Today was one those moments we missionaries have as we transition back. I went to the grocery store to pick up a list of items. I got most of the items off of the list and then headed to the deli to get some Turkey and Ham deli meat. I went up to the counter and asked for 1/3 of a pound of Turkey. The deli lady looks at me and says how do you want it. I just looked at her and stared. I did not know what to do for a minute. The lady looked at me and said would you like it cut thin. I said yes I would. I than had another moment at the check out line. I pick up a dozen roses to given Angela and Julie thanking them for their Labor of service for our families. The lady rang them up and then the bagger asked me, do you want a bag for the flowers. I just stood there and then said yes.
What a day. 🙂
Well, we have been back in the US almost 3 weeks. Our bodies have pretty much gotten used to this time change, but not all of our emotions have gotten used to being in the US. We have found several times where we don’t understand what is happening. For instance, we have had the privilege of watching cable TV where we have stayed. Of course there are many channels to watch, but several that I have been interested in deal with home renovations and car renovations. On one car renovation show people spent $45,000 to have their family car updated. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, but also thought what in the world are they doing. The car did need some work, but not $45,000. That money could have been used to help any numerous organizations in foreign countries or even here. There is such a great need. This is just one observation of the transition we are going thru. My prayer is that I never lose that thought process. It is hard to see a lot of money being wasted on things that are not everlasting.
Several things we have enjoyed while being in the US. Roads, ice cream, stores that are close by, fuel stations that cost less, fast internet, dining places, and family.
We have spent the last week down in Ohio with Angela’s sister. It has been a great time for all of our kids to play and spend time together. We have been able to help get several odd jobs done around the house for her sister and husband. It has been a relaxing and refreshing time for us with a little work.
It is hard to believe that in a little more than 2 weeks we will be returning back to the US for the foreseeable future. On one hand I am excited and on the other hand I am sad.
Last night was the Titchie Talent Night and I was reminded why I will miss this place. We so many of our kids perform using the gifts that God has given them. We have so much talent that will continue to grow and mature and be used to praise our Lord. The hearts of the kids was genuine and a blessing to many of us. Our 4th grade kids did a play based on Little Red Riding Hood, but Little Red Riding Hood rewrote her play before she was eaten and then thought about the other stories out there that needed to be rewritten. In the end she found out the problem with rewriting things and sent them back to their normal endings, but it was a good reminder that God has a plan for everyone of us. We may want to rewrite what He has planned for us, but His plan is better for us than our plan. We do not see the consequences of our plan until the end and than it is too late. If we stick with His plan than we will be ok. There may be some bumps in the road along the road still gets us to where we need to go and that is Heaven.
These past 2 weeks have been quite busy with packing, getting projects done and starting new projects. We are getting a lot of packing done. We have 8 pieces of luggage packed, weighed and ready to go. We keep finding things that need to come back with us, but we still have 7 pieces of luggage to pack. The hardest thing is to pack up your things, but still keep living at the same time. I am getting a bunch of old projects done, but also starting some new ones that will keep going once I leave. Grateful that we have some national staff who understand what we are doing and will be able to keep things going.
These past 2 weeks have been quite busy and ucky. This past week I have had a cold that turned into a sinus infection along with an outpatient surgery at the hospital. I have not felt like doing much, but have soldiered on as much as possible. Angela has been a great wife this past week allowing me to get some rest at good times. I am so blessed by her. Today I feel that things have turned the corner and am on the way to get better.
Friday night I was bored will Angela was watching a movie that she wanted to check out before we left. I hopped on Youtube to see what I could find and since I like destruction found some weird demolition derby videos. I was caught by the fact that we like to take things that still have value and get rid of them. Here in Kenya a car is usable until it can not be driven and even then they keep driving them. I wondered what our Kenyan brothers and sisters would think if they saw us taking good cars and destroying them. I thought of how they would think we are wasting such valuable items. Our society in the US is a throw a way society. Do you know how much food is thrown away in a years time in the US? We can not know for sure, but it is estimated to be about 40% of our food. That calculates to cost about $165 billion dollars each year wasted. Think of what we could do with both the food and money. We could really help reduce poverty and food shortages. Here is an article in the Washington Post on it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/08/22/how-food-actually-gets-wasted-in-the-united-states/
How are you and I wasting things that could be put to a good use. For me it is hard at this time as we are packing up to move back to the US, but I know that as I go thru things I would rather leave them here than bring them with me. I can very easily go somewhere to pick things up, but it is not very easy here. I have struggled quite a bit while we have been here with the thought of why did the Lord allow me to be so blessed to have what I want. After today’s message at RVA church I think I know part of the answer and that is to be a blessing to others. God has gifted me with money more than 90% of the rest of the inhabitants on this earth. I must use some of that to encourage them and help them see the grace the of God.
