It’s very early in the morning. I don’t sleep well in all honesty. I didn’t sleep at home because there is always so much to do at work and in prep for this trip both mentally and physically. Now that I am in Africa the excuses should be gone but the results are the same. Today my lack of sleep comes from not knowing what lays ahead for us today as missionaries and on Mt Kilimanjaro next week.
To say that I am scared would be wrong but to say that I am less than anxious would also be wrong. As a Christian I have tried to prepare myself for the things I would see here and the experiences I would have. I have determined that I should probably do as we say in the Great Banquet: don’t anticipate just participate.
Below are the pictures I have been promising. A little story follows each one that in no way captures what God is trying to teach me but it will perhaps give you a taste of Africa and our lives in Kenya. Thanks for taking the time to read, for being great prayer partners (we did and continue to need them please) and for being you.
One thing for sure that has come from this trip is the power of relationship. The impact of a smile, a rolled eye, a questioning look, a hug of success or encouragement and a simple shared memory or experience seem to be far more significant than many of the things we would normally consider. Everything in Africa seems amplified – positive or negative. Perhaps i am just more in touch with reality as the day to day process of my normal life is put on hold. Again, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you and love you dearly.
Here’s the trip thus far!
The beginning was the beginning! We had three planned connections from Indy and made exactly zero! Three days found us on four continents. As the picture pretty much sums up I was tuckered….but not from the physical part. I was exhausted because I put solving the problems of challenged air travel on my back. At each airport I negotiated our way to the next relying on my own ability to solve the problem (talking with my team, travel agent and anyone else that could help our plight) and not sincerely praying once that God would work it out. Sorry Father. We did arrive but our luggage did not – at least not yet.
(picture of me in the Istanbul airport – my first time to be on Asian soil. Won’t be my last! The people, air service and surroundings were great.)
Interestingly enough, our Kenya based missionary Dave Bell and myself both had the same thought occur to us at the church service on Sunday after the luggage had been missing for three days. “This may not be about you Joe. It may be about others.” I couldn’t argue with Dave since God had placed the very same thought on my heart as well. I felt so little as I realized I had been frustrated with the absence of my tooth brush and undies. Poor me! Oddly, after recognizing my recognizing my attitude, the luggage showed up just a few hours later.
(Kailey and me outside of the church service)
Much of this trip is around the building and Devlopment of sustained agriculture. Specifically inside of greenhouses. There are three phases: build the house, plant the house and manage the crops. We have done all three to different degrees. But there is more. There is also teaching the recipients to share at least 10% of the harvest with other orphanages or children’s homes and teaching them how to sell or trade the excess harvest for the other things they need.
(this is a picture of me getting to turn the water on for the very first time at a house planted a couple weeks ago by another CSI missionary team.)
(This is our team building a greenhouse from the ground up. Certainly not in my normal skill set but I had great instructors!)
(This is the inside of a greenhouse after the crops are coining in. It was planted last season. The greenhouse we put up this week marks the 18th house put up by one of our missionary teams)
The trip has been about the babies as indicated by the smile on my brides faces below. Actually the picture is missing but just envision Barb with the biggest smile you can! The missionaries protect the children at all cost and keep their pictures off the net.
It has been about the children who would otherwise be starving if the ministry were not here. The smiles in their eyes and the songs on their lips made my heart smile. The ministry matters my friends, Thanks for your support.
We have been able to go on a one day camera safari. Got to see a few of my favorite animals (14 species and a few birds!) Rhinos and warthogs are my favorite mammals though I would love to see a gorilla and an elephant at some point in the wild.
Enjoy the pictures my friends. I thank you again for the prayers and the support. As I learn more about myself and Africa I remain humbled to be where I am and to have what I have. Among my many blessings rest assured that you are one.
Each night we have devotions as a team. Last night was my turn. It is a message I teach my students at Purdue and try to remind my team. We have filters that we use to look at life. Sometimes those filters of judgment belong but other times we need to change our lenses. God is doing a good job adjusting the lenses this week!
We climb a practice mountain tomorrow to prepare as a team. Somewhere between 9-11,000 feet above sea level. (Yes I know that is a big difference but seem to have conflicting data at this point. Probably over the feet versus meters thing. Regardless it is nothing like Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet above sea level.) It will be a great time for the climbing team to learn to work together.
Embrace the day my friends. It is a day the Lord has given each of us.