the plans I have for you…

With my last post being about leaving Kenya, there’s some of you that are asking why… And I remembered that not all of you on Facebook get my monthly ministry updates.  Sorry for the gap there!  (If you want to get my monthly updates, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.)  In the meantime, I thought I should share my latest update I sent at the end of June.  This will help answer many questions I hope…

I’m excited about what God is doing!  But at this exact moment I am exhausted from saying “see you later” to so many and from packing… It’s 11pm and I just set my alarm for 3:30am to catch my ride to the airport tomorrow… iee!  Better get to bed…  More once I’m stateside!


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tuonane baadaye marafiki yangu!

{I will see you later my friends!}

It’s hard to believe yesterday has already come and gone;  my kwaheri {goodbye} at Amani Nairobi.  I am just so grateful.  Rather than a day of sorrow and hard goodbyes, it was a day of “see-you-laters” and heart-felt joy, celebration and SO MUCH laughter!  I am overflowing with love for all of my Nairobi sisters.

Since I am Kenyan now and this is my home, I am only going on vacation and will be back soon :)

Monicah leading us in worship.

So much laughter as I try to give the devotional in Kiswahili.

Thanks for translating into English Betty!

Sweet words.

Bestowed with hand-made Amani gifts.

Big hug from Lucy after prayers over me for the future, not withholding my “new” husband and firstborn! Ha! Yep, that’s Amani style folks. Love it!

So many hugs!

And so much laughter, especially with Jeritta-son!

And then some tears…

Picking pictures.


We’re having twins next year {Lord willing}… Amani Chicago and Amani South Sudan!

Potentially THE BEST hugger!

Ceci and mama…

I will miss her little voice that floats so sweetly through the Amani compound.

There are no words!

Beautiful friends.

My dear Ma Sandi…

Just when I thought I was done crying…


My right-hand lady… a face of strength, perseverance, beauty.

Asanteni sana.

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mt. longonot – check!

When you live in Nairobi and come across a chance to get out of the city, you take it. Mt. Longonot is only about 1.5 hours away so Anke, Doret, Annette and Andreas and I took advantage and decided to climb it today. It was incredible… fresh air, beautiful vistas, excellent exercise… Here are a few (or maybe more than a few) pics of what we saw. I’m so thankful we got to enjoy this today and had the best weather. Thank you Lord!

We climbed about 3km to get to the rim.

Half way up.

If I had waited a little longer I could have captured people hiking in their socks or barefoot.

View from the rim. We made it in just over an hour!

View inside of the crater.

Alright, let’s hike around this rim (about 7km)…

…AFTER we eat some lunch! Perfect spot under an acacia tree.

“daughter crater” I’m guessing it’s maybe half the height of the “momma crater” we were hiking?

Hike down into the crater anyone? Only if there is a heli to air lift us out!

Hard Core! Ha, not really, but it felt great to reach the summit!

And now we descend, which turned out to be way harder than the ascent.

There were quite a few school groups on the hike up to the rim.  But only a few made it around the rim.  These little guys were precious, dressed like scouts complete with walking sticks.

Anke’s favorite

Breathtaking… Did we just climb that?!  It took us about 3 hours to get around the rim, but we did take lots of breathing and picture breaks.

Almost at the bottom. The buffalo didn’t show but we did see about 10 giraffes, some gazelles and zebra across the valley on our descent. Oh Kenya, I love you and your signs.

A look back from the park gate.  Well done guys!

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Lewa Half Marathon – check!

Watch out. We are running wild!

Driving into the Lewa Conservancy.

Camp life.

{Unfortunately the massage therapist and chef were not ours.}

Night before the race.  Checking out the start… we’re so ready!

Woke up at 5:30a in freezing weather {could see my breath} to the sound of the first helicopter heading out over the course to clear it of wild animals. Exciting!

Ready, Set… and GO!  Rumor was Prince William would run the race.  We thought maybe he’d land at the start in this helicopter with his entourage.  Nope.  No show!

Is this Out of Africa?!  Truck spectators.  Maasai warriors pass out water.

So many {cheeky} hills… “one of the world’s hardest marathons.”  Amazing scenery… “one of the world’s most beautiful marathons.”

Well protected from the wild.  First place male marathoner about to lap me.  {I love how tired the half marathon guy in green looks compared to the Kenyan marathoner!  Thankfully I’m not in this picture… can’t say I looked any better.}

Almost done!  Anke and I finish strong… and thankfully I wasn’t last.

Kenyan Mzee {elder} with spunk and speed… finished before me, yikes. Water bottles. Post-run feet… that is not a tan line!

All packed up and heading out of the park… Off to rest at Sweetwaters Tented Camp for some r&r with friends. What an amazing experience for my first half marathon!

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Lewa baby!

{so fast he’s flying!}

I love running but I may be getting in over my head this time!  At the end of June I’ll be heading near the base of Mount Kenya for the Lewa Marathon.  Right now the race is closed so I’m signed up only as a spectator.  But I’m training for the half marathon in case an opening becomes available.  {I hope, hope, hope!}  Worst case scenario,  I get fit and then get to camp out in a beautiful place and cheer on my friends who are running.  Not bad either way… Am excited to see another gorgeous part of the Kenyan landscape God created!

