Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Little Catch-up

  I don't have all the photos downloaded that I'd like to use but when I have a little time and motivation to actually sit down and try to blog once again, I decided to go for it anyway.
  I'm happy to be in my second trimester with my 7th pregnancy and not having quite the fatigue and nausea I'd been having earlier. We are exciting to look forward to welcoming this little one about mid- July, Lord willing.
 December was very busy and now with our church children and youth back in school and the holidays past, things have slowed down a bit which feels good! The native schools have three months of school , then one month off, three of school, and one off...on their off months we tend to try n do more church activities or just more here n there with some of the youth.  December Jake had extra choir practice on Fridays. One day he brought them all out to our place to practice and afterwards he took the boys/men out for icecream cones (rare treat!). I taught the rest to decorate cookies which I then froze for our Christmas meal at church. That was definitely a first for them. I was glad for Janette Stoltzfus' help that day and we had a good time.
 Another day we took the women and girls to Jennifer's Gardens. It was a long rather tiring day which began in a rather bad way and shook me up a bit. I went to make a u-turn into the stage where Jake was already waiting with the first van and the women were standing there in a big group. When I went to turn I misjudged how fast a piki-piki was approaching and ran it off the road. It went flying down right thru the crowd of women. two or so were either knocked to the ground or fell in a hurry to get out of the way. Then the piki keeled over. Accidents can easily turn violent. I sat in the van and prayed and was so grateful that the people on the piki didn't get more upset. there was a guy that came and knocked on my window but I kept the window up and didn't talk to him. I think he'd  had one too many drinks. I was so glad Jake was there to handle things. He gave the man some money for a little damage to the piki and we were on our way. Otherwise we had a good day.

  Another day we enjoyed a visit to the home of 2 of our youths. Here I am with their mother and baby sister. I admire this woman who seems like a bubbly happy mother to 12. (That includes a set of  10? year old twins and 3 yr old twins.)
Another day we had Bible study at their house.^^^ Our two van loads of people made for a full house.
It was special having Mark and MaryEllen Beachy around for a short time in Dec. One evening we went to our favorite restaurant, Big Bites, and enjoyed naans, rice, and Paneer Butter Masalla !
 Dishon all dressed up in his graduation garb. Exciting to see him becoming a doctor!
 Jake and James Barkman flew to Nairobi to attend his graduation ceremony.
Jake's ride through Nairobi headed back to the airport. Piki-pikis may not be the safest mode of transportation but they may be the fastest when there's a traffic jam. So glad he returned safely.

Another day, Jake was to preach at some large school gathering a little distance from here. They in turn sang for their guests.

The school children put on a great Christmas program one evening. The shadow play of the nativity was my favorite part. afterwards we had food and fellowship.
We had a nice Christmas day. The choir gave a program, we had good food, and a couple fun games. The children enjoyed the ring toss for lollipops and a small prize. The youth and adults played a game where they each chose a small gift from a pile we brought and then they had to keep exchanging them. There was lots of noise and laughter.

The other day I went with Jake and a few of the church people to take Joshua and Angeline's family to see the body of their son who was murdered. While they waited for more relatives to meet them there, us sisters tried to comfort Angeline (blue dress) and sang with her a bit. It was touching to see her start the singing thru her tears. Pray for the family. The son that died was married and had 6? young children. From what I understand he was headed home after closing up his duka and it was dark. Some people from another tribe stopped him and repeatedly speared and "slashed" him.One of the men here was in a small accident. Glad no one was hurt real bad. I kinda get a kick out of their tow- trucks.  

                         Brian and Emmanuel harvesting bunches of bananas in Emmanuel's dala.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Political Parties and A Tea Party

What else is there to blog about except being stuck in the compound for days in a row, weeks in a row as turmoil boils over outside our little haven. Much has already been said on other blogs so I'm inserting exerts from 2 other women's blogs here on the compound. The first is from Clara Yoder while we were gone. (August 14th)

  Friday night as the youth were playing volleyball on the lane the announcement of the winner of the election finally took place.  It wasn't long til we heard awful hollering and chaos. It seemed strange after an almost eerily silent week, to hear such noise and commotion.  Then the gunshots and tear gas started.  That was the worst!  Also some of the youth who went up on a house roof saw lots of fires in town.  But our gate man soon ordered them to come off the roof because of the danger of stray bullets.  

