I wanted to share more pictures from our trip to the States so here are the ones that capture some of our family traditions

The Living Nativity at Horizon North County:

DSC02348 DSC02349DSC02347 DSC02350

We have enjoyed attending the Living Nativity with Paul’s family for many years.

During the time of Christmas when our focus may be on other things, it is good to SEE the reason for the season

Prime Rib at my Dad’s house:

DSC02355 Some years back my father got a huge slab of prime rib and called it “Prime-icis Rib-icis”.

It  has become the special occasion meal at the Idler house.  It was so nice to have some tender meat.

Christmas Eve at Paul’s parents:

MOV02365 DSC02368On Christmas Eve, before opening presents, Paul’s dad has the tradition of reading Luke 2 with the youngest children sitting on his lap.

Petr and Andrej had the honors.

DSC02374And then came the unwrapping of the presents – always a special time of Grandpa reading his gift tags that are hidden codes.  Only he knows who the gift belongs to.  We have fun trying to guess.

DSC02373 Paul and his Grandmom (This is one of my favorite pictures from Christmas – they look so joyful!)

DSC02376The “Sisters” on Paul’s side of the family.  I am so blessed to have married into a family where the sister-in-laws are my close friends.  Growing up with two brothers (who I love and adore), I always wanted to know what it was like to have a sister. Some of you know that I do have a sister in Heaven, who I am named after, but I didn’t have the chance to know her.  She would have been forty years old this month.  I thank God that He has provided other means of having sisters.  I am blessed with one on my side of the family and three on Paul’s side of the family.

Christmas morning:

DSC02386Doughnuts!  My mom always made these doughnuts on Christmas morning.  Yummy!!

DSC02384 “like father, like son” – Paul reads the Christmas story to the boys before opening Christmas presents

DSC02387 Christmas stockings by the fire!

MOV02405Andrej with his guitar!

DSC02402Petr displaying the visual for the “No whining” sign.

I think he’s had practice…looks like he’s got the whining thing down.

MOV02392 Decorating the Birthday Cake for Jesus!DSC02396

DSC02407Singing to Jesus

New Traditions that will continue when we visit the States (I’m pretty sure):

DSC02341Buying the Boys a Root Beer at the mall

(we can’t get root beer in Kenya).

The boys were strutting with their “big boy” sodas.  They were shocked when we ordered them a large!

DSC02536Chuck E. Cheese


We went with my parents and my brother’s family.  I’m sure the boys will try to make it a family tradition! 🙂  Grandpop and Uncle Brandon watch as the boys drive a boat on a simulated screen of Lake Powell – our family’s vacation spot!  It was so cool.  Petr hit the “jack pot” with the tickets.  Andrej looks like he is used to crazy driving in Nairobi….

DSC02343 I don’t have a picture for the next tradition so I used this one because it sums up the “end product” of the tradition…..drum roll please….SLEEP OVER AT GRANDMAS WITH ALL THE GRANDCHILDREN – or as many as can make it!!!  Paul’s mom loves to have all of her grandchildren under one roof, sharing together in life’s experiences.  Our little Andrej makes a baker’s dozen – 13 grandchildren in all!  So much fun:)

DSC02509DSC02505The Childrens Museum with Nonni


DSC02523DSC02522there were many activities to keep my boys interested!

DSC02498DSC02500Missing the 70’s, anyone?

Yes, I jumped too!  Nonni, thanks for treating us to the museum.

DSC02526DSC02525SEA PORT Village

We used to take the trolley down to seaport village and walk around, mostly on Saturdays.  Sometimes we would go with the grandparents and buy ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.  My Mom and I took the boys after The Childrens Museum.  We were prepared with a football.  After the boys ran around with the ball we got the traditional ice cream!


The boys were given gift cards for Christmas from our dear friend Joan Chaffin.  Thanks Joan! They enjoyed their Happy Meals.

