28 February 2009

Leaving and Grieving

'Leaving and Grieving' is the term for the transitional period that happens frequently over a missionary's lifetime. Going to the field, transferring assignments, others leaving the area, back on home assignment, back to the field, back to the home country for good, and many other situations. We had a whole class on this during our candidate week.

These emotions truly began for us during the summer of 2008 when we became serious in our process toward becoming missionaries. We began examining our lives a little differently at that time.

'My food processor broke, but why replace it when we should just get used to not having one?'
'Maybe I should start cooking with less meat, and more un-prepared foods, like dry beans, just to get in the habit.'
'I'm not sure I can get used to bath water for my kids that is brown.'

These material changes will be stretching at times, but we have hope that we will eventually feel almost completely adapted (materially) to our new environment. Sometimes I (Heather) have even gotten a little carried away, wanting to sell or give away possessions, prompting Jim to pipe up "Um, honey? We're not dying!" So remind me in 12 months how much fun I think it is right now!

The much tougher side of this for us is relationships. We certainly will still have the same relationships in our lives, but not the proximity. The goodbyes are going to be hard. In case you didn't know this about me, I'm a crier. Everyone, myself included, is going to be sick of the crying come June! The people who are the closest to us now won't be able to share in our lives the same way. I know that some days we'll feel like we will give almost anything to see some of our friends and family that we left behind.

But I am reminded of our true home. How our Father yearns to be with us, but allows us time on the earth. It would be so easy to stay here at "home" in Woodland Park, to be surrounded by what we have become comfortable with, but the knowledge that I haven't really been home yet helps spur me on. We are excited to meet the new family and friends God is preparing for us in Kijabe. We don't expect this to be easy, but we expect God's hand to be on all of it.

Until we are HOME...
"Consider it joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2,4)

23 February 2009

The Need In Rwanda

We receive a monthly publication from AIM called Heartbeat Africa. In the most recent edition there was an article about the ministry in Rwanda that really highlighted the need that still exists there. For me, the memory of the ethnic violence of the 90s has nearly faded from my memory, but there is still so much to be done there. While an estimated 90% of the country is "Christian" that estimate is really only a sampling of political allegiance. There is a huge need for leaders for local churches. Only about 5% of churches in Rwanda are led by a pastor with any formal biblical training. The article, called So We Do Not Lose Heart, highlights the work of the Rwanda Institute of Evangelical Theology and the deep need for the education of Christian leadership in Rwanda. We're reminded in Ephesians 4:11-16 of the need for Godly leadership to build a healthy body... and specifically for their godly wisdom in verse 14: "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting"(NKJ). Learn more about Rwanda Institute of Evangelical Theology. There's even a few quick videos describing the work of the seminary there. Heather and I are excited to be partnering with AIM in support of RIET and other great ministries like it as we teach at RVA - Thank YOU for joining us.

**If you have difficulty viewing the video in the article So We Do Not Lose Heart, you can most likely view the video on the page describing the Rwanda Institute of Evangelical Theology.

15 February 2009

A Taste of East Africa

This weekend we had some wonderful friends visiting. They have been a part of our lives for a long time, and have been incredibly prayerful and supportive about the journey we have taken over the last few months. We are thrilled to have people like them partner with us as we go serve the Lord in Kenya. So we thought it would be fun to treat them to an African dish Friday night.

I (Heather) don't really have any recipes from when I was studying in Kenya, I wish I did, but sadly, I don't. And East African cooking isn't exactly the easiest cuisine to learn a lot about. Anyway, I was in the library looking for a new cookbook to try out, and I came across "Vegetarian Planet" by Didi Emmons. I have been wanting to beef up my vegetarian repertoire (hehe) and so I thought this 560-page cookbook would be fun to look through. So we tried out African Potato Stew on Friday night.

Frankly, the taste isn't very similar to what I spent most of my time eating, but still had a distinct flavor of Kenya about it. So, if you are feeling bold, here you go...
African Potato Stew

2 T oil
2 c chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T fresh ginger
2 t poppy seeds
1 t mustard seeds
1 T ground coriander seeds
1/4 t ground cloves
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed to 1/2"
1 t salt
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed to 1/2"
4 c thinly sliced collard greens
1/4 c raisins
1 T apple cider vinegar
salt and fresh-ground black pepper

Heat oil in large pot and saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add ginger, poppy and mustard seeds, coriander, and cloves. Cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the russet potatoes and stir well. Add 4 cups of water, turn the heat to high. Once boiling, add 1 t salt, and reduce heat again. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Stir in the cauliflower, sweet potato, collard greens, and raisins. Cook 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Season stew with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add water if stew is too dry. Serve hot over rice, couscous, or quinoa. It's also great with extra red pepper or hot sauce.

Serves 4

09 February 2009

Sending and Being Sent

So, this month we began the adventure called "support raising." If you have friendships with missionaries, or ever did this yourself, you will be pretty familiar with this concept. If you are like me (Heather), it's a totally new experience!

We've gotten the same question a couple of times already. "Why don't you go to an international school where you can just be paid and go sooner?" Yes, it's so tempting, to be taken care of financially and to start this next stage in our lives. But, I would probably be more apprehensive than I am now, even with this task of raising all our financial support before we go.

First of all, RVA will still be there if we were to go somewhere else. But most of all, I feel so much peace knowing we won't leave until we have all our support in. And this is not really about money. To have people sending us means so much. Our senders will be intentional in prayer and love, and will believe in what we are doing. I know we would be prayed for if we were going somewhere that didn't require quite this level of preparation, but probably not as much. It gives me so much peace to know we will be covered in prayer as we go.

So thank you, for the prayers that are already coming our way!

04 February 2009

More on the Kenya Tragedies

We found a blog (and a book!) written by a teacher at RVA quite a while ago; before we really thought we'd be going to RVA, actually. His name is Ryan Murphy, and he wrote "All That You Can't Leave Behind," an account of his first year serving as a missionary at RVA with his wife, Heather. We have the book if any of you want to borrow it.

Anyway, the Murphy's just posted a little about the two tragedies of the last week. Their knowledge and insight goes deeper than what we learned from the news articles we last posted. It's even more tragic in our minds now, but it makes us realize all the more how much we want to be able to go and serve the people of Africa. Read what Ryan wrote...


And keep praying.

02 February 2009

Kenya in the News

A friend of mine sent a link to an article about Kenya from a Canadian news website, which spurred me on to find more for you to read.

So here's what she sent: it's about the hunger crisis and food shortage problems that are really hitting Kenya right now.


And another story I ran across: two accidental fires have recently affected areas of Kenya. The one in Narobi was in their version of Wal-Mart, called 'Nakumatt'. I (Heather) went to one while I was there in 2003, but there are multiple stores in the city, so I don't know exactly where it happened. The story about the fuel truck crash in the Rift Valley Province (a ways Northwest from Kijabe, where we will be living) sadly highlights the urgency that many Kenyans, and Africans, have when it comes to resources they need for survival. The first link is from a Ugandan news source, the second from the Associated Press.



Take a moment to pray for Kenya today.