Challenging Times

I am sorry for the delay in writing.

Last week was SEW or Spiritual Emphasis Week. It was a very challenging week on several fronts.

First off we had a meeting with the school board to share our ideas and concerns for the special needs program at RVA. The board is working thru what should RVA do for kids with learning issues. We were grateful for the chance to talk with them and share with them, but it took quite a bit of preparation. We talked with 2 other missionary schools to see what they did and how they approached things. That took quite some time and are very thankful for the openness of the other schools. We continue to pray for the board and the challenges that they have.

Secondly I was highly involved in the sound for the week. We had the Lifepoint band from North Carolina leading us in worship for the week. They were a great group of musicians who played bass, electric guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar and drums. Two of them also sang. They arrived on Saturday and started setting up and I came Tuesday for the first rehearsal. We had to make some changes to the acoustics of Centennial since there is no sound absorption in the room. We put up over 20 mattresses around the room and then covered the ones at the front with black material so they would not be distracting. Ken then made a drum house out of different items to also reduce the volume of the drums in the live room. With all of the changes things sounded great. I was amazed at the difference. One of these days we will see if can make some permanent changes there to help improve the intelligibility. For SEW week we had sessions every night so we did a rehearsal/sound check every day around 2 pm. Most of the mornings I was busy adding things for the band to make them sound even better or fixing things. It was a tiring week, but a good week. We had alot of kids through out the school challenged about ministering to closed door countries. Our speaker Dick serves in a closed door country and challenged all of us to consider doing so also. Did you know that there are 6,500 unreached people groups and most of them are in the middle east? Who is going to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them? It is estimated that 40% of the world has never heard the Gospel. To me that is a staggering figure. The book that we have been going thru to prepare our selves for SEW was the livedead book. Click on the link in the last sentence. It is quite a challenging book on how we need to live our lives for Christ. I have been reading it the past month along with many others and would challenge you to get a copy and read it every day for 30 days. From the sessions and the book I have been challenged to abide more in Christ and to make sure He is the center of my life. If He is in the center of my life than I know that I am in the center of God’s will. What joy I can have from Him!

I am going to miss SEW as we made lots of new friends, but God has something great for us from this week. We may not know what it is for years to come, but there is definitely something stirring in our hearts and those on this campus. Please pray as some students came forward for salvation and others came forward for the desire to abide in Christ and have him the center of there lives. Pray for all of us that we would hear what God wants us to hear.

Tired

What a week this has been. Ethan was sick at the beginning of the week for about 10 hours and then one of our dorms kids was sick the same night. They both had the stomach flu around 3 in the morning, but were better by 8 am in morning. It was quite interesting and tiring. The next day I started to have abdominal issues and for the next 24 hours I was stomach issues. As this was going I started to have nasal drainage and cold issues. They have continued on to get worse and worse. Last night I had a nose that kept draining down my throat and did not allow me much sleep and at the same night Ethan developed another stomach flu. He is slowly getting better and slowly I am to, but I am sure tired. Angela was feeling pretty good this week until today when she started to have abdominal issues again. She has tried to take today easy, but it was parent day at RVA and she had a bunch of ESL students to work with. We are so looking forward to getting a little bit of rest this weekend.

This week has felt like we were being attacked the prince of this world. We know that we battle not this world, but the principalities of this world. We would really covet your prayers.

Time in the US

It is hard to believe that we have been in Kenya for almost a week. We had a wonderful time in the US visiting with family, getting some tests done for Emily and also Angela and checking on Jeff’s parents. It was short and quick, but fun!