DSC02486DSC02484Those of you who know my Dad will understand these pictures.  My Dad loves to dress as a cowboy.  He loves horses, but mostly likes wearing his cowboy boots and hat.  And I have seen him wear those boots to church…hello El Cajon!  He takes advantage of any excuse to dress up like a cowboy (since he doesn’t have a horse).   I used to have a horse and did some horse shows.  When I won a fancy silver belt buckle, he would ask to borrow it!  My winning worked out pretty well for him.  He would be dressed in Cowboy attire from head to toe.   Anyways, back to the pictures:  My Dad has a friend named Gary who is the care taker of their property (he lives in a trailer on the property).  Gary wanted to do something special for my boys for Christmas so he hired a lady that brings horses for rides.  She even brought her brother to do some circus juggling! My Dad told me to invite my friends and their kids to join the fun.  We had one BIG playdate.  My Dad took the opportunity to give the kids golf cart rides, cowboy hat and all!

Here are the rest of the pictures:


DSC02473DSC02470Thanks, Gary, for a wonderful time!  And a “Hee Ha” to the Cowboy whom I am proud to call my “Daddy”:)

DSC02495DSC02494These pictures are symbolic of the growth of my boys.   They used to be scared of the Star Wars mask.  We went to Aunt Julie’s house and they went to the closet (remembering where the mask  was) and surprised us by putting it on!  The first picture is of Petr with his cousin, Mark.  The second picture is Andrej.  We had some good laughs.

DSC02447Planting Pine Trees with Grandpop in his yard.

DSC02451DSC02450When I was growing up we had pine trees (old Christmas trees from our house) that my Dad planted.  It was fun to watch them grow through the years.  Well, my Dad surprised us with having the same idea for Petr and Andrej to plant some with him this year.

DSC02544Paul and I had a tradition of taking the boys to Denny’s on Sundays after church.  Petr kept mentioning this fact during our visit, but we didn’t make it to Denny’s until the morning of our departure.  We met family for breakfast to say our good byes.  It was rough, but there was comfort in knowing we will see them all again when we come back in August!


Saturday there was a bazaar at Petr’s school, and Cammy was going to take the boys.  After a couple of weeks teaching classes, I had a morning to myself.  So I talked Caleb, a friend who is a mechanic at the hangar, into going on a motorcycle ride with me.  I really wanted to get back out to where we had attempted to go on the last ride.  We missed the turn last time because the road out there was so nice.  In fact the junction is on this long straight stretch, fun to get some speed, so we missed the turn again, but my GPS was there to help us out.

It had rained quite a bit the night before, and from this point on, it was all dirt road.  However, dirt is not dirt when it is wet.  The mud around here is special.  It sticks to everything.  You find when walking that you will pick up a good 5 to 10 pounds of mud on your feet.  It is also very slick.  Caleb was riding on street tires and he found out that last fact all too suddenly.  No one was hurt, just a broken mirror.

The picture here is where we decided we would turn back.  It was so steep and slick, I knew if we went down there we were committed to going out another way.  I went down with my bike to see how bad it was, and it probably took me 20 minutes to get it back up 20 meters.  The mud was throwing steam off the engine.  I got another picture after I got my bike up.

Everywhere you stop in Kenya, kids show up.  These kids did not speak much Swahili.  You should have seen there faces when I greeted them in Kikuyu, and the shock of us removing our helmets, “Gai!”  I asked some of the men in the area about the road ahead.  Kenyan’s are very optimistic.  They were sure we could make it, it was “just there.”  However, when I asked about the road ahead, I got the response, “matope, matope sana!” – “Muddy, very muddy!”  Eventually we had to move on, but the celebrity aspect of being treated like an astronaut is tempting to the ego.

In the end we grabbed a few new roads for OSM.  Caleb got off to his softball games, and I got home before Cammy and the boys.  Not a bad day.  It was a lot like life, good day, but not what was expected.

When I got home, I went and found a friend Peter, who often washes my bike.  He was a car washer near Kenyatta Market, but with his desire, some prompting and a little financial help, he has become a shoe salesman.  He still washes my bike, because I pay him well, about $4 for 2 hours of cleaning.  That day it was 3 hours, he asked, “Where is this mud from?!”

Second Day at Soweto

I finished up the “Computers for Pastors” class in Soweto on Saturday.  We spent the whole day covering the World Wide Web and Email.

