Tuesday, May 29, 2012

His mercy endures forever!

No matter what is going on in our lives, we need to remember to give thanks for our blessings.  God's mercy does endure forever, but sometimes we are so caught up in our problems or just the everydayness of our lives that we forget.  I am counting the blessings of the Lord each day and sharing a few of them with you here.  This is to help me to remember each day that I can see Lord's mercy!

I have made a major climate shift this week.  I was in the desert of Turkana in the early part of the week and then I traveled to Nairobi and Arusha, Tanzania in the latter part of the week.  It is brown but getting a little green in Turkana, but it is very green and lush here.  It was hot and humid (because we got rain!) in Turkana, but here it has been chilly.  I had to borrow a long sleeved shirt because I am shivering!  It is probably in the low 70's here, but it feels much colder to me since I have gotten used to close to 100.  I am not complaining!  I like the cold, so I am extra thankful for this small blessing.  Any changes where you are that you are thankful for?  I'd love to hear them.

473. The delight of little people in everything around them.
gifts that made me laugh
474. The antics of my neighbors children as they circled my house.
475. My friend sharing a funny story.
476. I laughed at myself as I tried to get organized for a trip and packing but was trying to do too many things at once.
gifts found in community
477. Wonderful fellowship around the table with a visiting group.
Lifebridge group
478. Being prayed for and praying with that group.
479. Finding more toothpaste and getting real medicine for my Nairobi fly burn.  Thanks to Eric and one of the group members for helping me!!
chemical burn from an insect! Itchy and some pain.
gift in a plate, a pot and a package
480. Dinner on a plate tonight at a guesthouse.  It was very good and I didn't have to cook it.
481. That God uses this cracked Pot(tenger) and sometimes lets me see a little of what he is doing in the process.
482. I had time to shop this afternoon to get a package to take to Arusha even though my plane from Lodwar was delayed two hours.
483. A beautiful, green place to visit - I made it to Tanzania!

484. A good visit with the Prices.  Nice to see them :).
485. A wonderful time of catching up with Wendy and seeing her home.
486. Shopping in Arusha - fun and different from Nairobi.
487. I found material for some fun clothes to have made.
488. Paneer Samosas - very yummy and not too spicy!
489. Dinner at an autobody shop.  Great grilled chicken and naans (Indian flat bread).
The vehicles are serviced on the street or in the grated area
490. A very fun night with fellow missionaries (Woods & Wendy).  A chance encounter with a banker from S. Africa wondering who we work for as missionaries and how our selling was going :).  A chance to explain what we really do.
491. I saw Mount Kilimanjaro up close and even saw the top before the clouds closed in again and covered it.
just under 20,000 feet tall
492. Beautiful scenery on the way to church.  Whole fields of morning glories (?) - so pretty.

4 gifts found in Church
493. Praising the Lord with Maasai Christians.
494. Their generosity in giving visitors gifts (a beautiful beaded cross) and a meal even though life is very hard for them. 

495. The bright smiles of welcome from them all as we greeted each other.

496. Being privileged to pray over/ with many women at the close of church.
497. A warm cup of chai on a cold morning. 
498. A lovely place to stay - at the Richmonds' home.
side yard view from the house
499. Hearing the mourning doves outside this morning and being able to get a close picture.
It is looking backwards.

There are a few of the enduring mercies of God that I have seen this week.  I will be in Tanzania the rest of this week.  Wendy is teaching and I am observing the classes and the way the training of church planters takes place at this CMF site.  I am also taking time to just soak up the lush greenness around here and the goodness of the Lord.  I hope you all have a great week.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finishing Beginning English

