Monday, April 30, 2012


Life has been compared to a journey.  Sometimes we are on the flat, straight stretches and sometimes we are on curvy stretches.  Other times we are forced to chug straight uphill or even do switchbacks because the way is too steep.  There are times when the road is paved and we roll along smoothly.  Other times we hit rough patches and have to slow down and take our time to get through it.  There can even be times when we have to detour or stop because the way is impassable.  You name it and we can probably compare journeys to our lives.
the relatively good road into Lodwar town :)
This week I was in the highlands of Kenya and then I journeyed down to Nairobi on Wednesday.  The road was relatively smooth - except for a small section of about a mile that was so rippled that we had to slow way down.  It was mostly downhill, but there was also some climbing as we left one ridge, went to the valley and climbed back up the next ridge.

I will be here in Nairobi about a week.  I came to stock up on groceries and to spend a little time with friends.  I got to see a musical at the local high school.  That was a lot of fun.  I knew most of the songs and could quietly sing along.  When I leave, I will go back up into the highlands of Kenya (about 7500 feet) before I descend to the desert of Turkana (1100 feet).

As I am on this journey called 'life this year,' I am counting the gifts or blessings that God is giving to me each day.  I am not numbering them all.  That would take more space than this world has to offer.  Instead, I am trying to list at least three gifts a day that have particularly caught my attention.  Sometimes there is a theme for the day's gifts and sometimes I just list what I see.  So, sit back and enjoy the blessings I have seen this week!

377. The Harris family playing kickball in the empty Eldoret house living room.
"When faced with the unusual, rise to the challenge and be unusual yourself!" Lynn P. 4/12
378. Help from a friend of a friend to move several things today.
379. Friends willing to store things for a year for me while I am on home assignment/ furlough.
380. gifts fragile - my emotions today, my friends' hearts over a hard thing, my teapot and mugs that got stored today.
gifts of cloth, steel and wood
381. This Kanga/ lesso that has kept the sun off me when driving here for 16 years!  It is a little ragged, but still does the job.
it gets folded in half twice and the folded side gets rolled outside the window - that is why it is holed & ragged on the inner fold :)
382. My faithful truck called JJ2 (Jehovah Jireh) - the Lord provides.  It carried me to Nairobi today with no problems!
383. After sleeping for a week and a half on a mattress on the floor, a wooden bed frame and mattress to sleep on tonight!

384. A safe journey in JJ2 to Nairobi today and seeing the beautiful scenes of His creation on the way.
Gifts moving
385. Moving things from Mordens' flat to the back of my truck so I can take them home to Turkana.
386. Moving times of laughter and fun at the Sound of Music musical at Rosslyn Academy.

387. Movements of music beautiful to listen to as Cara plays in the orchestra.
388. Being moved to give thanks in all things - even the hard ones - and praising Him for His gifts.
Ugly Beautiful gifts
389. A friend's mom dying of breast cancer and yet bringing such glory to God in the process.
390. That same friend fighting breast cancer herself and yet serving and witnessing to the LIFE that is found in Jesus.
391. The faces of poverty and prosperity all around me today - all intermingled in Nairobi streets and yet smiles and cheerful greetings from all.
392. I finished entering a month's worth of receipts into my accounting system.
393. Dori is feeling better from a stomach virus.
394. A quiet day to work while staying with the Caziers.
395. gifts orange - the Bird of Paradise orange flowers on the table here and my beaded Masai keyring with orange in it that has been with me since I came in 1996.
a bit withered by the time I got the picture on Monday night.

gifts in dirt
396. Mud - dirt mixed with RAIN!  Rain is always worth giving thanks for here.

397. The dirt of Nairobi that grows so many beautiful plants.

398. A good time of worshipping in English and studying Ephesians 1:3-10.
a gift given, made and sacrificed
399. Time given by teammates to listen and pray with me over a long lunch.
400. A Tasty chicken pot pie made by Dori by candlelight because the power was out again.

401. The many sacrifices my supporters make so I can serve here in Kenya.  Thanks so much, Lord!
402. A beautiful sunset tonight.  It set the trees on fire!  I so wish my camera could have captured it.  I will hide it in my heart and memory instead - a true grace for the day!

