Saturday, February 19, 2011

Moving ahead!

As our famiy continues to make steps in this move to Kenya, I seem to have this thought in the back of my mind about how to deal with feeling torn between two loyalties. The first, living in a country doing what you feel called to do and second, being so far away from our families.

I'm learning more and more about how I need to be trusting God more with how I respond to people's questions. I find myself stuck in mid-sentence sometimes when I get asked things like "why can't you just help orphaned kids here in the US?" or "why do you want to be so far away from family".

These are truly questions that I need to rely on my Savior for the words to say. I don't know how to answer them. Most of the time, I answer with a big lump in my throat as I struggle to "make sense" of why our family is going down this path.

Do we want to live so far away from family? No. Do we have to go to AFRICA to serve orphaned and abandoned kids? No. We could stay in the US and continue to do what we do, but this is a season where we feel the Lord saying "go". So, we must obey-with joy. And we are. I don't know how to balance my excitment for serving in Africa and knowing that goodbyes are ahead for our friends and family.

We started learning Kiswahili this week. It's been funny. There are some great youtube videos that give the basic greetings, numbers, and questions in both Engilsh and Kiswahili. Our kids seem to be enjoying it. I will try to post some video later on.

Today, we are continuing to sort our belongings: donate, keep for now, bring to Kenya. We do not have a large home, however, the STUFF we have is crazy. We met with our realtor this week and our goal is to have the house on the market by early April. Praying for temporary housing for the summer (assumming we sell quickly).

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are HIGHER than ANY other. If You are for us, then who can be against us?

Here are our three heartbeats....

God is in the details. And we continue to take steps forward.....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby gear-oh my!

Love me some Africa gear! Anytime I see some clothing item associated with Africa, I get kinda googly-eyed.

But that embarrasses my kids, so I try not to do it around them.

But sometimes it still happens.

But when I heard about a sweet girl who was trying to raise support to work in Kenya with Mattaw, I couldn't pass this up.

Betsy has an amazing heart to serve the "least of these" and I want to work along side her for a long time.

Please consider purchasing one of these adorable onesies for your babe or for a babe you know! You WON'T be disappointed!

You can check out her blog or email her at betsydavis42(at)yahoo(dot)com

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Miracle Wednesday

Here is an image of the sky deck on the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois. People have the option to walk out to this glass box, of sorts, to get a view of the city from a sky-high view, without the obstruction of a wall or cage blocking your view.

It looks thrilling, doesn't it?

This is a picture that comes to mind when I think about faith. Living by faith does not mean we get the luxury of seeing the step ahead of us. Living by faith, to me, is taking that step and trusting that God will be there to catch you-to sustain you, even when I can't see what's ahead.

I am beginning to see a clearer picture of what His plan, His purpose, is for my life, and His people, you and I.

We were created to know Him and to make Him known.

Christianity is not about rules and regulations. There is no checklist. It's all about a relationship.

I love building relationships with people. I often find myself retreating backwards when I feel vulnerable with someone, especially in areas that I feel that I would be most judged and perhaps rejected.

Tonight, we received a miracle.

Several weeks ago, when the Huffmans were here visiting, we met with a man from the area that became interested in Mattaw Childrens Village. We had dinner with him and ultimately we learned that he wanted to fun the entire baby rescue home and perhaps a couple of clinics.

Then he vanished. Completely fell off the radar.

Personally, I felt discouraged. I really don't like getting news like that and then hitting a wall. Ha.

Fast forward 6 weeks to tonight. Tonight some folks from our dinner meeting got in contact with this man and met with him tonight. He confirmed that what he had said that night was true. He is intending to fund the baby rescue home, Sprouts, AND come to Kenya this summer, possibly with his wife, to visit Mattaw.

I'm still trying to process all of this. I'm now venturing into territory I have never walked in before. Dreaming about what this baby home could be. Imagining all the babies that haven't been born yet, or will be born very soon, that we will be meeting and having the honor of giving a safe haven to.

