God is good all the time, all the time God is good

I have written about it before, but there is something I hear often, and I really like it.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.  Because that is His nature.

Often it is done as a response, that is, one person will say, “God is good,”  to which the other will respond, “All the time,” and so on.  I even get to hear it in other languages.

Mungu ni mwema, wakati wote. (Swahili)

Ngai ni mwega (all I remember of Kikuyu)

I do not know where it came from, maybe the Anglican church brought it, but I really like it, espcially since it engages the other person into saying and understanding it.

Do you believe God is good, all the time?  How about today, is God being good to you? What does it mean to you that “God is good?” Is that really what He thinks is good?

He is being good, that is His nature. If you cannot see or understand that right now, it is not because of anything He has failed to do.

I was going to write about this in another post, but I think it is appropriate here.  God wants us to grow up. We are all a bunch of self absorbed whiners, who cannot see the “big picture.”  When any one of our little useless plans gets botched, we go whining to God, “How could you do this to me?”  Yes, I mean that, and I do not care how important your plans were.

We have God’s response to that kind of whining, and it came from a man who would seem to have every right to complain. Read Job 39-41. I know you will probably not read it all, so let me highlight it:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.

Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?

Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.

God is being good to you right now. Let us all grow up a bit today.

Andrej Too

dsc01329I was kind of late posting Cammy’s post about Petr’s bike because I had to upload the photo and we had some “issues” with internet for a while (in addition to the normal internet issues).

Anyway, in the mean time we got a bike for Andrej.  He and I rode around the neighborhood on our bikes.  He was having a lot of fun, and I am braking in the engine.  Everyone benefitted 🙂

Petr’s Bike

dsc01315Here is a picture of Petr on his new bike!  The bike was given to us by another missionary family.  Petr is very glad to have a bike since we left his in America.  He is riding on the streets of our estate.  Andrej is waiting for a bike of his own, asking for one every day.  We know that the Lord will provide one in due time.

A Visit

The Gamboa Family

We were able to visit with a family, the Gamboas, from our home town!  They are close friends with Paul’s sister, Bonnie, and her husband, Bob.  We have had the privilege of getting to know them in past years.  The Gamboa family stopped in Nairobi on their way to Sudan, visiting another missionary family we know.  Currently, the Gamboas are living in Switzerland. We were very glad to be able to spend some quality time with them.  Paul and I were encouraged as they shared about their last year and a half in another country.  We laughed about some of the cultural differences, shared some of our struggles, and spoke about lessons learned through the grace of God.  Our visit lasted until 1:00AM!  There was something very comforting about being with people who are familiar to us, people who remind us of home.  I will cherish our visit for a long time.

And they gave us one of the best gifts possible, Swiss chocolate!  Yum!

Trust and Obey

This morning at chai time (devotions) we sang “Trust and Obey.” I have sung it many times before, but something about this morning really got me to think about the words.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

For we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay.
For the favor He shows and the joy He bestow
Are for those who will trust and obey. So we’ll…

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do; where He sends we will go.
Never fear: only trust and obey. So we’ll …

Just before this long holiday weekend, the shilling dropped against the dollar. Then on Tuesday it recovered some. It got me thinking, “I should have withdrawn more money from the ATM this weekend.” Then I started thinking about that in relation to trusting and obeying. It is very similar to how it is with God. We can always get more value by trusting more, and obeying more. All the time we spend with the Lord, if we would only trust and obey more we would get a much better return on our investment.

What He says we will do; where He sends we will go.
Never fear: only trust and obey.

The Giving Child

dsc01268Today was Kenyatta Day, a national holiday in Kenya, honoring the first president. Paul had the day off of work so we visited Morning Star Children’s Home. We delivered some letters that were mailed to us from Calvary Chapel of El Cajon, our home church in America. Our boys decided to write cards for each of the children that didn’t get a letter from America so no one felt left out. Petr and Andrej decorated the cards with bright colored stars and had me write, ‘Jesus loves you’ on them. We also brought some tennis balls to give as presents for the children to play with. They were so excited to get their personal letters from the kids in America and cards from our boys. The children walked around holding them for the rest of the day. I noticed that the four kids who received letters from America were passing them around, proud that they had a special friend in America who loves them. We also came with a special gift of money from Gabriel Serban, one of Petr’s best friends in America. Gabriel is the son of Jenny Serban, one of my best friends from high school. When Gabriel heard that we were moving to Africa and going to be spending time with the children at Morning Star Children’s Home, he went to his room and found money that he had been saving. He handed the money to his mom saying, “This is for the children in Africa.” The money turned out to be $1.10 in coins. Gabriel gave all that he had. And it was more than enough. Today we handed the money over to the Matron of the home. She was deeply touched by a five year old boy’s heart to give. We had Petr hand the money over for the symbolism of a giving child. I will never forget how precious the moment was – a child giving to children in need. Thank you so much Gabriel! You touched hearts today!!!!

Yum! Yum! Hot Dogs!

