Mango Surprise!

I have been suffering from a crazy stomach problem since Saturday.  Pretty sure I had an ameba.  We call them our “friends” since they tend to live very close to us.   Paul suffered from one about a year ago so I guess it was my turn.  Thankfully, the boys have been well and show no signs of any similar ailment.  Well, in the middle of my week of illness, I was busy cutting up a beautiful mango when I noticed a black seed – what I thought was a seed….hoping was a seed.  I know my mangos well enough to know that they don’t have black seeds but the mind is a powerful thing and I just couldn’t think about the alternative.  Using my knife, I removed the seed, put it aside – allowing it to stay on the cutting board, and continued cutting.  Yet, the discovery of such a seed in a mango started give me one haunting thought – Could it be a bug?  It was pretty big for a bug and there were no holes in the fruit.  I was a little perplexed….but only because I didn’t want to believe my rational thoughts.  I proceeded to investigate the “seed” while cutting, stopping to touch it with my knife and then returning to the fruit.  Finally, I turned it over and saw legs – or were they?  Oh, how I did not want to believe this was a bug!  Strong denial was enabling me to continue to cut the mango and even eat a couple of bites until the “seed”  began to grow.  I watched in horror as what appeared to be legs stretched out and turned the object over.  In much disappointment, and a bit of disgust, the mystery “seed” began to crawl around my cut up mango.  It turned out to be some sort of beetle – my expert bug man told me (that is my husband for those of you who did not know that he used to work at a place called Insect World) .

Adjustments

Our first few weeks back in Kenya can be summed up with one word: ADJUSTMENTS

Paul and I discussed the importance of managing our expectations before returning to Kenya.  We both agreed that we need to be prepared for our house to have some problems….the most likely problems we thought of came true – toilets that didn’t work and no water.  Paul already posted about the toilets not working and having to flush out the hot water tank so we could have hot water.  Now we have discovered that our water pump (pumps water to the tank in the house) broke.  Therefore, we didn’t have any water in our house yesterday.  We called a plumber but he couldn’t come until this morning.  He is currently working on the problem.  Thankfully, we do have city water, which came on last night, (remember this is turned off Tues through Thurs) so we have water coming out of the facet in the kitchen – our only source of water directly flowing into the house.  We have been flushing toilets with buckets of water and taking sponge baths.  I sure feel like I am camping!!

All in all, it is good to be back.  Many people have wondered if we were ever coming back (6 months was a long time).  I had a Kenyan friend upon seeing me for the first time exclaim, “Cammy! You have put on weight!”  I nodded my head in agreement as she continued, “I mean you have really put on weight!” I tried my best to remember her comment was a compliment. 🙂  I am adjusting to these comments and also to people staring at me again.  In America we blend into the crowd, for the most part.  But now back in Africa,  I realize how much I am stared at, reminded that I “stick out”.

Being constantly stared at is not a comfortable thing for me but it is a good reminder that I am being “watched”.  My greatest ministry here in Africa is probably lifestyle evangelism – showing Christ’s love in the way that I live.  I regret that I don’t always act the way I should….I am so thankful for God’s grace.

We have spent time seeing our missionary friends, getting the boys back to school and visiting with our neighbors.  Our first time back in church was another adjustment….the boys need to get used to sitting in the service for two hours again!  It was pretty hard for them.  But it didn’t help that it was very hot inside.  At one point I realized I had sweat dripping down my legs.  YUCK!  I ignored the discomfort as worship was wonderful and Pastor Stephen was passionate about sharing God’s word, as he always is.  Thankfully, he didn’t ask me to sing a solo!  Yes, this did happen in the past.  Apparently he heard that I used to sing and thought it would be great for me to sing for the Kenyans.  When you come onto the mission field you are prepped to be prepared to give a word (usually sharing scripture)…little did I know that I should be ready to sing too!  When I have told this story to other people they are shocked and ask, “Did you do it?”  Well, what do you think?  Of course I did!!! 🙂

We have all finally adjusted to the time change.  It hit us hard for some reason.  The boys started school on Tuesday of this week and are loving it!  I have been spending most of my time unpacking the house and doing the daily chores of cleaning the house, washing, food prep and all.  We do have Rose, our house help who is really like a sister to me, helping us with laundry and cleaning.  She comes on Mondays and Fridays.  This still leaves plenty of work for me to do!  Washing the dishes seems like an endless job.  The other night I dreamed we had a dishwasher. 🙂  Also, our house gets very dusty.  I will wipe the dining table to find  it dusty an hour later!  Yesterday I was noticing the dust on the inside walls.  I don’t remember cleaning the walls of my house in America, unless it was to wipe off an occasional dirty hand print from the boys.
Another adjustment has been getting used to the power going off.  We have lost power many nights because of the rain.  Each time it rains we just know the power will go off eventually.  Sometimes it is an adventure, at least for the boys.  They get to use their flashlights so that is fun for them.  The biggest adjustment for me is not knowing when it will turn back on.  I try to keep our refrigerator closed to keep things cold and have a meal I can cook on the stove.  Our oven is electric so I am always hoping we won’t lose power when I’m baking.  But we can’t complain because we are reminded that many people don’t have electricity at all….and that we can survive without it!