My 6 yr old's face lit up when I told him what God had provided tonight. Ben told me "Mom, why are you so surprised? God has all the money in the world".

Yes, Ben, God does have all the money in the world. It's about taking the next step and saying "yes" even when it feels impossible.

Jesus, thank you for giving provision in areas we had no idea that needed provision. Thank you for allowing us to be stewards of YOUR money as we move forward in finding a location for Sprouts!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kenya 2011

"Dreams come in a size too big so you can grow into them".

I wish I knew the person who I could give credit to this little saying. When I first read it, it sank in me and reassured me that my dreams aren't unreachable.

I was 15 or 16 yrs old. A seed was planted in me when I started seeing commercials of starving children across the world. You know, flies in the eyes, crying and filling their bloated stomachs with porridge while some man begs you to give.

And I did.

I started to want to "have an orphanage in Africa". People thought I was nuts.

While I was home for a summer in college and working in Minneapolis, I worked in a group home with staff members who were from Kenya. I began to taste a piece of African culture. I was invited to one of their homes where I shook hands with everyone in the room (not knowing that it was polite to do so immediately upon greeting a Kenyan), ate some strange food and spoke of a country that I never knew existed.

A year later, I decided to take some money I had received from my grandfather and travel to Africa. So, I googled "African Orphanage Volunteer program" and came upon a program that seemed to fit me well. I communicated with them over the course of several months and made the plunge.

I rode buses that wheels fell off of as I trekked to the border of Tanzania and Kenya-at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and touched baby elephants at an elephant orphanage. I spent 2 1/2 months of my summer playing with street girls that were ages 5-16 and I met my sweet, Kenyan daughter, Priscillah, that I still sponsor to this day.

I never knew how a sweet, orphaned girl would change my life.

I returned to the States and the relationship I had been in for almost 2 years, the "love of my life" dissolved and I resumed my last year of college.

I knew I wanted to return to Kenya one last time before I settled down on a job. I was not excited to enter the world of "9 to 5". I returned to Kenya once more and spent an additional 6 weeks that summer of 2003 where I loved on the same girls I had spent time with the summer before. My (now) husband was also with me on that trip and we fell in love.

Tucked in our hearts, we knew that Kenya had a place in our life, one day, somehow.

Fast forward 7 years to TODAY!

The Lord has been faithful. Not to sound so "Christianeese" or whatever, but it's true. Our marriage has had many twists and turns, joys and heartache as we've mulled over what the Lord wants us to do with our life.

The corporate America journey did not appeal to us, yet going overseas to work in Kenya seemed so impractical, unsafe, insecure for our family.

If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you are familiar with my heart for orphan care. You have been with me through our journey as we were to be moving to Kenya a couple of years ago.

You cannot force God's timing. God has HIS plan in place...what I've learned is that I need to let go and let GOD. Little did I know that I had a TON of heart work that needed to be done before we were ready to go.

To make a long story short, I am excited to let you know that the time has come. OH YES the time has come. It is God's perfect timing. It's been a long wait, however, I truly believe that GOD allows us to dream BIG dreams and if we surrender to HIS will for our life, we grow into our dream...HIS way.

I never thought I would ever have an orphanage in Kenya.

But we are!

In September 2011, our family is moving to Kitale, Kenya full time to work with Mattaw Children's Village. My husband, TJ will be helping with the self sustainability programs and I will be assisting in the operations of Mattaw's baby rescue home, "Sprouts". Sprouts will be built late this year, Lord willing.

We are more than excited-thrilled. Yes, we have lots of loops to work through and a lot of work to be done in the coming months. We have completely surrendered our lives and feel this is the path we are being led down.

Will you pray for us? We need to be bathed in prayer in this year and beyond.

Here is a song that has really spoke to us this year. If God is for us, than WHO can be against us?