  Saturday morning there were also MANY gunshots and some sounded very close!  I was freaked out to be outside.  But thankfully in the afternoon things calmed down and it has been fairly quiet since.                 ******************
 A month later Sylvia Miller at  "Miller Family, Kisumu" wrote :
As for Elections, I'm sure most of you know alittle about the elections, or maybe you know a lot about them...either way here is to a little update of what happened in the last week....

So Like I had said earlier the opposing party were certain the elections were rigged, an thus after the election announcement was made with Uhura proclaiming himself the winner, Raila took the whole thing to court to let them decide, an this past Friday the court announced their verdict.
They said that the election had irregularities an that the past election is void, an reelection is scheduled for casting votes again over the next 60 days. sigh....seems this election drama is just dragging out so long, with days when we cant go out an have to stay inside the compound, I think we are all just ready to have this election over with, an whatever brings peace...when the announcement was made within minutes of the breaking news announcement, we heard yelling an screaming as the luo people in Kisumu here went absolutely crazy, I clambered up on our roof to see if I could see anything of I saw old mama's running in the street blowing on whistles, motor bikes driving along just holding the horn in for a long loud screech! people were beside themselves with the announcement!
And while I'm thinking about it, I have been wanting to share a song with you all that us youth randomly wrote at a youth night...we came together to practice songs an ended up writing a song about the elections, this song was written right after the announcement had come out that Uhura had won, an the Luo people were rioting in anger.
We took the song "The Battle Belongs To The Lord" an sang it to that tune, only changing the words to fit our present circumstances, I know some of you have already read this song on other peoples blogs from our compound here, but my people have not read it yet so here goes: a lot of the wording is the way the Kenyans talk, an we made sure we sang it with their accent too! haha it was fun!

                                        = THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD =

       Raila has lost, now Uhuru's just there
The battle belongs to the Lord.
The Luos are raging, they think it's not fair
The battle belongs to the Lord.

= Chorus =
And we sing Glory, Honor, Power and Strength to the Lord.
We sing Glory, Honor, Power an Strength to the Lord.

The power is gone, wifi now is onge
The battle belongs to the Lord.
The natives are calling the pastors each day
The battle belongs to the Lord.

When the gunshots an tear gas resound, do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Don't worry, Mzungu, Fires disappear
The battle belongs to the Lord.

*Onge (gone, or not there.) **Mzungu (White People) 
 And  October 27th, Clara at "Kisumu Yoders" shared :
The heart of the King is in our Father's Hand. I'm so glad I'm not in charge!!! This Political mess seems impossible but to God it's a small thing. He's in perfect control! Opake Jesu!! Our lives are in the Father's hands as well. I've wondered if angels have been hovering over the compound. We have been hearing so much violence. Even at night above the noise of the fan we can hear shooting. Late one night it sounded like a drunk man was walking the street behind our house chanting, “NO ELECTION” over and over. It's so unnerving to hear all the shooting, screaming, and sirens. Oh God have mercy on the innocent ones who are suffering!! News reports tell us that yesterday 20 people had gunshot wounds here in Kisumu... some serious. I think at least 3 people died. Police were raiding homes, shooting and wounding even women and children. Such hopelessness and despair! And people are hungry. There is nothing like “business as usual” right now. If people can't find work they may have nothing to put on the table in the evening. It's such a helpless feeling to be stuck in the Compound, unable to help the suffering. We are so grateful though that our dear church families are mostly all in the interior, away from the city, and they are okay. The worst thing is finding work and having enough to eat. There was an Election yesterday but Kisumu and 3 other counties have refused to vote. In fact some of the polling stations were burned and anyone who would have attempted to go to the polls would possibly have been killed. Raila and his coalition are boycotting the Election... and Uhuru keeps pushing his way, not seeming to care whether things are done lawfully or not. Now they are saying that Kisumu and the other counties are to vote tomorrow. Hmmm.... I'm quite certain if it didn't work yesterday it will most certainly not happen tomorrow either. But God knows...GOD KNOWS!! What a comfort to know we can trust our lives into His capable hands!  
Last week it was a bit frustrating. Elections were to be Thursday so stay in the compound. Then 4 counties were to vote on Saturday but roads were blocked, etc trying to keep those in charge from bringing in the polls or whatever. so once more things were postponed till further notice (need to bring in more soldiers or guards. Sunday service was cancelled and plans made for a service inside the compound at our house. Then when things where postponed it was decided to have church after all.   Don't know if those counties got skipped then or what. But Uhuru won the election and his opponent was to give a speech and we were to stay in the compound till that happened due to not knowing how the Luos around here would react. Monday came and went. He's to give his speech Tuesday at 10 or 10:30. The time came and went. Then we hear, he's giving his speech at 1:00 instead. That came and went. Finally around 5pm, about 6 hours after he was originally supposed to speak, he got around to it. And that's pretty much how Kenya rolls with  "keeping" time :} We didn't really hear a lot of commotion and now this morning the pastors are meeting to decide (I guess) if we can get on with life now or if there are more things threatening. We are to go to Nakuru on Friday for Unit meeting if nothing changes.
This and the next couple photos Jake took when he was out n about and things weren't too crazy

