Sunday, 9 October 2011

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART

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Visiting Great Gram in Kenya

Last Sunday I found myself to be much like Jonah.  I was ready to pack up and go home.  I didn’t want to stay because it all seemed too hard.  My mind raced down channels, searching aimlessly for ways that I could live back in Canada.  I was reeling with fearful thoughts of what would happen if we stayed.  How would I ever manage?  Thankfully there are no whales in Kenya and I was only temporarily swallowed up in a momentary lapse of fear and what appeared to be defeat.  Soon after some much needed rest and some personal time with God (weeping in the comfort of His loving presence) I arose with a fresh perspective, a free heart and with joy, anticipating the adventure that lay ahead.

Kenya is definitely not for the faint of heart.  I find myself living in the midst of a paradox.  Much like an example I once heard. ( I believe it was Graham Cooke) A paradox is much like a coin.  It has two sides.  One side is not right/good and the other side wrong/bad, but rather they are both unique and valid and together they form one coin or experience. 

On days that I am feeling really connected to God, I have peace in the midst of all that I see and experience.  But on days when I am feeling disconnected, life appears uncertain, shaken and even scary.  This land is harsh and it people hearty.  Like much of Africa it is riddled with danger around most corners and winding bends.  The unexpected is the norm, with plans constantly being changed, shaped and chiseled through unforeseen circumstances.  Yet in the midst of it is the raw striking beauty and wonder of it all. 

These days I am acutely aware of how fragile life is and how vulnerable we are as humans.    Daily we receive reports of someone who has been taken to the hospital or of one who has not survived the night to see another day.  In Canada this would be a distant news report on a T.V. of some soul on another continent far away from my safe little world but here in Kenya, death has reached and brushes up against the boarders of my once, safe small space.   Those who are suffering now have a name and are called friend and a hand I hold.  This is the daily struggle my heart and mind must now contend for.  There is no refuge or running away .  I can’t appease myself with it being a short term mission trip that I can leave behind or lay to rest, but rather a life that I must now learn to walk and live.  Oh how I  cling to Jesus, from where my help comes from.( PS 121:2)  The only person in whom I could place such confidence and hope. (Rom 5:5) The Lover of my soul.  My keeper, my strength, my all in all……  Where would I be without Him??

So today, I rest comfortably, peaceably in His safe and very capable hands but some of my days I grow restless with the stretching of my boarders, out of my comfort zones, with a life so clearly out of my control.  It is wild, raw unpredictable, and at times seemingly overwhelming and frightening but I thank God that my coin rarely falls on the side of fear and uncertainty.  I mostly walk in gratitude of small daily happenings, knowing that it is only His Grace that has kept us thus far.  In North America I find it is easy to be lulled into a false sense that we are somehow keeping ourselves, when I am here it is overwhelmingly  apparent that that is such a blatant lie, it is only by His grace and goodness that one remains.

 If I managed to flip my coin over again, I can fix my heart on His unchanging, unfailing love and marvel at the wonder of His work and the privilege of being called His own.  Humbled at His invitation to drink deeply of His goodness and share in the adventure of His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven!



Friday, 23 September 2011

GETTING SETTLED IN


       


The raw beauty of the village
  
Well, we have been here for almost two weeks now, so we are starting to settle in.  Life is very different here and I find myself searching for new reference points, wanting to anchor something tangible and concrete but they are ever shifting.  No two days are the same, each with their challenges and joys.  So I am free sailing, out of my comfort zones, into the wild unknown.  I am grateful that Christ has promised to be an anchor for my soul or I would be so lost.
Everyone here has been so kind and helpful.  Kenyan people have such a gift of hospitality, that I have found unmatched elsewhere.  They work tirelessly and reverently before God.  I marvel at how they can accomplish so much in a day’s work.  I’ve been laughing at myself, wondering how I will ever get Ephraim to school on time for 7:30 am, seeing how it takes me almost until noon to get us all up, bathed and feed and I wasn’t the one making breakfast or fetching the water.   LOL.  I’m hoping and praying that with practice and time and by the grace of God we might make it there on time.  I’ll let you know.
The drillers have arrived.  Praise God!
We are excited that the drilling for water has begun in Yogo village.  The company seems very impressive, with a good reputation, coming fully equipped and knowledgeable about the work.  Now we pray that they find a clean, abundant supply for both the community and the farm.  The survey has been done but it is not an exact science and requires much effort.  The large machines have helped to clear our narrow bushy roads, so we have a bit more space driving into the village.

