My “calling.” Urbana, Africa, & a proverb.

Urbana?
A missions conference that happens every 2 years. In a nutshell It is a time of being taught about, hearing examples of, praying for, and somehow one way or another being involved in missions. Thanks to our pastors, at the time Cpt. & Maj Smith’s, I got to go In December of 2012 with a friend of mine named Dylan. We met up with other people from the Salvation Army once there and it was a blast.

So what?
It was during the last meeting at Urbana that a small piece of paper was handed out with different questions and fill in the blanks. It was to challenge us if we where going to commit to the Lord by serving him through missions. 3 out of 4 fill in the blanks said:

-I will commit to a short term missions

-I will commit to a mid term missions

-I will commit to long term missions

Here’s a link for statistics of Urbana 12 and how many people answered to what.

After some time of honestly thinking and praying over the commitments I said yes to all 3. As accountability there was a spot for someone else to sign as a witness and to remind us as time went by. Dylan signed it for me.

Africa
Maybe you can start putting pieces together by now. The Lord, and yes it’s been the Lord, has blessed me in fulfilling my first commitment to Him. I did not know then at Urbana, that this year I would be serving as a missionary with AIM in Kenya. Let me tell you there is no better state of being than being in the hands and the plans of God.

Missions and “The calling”
There’s 2 left. Maybe. Maybe more than 2 and there’s a probability that It might be less if you and I are thinking of missions as specifically going “out there.” One of the major, if not the main, lesson I was reaffirmed of at Urbana was that all of Christian’s “calling” is to missions.

Within the Salvation Army circle I’ve heard officers, cadets, candidates, and candidates to be say something like “The Lord called me to be an officer (pastor).” Maybe, maybe some of these Salvationists literally get a burning bush calling from the Lord to be officers. But for most of us a burning bush doesn’t happen.

For the Christian, no matter, where you are, what your socio-economic status is, color of your skin, height, education, etc all those differences don’t change wether you are “called” to GO or not. The scripture tells us that he told his disciples and consequently future followers of Christ to, “…go and make disciples of all nations…” Matt 28:19.

Understanding this helps me see a few things clearly: it is a command, it is clear, it is encouraging. I hope you see the command and clearness of the scripture by reading it and pretty much the entire New Testament. As far as encouraging, what I mean is that I don’t find myself asking the question: what is my life’s purpose? Or what is God’s will for my life? Let me repeat it, for the Christian, for you and me it is to GO! Do whatever so long as it is for the glory of God and whatever it is you do, disciple!

A Proverb
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9. I believe in the sovereignty of God. I also believe somehow there is a partnership of those who have surrendered their life to Christ in man’s life. Practically the way I see that in mine is an – as I’m going about the course of my planned days – work, play, or otherwise, it all falls under where the Lord has and is establish-ed/ing my steps.

Sounds like a contradiction? Yes, but then this verse would be too. Without getting exegetical up in here, I take great comfort and trust that as long as He is my aim in life, whatever plans and steps I make he will either bless me in letting me walk forward through it with Him or close doors and guide me elsewhere. Hence how i take my calling. I want to be in missions abroad, the Lord hasn’t shown me clearly what that will look like and that’s ok. In the mean time I can press on to find out how to do that AND do missions locally at the same time. Planning for ministry in the future is commendable, living a life of ministry in the present is a must.

It is a temptation to sit and wait, or complain, that God’s plans aren’t clear in ones life. If it’s not clear that’s ok, don’t fold your hands and wait for the Lord to drop a ministry opportunity or vocation on your lap. As you do-GO and make disciples. Plan your steps and take comfort that, focused on the Lord, He will establish your steps.

Thanks for reading, Dan

P.S. I’ve uploaded pictures from Urbana 12 on my flickr. If you are using a desktop you should see it to the right of our blog. If a mobile device it should be below and need to scroll down.

Most likely, this will be our last blog post while in Kenya, there are a few pictures left from Kenya i have not uploaded yet to Flickr but i will soon.

8 weeks? Already ?

Three things are running through my mind on this wonderful saturday afternoon. Three things differing in nature and intensity but all worth sharing. Its been a week full of thoughts and discoveries. 