Mild remains of a road block

Often at intersections they would burn tires and other things

 On Sunday when it was time for testimonies, Silpa stood up and told a chilling story of how she and her 16 year old Granddaughter Christine (who also attends our church sporatically) were headed to another town and somehow got into the mob.  People blocked them and began to harass them. As I understand the story, Silpa asking to be aloud to continue on and was crying out to God when suddenly a voice in the crowd commanded everyone to let her go and amazingly she was allowed to continue on but the woman coming right behind her was attacked and killed. Surely God's hand of protection was over her that day!!! Many other innocent people were also hurt and killed in different of the many frays. 
Lately at school the children played "Lemonade" where one team acts something out and the other has to guess what it is. Hannah said one of the things they acted out was the riots. I guess it's what's on the children's minds too as they can often hear the shots and yelling and screaming at recess time. Sunday evening we were sitting around out on the lane visiting and snacking with the other families. Some parental intervention was needed when the children began throwing hand-fulls of dust and dirt from the lane into the air and clouds of it would drift on the breeze. "It's tear gas !" said they.
 Now a couple random shots:
Jediah at Joshua Juma's house after bible study  

A Masai relaxing under a tree along our road. They are easily distinguished by their traditional garb.   

One Wednesday when we couldn't go out to Bible study, the women and girls had a tea party and cookie exchange. Stacy and Clarissa out did themselves with the lovely attention to detail and decor.
washing the dust off our feet in flowery water. 

Tiffany enjoying her pink lemonade to the last drop.

All the littlest ladies on the compound (plus Elliot)eager for the party to begin.

And the last random of my favorite from the day we took a church family for a ride out on the lake.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Furlough 2017

                     "The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forever more." Psalm 121:8                                                                                                                                                                                                             I had to think of this verse in relation to our furlough. I praise the Lord for His protection in all our travels.        Four countries, six children, 6 airplanes, 6 states, 6 weeks. Approximately 21,800 miles and 90 hours of travel time. (More if you add up all the running here n there, shopping, visiting, etc.)  All I can say is that God is sooo good. It was an absolute answer to prayer that the children traveled so well and didn't get sick on the whole trip. Yes, we all had our turns being grumpy, short-off and  I admit; being tired of being with people (almost) all the time. Yes, a couple of the children were very clingy some of the time and made it very clear who were the biggest home-bodies. (My 4 yr. old and 7 yr. old).  Joshua, who turned three while in Ohio, is our amiable, easy-going one and the one who probably did the best.
 We were in PA visiting family and friends for 6 days before traveling to spend a night and day at Mark Beachy's in Dundee, Ohio. We learned to know them in Kenya and they are like family. From there we went up to Lisbon, OH to my sister, Dorcas' place. Most of my family got together there from Thursday - Sunday. Monday we traveled to Indiana where we spent a very enjoyable evening and night with Linford and Kay Bontrager (more Kenya connections). Then it was a long haul, which seemed shorter because of our excitement... traveling home to Wisconsin. We spent most of the rest of our time staying at Jake's parents, John and Christina's place.
 While there most of Jake's family got together, there was a 60th anniversary drop-in for his Grandparents, Jake and Mary Coblentzs, lots of good visits with church families, etc. We also borrowed a motorhome and traveled with his parents to a cousin's wedding in Kentucky. The day after we returned from there we headed for Minnesota to F.O.C.I.S. Camp. (Familys Of Christ In Service ??) where we spent an enjoyable but tiring week. Then it was back to Wisconsin for one last enjoyable week at home.

3:00 AM Jet Lag 
Jediah loved pulling the smallest backpack thru the airport.

Fun riding in Grandpa's coach
Spent a lovely morning picking 
luscious blueberries with Grandma Weaver and cousins 

                                                       Cousin fun. Mahlon and Jacob
Games with the Weaver cousins

Boating !!!

