Soccer dudes

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Petr’s school offered soccer on Saturdays.  Paul and his dad, Danny, got roped into coaching.

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Andrej was able to join too! (they needed an extra player)  He was overjoyed to be with the big kids.

Sherry, Paul’s mom, and I got to be cheerleaders!   So, girlfriends, I think I’m officially a soccer mom!

dsc02096Here are some shots of the boys practicing for the big gamedsc02095

Not so small

Andrej decided to try to ride his brother’s BIG bike while Petr was away at school.

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I was shocked to find him accomplishing his goal. He could barely reach the ground but that didn’t stop him!  He flashed a smile of glee as he rushed past me proving he was not so small.  Andrej just won’t stop pushing the limits of his physical abilities.  I love the way this little guy “goes for it”.  Wondering what is around the corner…hopefully not a trip to the emergency room.

Let there be light!

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We have light!   Paul’s parents blessed us with a new light for our dinning room.  The old light was very dim and we were straining to do homework, Bible Studies, and just see our dinner (well, it wasn’t that bad!).  We had gotten used to it and were content, not really noticing.  Paul’s parents really wanted to bless us and said that we “needed” better light.   Danny was gracious to spend the time to install it for us.  The light is just simply beautiful.  I never thought I would get so excited about a light fixture over our dinning table.  But, it makes a big difference.  We didn’t know how much in the dark we were until we had good light.  Isn’t that how it is spiritually?  God shed’s His light on our life and we realize how much we were walking in the darkness before we knew Him.  Sometimes we think we just need to put in a new light bulb but what we really need is a whole new light – Jesus, the Light of the World!  I enjoy  reminders of God’s goodness found in the details of everyday life.

Remember the big wheel?

DSC07195 Remember the big wheel growing up?  For me as a child, the big wheel was the riding toy to have.  I grew up in a house that had a killer driveway.  It was perfect for picking up speed.  When Paul’s mom and I were shopping we came across this great big wheel.  It is the only one I’ve seen since being here so Sherry decided Andrej just had to have it as an early birthday present (his birthday is Dec. 5).    It sure brings back memories as I watch my little guy speed off with his big wheel.  Thanks Grandpa and Grandma!!

First Grader

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Petr getting on the school bus

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Petr’s class doing a skit about Noah’s Ark  for Chapel

Petr is in first grade!  My mommy heart is trying to comprehend how our first son grew so fast.  Petr’s first day of school was filled with excitement when he found his very own desk!  I watched in awe as he spent every moment possible organizing the inside of the desk (yes, the top lifts up…so cool)  By the look on his face, you would have thought Petr was sitting on a throne instead of his school desk – he looked so proud!  Well, if you could have seen my face….you would’ve seen that I was even prouder!  My baby turned into a little toddler and now is becoming a big boy – half of a man, as our Pastor in Africa puts it.

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Quote of the day

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Do you need a good laugh today?

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Laughing yet?   I’ve got two crazy cowboys!

I’ve been wanting to record those funny things my kids say so here is the beginning of the quote of the day:

Petr was really wild, making tons of noise while I was trying to work on the computer.  I told him to settle down and this was his response:

“I just can’t stand it – All this cool stuff is happening!”

He was playing with a car and making it shoot off furniture….oh, the joys of having boys!!!

His righteous right hand

When the Lord called us to Africa, I knew without a doubt that we must go.  There was not one ounce of my flesh that wanted to go, but my spirit was hungry to serve the Lord and remain in His will- not my own.  There were some tough times in the process of getting to Africa, mainly telling our dear family and friends that we would be moving oversees, away from all those we hold so dear to our hearts.  However, God continued to confirm His call for us to go.  He confirmed it over and over…I really needed confirmation as I am so weak at times.  One confirmation was a scripture given to me a month before He called us to serve Him in Africa.  The scripture was Isaiah 41:8-10.  The Lord talks about not having fear because He is MY God, and that He will strengthen me and HELP me and UPHOLD me with His righteous right hand.  The scripture continues even more powerfully in the lines that follow…for I MYSELF will HELP you, declares the Lord, your REDEEMER, the HOLY ONE of Israel.