First of all I am a wimp. A weakling. And I would venture to say that most american women are when compared with the hard working ladies that live here in Africa. On friday afternoon, a number of kenyan ladies show up at our door selling fruits, veggies and eggs. (Can I just say you can buy a dozen eggs here for like 80 cents! My brain literally exploded!) Anyways we have cultivated a friendly relationship with “the fruit lady.” As she laid out her selection of tastiness for us to pick from I noticed her bag that she uses to carry her fruit. The thing was enormous! As she packed up her fruit I asked her if her bag was heavy. Her response was no, it was very easy to carry. I flat out told her I did not believe her. She laughed and told me to pick it up. I tried. I failed. We both laughed and she helped me hold it up on my head so Dan could take a picture. This thing probably weighed close to 70 lbs. Where I could not lift it and inch off the ground with out her help, this beautiful african lady carries it on her head FOR 7 HOURS A DAY ALL OVER THE CITY! She shared with me that every since she was a little girl of about 4 there was hard work to be done. As a small child she carried heavy bags and buckets for miles on her back or head. It was her life and it had made her strong and a hard worker. I wish I had hard work like that growing up. Not to say that I didn’t work because I did. But I did not carry 1,000 news papers on my back around our neighborhood and 5 in the morning. I was in a car. I didn’t move 1 ton of gravel trip by trip to our back yard by carrying it on my back. I had a freaking wheel barrel! I am still amazed at the stories I hear of how hard Kenyan children work. And they are not bitter or angry that their parents made them work. They know it made them strong and they are so thankful for it. I complain about hard work. There you go. Honesty at its base level. I want work to be easy. I need and want to be more like my sister in Christ Louis “the fruit lady.” I will miss her company on friday afternoons. 

                                                IMG_2514

Now to totally change gears…. Im sure that everyone is familiar with the passage in Ecclesiastes that talks about there being a time for everything under heaven. I thought I was until I read it Thursday and again yesterday. In that long list of things that there are specific times for was verse 6 of chapter 3 which says “… a time to search and a time to give up…” I have not every noticed that section before. I have noticed a time to live, a time to die a time to love and so on. But not a time to give up… That phrase went against everything I was taught growing up and just living life. You never give up. You only fail if you give up. If at first you don’t succeed try again. No matter the odds you don’t give up. Succeed or die trying. The sayings go on… But apparently Solomon, the wisest dude to ever live, and the Lord said there is a time to give up. You don’t always need to die trying. Dan and I have been searching for what is next. When do we start life? Where to go from here? Seminary for Dan or just more schooling? What kind of work? what about missions? What about babies? In our ideal world, Dan would have a masters from a great school, we both would have great paying  jobs, be in full time missions and homeschool our 7 kids ( well the 7 kids is not Dans ideal world :p). Oh and have plenty of money to go on disney cruises. Obviously to accomplish all this would be absurd. But its our american dream! We should aspire to attain it! But its absurd. Some things in the list will be have to go by the way. Most likely the great paying job part. 

We are in our time of seeking out what the Lord has for us. Many options will be available. In the end something will be attained and something will be let go and given up on. And its ok. This verse was so encouraging to me as we continue to seek out Gods plan for us. The time to give up on certain things will come. It does not mean we are failures. It means we searched out many things and with our saviors help we picked one. When you say yes to one thing you are saying no to something else. Solomon already knew this. Glad he wrote it down. Praise God for directing our steps.

Last thought of this past week! 

Dan and I are leaving Kenya in 7 days. Where did the time go? I can say I am absolutely not ready to go. I would be happy here for another 6 months. I was thinking about this today and it caused me to reflect on my past short term mission trips. Those 2 week trips were completely different then this 8 week experience. Let me compare and contrast them for you! 

*2 weeks- no down time. ZERO! 8 weeks- Dan and I have had many relaxing fun weekends

*2 weeks- No culture shock. 8 weeks- I thought culture shock was going to kill me the first 4 weeks

*2 weeks- if you do experience culture shock, its ok cause your going home in three days. 8 weeks- You are not going home in 3 days. Get comfy and deal

*2 weeks- You do not cook, you do not do laundry, you do not buy groceries, you do not ride public transport and the list goes on. Routine life does not happen. 8 weeks- Routine life goes on. Its different, more difficult and no one is holding your hand through it.

*2 weeks- Long lasting friendships are not formed if any at all. 8 weeks- Kenyans are making plans to come visit you in the states and life long bonds have gotten started. 