Thanks for sharing my journey and my blessings!  Have a great week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sorting, packing, cleaning & counting

This week has been full of clearing out a house.  Our team has had a house in the highlands of Kenya for many years.  It served as a place to stop between Lodwar and Nairobi on the long drive.  We have decided that we no longer need this house as we are flying more and the team is getting so small.  So, I and my teammates have spent the week sorting through all the stuff.  We had a sale on Saturday and got rid of most of it.  It really is true that one man's junk is another man's treasure!  May you find a treasure in the counting of God's gifts and give thanks along with me!

gifts woven
351. Turkana baskets that I use for many things!

352. Hearts woven together in prayer for a friend.
353. Thankfulness woven throughout my day.
gifts inherited
354. My grandma's "mad money" change purse - orange & white fake mini pearls on the outside.
355. The Faith of my fathers (& mothers) generations back and handed down.
356. A love of the outdoors and God's wonderful creation handed down in my family.

357. Going shopping with Aidan (3) & Hannah Harris (2) - a new experience and I'm glad their Mom was along too!

358. Kids in the car cart playing after shopping :)

gifts square
359. 2 beds taken apart and in the sale room!
360. Having a "square" meal more than once a day when many around me don't have any.
361. Going around the inside of our square house many times today sorting and setting things out for the sale.
gifts stacked, stashed and stilled
362. Kitchen items all stacked for the sale.

363. Personal items stashed in a separate locked room for the sale.

364. Stilled finally at 9:30 pm with all the prices on items so now I can rest for an early morning tomorrow!
365. Sold - much of the furniture was sold today before the sale tomorrow!
gifts in Christ
366. Fellowship of believers who are all one in Christ.
367. Being able to meet other followers and servants at the sale today.
368. That he is the shepherd of this often wayward and confused sheep!
369. That almost everything sold at the sale today - the house is echoingly empty and that is a good thing!

370. For friends who invited me to dinner.
371. God's love which is so undeserved and yet close to my heart today.
372. Songs of praise and the ability to sing them with gusto - if not great pitch :).
gifts reflecting
373. Children reflecting their parents' teaching.
374. Me reflecting on God's love in Isaiah 42.
375. A book reflecting on God as our shepherd in Psalm 23.
376. A hard thanks - having to put our dog, Necklace, to sleep because she was sickly and we couldn't find a home for her.  Very sad and I don't even really like dogs, but I still cried!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Limbo and still counting

Do you sometimes come to a point where you feel like your in limbo?  What does that mean?  Limbo is an intermediate place or state.  It means you are in between one place or state of being and another.  It could also be a dance in which players pass under a pole bent over backwards.  The pole is lowered each time everyone has gone under.  They are in between the state of playing and being out as they pass under the bar.

I know some friends who have felt that way recently as they faced the prospect of falling victim to "downsizing" at their workplaces.  They don't know if the bar is going to drop and they find themselves out of work.  Others can feel that way Spiritually.  They don't know where they came from or where they are going.  They are in Limbo.

I have been feeling lately that I am in limbo.  I am not sure what God is doing or where he is leading.  That isn't too surprising really since God is God and I am just a human being!  I have felt this way before.  Have you?

Life has a way of throwing us curves that we don't expect.  Sometimes we roll with them and move on fairly quickly.  Other times, we spend in limbo until we can see the next steps and move on from that place to the next.  Right now a "curve" has been thrown and I don't know exactly what the next big steps are.  So, I will continue with the small steps that I know and wait on the big steps until more of the curve is revealed.  I know that this time of waiting is a gift, but sometimes it is a hard one to give thanks for because I am impatient and want to know now.  :).

So, while I wait I thank God for his faithfulness in the past and I keep counting the gifts He has given - even this one of limbo.  Just for your information, this past week I was in Turkana for part of it and then traveled to the highlands of Kenya on Saturday.  

3 gifts opened
326. I opened my eyes to a new day.
327. I opened a wash machine to get out my clean clothes.  So thankful for friends who let me use their machines since mine is broken and doesn't look like it can be fixed.
328. Opened my phone to a late bday message that brought a smile.
329. Thankful for some carpenters who gave me prices on furniture so we know what to charge for the furniture we want to sell in Eldoret.
3 gifts budding/ blooming
330. Palm nuts ? - it is a desert you know :)

331. Me - blooming where I'm planted and not wanting to be uprooted.
332. What I think will be a purple flower outside my door.

3 gifts worn
333. My dusty, trusty tennis shoes that keep the sand out from under my toes when I'm walking.

334. My hat keeps the hot equatorial sun off my head when I'm outside.
335. My faithful Timex Expedition watch that keeps on ticking on my wrist.

