Saturday, November 10, 2018

Summer Family Growth

Family photo, John's first Sunday to church. Taken on our front porch. Photo credit-Clarissa Yoder
    With surprise and joy we welcomed a new baby boy. (surprise because supposedly we were having a girl...and joy, because every healthy, new baby is Joy).
        He arrived July 12th, 2018 at 12:25pm. Weighing 7 lbs. 7 oz.
appetizing (or not!) breakfast at the hospital
John Michael Gingerich..maybe an hour old or so.

Hospital ward. Thankfully I had it mostly to myself!

The evening after we got home from the hospital we had "open house" for the neighbors to drop in and see our new addition.
One of my sweet nurses
  Hannah and Heidi each took a turn staying home from church with me the first 2 Sundays and each time we had a tea party.
Stacy Byler helped out so much, as did Jake and my girls. I am blessed! 

This face is a pretty accurate depiction of how Jediah felt about sharing Mom with a new sibling. He loves John dearly but not the sharing part!

Back again, I don't even remember when I began this blog post but instead of deleting it, I decided to just keep on going. Life is busy and full, sometimes relaxing, sometimes stressful and stretching.
 Recently, I was encouraged by a devotional email I had signed up to receive. Some of the thoughts from that days email were as follows. "I will embrace the difficulties God sends my way today as necessary means for my growth and joy in Christ...all suffering is ultimately temporary, and God is using it to make us more like Him...1 Peter 5:10...God will use it to transform us from wimps into warriors." (by Paula Marsteller)
 It's been getting hotter again but last evening an awesome storm blew in and cooled things off a bit. So lovely!  
 We were recently blessed and encouraged by the commissioning of brother Willis Agalo as deacon in our church. We are disappointed to miss hearing him preach tomorrow as we are to fill-in at Dienya. 
[I keep trying and trying to add more pictures but the internet or computer or something is giving me grief so maybe I'll just have to do another photo blog soon.....but don't hold your breath!]
  This past week we enjoyed having clothing sale at church. After packing up, we served beans and chapattis and then had bible study. It made for a full day and the heat wore us out a bit too. After we got home and got unpacked and got unsold dresses put away, we were all feeling a bit tired and unmotivated. Jake took us down to the lake and we tried out a new place to eat. Where we sat, hung over the water and we had a cool breezes to enjoy while watching the sun set over Lake Victoria. It was a wonderful way to unwind.
 Joey turned 6 on Thursday. He was so delighted to get to spend the afternoon at school.  
 This coming week we look forward to our annual Joint Pastor's Meeting at Jennifer's Gardens with all the Kisumu pastors. This year it looks like there will be around 20 pastors and their wives there. I'm on to take 3 pans of banana bread. I'm not sure yet if there will be anyone available to babysit the boys or if we'll just take them along this year. 
 My work is calling once more so I shall call it quits. 
Keep Rejoicing in the Lord and in Everything Give Thanks.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Hither n Yon

Pretty simple, huh?  wisdom for women, hope for women, inspiration, motivation, wise words, purpose, beauty, strong woman, women of strength, strong women, quotes, quotes for women, Women of faith, faith for women, encouragement for women, women and faith, hope, scripture, bible verses,  #gritandgracelife #gritgraceandGod
  I came across the above quote on Pinterest and love it. It's definitely a challenge I need. Do I let Christ's love shine through me to all I meet and let the judging up to God?
  The last 2 n half months have scurried by. The biggest event being the death of dear Grandpa Jake Coblents, Jacob's maternal grandfather. He was a dear soul brimming with friendliness and jokes. It was a hard decision but decided it was best if we don't all make the long trip to Phoenix, Arizona for the funeral. Jacob, Hannah, and Joey flew and were gone for 2 weeks. The rest of us tried to keep busy here. We went swimming, had a slumber party, field trip with the school, numerous meal invites,etc.
 We are now into the summer swing with school out, families headed off for furlough, and others coming to fill-in. Jake has been working around the compound more often than not. I guess it's now required by law to have solar heaters so that's a big project with 8 houses needing done. He also recently made a wheel chair for old grandpa Asman to use.
An Asian dentist  recently offered free check-ups to any of the missionary families interested. We had three of the children checked and then she worked on Joey's cavities right away. He was a wonderful little trooper even tho she didn't use anything to numb him.