How many people can you fit on one couch?
   I continue to covet your prayers for our family and guests that come and go but especially for Ephraim who only has 5th gear.  The land is unforgiving here with many dangers, even in the simplest things.  He can’t share food with the locals and we have to be diligent about where he plays.It has been very tiring for me and others.  He is a full time job!  Some of that will be resolved when he starts school but there is a whole other set of issues to overcome with school as well.  I am grateful for the bit of reprieve I get when in Kisumu as it is safer and cleaner play.                          
Speaking of school, we had a chance to visit Seje the second village that Youfeedthem is working with.  They are about to build desks for the students so in the interim they sit on small stools and write on benches.  We shall not despise the day of small beginnings, as we know God has so much in store.  So Seje School now affectionately named “Gracious Academy” has kicked off with 31 pupils, a teacher and a cook.  Halleluiah!  Let us continue to believe God together for great things.  Missing you all and praying that everyone is doing well.  Many blessings, until the next time...        

Thursday, 15 September 2011

WE HAVE ARRIVED!


 
It's official, we have all arrived safely in Kisumu Kenya.  Who would have thunk it?!??  That we would find ourselves here so fast?  Our house sold within a week, for a good price, praise God!  We managed to sell and give away practically everything we own, and now after dreaming and believing, standing and shaking, moving and quaking, here we are.  God is so gracious. 


We have spent over a month of send offs, 5 churches, dinners and parties, so we go with our hearts full, feeling so loved and supported.  A great big thank you to everyone for the kindness, love and generosity. We are grateful for your continued prayers.  Also a very special thanks, packed with lots of hugs and kisses to my family, who although were sad to see us go, gave us their bravest faces and best wishes with oodles of love.  What more could we possibly ask for?   A big hug to Roberta and family who drove us to the Pearson Airport.  We were all a little whipped, but thoroughly enjoying our latest addition to our family, Philip.  He will be staying with us for a month and we are thrilled.                 
Mammoth Burger
                                           

Mammoth Bite


    
Mammoth Awe


 Our last supper in Canada at the Pearson Airport, concluded with my husbands aggressive pursuit of the "Baconator" but sadly none could be found.  Oh Wendy's how you have let us down.  He managed to settle for another that boasts it's giant size but it failed to satisfy like his beloved "Baconator".  (Maybe next visit, Canada) 



                         
2 days awake and still playing strong!!??








I was particularly thrilled that both the Pearson and Amsterdam airports have a refuge for parents and a haven for kids.  We had to personally upgrade Ephraim's air ticket to First Class after almost two days of no sleep.  Luckily we didn't get caught. LOL
 Many blessings to you all.  Until the next time, may God bless you and keep you.


  
First Class Upgrade

 


 
Last chance for McDonald's




Friday, 17 June 2011

No turning back....Ahhhhhh!

Well, we did it. The ball is rolling, so to speak. We signed the papers for the sale of our house today. Wow, hard to believe in some ways. Time has gone so fast and we had not anticipated moving this quickly. We thought it would be a few more years before God would take us back to Kenya to live. We are filled with excitement about what God has in store, anticipating His goodness and unimaginable plans. At the same time we are acutely aware of the leap of faith this requires, with so many unanswered questions that our little minds try to grapple with. In the midst of all of that swirl and noise, is a quiet resting place in the palm of His hand. A place that settles us, a place of confidence in His abilities, no matter how small ours are. I am so grateful for His love and care. I will miss this home. It was our first and a totally an unexpected gift from God. It has been filled with love, joy and many a delightful dinners and get-togethers with family and friends. One chapter is finishing and a new one is beginning..... How glorious is our God!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Will You Walk With Us In this New Adventure

Kimberly and Silas just married - who knew where
God would lead us in a short few years...