336. A hard thanks for those who have served here, but will leave.  Too many hellos followed quickly by goodbyes in this place!
337. gift found - usable trunks to take for packing up the Eldoret house.
338. Peanut butter chocolate bars made and shared - Yum!
339. A good talk with friends across "the pond."
3 gifts looking up
340. Cherangani Hills as I went up from Lodwar (1100 ft) to Eldoret (7500 ft).
341. Up the hills and out of the bad road - PTL!
342. Seeing the rain up the mountain and then getting to experience it. - so good for this desert dweller to see!
343. Luke rolling on his back & scratching it in such a funny repetitive way.
Luke, our Eldoret dog just resting before his next scratching session
344. A good day of rest and pondering His Word.
345. Hannah Harris asking to sit with me on my lap.  :)
346. The Harris family (minus Chad who is sick) fixing dinner together.
Hannah, Kara, Elias, and Aidan fixing egg sandwiches
Hard Eucharisteos (Thanks)
347. Packing up and closing out the house in Eldoret.
348. Thinking about teammates leaving.
349. Other teammates with family issues that may keep them from returning.
350. Being in limbo about where God is leading - but He is faithful and He is leading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What a week!

This past week was full of many things for which to give thanks.  If you haven't stopped by in a few days, check out my posts on the Turkana feast and messy room.  They were part of my thanks this past week.  I wanted to say more than just a short sentence or two about them.  I hope you all had a chance to reflect on and enjoy a celebration of Good Friday and Easter this past week.  What was true 2000 years ago is still true today.  Christ our Lord is risen and is alive today and because of that, we have eternal hope!  Reflecting on that was a big part of my thanks this week.  Enjoy the list!

300. Singing songs in English with friends - priceless!
301. Elias Harris riding his bike on his own today!

3 gifts surprisingly found
302. Dog vitamins found that I forgot I had.
303. Fried apple pies with chapati dough - surprisingly good even though I guessed on the recipe all the way through.

304. Some Easter egg wraps that I thought I had used.
3 gifts in His word
305. Psalms 25:10 "All paths of the Lord are mercy and truth for those who keep his covenant and testimonies."
306. Mark 10:50-52 - What a follower of Jesus does.
307. Isaiah 53:11 - His anguish makes it possible for me to be counted righteous!
gifts at 11 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm
308. 11 am - A fun party being prepared.

309. 2 pm - Being able to encourage some kids about their school grades.  1st term is over for them this year!  Now they get a month break.
310. 6 pm - Time spent just being present with the Harris family outside at play. :)
311. An unexpected gift of song and a basket during the party!

312. Jesus willingly allowed himself to be nailed to the cross for me and my sins.
313. Thanksgiving dinner complete with pumpkin pie at the Harrises with their workers - a great thing to do on Good Friday! 
314. Some free online books found :).
 3 gifts waited for
315. Waiting to hear from family on skype - I love technology!
316. Reflecting on this day of doubt and fear knowing the disciples only had to wait a short time before seeing him again - ALIVE.
317. Waiting for a wonderful celebration of my bday with the Harris family.  I even got to blow out candles.

3 gifts rising up
318. I rose from my bed to a new day this morning.
319. Singing "Christ Arose" at the same time with fb friends across the pond.
320. That Christ is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!!
321. My friend's poem about Jesus dancing and belly laughing early in the morning in his briefly occupied tomb.  It is short & fun - read it!
a gift hiding, held and heard
322. My cat, Chewy, hiding from all the kids in the house.
323. Holding Chewy so the kids could pet him before letting him hide.
324. I heard a beautiful bird singing today on my walk.
325. A fun party with the school kids.

Please be in prayer for my teammates, Gene and Melba Morden.  They are currently in the States trying to help with Gene's mother who is ill.  They have had to stay longer than expected.  Pray for her well-being and for their wisdom.  Thanks!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Messy Room

Do you have a messy /junk drawer?  I must confess that I don't have enough drawers, so I have a messy room.  It is the place where things go that I don't need right now.  They need to be put away, but I don't want to take the time to do that or I don't exactly know what to do with them, so they go into my messy room.

I am ashamed of this room.  If you came to visit - I would either hurriedly try to stuff everything into a closet or more likely, I would shut the door.  I don't want anyone to see how messy I am by seeing my messy room.  I feel guilty about the room and sometimes try to get it back under control, but it always seems to get messy again very quickly.

