Kenya

Highlights from Kate's Facebook Feed

Just in case you are not connected with Kate on Facebook here are a few highlights:

12805914_10153265076871854_413954805246675453_nBig sister kisses

 

I have never tried linking to a Facebook video, let's see what happens:

http://bit.ly/1TUk9DQ

 

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This is what we were doing last year at this time (carrying water), but thanks to our campaign last year, we still have a little bit of water left in our new water tanks.

And how about one more video link?:

http://bit.ly/1L6mFpr


Last Day of November

Yesterday was my forty second birthday. I spent the day hanging out with the kids and climbing up the hillside. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. 

The life we are currently living is not the life I imagined for  myself as a young man gazing into the future. Not at all. About the only part I got right was Kate. 

I had not imagined having children. There are now fourteen, and one on the way, in my life.

I had not imagined living in Kenya. It has now been almost eleven years here. 

I had not imagined a life without religion. I am so glad that Jesus led me to a religionless life. What freedom!

I had not imagined building a farm. There are now pigs, horses, donkeys, cows, chickens, and rabbits outside my door.

This moment, right now, it is not perfect. There are things, resources, people, and skills missing from my life. No, perfection is not a part of my life. Yet happiness is. I am happy. Happy with how things worked out. I tried out some of my imaginings on the way to forty two, none of them brought me happiness nor contentment. 

Living out my faith, my ideas, my commitments to family; these are the things that have made me happy to see birthday number forty two.

What will the future hold? Hard to say. I can imagine a future with:

More children rescued and given a hopeful future.

Our children living their lives faithful to their beliefs and convictions.

Kate.

A farm producing enough food for us and the hungry in this world.

I can imagine a better future, and hopefully just like that younger man gazing forward in time, this slightly older one will find that his future dreaming fell far short of what actually has come to be.


Mashujaa Day

Today, October 20, is Mashujaa Day here in Kenya. Also known as Heroes Day, it is a national holiday where Kenyans remember those who fought for independence and those who have contributed positively to post independent Kenya. No speeches here on The Shire, instead if I can convince myself to go and look for mutton, we will grill this evening and celebrate our heroes. 

I am not even sure who my heroes are anymore. See there is a problem with growing up, you realize your heroes were human after all. Frail, immoral, and otherwise just like you. How can a mere human be heroic?

Another heroic lesson one learns upon growing a bit older and wiser, heroes need not be superman. In fact super powers are not necessary. Sainthood is not a prerequisite. All that is needed is a willing heart, and the occasional heroic deed.

So who is my hero I will celebrate on Mashujaa Day? Kate is definitely my hero, and for sure my favorite person. This evening I'll toast her.


Baby Giraffe

We do not normally post much about the wildlife surrounding us here on the blog, but who can resist a baby giraffe?

Girafe

I took this from Rothschild's Giraffe Project's Facebook page. A cursory glance at their website indicates they are involved in conservation, which is something we care about as well. A world without giraffes is less a world than before.

(This baby was born in Soysambu Conservancy, which you would pass by or through to get to our place.)

 


Goodbye Dry Season, I Hope

Water fell from the sky today. Commonly known as rain. Not too much, but enough to actually get the ground wet. Mud actually stuck to the bottom of my shoes, and we slipped in the car on the road. Good times.

One of the big lessons that living in Kenya has taught me is; to try and live life more in tune with nature's cycles. You know, the seasons. We do not have winter, summer, fall, and spring here in Kenya. Just the wet and dry seasons. The fact of if it's raining or not raining has just as big an impact on life as the four seasons I grew up with.

There is no washing of the car during the dry season.

Bathing is not a daily occurrence during the dry season. (Once every three or four days.)

Water has to be rationed. First drinking water, then cooking, then hand washing, teeth brushing, and so on.

Dust becomes a part of you during the dry season.

Just try running down to the village during the dry season on the motorcycle without any eye protection.

You remember all those times when you were a kid spraying ant hills with the hose, and wonder why your parents did not scold you for wasting water.

If it is yellow let it mellow.

This particular dry season felt drier to me. Maybe it is the change of scenery. Now that we are living on The Shire the lack of rain is more pronounced. We have to feed the animals more since most of the grazing is gone. There is no green grass left. The place is really brown. Trees are looking worse for the wear, and there are no flowers. Water is harder to find. Thankfully a neighbor down the road drilled a well this year, and so we plus our neighbors have been able to get water via 20 liter buckets carried on a donkey's back.

It has been hot.

When it rained today it felt fresh, almost like the first flowers of spring. Not that we have any flowers yet, but still the dust was washed away. It cooled down a bit.

