Tuesday, July 21, 2009

22 days...

I overslept this morning.  

Kind of.  

I don't ever set an alarm.  My brain has a clock that wakes me between 6 and 6:15 every morning.  It is somewhat awesome as I hate the sound of alarm clocks, but annoying because it makes "sleeping in" a little difficult at times.

Not today.  I woke up at 8 am.  I think my body is sick of me going going going, and I can't blame it.  A glimpse of the last three weeks:

  • Monday June 29 drove to DC to get that Kenyan Visa.
  • Tuesday June 30 drove back to Raleigh from DC, with a Visa and a migraine.  (not recommended by the way.)
  • Wednesday July 1, flew to Kenya, via Dubai (also not recommended.  LONGEST flight in History.)  Traveled around Tanzania and Kenya for 10 days.  Most of those days spent on the road in some capacity.  Yes I was tired of sitting. :)
  • Monday July 13 arrived back in Raleigh.  
  • Tuesday July 14 I took the day off to recover. 
  • Wednesday July 15, I probably should have taken another day off to recover but I didn't set good boundaries.  
  • Thursday July 16 I signed the lease on the new apartment.
  • Friday July 17 I started moving and interrupted the move with a trip to Dr. Bloom for these darn headaches that seem to be plaguing me.  He game me some ideas, and reprimanded me for only taking 1 day off after Kenya/Tanzania.
  • Saturday July 18 finished moving with the help of some great friends.  Well, finished is a loosely used phrase...everything is IN the apartment...put away is a different matter...
  • Sunday seemed like the longest day in history.  I walked around the church most of the morning for fear that if I sat down I would crash.  I took a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day and my body groaned when I made it wake up.  I still managed to go to bed and sleep 9 hours sunday night.
  • Yesterday seemed brighter, but my body kept begging for sleep.

Tomorrow begins a much needed break.  My Matt, Jennifer, Connor and I will meet up at the Fort Lauderdale airport to celebrate Connor's first birthday (not in the airport of course!) and visit dad for the weekend.  I have already warned them that I might sleep a lot and that sitting on the beach is high priority.  I'm thinking that some good family time, and a few days on the beach might be exactly what my body needs to stop the eyes from burning and the head from aching.  Cause I mean really...

Doesn't this face look like the picture of rest and relaxation???

Now to find that swimsuit and towel...




Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moving day...

So I took Financial Peace University this past spring, and am making some money saving decisions.  One of which is downsizing to a smaller (and cheaper) apartment so I can pay off debt faster and move onto saving more.

So this Saturday is moving day.  And a while back, several people mentioned they could help, but summer has set in, and so have summer schedules.

Basically.  I need help. So if you live in the RDU area, or even if you don't and you feel like traveling, I will welcome you.  We will start at 9am saturday morning loading the Uhaul.  The Uhaul has to be returned by 3.

Comment or email me, and I will owe you huge!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grace

I am sitting in Java House, one of the most "American" places in East Africa.  While enjoying my french fries and guacamole I am humbled to be here.  

I know many of you have been praying, and we are all SO INCREDIBLY thankful for your prayers.  They are felt.  There have been difficult parts to our journey, but we know that potential roadblocks have been lifted because of your prayers.  One thing I am incredibly thankful for is the prayers for health.  In the two weeks before leaving for Kenya I had 4 migraines, more than I had had in the last two years combined.  Thanks to Dr. Bloom I have an arsenal of medicine, and have only had to use it twice, and both times the relief was quick.  Our travels in and around Nairobi have been smooth, aside from one minor run-in with the police...but again God got us through.  Our travels to the bush have been uneventful, most often one of us falling asleep in the 4 hour journey.  

That being said, the week has still been a challenging one, and it is not over.  We came into Nairobi yesterday afternoon for some meetings, and are heading back out to the bush for the day tomorrow.  Please continue to pray for us as we continue to discern how God would use us to bring the light of Christ and His freedom to the community of Kamonong (Cheppema.)  

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Home.

First a warning:  This might very well be the last blog post until I return.  Not sure what kind of internet access I will have after tonight.

My senior year of high school I moved to Northern Michigan to live with my Aunt.  It was such a great year I stayed with her my first semester of my freshman year.  But then I went home.

I remember going home, and how odd it felt.  I remember that strange feeling some describe, it is home, but it isn't, things look similar and smell similar but yet it is different now.  Something changed.

And so has Arusha.  I called this place home for two years.  I poured my heart into the people, many hours of sweat, many tears, and so much of my soul.  Returning brought some strange emotions, emotions similar to my returning home after being away in high school.  It felt familiar, looked familiar, smelled familiar but yet, it felt so different.  This place is no longer home, and I am honestly not sure why that surprised me, but it did.


Even though Arusha isn't "home" today was filled with all those things you do when you first come home.  Finding old friends, reconnecting, laughing, listening to what has gone on in their lives, seeing the changes in town (they added another stoplight, and some streetlights for driving at night!) and laughing, laughing a lot.  Today I was able to see many old Tanzanian friends and boy were those hugs great to receive.  I was also able to see many old expat friends, and the tea we shared on their patio didn't even compare to the sweetness of being in their presence.


