Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sorry for the Silence

It's been quite a while since I've managed to get an update together. Things here in CA have been a bit of a whirlwind. On January 13th my mother fell and fractured her left femur (the biggest bone in your leg) into three pieces. She had to undergo major surgery and has been in rehab the past two weeks. We are hoping to bring her home on Monday.

I also helped a friend say goodbye to her husband this week. He had ALS and got to the point where he could no longer breathe independently. I was honored that she asked me to stay with them when they said goodbye as the medical staff removed his ventilator. It was a painful day but at the same time I know in my heart that he is no longer suffering. After all this time with a body that refused to cooperate he is dancing on the streets of heaven. Please pray for my friend as she grieves her loss. She gave birth to their first child just two and a half weeks ago.

William and I were scheduled to head home to Kenya today. Because of all of the circumstances we chose to postpone our trip by one week. So this week we will be getting my mother settled in at home. We will be able to attend my friend's funeral. And finally we will be able to take care of all those last minute details we haven't had time to do in the last few weeks.

I'm definitely feeling a bit homesick for Kenya. Over the course of our stay I began to get a bit concerned that I wasn't feeling an urgency to get back to Africa. I worried whether I would be ready to go when the time came. But I am feeling pretty ready. It is amazing how God works. I feel like he has given me the grace to be where I need to be when I need to be there. I'm not sure if that really makes sense but it is how I feel right now. I would have never wanted my mom to break her leg or my friend to lose her husband; but what timing that I could be here when it all happened.

I'm also thankful for this week of some concentrated time with my family as we transition my mom into life at home again. She won't be able to start putting any weight on her left leg until mid-April. She basically has to learn to walk again. So please pray for her during this challenging time.

Once we are back in Kenya I should go back to a semi-regular schedule of posting updates on our work there. Thanks for hanging in there with us!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I usually try not to use the blog for whining and complaining. But I must confess I am a bit frustrated today. I thought that once we arrived in the USA our immigration nightmares would be over. Ah, was I naive!

So William has received his permanent resident card (aka Green Card). Which means that he basically has most of the same rights and responsibilities as citizens. But he is not actually a citizen. Normally to become a citizen you have to live in the United States without leaving for 5 years. If you are married to a citizen then the time is reduced to three years. We have recently heard that if you are working for an approved mission organization that is based in the USA they will often allow two of your three years to be served overseas. That all sounded great to us. We figured that William will now have the freedom to come and go between Africa and America without stressing about a visa.

Well it turns out that if you are a permanent resident and you leave the USA for extended periods of time they consider it to be abandoning your interest in living in America. They can take away your green card and deny you re-entry into the states! So if you want to leave for any extended time you have to apply for something called a "Re-entry Permit". And of course you have to pay a re-entry permit fee. Surprise surprise! It allows you to leave for up to two years at a time. It must be fully processed before you leave the country.

So today I get to spend my afternoon applying for a re-entry permit for him. It looks like the more times you get a re-entry permit the harder it is to renew each time. So I guess at this point I just need to apply, follow the rules, and continue to trust God as we take things one step at a time.

I will say that over the course of the last year I have grown more and more appreciative of what an amazing country America is. Which makes it a little easier to understand why it is so difficult to get in.

Oh, and I just want to mention that the instructions for filling out the form are 8 pages long. That is just the instructions alone! Ahhhhhh big sigh.....

Thursday, January 01, 2009

One Year Ago Today

Yesterday William and I were desperately trying to remember what we did New Years 2007/2008. Did we have a party in Kenya? Did we even stay up until midnight? Then we remembered...... oh yeah, we were having post-election violence!!!

We went home early because no one really wanted to be out walking around in the dark during those times. We were in bed long before midnight but we couldn't sleep. We heard gunshots in Kipkaren town.

The next morning we went to church to bring in the New Year along with everyone in our community. We sang a few songs had a brief message and then a fast prayer before everyone quickly disbursed. I was incredibly shocked. While I was thinking "That was the shortest Kenyan service I have EVER been to!" William grabbed my arm and started pulling me towards David Tarus' house. Then I realized that the service wasn't supposed to be so short!

Word had come that the violence had reached our community. There was a gang of young men at a neighbors house demanding that the man looking after the house give the livestock to them. The neighbor was away at the time. My co-worker Allison and I were told to stay in the locked house while the men went to try to stop the theft. They wound up appeasing the gang by giving them his highest quality bull. The group left with the bull and threats.

I remember sitting in the house with Allison watching the movie "Cars" with David's youngest son. While we watched the movie the men sat outside in a huge circle strategizing how best to protect our community.

Maybe January 1, 2008 should have been a clue to me that it was going to be a wild and wacky year to say the least.

Today I am thanking the Lord for a new day, a new year, and new beginnings. It is my prayer that we will see God do great things in our community of Kipkaren this year. I am praying for revival, renewal and new beginnings. Please join with me in praying for Kenya and the ministry of ELI during 2009!