We recently had Bible study at Emmanuel's dala. The children had so much fun getting and giving rides in his wheelbarrow.

                                            One of Jediah's favorite treats..fresh "mango".
Jake also taught shop class when school was in session. The boys loved making these little airplanes that can fly in circles.
new solar panel
The wheelchair Jake made and had someone weave the seat.
Asman on his  "maiden voyage". Headed to church.

Chorus Practice
New batch of chicks on the compound. 200+
A wagon ride to dry off after a water battle.
Brian Mast family singing at their farewell.  Brian's had to leave before their term was up since he wasn't able to obtain his work permit. So many tears, we ask over and over "Lord, why do they have to go"? It's still uncertain whether they will be able to return or not. For now, Ivan Peachy's are here filling in for them. 
Some of our lovely buds :)
oops, a throw back to March and Hannah's birthday treat at school.
Many believe the great commission was to save the world,
but the sooner we realize its purpose was to save the church,
the church will become the mission that can save the world.
End of the year school program. The upper class' theme was on the great commission. It may be a small school group but they did a lovely job.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

February/ March

Time just keeps moving on. The heat of February with it's dry parched lawns gave way to March thunderstorms and flood warnings and lush green grass that the mowers can't keep up with. Shambas were planted and weeding is in progress. We are enjoying spring after the heat as America enjoys spring after the cold.

On the first of February, Jake turned 32 years old. The 15th was Mahlon's 7th birthday and 5 days later our baby turned 2. Come to think of it, that's the first I could ever make that statement. For all the rest of our children, when they turned 2, there was already another baby in the house. This baby is very strong-willed but adds so much sweetness to life with his snuggles and endeavors to keep up with the other children.

One rare Sunday morning it was dumping rain and blowing cold so the few of us that showed up for church moved into the house for the service. I'm not sure if Joshua was feeling claustrophobic or what but he wasn't having a very good time. I ended up sitting in the van with the two youngest for a good part of the sermon.
                                          Helping plant shamba....really, I was earlier ! :) But here I was probably trying to keep Jediah happy and listening to Esther's oft repeated stories.
                Jediah and Joshua find it great fun to dig with the jambis like the men.

In March we headed for a little vacation in Jinga, Uganda. about 4-5 hours from here. These are some rice fields we drove by.
                We stayed at this little resort by the Nile River. The "house" furthest to the right is the one we stayed in.

                                        Yes, a lot of the lawn was pretty steep.
                                                    Boating on the Nile one afternoon.

                  My favorite picture of our time there. Joshua and Joey enjoying the swing. 
Jinga's indoor marketplace

haggling over prices

                                  My little cook was delighted to find an apron just her size.

                                     oops. Our van washer had a little bit of trouble!!!
                          Hannah, Joseph, Joseph, and Brian as we wait for our ride after church.
                             Tabitha delighted the other children with bike rides while we waited.
    Tis the season for enjoying flying ants! The older class at school was told by their teacher that she'd give each of them that tried the ants, 100/- ($1) The ants are a real treat to the natives and also have lots of health benefits (true story). I think each of the children tried them. Hannah pulled off the wings ,fried hers and ate it with yogurt like a pill she couldn't get down :) One of the boys fried his in bacon grease and it was "sooo good" he did a bunch more and brought them to the compound supper that night to share. Jediah liked them and called them candy. I thought surely I'd try some but , hey I'm pregnant and the baby protested! The children also caught a couple cupfuls and took them to the gateman. He was soo happy and crammed them wiggly and alive into his mouth by the handfuls.
                                                     Cute and curious in Uganda

               Two mischievous 3 yr olds in church. Yes, the one soon came and sat with his mama!
       Our March birthday girl turned ten! And she decorated her own cake this year. I thought she did a great job. Becky Hostetler has been teaching them cake decorating for art which makes me happy! Sorry for the dark picture. We hadn't had electricity most of that Sunday.
         Today Jake is out in Chulaimbo helping in the church's shamba . My morning has consisted of laundry, baking, blogging, and settling squabbles. It's time to get some lunch around and round up the littles. Joey took Ranji's (mechanic) son around the compound to see the dogs, and I think the others tagged along.
   Serve the Saviour !

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.