Andrej takes a swing at the piñata

Andrej takes a swing at the piñata

On Saturday we attended a birthday party for Andrej’s friend, Jonas. Petr and Andrej were very excited to be going to a party. Andrej picked out some toys for his friend from the local Nakumatt (kind of similar to Walmart). He chose a motorcycle, those of you who know Andrej will not be surprised by this choice. He also picked out a monster truck and some tennis balls (I wrote this just in case you were wondering what you can buy for a gift here in Kenya – I would be curious). The party was at Uhuru Garden, located near Wilson airport, which is Paul’s place of work. Because the airport was so close, planes were passing directly over our heads at low altitudes. This was perfect entertainment for a boy’s four year old birthday party. Also, there was a piñata! Who could ask for more? Well, some kids did. They were kids who were not invited to the party. Soon after the celebration started, we were joined by a group of kids who looked homeless. They were eying the hot dogs on the barbeque. As you could imagine, the hostesses of the party were a bit uncomfortable. No one had the heart to tell them to go away. After making sure that all of the guests received their share of the food, the hostesses gave the rest to the kids. As one might expect, the kids stayed through the entire birthday party. They waited for the left over cake – huddled close so they wouldn’t be forgotten. The group rushed in for candy when the pinata broke – a bit of a problem because there wasn’t enough candy for all of them, and for the ones who were invited. The kids kept asking me for water, but I had none to give . It was a difficult thing to deal with in the midst of a celebration. However, that is life here in Africa. There are so many who don’t have….and there are many who do. I asked where the kids stayed and they told me they came from the Kibera slum. This is the slum that is very close to our house. I watched in amazement as the kids distributed the food they received evenly amongst themselves. They modeled sharing and it touched our hearts deeply. I believe the most beautiful thing in African culture is the sense of Community. These kids were family, even if they weren’t blood related. They looked out for each other. We should all do the same – even if it means one less hot dog.

Three Months

It has been three months since we arrived in Nairobi.  I am finally getting around to blogging.  There is much to say.  I am not sure where to start.  I want this blog to be like a journal, an avenue to express myself, but also a method of communicating and recording our family’s experience as missionaries in Africa.  I pray that I am open enough for you, the reader, to see into my heart. I hope that my words are transparent, that I will not keep anything hidden.  Only then, will you be able to know all that the Lord is doing in our lives.

We spent the first two months going through AIM’s orientation to African culture.  The program consisted of three weeks in Machakos while staying at Scott Theological College, followed by four weeks of living with a Kenyan family.  Needless to say, our family went through one transition after the other.  There was a full gamut of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges.  This is my main reason for not blogging earlier.  I have been trying to process it all.  Many times I have sat down at the computer, only to be staring at a blank screen.  I have missed our dear family and friends so much that it hurts.  Each amazing experience has been underlined by the fact that some of the most special people in my life aren’t physically here to share it.  There are times when I feel like my heart is going to explode.  I have never been put in this situation before.  Family and friends have always been a short drive away – or at least a phone call away.  Forgive me for not blogging earlier.  Originally, I desired to do so every week.  I wanted you to know exactly what was going on at the time.  However, when I started to write anything, I would start crying.  My words were weak in expressing the complexity of my emotions – pure joy at finally being in the place that God called us, mixed with an aching sadness of people and home. After three months of silence to the world of blogging, the numbness is passing and I am ready to share.  Instead of backtracking over the last three months, I am going to start with the present, knowing that the past will emerge.

This week was a huge milestone for me.  Paul went to Uganda for a couple of days to help out with IT. I took this opportunity to go on an adventure with the boys since we had the car.  This was to be my fourth time driving in Nairobi.  We set out to experience the city life, me with my handy street map and the boys with their sense of adventure. Let me start by saying that driving here in Africa is just pure craziness.  If you read some of Paul’s blogs, you will know what I am talking about.  If not, let me explain.  First of all, it is hard enough to remember that the car needs to be  on the LEFT side of the road. Then, throw in some traffic circles – most of which lack street signs, pedestrians crossing in front of you with no warning, and from every direction, men pulling wagons that take up most of the lane…oh, and there are rarely lanes painted on the roads.  Did I mention the potholes?  Everyone is trying their best to avoid them which means that you will go into their lane and they will come into yours.  Finally, come the Matatu drivers (public transportation), who follow no rules. The concept of defensive driving has a new meaning in Nairobi.  Well, I must say that I felt liberated to be able to drive my boys across town and return in one piece! Ten minutes into the journey, we found our selves in a traffic jam.  Our car was completely stopped.  The air conditioning ceased to work and it was a warm day.  In Nairobi, it is not safe to have the windows rolled down, especially in a jam. Therefore, we sweated it out.  The boys were troopers and I just kept reminding myself that this was PART of the adventure.  Traffic started picking up, but only to find us going through a traffic circle with no signs.  I had to guess which way to go.  After heading down the street, I finally spotted a street sign informing me we were on the wrong road.  After turning and backtracking, I did it again.  Oh, how I was wishing to be back where I knew the roads and there were no traffic circles! After an hour and a half of driving, it should have been only 40 minutes, we arrived at our destination.  We went to a mall where there was an outside market for the Masai people.  The boys and I enjoyed looking at all the hand made items and getting to talk with the people.  Petr learned how to bargain and bought a small stone in the shape of a heart.  He talked the lady down from 30 shillings (about 45 cents) to 20 shillings (about 30 cents).  I was so proud of him!  Somehow, Andrej got one for free from another lady.  I think he batted his big blue eyes….those eyes really stick out here!  After our LONG drive to the market, I decided to try a different route home, thinking that it would be easier.  I was very wrong.  I got completely lost after hitting another traffic circle with no street signs.  We ended up in the middle of downtown.  I realized that we were heading in a direction that lead to a very unsafe area.  After lots of prayer and an opportunity to study the map while stuck in traffic (once again!), I was able to find the way home.  During the chaos, Andrej fell asleep. But, Petr was wide awake. He was well aware that we were lost.  I was glad to have him to talk to and knowing I had to keep calm for him, helped me stay calm. I just kept driving with as much confidence as possible.  When I saw that we were going to make it home, I couldn’t help yelling out, “I know this street.  Petr, I know how to get home!” Petr replied, “Praise the Lord!”  And we did!