Thursday, April 22, 2010

Time of rest and reflection at Lake Naivasha

We enjoyed our time at Lake Naivasha.  We spent some time resting and taking in the beauty of the mountains and the lake.  It was refreshing to be together as a family and be able to slow down from the many daily tasks and demands on us in Sudan.    As I make that statement, I remember some of my first thoughts I had in Sudan. Everything takes a long time to do.  My personality is normally to rush through tasks in attempt to be productive and just get them done.  In the states, we have so many conveniences that enable us to do chores quickly.  I had to smile when I realized my soul was crying out to me to slow down when, in Sudan, I am unable to rush through my chores.  I miss so much beauty and richness when I rush and don't take time to see and experience even the seemingly most insignificant thing.

We took a fun boat ride on the lake and saw some big beautiful hippopotamus!  We took only video on the lake, so we missed getting a still shot of the Hippos, sorry Fred! Hopefully we will be able to figure out the problems we have been having with sharing our videos online and we can share many videos we have taken of our time in Sudan and our boat ride.

We were surprised when our boat driver pulled up to land and asked us to get out of the boat.  We met another guide and took a walking Safari to see many zebras, giraffes, gazelles, wildebeests, and waterbucks.  Our guide said that was the only place in Nairobi we could walk among the animals.  Most places you have to drive.  Abigail was so excited to see all the animals.  She talked to them and giggled at them.  Daddy had a hard time getting her to turn around in this picture, she wanted to look the other way to see the zebras!  She just jumped as hard as she could in the Ergo carrier when she saw each animal.  This trip was an early Birthday present for her.

I was so excited to see a giraffe!  Our guide said they are hard to see in the heat of the day.  They stay tucked in the trees to get shade and eat.  Giraffes are my favorite African animal.  I never "slowed down" enough to think about why.   Something in my spirit is just attracted to them.  Our MWP staff member in Kenya shared with our Director Kimberly about what makes giraffes significant.  Here as am excerpt from her blog. . .Kimberly Smith's blog

“Kimberly, the giraffe is a very important animal. He is so tall that he can see trouble coming from a long distance. That is his first gift. However, with that gift comes a responsibility to use his gift to sound the alarm and warn all the people – to give them a chance to prepare for the trouble that is sure to come. Also, he is a very clean animal. You will never, never find a giraffe wallowing in the mud like so many others; he keeps himself pure and clean at all times. Lastly, because he is so tall, he doesn’t eat the rubbish that falls to the ground; he can reach high to eat the very best fruit and buds that the very tall trees hold up for the sun to nourish. Thus, his body is always strong and powerful. When the people will not listen to his warnings of the trouble he sees coming, then he must use his strong body to stomp around, rustle up their fear, even physically push them if necessary, and urge them toward action. Of course, he can also see good things coming to encourage people. But, people are usually on the lookout for the good things. It is the hard things they do not want to see or hear, so it falls upon the giraffe to be the seer and teller.”
Then, Eugenio said to me, “Make Way Partners is like the giraffe – the seer and the teller. All who want to be a part must give our hearts, bodies and souls only the best food so that we are powerful enough to rouse the people to move – and act– in the way they need to go.”
Human trafficking is as stoppable as was the transatlantic slave trade of its day; so is oppression of all kinds. God gave us the Church, His Body, through which to accomplish that. Let’s all take Eugenio’s lead and be giraffes!
You all know about Victor’s Cows; he also makes giraffes! If you’d like one to help remind you and a friend to stand tall, order one of Victor's handmade giraffes now: Call 205.240.8597 or visit 100% of the cost will go to help the most vulnerable to human trafficking.
Stand Tall!

Victor is our MWP Sudanese consul living in Birmingham, AL

I was excited to read about giraffes as I desire to stand tall in the fight against Human Trafficking.

Kevin came back to our room at the lake, after enjoying an early morning of alone time, excitedly telling me about a camel he had been watching down in the valley in front of our guest house.  We were surprised to see one so close and so tame.  I later saw if from the balcony of the outdoor dining room.   As we were leaving to go to Nairobi, I asked Eugenio, who picked us up, if we could drive down to get a closer look.  Of course he wanted to see Abigail's reaction to such a big animal.  As we drove closer, she saw it and began kicking and laughing.  We got out of the car and slowly approached it.   For some reason it was tied up.  We saw it was tame and got closer.  I was a little nervous that it would "eat my daughter", or spit on her.  It tried to sniff her and she giggled and kicked.  We started to get back in the car and she stared at it and whined as we drove off.  

Abigail is 1!