Endless gator rides with Grandpa John and the Gingerich cousins

What a blessing our children have with not only grandparents but 2 sets of Great-grandparents to enjoy yet !
Family time at Focus camp

An army for the Lord

Beautiful view looking from our house down to Grandpa Johns where Jacob grew up.
Getting 18 pieces of luggage checked in @ Duluth Airport

At one point in the Paris Airport Jediah disappeared. I started walking around calling him and heard a little voice. He'd decided that he liked the seating in the next area better. Just chillin' mom!
 And then... HOME Again! and We came to realize how much Kenya truly has become home.

Enjoying all but one of the compound preschoolers at our place the other morning.

plowing a Shamba
Sunday we were served a delicious meal at Willis and Sarah's place
Joseph, a young boy from church, made some "hats" from leaves and sticks( to hold the leaves together)

Today we were to attend a special seminar but it was cancelled due to some "demonstrations" planned in town. Continue to pray for peace in Kenya, especially as the re-elections are coming up next month.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Excitement is running high! Next Tuesday afternoon we plan to fly out of Kisumu, after a short flight and layover in Nairobi, we head about 4 1/2 hours to Doha. If you are like me and not sure where that is, it's the capital city of Qatar and located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. (does that help at all?). we are to have a 2 1/2 hour layover and then from there we have a 13 (?) hour flight into Philly, PA. With all the time changes it gets pretty confusing. It seems we should be arriving Wednesday evening but instead we are to land 8:40AM.
 I've been enjoying getting into the natives homes and visiting more with Jacob and the children again lately. We've gone out three times in the last  week n half. With that and bible studies on Wednesdays and all the normal home duties it's made for a busy but enjoyable schedule.
 Today most of the women are cleaning at Joseph Hostetler's place in preparation for their return. So instead of Stacy helping with my cleaning, I'm doing my own and not helping down there, as we are on to host prayer meeting here tonight.  Stephen, one of the youth boys from church spent the  night here last night and is helping with hedge trimming or whatever all outside work Jacob has for him. Jake is busy running James' to the immigration office and taking care of other business in town. Wayne's returned last Wednesday. It's great to have them back again.  Our fill-ins, some Kuephers from Kansas, arrive today. Marlin Stolzfus' left last week. Like someone said recently, on the mission field, you have to learn to deal with lots of changes! So much coming and going!
 Stephen (age 17?) normally would be in school but his boarding school had a problem the other week. A teacher beat a student and a bunch of students retaliated and started breaking windows and other things and went on strike. There was no school for a week or two and now before they come back, every student is to pay 3000 shillings ($30).. a huge sum! I think there are somewhere around 800 students. I was asking Stephen about their school schedule. Their rising time is 4AM. They are to study on their own till breakfast at 6:00. If they fall asleep there is a punishment. They have approx. 11 classes with breaks ever 2 hours or so. Bedtime can be as late as 11:00 ! I'm like "that's not enough sleep!!!" 
"I know" he says, "but you get used to it!" Wow.

sorting rice before church in prep for a fellowship meal

Where we stayed
The other week, I was beginning my day and Jake came and told me that we're going to town and Stacy is coming at 8:00 to stay with the children. I was half sick and kind of out of it and didn't ask any questions. Thought maybe we were going out for coffee. Which would have been extremely rare and special but when I noticed the tooth paste and brushes missing and saw some packs on the piki-piki, I was really suspicious that something more was going on. We did go out for coffee and then he told me we're going on out by Rasinga Island. It's the first time since having children that just the two of us did an over-nighter and it was terribly special! And it was a wonderful answer to prayer that I felt well and could enjoy the trip. In two days we spent maybe 6 hours on the piki, 2 on the ferry, and 2+ hours on another boat. We returned home sore, sunburned, and quite happy :)
The Hut on the hill is where we stayed. Very nice, relaxing accommodations.
I loved the adventure of taking a road less traveled and seeing some beautiful scenery on the island even tho we looked a little worse for the wear till we got thru here.
Fishing boats by the ferry landing
eating roasted peanuts at Angeline's house

singing and helping Elizabeth shell maize

Children playing while we visit Silpa...the little fellow is playing with a top
A small duka where I got some sewing done.

Just hanging out in the kitchen
Some times it's smarter to hike than drive !

Rachel has been busy. Beans, sorgum,and other unfamiliar crops lying out to dry.

The pull of the mud was irresistible to a couple little boys.
A visit with Rachel and her grandson Joseph

We were greatly amused by the cat thigh hanging out of the ceiling during Bible study at Silpa's house.

Enjoying lemongrass tea, rice, and friendship after Bible study yesterday.