then mix with water. I can never remember what it is called when I'm in the middle of a sentence so I've just decided I'll call it 'Sploosh'. (from Holes) this irritates Emma to no end.

There is a surprising amount of things that still need translating even between Emma and myself. For example : 'It's 90 on my side, 30 on yours.' (talking about the thermometer)

Many of you know my awful reaction to finding out that I'm the universal donor blood type. Rachel made sure that Emma found out hers before heading up-country (to Kalacha) and she is the universal recipient! To which I concluded: 'Nurses like you, but bloodbanks like me'

The chickens are pets: 'When I get to Kalacha, I'm gonna hug a chicken!'

The desert is loved 'Yay!! the Chalbi!'

The pets are having babies. There are 8 chicks chirping next to me right now. One got stepped on by a very innocent 5 year old. It nearly died in my hands! I begged Rachel to take it from me before it did. (I was quite pathetic) and she wrapped in a cloth. It survived!

I've obtained hundreds of new words, even in English: I am now regularly calling dirty things 'manky' a flashlight is a 'torch' and chips are 'crisps'. I giggle every time I hear Emma say 'Oi!' or 'Bullocks' and I know the proper pronunciation for 'Worstershire Sauce' though I will probably continue in completely destroying the word.

When we were down country (Nairobi, Nanyuki) there was a way of having a heated shower using a device called a 'widowmaker' (yikes!)

Emma put it very well: 'Home is where you leave your shampoo in the shower' (We've only been able to do this the last 2.5 weeks)

A chick just walked across my keyboard.

Africa time seems to be stretched out more by the expatriates than the locals!

When I first saw the pool in Kalacha, I became a very noisy fan of Jesus and his blessings 'Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!'

From front to back: Silas, Miriam, Acacia

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prayers for Kalacha

Greetings from the church in Kalacha!

I want to tell you her story. Kalacha is in northern Kenya. Due to tribal wars, the British government did not allow missionaries in this part of Kenya until 1960 when they let the Catholics in. About 1966 is when the Protestants were allowed. In the past, both Catholics and Protestants have made the mistake of confusing evangelism with Westernizing a culture. Tryinug to avoid this mistake, the exact opposite was made by those first evangelizers to the Gabbra tribe. In Kalacha especially, they presented the gospel as only an addition to the Gabbra traditions. They had many who went to the Catholic church, but all continued the sacrifices and rituals of their past. When the Protestants came and tried to unveil the syncretism of their faith, no one accepted the 'hard road'. They didn't see why they had to either, considering the easy road the Catholics had offered. It took 18 years for the first believer to accept the gospel at all! And now, 44 years later, the church is small but growing. there are supposedly 70 believers in a community of 8,000. Yet all have refused to completely walk away from the traditions that surround them. Noone knows what will happen if they defy the authority of the Gabbra culture and refuse to attend or participate in the sorios (sacrifices). Pray for someone to see that there is nothing for Christians at these events (many are seeing and talking about that) but to also actually take a stand against them by not attending. I was told that a previous missionary worked hard with the youth to inspire this kind of strength, but what often happens is that they get married and have to do the sacrifices associated with that event and they give in to the tradition. I have a friend here who is going to get married in January. Pray specifically for her and her Christian husband to be brave and stand up for their beliefs. Her name is Fadhe.

The growth and strength of the church here is a great burden on my heart. I long to find a way to encourage the missionaries and to walk alongside them in this cause. After a few suggestions, I have been sobered to the fact that their is not much one can do but be faithful and to pray. Therefore, I am asking you to join me in these prayers. Only the Spirit can do the work of the Spirit. I am also sobered as I think back on my own life and how I have rarely had to take much of a stand for the Cross. What we ask of them is so much more than I have ever been asked. To put myself in their shoes is hard to imagine, but even then I find some sympathy knowing that I have never been asked to deny father, mother, brother or sister for the name of Jesus.
Please Pray! (I saw this little guy yesterday)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A little bit about everything

Everyday last week we read with 4 children at the Primary School: Eluid, Sarah, Salome, and Emanuel. I really enjoyed getting to know these kids and their stories. Most of them walk 2 hours just to get to school! And all of them know 3 languages! They speak and read the Bible in Kikuyu, but all of their schooling is in Kiswahili and English. I told them that even though they are struggling readers, due to their languages they are smarter than most people! It was a pleasure to encourage them. We even prayed together and Eluid prayed in Kikuyu which was so beautiful to hear aloud!