Nothing could be more true of God and HIS care for me and our family as we have been here.  There are countless times that His hand has held me up.  One such event started a week ago when I found out we lost another precious baby (our third miscarriage – I have not written yet about the second miscarriage as it happened a month before the AIM Air plane went down.  Our loss seemed minimal compared to the loss the families had in loosing a husband and father to their four children.)   This time I made it to 9 weeks…really 11 weeks and then went in to discover that the baby didn’t have a heart beat and only measured 9 weeks.  I went through the necessary procedure to pass the baby naturally (as I successfully had done the two times before).  Yet, this time I was in for a journey I never would have imagined was ahead of me.  I spent two hours trying to “pass” the baby and it was too big.  I did all that I knew to do.  The baby was more than half way out (sorry for those who don’t like hearing detail, but I am a woman of detail.   And for you to fully comprehend what I went through, I think it is a valid detail).  After more than two hours of blood loss, I started to pass out.  I called Paul and he found me in the bathroom leaning against the bathtub.  When he called my name, I came to…only to find myself about to pass out again.  Everything went dark but I didn’t become unconcuse this time.  I was breathing hard and started to sweat profusely.  Paul said I was completely white, including my lips.  We knew this was bad.  Paul became a machine.  I told him to get me oranges from the kitchen.  I am thankful I married a sprinter as he returned in record time.  We knew I had to get to the hospital….and remember we are in Africa so ambulances are not the way to travel.  It is much faster to get in your own car and go.  We had to arrange for the kids so Paul ran down the street to our neighbors and dropped the boys there.  Then he came back for me.  We got to the hospital very quickly since we only live 5 minutes away.  The doctors immediately put an IV in me and tried to get blood from the vein for a blood test- there was barely any.  This is not a comforting thing, especially when it means you might need a blood transfusion and you are in Africa!  Thankfully when they hooked me up to the IV,  I started to get some color back to my face.  The rest of the story consists of an evening of very low blood pressure, a D&C the next morning, and another day of low blood pressure – measuring 80/35!  I had to stay two nights because my blood pressure was not going up.  They finally released me when it was 90/50.  I have been struggling with weakness since.  Each day I have been feeling improvements but am still extremely weak.

All in all it has been a long week.  My emotions have been on the back burner as I’ve been forced to focus on my physical health.  Now I am in a place to face the emotions of our loss.  My faithful Lord has already used willing vessels to minister to me and my family with providing meals, taking care of our boys, and sharing words of encouragement.  Today, our AIM IS pastor, Dick, sent me a text on my phone saying he was praying for us in our time of sorrow.  He ended it with Psalm 63:8.  I immediately went to my Bible and opened it up to read this verse.  To my surprise, I had underlined verse 8, and only verse 8,  in Psalm 63 about a month ago when I was praying about this pregnancy.  Psalm 63:8 says, “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”  In my time here in Africa, the Lord has consistently pressed upon my heart the fact that His right hand upholds me so I need not fear.  I am forever amazed at how He continues to reveal this truth to me – I see it in action.  I see His hand upon my life and how He guides me to His great purpose.    I think about how my sons are wanting to become independent of me, not holding onto my hand as much as when they were younger.   They want to grow up and go their own way.  I pray that I am dependent on the Lord and able to reach out, accepting His mighty hand.  I pray that I will not grow up in the ways of the world but cling to My Lord’s guiding hand.  Psalm 37:23 “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”  (this was another scripture the Lord directed me to about a couple weeks ago…got to love His tender way of repeating His truth to a heart that needs it)

Je Mungu anakupenda?

Some day I will finish this series.  This is the next entry that follows this previous one.

The title is Swahili for “Does God love you?”  Much like in the last post, the answer seems obvious, but let us take a look at the Bible, so that if you disagree it will be with Scripture and not me.

God is love (1 John 4:8).  The definition of God is love.  And God is the definition of love.  That is His nature.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails (1 Cor 13:4-8a  NKJV)

That is God.

He loves us so much He gave His only begotten son for us (John 3:16, 1John 4:9).  Jesus was begotten of God, but God loves us so much, He wants us to be His adopted children (1 John 3:1, Gal 4:5, Eph 1:5).  God wants YOU to be His child!