I am thankful for the last 24 hours.  I am thankful for the conversations I was able to have, the people I was able to see, and the healing that has taken place in my heart.  I am grateful for open communication, sharing visions, dreaming, and remembering where we have come from. It has been a joy to return and visit old friends, hear their stories, share mine, and relish what God is doing in and around us.  It has truly been an incredible day.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Hospital Visits and Old Friends...

I was in Arusha less than half an hour and already taking advantage of my white skin to make a hospital visit.  I know, it seems wrong to me too, but mostly I was along for the ride, literally.

A precious Barabaiq woman who was attending the CHurch planters training here at the CMF training center fell ill weeks ago, Annelle asked if I didn't mind stopping by the hospital since she was already in town.  Of course I didn't.

So off we went, and I marvelled as we didn't turn down the road I expected.  I have to admit that my memories of the Arusha hospital weren't the greatest, so when we went in another direction I was confused and a little relieved.  Instead we went to the new hospital.  It was finished in the year I was gone and when we arrived I was in awe of its modern look.  It was clean.  It smelled clean.  It was amazing!

Our visit was a good one, yet sad.  The woman we were visiting is in need of a miracle.  Her husband was there with her and she was in terrible pain, and really, there isn't anything anyone can do for her, even if she was in the USA there wouldn't be an option.

After the visit we headed out to the CMF center where I was warmly greeted.  I surprised a few Tanzanians who did not know I was coming, and a few others who were dear friends who knew of my arrival.  It was precious, incredibly sweet, and heartwarming to talk to them...in swahili...and hear of all of lifes happenings, their kids growing, their churches growing, life as parents etc.  

Tomorrow promises more.  My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for this leg of the journey. It has felt good to come to a place that I once called home, and to be embraced so warmly.   

Tomorrow I will try to remember to bring my camera...I will blame my lack of photography today on jet-lag and five days of travel.  It is shocking to me to think that every day this week I spent hours either in a car, a plane or a bus....it was all worth it.

Kreyol...and Kiswahili...all in one day...

I don't even know where to begin....

3:30am Wednesday came way too soon, mostly because I was up later than I should have been.  I got to the airport and soon was on my way...

I arrived at JFK on time and clueless.  I asked a few of the workers where I needed to go and they were short and all said "Emirates...Terminal 4."  Problem was, I didn't know where Terminal 4 was or how to get there. While meandering and wondering I hear this tiny voice...

"H..e...l...p... P...e...a...s..." And I couldn't resist.  I turned around and saw the most precious elderly woman speaking broken english with as much courage as she could muster up, and having been the person who was lost and confused in a foreign land I couldn't help but stop to help.  She handed me her boarding pass and again asked for help.  She couldn't find the gate, and seeing as I was having trouble following the directional signs I really couldn't blame her, at least English is my first language!

So I take her bag, and her passport and boarding pass and notice that she is Haitian.  I smiled on the inside.  I asked where she was from, she didn't understand, I told her I had friends in Haiti, she smiled, again did not understand, and I was reminded that I really need to start studying Kreyol.  I took her bags, and walked with her to her gate.  It was endearing as she approached the escalator with fear and trepidation, and humbling as I stuck out my arm for her to hang on to.  It was sweet to guide her to the gate at JFK that I have been to on multiple occasions, and to sit her next to someone who was from her home country.  I then vowed to start working on Kreyol...right after I remembered some swahili for this week. 

Our flight in JFK boards on time, we pull away from the gate, and then we sit. And sit.  And sit some more.  I will remind you that our flight was already to be just under 13 hours...and we sat...and sat...and sat on the tarmac...for 2 hours!  13 hours on a plane seemed unbearable...I wondered what 15 was gonna feel like, in the middle of the row, next to a man who smelled like he hadn't showered in weeks, and a woman who couldn't sit still...the migraine meds I took to kick the migraine out of gear came in handy and knocked me out for a bit of it.

We land in Dubai...and I am pretty certain I have missed my connection.  I had a 3 hour slot between take off and landing, that now was half an hour since we not only were delayed 2 hours but somehow took even longer to get there in the first place.  I start wondering how I will communicate with folks in Nairobi, where I am gonna sleep, and who is gonna pay for it.  And then realize, that being stuck in Dubai on the airlines dime might not be so bad.  I suck it up and join the herd of people trying to deplane.

As I walk up the ramp I hear "Nairobi...passengers going to Nairobi."  I tell her I am and the Emirates attendant tells me to wait, there are others.  So after about 6 or 7 of us are identified we are swiftly taken down a secret hallway via one of those handy motorized carts, rushed through security and the next thing I know I am on a plane.  In my seat.  Again.  Thankful, yet I have to admit, I was a wee bit tired of sitting.

Landed in Nairobi on time, was the first in line and out of the airport in less than half an hour and my heart smiled as I took in the gust of African air.  I listened to the hustle and bustle, overheard and understood the conversations in "African English" and Swahili, and smiled.  


Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Long Journey...

Well folks I made it to Nairobi all in one piece.

All in all today I have spent about 30 hours sitting on planes, and 3 hours in a car in traffic. I am gonna walk to dinner with my hosts and probably collapse afterwards. My phone is still not working, but I am hoping to get that figured out soon.

Will try to update more later this week but thought this might be the best way to let everyone know I am on the ground.