I had a lot of fun showing them the, especially using the Greek to read through John 21.

He said to him the third time, “Simon, [son] of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”

On the first reading, you completely miss the meaning.  Why was Peter grieved?  The English makes it seem like it is because Jesus asked three times, however if you go through the Greek, even without knowing what each word means, you will catch a lot more.  If you look at v.15 and v.16 you will see that each time Jesus asks He uses agapaeo and Peter answers with phileo.  Then in v.17 Jesus changes the question.  That is what grieved Peter.

Seeing the ease with which they could access so much information really opened some of their eyes.  I could see how excited they were.  Especially Pastor Edward, who is the head of the Bible school, he is studying for his masters.  Cybercafes are everywhere, and while none of these pastors have a lot of money, they are not out of reach for a few hours per week.

We also covered email, and I walked each student though setting up an webmail account, then logging in and sending me an email.  I tried to respond quickly to each one, so they could see a reply.  Below are my favorites of the ones I received.

Continue reading

Computer Class in Soweto

Wednesday I did the first of 2 days at the Bible School in Soweto teaching “Computers for Pastors.”  There were 13 students, and I hope they all make it back for Saturday.  Once again, the response to anyone having using a computer before was very small.  However, there are some really bright people there, and they are learning fast.

They do not have electricity there, so we had to run a generator for the whole time.  At our first break, there was an announcement in Swahili that everyone had to pay 50 shillings to help pay for fuel.  They must have thought I would not have understood because I got a strange look and then some laughter when I gave them my 50 shillings.  Fuel is back up close to 90 shillings per liter (about $4.55  per gallon).

I am looking forward to Saturday.

Update on the bus accident

I mentioned the bus accident, and this weekend we got to see everyone and get a full report on what happened.

The drive shaft on the bus broke, which pitched the bus on its side and it rolled several times.  I have not been to Shinyanga, but I have been on a bus from Nairobi to Arusha and back.  If the speeds were anything like my trip 13 years ago, I can easily imagine the scene in my head.

Since I was committed Saturday, we missed a funeral for a young lady who was the younger sister of one of our worship singers at Umoja.  In church, her brother sat next to me.  There will be a funeral Tuesday in Kabete for a lady whose husband used to be an elder at Harvester’s Kabete.  They had since moved over to the church in Gachie to help out there.  Wednesday will be the funeral for an elderly lady at the Harvester’s Kianjogu, where I gave the Easter message last year.

There were many injured women at church Sunday.  Consolata , one of the women who has translated for me on more than one occasion was in a sling.  Stanley Kariuki’s wife was unable to come because he said she had trouble sitting for more than a few minutes.  Joel, one of the church elders, also tore some ligaments in his left shoulder.  All who were there Sunday got up at the end of the service and we prayed for their quick recovery.

There is still one woman in hospital.  She is up at Kijabe and in need of surgery to repair her leg.  They are currently raising funds to pay for the surgery.  We contributed towards it.  Actually we do not have any of our own money, so all of you who are supporting us, contributed to her surgery.

Living here has taught me a lot about culture.  One of the things I have learned is that almost everything we point to has a good side and a bad side.  One of the things they were keen to teach us at our orientation was how much of the outlook in Africa is fatalistic.  It is often seen as a bad thing, and that is understandable.  However, yesterday we experienced the good side of it.  There were no questions of “Why?”  Only an attitude of expectation, “How is God going to be glorified in this?”

Mungu ni mwema, wakati wote.

Saturday School

I spend all of yesterday at Christ Harvest Revival in Kawangware where they have been running the bible school for pastors in the slums.  A few months ago, I was asked if I could teach some computer classes for the pastors.

I went in with 5 laptops and an outline of what I was going to teach.  High up on my outline was to gauge the groups previous experience with computers.  Most of the computer use here is at cybercafes, where a cheap place runs at 1 shilling per minute.  50 shillings per hour is a fairly normal wage for unskilled labor, so the cyber costs more per hour than most of them can earn in the same time.  Out of 26 students, only one had ever touched a computer before.  I thought I might be in for a long day.