We celebrated Abigail's Birthday on April 14th.  We visited a shopping center in Nairobi and let her play in the BIG bouncy house.  She was a little nervous not having firm footing underneath her.  We also had to wait patiently for the other many kids that were playing in it. That was a little intimidating for such a little person!   She also went on her first "coin operated" car ride by herself.  The staff wouldn't let Mommy or Daddy ride with her,  they said we were too big.  She was a little nervous and held out her arms for Mommy.  Maybe we are trying to make her grow up too fast.  To attempt to ease her spirits from the car ride, we took her to get her FIRST ice-cream.  Daddy has been eagerly waiting to take her on an ice-cream date since she was born.  Mommy wanted to wait until her first Birthday as a special treat.  She wasn't so sure what to think about the cold sweet stuff we put on her spoon.  She gave a sour face and then ate some more.  I think she will be begging Daddy to take her on ice-cream dates when we visit Nairobi!

Abigail invited some of her missionary friends and MWP staff member friends from Nairobi to our guest house for a party in honor of her first Birthday.  We were delighted that some other missionaries to Sudan were also in Nairobi with their 3 young boys and could share this day with her.

Sweet Mama Helen let me use her kitchen at the guest house to bake Abigail's cake!


                                 Not so sure about this cake. . .  

"Am I supposed to eat it?"

                                     "It looks better on the floor!"

Beautiful streamers by Kevin

Great Mei Mei Harmon gave her first REAL doll while we were in the states.  I saved it for her special first Birthday.  We named it Grace, after Abigail Grace.  She loved and kissed it!

Grandmommy and Granddaddy Young gave her first African Djembe drum.  She has so much rhythm.  Every time she hears music she dances, in rhythm.  One day I saw her crawl to her potty in our tent and turn it upside down to beat it.  I knew it was time for a drum!


                 She enjoyed playing with her party guests!

Update on the election. . . 

We have been awaiting news about the outcome of the election.  This election was handled very differently that any election we would be used to in the states.  The parties were not allowed to campaign until a month before the election.  We were surprised not to see any activity until right before we left Sudan.  President Omar Hassan Al Bashir made a visit to Torit followed by Salva Kir.  It was eery to have Bashir, such a powerful leader that has been indicted on charges of war crimes against the South, in our hometown.  We didn't go to see him, but Matt, our MWP staff member that was on the ground at the time, and Philip, MWP evangelist hopped on the motorcycle to see him.  They said he just shook his fists and people jeered at him.  It was kind of a joke.

A few weeks before the voting began, we were surprised to hear that the party in the south, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, pulled out of the running.  This left a sure win for the presiding president Omar Hassan Al Bashir as he had no one running against him.  Some parties have accused the president's party of fraud and intimidation to secure a win.

The voting began on April 11th and took place for 8 days.  There were many logistical problems and pockets of violence surrounding the voting.  James in Nyamlell has reported some violence.   Romano in Torit says things have remained peaceful.

There is a referendum that is scheduled to happen in January of next year.  This is to determine if the South will succeed and form its own government.

 We have been busy in Nairobi getting supplies to continue construction as well as personal supplies, visiting doctors, and enjoying some rest and a change of pace.  We are unsure of our return to Sudan.  We are encouraged to hear Torit seems stable after the elections.  We hope to book a charter flight home in early May.

Please pray: 

  • for the peace of New Life Ministry and Nyamlell as well as the people of Sudan as they have experienced much political activity recently. 
  • the continuation of building of Hope for Sudan and that our next shipment of supplies due to leave Nairobi in a few days will arrive safely.
  • for our health and safety as we continue our work in Torit. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Celebrating our risen Lord and the raising of Hope for Sudan!



The fence is almost complete and the first building is raised.

 We are happy to report that our fence is almost complete and we have raised the walls of our first building.  We will complete the gates to our fence and roof of our building upon receiving supplies on our next trucks.  The Hydraform blocks are working well and look really nice!  

Abigail will be our next builder!  She loves to watch the construction process and makes a great supervisor!

The Administrative building, our first building

Easter Celebration

Romano, our indigenous Director, gave the workers a Holiday Friday through Sunday to celebrate Easter.  He invited the workers, some community friends, and the village chief to an Easter feast.  We slaughtered a goat and had many dishes and soft drinks to share.           

It's amazing what feast can be prepared on a 3 rock fire!

Abigail helped prepare the meal . . .

and so did Mommy

The workers enjoyed playing board games together.

Romano, our indigenous Director, in red and orange.

Sudanese hand washing. . .they bring out the soap after the meal, to get the grease off.  

Serving the meal, big portions!

One of our watchmen, John

We enjoyed the meal and the fellowship of the workers.
Abigail is crawling and learning to stand, she will soon be walking.
Kevin greeted the guests and thanked them for coming
The chief of Moti encouraged and thanked the group for their hard work

We flew out of Sudan on April 6th to await the outcome of the Sudanese election.  We stayed the night in Lokichoggio, Kenya with MWP evangelist, Philip and his family.                     
Abigail enjoyed playing with Philip's 1 1/2 year old twins and his other 2 children.   
After we rested a night in Nairobi and went for a dentist appointment, we made our way to Lake Naivasha, Panorama Park.  We are enjoying a few days of rest and reflection as a family.  

The house we are staying in

Abigail enjoyed her dinner on the front porch watching the sunset.
More pictures of our time at the lake to come soon!