Thursday, December 31, 2009
Well, we're off. I'm currently sitting in the USO (a nice "waiting room" for military personnel and their families) in Houston, TX, waiting for our flight to Amsterdam to depart. We have had a whirlwind of a couple of months getting ready for our departure, but have been blessed beyond measure and have seen God's hand at work in mighty, incredible ways already. I can't wait to see what He does when we finally make it to Nairobi (only about another 24 hours from now...) Ugh! What a long trip! We sent out letters asking for prayer for many items at the beginning of November and have been overwhelmed with the amount of prayer and support that we have received. We had a goal of $6000 to raise for the trip, knowing that it would cost us a bit more than that and figuring that it was an extremely lofty goal. We thought the week before our trip that we'd be about $1500 short. But on Christmas Eve, we opened the mailbox and found exactly $1500!! We have had a bit more come in after that, as well, so we're thrilled that we're able to purchase additional medications and fulfill other needs while we're over there. What a blessing! I did what I thought was impossible...I left my babies for a whole month. Leaving those two sweet little guys was so difficult. I stood in the bathroom this morning and cried out to the Lord, saying, "I just don't think I can do this!" And I was really serious. But I did it. I hugged them and kissed them and told them I loved them and then turned around and walked away before they were even buckled back into their carseats. I still get teary when I think of it, but I know they're in good hands and that we're following the Lord's will right now in going to Nairobi. There's a peace. As soon as we got into the airport, we went to check in and they wanted to charge me for my bags. They didn't charge the other 3 travellers I was with, and when I called they told me I had 2 bags up to 50 pounds, so I was very confused about why I would be charged. Especially when I had been so diligent to make sure I knew all the details before we left. The people at the counter and on the phone were incredibly rude to us - and even told us they didn't believe us when we said we were on Active Duty Military Orders...good thing we did have the orders to prove it. In the end, after about 40 minutes of trying to figure it out, we finally paid the $50 and just let it go. It wasn't worth a fight. It occurred to me about half way through this incredibly frustrating scenario, that the Lord had His hand even in this...He knew that I needed something to distract me from leaving my babies. I still think God was taking care of me in all of this and keeping me from breaking down in the middle of the airport! And, amazingly, someone from our church gave us $100 to help with extra baggage costs right before we left. It covers exactly what we need for our round-trip. The Lord's hand is definitely covering us. So anyway, we're on our way. Please keep us in your prayers and we'll update you as we're able to. Mom - give my babies a huge hug and kiss for me. Tell them mommy and daddy love them!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I'm not making this title up..."Cows and Wows" was definitely the name of the Jacksonville Agricultural Fair located in Downtown Jacksonville amidst the skyscrapers and convention halls. We had a fabulous time showing the boys the real live cows, chickens, bunnies and sheep, walking through all the rides and food pavilions (we bought our tickets online, so we printed our tickets off the computer and I walked out of the house without any cash, meaning that we couldn't play any games or eat any fair food. What a bummer!) and watching a few shows. The shows were the highlight. We watched a man basically wrestle a real live alligator - wow! Then we went and saw a pig race. Grant was chosen to be the cheer leader for our section, so when our pig won, he was called up on stage. They asked him his name and he said, "I three." They said, "Oh, but what's your name?" to which he eloquently replied, "Ummm...." The crowd got a kick out of him. He received a blue ribbon (even without knowing his name) for winning and he was so proud of that ribbon, holding onto it for the rest of the evening! We also saw a dog show that was absolutely incredible. It was fun to watch the boys take it all in. They were dancing, singing, laughing and playing all night long. What a fun family night!
Dancing before the pig races started
The day had finally come...Chris was home and the boys were so excited to decorate. Most especially, however, they were greatly anticipating the setting up of the Christmas train, who's box had been tantalizing them for days. They couldn't wait to put that thing up! They were so cute as Chris pulled it out of the box. They both tried to help put the track together and they were so excited once it was finally up and running...they stood there, both of them jumping up and down in sheer excitement as they watched it go round and round. It really was precious. Patiently waiting for the okay to take the train out of the box...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We were going to decorate for Christmas on November 8 after Chris came home from work, so while he was on call on the 7th, Grant, Mason and I pulled out the Christmas tree to set it up so when Chris got home, we could decorate. Grant was so cute. As soon as he saw the box for the tree, he started jumping up and down, and all he could say was, "I'm so excited!" over and over again. I had the tree put together before their nap, but no lights were on it. So when the lights were on after he woke up from his nap, he came out rubbing his eyes, and they just kept getting bigger and bigger. After a few minutes of standing there silently rubbing his eyes, he turned around just as quickly as he could, tore off back to his bedroom where he shouted, "Mason, Mason, you gotta wake up! CHRISTMAS is here!" It was so cute.
