30 November 2013

Beauty of a Prayer Garden

The prayer garden is located at Don Bosco Youth Center off of Dagoretti Road.

Celebrating birthdays in Kijabe

I think it's always nice to get out of the big city - Nairobi - and get away from the traffic, noise, and crowds.

Carol, Jacky, and I - plus two of their kids - traveled to Kijabi.
We visited our mutual friend, Vera, to celebrate 3 birthdays.

David, 4 years old

Jasmine, 3 years old

Joshua, 2 years old

Vera and Dorothy (14 months)

Carol, Vera, and Jacky

It was a 12-hour day for me (8am - 8pm), most of it on the road back and forth. But it was well worth it, as we always have a great time together!

Nyahururu and Nairobi, two locations and two missionaries

I traveled to Nyahururu to visit Joanie (fellow Ripe for Harvest missionary).
As you can see from the sign, the town is at the equator and is at just under
 8,000 feet in elevation. Where I live in Nairobi, the elevation is about 6,000 feet.
Nyahururu tends to be chillier and also gets a lot more rain. 

It's always great to see Thompson Falls!
It's 240 feet tall and is named for Joseph Thompson, an early explorer of Kenya.

I find chameleons quite fascinating. These Jacksons are especially good-looking.

Not the best shot, but I enjoyed watching
this butterfly flutter about from flower to flower.

I ordered a flask of chai and enjoyed the beautiful ambiance
at the Thompson Falls Lodge while reading a book.

We shared some laughs when Joanie joined me later :)

Each night I enjoyed building and stoking a fire,
basking in its warmth and watching it flicker and dance.

One week later, Joanie visited me for a couple of days. We had a good time exploring a few fun spots in downtown Nairobi, eating some great meals, watching a movie, and chatting about cross-cultural ministry as aliens living in a foreign country.

I love chai, but sometimes I think maybe I drink too much of it.
Perhaps I should cut down to just one cup per day :)

One of our favorite places to eat in Nairobi is L'Arena Pizzeria!

28 November 2013

I Fold My Hands

Like a praying mantis, I am feeble.
I am weak.
I am nothing.
I’m frail.

I am so fragile, relying on my spindly self-assurance.
And yet a zephyr - a mere breeze - could topple me.

Like a praying mantis, I am compelled to clasp my hands.
I am compelled to look to you, my God.
I fold my hands and I look to you.
As I teeter precariously on the edge, I clasp my hands.

I look to you, God.
I acknowledge you as my creator.
You are my provider and the lover of my soul.

You designed me as I am – frail, fragile, and feeble.
Without you I would fall.
Without you, I would fail.

It is in your wisdom that this is so.
I am designed to look to you.
It’s in my nature.
It is in my very DNA.

I am created to need you.
I cannot survive without you.
In your absence, I exist merely in a vacuum.

I look to you, my God.
I enter your presence.
I take a posture of humility.

I am still before you and I wait.
I wait for you.
I wait in expectant anticipation.

A calmness and a peace surrounds me.
I bow my head.

Like a praying mantis, I fold my hands.
My fingers interlock,
As I lock my attention onto you.
I clasp my hands in a prayer of submission to you.

I look on high,
For that is where you dwell.

As my focus zeroes-in on you alone,
The things of this life blur and fade away.
My concerns fade into the background.

I hold my hands in reverence before you.
I am quiet and I rest in you.
You are mine and I am yours.

As I fold my hands,
I am aware that you hold me in your hands.

I am gripped by your love.
Your love surrounds me.

And as you hold me in your hands...

I fold my hands
And I proclaim that I love you.

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While working in my little yard/garden space yesterday, I spotted this Praying Mantis. Because I have long admired them and find them so intriguing, I often stop whatever I'm doing and linger to observe them. As per usual, I did that this time and even took a few photos.

Later, in the evening, my homegroup from church practiced an exercise of 'soaking' in God's presence. As I quieted my soul and focused on Him, thoughts of Scripture and worship flooded my mind and spirit. I got out a pen and paper and tried to keep up with the meditations as it all flowed so quickly.

Included in what I penned, was this piece about the Praying Mantis.

This tiny, fragile insect is such a perfect symbol of prayer to me. Perhaps it will also prompt you to 'fold your hands' in reverence before God.

27 November 2013

Vervet monkeys

I took these photos at my house. Vervet monkeys often invade our neighborhood in search of anything edible. On this particular day, it was only females and their young - approximately 15 of them in total. Other times, males are in the group as well and they can number up to 30!

Sure, they're cute and I even enjoy watching them frolic in the trees.

But they are quite pesky and annoying, as well! They eat my landlords' fruit and my flowers. Additionally, they break tree branches. I can count at least five times they've come inside my kitchen! Three of those times were Vervets at the house where I currently live. The other two times were Sykes monkeys at a previous house. All five times, they grabbed some of my food (rice, cupcakes, eggs, etc) and ran back outside with it... sometimes leaving a mess behind them.

Just a day in the life of a missionary in Africa :)

Solar Eclipse

I absolutely love being in God's out-of-doors! I'm amazed at the beauty of his creation all around us.

On November 3rd, a hybrid total solar eclipse was visible in northern Kenya. In that area, Turkanaland, 
it was dark for 15 seconds. The entire eclipse was approximately two-hours long.

In Nairobi, at the peak of the eclipse, the moon covered 80% of the sun.

Myself and several members from my homegroup gathered at an open field to view it. 
In addition to us, we shared my single pair of viewing glasses with several folks passing by.

One of many conductors and drivers who borrowed my glasses at their bus stage
One of many children who were curious about the sun

We had an added bonus of a beautiful rainbow in the eastern sky,
just as the sun was setting in the west.

We watched the whole thing unfold with the ever beautiful Ngong Hills on the horizen.