25 April 2011

Ripe for Harvest, my sending agency

Ripe for Harvest is the missions sending agency that I've been with for over 8 years. I am one of over 200 missionaries serving with this organization. Almost two years ago, Gregg Verbeff became the Field Director (a newly-created position). One of his responsibilities is to visit each missionary in the foreign field where they serve. His first-ever visit to the continent of Africa was to visit 5 RFH missionaries in East Africa - Uganda and Kenya. Gregg's 19-year old son, Hunter, also traveled with him. My friend Ryan (serving in Kampala, Uganda with Ravens Ministries) was the first missionary they visited.

I recently had the privilege of spending two days with Gregg and Hunter. It was very encouraging to me to meet them and to introduce them to just a few of the folks with whom God has me in relationship here in Kenya. On Sunday, we attended Jeremiah's and Carol's 4-hour church service

Gregg shares a few words with Jeremiah's congregation

Then Gregg treated all of us to a wonderful "nyama choma" (roasted meat) lunch at City Cabanas. The nine of us consumed two whole chickens, one goat leg, and a platter of greasy and yummy goat ribs! Plus lots of chips (french fries) and mukimo (mashed potatoes that are green because of the greens blended in).  We also enjoyed a live band from the Congo playing Lingala music, in addition to their accompanying acrobats. Click here to watch a short video of our lunch.

Hunter, Gregg, Derrick, and Jim arriving at City Cabanas

Joy enjoyed her chicken and chips!

Jeremiah and Jasmine

Derrick and Jim ate to their hearts' content!

On Monday, we hooked up with Joe at Java House for coffee and cake. Joe was able to share
a bit about his life history and his current circumstances and difficulties. We had a wonderful time of fellowship over great food and drink. I believe Gregg was able to encourage Joe.

We next met Masudi at Walkers, where he and I often meet over lunch. While we all consumed our delicious fried chicken, we also had a great conversation. Gregg gave Masudi some ideas for a future restaurant after he finishes his college course on becoming a chef. We especially discussed the idea of a pizza joint with a wood-burning oven.

Hunter, Gregg, and Masudi

21 April 2011

Celebrating birthdays

One of my favorite things to do in Kenya is to create simple birthday parties for my friends. There isn't much of a culture of celebrating birthdays here in Kenya. I guess it gets lost in the shuffle of surviving one day at a time and just living daily life. So... I bring the party! Sometimes they happen at my house, sometimes at their house, and sometimes at a restaurant. If we celebrate in someone's house, I make cake, cookies, or brownies. Yummy!

On March 6th, after a baptism at our church, my former homegroup had a reunion. We also celebrated Emily and Kim's birthdays. There were 12 of us in my small house. We had such a great time! In fact, I was enjoying myself so much... that this photo of Emily is THE only one I took! I did make a short video, though, of us singing "Happy Birthday" to the two of them. Click here to view it.

Masudi's birthday is March 14th

Rose and I helped Masudi celebrate his birthday. We also helped him eat the "Tuesday-buy-one-get-one-free" Pizza Inn pizza! And... we each had a scrumptious Creamy Inn "Perky Peanut Parfait"!

Collins turned 20 on March 30th

 After "Wacky Wednesday" burgers at Steers, the five of us - Sammy, Rose, Collins, Masudi, and I - walked across downtown Nairobi to Sno Cream. It has existed in the same location since 1954! They serve all sorts of ice cream - a selection to meet anyone's taste preference! I was disciplined and got a bowl of fresh fruit.

Margaret, Jim, and Derrick's birthdays are all on the same week

Derrick and Jim spent a weekend with me. We had great fun on Saturday! First stop was Uhuru Garden for some Kenya history. The park was created to honor Kenya's 1963 independence.

Our next stop was Splash Water World - a first for all of us. Unknown to us, there was a special event going on. It seemed as if half of Nairobi was there! No problem - the more the merrier!

The event was to promote reading among children. The boys each got a free book of local poetry and I also bought them each an issue of a new children's magazine.