We were able to have Emily’s retested by her vision doctor. Emily’s sight is almost 20/20, but her vision is in need of improvement. Vision is your brains use of what the eyes are seeing. Emily is not always able to process in a productive way what she is seeing. We are grateful for some new therapy opportunities for Emily that Angela will be trying. The vision doctor retested Emily’s vision and compared it a test that was done about 2 years ago. There has been alot of improvement, but there is still much improvement that needs to be done. Please continue to pray for perserverance on Emily’s part and that the new therapy will continue to improve her vision

Angela continues to have issues with her abdomen. She did meet with an infectious disease specialist while in the US and he was happy with the care she received in Kijabe. He redid some tests which came back negative. She did have a upper and lower scope, but it did not show much. It did show that her stomach lining was thin so they did put her on some medicine to increase that lining, but this would not affect her abdomen with the pain she is having. He did have her do a lactose free and wheat diet, but that also seemed to not make any difference. She will be having a gallbladder test this coming week at a hospital in Nairobi for that. If the gallbladder is the issue that it will be removed here at Kijabe hospital by one of our surgical friends.

The time in the US to see my, Jeff’s, parents was good. We found that mom is slowing down and can get tired very easily and requires alot of rest. Her spirit is strong though. We continue to pray for healing for her from the lymphoma and shingles. Dad is doing pretty good although he is tired also. He has given mom alot of care and attention this past year and been a great example of how we are to love our wife thru anything. Business continues to be brisk for dad’s company, Sound Specialty Company, and we are so grateful for that and how the Lord provides. I helped dad at the Racine County Fair, Kenosha County Fair, Sealed Air company picnic, Sikh Temple and Racine County Courthouse. I was glad to be able to help in whatever area needed to for them.

US Visit

We are back in the US for a short 5 week visit. It has been a very busy time helping my parents and spending lots of time with family. One of the nice things about being back in the US is that Angela will get some medical tests done. She has been having more issues with her abdomen so she will be having and upper and lower scope on Wednesday, August 1. We pray that this will give some insite as to what is going on with her abdomen.

Since we have been in the US we have also been able to have Emily’s vision retested. Her vision is doing much better, but still has a long way to go. The testing that she had done showed that her vision and progression is still 2 years behind. Please pray for her to “catch up”. Angela will be revising some of the exercises they do together and give her some extra work as time allows. We praise God for the way He has worked in her life and the progress she has made.

We have heard that we will have 4 boys in our dorm this coming term. This may change though as we have not started school yet. 🙂 The boys are in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. Two of the boys will be returning and 2 of the boys will be new. We are excited to have these group of guys and will have some new adjustments to make.

We have just finished helping grandpa work at the Racine County Fair. It was a fun, but busy week making sure everything was working as needed. The food was probably the most enjoyable part of the fair right ahead of the rides. It was also alot of fun seeing old friends and making new ones.

Outreach Day

Almost two weeks ago we participated in Outreach Day, which is where students sign up to be on a team and go minister to different groups of people. In the past we have done things like visit an orphanage, visit children at the hospital or plant trees. This time we cooked a meal for a group of people who gather at a cement building near the other “stores” in Kijabe and sell vegetables, crafts or baked goods (like tortillas and english muffins). For most, selling these items is how they make money to eat, for rent, school fees, etc. And personally, we don’t think it is easy. An obvious statement, but it depends on how many people come to buy your vegetables or crafts. And sometimes it isn’t very many. So, we really wanted to encourage them.

So, our three kids, our dorm kids (minus 2 that were with their parents for the weekend), and a few others that signed up (including our good friend and dorm cover, Lauri) came to our house to make chili and rice and 2 cakes (chocolate and spice).

Cooking the food for the people at the duka.

The boys preparing one of the desserts.

Preparing cards for those at the duka.

After we prepared the food, we made some cards to take down to them and practiced some songs to sing to them. It was very encouraging to see how excited the kids were to do things to bless this group of people. They all wanted to help ask them what kind of soda they wanted, help pass out the food and even get to know them a little bit. While they were eating, we sang some songs and prayed for them. Our only regret was that we didn’t spend very long down there with them.

Handing out dessert to the ladies.

Handing out food to the people at the duka.

Singing to the ladies while they eat.

One of our kids sitting with one of the ladies at the duka.