It was a great time for us all.  All were very eager to learn, and some picked things up really fast.  We rushed through the basics of interfacing with computers, menus, applications and documents.  Then we touched on the three big office applications; word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.  The second half of the class was dedicated to the internet.  It was great fun showing them and some other bible resources.  At the end of the day, I had most of them set up with an email account and asked them to send me an email.

I had not been looking forward to the long days of doing this, close to 1o hours, but when I got home I knew it had been a great day.  Cammy asked me how it went, and I replied, “It was one of those things I would never choose to do myself, so I am glad God made me do it.”  I sound like a boy I know, who I should post about.

Next week I will be on the other side of town near Kayole, in the Soweto slum teaching other students.  Perhaps when that is all done, I will post some of the best emails I receive.

10 years today!

20000409 017We celebrate 10 years of marriage today!

20000409 01020000409 00920000409 01120000409 012

We made our vows before God…We lit the unity candle… And sealed it with a kiss

20000409 020….And we danced

The last 10 years have been full of adventure.

20000412 078From Hawaii…

362251To Norway…

454 To The Netherlands…

dsc00852 To Africa…

We have been half way around the world


I will gladly go the other half with you.  🙂

I cherish everyday that I have the privilege to be called your wife.

Thank you for blessing me with your love.

Yours Completely,


Please Pray

Over Easter weekend, the Harvester’s churches had a women’s retreat in Shinyanga, Tanzania.  We were informed that the group from Nairobi, in a bus on their way back, was in a terrible road accident.  There were 3 fatalities, and 35 injuries.  Because the accident was far from any town, Pastor Stephen had to rent another bus to go pick up the injured and a van for the bodies.  Many of the injured were admitted here at Kenyatta Hospital.

Edit: If you would like to contribute anything to the expenses incurred (the vehicle rental or medical and funeral expenses) email me.

Recap of visit to the States

It is hard to believe that just 3 months ago we were in the States with our family and friends.  It is always hard to leave…I wish I could’ve packed them all up in the suitcases to be with us here!  Thankfully, memories are strong and stay with us during the times of separation.  There were continuous highlights during our time there.  First was our welcoming party at the airport.  You would have thought we were famous!  My mom had a bunch of balloons and was surrounded by Paul’s family and mine.  It was a moment that will burn in my memory for a while.  I was shocked at how big our nieces and nephews had grown (ok, this made me a little sad that we missed 1 1/2 years of them growing up).  We all headed to Paul’s favorite burger joint, IN ‘N’ OUT, and enjoyed an incredible hamburger and shake.  You should have seen Paul’s face when he was ordering  his hamburger, something he had been waiting 1 1/2 years to do!  But the look on his face was even better when he was eating it!   After IN ‘N’ OUT we went to Paul’s sister’s house for a wonderful dinner and fellowship with family.  It was a great reunion!  We were tired from our flight but elated to be with the ones we love so dearly.

The following weeks were filled with many outings with family and friends.  Here are some highlights in pictures!

DSC02334DSC02333DSC02331 Fun at the mall!  Andrej able to drink from the drinking fountain!  (It is hard to find drinking fountains in Kenya.  If you do, you don’t want to drink the water!!! The boys were so excited about this simple method of getting water!

DSC02442 Boys at Peter Piper’s Pizza (one of their favorite places in Rancho San Diego)

DSC02344DSC02335 Fun “riding toys” at Grandpop’s house

Highlights from our first trip to Disneyland with the boys (a gift from Paul’s parents)

DSC02411 DSC02413 Cousins, Olivia and PJ, joined us.

It was extra special to experience Disneyland with family.

My sister-in-law, Melanie, came too.  We had a great time talking while we wanted for the rides.

DSC02440 Train ride DSC02426 “Its a small world” ride

DSC02416 The sword in the stone DSC02414

I love how the above pictures show the boys different personalities!

DSC02435 Is it possible that this mail will get to Africa?

DSC02436 Jail Break!

DSC02418 The End

(you can see Andrej doesn’t want to leave. 🙂 Actually, this picture was taken in the middle of the day .  I love the truth  it expresses – a loving Grandma comforting a child who has had too much excitement)

*More highlights with pictures to come in the next couple of days……