17 August 2010

A fun weekend with friends

Sammy and Rose

An intense Scrabble game with Julie (a friend from Omaha)

Rose and I enjoy baking when we're together

On Sunday, we attended the Israel Houghton concert in downtown Nairobi

Sudanese friends at school

Form Four (Senior year)

Form Two (Sophomore year)

Whenever I see the guys, I try to give them my back-log of newspapers. Below, Deng is so engrossed in the news (even as he stands in the sorghum shamba). Above, some of their classmates are also eager to get their hands on the paper.

Hattaway family

Terran, Todd, Naomi, Tony, and Mia

Mia recently started ballet lessons :)

In the last two photos, Mia is the one not in pink

Jim and I cycle to Ngong Hills

You can see by the look on his face how difficult it was
to climb these hills in such high elevation!

Two of the several children we interacted with throughout our day.
Notice the green "yes" visor the one boy is wearing to indicate 
his loyalties for the (then upcoming) referendum.

Ai! Mimi na choka sana!
[Translation - I am very tired!]

These are 5 of the 6 new wind generators on the hills.
Jim was quite enthralled with them (especially the "whoosh" sound they make).

We enjoyed getting off our bikes and sitting down.
We shared our picnic lunch with several children that strolled by.

It was a great day of adventure and challenge for both of us.
We've already discussed plans of doing it again in December.

More fun with Carol and her family

Celebrating Carol's birthday at their house

Joy enjoying a bubble bath at my friends' house

... and enjoying the garden

Kenya Votes for a New Constitution

With almost a 70% vote for "yes", Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for a new constitution during the August 4th referendum. Seven of the eight provinces convincingly endorsed it.

The current document was written in London in 1960.

An official ceremony will be held on Friday, August 27th to ratify the new document. This is a pivotal moment in Kenya's history!

02 August 2010

Please Pray for Kenya!

A referendum will be held on Wednesday, August 4th for a new constitution. Please pray with me that the voting process and announcement of the final tally will be free of violence!

Generous Father, may we have plenty in this city and in the field
Plenty in the fruit of our wombs and the fruit of our ground and our cattle
May there be plenty in our kiondos and our otheros
May there be plenty in the maize farms of the North Rift and the wheat fields of the Narok
May there be plenty in the waters of Lake Victoria, the rivers of the Cherangani Hills,
The Tana, the Athi, the Mara, and the waters of the Indian Ocean

May our forests be lush – Abedares, Mau, Kakamega, Mt. Kenya, and Mt. Elgon
May there be plenty in the coffee highlands of Nyeri and the tea fields of Kericho
The sisal fields of Taveta and the pineapple farms of Kilifi
May there be plenty of cattle in the North Eastern and the sheep of Molo
And the goats of Kajiado
And the donkeys of Limuru

May there be plenty in our cities with enough to go around
May the poor be lifted up and empowered

Bless us in this land that you O Lord our God have given us
May we abound in prosperity
May you O Lord open your good treasury and give us rain in its season and the sun in its season

May Kenya lend to many nations and not borrow
May Kenya be the head and not the tail
May she only go up and not down
May Kenya look to you at this crucial time

And as we faithfully obey the voice of the Lord our God
May we be careful to do all your commandments
And may you set us high above the nations of the earth

How good and pleasant it is before you O King
When brothers dwell in unity

May we walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called
With all humility and gentleness

With patience bearing with one another in love
Even as we stand on different sides of the question
Whether we are for “yes” or for “no”

May we be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God

May we grow to maturity to the measure and the stature of the fullness of Christ
Even as we stand as the servants of the Most High God in this nation

Father, we stand at the edge of change
Our leaders have taken their position and the nation is dividing into different camps
May we as Christians have our ears tuned into your voice of peace and unity
May we hear your heartbeat for this nation
As we walk toward August 4th and the referendum
May we be the peacemakers for we are the sons of God

We pray in confidence for we are called by your name
And all God’s people said “Amen”

 [Note: This is an excerpt of a prayer I heard at one of Nairobi's churches on July 25th.]