*2 weeks- people are shouting mzungu at you constantly. 8 weeks- your starting to fit in.

*2 weeks- ready to go home in 14 days. 8 weeks- wanting to stay for another 6 months.

These are just my experiences. Im sure different people have had other experiences with varying lengths of trips. But after comparing the two, in my opinion, the long the better. In my 8 weeks being here I have lived life here. I have not been a “voluntourist.” And I loved it. 4 weeks ago I was ready to get off this continent and go home. But today I don’t want to leave my new home. All I can think about is when I can come back. I will miss this beautiful country and these beautiful people. Its been a trial filled, interesting, fun and wonderful 7 weeks and we are so looking forward to our last one here. I will definitely shed tears for Kenya as we leave on friday. Its amazing how God works in our hearts and lives. 

See you all very soon. 

<3 Kate

The good, the bad, & the Godly

Well Kate and i missed posting last week, sorry about that.

Recap

The last week of July, i think i can speak for Kate, we had 2 highlights.

  1. We went flying in a Cessna (6 seater small plane) to Korr, Kenya. If you click HERE you will see pictures of our flight to Korr and one in the actual location & pictures of our second highlight: camping! I didn’t take many pictures while on the ground because we where there briefly to pick up a short termer that was visiting Korr for 2 weeks. What i can say about Korr is that it is a very remote location. From the air, if it’s not cloudy, you can see groups of circles here and there close to one another where Nomads camp. The circles are Acacia bushes (they have thorns) and their purpose is to keep predators out and their livestock in. Also, not only was it my first time flying in a Cessna, but my first time landing in a dirt & gravel airstrip against the wind. Let me tell you, that, was quite the bumpy & scary landing. The crazy thing about that landing is that that’s not that bad, according to our pilot… geez.
  2. One of the head maintenance guys at AIM AIR invited us to go camping with his family. I immediately said yes: 1 because it had been a long time since i had gone camping (which is unfortunate as i live in the beautiful northwest!) & 2 He offered to camp. IN KENYA. why would anyone pass that up? From Saturday 26th evening to Monday 28th morning of July we camped at Roberts Camp off of Lake Baringo, Northwest of Nairobi. It was beautiful, rainy, filled with birds, some hippos, crocs, and food stealing monkeys. The Holtz’ (the family we went with) where very gracious to provide for most of our needs.

This Week

The week started with 3 planes in the hangar and Kate was able to work on all 3 to some extent: 2 Cessna’s and 1 Caravan. She’s worked mostly on the Caravan, which is new work for her; unfortunately she didn’t get much training at Moody with those kinds of planes. I on the other hand am the Stores manager for 3 weeks, as far as i understand it. Kimani, the actual stores manager, is on leave for 3 weeks so i was asked if i could help filling in. I know a grand total of 0% about airplane parts and other hangar related tools, but after 4 days of doing the work i’m proud to say i’ve caught up fairly quickly and the job isn’t very daunting and It’s good to be affirmed by some of the staff at AIM that they are thankful that i stepped into the position.

Today the last member of our team, Paul, will be leaving. If you have read our previous blog you might remember that we mentioned we came in half way through our teams 5 week mission trip. We are sad that he is leaving, Paul’s been to Kenya many times before and he has been a great help to us, but by now we have grown accustomed to living here and getting around, as far as our needs are concerned. Yesterday Kate & i took public transportation for the second time for practice. Paul was our ride to the Hangar and back and since he’s leaving we’ll be taking “Matatu’s” (small van) to and from the hangar for our remaining 2 weeks.

Speaking of 2 weeks…

Starting TODAY the 8th that’s what we have left. 2 more weeks in Nairobi. I don’t know what to say at the moment about our time almost being up, Kate and i have had time to process many things and i’m sure there will yet be many more to process.

For now i’ll say this. We came out for 2 reasons:

  1. To fulfill Kate’s required internship from Moody in order for her to receive her diploma.
  2. That the Lord would show us as clearly as possible how we will be involved in missions abroad.

For point #1, unless something terrible happens between today and when we go back to the states, that’ll pretty much be in the bag.

Now for #2, being honest with you, we are not sure. Kate and i have been thinking about this one, mostly on our own, thinking about what will we do with missions abroad for the glory of God. But don’t let my “for the glory of God” fool you into thinking we have been diligent saints out here, praying, fasting, and seeking the Lord out daily and i don’t even want to use the word “struggle.” We haven’t been praying much, we haven’t been seeking the Lord in prayer together as we think about missions in our future plans. I mean to mean “our” future plans as the Lord wills it.

