Saturday, August 31, 2013

Busy Bees

This month has been amazing.

We were able to witness our first Eid celebration early August. It was exhilarating to hear the whistles, music, and laughter throughout the night and especially early morning. It sounded like Christmas morning!

The night of Eid we gave our neighbors some treats to commemorate the breaking of the fast. In turn, they showered us with gifts: curtains, household decorations, sodas, cookies, a pair of shoes and a dress. We had the chance to visit with them and develop wonderful relationships with the kids that has continued throughout the month.

Amed, 10, loves Jeff and loves to learn about technology, music, and wrestling. He is funny, inquisitive, and brilliant.

Bajia, 8, loves to play with me. She enjoys combing my hair, bouncing our exercise ball around the house, spinning around as fast as we can (I hold her and twirl like a whirling dervish for as long as I can stand), and talking about family.

Asha, 19, enjoys talking about boys, beauty, and Nairobi life. She is generous, kind, and incredibly charming.

One night we heard the sounds of clapping, singing, and something of a Xena warrior cry. Interested, we went out to see what was happening. A wedding celebration was taking place! From our balconies we cheered with the merrymakers and our neighbors led us downstairs to see the home of the newlyweds. From inside someone called "soo dhawoow!"(welcome!) and, being pushed from behind by inquisitive girls trying to look inside, I went in! My husband followed, along with some bashful neighbor girls. We introduced ourselves and were served meat, tea, and cookies. Our presence there was something of a spectacle (Americans! Wow!); had it not been so late we would have stayed longer.

This month we have also been planning a Kids Fair at our school. We expect a full week of games, skits, and crafts for children as well as varied activities for the mothers there (medical clinic, health classes, movies, English classes, games, henna, tea). I have been spearheading the project with scheduling, working with the cook, henna artist, and visiting nurse practitioner. A special team from Tennessee is coming to work with the kids and teach them. It has certainly been busy! Already next week we begin the four day Fair. We hope this time will be a blessing to everyone who participates and attends, and that we can promote our school within the community as we begin to enroll kids for the 2014 school year (starting January).

Our leaders have also been working hard planning and visiting people stateside for meetings. They have had their own hectic month with worldwide traveling, school starting (for their kids), and moving houses across town.

Life in Nairobi has been treating us well. Each day we become more accustomed to the unpredictable nature of our daily lives and each day we rejoice for the opportunity to live within this amazing, unique, and exotically beautiful community.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


It's been a while since our last posting...

We are in the last few days of Ramadan, a holy month to Muslims when they fast from sunrise to sunset. Its beginning and end is determined by the moon (seeing a crescent in the sky at night), and Muslims believe that elements of the Quran (and other Holy books) were revealed consistently throughout this month to each of the holy prophets, and certain days significant in this revelation.

2nd day of Ramadan: Moses received the Torah
12th day of Ramadan: Jesus received the Gospel
18th day of Ramadan: David received the Psalms
Laylat al-Qadr (sometime between the last ten days of Ramadan): the Quran is first revealed to Muhammad

We are officially in the last ten days of the month. One of these days (the day changes from year to year) is considered the "Night of Power" or "Night of Destiny". Muslims pray diligently this day since they believe their prayers are multiplied over 1000 times.

Ramadan has been a difficult month for us. We began the month fasting daylight hours along with our neighbors (although we drank water, which would be considered "breaking" a Ramadan fast). Throughout the month we have experienced physical illness, dissensions, and unusual stress. It has been an eye-opening experience being in the midst of a genuine spiritual battle that has permeated all aspects of our lives.

That being said, prayer has been all the sweeter. We have had wonderful opportunities to pray for our local friends and neighbors, and it's as if some quiet breakthrough within the community has been made. We feel more accepted and acceptable each new day. Each day reading the Word has been a refuge for me, like returning to a secret well in the desert sands. My weakness has stood out, blaring and ugly, and I have no shame.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10

Please pray for our neighbors, our relationships, our friends (and us!): this has been a beautiful albeit sensitive month. Pray for genuine holy truth to be revealed during the Night of Power, for boldness, and faith in a creative and powerful God who is constantly at work among us. Pray for continued strength and urgency within us, and join us in intercession for those whom God has called "precious"!