Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Year

God's plans should overwhelm you. I am overwhelmed. In a great great way. SO MUCH is unfolding, that I have no time to even sit down and blog, and I am terribly behind on updating what is going on. I have a ton to tell about Kenya, and I still will make sure I post the great stories, but I couldn't let this date pass without posting something.

One Year ago July 11th, God amazed us in a way we never expected. He spared our lives during the Kampala bombings. We are still in awe of what He has done and following every step He puts in front of us. 

Read through this. This scripture came to life after our group survived the bombings. 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
   my God, in whom I trust.”
 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
 You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day, 
 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
 You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.
  If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
 no harm will overtake you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
  “Because he[b] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”

I praise You God for all You have done for us and allowed us to experience. I thank You for the testimony you have painted in our lives and even in times of trial or question, I will follow you and trust you all my life. 

This is the post from last year that still gives me chills when I read it... I believe God typed these words with my hands. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kenyan Journey

After stepping foot in Kenya this time last year, I knew I loved this country, but I had forgotten how much I loved it until once again placing my foot in the dry Kenyan dirt. The experiences and adventures have begun quickly after leaving the airport.

“Kabugute!” we all proclaim as we see our new friend and host approach us at the airport. “Karibu!” He welcomes us in Swahili. “Right this way,” Kabugute motions after we exchange hugs and meet his wife. Kabugute is a friend of ours that pastors a church in Kenya that he planted about two years ago. Just upon meeting him, you quickly see his heart for God and love for people. “You guys like… what you call it in the States… Bar-B-Q?” The word Bar-B-Q rang like music in our ears and made our meat deprived mouths water with anticipation. “Lets do it!” Cary tells him.

After a short drive through the Nairobi traffic we reach our destination. It did not resemble the Jim n’ Nicks I picture, but the smell rivaled. Smoke is rising from many different tent like structures all in one area. Cooked meat aroma floats through the air. My stomach is turning with excitement. We walk in and are flooded with men in long white coats, obviously the chefs. I realize it is a market of meat vendors, each selling their special product with unique taste. Cary, Colby, Will, and Kabu’s family sit down at a corner table clothed with red Coca-Cola labels, as Kabu pulls me over the side and said you come with me. After pushing away the hoard of people wanting us to buy from them, we step to the first vendor. Kabu and he exchange some Swahili as I sit and soak in the smell. “Taste,” Kabu says as he picks up a piece of fresh meat off the grill and pushes in my direction. I toss it in my mouth ignoring the scorching temperatures and delight in the taste. “… it’s goat! What do you think?” I knew I was enjoying it so the shock of the word goat was less damaging as if I would have heard it before I threw it in my mouth. I realized we were sampling the products. Like fine wine, we tasted a few and decided which one was best for our table to enjoy. Two goats portions and one beef. The chef prepares a large cutting board full of meat, bones, and knives, and brought it to our table. We sat around, prayed over the meat and dug in. Us Americans sat for a few moments realizing we were the only ones that thought silverware was necessary, but upon understanding we are using the “African fork,” which is two fingers and a thumb, we adapted and moved forward. Delicious! And a great experience to go along with it.

The word right now that comes to mind that God is doing is “stirring.” Things are moving all around us and deep inside of us. Steps are about to be taken but in what direction I still have yet to realize. I know in the perfect timing God will reveal what is next in Kenya and Uganda. All around us we are witnessing His Will at work. It is truly amazing. I have to remind myself to not be impatient since God is never early, and He is never late.

Many many many adventures to tell of all that has unfolded in Kenya… I don’t have time to write this moment as I sit in a hot Kenyan cyber cafĂ©, but for a quick preview… Camels… elephants… and a Maasai tribe encounter ( Check this out and I will tell more about it as soon as I can.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Remembering the Memories

I know. I know. These are the first words I have written that tell of the incredible journey we have already seen just in the past two weeks. Forgive me that they have taken so long. Honestly, this time it has been because of so much that is going on, time to sit and write has become a luxury again. Now I am sitting in the Entebbe airport waiting to board the next flight to Kenya. The Kenyan adventure I will tell about soon...

But for the past two weeks in Uganda, they have been wonderful. More than I can say is going on and God is continuing to stir things and push us into motion. The kids are doing wonderful. Thriving is a fitting word. Their English is improving and they have become closer as a family over the past months. Its amazing what a transformation physical care, love, and Jesus can do on lives. We have watched it take place. They have gone from visible rib cages to full bellies, from hopeless to hope filled. Only by the hands of God alone could any of it have unfolded. We are witnessing it again…

The things I had forgotten quickly came back to me after landing in Uganda. The smells… oh the smells. Even though certain ones are unpleasant, they bring a nostalgic feeling. A little like the aroma of cut grass reminding you of summer, burning trash reminds me that we are back in the place we love. Sounds backwards, but after experiencing it first hand, you fall in love with this place. I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” say, “You can never step foot in Africa once.” I believe it.

I had forgotten how cold the showers are. Every time I step back under the faucet, I feel like I should be getting used to it, but it is the same every time. A frigid shot of ice. I can count on consistent high shrills from Colby after hearing his shower water turn on. The pace of life is so much slower, sometimes it is an adjustment and we have to remain patient, and sometimes it is nice. At night, the sounds that fill the room are different than the normal Alabama suburbs. Crowing roosters, barking dogs, and many other interesting things that keep us awake. One even Sherry walked in the guys room because of an consistent beep of an alarm that would not turn off. “Guys!, who’s alarm is that?” With frustration from the sound and now Sherry’s confusion, Mitch quickly responds, “It is the BAT!” A large fruit bat that calls our home “home” beeps all night long. Mitch and Colby have made many unsuccessful attempts to end that sound and the bats life, but have yet to come through. If that were not enough, at 5:30 every morning the neighborhood mosque blares a singing man over the loud speaker to wake all that are in the area. Earplugs have become necessities.

We have a team of six interns, more on the way, and just welcomed in an adopting family. We had the amazing opportunity to witness this adopting family meeting their two new children for the first time ever in the airport. Everyone’s attention was directly to the mother and father embracing their entire family. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

We have been working hard at Rays of Hope school in one of the slums in Uganda. The need there is overwhelming and often we don’t know where to start. We have re concreted floors, built stairs, and now working on framing doors. We also met some amazing people doing soccer camps in the community with the kids.

I hate that this post is so general and lacking details, but for now I am just giving a general update. I will post more consistently about stories and other adventures that are unfolding. This is just a start.

Thank you for the prayers and support. That alone is making difference larger than any of us realize. One day we will know. God is opening doors I never dreamed could even be opened and continuing to amaze us as we walk this journey.