Now let us hope that the weatherman is wrong, like he normally is, and this is really the beginning the rainy season.


What Do We Not Talk About

There's this guy we met some few months back, Adam Mosley, who is moving to Nakuru to plant a Vineyard church. I know I know, do we really need another church in Nakuru? That's beside the point, he wrote an insightful blog post, and I thought I could respond to his 10 Things Missionaries Won't Tell You. 

1. THEY DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO WRITE…BUT THEY DO IT FOR YOU.

I can relate to this one. As someone who is not a trained writer it can sometimes be difficult to get the idea or thought from my head to the paper/screen. 

Also I tend to to be honest with my feelings while writing, which can get me into trouble. Especially with Kate. 

I/we do tend to write from a point of view to inform and relate rather than fundraise. Not that we do not want you to give, we need you to. We just do not want every message you see here to be about getting money from you. 

As for the tech aspect he mentions we outsource all that stuff. Our blog is hosted by Typepad, which means we just type and they do all the coding. We send our mass email out through MailChimp, which means the same thing. We just type and they do all the work. (I pay for Typepad but do not yet have a large enough mailing list to have to pay for MailChimp.)

2. FACEBOOK “LIKES” DON’T PAY THE BILLS.

Oh man this is right on. It's great for our egos (go ahead and like our page) and for spreading the word, but one has to take another step beyond the like button and actually donate for it to financially benefit us.

Something that Adam doesn't mention is the lack of privacy on social networks. Anyone can monitor your page, unscrupulous folks and government officials. Which means we have to be careful what we actually post.

3. THEY ASK FOR MONEY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE.

Here is where I diverge from Adam a bit. I don't mind asking for money, nor do I mind having to do so. What I don't like is having to craft a fundraising strategy. I hate censoring myself to keep from losing you as a donor or potential donor. Sometimes I fear being myself. (To which my father in law says keep on fearing.)

I am also a bit crazy and believe that God brings us the right people at the right time. Folks who are ready or looking for a place to donate. 

I don't end every post with a plea for funds. Come on, we are missionaries. We need donations, and I think everyone is aware of that. I will let you all know if we win the lottery. 

4. YOU’LL NEVER HEAR ABOUT THEIR WORST DAYS.

This one is pretty much true for me. Kate and I do try and be open and "real", but some struggles are hard to share in such an open forum. 

Though I am tempted to write about aging. I'm sure you all want to hear about a 40 year old fat man's changing body. 

5. THEY NEED A VACATION…BUT WON’T TELL YOU IF THEY TAKE ONE.

Partly true for us. We need a vacation. Really we could use one this August. Not likely, but if it happens I promise you will hear and see all about it. 

The beach sounds nice. Just imagine all the cute ~Eowyn pictures we could get, you could see me, Johnny, enjoying a frozen drink while lounging in the sand, and all the pics of Kate in her bikini I can covertly take and post! See lots of Facebook potential in a vacation.

6. HOSTING TEAMS IS A NIGHTMARE.

Sounds about right. We have never hosted a large group before, so no experience here for us. 

However we are willing to get our feet wet. So if you like traveling in a group, welcome. 

7. “GOING HOME” IS A LOT OF WORK.

So true. We do not even consider a trip to the U.S., mostly because of the expense. $12,000 for all 7 of us Americans last time I checked! We could build another house for that, even buy more acreage or a newer vehicle. Then there is the logistics of being in the U.S. Transportation, housing, food, and staying fresh for speaking engagements. 

8. IT’S EASY FOR GOD TO TAKE A BACK SEAT IN THEIR LIFE.

I am on the other side of Adam here, meaning I disagree. I feel closer to God because of what I am doing. It does help if you eliminate all religious obligation from your life. If I don't read the Bible today (haven't), no guilt. If the first thing I think of when waking up in the morning is bathing, no guilt. God dosen't care about the tricks we do to try and stay close to Him. He is always close no matter what.

I do not feel called to this life. This life is the only logical way for me to live out my faith. That takes off so much pressure to perform. I just live and do good while living. 

9. IT’S HARD TO TRUST PEOPLE.

True. We have been lied to, promised funds which never materialized, stolen from, and physically assaulted. In fact I have to work hard to not become too cynical. I say too, because I'm a cynic at heart. 

10. THEY ARE LONELY.

Personally I love being alone. Seriously. Love it. Kate on the other hand has been lonely here in Kenya. Looking different than everyone else only compounds the loneliness. However we have pushed through and now have a network of friends and acquaintances. 

 

Fantastic list Adam. I'm a bit jealous. I have yet to write a blog post that was so popular that my bandwidth was exceeded. I hope you guys find much success here in Kenya.