A new adventure

Dear friends and family, We wanted to write to you to give an update on our lives here in Colorado Springs. God has been so faithful to us – He has brought us into a “spacious place” (Psalm 118:5) and we are amazed by His goodness and His sovereignty in our lives. Since we last updated you, Andy has started a new job and the rest of us are settling into a new routine of life here, making friends and getting into activities (more on those things below). Life is slowly starting to feel more “normal” for us and we are truly spending everyday in awe and thankfulness to our God who has been with us every step of this journey. The biggest news of the year is after months of searching and many rounds of interviews, Andy landed a job with Compassion International as Communications Manager for Global Advocacy. And there was much rejoicing in Colorado Springs at our house. Compassion, one of the largest Christian NGOs in the US, is best known for its excellent child sponsorship program which serves 1.5 million children in the developing world through holistic child development. Global Advocacy is the newest strategy for Compassion, working in areas where Compassion has not been able to reach and in creative ways outside of the traditional donor-beneficiary support model. Andy is starting the first communications position in this strategy, working with local media producers and churches around the world to raise the flag of advocacy for holistic child development. The next few months will find Andy in Myanmar and South Africa on video productions. It’s a...

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,...

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...

Blessed

We have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas season. Maybe more than any other Christmas our family has had since moving to Africa over 5 years ago. But most of all, we are thankful for a loving and merciful Savior, who left the comforts of heaven to humble himself and live as one of the poorest among us. Not just to be a good teacher or moral role-model, but to live the life we couldn’t live, to pay the debt we couldn’t pay, to die the death we should have had, and to reconcile us to God! We are also thankful to our God for surviving the perfect storm this semester, including: The movie: A week ago we wrapped (finished filming) the biggest film project Andy’s team has ever undertaken. 47 days of shooting: many early mornings, many very late nights, including 2 weeks on location in a remote coastal village. Andy, as director of “The Distant Boat“, was in charge of it all on set, rehearsing and directing the cast of 20 actors, working with Ted (Director of Photography) on lenses and lighting, with Taylor (Production Manager) on locations and contracts and logistics, with Bess (Art Director) on wardrobe and props, with Mike (Script supervisor) on continuity and shot logs and data management, and the rest of the crew of about a dozen. It’s been an exhausting 3 months of work, one that Andy’s glad to see wrapped, and that has taught the OFM team a lot about the movie production process. And has shown them how God is in control, and could use a bunch...
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