Brown Family Update – Oct 2009

Dear Friends,

We have been grateful and blessed by your prayers and emails and chats and thoughts over the past 10 weeks since we’ve returned to Africa. We have been trying to find time to get an email update written, and are very sorry it’s taken so long! Please know that you have been on our hearts and minds as well, as our goodbyes this summer are still fresh in our memory.

Over the past 10 weeks we have:

  • flown across 8 timezones and eventually conquered jetlag
  • Lost 2 friends in the AIM AIR accident (http://brownfamily.ws/2009/08/17/the-update-i-didnt-want-to-write/)
  • Did what we could to support those 2 families who lost their husbands and dads
  • Moved into a new house (our 5th house in Nairobi!)
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    Kids, in front of our latest house

  • Lost all the weight we’d gained over the summer in the US
  • Struggled with electricity and water rationing, often both at once!
  • Started having health issues and had a colonoscopy (Andy), the 2nd in 3 months!
  • Started over at a new school
  • Saw our little girl become a schoolgirl (Sydney- kindergarten)
  • Saw Lesa’s return to full-time teaching
  • Celebrated a birthday (Robbie- 11)
  • Started regularly leading worship on Sunday mornings (after a 2 year hiatus)
  • Spent 5 days in the Northern Frontier District filming (Andy) (http://brownfamily.ws/2009/10/16/worship-from-the-desert-place/)
  • Driven over 600 miles through Nairobi traffic on a motorcycle (Andy)
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    Andy, rainsoaked, and his motorcycle

  • Are 8 weeks into the 11 weeks of rehearsal for The Diary of Anne Frank (Lesa)
  • Praised God over and over that He has placed us here, doing exactly what we were made to do

Over the next 10 weeks we will:

  • Celebrate two more birthdays (Lesa, Oct 30 and Sydney, Nov 11)
  • Direct 3 HS performances (Lesa) of the The Diary of Anne Frank (Nov 5,6,7)
  • Take over the leadership of On-Field Media (Andy) while Ted is on home assignment
  • Spend a week as cameraman with Billy Graham Association (Andy)
  • Spend 8 days in Lesotho (South Africa- Andy) on filming a documentary on the nomadic, underclass shepherds of this mountainous country

The first month of our return to Africa was a rough one. Between our friend’s deaths, the funerals, moving houses, starting a new school, not to mention being terribly jetlagged, we were a mess. Through that time we held fast to God’s promises, that he is faithful and compassionate and understanding and works all things together for our good. All things… every single thing.  We are still holding tight to Him, as life is completely different now in many ways and we are all still getting used to the many changes.

We are finally seeing some rain after a severe drought here in Kenya. People and livestock have been suffering terribly over the past few months and it seemed as if the rain would never come.  We’ve never gone without water completely here in Nairobi, but the city has been rationing water so that most of the city only received water a few days a week.  Everyone stores the water when it comes, so while it has been inconvenient, we have been okay.  The electricity was also being rationed (off 3 days a week) because of the water shortage.  The rains started up this past week and haven’t let up too much.  The rationing appears to be over and we feel quite spoiled to be able to turn on the faucet and see the water pouring in every day!  Our prayer now is that there won’t be flooding all over Kenya, which can be destructive as well.

Lesa has her 3rd drama production coming up, the The Diary of Anne Frank. She is also teaching 2 high school drama classes and a middle school drama class.  She will direct a middle school play second semester, as well as a musical production for the high school.  Returning to work has been challenging and tiring for her – teaching at 35 with three kids is much different than teaching at 23!  Despite the sharp learning curve, she is loving her time at our school and feels a deep sense of purpose in mentoring and equipping these students to use their gifts for God’s glory.

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Andy, filming in northern Kenya last month

Andy has taken over as the team coordinator for On-Field Media.  We are going to miss our friends, the Rurups, while they are on Home Assignment.  At this current time, he has 6 film projects in various stages of completion to manage, in addition to some web projects, contracting with the Billy Graham Association, and planning a trip to Lesotho (Southern Africa) next month. That 30 minute commute on the motorcycle is the icing on the cake.

The children have been busy at school with activities and getting to know new friends.  Robbie is now playing the trombone and will also be in the upcoming elementary Christmas production as a shepherd.  He and Avery are taking piano lessons at school and are both doing quite well.  Sydney is… well… still Sydney.  She loves school and is as social as ever.  She has a wonderful teacher, whom she loves.  We feel very blessed to be able to have our children at such an amazing school.  Our house has been a blessing too, though quite a bit of work for Andy as he has been working on some plumbing issues ever since we moved in.  Living so close to the school has made all the difference in the world for Lesa and the kids – no more hour-long bus/car rides.  Now we can get to school in under two minutes!  And of course, Andy loves riding a piki piki (that’s Kiswahili for motorcycle).

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Lesa, leading worship on a Sunday morning

We are helping to lead worship now at our church, International Christian Fellowship, which is an answer to prayer. We also participate in a very “international” small group from church with Koreans, Africans, Americans, and Norwegians (that’s 4 continents represented!) and greatly enjoy the fellowship time with these experienced and wise missionaries.

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Us, with Wyclif, Selina, and Brian

Andy continues his relationship with Mohammed.  He is currently working to help find a special off-road wheelchair for Mohammed’s sister-in-law who recently lost her legs in an accident.  We are also still supporting little Brian so that he can go to a school with a speech therapist.  We’ve been able to spend some time with him and his family and they are all quite happy and grateful to all of you who have helped to pay for his tuition.  If you would like to help with Brian’s  tuition (it is approx. $100 a month) you can just email us and let us know.

We would love to hear from each of you to know how you are doing since we saw you last.  Please drop us an email and keep in touch!  Thank you again for all of your prayers and support.  We couldn’t be here without you.

In His Precious Name,

Andy, Lesa, Robbie, Avery, and Sydney

Prayer requests:

  • Lesa’s show – that the students would do their best, that God would be glorified, and that our family will survive the stress!
  • Andy’s trip to Lesotho – for safety and opportunities
  • Kenya’s drought – that the rains would make it throughout the country (but not too much!)
  • Andy’s health – please pray that the Ulcerative Colitis, which reappeared after our stressful month in August would go away again (last time it was gone for 8 years).
  • AIM AIR – please pray for our friends at AIM AIR as they are still putting the pieces together after the accident.  Also, please pray for the Williams and the Toew’s families who each lost a husband/father.

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