Sunday, April 23, 2017

Love One Another

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)

I must admit – I keep going back to Kenya because I get out of it as much as I put into it. I always go planning on loving on these kids, but it turns out the kids have just as much love to give in return. 






  






In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing these pictures, and others, telling you where we were and what we were doing, but some times, pictures need no explanation.

Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 Kenya Log Entry 2

Most people give me way too much credit for taking these trips to Kenya. Sure, we have some rough days, but it’s not like we spend two weeks living in a grass hut with no running water.

The volunteer house where we stayed in the neighborhood of Kidfarmaco in Kikuyu isn’t too bad. It’s actually pretty nice. And this was my first trip to Kenya where the electricity didn’t go out a single time the entire time I was there. Which makes me chuckle since the power went out at home while we were gone.
 Here’s the front entrance to the house.
 One of the office’s in the backyard.
 View of the house from the office.
 The living room.
 One of the bedrooms. As spacious as some of the rooms are, you can imagine them getting a little cramped when each bed is accommodating a volunteer and the remaining space in the room is filled with all they need for anywhere from two weeks to six months.
 One of our team members, Rachel, journaling our first morning in Kenya
The other team member, Kenzie, enjoying the morning sun. There was still snow on the ground when we left Wisconsin the day before. Oh, that’s right, there was snow on the ground when we returned two weeks later. 
 
 Rachel and Kenzie doing laundry in the front yard. One of the few things I miss while I’m there – the washing machine. 

Next time - we actually start doing stuff. 
.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Kenya Log Entry 1

Though I’ve been home from Kenya for almost a week, I am still sorting through pictures. Remember back in the day, when we had to wait for all those rolls of film to be developed to see what we did and where we went? Oh, but that’s right, we had to be choosy about what pictures we snapped, and couldn’t shoot over 1500 on one trip.

How had I ever survived?

I can see dragging this trip out over several weeks, so you’ll have to bear with me. Those 1500 pictures need to make their presence known.

Ah, but first the trip there. 
 Our team consisted of my daughter Val, as our team leader, her co-worker Rachel and Rachel’s friend Kenzie. On Val’s front stoop, ready to pack the car.
 Car’s packed. 
  One last stop for American food, at Gus’s Drive-In in East Troy. 
 Our home for the next thirteen hours. (What were we thinking by booking a thirteen-hour flight?! In the past, we’ve had two eight hour flights with a reasonable lay-over. This time we didn’t have a layover, just a mad dash to our next flight, which was a mere five hours.)
 The girls settling in. 
 People who complain about airplane food have never taken an international flight. If anything, they feed you too much on those long flights. I did greatly appreciate the three a.m. chocolate Hagen Daze. 
 Our plane in Doha, Qatar. 
And we made it! The most exciting part was that our ride at the airport met us with a sign which read, “TUMAINI VOLUNTEERS”. It made us think that we had actually made it – and not just to Kenya, but as an actual nonprofit organization making a difference in a third world country. That was the picture I wish I would have gotten. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

He is Risen

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

The last three months have been filled with much sadness and stress, along with a smattering of joy and peace. Mom’s decline, Mom’s passing, dealing with things she left behind. A new computer program at work and the many long hours involved with that. My fourth trip to Kenya, which was a great success.

And finally, a hand injury, which is why I will cut this post short.

It is Easter Sunday. Jesus Christ has risen from the grave, has conquered death and the devil, so that we might have eternal life. So that I don’t have to wonder where my mom has gone, so that I know I will see her again someday. So that I shouldn’t have to stress about things like computer issues or long trips in a plane to a third world country.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Your massive sacrifice and for granting us peace and eternal life. Amen

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Here it is Palm Sunday, and here I am in Kenya. Hopefully this will post on my blog as scheduled. I never know with technology.

Before I left for Kenya, I made sure my ducks were in a row, paying the bills for the next month, making sure Hubby knew where the important papers were. I wanted to be ready for anything.

This parable, one of the last which Jesus shared with His followers, reminds us to always be ready. I know when I will return home from Kenya, but no one knows the day or the hour of when Jesus will return.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25, New International Version)

25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’


13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Parable of the Mustard Seed

I am writing this prior to leaving for Kenya and planning on it posting on my blog while I am gone. I hope that works and you read this on schedule.

Every time I go to Africa, it is in great hopes of doing great things. This parable reminds me that even the smallest thing can become great. But also, it’s not me that makes anything turn out right; it is only through the grace of God.

