Greetings once again from the city of cold water (that’s what Nairobi means in Kikuyu)! At least 4 days of the week that is true, the other 3 days it is the city of “hakuna maji”, or no water. Which is why we have 2 giant tanks in our back yard to store up water to get us through the dry days. Which means no laundry and few showers during half the week, making up for it on the other end.
Not that things are dry here, quite the opposite in fact. The short rains (one of two rainy seasons here) have started this week and everything is muddy and wet. It’s even cold, which helps us remember that back home people are getting their turkeys and raking leaves and thinking about Christmas. It’s going to be a weird Christmas for us here, the start of summer and probably the 1st time we’ll have been hot since we left the US at the end of June.
On Field Media
The last time we wrote an update I (Andy) was just starting my job with the new On Field Media team. Mike and Ted and I have had a great time the past couple months pulling together our first video project and building our website to host all our content.
Our 1st video, Psalm 40, is a worship video. Ted and I shot all the footage, in Kibera slums at a literacy class, in another slum at a health clinic, in Machakos at Scott Theological College, and in Korr, Kenya, in the remote desert northern frontier. After weeks of planning, 2 weeks of shooting, and 1 week of editing, we finished and are now presenting it for you, our friends and family, as an opportunity to get a glimpse of life throughout Kenya, as well as worship God in a greater understanding of the work he is doing here.
You can watch the video and check out the OFM website (also by me!) here: http://aim-ofm.org.
I also had the amazing opportunity in each of those places to take some incredible photos. Not that the photos are incredible as a result of my skills, but really the result of a great camera (thanks again Andy Peterson!) and a country full of beautiful people and children just waiting for a camera to tell their story. You can see the best photos on our website.
As you know, I (Lesa) have been waiting on God’s direction for ministry here. He has opened up a few doors that have, honestly, surprised me, including a chance to speak to some women at our friends’ church about the Discipling ministry I have been involved with since college. In preparing for my talk, God pulled together many pieces of my experiences to see how this ministry truly transforms lives (including my own!) and could transform a church, and clarified more how this ministry is optimally organized – based on my own experiences and on a great book “Transforming Discipleship” by Greg Ogden.
Now, I have another opportunity to get together with some of these women, a mixture of Kenyans and missionaries, again to go into more detail about it. Along the same lines, I also have a chance to do a workshop at our January AIM ladies’ retreat on “Breathing New Life into Your Daily Time with God.” I would love to see this all grow into a broader ministry here – but know I must wait on God to orchestrate it. Please pray for me that I will follow God’s direction and be patient with the results.
We will also be leading a workshop at next week’s regional conference called “Guitar and Piano for Worship.” We hope to equip people who find themselves leading worship for Bible studies, meetings, or church, but who don’t feel confident in their abilities. Andy will also teach a workshop at the conference called, “Using the Internet as a Tool to Communicate with Supporters.” As you know, Andy is so amazing and creative at this, and many people are already asking us how he does it.
We are excited, also, that many doors are opening for us to be “worship leaders to missionaries” as we had originally envisioned. We have been leading weekly at a youth group, Lesa has been leading for her ladies’ Bible study, we are leading at the conference next week for two of the main sessions, and a few more upcoming opportunities.
24 Sundays ago we worshiped with our home church who loved us and knew us well. The past 24 weeks we have worshiped at 18 different churches, and while that has been wonderful for some reasons, it has been hard for others. It has been hard to sit on the sidelines after being in the game for 10 years, every Sunday. And we long to fellowship with a church that knows community like our home church and where we can experience that community with Kenyans, and are still waiting on the Lord to find out how we might be involved in serving in a local church. Please continue to pray for us as we are searching for a church home and how involved we should be at the local church level.
Robbie and Avery have been enjoying West Nairobi School – making new friends and doing well at their studies. African life is becoming more and more “familiar” to the kids, which is a relief to us parents. Robbie had his 9th birthday in September, Sydney turned 3 in November, and Lesa turned ?? in October, so we’ve had a good time celebrating for first birthdays here (though baking cakes in our somewhat sketchy oven has been an experience)! We have been enjoying our house, but have struggled since we moved in to find a place for our office/studio equipment. God is so faithful and has provided us an opportunity to move into a different house at the end of this year that has a room for an office AND an extra bedroom for guests! Now you all have no excuse not to visit us!! 🙂 It also has an extra big yard for the kids to play with our new German Shepherd puppy who has been providing us all with hours of entertainment.
Financially, we are blown away each month by the gifts that have come in. Blown away at the size of this task, each and every month, and that God is faithful to answer it, through you!
We’ve found out, during the past month or so, that we are slightly undersupported, and that the support rates for missionaries in East Africa are going up, across the board, at the end of the year. This is mainly a cost-of-living increase, and we are thankful to see the support rates going up as we have realized how hard it is to feed the ever growing appetite of our children (Robbie now eats more than Andy!). We also try to have enough “excess” funds to be able to help our Kenyan friends when needs arise.
Anyhow, we need around $500/month more in support by the beginning of next year. Clicking the green AIM banner on our website is probably the easiest way to do it. Like we said, we have been blown away each month at what God has provided, and know that he’s not going to send us home over such a small thing as money. We trust completely that he will provide, and ask you to continue praying with us for our trust and his provision.
As we say each time, we are so thankful to God, and to each of you who support us in your prayers and in your sacrifical giving. So thankful for the opportunity to be here.
Trying to be obedient, one step at a time,
Andy, Lesa, Robbie, Avery, Sydney