Friday, July 31, 2009

Keepin it Real

So a couple of entries ago I admitted to having what I called Division Fatigue.

Wouldn't you know, since then God has been opening my eyes.

Shortly after that blog, it was time for me to go to church to pray. I meet up with a friend once a week to pray for whatever is on our hearts to pray about related to our church family. We usually read a passage of scripture before we begin. I flipped open my bible getting ready to flip through the pages of the Psalms. There was no need to flip...

Psalm 134

Oh, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve as the night watchmen in the house of the Lord,
Lift your hands in holiness and bless the Lord.
May the Lord, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Jerusalem.

Right between the eyes... "You've lost perspective. Keep your eyes on me. Bless me. Pray and watch."

So of course we proceeded to have a wonderful time of prayer together.

God wasn't done yet. In addition to already discovering I had division fatigue I was confronted with the possibility of facing three significant losses. God has the ability to make all three of them go away. Turn them in the direction I want them to go... surprised to be faced with all of them at once.

not fair
please don't do that
why can't life be easy?
i don't like being vulnerable

So I decide to be in those thoughts long enough to act like an idiot. Only family got to witness the melt down.

A couple of days pass... then last night I was reminded again. The Lord knows. Not your plan necessarily but trusting God has never gone badly over the long haul yet. And, by the way Cheri, God is responsible for working all this stuff out. Your responsible to worship, learn to love God and trust, accept His will and follow. Please stop pouting when you don't get your own way. Your family will experience fewer melt downs. (Can I hear an Amen from Dave and Matt?!)

So grateful for my sisters in the Lord who were a part of helping me through this week. It really does take a village to grow me up!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've been hanging out in the book of Esther this summer. The study I'm doing is written by Beth Moore. As usual, I've enjoyed her insights. She works so diligently on these studies and out of that comes some very meaningful observations and connect the dot kinda insights on God, his people and his enemies.

One observation is that we often want and look for really powerful moments of calling. She asked us instead to consider, that there are very small moments when we quietly choose faith instead of fear. That in a simple act of surrender and obedience that it might just lead to way more than we ever expected. I'm paraphrasing Beth's words here but think I've been faithful to the idea she was trying to get across.

Life is an accumulation of moments. Choices considered and then made. God wants to be in the midst of all of them the small, medium and large decisions. I think one of the ironies of life might be that we think we know which ones are small, medium or large and maybe we don't know much of the time.

I can think of at least one occasion where I made a decision to walk by faith into what I thought maybe God wanted me to do. That moment turned out to be the beginning of real change in my life. I look back now and think, of course that was God asking me to follow. But in the moment it felt like maybe. The evidence so to speak came later. Not sure what would have happened if I'd waited to be 100% sure.

Is that even possible and have faith be a part of it? Maybe if your waiting to be sure, your missing part of the point? Something I'll be thinking about more.

Right now, I'm stepping out in faith on something. Don't think I'm going to know for sure whether or not its really a good thing until months from now. Seriously walk on water kinda stuff for me.

Do you think God is asking you to get out and walk and see what happens? Hope so!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Division Fatigue

I have it.

Doing the only thing I know to do about it... praying.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'd just like to say, that I just became aware of something my kid did, that well, made my day... maybe my week.

I knew, when I was very bad at being the mother of a toddler, that one day I would love being the mom of a teen. Turns out that wasn't vain hope. It was/is true!

Matthew Thomas- I love you and I am so glad you are a part of my world!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wasn't even on the list...

For as long as I can remember, people have been mentioning some version of that list. The one where people write down all the things they want to do before they die.

In some ways, I'm not a big planner. I didn't have my wedding day planned out years before it happened. I didn't have a list of requirements for a husband. I didn't really have an adventure list either. It might be counter intuitive for an adventurer to make a list of adventures they'd like to experience. At least it is for this one.

Even though Mutual of Omaha was kinda a big deal in my family growing up. I never gave 10 seconds thought to going on a Safari someday. So what I'm about to say seems a little hypocritical but, I think you should give it more than 10 seconds of thought and maybe even put it on a list somewhere. Or, you could go with the option of trusting there is going to be an outstanding group of Safari companies on the "new earth".