Busy Weeks

These past few weeks we have been very busy! As you many of you know about 3 months ago we had a lightning strike that took out many different pieces of equipment. We have received many pieces in the past 2 months, but were still waiting for some computers to come over. Thanks to Nathan Smith we received 48 thin client computers in the last 2 weeks. We have busy deploying them the past week and getting things completely back up and running. We have been able to get a classroom used for typing, etc up and running even better and then another Jr High lab up and running. We even had some extra units that we were able to use for our elementary classrooms and make the systems there work much better. It has been a lot of work, but worth every bit of effort. Nathan has another team coming out June 5th that will be bringing more equipment for us. In the end his teams will have helped us bring out more than $25,000 worth of equipment.

It has also been fun getting to know Nathan and his family. We had them over for supper last Monday and had a great time. His kids went with our kids to the Coke data and then played with each other several times before they left this past weekend. Pray for them as they return to North Carolina on Monday morning.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all our mom’s out there. Especially to mama Saunders and mama Boyce!

Today we celebrated Mother’s Day with the Titchie Musical. Our Titchie 5th and 6th graders put on a 45 minute musical about Moses. They did a great job and Erica sang a solo on the last number and did a great job! We are so proud of her! She had been sick all week with a fever so we were not sure she was going to be able to be in it. Darilyn did a great job with the kids! Our Mother’s Day gift to Angela was eating out at the cafo. She also had a pretty easy day and relaxed quite a bit.

This week has been good, but very tiring. We had homeschoolers from all over the continent here getting testing and spending time in classrooms. Angela arranged all the housing. Jeff has been sick with a cold/sinus infection for the past 5 or so days and that made the musical interesting. I seem to be getting better, but it is still hanging around.  The hard part is being all plugged up.

This past 2 weeks we have had over 8 inches of rain and over the past month or so we have had over 15″ of rain. One day we received 4″ of rain. Needless to say things are quite saturated. We have even had several landslides and one that is threatening our main road out of Kijabe. Pray with us that we would have some sun along with all of this rain. The crops are being washed away and it is really stressing out our Kenyan friends.

Almost Time

Well the kids arrive on Monday and Tuesday and school starts on Tuesday. It is hard to believe that we are starting term 3. Before we know it school will be done and we will be onto a new year.

We are excited to see our kids again, but the break has gone by real fast. We wish there was another week before they came back, but we will be ready. Angela is feeling a little better, but still has some pain every once and a while. She continues to talk with Rich about what to do and we are going to wait for a while and see what happens.

David and Meredith came back this week so we will be Batman and Robin again. It is great to have them back although Tom was of great help to us. We have already started to work on our list of things to get done before school starts. David is not feeling well today so we pray that it will be short lived.

Vacation or Arrest?

Well this past week has been quite interesting. We will start with all the fun and then share the boring part.