The boys liked the water slides - a first for both of them. But they spent the majority of their time in the pool - a very rare experience.

18 April 2011

Good times with friends!

Jeremiah and Jasmine (2 months old)

Carol and Jasmine

Joy (three above photos are from February 2nd)

The pastor at my church in Nairobi, Doug, baptizing Emily (March 6)

Moses asked the questions (in Swahili) for some of the baptism candidates

Carol and I visited Ben and Vera in Kijabe (March 17)

Vera with Jasmine (3.5 months old) and David (1 year old)

It was Jasmine's first time to travel out of Nairobi

Moses, Rose, Emily, and I played a competitive game of Scrabble recently

I took Jim to the Kenya-Angola "football" (soccer) match at Nyayo stadium

14 April 2011

Hudson Taylor quotes

James Hudson Taylor (1832 – 1905), was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission. Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools. Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism.

"Missionary work is indeed the noblest any mortal can engage in. We certainly cannot be insensible to the ties of nature, but should we not rejoice when we have anything we can give up for the Savior?"

"I cannot tell you, I cannot describe how I long to be a missionary… to spend and be spent for him who died for me!"

"The occasional difficulty about funds never came from an insufficient supply for personal needs, but in consequence of ministering to the wants of scores of the hungry and dying around us. And trials far more searching in other ways eclipsed these difficulties and being deeper brought forth in consequence richer fruits."

"Depend upon it – God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies."

"Pray the Lord ever to give me the single eye, the clear judgment, the wisdom and gentleness, the patient spirit, the unwavering purpose, the unshaken faith, the Christ-like love needed for the efficient discharge of my duties."

"What, can Jesus meet my need? Yes, and more than meet it. No matter how intricate my path, how difficult my service; no matter how sad my bereavement, how far away my loved ones; no matter how helpless I am, how deep are my soul yearnings – Jesus can meet all, all, and more than meet."

"It is no small comfort to me to know that God has called me to my work, putting me where I am and as I am. I have not sought the position and I dare not leave it. He knows why he places me here – whether to do, or learn, or suffer."

"I often think that God must be looking for someone small enough and weak enough for him to use, and that he found me."

[Note - Photo taken from bing images. Description of Hudson Taylor's life taken from Wikipedia. Quotes are from "Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret".]

13 April 2011

Kenyans pay 25% more (since 3 months ago)

(excerpts taken from the Daily Nation, April 2011; article by Luke Mulunda)

As debate rages over the rising cost of living, the true picture of how Kenyans are paying through the nose to put food on the table is emerging. Comparative calculation of the rise in prices of basic commodities shows an average 25% jump in their cost between January 1 and April 20, further squeezing households budgets that are running on falling incomes or stagnant salaries.

Economically speaking, this means from the model low-income budget of $36 in January, a household is spending $9.00 more to buy the same quantity and quality of items.
Between January and April 20, the price of sugar, one of the widely used commodities by households, rose from an average of $2.00 - $3.50. The price of a 2-pound packet of maize floor has increased by an average of 10 cents between January and February, from 95 cents - $1.15.

According to calculations by the Consumer Federation of Kenya, the price of bread shot up by 6 cents, while tea leaves and milk went up by 12 cents and 6 cents respectively. Add the record-high fuel prices - over $5.00 per gallon - and life gets complicated for commuters and motorists.

Figures from Central Bank have pointed to life getting bumpier for Kenyans, showing inflation rising from to 9.17 in early April. Inflation has been on the rise from last October’s figure at just over 3 per cent.

This girl from a slum in Nairobi reads using a kerosene tin lamp for lighting. The price of kerosene, which many slum dwellers use for lighting has increased in the past week by 11 cents up to $1.10 per liter.

A vendor measures flour made from maize, sorghum, and millet at a market in Central Kenya. The high cost of maize has pushed the price of flour from 75 cents last month to $1.00 per two pounds.

Civil society members demonstrate in Nairobi to push the Kenyan government to lower food and fuel prices.