Before posting this Kate and i had a conversation about the above. Thanks to the wonderful counselor, we found out our problem is rooted in a lack of a strong marital-spiritual time set aside for the two of us with the Lord. Pray with us as we start, again, to be in prayer and in the word with our heavenly father, through Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. and pray for our remaining 2 weeks here, that we keep Christ at the center of our endeavors of learning how to help & helping out here.

Not your typical ministry post.

“A mans steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” 

Proverbs 20:24

I read this verse this past wednesday evening after a long day trying to manipulate sheet metal to do my bidding. I was rebuilding a trim tab assembly (yes I am pretending everyone knows what that is and what it does) and was ready to let the line service guys use it as their soccer ball when lunch time came. Coming across this verse made me throw my arms up in the air and almost yell out loud “well that would have been nice to know before I started training for 5 years to fix airplanes!” I went to bed in frustration.

But as I started thinking about this verse over the past couple of days my heart has changed. I am truly awestruck by the Lord and how his plans and ideas are so outside of my understanding.

Let me back up a bit. I have realized that I have not really shared at all what Dan and my days are like here in Kenya. Well here it is. Hopefully my theme verse and thoughts later on will make sense after I share a typical day with you. 

6:00 am- Dan gets up and tells me its 6 and time to get up.

6:10 am- Dan goes down stairs to make breakfast and tells me its 6:10

6:20 am- Dan tells me its 6:20.

6:30 am- I finally roll out of bed straight to a pot to boiling water on our stove for coffee.

7:10 am- Dan and I get in the car and ride in mario kart traffic to wilson airport for 30- 50 min. The airport is only 5 miles away. 

8am-12:30pm – I work on airplanes. Dan does odd jobs.

12:30-1:30- I eat lunch. Dan plays soccer

1:30- 5- I work on airplanes. Dan does odd jobs.

5-6:30- we ride home in mario kart traffic

6:30-8:30- Make dinner, eat dinner and maybe watch an episode of Murder, She Wrote or the Cosby Show.

8:30 bed

REPEAT

This is basically what I do at home in Washington. This past four weeks have been a struggle for me because I am still not seeing how what I am doing is ministry. I feel as though I have more of a ministry in spokane than here. While I enjoy being at the hanger something is very much missing. While at home I am still at a hanger, I am outside of it long enough to “make disciples”, to have friendships, to be a wife and for gosh sakes sit down and knit. Here, I am at the hanger. 

One may ask well what about your weekends? Weekends are for everything your talking about right? No. This is Africa. I had to ask for a day off to just have time to do all the things that need to be done living in Kenya. Fridays and Saturdays consist of cooking for the week, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, women’s prayer group and hopefully a 2 hour date outing to java house so Dan and I can remember that we are married and still attracted to each other. And on sundays we go to church. Which takes most of the day. I look at this list and it does not appear to be alot but everything takes longer here and Dan and I walk everywhere we need to go.

I don’t want to come off negative sounding. I have been learning a lot and I have been slowly making friendships. But this is not what I was expecting for a ministry internship. To be honest I was expecting an emotionally high experience of being a servant in a very apparent-to-me way and discovering exactly what God’s plans were for Dan and I. After 4 weeks I am definitely not high on the Holy Spirit and I do not understand my way.

Ok back to my verse. My steps are directed by the Lord. As I have been reflecting on this verse I know that this is the place God has for me right now and for the next 4 weeks. Despite my feelings about it which I described above. I am confused right now and a little frustrated because I feel that I am not living up to what a missionary should be. But my Savior knows that. He knew that is what I would go through and he still moved heaven and earth to get me here to Kenya. He kept me in school for 5 years when I wanted to quit so bad and he passed me through when there where areas that I should have failed if not for him. All of these things have reminded me that I have a way and my steps are directed. But not by me. By the man that died for me and rose again. Instead of being frustrated by not knowing my steps like I was wednesday night, I need to be comforted that God is directing my steps. 

I can not express how much I wish God had flown me halfway around the world to be his servant and a light. I’m thinking he flew me around the world to show me that I don’t trust him and I am selfish. Its a pity I couldn’t have learned that before I came but God knows best. I am still learning that He knows best. 