And He did all that for us, while we were still spitting in His face (Rom 5:8).  It can be easy to show love when we are feeling loved, but that is not the kind of love God has for us, His is unconditional.

It may be more accurate to translate the title as “Is God loving you?”  I think that is an important distinction.

Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5 – God will never leave us.  He is always there.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV)

No matter what, we are unable to escape His love for us.

There is a lot more in the bible to prove this point, God loves you.  But I do not feel that it needs to be beaten to death.  If you believe anything the bible says, you should believe God loves you!

But do not miss this important distinction.  God is loving you, right now, even in the midst of whatever you are going through.

Edit: The next in the series is “If He is able, and He loves us…

Wedding Traditions

There was a part of the wedding I left out because I wanted to put it in a separate post.

One of the reasons we really like that church in Kawangware is because the pastors there had 5 years of discipleship at a Calvary Chapel style bible school in the slums.  They were taught the bible, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.  And the guys there at Christ’s Harvest Revival Church really put it into practice.  They are about the Word of God and nothing else.  It is very refreshing.

Because of that, Pastor Benson decided to make a change to the wedding program, that went against the traditions both locally and to what we are accustomed.  The bride came in first and was waiting at the front for the bridegroom to arrive.  And when he did arrive, there was a lot of shouting, clapping and yelling.  It was like the celebration had begun.

It gave me such a picture of how God intends the marriage of Christ and His church.   The bride needs to be ready, presentable for when the bridegroom arrives.  And it really is all about the bridegroom.  He paid the price, He has come to take his bride away with Him.

The traditional wedding we are used to has become a reflection of our lives, backward.  We want to make it all about ourselves.  Christ can go ahead and wait for us when we are good and ready, but He better well know it is all about us.

Once again, what God intended, man has corrupted.

That may be the first time I cried at a wedding.

Wedding Day

November seems to be a wedding month in Nairobi.  I am not sure why.  It is spring, but that means it rains a bit.

Saturday we went to the wedding of Eventino, the worship leader my mother wrote about.  The wedding was in the church in Kawangware, and the chickens were there as well, the rooster even made a ruckus every time the “pre-wedding singers” had any sort of lull.

We were told the wedding was at 11AM and I was a bit upset we were about 15 minutes late.  It was fine, but it was a good thing we did not arrive much later because then seating would have been an issue.  They always want to give good seating to the wazungu (white people).  We found the back seats of the “guests of honor” section.  Then we waited, for about 2 hours.  Petr and I found some entertainment in watching two circles of sunlight pass over his body from two nail holes in the mabati (corrugated iron sheets) roof.  They move a long way in 2 hours, 30 degrees.

When the wedding party did arrive, it got quite interesting.  When it was time for the bride to come in, the ladies in the wedding party came in very slow, maybe that was normal, but what followed clearly was not on the program.  There seemed to be some hold up at the door, and then the Emcee asked a bunch of the pastors to go out the door to help.  I had a bit of trouble following what was going on, since it was all in Swahili.

We later found out that the parents of the bride refused to allow her to enter the church until they received more money.  This was something of a breach of etiquette because the man had already agreed on a price with the parents months before.  Apparently they had second thoughts.

After the wedding, Pastor Benson relayed to us what had happened, and how he went out there to resolve the issue.  He was lamenting the cultural hurdles so many people have to go through to stay within God’s will in Nairobi.  Many people, especially in the slums, never get married because they cannot afford to pay the parents.  Because there are not too many arranged marriages in the city, the parents of the girl really have the guy in a jam.  He loves her, he would be willing to sacrifice the world for her, and the parents know it.  In the end, they usually just live together.

It got me to thinking about it.  I had had a conversation earlier that day with Ken, my kinyozi (barber), who was telling me of a South Sudanese man he had just had in his chair.  He is 56, and he just bought his sixth wife, for 100 cows.  That is a huge price, in Nairobi equivalent to almost $14,000 (where a daily wage is $5.33).  I wonder how he felt toward his wife, and if she upset him, does he think, “You know, I paid 100 cows for you…”

I began to think of what a mess the whole bride price was.  But then I realized, Christ paid the highest price for His bride.  And, we the church, ought to realize the great price that was paid for us in love, and respond in love back to Him.

What God created, man’s selfishness has corrupted.