Well, I’m sure we are not done with all the adjustments of being back.  There are times when I feel I have a foot in America and a foot in Africa.  The difficulty is making sure that both feet stay together in the place God has me called me to be.

His Presence

Yesterday was a long day.  My head was spinning with all the possible outcomes the blood test result would bring into motion. Was I having another miscarriage? Did I have an ectopic pregnancy, in which my life could be in danger?  Was the baby fine and my bleeding was considered normal? – These were all the scenerios the emergency room doctor gave me.   My head was not the only thing spinning…my heart was turning in my chest feeling like it might explode from the uncertainty.  Oh, how hard it is to wait for a test result!  I just wanted to have an answer.   In the morning I read the following from a daily devotional (written in the form of Jesus being the author):

Let Me prepare you for the day that stretches out before you.  I know exactly what this day will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it.  You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey.  You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead.  However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today: Spend quality time with Me.  I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey.  My living Presence is your companion each step of the way.  Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts.  Thus, you can walk through this day with your focus on Me.  My abiding Presence is the best road map available. author: Sarah Young from the book, Jesus Calling

Daily devotionals have a way of speaking to your need for the day.  I almost fell over when I read it – to think that God knew I would read that on this day!  I was reminded of the importance of setting my mind on God and not on my circumstances, trusting that He is in CONTROL.

I was not given the test result until 4:30 pm.  The test revealed that I did NOT have an ectopic pregnancy – which was a true blessing!  However, the numbers indicated that I was experiencing a miscarriage.  I did my best to keep it together as I discussed the next plan of action with the nurse…disclosing my history of miscarriages.  After a long discussion of what the doctor thought would be the safest situation for me, we decided to delay our flight to Africa until February 2.

My emotions are still very raw.  We have been through this before but the grieving is different each time.  The loss seems to have compounded with each miscarriage.  However, great comfort comes from knowing that God is my refuge and strength! I plan to post more of what God has been showing me through this hard time in the next few days.  He has shown me  the good in the midst of what I would define as bad.   I am so thankful for His word and the power it has to transform my heart.  I am thankful for His presence in my life!

Paul and I are thankful to be able to grieve with family in person as we are reminded they are grieving the loss of a grandchild/nephew/niece/cousin.   The boys are doing well.  They are focusing on the fact that we have some more time in the States with family.

Once again, we have been overwhelmed by the love and support from all of you.  Thank you for praying for us.

Reunion

Well it has been 2 years since we came to live in Kenya.  The first 6 months were rough – missing family, friends, our church, and the comforts of America.  After about 1 year I was able to call this place home -as I have learned that home is where God has placed you.  Yet, the missing didn’t cease.  Many people say it gets easier….but missing loved ones hasn’t gotten easier for me.  We have missed two weddings in the family – our nephew’s in May and our niece’s in November.  I have missed the birth of a baby boy to one of my childhood friends, Kelly.  The list goes on…there have been countless family celebrations that we were not able to attend – birthdays, graduations, wedding showers, dance recitals, sport events, etc..  The hardest part of it all was when a family member or dear friend was going through a trial and we were not there to hug them.  It breaks my heart.  However, the Lord reminds me that they feel the same way about us.  There have been birthday parties they were not apart of (at least not physically) and holidays celebrated without them, along with trials that they could not hug us through.  But we felt their prayers each time.  Plus, we saw the pictures of monumental events which gave us a sense of being there.  We have been blessed by encouraging emails even if it was just to let us know about a typical day in their life.   I hope we have done the same for them.  Thankfully, the Lord has brought many family members to visit us and now it is our turn – in 3 days we will be back in the States for our furlough (“home assignment” as AIM calls it).  I look forward to catching up on some of those monumental events in the lives of my family and friends, along with participating in some new ones while we are there. 🙂

My Daddy

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Today is my daddy’s birthday!  I’m 35 yrs old and sometimes I still call him “Daddy”

1138740-r1-e001One of my Dad’s favorite vacation spots is Lake Powell.  I have memories of growing up riding along with him on his boat.  He taught all of his kids (and our friends) how to water ski.

dsc00275My Dad is an amazing athlete.  I love this picture of him golfing in Hawaii

20000409 022My Dad has been there for me whenever I needed him – ALWAYS

dsc00282He is a dedicated Grandpop!

dsc00786He knows how to make each member of his family feel special

We love you Daddy!

School Break

Here are just a couple of the things we have been doing during the school break:

The boys preforming a play at home for their Dad:

MOV02772The boys are holding up their “Programs” for the play

MOV02773The play in action

Petr made his own jump rope below:

DSC02768DSC02765made out of his clothes (his idea!)

Saying Good Bye to some precious friends from Petr’s school (they are returning to the States) – this is one of the most difficult parts of being a missionary.

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We went to the movie theater for the first time in Kenya (it only took us two years to finally go!):

DSC02769Petr and Andrej watching Toy Story 3 in the theater