The kids and I are finishing up an Apologia study on Astronomy, and I found Loui Giglio's "Indescribable God" message from some years ago, to reinforce some of what we've learned. (If you are unfamiliar with it, the speaker uses the universe and the study of astronomy to remind us of the incredible, indescribable glory of the Creator God.) Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty; we are so small. Sometimes we hear from people, "Wow, your life is so interesting; so full of adventure; so meaningful, with so much impact; it's so great what you're doing." Let me tell you, it doesn't always feel that way, any more than your life ever feels that way. I'm not aware of any special dispensation that falls on someone when they answer "the call" that makes us more spiritual and less susceptible to, well, any number of things . There is always the temptation to get caught up in our own story, our own daily life, striving to have our own needs be met, our own successes or failures, our own disappointments and disillusionments or stubborn pride. Thank God He rescues us not just from the hopelessness of sin and death, but also from being the center of our own stories. His story is so much more amazing and worthwhile and satisfying than what I would have ever come up with for my own life. I just need to be reminded to back up a little and see beyond myself and my own little world.
So as usual, I'm not sure where the last few months have gone. Here are a few highlights:
-The rains have come in a big way here in Kenya, more than we have ever seen, especially in our area. It is good, it will be so beneficial for the water table level here, and it is so green. But there are challenges that come from this much rain as well. The dry riverbed crossings have been washed away, and standing water leads to so many mosquitos and other health risks. There is significant flooding going on in the south of the country.
-Our family is good, and healthier than we had been previously. Being human, we have a tendency to put alot of expectations on each other, especially in this environment. Spouse to spouse, parent to child, sibling to sibling. We pray to continue to grow in grace for each other, and accept each other in our brokenness, good days and bad, joy or sorrow, kind or grumpy . Praise God for His great love that He shares, without which we would have nothing good in ourselves at all. Thank you for prayers for our family personally, not just our ministry.
-We will go down country in a few weeks for Educational Support Week, and the kids will do testing. This year has been full of changes, but I think this spring semester has gone well. We've seen growth both academically and personally in the kids in various ways. They each have really different needs right now, with Caroline starting more formalized education and needing pretty much constant supervision to stay on task, and Hannah needing help with higher expectations and more challenging academics. We have decided that Hannah will start a few classes in an online school next year, gr. 6. I hope this will give her the support and inspiration she needs in a few areas, and I can feel not quite so overwhelmed that I am not doing this school (ok, to be honest, parenting) thing very well.
-Patrick has had some really great flights this month. I hope you had a chance to read his latest newsletter. One young lady, a third generation missionary, was delivered to her ministry location for the first time. That's always exciting! Just as I write this, I'm thinking we haven't done any evacuations in awhile, which is good. We are preparing for the South Sudan Unit conference here in Loki in a few weeks, so every single person from Unit Leader to babies will be coming out at one time. Prayers for that.
-As you probably know, we often question how this life will affect our children. How to know whether we're doing the right thing? There seem to be so many losses. In our study of world history, this week we got to Mohammed and the beginning of Islam. We learned about it from a historical and cultural point of view, which is valuable to one's understanding of our world in general. That very afternoon, Caroline came to the shop with me, which is owned by Somalis. She started playing with the shopkeeper's son, a friendly little 7 year old named, coincidentally, Mohammed. Of course we've been in there probably 100 times, but she was excited this week to notice a connection with what we'd learned. She asked sincere, polite questions (through me, because of the language barrier) about his religion and how he practices it, such as is he is required to do formal prayers. I was proud of her, and it reminded me how grateful I am that I think the kids will always see people as people. I doubt they'll see skin color, language, different styles of food or clothing, or even religion, as barriers to relationship. I doubt they'll have fear of things or people who are different from them. They know what it's like to feel excluded and uncomfortable. They know what it's like to be stared at and stereotyped. They know what it's like to not understand anything going on around them, and I think they will have compassionate, understanding hearts for people. Although aspects of our life are very challenging for them, I believe they are growing in some ways they might not have otherwise.
-Thank you for your prayers and encouragement regarding Patrick's training in a new airplane. That has gone really well, and we were able to be with him for a few days of that, in Nairobi. He is done with the ground school and the tests, and will be moving into 50 hours in the airplane with a training captain. That will take place over the next few months. He's been away all week, but keeps promising me a picture . . .