{the helicopter is to scare off the lions, buffalo, hyenas… serious!}

{awesome camping!}

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city of Nairobi + rainy season = ???

… a very large chance for VERY LARGE rats!  EEEK!  This week has been exhausting and mostly because I have new furry “friends” with 15″ tails scurrying about in my ceiling during the wee hours of the night.  That’s right, rats have invaded my attic and have been waking me up in terror every night at 3:45ish with their scampering, sliding and screeching.  EEEEW!

I’ve been told by the rodent guy “they come in at night as it usually warm in the ceiling and they move out in the morning. This is particularly due to the rainy season as their homes (usually in drainage’s, holes etc) get flooded and they tend to move out and look for alternatives. In this case the roof.”  We’ve (and by “we” I mean my landlord and the rodent guy) been putting poison and traps up there for a 2 days now and they are slowing down.. but not completely.  I learned that the lady across the street at the duka (shop) dumps her trash in our drainage system, so they feed there and then crawl right up to me when the rain fills the drains.  My landlord said they’re huge rats and that they feed better than many humans in Kenya.  (They may eat more, but “better”?)  He started telling me they’re the size of cats with 15″ tails and that I should go up in my attic to see for myself.  NO THANK YOU.  And so while 1/2″ of ceiling board separates me from terror, he told me this is part of life in Nairobi.  He said just to be sure I have a pot or pan next to my bed to hit one JUST IN CASE they come into my flat.  Seriously?!  This was after he said in an email to me, “There is no way they can enter into your apartment through the ceiling at any time.  Have a lovely weekend.”

And so from the advice of my best friend, I’ve been telling myself they aren’t cat-sized-rats… they are just cute little bunnies!  A momma just had babies, so they playing around up there, jumping over each other and sliding around, laughing and singing and having fun… And as soon as that works, I’ll let you know!  *sigh*  I really thought I was braver than this, but it turns out, NOPE!  I don’t care… I admit it… I am completely freaked out by this.  I just keep begging and praying that they don’t fall through the ceiling on me.  AHHH!!!

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our little cook… err… fish!

We’ve been trying to plan a swim date for Bella’s little Jay, but with the rains, it’s been a challenge. We took a chance and set it up for Saturday and behold, the warmest sunniest Saturday we’ve had in weeks!!!

Bella, Jay and aunt Betty came over to play.  Betty and Jay hung with Charlie Brown and the Gilmore Girls while Bella gave me lessons on samosa making… mmm!  And Jay kept coming in the kitchen to cook with us.  That little man is going to make some lady very happy in the future with those budding cooking skills!

After lunch we headed to the pool… this little guy is going to be a great swimmer.  He has NO fear and couldn’t get enough!  Such a fun day with my dear friends!!!

{checkin’ in on the chicken}{kisses to his reflection!}
{samosa maker extraordinaire!}{SO excited to get wet!}{like his mama, loves the bubbles!}{a natural at splashing!}{warming up with his aunties!}

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fully fitted?

Another random observation:  The apartment I’m living in is advertised to be fully furnished with a “fully fitted” kitchen with all “crockery and cooking utensils included”.  Haha… So how do you like my colander?!  It’s obvious that straining tea is valued more in this culture than straining pasta!

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How much would you pay for a luxury item from home?

I buy this lotion at home for about $6.00 I think.  I couldn’t help but notice this in the aisle today for 2,200Ksh.  With the current exchange rate, that’s about $28.00!!!  Yikes!  This is why I stock up in the USA before I come to Kenya.  Good grief!

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staring at fabric

i met someone fairly new at work today.  she is lovely.  i was entranced by her beautiful smile and her joy.  she couldn’t stop smiling.  after only a minute of introducing ourselves to each other she starting right in telling me her story.  {my heart is aching and stirring as i know i can’t tell it to you out of respect for her.  and so this post becomes mostly for me to find relief as i shout out in angst, “WHEN will this end?  LORD JESUS please come…”}

the story is what good novels are made of but never meant for real life.  as i listened i winced and just shook my head and started tearing up.  all the while she is holding my hand saying, “but God has brought me here and i am so thankful!  when i am here i am able to work and it helps me to forget the pain and not think of it all day long.  i am happy to be here to talk with other friends.  you know the more you talk about it, it helps the pain go away and you know you are not alone.  i am just so thankful to God.”  {some paraphrasing here on my part.}  i softly smiled an “i-just-met-you-but-i-love-you-and-i’m-so-sorry-you’ve-been-hurt-in-this-way” smile.  and her lovely joyful true smile brightened and said she looks forward to seeing me again tomorrow.  she walks away.  and all i can do is look down and stare at a pile of fabric.  i am completely immobilized.

sometimes these moments smack you in the face hard.  {but never as hard as the one who lived it first-hand.}  hours later and at home now, my heart is still staring at the fabric.  heavier than a weight i’ll never be able to lift.  thankfully Jesus can.

thank you Lord for this place that offers hope and healing only You can bring.

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