Dear family and friends:

Receive our Calvary greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.   We hope this letter finds all of you doing well and enjoying the warmer weather.  We are writing to share a bit about what God has been doing in our lives and the new direction He is leading us in.

We can testify that God is so faithful to do all that He has promised.  After God joined Kimberly and I together in 2004, He began stirring our hearts to begin some dreams that He, long ago laid in us.  After God connected a number of people together with us, God birthed youfeedthem and a number of projects.  

Together by the grace of God and with many gracious partners, many of you, have made possible; self-sustainable, duplicateable farming,  the building of a school with 62 children in attendance, women’s empowerment projects, undertaking basic medical services to the community, immunization to children as well as laying the foundation for the clinics, mission trips, bicycles for pastors, bibles in native tongue, clothing for the poor, building homes for widows and orphans, caring for elderly with dignity and for the terminally ill, youth projects, church growth, worship teams developed, pastoral training, clean water and much more.
This little clinic struggles to meet the needs of over 6000 people

Although much of this work takes place in Kenya we can’t help but acknowledge the many Canadian lives that these projects through direct or indirect contact have impacted.  We marvel at how God continually touches and changes the hearts and lives of those that go on our mission trips or those that so tirelessly raise awareness, and who pray and give.  He is so gracious!  As each pour out, He pours back in, through incredible ways. We see His word fulfilled which says; “give and it will be given to you..” Luke 6:38

Since Silas’s return from the last mission trip in April, God has begun to speak to us that it is time for us, as a family, to return to Kenya.  We have been praying and waiting on the Lord concerning direction for our lives for a few years now and have heard nothing in that area until now.  (Prov 16:9)  He has been confirming this move to us and apart from that, things have been closing down here for us in the most unusual ways, in all areas.  For the past year due to continued circumstances and regardless of our best efforts, we have found ourselves totally dependent on God’s provision, month after month.  We can say whole heartedly in a very real way that God is dependable and faithful!  The trust and faith that has grown in our relationship with the Lord, lays a deep foundation for the steps ahead, where He is leading us.  We see His kindness and love on how He prepares each of our hearts both as individuals and as a family.

So we are stepping forward in faith on this next part of our adventure.  We believe this move is also instrumental and strategic for the growth of youfeedthem.  With us on the ground and our dynamic team here in Canada, we believe its sets us up for future success on a much larger scale and at a quickened pace. 

While in Kenya we will dedicate our time to daily management off youfeedthem projects but we also believe that God is leading us into full time ministry and the birth of others projects such as starting an orphanage, building interdenominational bridges within the churches, evangelism, worship through dance and much more.  With youfeedthem still being a young organization, it is not currently in a position to provide a salaried position for us.  It is our intention to implement some business to support us as a family but these all take some time to put into place. 

As we take this next step, as friends and family we want to kindly  ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us as a sponsor for the ministry and missionary work.  Your sponsorship will allow us to be able to undertake what God has called us to do.  Perhaps you would consider a monthly commitment for a year to help us get started, or perhaps you can give a onetime gift or cover us in prayer.

Unfortunately, due to the specific nature of our contracts  with the churches that partner through youfeedthem, we are unable to provide taxable receipts for these gifts to us personally, but we know that this, in no way ties the hands of God whose promises remain unchangeable.  We trust Him to bless you in the most generous ways.

This marks a bittersweet time for us as we close one chapter and say goodbye for a season and a time, and yet in the same breathe, marks a time of rejoicing, walking into dreams and promises that have laid restlessly in our hearts until now.  We don’t know how to begin to thank all of you for your love, support, encouragement and blessing in our lives but from the depths of our hearts, receive our love and gratitude. 

Many blessings,
In the love of Christ,

Silas & Kimberly