As we had started decorating, I sat them both down and talked to them about Christmas being Jesus' birthday, and how he was born in a stable and the shepherds and wisemen came to see him and worship him. Then I told them that it was their job to put the Nativity set under the tree. They worked on it for at least an hour. After a while, Grant came to get me to see their handiwork. They did a great job - everything was perfect...except I noticed one thing that was strange. There was a race-car driver from one of his toys in the middle of the nativity scene.
I said, "Grant, who's this?" as I pointed to the race-car driver.
He matter-of-factly said, "That's a man like today, mommy."
I said, "Oh, it is, huh? A man like today?"
"Yep," he answered, "because we need to worship Jesus, too, Mommy!"
I thought that was great theology! Needless to say, the race-car driver is part of our Nativity set this year (and maybe every year after this, too). I'm not moving him for anything!
The boys have a new favorite past-time. They beg to do it at least 100 times a day. And I must say, it's getting me some great exercise as I run along beside them now that Grant's figured out the Turbo Speed button. :) They both hop on the toy motorcycle together and we go up and down the street for hours. They LOVE it. Aren't they cute?
Here we are half way through November and I'm just now blogging about something that happened half way through October. Sorry. Life has been so busy lately...
Chris was so excited to get to go to Biketoberfest here in Daytona back in October. His cousin, Chey, and his friend, Marty, came down here to stay with us and the three guys drove their motorcycles to Daytona Saturday morning, home Saturday night, then back again Sunday morning, home Sunday night. And then Chey and Marty drove all the way back through the frigid weather to KY. They put over 500 miles on their bikes in just two days. I can't imagine how many miles Chey and Marty put on their bikes on their trip to FL (they drove all the way down to the Keys before coming back up to Jacksonville). That's more driving that Chris had ever done. He LOVED it!
Our two little guys were bummed that Daddy was gone so much - and on the bike, nonetheless. But we did go to Destination Daytona with them one day and had fun looking at the motorcycles. Grant picked out a patch to put on Daddy's new leather vest (yes, a leather vest...he's big time now, people). As hard as we tried to find something other than a skull and cross bones, that's what Grant thought his daddy needed, so since we told him he could pick it out, we went with it. Actually, his vest does look pretty neat with the reflective skull on the back at night time. And yes, I do roll my eyes every time I see it. :)
As a side note, it's official...I'm a true biker's wife now. I went on my first ever motorcycle ride just yesterday while hanging on for dear life to the back of Chris as he drove me through our neighborhood that has a speed limit of 25 mph. :) Whoa! And I must say, I had fun! I was a little nervous, but it definitely was fun. Chris laughed at me and said I had a death grip on him. At least he finally got me on the thing - a year and 1/2 after we got it! ;)
So today I received an e-mail from someone with the correct spelling of the village to which we are going. It is the Mukeu (Muh-kae-you) village in the heart of Kikuyuland with a native tongue of Gikuyu. From what I can tell, it seems that while the people we will be staying with will speak Swahili and English, the majority of the people in the village will not speak either. Translators will definitely be necessary! The clinic's location will be up in the mountains. I hear it's beautiful. Due to the high elevation, even though it is close to the equator, we will find it to be rather chilly in the mornings and evenings. The average daily income here is about $2.50. And yet I'm told that the people here are more content and fulfilled than most Americans.
The population of the area is about 20,000. Compassion Works International has built a medical clinic and dental clinic there already; they are working on a maternity ward for the clinic which is desperately needed (women will hike to the clinic more than 5 miles in labor, have the baby, and hike back home within a couple of hours of giving birth) as well as a library for the community.