To be completely honest, my messy room spills out into other parts of my house.  Ask my closest friends and they will tell you I have piles of things in various places.  Since I live alone, it is easy for me to overlook them.  I usually know what is in them and when I need those things, I go to the correct pile.  Woe betide anyone who moves my pile or mixes them up!  No matter what I do, I can't seem to stop this habit of being messy and most of the time it doesn't really bother me because I just ignore it and don't think about it.

I also have a messy room in my life.  It isn't a physical place.  It is just part of me.  It is a place I don't want anyone to know about.  I'm ashamed of it.  I don't want anyone to see it and I feel guilty about it.  This room is hidden in the deepest most hidden part of me because I don't want it discovered.  I don't even want to know about it.  So, I ignore it and don't think about it.  It is still there though.  I think if we are honest, we all have this messy room in our lives.

We try to clean ourselves up and sweep away all the guilt, but it doesn't work.  It is still there full of the horrible, awful things we don't want anyone to know about.  Unlike my physical messy room in my house, I can't clean this room out.  It is full of my sin, my wrongs - those things that break relationship with other people, myself and with God.  I can try to remove one thing, but it keeps coming back.  I don't have the power to do it and I am too ashamed to ask anyone to help me.   Even if I did ask, they couldn't help me because they have their own messy rooms to worry about.

This day, though, celebrates something that is really good news for my messy room and for yours!  Today we remember the horrible death that Jesus died.  He died so that he could come into our messy rooms and clean them out for us.  We have no power to get rid of those wrongs, those sins.  He does.  He died so that those sins could be taken away - forever.  They will not be coming back!  We no longer have to be ashamed or carry our guilt around.  We just need to ask Jesus to forgive us and believe that he has the power to do it.  He does have that power!

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
   our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
   that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
   that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
   Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.
   We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong,
   on him, on him.

10Still, it's what God had in mind all along,
   to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
   so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
   And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.
 11-12Out of that terrible travail of soul,
   he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
   will make many "righteous ones,"
   as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-12

He took our mess.  He died for us.  He died for me.  His death speaks into the deepest part of me - the part I want to keep hidden.  He says, "I love you!  I love you so much that I have taken this mess from you and given you life and joy instead of shame, guilt and death."  That is really good news! 

Why did I write this?  Don't I already know it?  Yes, but.  But!  I need to hear it every day.  Every day I do something wrong and I need him to come and clean me up again.  You know what?  He loves me!  When I tell him in shame and sorrow what I have done, He forgives me.  He takes my mess and gives me his righteousness instead.  Every. Single. Day.

Thank you so much!  Jesus, you didn't have to die.  You were innocent.  You were righteous.  But.  But, you love me and everyone else in this world.  We all have messy rooms except you.  So, you died and took all our messy rooms on yourself so that we could have your righteousness.  Thank you, Jesus!  Thank you, Father for giving your one and only son!  Thank you Holy Spirit for speaking into my life and helping me to understand my mess and Jesus' gift - his death on the cross.  Thank you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Turkana feast & thoughts on this special night

Pictures of our Turkana feast.

Today I had a feast with my Turkana friends and workers.  The link above will take you to a photo album on facebook.  It would take me hours to upload all those pictures here.  I  have a few here that were not in that album instead.  We gathered together so they could help me celebrate my birthday a little early.  It was a lot of fun.  My friend and house helper, Paulina, cooked most of the meal with a little help (and interference) from me.  I wanted pictures of the whole cooking process.  She was good natured about it.