Sorry for the delay in this post!  Last week I finished my beginning English class with my Turkana students.  It was designed to be a fun week and yet a week that would encourage them.  So, here is a little of what we did.
Simon Lobei's big smile
We started off the week going over the homework I had assigned them in March.  They read the storybooks to the class.  I sent these home with them to practice speaking and reading English.  One of the stories was about a shepherd who needed a new cloak.  I was so excited that I could improvise and make a great learning experience when I saw the book.  So, I took my students to a local workshop that has a spinning wheel and loom.  The lady who oversees the shop explained the whole process to them - in English and Swahili.  So, they got practice understanding English and got to see some of the handcraft things that Turkana folks in town are doing.  This was a fun field trip for my students who are shepherds of animals and people!  I wish I had thought to take my camera, but since I didn't you will have to imagine it.
Michael Lopunga
We also watched three movies this week.  First we watched the whole movie that we have been going through slowly this past year.  This time the narrators had African English accents.  So, it was interesting for them to hear several different accents than what they had heard all year.  The lessons have British, American and Australian accents.  This movie we watched straight through since they were already familiar with the story and the words.
Paul Edoket
Next we watched "The Passion."  It of course is not in English but Aramaic.  There are English subtitles.  So, we spent about four and a half hours watching the movie in pauses while we read the subtitles.  That afternoon we had a great discussion about the movie and how it portrayed what Jesus did for us.
Paulo Lopongo laughing with all of us.
We watched "Faith Like Potatoes" next.  We also watched this one in pauses and stopped to read the subtitles.  They would have gotten the gist of the movie without stopping, but I wanted to make sure they were getting the English and not just following the pictures.  This movie brought a lot of discussion afterwards as well.  We had to delay the second half of the movie because there was no power at my house.  So, we did a review of past, present and future tenses and learned a song for the next day.  We got to watch the second half after lunch and it was a good thing that we were reading the subtitles as it poured down RAIN.  It was so hard that we couldn't hear very well over the noise of rain on the tin roof.
Peter Losuru
Michael Ekamais
On Friday, we discussed the movie and then got ready for our little promotion exercises.  We had some visitors from Lifebridge Christian Church who came to help us celebrate.  My students and the visitors sang the song we learned the day before.  I then handed out certificates to seven men who faithfully finished the Beginning English class.  Two men received certificates for attending but not finishing as they did not attend enough.  One of those men will pick his up next week because he was unable to be there for our final class.  After presenting these certificates we had a party complete with cake and punch.  It was a fun way to acknowledge their hard work.  Thanks to my visitors who took these pictures for me!
John Moru
I gave each of these students some books to use to practice on vocabulary and grammar while I am on furlough.  I encouraged them to keep working at English or they will forget it.  We also talked about what my next term might look like and what they would like to see for a "next" class.  I closed out the class by praying with and for these men.  They are the leaders of their churches.  They are the ones who are trying to communicate with the other CCC churches in Kenya.  Please keep them in your prayers as well.
Philip Lorot

Monday, May 21, 2012

Busy weeks but still counting!

Last week was a busy week.  It was the final English class before I leave for furlough.  I was going to post my gifts from the week before on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I got distracted and never got it done.  So, this week I will post for May 8-14 & 15-21.  There aren't as many pictures for the second week as I was busy teaching.  So, here goes.

427. Thanks so much for Paulina who helps me in my house!  She made greens and ugali for lunch.
428. No liquid milk in town - but I found powdered for my workers' chai.

429. The power came back after 5 hours without it.  So thankful to have a fan in the afternoon.
430. Hugs with the kids this afternoon.  Shy giggles when called from hiding by my boys and big smiles when given a fun hug.
431. Harrises arrived safely by plane and road.
432. My cake/ praline experiment worked :).

433. gifts in the dark -chirping frogs and a multitude of stars.
gifts outside, inside upside down
434. Walking "my" kids part way home today.

435. These girls - giggling and talking to me on my way home from my walk.

436. Inside - I got my "down country" clothes sorted.  Now to find places for these warm clothes in my desert home.
437. Upside down - Chewy, when held upside down in my arms, will stretch out his neck and look all around.  I guess he is seeing the world from a different perspective (& inviting neck pets too).
3 gifts about my parents

438. They have stayed committed to each other through good and bad for almost 50 years.  I'm looking forward to a great 50th celebration with them in Jan. 2013!
439. They are my biggest fans.
440. They have sacrificed so much for my brother and me.
441. Good to see Ikai and Nancy's smiles today as they visited from boarding school.
442. A nice long walk with many greetings and smiles along the way.
443. Oatmeal Scotchies made with butterscotch chips I have saved for a year and a half in my freezer.  Yum!

3 gifts from my Mother

444. Thanks for her many sacrifices for me over the years because of her great love.
445. She taught me the fine art of hospitality.  I have enjoyed using this gift often over the years.
446. She showed me what it means to forgive and keep loving.
447. Rain! - spitting at first and then a small down pour.

448. Time to listen to some good preaching and prepare for visitors.
a gift picked up, put away and put back
449. I picked Joshua up at the airport.  He is going to give a gift of teaching to our students.
450. I put away books for "my" kids today in a new cabinet.
451. I put my walking stick back in its place after a nice walk with Joshua this afternoon.
452. My students read their stories very well today in class.
453. We saw some Turkana men dressed up for a wedding on our way to watch a movie for class.
454. My students and I were given a tour of a Turkana hand craft place in town.  My shepherd students learned about looms and weaving.
3 gifts found in His Word
455. Ps 34:4-5 He answers those who seek him.
456. John 10 - What a wonderful shepherd who laid down His life for me!  Seen in this verse and in watching the movie "The Passion" with my class today.
457. Isaiah 64:4 - He acts on behalf of those who wait on Him.
458.  The power was out when I wanted to finish the movie for class, but I was able to improvise and teach my class a song and do some grammar review instead.
459. The power came back, so we were able to finish the movie "Faith Like Potatoes" in the afternoon.
460. A downpour of rain during the movie!  A good thing we were reading the subtitles anyway! :)
461. A great discussion today in class about faith.
462. My students finished Beginning English today!  Certificates and a party were involved :)