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast (Matthew 13, New International Version)

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”


33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Getting Ready to Go

As I write this it is 3:30 in the morning. I’ve been awake for about an hour and a half. I have a lot on my mind. Besides work, my mom’s affairs, publishing my novel, among other things, I am of course most excited about leaving for Kenya in 36 hours. I have so much to do before then, mostly packing and remembering what to pack. I’ve been there enough times that you would think I had this down to an exact science. Instead, however, the contents of my head remain as scattered as ever.

I know that most people don’t understand why I keep going back, why whenever my feet hit the sidewalk outside of the Nairobi airport, I feel like I have returned home. I’ve taken another quick look through my pictures and none of them do that feeling justice. You just have to be there and not only see the sites, but smell the smells and hear the sounds. Feel that dry breeze on your face or that dry hand in yours.

One of my goals this trip is to actually take a picture which captures those feelings. In the meantime, here are some totally random photos from previous trips. I tried to find ones which I maybe haven’t posted before.






 
Also, I wrote my Sunday blogs to post as scheduled, but I don’t know if I will have internet access to post them to Facebook and my other social media. So please try to return to this blog on your own the next two Sunday mornings. Thanks and God bless you all while I am gone. I'll have lots more pictures and stories to share when I return. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Parable of the Sower and the Seeds


Here’s another famous parable.

The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13 New International Version)

 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”


(If you’ve ever seen the 1973 movie “Godspell” or the play, you may remember that this is the song which follows the telling of this parable. I wish I could have found a video of the parable itself. It’s pretty cute. I suggest you find the movie and watch the whole thing if you never have. It just dawned on me that maybe I should do a blog series where I share the songs from “Godspell”.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

What do these pictures have in common?

It’s time to dredge up some horrible pictures from my past. There are many more floating around my house and someday I’ll share them as well.

First up is one of those warm late summer days when we made homemade root beer with Dad. Not the best picture of Dad, but at least his back is to us. The little one is my niece Paula. She had to wonder what in the world we were doing. And my sister Pat was being her typical goof-ball self. 
 Here we are demonstrating our sheer grace and talent. Every winter, Dad would flood the garden so we could have our own small ice skating rink. I would be the one wearing the vintage snowmobile suit with my arms in the air.
 And here’s a demonstration of Pat’s horsemanship skills, aboard our cousin’s horse Shawn. Need I point out my groovy knee-high socks. 
 Your last chuckle for the day. Ready for my seventh-grade Christmas choir concert. Mom, of course, whipped up this dress during the week before. And for those of you who continue to comment that my hair is currently getting so long and you’ve never seen me in long hair before, now you know why. 
Looking at these photos, I seem to have had a penchant for the color red. (Made you look back at the pictures, didn't I?) 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

That one pink striped jacket

I’ve been sorting through old family pictures and getting a kick out of it. Man, what dorks we were! But hey, it was the sixties and seventies, so everyone was in the same boat.

I’ve barely made a dent in the boxes of pictures from my mom or even the dozen or so photo albums I’ve had stashed at my house for years. I do have other things to do, so I will have to give this project a rest for a while, at least until I am back from Kenya the middle of April.

In the meantime, though, here’s a taste of where I get my wanderlust from. 
 My sister Pat and I with Mom in the back of the pickup camper. From the date on this photo, 1967, my guess it was taken somewhere along the way to Niagara Falls.
 Again, 1967, so perhaps the same trip.
 Pat and I at the motel we parked at in Orange Texas in December of 1967.
 Coming out of our relative's beach house at Virginia Beach in 1968.
 The date on this one was 1969, the summer we went out west. I always suspected I knew where this was at (I was seven years old! How did I know anything?) I looked it up on Google.maps, and I think I could be right. I think it's Peaceful Valley Campground in Le Sueur, MN.
 Still June of 1969 and still somewhere out west. I'm not sure why we bounced back and forth between color and black and white film, but I am pretty sure it's the same trip, if only for the fact that I never seem to have changed my clothes.
 One of the geysers at Yellowstone.
 Hot springs at Yellowstone. And still the same clothes, but at least it  looks like Pat changed her pants.
Let's move ahead a few years and get us in some new clothes. Here I am with Pat at Wall Drug, in South Dakota, in 1971.

That's it for tonight. Come back on Friday for pictures of the rest of the family.