I wasn't even that convinced about going on a Safari when we headed out of the guest house in Nairobi. We were hot and tired...very tempted to think I wish we were headed home now. But when we got to the airport, they gave us this cool bag with lots of info inside. Next we saw the Cessna we were to board and all the desires to go home disappeared.

Upon arrival, we met our guide Joseph! He was awesome - 15 plus years as a guide!

He showed us:
elephants and their babies
wart hogs
bright colored birds, birds and more birds
baboons and their babies
black rhino and her baby
dozen different kinds of antelopes
water buffaloes- veggie tale song about killed me
mating lions - yes, that's what I said
male lion surrounded by a pack of hyenas
male lion very much in charge of the hyena situation
gorgeous sunset and sunrises

That's all I can think of off the top of my head!

We had to be patient. We had to wait out hiding animals and a rain storm. Patience, however, was always rewarded!

We prayed to see certain things- one of the things on Suzi's wish list was a running Giraffe. Yep, the last morning, that is just what we saw!

If I pay attention to the words of songs that come to me, there is almost always something very telling in it. The state of my heart is revealed. The lyric that kept coming was, "O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise." After a day of this words (in between bouts of veggie tale water buffalo lyrics), I realized I was singing it because it would take a thousand voices to do justice to how I wanted to praise God... for the beauty, the creativity, the majesty and the reality that a small town girl from Kansas/Colorado was sitting in a Safari truck in Kenya, Africa. Overwhelming joy, excitement and continual anticipation!

There is no comparison to the week we had before the Safari. The most meaningful part of our trip was the time we spent with the people of Kenya. But I gotta say, the "icing on the cake" Safari was way beyond my ability to have expectations about.

To enjoy Dave's favorite pics, click on the title at the top, "Wasn't even on the list...",


put in-

either way should get you to Dave's Photo Web Page.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I have a friend. Her name is Wendy. Wendy and I met as Freshman at LeTourneau.

LeTourneau is strange yet wonderful bird. When we started, there were seven times more men then women. Wendy was an aviation student. She has since gone on to be blessed with a wonderful career flying airplanes.

Last fall, I got email out of the blue. We're moving to Dallas, help! Where should we live? What are the pluses and minuses of the different areas of Dallas. I'm happy to report they chose Flower Mound. As it turns out, they (Wendy, her husband Steve and their three kids: Alex, Shelby and Mikey)have also chosen my home church as their place to worship.

In the last couple of weeks I got an email labeled urgent. Wendy was asking people to pray. A tumor was discovered in Mikey's (12 years old) spinal column. They were back in Detroit, MI visiting old friends and family. So the medical treatments started there. Now they are back in Dallas and will continue care here.

I have several things I'm praying about for them. I'm asking God to heal Mikey. I'm asking for strength and patience for everyone who loves Mikey. I'm asking God to help our church family love them well through this. If you think of Mikey and his family please pray for them too.

P.S. - To my Crossroads friends, if you see their names on a name badge please don't be shy about introducing yourself. Wendy is one of the friendliest people I have ever met. She is standing on the far left side of this picture.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Leaving an impression...

As we were in small groups or informal conversations, random comments or questions would come out. Below are a couple of examples:

Question: Now I've heard, and please tell me whether this is true or not. That the American government requires you to have five children. Is that true?

Comment: These people (Americans) are so different then us. They will even talk to each other about a millipede. There is something to be learned there.

Part of what keeps cross-cultural travel an adventure is you never know what might come your way. I was keenly aware that I was representing my people when I gave them a response. Knowing how challenging some of the questions were in our small group times. I wasn't as brave as some of our presenters. A few of them invited questions at the end of their presentations. They got a couple of doosies! It was fun to watch what happened because the Lord provided well stated and solid answers. So glad God provides in those moments! Maybe I'll risk opening the floor next time?!

A transition that was interesting to experience happened with the staff at the hotel. We were enthusiastically welcomed. But there was also cautiousness in the welcome and our first encounters with many of the staff members. They seemed slightly afraid of what we would be like. All of us did a great job of making eye contact and thanking them for all they were doing. Over the week you could see them relax and even truly welcome the sight of us. I was sincerely grateful for this. I wish there had been time to get to know them too.