How are you impacting the world for Christ?
These past few weeks I have been reading Proverbs during my quiet time in the mornings. I have been struck by the amount of information that is in this small book. One of the areas that the Holy Spirit has been challenging in has been my mouth.
Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it Than a house full of feasting and strife. Proverbs 17:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Proverbs 13:3
I want to be on who is known to be encouraging, positive and uplifting, but too many times I am the opposite. Especially in my family. One day after I had been reading about the mouth and praying about I just used my mouth to hurt Angela. Later in the day I was thinking I just prayed about this and did the opposite. How foolish of me, but also Satan knows how to attack us. I am grateful that we have the Holy Spirit who can work in our lives if we allow. I pray that He never gives up working on me to make me who I need to be.
My words often hurt the ones I love most. I am able to put a face on out in public. A clear reminder of how far I have to go.
How would you like to renovate a building full of 22 boys? Well our renovation is almost done, but it has taken us over 5 months to get it completed.
Westervelt dorm needed a complete makeover and we gave it to them. We did all the work with the boys still living in the dorm which made it quite challenging. We started at one end of the building and worked our way to the other end. The first rooms we did was the lounge where the boys can study, play and just hang out. We also did the kitchen for the boys at the same time. In both rooms we repainted all the walls, put in new ceilings and new LED lights. In the kitchen we retiled the counter top and back splash. We also repainted the cabinets.
The rooms will also be getting new curtains and covers for their couches.
After we finished these rooms we began working on the individual rooms. We were blessed to have one room not being used for the year so we did this unused room first and then had the boys move to the then finished room. In each room we replaced the ceiling, painted the walls, painted the windows and window boxes. We also replaced the mirrors in the rooms and replaced the lights with LED lights. The rooms will also be getting new curtains.
Each room is outfitted with modular furniture which allows the boys to set up the room they way they want it. Each room consists of 2 desks, 2 beds, 2 dressers and 2 closets.
The last rooms for us to complete were the showers, washroom and bathroom. In the shower we added a private shower and then retiled the rest of the room. We are also waiting for a container to arrive with new fan/light units to help with the removal of moisture in the room. I always thought girls took long showers, but these boys really take the cake. 🙂 We also gave the ceiling a new coat of varnish and put in a new cubicle for the boys to store their shampoo and soap.
In the wash room we removed old cement sinks and replaced them with new ceramic sinks. We replaced the old mirrors and added a shelf for the boys to put their toothpaste, etc on while getting ready. We also replaced the LED lights. The walls got a new coat of paint and so did the ceiling once it was replaced.
In the bathroom we removed white ceramic tiles from the bathroom stalls and plastered the walls to have a smooth surface that we could paint. We replaced the stall doors and painted them. We also added 2 urinals for the boys. The walls and ceiling got new coats of paint along LED lights like the other rooms.
The renovations have taken quite some time, but things are looking beautiful. We have a few punch list items which will hopefully get taken care of this week and then we can mark this task done! The dorm has such a homey feeling to it now and will certainly get lots of use in the years to come.
This time of year it is to be cloudy and rainy, but so far it has not really been so. We have had several nights of rain, but not what is normal. Although what is normal? I have been thinking about this for a while. Normal is very relative. Normal for us these past 9 years has been serving God here in Kijabe, Kenya. First as guesthouse managers and then at RVA in various capacities. This will coming to an end in July and is hard to think about. I struggle with leaving here. I feel that this is my home and where my abilities fit in the best, but the Lord has a plan for us. We think we know what His plan is for us when we get back to the US, but will see once we get there.
