Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We truly met some extra ordinary people on this trip.

One of them is a young man named Onesimus. The team from Crossroads met this young man two years ago. I understand as a result of being at the conference then that the Lord opened up some doors for him to receive further biblical training.

Words that describe him are bright, quick to laugh, warm-hearted, generous, and eager to encourage others.

He wasn't with us the first day because he is single. But we needed additional translators, so word got back that we needed him and that the team would love to see him again. So I believe he arrived at the end of the first day. And anyway, our new African friend Erick didn't want to be the only single guy in the room. They seemed to strike up a nice friendship over the week.

At one point I asked Onesimus how he became so good at translating. He told me that many years ago, must have been a teenager or early twenties, that he was personally hungry to hear from teachers from other places. So, he started inviting them. He had the best English skills in his church so he was it. He became the translator. He was smiling from ear to ear the whole time he was telling me. He is a young man hungry to learn.

I also observed that each of us had testimonies of being encouraged by Onesimus. It kept coming up in conversations at dinner. Each of us sharing what Onesiums had said to one of us that day. He was very articulate and enthusiastic about the need for marriage conferences in Kenya. He was genuinely pleased to be learning this material before entering into marriage.

On the last day, I asked Onesimus, "What is next for you?" He paused for a minute and then cautiously said, "I think its missions, but I don't know where." Immediately I said, "How about the United States?" He smiled and stepped back a bit. My comment had defintely taken him by surprise. Then he asked, "Is there was a program for that?" I replied, "I have no idea but you could certainly be the first Kenyan missionary to the United States." We both agreed it would be a good thing to pray about.

I don't think Onesimus would have a hard time getting a group of jadded Americans to listen to what he has to say about Jesus Christ. There is that much light coming from that young man. Can't wait to hear what God's plan for Oneisums turns out to be...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pardon the interuption...

I feel like I'm interrupting my Kenya posts but I'm excited about something that happened today. So please pardon the interruption...

Many of you know, I've had the joy of attending two Listen to My Life Conferences. I have co-led one Listen to My Life retreat with Liz Eaton. I believe that leading retreats and classes associated with these materials is something the Lord wants me to be doing.

While I was in Africa, the website for this material was launched. I spent an hour today getting caught up via a recorded webinar on the ins and outs of their new website. It is full of resources for both facilitators and participants. If your interested, I would love for you to explore the website as well. You can find it at: www.onelifemaps.com.

I've added a link here, on my blog, under "Places to go and people to see..."

If you think of me and my desire to serve, please pray that the Lord will open doors for me to share the Listen to My Life materials with others.

And now back to Kenya...

My biggest challenge in Kenya.

As we prepared for this trip I kept having questions about women teaching men and women together. A big chunk of my time in seminary got spent on the various aspects of this question. I have concluded a couple of things. I am willing to go where I am welcomed to teach but I am not interested in being a stumbling block to those who do not understand or value the need for women to be teachers of men and women in the church. God knows that if He wants me in that kind of a room teaching, He will have to figure out a way to make it very clear to me that I am required to be there out of obedience to Him.

So for this trip, there were twelve sections to the marriage conference we were leading and seven teachers. Merrikay who is single decided to teach a class on parenting. That left the six of us with two classes each to teach. We were encouraged to team teach because Paul and Suzi had done so two years ago and it had made a big impression on the people at that time.

We also prayed that we would each be teaching about something that was and has been important to develop in our own relationships. It was really amazing to see how that worked out.

As Dave and I began to prepare, we decided it was best for us if we each prepared two sections but invited the other to insert a story or observation from the other persons perspective during our presentations. Dave and I took Communication part 1 and 2 and Conflict Resolution part 1 and 2. I focused on Communication which came into the schedule on Tuesday. But Dave wasn't set to lead his sections until Wednesday. The consequences of this for me, had not really occurred to me before Sunday. It hit me kinda hard that I would be going to teach before Dave. We'd been introduced as a couple on Monday but still I wasn't to thrilled. Dave assured me a couple of times that it was okay and not to worry...hakuna matata.

Finally, I gave up worrying and accepted that this was the way it was meant to be.