It's kinda funny that after spending so much time praying that the Lord will help you represent Him, your church and your country well. You leave with no real idea of the kind of impression you left. Instead you come home with all these powerful impressions of the Kenyan people and their country. I now find myself wondering, how will God use the mark that has been left by them on us?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Our team.

Last night the team reunited minus Merrikay who is still in Africa to be interviewed by John Newton. He's putting together a short video about our trip. Not sure when it might get shown. May just go in the archives to use before future teams leave on trips.

I don't think any of us on the team where terribly excited about being in a video. I think Dave compared it to the joy of a root canal. But as always there are unexpected blessings in doing what you don't really want to do. John interviewed each couple for about 10 minutes each. We sat and listened to each couple giving their responses. It was fun and heart warming to hear how each of us was impacted by "Impact 2009"... and to hear our hopes and prayers for the couples we left behind.

All of this has had me reflecting on what God has brought about in my life through this trip. My parents went on short-term missions trips when I was a kid. Since then, I have had the bug. My first opportunity, for a mission trip out of the country was crossing the border from SoCal to Mexico to build homes. It was a youth trip. I went on several It was a great experience but not really what I had been dreaming of doing.

About five years ago, I started to long to be able to go on a trip where I'd be able to do some teaching. At the time this desire began it seemed unrealistic for several reasons. But God did it. He got rid of all the unrealistic reasons and put together a trip for Dave and I to do together as part of a team that just "made sense".

There are a few longings in my heart right now that I'll keep between me and the Lord. But I gotta tell you. What God did before, during and now after our trip to Africa is giving me the courage to believe that if a longing of mine matches up with God's will, its gonna happen. I assure you all of them have obstables that make them seem humanly unrealistic.

It will always mean a lot to me that Dave, Mike, Joye, Paul, Suzi and Merrikay from Crossroads and Rose, Miriam and Erick from ALARM were a part of time in my life when God has given me so much reason to have so much faith!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

More new friends...

Today I'd like to tell you a little about Pastor Zachariah Okech and his lovely wife Mary. They have been a part of the church we attended on Sunday for a long while. But in the recent months they and their church concluded that Pastor Z and family should start a church in Malindi. Malindi is north along the coast and I understand it is a much larger community than Kilifi.

Pastor Z and Mary have several children. One of their children is in Grade 8. It is in Grade 8 that you are eligible to take a national academic test. If you pass this test you are allowed to enter a special school system. I gathered that a very small percentage of students make it. But those who do are well prepared for further education after high school. Obviously an important accomplishment that leads to more opportunities later. So even though the church has started meeting, the family still lives in Kilifi most of the time. This way their daughter will be well prepared for the national test.

So Pastor Z has been driving back and forth to Malindi, longing to be there full time. He misses his family when he is gone. And, he knows the church will do much better once he and the rest of the family are there full time. I was struck as I was listening to their situation how universal it was. Jobs pulling fathers away from home. Education as a focus and sacrifices that need to be made so the children will have as many options as possible.

They also shared with me that Malindi is a more popular place to live than Kilifi. Which means the land and buidling prices are higher. This has been a big hurdle. But they wanted me to know how much they have waited with hope knowing that if God wanted them there that he would make a way for them to have a place to live. Sure enough just days before the conference, as God seems to do frequently, through a friend of a friend, Pastor Z and his wife had taken look at a home. The house is big enough for their family, close to where the church now assembles and affordable. God has provided someone who is willing to sell his property to a pastor for less than the value of the property. They weren't surprised at all. It was fun to rejoice with them about God's provision for the work He has called them to do.

We shared a couple of meals and tea time together over the course of our week. Pastor Z is an eager learner. If our personal resources were unlimited, I would be figuring out a way to make more books and training available to him. He know that the best teaching comes from personal learning. He was really enjoying the challenges of the week. He was not afraid to be stretched and yet not going to accept everything we had shared just because we had shared it. He asked great questions!
Mary is shy but very thoughtful and delighted in communicating with me. She is a preschool teacher. She taught me some Swahili words and I taught her some new English words. I enjoyed the time I spent with both of them. We've exchanged contact information and hope to be able to continue encouraging each another. They don't have an email address yet but hope to in Malindi. So for now we're relying on snail mail.