7 years

Dear friends, It’s hard to believe our 3rd term in Africa is coming to a close. In a little under 2 months, Andy leaves Kenya, followed shortly by the rest of the family, for home assignment. Home assignment is a funny term. It used to be called furlough, which infers a time of rest, but as any missionary will tell you, it is not really a vacation but a temporary ministry re-assignment. To home. And what is home? For the past 84 months, Africa has been our home. Having spent only 5 months in the US in those past 84 months, and 2 years since our last visit, the feelings of being “home” are a bit akin to Marty McFly stepping into a future version of his future life/city/culture in which he has missed the progression. 2 years since we’ve watched a commercial. 2 years since we’ve driven on the right side of the road. 2 years since we’ve been a place where we could blend in and be anonymous. And so, with great excitement and a little nervousness, we will re-enter life, briefly, in the US this summer. Our time will be filled with grandparents doting on our kids, catching up friends, family, supporters, churches , and traveling between DC and Denver and most spots in-between… 4400 miles. We’d love to see as many of you as possible during this time… contact us and let us know how we can get together! Below is our basic travel itinerary. May 17: Andy: Kenya to Chicago May 28: Andy in Northern Virginia at DCC June 9: Lesa and kids arrive...

A Banner Year

In many ways, 2013 was the highlight of not only our 6+ years of ministry in Africa, but of our lives. Every year is better than the last, and we can’t imagine what could be in store for 2014 in God’s kingdom work and our small part to play in it. Come, take a short walk with us through the past year of ministry, movies, maasai, and mobilizing the African church. January began with a party to celebrate the completion of production (filming) of Andy’s directorial debut movie, The Distant Boat.  47 days of filming across a good swath of Kenya produced 80 hours of footage that would now need to be edited into a 2 hour movie. Lesa also led a group of 20 high school students on the annual CFS (Cultural Field Studies) trip to Olepishet, our Maasai village where we partner with the local church to do community development. We can’t remember what happened in February. Our family photo album contains photos of legos and deformed faces so apparently the kids weren’t getting enough homework. Andy helped lead worship at a conference for workers in creative access nations. During our first 6 months in Kenya (2007) we lived through the harrowing experience of a deadly and violent election, which saw a thousand people killed and a quarter of a million people displaced. Our home at the time was on the border of Kibera slum, and riots, gunshots, tear gas were sometimes literally a block away. This March was the first presidential elections since 2007, and in preparation for an uncertain time we stockpiled food, fuel, water,...

Westgate, terrorism, and a loving God

This past week has been an extremely bizarre and difficult one. The events at Westgate Mall and the unfolding of the story continue to shock and sadden us. It was a place where our family would sometimes go grocery shopping or out to eat. We had a date night there only a couple of weeks ago. We would nearly always take guests there, so those of you who have visited us will remember it most likely. It’s hard to imagine a place where you frequently go becoming a war zone, and now much of it is in a pile of rubble. You see photos and think, “that’s where I walked last week,” “that’s the table where I sat” or “that’s where we often park our car, now it’s destroyed.” It was an upscale place where we couldn’t afford to buy much other than food or a movie, but where we enjoyed some peace and the sense of getting away from everyday life. However, much more important than the minor losses of comfort and familiarity, we are in a city that is in mourning over the loss of many lives. Our school community lost two parents and had two students injured – both families from the middle school. Everyone knows people who were there and most know others outside of our school community who were either killed, injured and traumatized by being there. The miracles and horror stories of last week continue to be brought to light. There were no high school students from our school caught up in it. Most were on a retreat (that Lesa was on). That is...

Preparation and trust

Faith is a balancing act, and that is a good thing. It keeps our eyes on Jesus, and our trust off ourselves. And we need to be tested in our balancing ability, so that we can be matured and completed (James 1). It’s an opportunity for joy. It’s an opportunity for obedience. 1 week from today, Kenya votes for a new president. We were brand-new, inexperienced missionaries 5 years ago, the last time Kenya had presidential election and eroded into chaos that killed 1,000 people and left 600,000 homeless. We survived a couple weeks of lockdown and emerged from the experience closer to the people of Kenya and affirmed by God that this was where He had us for a reason. Political insecurity is not rare here in Africa, and this election might not prove any different (read “Neighbors Kill Neighbors“, New York Times, 4 days ago). What is different, this time around, is that we are prepared. We’ve got 100 litres of petrol and diesel in our garage, a pantry stockpiled with food, our evacuation cash and documents in order, and the experience of having been through this before. As before, we also have a strong trust in God’s sovereignty and his plan in having us living here for such a time as this. Many NGOs and mission organizations have already pulled their personnel out of Kenya. But we realize this is the time we need to have solidarity with our African brothers and sisters, and weather whatever storm may come our way. So, would you please pray for Kenya on March 4, which also happens to be Avery’s...

Finances

We hate sounding like we’re always on the brink of financial disaster, but one look at the world headlines and you see that we’re not unique. Despite our very best efforts to simplify and save, inflation in Kenya is out of control. Most items have gone up 20-30% in price in the past year, and many commodities have doubled or tripled in price. Our electric bill has doubled (and we don’t even have AC or heat in our home!), groceries have gone up 30% or more, gasoline is at a high for us. That said, we have a huge amount to be thankful for. We are among the wealthy. We don’t have to miss meals because we don’t have food, like the million Somalis in refugee camps here. We don’t have school fees. The dollar is trading very strongly here. We have a huge blessing of a house. We run out of money by the end of each month, but we’re still able to generously give to those who need. And we have not a few people in the US and Canada who are sacrificing financially every month because they want to be a part of God’s kingdom work through us. We are a bit low in our monthly support, though, and having to raise our support rate now to combat inflation. If you or your church would like to participate in our ministry financially, either regularly or with a one-time gift, you can do so here. And prayers are free, so please continue praying for...
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