463. Turkana people hardly ever say thank you.  They don't even have a word for it in their language.  Two of my students at different times today thanked me for my years here in Turkana.  What a blessing!!
464. A good dinner prepared in a rush for visitors.  The conversation at the table was worth the rush!
3 gifts from your childhood
465. Camping all over the 48 contiguous States with my family.
466. Backpacking around the Maroon Bells with my Dad and brother.
467. Learning the Jesus loves me at an early age!
 a gift sweet, sour & salty
468. Sweet - Hearing songs of praise in the Turkana language this morning.
469. Sour - Deciding that this rash is really Nairobi fly blisters - ouch & itchy!
fuzzy but you can see it I think - hard to take a picture of your right arm when you are right handed :)
470. Salty - Leftover seafood lasagna from dinner last night - I didn't have to cook again :).
471. My "minty fresh" smelling arm.  Toothpaste helps the Nairobi fly rash not be so itchy.  I still want to scratch it, but it does help and the smell is nice :).
a mirror helps - why didn't I think of that for the last one?  :)
472. I got a bag packed for the visitors to take to America for me.  Thankful that they are willing to help me with this!

Sorry this is so long this week - I had to make up for missing last week.  I will post about the class tomorrow!

Monday, May 7, 2012


After being away for several weeks, my journeying has brought me home.  It is so nice to be able to sleep in my own bed and see all my Turkana friends!  I will be home for a couple of weeks before I take another trip.  I am looking forward to a final English class for this term next week.  I will also have a visitor staying with me who will teach Church History at our Turkana Bible Training Institute at the same time.  There will be a group visiting from Lifebridge CC in Longmont, CO. that week too.  So, it could be a busy time.

Until then, I am busy preparing my lesson for class and doing some unpacking and packing.  I brought a truck load of things from the house we closed down in Eldoret.  So, I am unpacking that stuff and deciding what needs to be packed to take on furlough and what should stay here.  Then I have to find places for the things that need to stay here since we have had an Eldoret house since I came to Kenya in 1996.  Those things were always there - so now I must find where they should go here :).

In the midst of all my travels, I have continued to count the blessings of the Lord.  This helps me to be thankful and joyful each day.  It also makes the hard days seem a little less difficult, since I can see that I am blessed beyond measure!  I hope you enjoy my list.

3 gifts tasted
403. Chicken Caesar salad at one of my favorite restaurants in Nairobi.  Greens are available in Nairobi - YUM!
404. Iced tea to quench the high altitude thirst.

405. Homemade pizza at the Caziers' house tonight.
3 gifts flat
406. My computer screen that connects me to the world.

407. The nicely paved road that I drove on from Nairobi to Eldoret today.
408. A round table that I ate dinner on with my friends, the Edapals.
3 gifts found in difficult people
409. The opportunity for a new friend to stand firm in the face of an abusive official.
410. The chance to pray for her strength for another meeting tomorrow and for the official.
411. A chance to examine my own life when dealing with such people.
gifts before 9 am
412. A chance to sleep in a little before packing up my truck.
413. The power was off and then came back quickly - a good reminder to be thankful for what I normally take for granted!
414. The beautiful birdsong and bright sun this morning and no rain until after I had my truck packed!
a sign, a smile and a snack
415. New kelly greens in Turkana - a sign that there was rain here while I was gone.

416. This sign - telling me I was home!
Yes, I made up the name of the lane and put up the sign :)
417. The smiles of Kakalei, Paulina and Mary that welcomed me home and helped me unload my very full truck.
418. A chocolate peanut butter bar after my long drive.
thank the Lord for freezers and that this was in mine!
419. A safe trip home on a really bad road - 8 hours to go 235 miles - 29 mph average!
3 gifts found in Christ
420. A day of joyful rest in Him.
421. I saw and was encouraged by so many friends in Christ this week!
422. Isaiah 43:1b - I have been redeemed by Him and called by name.  I am His!
3 gifts about my home
423. My cat Chewy (Chushanrishathaim) who welcomed me home with glad cries and cuddles.

424. My cool bedroom - thank you Lord for air conditioning to help make sleeping easier!
425. My eclectic pictures in my living room.

426. A great walk this afternoon - cloudy and cool to help ease me back into the habit now I'm home.

I hope you have enjoyed my list.  What has been happening in your lives?  I'd love to hear of some gifts you are giving thanks for!