Another busy day full of waiting

Today was scheduled to be a day filled with activity at the Brydges Center and at the Skills Center. Pastor Roy taught leadership principles to about a dozen preachers from around this area. I was scheduled to teach quilting at the Skills Center and the rest of the team was working on opening the nursery.

What we learned today was that there is no time in Kenya. I went to the BC this morning at 9:00 with Pastor Roy and the other guys. I was hoping to catch a quick tour of the BC and then be driven back to Kitengala to the Skills Center to teach quilting for the whole day. Roy was to start his teaching at about 10:00 and the rest of the guys were going to unload all the stuff for the nursery.

The rest of the women were coming a bit later after they finished sorting the other things that were to be given to people at the BC. They arrived at the BC at 11:00 – I was still there and had not yet received my tour.

There is also no such thing as a quick anything – so the tour took considerably longer than anticipated too.

I was finally taken to the Skills Center and arrived there at 1:00 – had lunch, was welcomed by the students there and I think I finally started teaching quilting at about 2:00 this afternoon. Now instead of a full day of teaching, I had less than half a day.

The students at the Skills Center have just started their year long program in February – so although they all know how to hand stitch, only one of the group – Mercy – knew how to use the sewing machine. Instead of teaching them quilting skills, I spent most of my time watching as they hand sewed blocks together. By 6:00 when the rest of the team came to pick me up, we had finished one quilt top and I had taught Mercy how to quilt and put binding on.

For some reason my computer is not loading photos tonight. I will post them tomorrow if I can.

 

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A few pictures

A few long awaited pictures are here. Amazingly, we have internet service this morning as well – so I decided to take a few minutes to post what pictures I have so far. Enjoy!

Kenya – a little late, but well worth it

Just like every other time I’ve been on a missions trip, expectations have to be set down at the door. We have had two long and glorious days in Kenya, but certain expectations had to be set down. Electricity is one of them – and internet service is another.

Since I do not know how many minutes I have of internet service, let me give you a very quick recap of the last two days.

Arrived in Nairobi Friday night with seven team members, fourteen carry on bags and 18 checked bags. We looked like we were moving in! Thankfully, we were able to move through customs by just paying one $50 fee for all that we were bringing in. We were finally able to go to bed at about 1 in the morning.

Saturday: We went to the Brydges Center (BC) for the day. The kids there hosted a Game Day in which each of our team was the honorary captain of a team of kids named after an African animal. The kids competed in several games, ending with a challenge to create a skit or performance exemplifying a part of the day or a given Bible verse. Sadly, I realized about halfway through the day that the battery on my camera was about gone, so I have very few pictures of the day. Others on the team took lots, though. I hope to get a few of them for myself.

After all the games were played, we presented the BC with many gifts, including 10 computers for them to open a computer lab with. The cheering of the kids was amazing when they realized that they would be able to learn computer skills.

The director of the BC, Rosemary Wafulu, was not able to be present for Game Day due to health issues. After we finished at the center, we joined Rosemary at her home, which is also the guest house for the center. It was so wonderful to meet her and hear her heart for this ministry. She started out by rescuing babies from the gutters in the slums. Now she runs the most respected children’s home in Kenya. She started with 25 kids and now has 110+ kids! She has added a school and a skills center to her ministry and she is graduating kids out into productive Kenyan lives.

Sunday: After staying the night with Rosemary, we left to attend church with John Sulai and to teach and see his ministry. Regrettably, this plan was foiled by the president’s wife. She was hosting a marathon today which caused certain roads to be closed. We thought we would be able to make it to a bypass which would then take us an alternate route to John’s church. Wrong. We were on a 3-hour detour that made us so late we decided to change our plans and not go at all.

Instead, we ended up getting some market shopping in. After about two hours of shopping I got the best find: a teak wood bas relief carving of an African Jesus welcoming the little children to him. It is absolutely beautiful!!

This evening, we enjoyed a marvelous dinner with Dennis and Irene Tongoi. They each lead separate ministries – Dennis is very active in lobbying for policy change to help the poor. Irene runs New Dawn School, a high school for about 125 students in one of the slums of Nairobi. She has also recently begun a new program, New Dawn Abstinency Program, which is structured in small groups with a mentor. This program has about 400 teens involved, both boys and girls. It was amazing to hear their hearts for what is happening here.