I wish I could post wonderful stories and experiences for you all to read. I wish I could be showing you how the Lord is using Dan and I. But what I have to share is what he is teaching me. And He is teaching me to trust him fully no matter what is going on around me that I don’t understand. And I, true to form, am being stubborn and slow learning but I think I am getting it. More here than i would have at home in my little apt in Spokane. Maybe that is why He moved heaven and earth to get me out here. He knew I needed to be outside my comfort zone to learn to trust him fully. He knew that in order to direct my steps, I needed to be convinced that I don’t know my own way. He truly blows my mind. And for that I am so thankful and grateful.

On a much lighter note, WE ARE GOING CAMPING THIS WEEKEND!!! :D

I don’t know where we are going or what we will do when we get there but we are leaving the city and that is all I care about! A missionary couple that works at the hanger asked us to come along with them and we are so grateful for a chance to have a little mini vacation at our halfway point.

Prayer request:

-Obviously prayer that Dan and I will continue to trust the Lord in everything here and at home. 

- That we will not be discouraged if expectations are not met

- For our safety as we are doing a lot of walking just the two of us and that we are now living in a house by our selves now that our team is gone.

-For our friendships here that they will continue to grow

- That the Lord will still use us as his servants and that we will be able to impact his kingdom even if we can’t see it

Kate <3

Click me for pictures!

Story of a missionary nurse with AIM & Flickr!

We are in the second day of our third week and have a lot on our plates, a lot in our minds, and thankfully with adequate sleep, but not a lot of processing time.

In time I’ll write some thoughts, other times I’ll link my Flickr account here. Kate and I share sentiments, she’s shared them in a previous blog she wrote titled God’s family around the world about wanting to share as much as we can, but not having the time to. I’m finding no other easier way to share our photos of our time in Kenya than this way. I hope you enjoy.

Story time!

On Mondays the maintenance staff and pilots (when they are here in Nairobi and not out flying and ministering) get together at 10:00 AM for chai time to debrief of things that need to get done in the week, prayer requests, sharing of blessings and testimonies.

It is at this time when, in particular, the pilots are back from trips to places where if I knew how to pronounce them I would defer from mentioning because many are to or near closed access areas and/or remote places. They come back with incredible stories of how God himself and God through his faithful people in Christ have been at work.

The latest yesterday was of an American nurse who lives in a remote location of Africa, where there is a strong witchcraft presence near where she lives and a Muslim presence as well. Great combination don’t you think?

She’s been integrating herself well in the community though, she’s adopted and let herself be adopted by an elder of a tribe in a “daughter and father” relationship, learning their unwritten language (which is quite the task), and of course providing her nursing skills to the people, whether from: her tribe, another, and to the Muslim community.

In our meeting the pilot told us that one day she was invited to help a man who was having seizures that lived deep within a community that practiced witchcraft. AIM (Africa Inland Mission) advises it’s missionaries not to go to dangerous places like that, but she told the pilots that the Lord called her to go and help this man.

What’s interesting about her going is that, although she is a nurse, she did not know how to professionally treat seizures. Although she didn’t know how to treat seizures she went because the Lord told her to go. So how was she going to help this man? What was going to happen to her if he didn’t get better?

The man had a seizure when she saw him. The local witch doctor had already tried to heal him before. She came and prayed to God for him. Once she was done praying he at once stopped having his seizures.

That’s it

The Lord called this nurse to go to a dangerous place to help this man, who she did not know personally or know professionally how to help. By faith in Christ she went. By the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ, God healed this man through her prayer. Glory to God.

I don’t know what’s happened since then, the pilot didn’t share more, but they come every Monday with incredible stories like this one. About what God is doing through missionaries who have: limited resources, limited communication, limited protection, physically & materially speaking. But as a Christian this nurse knew AND believed that she had unlimited resources, unlimited communication, & unlimited protection in Christ. Same goes for all the other missionaries with AIM.

Thanks for reading.

Dan P

P.S.
Flickr is a photo sharing website. If you click on the blue Flickr word you will be sent to my flickr account where you will be able to see & comment on our pictures of Kenya. Again, I hope you enjoy them.

Also, for future reference, if you click on my blogs menu box you will see a drop down list with a link for my Flickr and other social websites of mine not necessarily related with our mission trip.