I did miss getting most of the cooking of the meat.  My guard, Moses Lobwel, cut up and cooked the beef rib meat that I had gotten in town.  I paid about $15 for 8 lbs of rib meat with the bones.  It was cooked in a big pot outside on a jiiko - a little charcoal cooker.  He fried onions and tomatoes first and then added the meat and maybe a little water so there would be some soup.  The sukuma wiki (greens like kale or swiss chard) cost about $1.25 for a full pot.  Both of these are seasoned with Royco.  This is a beef flavoring that is not spicy even though the package says it is.
onions & tomatoes cooking down before adding sukuma or meat
Just as I was about to invite everyone inside to eat, the kids came from school.  I knew the school would close the first term today.  I did not know that they would close early and send kids home at 12:30 without lunch.  So, I ended up sending most of the kids home and promised them a small feast on Monday.  Some of them stayed as their Mom, Paulina, wanted them to walk home with her.  So, they got to have a little of what was left.  There were not enough chapatis (Chah-Pah-tease) for them as I had only planned on 7 people.
my boneless meat
We feasted!  Six adults and four kids ate all that meat!  I cooked a little boneless meat for myself as I don't enjoy the bones, but I knew that they like the bones - to suck out the marrow.  I had a small bowl of sukuma left and a little of the meat I cooked for myself.  It will be a good lunch for tomorrow.
Lemon flavored cake and frosting
The really fun part was after the meal.  I served them a cake I had made and they all started singing.  It was a made up happy birthday song - in Turkana.  The tune kept changing until they found one they liked and then they sang it through full voiced several times.  It was wonderful and I'm sorry I had no way to record it.  Then Moses Longok (I have 3 men called Moses who work for me) gave me a basket as a gift.  Moses Kakalei gave me the flower he had worn in his shirt pocket.  It was so sweet!
gifts - these and the friendships!
Today was a very good day!  I will celebrate my birthday with teammates on the real day, but this was my fun gift to my workers and friends.  It was full of thankfulness and fun.  Just as I imagine the passover meal would have been like that Jesus celebrated with his family and friends for most of his life.  His last one is celebrated tonight throughout the Christian world.  This is the night he gave us the Lord's Supper.  Thank you, Jesus, that you took the common parts of a special meal and used them for us to remember your sacrifice on the cross.  Thank you for that sacrifice.  In the midst of happiness and joy and in the midst of sorrow and grief, may we always remember His sacrifice and the cost of our sin!

Pondering his gift this night and thinking of his ultimate gift tomorrow.  May you have a blessed weekend and celebrate His death and Resurrection! 

Monday, April 2, 2012


Footprints caught my attention way back in 1992.  I was in Turkana for a couple of weeks doing an internship.  Footprints are very evident in the sand here.  Eventually, that fascination would work its way into my thesis for my MDiv that was titled Footprints and Footnotes.

This past week I again noticed lots of footprints while out on my walks.  There were footprints of people, animals, bikes and other vehicles.  Footprints leave impressions of those who have passed by.  Any Turkana person can track a lost animal.  They just follow the footprints.  Some are really good and can tell you many things about the one who made the impression.  I even had one man who showed me where a snake went into a building and then where it came out and went away.  How he knew what direction that line was going in I will never know, but I never saw the snake in the building so I know he was right.
Duck footprints
This year I am trying to count the ways that the Lord has made an impression on my days.  He leaves footprints that point to Him all over the world and all over our days.  They are there for us to find if we but open our eyes to see.  Below are a few of the ways He impressed me each day this past week and left footprints for me to see Him.  I give thanks for these footprints of His.

3 gifts redeemed
278. An old tire holding down the top of a roof.
redeemed for a new use
279. A challenging walk and time to think on being redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
280. A cleaned out bookshelf and the start of "spring" cleaning.  Now room for new books! :)
redeemed for new books!
 281. Bright stars in the night sky.
282. A day of rest and planning for the week.
283. Refreshing late afternoon swim on a hot day - over 100* today.
284. A beautiful sunset.  Better to my eye than in my camera.

285. Ducks in the Turkana desert!

286. His promise that "He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world!" 1 Jn 4:4
287. Two year old Hannah Harris dressed herself in pink shorts, 1 tan sock, 1 black sock, bright red water shoes, no shirt and a pink purse slung across her chest.  Brought a smile when I saw her.
3 gifts uncovered
288. Dirty feet and socks when I took my shoes off after my walk.  The dust here is very fine and even gets into tennis shoes that are well sealed.
289. Unknowingly uncovered Longok's thankfulness to an answered prayer when I gave him a hat.  
290. My electrical fuse box uncovered and restored after Monday's burning and temporary fix.
a gift heard, held and hoped for
291. A small yellow sunbird singing in the tree.
292. Ichwa's smile and laughter as he plays with bubbles held in my heart.
293. A "well done, good and faithful daughter." hoped for from Him!
294. Rain! Thankfully no one was around to take my picture doing the happy dance :).

295. The distinctive fragrance of Turkana rain. 
296. Enjoying the sound of light rain on the Harrises tin roof while the kids play outside in the rain.

3 gifts white
297. Though my sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow!
a completely unknown experience in this desert that I now live in!
298. Kids playing with a ball of foam and white plastic.

299. My white home.  

Every living being on this earth leaves footprints of its passing.  Even a few non-living things like bikes and vehicles.  Do you think about the impression you are leaving?  I want my footprints to make an impression of one who followed the Lord.  What impression do you want to leave?