We went back to CURE on Monday. Emma and I have both really enjoyed this ministry. We bought balloons in Nairobi for them last Saturday and they all seemed to enjoy them!! 'Balooni, Balooni!' There was a particular child about 4 years old who was walking around on her knees (quite gracefully I might add) and needed to have an operation to remove her legs below the knee and replace them with prosthetics. The father was not understanding, I'm sure he'd never heard 'artificial' before. So Phoebe, who is the paid staff for the waiting room, had me illustrate what was needed to be done. Of course, the father was not ready to hear about the drastic measures needed to be taken. Phoebe and I prayed about his decision. His name is Stephen, if you would care to lift him up as well. He is beginning to know the Lord, but has not committed his life to Him yet, so please pray about that as well.

Emma and I also have extended our child care to another family who had their second last Tuesday. Daniel and Natalie Faris gave birth to an 8 lbs 8 oz boy named William (Liam) Paul Faris. We took turns sleeping next to their toddler during the nights they slept at the hospital. We also gave Daniel some relief in the afternoons as the nights were a bit unrestful. I'm sure that's an understatement.

Yesterday we went to a Masai Village. Samuel, a guard at RVA, offered to take us. On the way we saw a few baboons and some giraffe! Even though the giraffe were very far away, the fact that I saw some and wasn't even in a game park is amazing! Also we were driving through a few different villages and Samuel was greeting some of the other Masai. Next thing I know one of the Masai opens the door and asks me 'Can you squeeze?' I'm like... ok..... so I sit in the middle and let him in. Turns out he's seen me before, cuz he is another guard at RVA! I would have never recognized him in all his Masai apparel! We spent some time in the village but mostly Samuel and a guide named Daniel led us up to Mount Suswa to hike around in bat caves! So fun! We then ate lunch with Samuel and met some members of his family. It is very complicated, as his father has had 3 wives so Samuel doesn't know how many siblings he has. Also his brother who is in his 40's just took a wife who is about 17. She seemed joyful and was fitting in to the new community quite well. Emma was granted the opportunity to 'book' herself in for a marriage to Samuel's friend. I've been able to deter these sorts of requests quite well so far!

We are still in Kijabe. Our time here is continually getting longer. We are very anxious to go North and the Andersen family is even more so. For most of the kids, Kalacha is home and they miss it greatly. For us, we long to see the remote part of Kenya, to stop living out of suitcases, and to be in the place of our actual ministry. But our flexibility is exactly what Africa is testing us on and though I thought I was good in that area, I too have been stretched! Pray we go soon, and that our travels are safe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All in a day

Yesterday... I spent an hour an a half on skype with my favorite person, then three hours playing with kids in need of some joy before getting orthopedic correction (At CURE). This mostly involved legos, a balloon, bubble wrap (the universal toy, pictured at right) and some coloring time. This resulted in displaying my skills in the form of a crayon barbie doll drawing. Later, the lunch Rachel prepared was amazing as usual-spaghetti with sauce including chunks of zucchini. I'm eating well here! Follow that with 2 hours of spelling and math (we struggled then, but conquered today!) Then an hour and half at the primary school reading 3rd grade level English books with 6th grade Kiswahili speakers. On the way back we drop by the maket and get some great (English) muffins and a pineapple, eyeing and buying curios (crafts) as well! We return to our humble abode and have our evening 'tea' getting pleasantly interrupted by my chance to soothe an only slightly irritable newborn. I bump into Mama Chiku- owner of the self-named local renown restuarant- and learn her real name: Joyce. I also learned the meaning of Mama Chiku (mother of Chiku). This whole week she is catering about 120 Aids Relief workers at Kijabe Guest House (where we are staying). I retire to bed for reflection and prayer. Now that's a good day! Today was good too, we returned to the primary school and have continued our work with the 6th graders. And as I speak we are currently aiding another missionary family with childcare as the give birth to another. God has definitely placed us here to be used in many ways! All to His glory!