When I described the village before in my previous post, I spoke of an orphanage there...I don't believe that is the case afterall. So as you're praying for these people, use the limited information in this post, as opposed to what was given you before. Sorry. :(
I did find a picture of the medical clinic, but I can't save it to my computer to attach here. If you'd like to see it, as well as the family that I think we're staying with, go HERE. Otherwise, here are a couple of pictures I found of Mukeu. The first is of Dr. Sams (who is leading our trip this year) when he was there several years ago inside the medical clinic. The second is of the people waiting outside of the clinic to be seen.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
After our meeting last week with World Hope, I learned that there are several items that we are in need of for our trip: * Vitamins (especially children's and pre-natal) * Hand Sanitizer (we are taking gloves to examine the patients, however, we will not be able to change our gloves after each patient, relying on hand sanitizer to do a good enough job of sterilization. * Over the counter drugs such as tylenol and motrin - adults and children's * Any basic hygeine items such as Toothbrushes and Toothpaste * Ziplock Bags - we will be prepackaging the prescribed amounts of medication in ziplock bags to speed up the dispensing process in the pharmacy. * As always, LOTS of PRAYER is needed, too! :) You can find our prayer requests HERE In addition, any and all medical donations would be greatly appreciated! Thank you all so much for your incredible support as we prepare for this mission trip. It means so much to us, and I know that many lives will be changed (including, and perhaps most profoundly, our own) as a result of this trip.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Chris and I had our meeting last night with World Hope and are really excited! I took a bunch of notes, and thought you might be interested in seeing where we'll be, what we'll be doing, etc. I have included a tentative schedule below, along with website references so you can see what we're doing! Love you all! Thanks for praying. We will be staying at Karen Holiday Homes http://www.karenholidayhomes.com/ which is off the beaten path and about 20 minutes from the Hope Center. It is very safe, clean and does have a pool, if interested. A washing machine is available in the house. Wireless internet capabilities are available at the house as well as at various restaurants so for at least the first week, we can update you here. Tentatively, the schedule while we are with World Hope is as follows: Sunday we will go to church (1-½ -2 hours) and sort medications to prepare for our upcoming clinics. Monday we will go into the slums and make “house calls.” We will call on these people later in the week to check in on them, as well. Tuesday - Thursday we will be having clinic with occasional breaks for such things as watching the children perform music at their schools, watching the national “football“ team sponsored by World Hope, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Hope, the giraffe park http://www.africanmeccasafaris.com/kenya/nairobi/excursions/giraffecenter.asp, etc. If you have not seen the movie “Out of Africa” watch it. Evidentally it was filmed here. Chris will be doing "doctor" stuff here, and I will be working alongside him, as well as volunteering in the local orphanage (which if you know me, you know my dream has always been to serve in an orphanage in Africa - I couldn't be more excited!). Friday morning we will go to the Safari National Park http://www.africanmeccasafaris.com/kenya/safaris/parks/nairobipark.asp, Our mini-safari is just a few hours and should be over by noon. We will then leave for a small village where we'll be spending the remaining two weeks. Chris and the other two doctors will be doing clinics. While I'll be helping out in the clinics some, I will also be helping out with daily life - milking cows, hauling water, washing clothes by hand, cooking, entertaining the local children, etc. We're really excited to be staying in someone's personal home and living traditional village life first hand! Many of the homes there are traditional mud huts with dirt floors, etc. The family that we are staying with does live in such a home. They have, however, built a cinderblock home on their property where they host any mission families that come. This is where we will be staying. There is no running water from what I understand, and may or may not be electricity. They cook all of their food in a "smoke house" next to their house and I hear we'll be eating a lot of goat...hmm... We will be walking 1-2 miles each day through the mud (we have to get special "gum boots" that go up to our knees to do this) to get to the clinic on top of a plateau where this village is located with all dirt/mud roads. Between the hiking and goat-eating, I think I'll be losing some weight! Ha! It will be so interesting and I can't wait to share our stories with you. I'm sure our lives will never be the same. Thanks for continuing to pray with us! We'll keep you updated!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
We had a blast trick or treating this year! We had 9 kids all together and they really were down to business! It was seriously something like 90 degrees here that day, so it was REALLY hot - I had on a skirt and T-Shirt and I was miserable. I'm so impressed with these kids for having these costumes on! I tried to convince Grant to leave the part from around his face off, but he would have nothing of that. He wanted the WHOLE costume. Half way through the night, he looked up at my, crossed his arms, and sighed really big. I asked him what was wrong, and he just said, "Mommy, my legs are just really sweaty!" Ha! Go figure!
Mason didn't get into trick or treating too well. I thought if perhaps I would go up with him to the first 5 or so houses, he might figure it out, but he didn't, so I figured if it wasn't important to him, there was no way I was walking up to every house for candy. :-) He sat in the stroller most of the night contentedly holding his pumpkin. We realized later that he had figured out how to take the paper off of the suckers and I'm pretty sure he ate around 3 suckers...Hmmm...we finally took the pumpkin away. He definitely had a sugar high!
We came back to the house after trick-or-treating and had chips and salsa, apples and caramel dip and some drinks (definitely no hot chocolate down here this year!). All in all it was a great night. We enjoyed the fellowship and of course nothing's better than trick-or-treating for a kid! ;-)
We had a great day! Chris had (most) of the day off, so we spent the morning running errands and just enjoying being together since he's been working so very much. After naps, we went to the computer to have the boys help pick out a design for our pumpkin. After deciding upon our design, we gingerly embarked on our pumpkin carving adventure. Mason we less than amused and really just wanted to be held. Grant, however, found great joy in smelling the pumpkin, touching the insides and even using a pumpkin carving knife all by himself! He was quite the little helper and we ended up with a great jack-o-lantern! We spent lots of time in the bathroom with the lights off admiring our work together as a family.