These past weeks and months have gone by in blur. There has been so much to do on the maintenance side of things and IT side of things also. Before we leave in July I want to make sure that there are some major IT things done to benefit RVA and all of Kijabe. We are replacing/moving all of our phones lines from overhead to underground and making sure that everything is properly connected/terminated. If you have an improper connection it can really degrade the system and then the phone connection you have. We have done 2 major sections in pulling cable, but now have to connect the houses to the major trunk line.
I am also almost done with a renovation project in one of the high school dorms called Westervelt. We have repainted everything and put in new fixtures for sinks, showers and toilets. It has been a major undertaking especially with the students living there at the same time. I will get some pictures this week to post.
There is a Kenyan saying that I love. God is good all the and all the time God is good and that is His nature. It is so true, but at times I have a hard time believing it.
Grace to you!
It is hard to imagine that the first term of this year is over. It feels like it just started. We have had a lot of fun this term with our boys, but also a lot of work. Our boys will be with their families for the next 5 weeks and return to us the first week of January. We look forward to some rest and family time while they are away. We do have the joy of have the AIM conference here this year so we will be challenged spiritually by Eddie Larkman on the issue of grace. A great topic for all of us to continue to learn about. I know that I do not have enough grace in my life nor do I show enough grace to those around most times. I pray that the Lord will use it in my life to draw me closer to Him and expand my love for others. After the conference we will be around for a week and then head north to Eldama Ravine for a week away at a small camp area. It will be great to be away and not have many responsibilities. When we come back it will be time for Christmas and then New Years and then the kids will return. We pray that the Lord will use this time to refresh us and strengthen us, but also allow us to get some work finished.
Today for church we went to the local AIC church. The first Sunday of the month we walk on over and worship with them. Every service they introduce the visitors and today we had visitors from the US, Ghana, Madasgar, Comorros and another country that I can not remember. I was reminded of how Heaven will have someone from every tribe and nation worshipping the Lord. I can only imagine what it will be like. What a glorious time!
One thing that RVA is really emphasizing this year is the unreached people groups of the world. Those people who have never heard the Gospel or who have a small minority of Christians. So far this year we have had 3 groups of people, the Algawa, the Antakarana and most recently the Mbororo people. It has been great getting to know these groups of people and praying for them. Our kids have really understood what we are doing and are praying for them also. It has been neat to hear some of there prayers for these unreached people. Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will work in miraculous ways in these peoples hears and also in our hearts. Maybe one of our kids will one day take the Gospel to one of these people groups.
It is hard to believe that our break is over. The last 6 weeks have just flown by. We have accomplished a lot during this time. The highlight was spending a week in Malindi, Kenya with the Tilly family. We were able to spend a week in an apartment that friends use during there ministry time, but they were away for a time. It was nice and warm! It was so nice to be able to get up in the morning and not have to worry about putting shoes and socks on. We were about 300′ from the beach so we spent quite a lot of time there. Erica and Ethan enjoyed it the most. It was nice to be away and not have to worry about our job responsibilities. When we came back though we hit the ground running. I was working on moving some data equipment from a classroom location to an office location and install things permanently. It took about 2 weeks to get everything done that we could at the time. We hope to finish this project in the next several weeks during off times for classes. The last week has been spent getting the elementary classrooms ready for school. We were busy putting in AV switchers, document cameras, speakers and projectors. We have all classrooms functioning, but still need to permanently mount the projectors in the classrooms. We hope to that finished in the next 2 weeks, but this can be done in the afternoons while specials are happening. All during this time I have been working on changing positions also. This year I have been asked to work in the maintenance department. I will still do some things with computers as we have a long to do list, but the majority of my time will be spent improving our services to the RVA community. It will definitely be an interesting year.
Our 4 boys have arrived for this term. We have 2 new boys and 2 returning boys. We have 3 boys in 4th grade and 1 boy in 3rd grade. Friday was spent with the new families and helping them and their kids adjust to something new. We have a new parent orientation for these families to help them learn all the ropes and also how to parent from afar. The parents leave Saturday afternoon and then the returning students arrive that night. We keep the activities pretty busy the first weekend to help the kids adjust and keep there minds off missing there family. We have a great group of boys and look forward to discipling them this year.
Let the games begin! 🙂