That’s all for now – I haven’t had a shower for two days, but it feels more like twenty. And I’m never guaranteed how long the internet will be on. I’ll blog again the next time the internet is available – and hopefully I’ll add some pictures next time.

 

Crazy last minute projects

As posted last time, our packing day was on Saturday. Fantastic time of going over the team’s itinerary, making sure we are all understanding what we will be doing and then of course – packing all the things we are taking to bless the Brydges Center, and so many more, with.

To be expected, we discovered a few last minute things that still needed to be dealt with. Lynette wants to bless the kids at the Brydges Center (BC from now on) with little caddies that can be attached to their bunks. You see, each child has their own bed with a metal trunk to put their things in which is stored under the bunk beds. But the kids don’t really have any personal space to keep things in. So, Lynette is getting some sewers together to put together a caddy similar to this:

caddy

The ones she is making will tie to the bed frame and hang out from under the mattress. There are so many bright colors and the women are using canvas so they are going to be quite durable. I can’t wait to take pictures of the kids’ faces when they see they will have their own space to put a hairbrush or a little notebook.

Another thing that had been overlooked until Saturday was the BC’s Game Day. While we are there, the kids are going to host a Game Day – nine teams (named after African animals) will be playing games against one another. Each of us on our team will be an “honorary team captain” of a team. It’s our job to cheer our team on and hand out prizes. But we have been wondering how to be able to tell the teams apart. That’s where my crazy sewing skills come in handy. It was now my job to make 150+ headbands to take with us.

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Off to JoAnn’s I must go. I found nine different colors of cotton fabric. Starting with 2.5 yards of each, I cut them all into 5″ strips. I just folded the strip in half, sewed it together and then Micah turned them right side out. After pressing them, voila – a perfect sized headband. I had Luke try on the sample – he didn’t want to give it back. Micah tried it on, too, and he also didn’t want to give it back.

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As crazy as this project was – making more than 150 headbands in just two days – I’m so glad I did it. I can’t wait to bless the BC with these headbands. They are something they will be able to use for many years.

From our packing party, we all left with a total of 14 bags completely packed and ready to go. Since then, we have added at least two more, maybe three. We will definitely be quite a sight at the airports! One bummer about a blessing: we are thrilled to have the chance to help the BC set up a real computer lab. We are taking 10 laptops and one iPad for the kids at the BC to learn computer skills. As we were packing, we had been told that we would be able to tuck the computers into the middle of the checked bags so that we wouldn’t have to pull them out at every airport security check, as would if they were in our carry-ons. So, happily, we made sure each and every one was well padded and protected and packed them into the fourteen big bags.

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Just six of the seventeen bags we will be checking at the airport.

Bummer: we have now been told that if the Lithium battery cannot be removed from the computer, then the computer may not go into checked baggage. Because most of these laptops are quite small, we have to pull them all back out of the big bags and each of us will be carrying one or two computers in our carry on bags. Bummer – but still glad to be blessing the BC in this way.

Last – an update on my ear. For those that don’t know, I have been fighting a cold for about two weeks now. A week ago, my ears were both so plugged up that I went to see the doctor to find out what I could do about it. They were not infected, so she gave me a prescription for Flonase, said I could take Claritin, and hoped for the best. By the later part of the week, my ears were clearing up and I was feeling much better about getting on an airplane.

Then, Saturday afternoon and evening, my ears started to hurt quite a bit. Advil helped for a while, but then even that couldn’t temper the pain. I knew from my repeated battles in childhood that I had quite an ear infection brewing. Saturday night we were all making plans for me to visit urgent care before church in the morning.

After a mostly sleepless night, my eardrum ruptured at 4 am on Sunday. Once the pressure was released, I was finally able to get a couple hours of sleep before getting up. The doctor confirmed my suspicion of ear infection and has me on an antibiotic (as well as the Flonase, Claritin, and whatever else might help).

The good thing is the ear infection is being treated well before my trip starts. And I’m fairly certain that my ear will not be hurting on the airplane. However, the downside is I have virtually no hearing in my right ear and it will take several months for the hole in my eardrum to heal. And I currently have a nonstop high pitched ringing in my right ear. It’s enough to give me a headache sometimes.

Packing Day is upon us

Tomorrow morning, the real countdown begins! Together, our team will be trying to pack as much as humanly (divinely) possible into the few allowed bags we will be taking with us. At first, I didn’t think I had that much that would be added to the pile. I thought wrong.