When it was my turn to help Dave with his section, we realized that he had ended up with the most fill-in the blanks in the workbooks we provided. For communication purposes, communication from us to the participants, we had discovered on Monday that the fill-in words needed to be written down on a flip chart. This simple act made it much easier for everyone to get their blanks filled in. Dave doesn't like to write at all. So he was very relieved when I offered, as my part, to simply stand there and write downs all the words. In Dave's first session, I don't believe I spoke at all. At the end of that day, I was struck by the contrast. In the first session, I was the primary teacher. In the second I was totally content even happier to be in the background. I could live out both roles in contentment. It seemed important what Dave and I had modeled together.

The other couples truly shared their talks more. There was a lot of give and take throughout their presentations which was also a great model. I'm hoping on the evaluation forms there will be some comments about the way the teaching was presented.

For all the men in my life who have indicated that they value listening to a female perspective, I want to say thank you. To my Heavenly Father who orchestrated events, such that the first time I would teach in front of a mixed group, that it be in Kenya, Africa. Well, I am beyond grateful. This group was so receptive, loving and respectful to our entire team. And it all took place in such a memorable setting - in the midst of a dream come true for me.

I am so grateful for God's involvement in my life. He keeps making it easier and easier to trust Him.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A very big question...

How to start talking about Kenya?
That is a very BIG question.

The people we encountered:

anxious to learn
certain of the existence of God
full of questions
hungry for more resources
honest about their struggles
hard working
worshippers of God
dependent on the Holy Spirit

Kilifi, Kenya

hot and humid
15,000 or so people
corn fields under coconut trees
mud huts for homes
hundreds of tiny shops
welcoming to strangers
soccer fans
call to prayer heard five times a day
mosquito nets

African Leadership and Reconcilation Ministry - ALARM

doing important work
excellent staff and volunteers
willing to push where biblical perspectives aren't yet embraced
missing each of them - sad we live so far apart from one another

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The one who made our time in Kenya possible.
The one who brought the mix of people together.
The one who prepared the way.
The one who will bring fruit to bear.
The one to whom all glory and honor and praise belong.
The ONE.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We made it back!

Its so good to be home and I miss my new friends in Africa. Isn't heaven going to be great? Hopefully no need for 30 hour plane rides to see one another.

I have written 80 journal pages about the trip and I'm not even done yet. After a couple of days of resting, I'll start sharing some details about what we experienced in Africa.

Some of my first reactions to being home...

Good to see my boy/man. Good to hear his voice and see his smiling face. I missed the word Mom.

Television is a little weird. Way to much information and so much of it really isn't very important.

Hot water flowing even gushing from your showerhead is not something that should be taken lightly.

I'm jet lagged and my tummy's not very happy about something so that's all I got today. More soon...

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a day! Kilifi, Kenya

We finished the week in Kilifi. Let's just say I shed a lot of tears this morning in the closing ceremony. It was hard to say goodbye. We held a renewal of vows wedding ceremony. It was beyond beautiful. To know their stories and to see them so excited about renewing their vows together was well, beyond wonderful. We managed to find roses for the women to hold. They shared communion together during the ceremony. The were a little embarrassed by, "You may now kiss your bride." Must not be a part of an African ceremony. So sweet to see their joy mixed with a tiny bit of embarrassment.

They could not have done more to express their thankfulness to us. It was incredibly humbling. They want us to bring their greetings back to America. They have asked that we return to teach them some more.

We don't know if that is God's will for us or not. But we're dreaming of teaching this material to other local churches so more teams can come and teach this material. They truly desire to have biblical marriages but they know their will be many cultural hurdles to overcome. We expressed over and over again how grateful we are that we serve a big God that can give them the courage to be different. What an amazing testimony they will have to their friends, neighbors, extended family and congregations.

We're about to get on a plane to head to Nairobi. The plan is to join Pastor Steve and the other team members at the guest house. They go on to Kawale. We head off to the Safari in the morning. We look forward to being back home again soon!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Countdown to Kenya...

We leave on the 11th. One week from tomorrow. Whew! Really? Cool!

Here is the link to the blog we'll be posting comments, stories and pictures on throughout the two trips to Kilifi and Kawali:


The first trip goes out on June 11th. I believe the second trip returns on July 5th.

Thanks for all your prayers, provisions and questions to date!