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!) 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) 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...

Worship from the desert place

Cramming in the bed of a pickup truck with 21 Rendille women wearing little more than beads is an interesting way to spend your day. It was my 2nd time in Korr, Northern Kenya, in the desolate desert of what’s called the “northern frontier district.” Frontier is the right word, as this is past the edge of civilization by at least an 8 hour drive. The lack of water is a big problem in East Africa right now. 2 years of miserably poor rainy seasons and deforestation of parts of the Kenyan highlands have left many people in a bad state. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8057316.stm) Especially in the desert, where people rely on their animals for survival, not just the meat but liquid from milk and blood. These people, mostly nomadic, move their entire village with the herds, or send the warriors out for months at a time with the herds, in a never-ending search for water and grazing. So when it doesn’t rain, the animals get sick and die, and the people lose not only their way of life but the very thing that keeps them alive. So, when we pull up to a village (a “goob” in the local language) with our Land Cruiser, the women (who have the job of finding water and firewood every day) seize the opportunity to save themselves a 4 hour walk to the well and back. They run to their huts, grab whatever containers they can find, and swamp the truck. You can’t imagine how many people can fit in the bed of a pickup truck until you try it. If there was room...

The update I didn’t want to write

This is the update I didn’t want to write. I am writing it to share our feelings and document our experience of the past 2 weeks, but I’m finding it laborious to write the words. We knew it would be a hard couple of weeks upon our arrival in Africa. We were planning on it being hard, knowing that within days of landing Lesa would begin staff training at our school, I would be moving our possessions across town and we’d be extremely jetlagged. We knew it would be hard, but not this hard. After landing in Nairobi and clearing customs, we were greeted by my friend Ted with the news of the AIM AIR crash that afternoon. Our friend Frank, the pilot, was dead. Our friend Ryan, an engineer who was also sitting in the front of the plane, was in the hospital with serious burns. Our hearts sank, as did our knees to the floor of the airport. We lived between the 2 families for a couple months last year. Ryan’s oldest son and my 2nd son are great friends. But beyond our feelings, our entire small close-knit community of AIM International Services was reeling and hurting. Hurting for our friends, for their children, for ourselves, for each other. Confident, though, in Frank’s presence with our heavenly Father. We still had a job to do. Lesa still had staff training to attend, and we still needed to move houses within the week. I managed to secure a lorry (truck) and 7 strong kenyan men to help, and we moved on Wednesday. Ryan died on Friday, at a...

Half-time report: back to Africa in 43 days

Exactly half-way into our 3 month home assignment we thought would be a good time to send a quick update of what we’ve done and where we’re at. While the first half of our trip was filled with seeing all our dear friends and sending church in northern Virginia, the second half of our trip is full of family and doctor’s appointments and shopping for the next 2 years’ worth of socks and deodorant and taco seasoning and everything that America has to offer that is hard to find or expensive in Kenya. While the first half of our trip was filled with some reverse culture shock (everything from the color of our money to the variety of food in grocery stores), the second half of our trip is starting to fill with a building excitement for our return to what feels like our home, Kenya. We’re starting to really miss our dear friends there, just as we’ve missed so many of you here. We’re starting to think about our upcoming move across Nairobi, about the start of a new school year in a new school, and Lesa’s return to full time teaching. Quick Stats 43 days into our furlough 43 days remaining 3000 miles driven so far 2000 miles to go . Foods to partake: Fountain Coke (check) McDonalds (check) Chipotle (check) Moe’s (check) Pizza Hut (check) Beau Joe’s Papa Johns’ Sonic . 25 lbs gained [cumulative] 25 lbs to go? Financial update THANKS to some very generous gifts, some new supporters, and our faithful supporters from the past two years, we are right on track for returning...

Orientation

Almost a year ago I was tasked with creating a video to be used across AIM to show what the orientation process looks like. Who better to have do that than the video guy whose family was just wrapping up their first term at new missionaries? Anyhow, we recently released this video, and it is now being distributed to all AIM missionary candidates, but we thought we’d share it here as well so you can enjoy what our last 2 years have been...

Captivate

Tim Lang’s story of his 9 months in Africa, living with us, working with Andy on the On-Field Media...

2 big events this weekend

We’ve been crazy busy the past 2 weeks in Northern Virginia seeing friends and family and catching up on the past 2 years. More about that later, but right now we wanted to post a quick note about 2 opportunities this weekend for your prayers. We’re having 2 “Africa Night” dessert parties, where we have an opportunity to share in-depth about our past 2 years in Africa, and to raise up prayer and financial supporters. Please pray we have good attendance at these events, that we make good connections with people, and that God is glorified through the stories we share of how He is at work throughout Africa. Friday, 7:30pm, Broga’s house (43439 Mountcastle Drive, South Riding, VA) Saturday, 7:00pm, Lang’s house (1413 Horizon Court, Herndon,...

Brown Family Update – May 2009

Hello from Virginia! We’ve officially been in the States now for a little over a week. We landed in Illinois at Andy’s parents’ house and recuperated from jet-lag as best as we could before heading out across the country to see family and friends and visit our supporting churches. Honestly, we’re all still feeling a bit up-side down, between the jet-lag and becoming acquainted with an up-dated American culture. It’s fun to finally eat at Moe’s again and drink fountain cokes! It’s especially wonderful to see family and friends, many of whom it has been two years since we’ve hugged and caught up with. Our last few weeks have been busy but good. We had two weekends of The King and I, which went off without a hitch! It was so wonderful to see the students pull together such a large and difficult production and to do it beautifully and with amazing attitudes. We were very proud of them! The experience served to solidify our convictions that working with high school students is exactly the direction that Lesa needs to put her energies into. The production was a great experience for us as a family, too, as we are seeing our children’s interest in the arts grow as they see all the possibilities and how fun it is! Lesa will begin teaching drama classes for all grades and the kids will all three attend school there this coming August. We are so pleased with the school and particularly its vision to “inspire and equip students to develop God-given gifts for Christ-like service in the world community” which fits our...

Tim and the mosquitoes

Another post from Tim that I just couldn’t keep myself from syndicating, since he’s talking about us and our house and his never-ending battle with mosquitoes (or, in the Kenyan dialect, “mos-kwi-toes”) Mission Update 12: Mosquito War II (Attack of the Evil Bloodsucking Night Creatures of Darkness) Although the title probably sounds more like a cult film from the 50s, it is actually the account of my epic conflict with the large and loosely banded swarms of mosquitoes in Africa. It has been said that history is written by the winners, but I do not believe that to be universally true. Mosquitoes just don’t know how to type. Many lives and hours of sleep have been lost during the night to tell this story. “I spy the target. He is just lying there completely unaware of our presence. As soon as the light goes out, we plan to strike. We’re in luck. He isn’t wearing body armor tonight. I’m going to eat that [buzz] for dinner. I’m even going to fly by his ear after I eat so that he will be more tired, that way we won’t have to wait as long tomorrow night. My commanding officer referred to this strategy as psychological warfare. I’m going to move a little closer. I’m so hungry and the others probably are too. Wait. Did he just look over here? I can’t be too sure, but I thought he looked up from his book for a second. No, good, he is just turning the page. Are the others in position yet? Yes, I expect that tonight’s operation will be successful. I...
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