East Africa is the largest region of the world not served by the internet via any sort of cables. Everything is in or out via satellite. Africa has been call the dark continent before, but for me that is because there is no fiber. At least not yet.
You have no idea how excited I was when I saw them trenching to the building next door. The building happens to house KRA offices, Kenya Revenue Authorities. They are getting fiber to their building. Sometime later this year there are plans to have some fiber land in Mombasa connecting us to South Africa and from there the world. There was another scheduled connection to the United Arab Emirates, but that has been delayed by pirates. Not internet pirates who steal music and movies, but real life pirates on ships off the Somali coast who steal Ukrainian tanks and oil tankers.
You probably do not care about my bandwidth woes… I used to measure my office connection in the 10s of gigabits, now its in the hundreds of kilobits. However, I am guessing that if you are reading this you do care about pictures of us and our lives here. And that is where this all comes together. I have been really slow at getting some pictures posted, but here they are at last.
I have waited a while before writing about a recent loss in our family. I wanted to wait on the Lord to see how He would have me view this trial. I journeyed through it, knowing that there have been many who have traveled the same road. On Christmas morning we told our two boys that they would be getting a baby brother or sister in nine months. They had been hoping for a sibling and were excited to know that it was going to happen. Of course, Paul and I shared the same enthusiasm. However, a couple weeks later I had a miscarriage. I am amazed at the bond formed between mother and child at an early stage of 6-8 weeks. I know I echo the hearts of many women when I say that it hurts. There is a strong sense of loss, an empty feeling of what was once full of hope. One of my dear friends, Heidi, wrote me in response to our loss and her words were profound. I share them with you; “Isn’t it weird how bringing a new life into this world can leave such an impact on our hearts, whether they live or not?” I am finding this to be true. Even though our baby didn’t have the chance to be born into this world, he/she was alive in me. The time was precious and I will cherish each moment of my pregnancy as it was over too soon. I look at my two boys and wonder about the child who was inside. There are many unanswered questions…but one thing I am sure of – God Knows! The Bible tells me in Psalm 139:13-15
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
I have assurance that God knows everything there is to know about our little baby. For some reason, one I may never understand, we were not to know these things. There are times when I have asked the poignant question, “Why did this happen?” But again, I may never know. As emotions come and go, I must trust that God has a plan for my life and our family. I find that living a life for God is about true surrender of self – a surrender of my plan. Oh, how hard this is for one who likes to have a plan! (me!) Surrender of self is not a new concept in my life since I have been a Christian for a long time. However, I have been tested in this area more than ever since the moment God revealed He was sending us to Africa. Living out a life surrendered to God is a decision that has to be made every moment of the day. There are so many times I fail. There are days when I want to run back to the plan I had for my life….but I know I won’t find joy outside of God’s will. I must surrender. The miscarriage is one of those things that was out of my control. I’d like to get mad about it but who would I get mad at? Certainly not God. How could I get made at the One who created the life in the first place? He has a purpose for each life and even when it is shorter than we think it should be – who are we to throw a fit about it? Yet, I am very guilty of throwing fits….about a lot of things that don’t make sense to me. I just have to surrender. The Lord has been faithful to show me the rewards of living a life surrendered to Him. Trials are times when one will decide if they will get “mad” at God and run away or run to His loving arms of comfort and love. I choose to run full speed into the arms of my Creator in total surrender! By the way, His hugs are pretty great!!!
I started teaching classes yesterday for some guys from Kibera. We settled on the name “Firm Foundation School of Information Technology.” It is quite a mouthful, I know, but it has a few meanings I appreciate. As a computer school with no computers, I decided it would be best to start with a subject that could all be done on a white board. So we are starting with networking. Yesterday we covered Binary and touched on Hexadecimal. I think some of the guys are getting it, and it will bring them a good foundation for learning more. I also made it clear to the guys that the whole reason that I was doing this (I am charging them less than the rent of the room is costing) is to bring glory to God through Christ. Also, for fun, FF is 255 in hexadecimal, which I do not expect most of you to get, but then, maybe you should come to my classes.
If you would like to help me with the school, please let me know.
We decided to do something a little crazy for our first Christmas in Africa. Since we are from California, and it is summer time in Africa, we spent Christmas morning at the Water Park! After some family time at home, we met another missionary family for a fun-filled day in the sun! Being away from our family during the Christmas season was extremely hard for me so it was nice to do something completely different. Well, I have never been in a bathingsuit on Christmas morning…ok, so for those who are curious – I wore shorts and a tank top over the bathingsuit to be culturally sensitive. There are not alot of women who go in the water, let alone wear a bathingsuit (bathing costume is what they call it). The boys enjoyed the “kiddie pool” but were a little nervous about the water slides. Petr took one look at the slides and refused. Paul convinced Andrej to go on a big one with him, but he got scared at the top. Later in the day, the boys braved a little slide with their Daddy holding onto them. Thank God for those big, strong Daddies. I know I did when I was a little girl! Now I thank God that I am married to one.
I have posted about it before, but I think it merits its own post, so here it is.
I like to complain, maybe you do too. There is something in complaining that gives us the perception of what we want, be it attention or maybe comfort. Something about our nature of pleasing ourselves (despite ourselves) drives us to complain, and it is not cultural. People tend to complain about different things, but everyone I have come across does it.
Complaining is bad, very bad. It is a distortion of reality. It states one of two things. Either you do not believe God is in complete control or that you do not believe that God loves you and wants what is best for you.
If you do not believe God is in control, I cannot address you now. That is a different discussion.
Please ponder the other option for a while. Whenever you complain, you are stating that God does not love you, or that He does not know what is best for you. I hope you see the fallacy in that line of thinking. No matter how bad it gets, He is in control, He loves you. He is doing what He is doing because He loves you. Just because you cannot understand His reasons is no excuse to disgrace His name by complaining.
Think back with me to the last time you complained. Do you realize that whatever the cause, it was really God trying to bless you? That is very convicting to me.
Do all things without complaining and disputing – Philippians 2:14