We went to Sunrise Acres in Eldama Ravine to spend some time away and also with the Davis family.  We left on Tuesday morning around 11 am and got to Naivasha around 12:15. At that time we were pulled over for speeding. We will not debate whether we were or not speeding. We were told to wait on the side of the road since we did not have space to take the police officer with us in the car. We had all the seats full with me, Angela and the kids in the back. We called Rich and Stacy and asked them to come and pick up the kids since we did not know what was going to happen. They came and got the kids and took them to Delamere for lunch. Rich and I talked with the officers in Swahili trying to figure out what was going on to no luck though. We told the officers that we had a seat open now and we could go to the police station. Normally when you say that they let you go because they are looking for you to give them a bribe, but once they know you are not going to give them money they let you go. This day was different. They took me to the police station and said I would need to go to court the next day. I told that we were on the way to a week vacation and asked if the court case could be moved to the week after. They said they would need to talk with there bosses. They quickly gave back my 3000 KSH bail money and kept my drivers license. The police officer took me over to the courthouse and I joined about 100 other guys who had been “arrested” early that day for traffic offenses. The magistrate was still hearing criminal cases from earlier in the day and those ended around 1 pm. Normally the lunch hour is from 1 pm to 2 pm and in court they can take longer, but one of the advocates or lawyers for several other asked the magistrate if they could continue since some of the people had been there since 6 am. The magistrate agreed to have a short lunch of about 15 minutes and then come back to take care of the rest of the cases. We waited about 25 minutes and the magistrate finally came back around 1:30 pm. He started hearing the traffic cases and moved things along very quickly. Even though I came late in the day my case came up around 1:45 pm and I plead guilty to speeding was charged with a fine of 1,000 KSH which is around $12. Know things started to get really interesting. As we finished our hearing we were taken out to a room that was about 9′ x 9′ where we were to wait for our judgement receipt. We ended up having about 50 guys in this 9′ x 9′ room that only had a door and small window. Thankfully there were several businessmen and lawyers here also and they informed me that once we were given the judgement receipt we needed someone to go to the local bank which was about 15 minutes away and pay the fine. Once I heard this I informed Rich and Angela that they would need to go pay for me. About 5 minutes after I received the receipt Angela showed up and picked up the receipt from me and then they headed to the bank. They got to the bank and got in line and waited for the next 2 hours for it to be there turn at one of the cashiers. During this time I was moved from the 9’x9′ cell to about another court jail area. This one was outside and about 2,000′ from the other one. It was an area that was about 10′ x 30′ and had a huge tree on one end. There were also 2 outside bathrooms and 3 other covered rooms where people were waiting. One of the covered rooms had about 10 women waiting to get bail for them to be released. All this time Angela and I were texting or SMS’ing back and forth on the progress of things. Finally around 4:15 they left the bank with the receipt in hand and headed back to where I was. They got there around 4:30 and asked where we had been taken to and then proceeded to show the cashier the receipt from the bank and were then given another receipt so they could get me out. Just after 4:45 I was finally out of “jail” just as they were getting ready to take all the prisoners to the main jail for the night. We headed to the police station so I could get my license and our cars. We then headed to Eldama Ravine, but stopped to pick up Stacy and the kids. Stacy and Rich were such a big help to use and sacrified mightily for us. Thank you so much! We then headed to Eldama Ravine and arrived there around 7:30 to start our vacation. We are so grateful for the protection He gave us and how He provided for us during this ordeal.

Medical Update

Well what a week we have had. Most of this deals with Angela and an update on her condition.

Things seemed to be going good this week, but on Thursday night Angela was in some pain for quite some time. It lasted pretty much all night. On Friday she talked with Rich alot and they decided to do some more testing to see if something else was up besides the amoeba. Rich talked a radiologists in Nairobi and was able to get us scheduled for a CT scan early Saturday morning. This would should us of any issues in the abdomen. Angela had to take some medicine the night before to clean out the system. We left the kids with the Davis’ family around 8 am and then headed for MP Shah hospital in Nairobi to have the scan done. We were not were excited about this as hospitals and Nairobi can just eat your time away. We arrived at the hospital around 9:15 for a 9:30 appointment. At first it seemed like there were not any appointments, but after that was sorted out Angela had to drink 5 glasses of water before the procedure. By 9:45 she was having her CT scan. By 10:15 it was all done and we were waiting for the results. The radiologists is one of the best in Kenya if not the best from what we have been told by our doc friends. He was very easy to talk with and answered our questions. He looked at the scans and said that everything was healthy and in good condition. We were relieved, but also disappointed. We still had the question, what is causing all the pain? Angela has decided to give it some more time. She has been on some strong antibiotics for the last 3 or 4 weeks so we want to give it time to clear out of the body and also for it to do its work. Her pain has been less the last 2 days so we pray that this pattern will continue and the medicine just needed more time to work.

We are grateful that the tests came back negative, but would like to know what has been or is going on. Please pray for patience and endurance. Please pray for the docs as they continue to think and research what might be going on. The docs here have been so great, especially Rich!