August Prayer Letter

Please allow me to share two quotes with you. I would appreciate it if you would use them to pray for me this month! Thank you!

We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

God's purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working toward a particular finish; His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God!

God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If I have a further end in view, I do not pay enough attention to the immediate present: if I realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious.
 - Oswald Chambers

Go forth and do what God told you to do. Do it with a pure heart and a right attitude. God wants your heart - not your performance, accomplishments, or appearance. Pray about it and release the results to God. Take the responsibility off of yourself and leave it with Him.

- Scott, one of the pastors at Christ Fellowship Church in Tennessee (during the GetAway)


Two years old!

With Uncle Zach

With Uncle Caleb

With Mom and Dad

Missionary GetAway

I was thrilled to be able to take part in a 3.5-day Missionary GetAway last month. It was held at the beautiful grounds of Brackenhurst Conference Center near Limuru.

Christian Hospitality Network has been hosting these events around the world for the past 9 years. People who appreciate the work of foreign missionaries donate to enable us to attend at no cost!

This GetAway was a wonderful time of rest and relaxation. I was refreshed, re-energized, and renewed. It was a great way to to be still (Psalm 46:10) and to “step out of the traffic” (Msg). I felt pampered and appreciated by the body of Christ in the United States. The church group leading it often called us their “heroes” and thanked us for our sacrificial service for the Lord that is far away from our friends, family, and the familiar.

We had the opportunity to take advantage of many free services (performed by the church team) such as: haircuts, massages, chiropractic adjustments, sessions with a physical therapist, consultation with two doctors, etc. They gave us a welcome bag of fun goodies and each evening when we re-entered our rooms a little surprise awaited us.

We had two evening services, both with great worship by three young people from the church team. One evening, we had a good time of prayer as we divided into our countries of ministry. Another evening we had a short message by Scott (one of the pastors from the church team).

Excursion to Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha

Thompson Gazelle

Strolling around the island, we enjoyed the sight of many animals!

View of Lake Naivasha from the island

Hippos were grunting and showing themselves just to my left!

This was the truck we rode in. I felt like a tourist :)

It was a special treat to be able to select from a list of free excursions! Walking around the island and getting up-close to the zebra, giraffe, wildebeests, gazelle, water buck, etc. was a lot of fun! We also saw several buffalo... from a safe distance away.

Article in Omaha Christian Living Examiner

The following quote is an excerpt from a recent short article about me by Tara Rye:

Who is my neighbor? Omaha grandma, Deb Smith says, “Kenya is my neighbor.” Just last month Deb Smith, mother of four and grandmother of six grandchildren turned 55. For the last eight years, she has served in Kenya as a neighbor.

Deb states, “Because I am a follower (or student) of Jesus and of His teachings, my life is to portray Him. So, as I meet folks I often stop and interact with them. My attitudes and actions should be like those of Jesus. I should take the time to truly see others and actually listen to them. I must give them the dignity and honor they are due. I try to laugh with them and share their joys. Or, as the case may be, I try to share their pain.” Deb takes Jesus literally, when He says, “To love your neighbor as yourself.”

While on a short-term mission trip to Kenya Deb knew that she must return someday. She has a small apartment in Nairobi (the capital city, population 3.5 million) and a mud hut with a thatch roof in a remote rural village. The nearest electricity to her mud hut is 3 miles away. She uses a small kerosene cooker to prepare meals that she often shares with her neighbors and a lantern to see at night.

See the entire article by clicking here.

Scrabble Games

Ben (left) and Joe (right) recently spent some time with me. Besides good fellowship and discussing the Word of God, we also played two 2-hour games of Scrabble. It was a first for both of the guys. Being avid readers, I knew they would catch on quickly and enjoy the challenge. We had a great time and plan to do it again soon!