Paul and Boniface’s Visit

dsc01369This happened a few weeks ago, but I did not get around to posting the pictures until now.

We had Paul and Boniface, the two oldest boys from Morning Star Children’s Home, come and stay the weekend with us.  We drove up early Saturday morning and spent a little time at the home then drove all the way back across town for an early lunch at Java House.  I am not sure, but I do not think they had ever seen a menu before as it was quite confusing. We were all learning about each other.

Then we went off to Toi market to look for a pair of shoes for each of them.  I think next time we go to buy some shoes we will go somewhere else.  I imagine it was a little tough on them having to pick out a pair that they liked and that fit only for us to have to walk away because we were getting the mzungu (white man) price. (The laws of business do not apply as you would think.  No really, it is hard for me to belive too, I still struggle with it after 6 months.)  It happened a couple of times, but we were finally sucessful.

We came back home and played some football (soccer) in the empty lot across the street.  There were a lot of neighborhood boys, so many that it motivated me to clear out much of the lot afterwards.  (The playable area is about double now.)  Paul also did a little bike riding, he seemed to really enjoy it.  We have some of the nicest streets in Nairobi here in our estate (except for the monstrous speed bumps, but it keeps the cars slow).  We had a great taco dinner, but I am not sure Paul and Boniface enjoy ground beef that much.  Kenyans seem to really enjoy chewing (and I mean chewing!) their meat.  Things that are too soft remind them of baby food.

After dinner we played the card game Uno.  They really enjoyed it and we stayed up later than we should have.  We sent the cards back to the home with them, and I noticed that in Paul’s Christmas gift box (see a later post) he recieved his very own Uno cards.

Sunday we went to church and they returned home with the rest of the kids.  It seemed really short, and it was, but with 30 kids for us to host, we do not want to bite off more then we can chew.  This weekend (Jan 3-4) we are picking up the two oldest girls.

Christmas Tradition

Since this is our first Christmas here in Kenya, we have been thinking a lot about traditions.  I think it helps to consider what Christmas really means.  There are a lot of different traditions all around the world.  Living without a lot of the ones we are used to, and with others which we are not familiar, really gives us the opportunity to consider what God would have us do.

Having said that, I want to share with you a tradition that is very common in many parts of Kenya, eating goat.

Out of its elementCookingGoats can be very expensive here in Nairobi.  There is not a lot of open land, and lots of people who would like to eat goat.  Now, the basic rules of economics do not always apply here because there are many factors that your mind refuses to deal with that affect the economy, but sometimes supply and demand work as you expect.  So for the goat roast here at the hangar they had one of the up country pilots load up two goats in the cargo pod below the plane and fly them here.

Then the goats were slaughtered right on the hangar floor.  It is a really bloody mess, having a drain nearby helps a lot.  There are some pictures in the gallery that are probably not for the weak stomached or younger viewers.

I have noticed that for most Americans, we are completely separated from the food chain.  We never grow or kill anything.  We hardly have to wash or cut much.  We go to a store and buy prepared food, warm it up, and serve.  It does save a lot of time.

Crazy items

Some times things are strange.  Sometimes they just seem strange.  Either way, this weekend I took pictures of them at Nakumatt (the local Walmart-ish store).  We were out looking for some stuff, and it was surprisingly not busy.  Since this is our first Christmas in Kenya, I do not know how much of the lack of shopping is cultural and how much is economic.

We get t a lot of stuff from China here.  Sometimes you wonder if there is any quality control there or not.  Other times you know there isn’t.

Why, oh why did they put blood splatters on the toy chainsaw?

Why, oh why did they put blood splatters on the toy chainsaw?

Something about an adult diaper called “again” just makes me laugh.  I am sure there are some great comedy sketches to be had.

Tena means "again" in Swahili

Tena means "again" in Swahili

Oh, and sadly, the shop with the Dr. Pepper was out of stock.  So much for Christmas and birthdays… at least I still have some sunflower seeds left from my birthday.

The car is fixed

In case you have not been reading, our car was in an accident.

Two weeks ago I started the process of getting 3 quotes for our insurance to pay for the replacement for the door.  I tried to get some names of places I could take it.  The whole phone book route does not always work very well.  Often the numbers are no longer valid.  I did get a location and 2 phone numbers for a place from a guy here at the hangar.  At lunch I drove for about 40 minutes with no luck.  I tried both phone numbers and they were both out of service.  About par for the course I figured, but I had been hoping for a birdie…

Last Saturday I went with a long time missionary to the industrial area.  He told me he was at a place that had a door for our car.  And they did, and it was the right size and the right color.  The window tinting even matched.  They swapped out the inside panel with the one from our old door.  About an hour later, the car looked as if it had never been in an accident.  The automatic window and lock also work.  The door cost 16,500 Kenya shillings and 800 for the installation.  We even got some chai while we were waiting.  The missionary explained how the insurance was going to work (he used to be the Chair of the board).  It turns out that after 2 years it was going to be cheaper if we paid out of pocket, so we did.

I continue to be amazed at how things work.  They always seem to work out somehow, but never the way I expect.  God is good, all the time.

Slow blogging

One of the managers here at AIM IS has been on a trip, and I have taken over some of his duties.  It has been a great learning experience, but has not left a lot of extra time.  I want to write a few posts and will try to get to it soon.

Glory to God

What does it mean to bring glory to God?  A short question with a complicated answer.  How do we even define “glory?”

I found a great sermon by John Piper.  If you have the time, please read it.  You will not be disappointed.  It will also prepare you for some of what I am writing here, starting with Isaiah 43:7

Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.

We were created for God’s glory.  (That we ought to be called by His name is a different discussion.)  How do we do that, how do we, the fallen part of His creation, bring Him glory?  When I think of glory, I think of the good things, not the bad ones.  We are the bad part… we rebel against the Creator of the universe.  So how is it that He chooses to use us to bring Him glory?

I believe that it is through our fallen nature that we are able to bring glory to God.  He chose us for just that reason.  We have a free will to choose however we like. Back in “What is evil,” I talked about a spectrum of choices that we have.  I believe it is through that choice, by constantly denying ourselves that we bring glory to God.  He is so great, so awesome, that even given all our choices, the strength of our desire to please self, we can choose to serve Him instead.  And to bring Himself more and more glory, it is not a one time decision, but a constant struggle.  That harder you successfully struggle to serve God, the more glory it brings Him.

I have told many people that the best way is almost never the easy way.  There are often more than one way to do a job, whether it be construction, car repair, computer programming, you name it.  The best way is never the easy way.  Bringing glory to God, not just “should be,” but has to be hard.

And yet 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that we should be constantly doing the hard thing.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

That glory is not just from you either, Matthew 5:16 tells us that even others can glorify God because of our choice to serve Him.

So we were created for God’s glory, and we do that by serving Him, which is by extension, also why we were created.