Between the Awana outdoor game kit, the donations of dental supplies and school supplies and then the quilting supplies I am taking, my pile got pretty big pretty fast!

Of course, I’m also trying to pack all of my own personal stuff into just my carryon suitcase. Eeek – there’s not much room in one of those for a two and a half week long trip. I’ve got almost everything in, and then I realized my sandals are still sitting on the bed. Good thing Micah doesn’t need as much space for his stuff, and his carry on is a little bit bigger than mine. Look out Micah, here I come with all the odds and ends that don’t fit in my suitcase.

Enjoy a couple of pics:

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I’m back!

It has been over a year since I have posted anything here. Wow, how time flies.

Since I know many people will want to keep up with the missions trip Micah and I are taking to Kenya, I will be posting here not only what we are doing but also some pics that I take along the way.

Here’s what’s happening so far:  We have our basic schedule set for while we are in Nairobi. We will be on the go the whole time we are there. Our full team will be meeting with four different ministries that Rockpoint Church supports. The rest of the team will be coming back home after a week in Nairobi. Micah and I will be staying for a few extra days and meeting with one more ministry we support.

Some of the things we will be doing will include:

  • Pastor Roy Fruits will be meeting with and teaching some local pastors
  • I will be training some of the children’s ministry workers in discipleship of children
  • We will be setting up and opening a baby area at the Brydges Center
  • We will be participating in a Game Day – mostly just spending time with the kiddos
  • I will be teaching quilting at the Sewing Center

Of course, this is all very flexible!!

While in Kenya, we will also be going on safari. I’ll be sure to take lots of pics there.

After Micah and I are finished, we are taking the “long” way home – by way of Rome, Italy for a few days. It will be much needed rest after almost two weeks in Kenya. We are excited to see the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and the catacombs. Most of all, I think we are both excited to taste the food!!

Check in every few days to see how things are coming along. Then, come along with us as we venture into Africa!

Take care of yourself? Who has time??

I have heard of some families where the kids are obedient, respectful, and goal-oriented. This does not describe my family. My kids tend to think that their way is the right way, they can treat each other however they want, and whatever they are doing right this minute is the most important thing they will ever do. Obviously, there is still a fair amount of parenting to go before we have three well-adjusted, productive citizens of America.

I thought January was to be a more relaxed month for me as a Bethel student. Turns out, I was wrong.  True, I am enrolled in a 1/2 class for winter term, so my work load for that class is fairly low. However, I am the TA for the Children’s and Family Ministry professor. She will be teaching four classes in Spring Semester – so my job is to create the online courses for her. She is also teaching seminars at a national conference, so I am busily preparing her PowerPoint slides as well.

I am excited that my church is soon starting a six-week sermon series on Worship. The church leadership has asked that this be a whole church endeavor – meaning that children’s ministry will also be studying worship at an age appropriate level. So, starting the first weekend of February, the kids will be building a full-size tabernacle at church. I am in charge of all of the projects for this learning experience – the tent, the ark of the covenant, the altars, the courtyard, the priestly garments.

I have four academic programs to keep track of – from seminary, two high schools and one middle school. That’s a lot of teachers, assignments, papers and deadlines to swim through on a weekly basis. When three out of four learners are reluctant to a lesser or greater degree, it’s like salmon swimming upstream every day.

So in the midst of all that – and what I listed is not meant to be a gripe list, just a real look at where my time and energy goes – taking time out for me seems to be impossible. But when I don’t, I find myself on the corner of Crazy and Out-of-Control. I’ll be fine one minute and the next I’m hyperventilating on my kids because they haven’t done their chores. I’ll be talking with someone like a reasonable adult, and then I’ll be holding back tears because I’m still not used to living without Tim.

Today, I met with a  woman that helped me to realize that taking care of my self must (not should) be a daily event. I have things draining me daily, so re-charging myself must also happen daily. She challenged me to create two lists: My Ten Best Memories and My Ten Worst Memories – of my whole life. Taking the time to contemplate your own life is a great way to re-charge yourself. Thinking about the best and worst times will reveal those experiences that I may still need to process and will also give me something to hang my hat on when I’m struggling.

I’m curious to hear how other people care for ‘self’ when life is pulling in so many directions, down being the strongest. If you’d care to share, I’d love to learn from you. What are the signs in your life that you have not cared for ‘self’ well? What activities do you partake in to care for ‘self?’

candle