We made it!
We are sorry it has taken us so long to update our blog. It is not exactly easy to summarize and explain all that has happened with us in the last couple of weeks, but we wanted to give a brief update.
We left Columbia, SC on the afternoon of Friday, September 1 and we landed in Nairobi about 10 PM on Saturday. That is where the fun began! But before I go into the last couple of weeks, I need to look back to August.
August was a blur in many ways. Casey finished all of her photography for her business and I finished my seminary degree on the same day. Then, we spent two weeks packing, selling stuff from our house, and, most importantly, seeing people for the final time and saying, “See you later.” We then spent 4 days at home with our family, taking care of last minute details that included trips to the bank, DMV, courthouse, and shops. We also had the task of packing six 50 pound bags, two carry-ons, and two book bags of whatever we wanted to have over the next two years. Needless to say, all of this was emotionally, physically, and even spiritually draining. We faced unique challenges as a couple that we had never faced before.
When we arrived in Kenya, we hit the ground running and have been quite busy. Most of our days have been spent at CARE for AIDS (CFA) centers, meeting staff and clients. We flew in with three people from the US that stayed with us in our house the first week, and then we had five more people join us last Friday night. The team consisted of pastors from Atlanta and Las Vegas. So, needless to say, we had a packed house over the last couple of weeks. This has brought a lot of joy and fun conversations, but it has also been a challenge to make a new place home while hosting people and trying to know the answers to questions when we have only been here 12 days. We usually leave the house around 8 AM, get back around 5 or 6 PM, make dinner for everyone, have intentional conversation about what CARE for AIDS is doing in our centers, try to clean a little, and then head to bed.
Additionally, we have been fighting a problem with pests at our house. We have put out poison every few days and are trying to constantly clean. We have had slight success but there is still a good ways to go. We also still have most of our stuff in suitcases because we haven’t had time to get things organized.
As you can probably tell, we are tired and things do not really slow down for another few days. We dropped the first team we had with this past week at the airport on Friday night around 9 PM and then we picked up another team around midnight that same night at the airport. We were able to get about 3 hours sleep before flying to Kisumu (west Kenya on Lake Victoria) early Saturday morning. We will spend 4 days visiting centers before Casey and I return home for a few days rest while the team heads on safari. This will be our last team visiting until January.
We have loved these two weeks, especially getting to know the wonderful CFA staff and clients. We got to attend our first CFA graduation in Mwiki this past Tuesday. The clients had successfully completed the 9-month program and we spent three hours celebrating them with dancing, singing praises to our God, listening to testimonials, and hearing God’s Word preached.
We went on safari with the team of pastors and thoroughly enjoyed our first time in the Mara. We have gotten to see so much of God’s grace and beauty in creation through the CFA clients that He has made in His image and even through the breathtaking animals and landscapes that we are got to look at for a couple of days. Just to note a few of those animals, we have gotten to see lions, cheetahs, elephants, hippos, zebras, and giraffes (Casey loves giraffes!).
Please pray that we would have the energy, strength, and desire to spend time with God. We need some refreshment and that comes through consuming His Word and communing with Him in prayer. Pray that Casey and I would care for one another with grace and humility. We have both shed some tears with all the emotions of the last 6 weeks, and we have left the community we have known for 4+ years, so we are seeking to encourage and love one another as best we can. Pray for our decision in deciding which church to be part of. We will visit a few over the next 6 weeks or so, and then aim to make a decision so we can dive deep into serving the body of Christ and knowing others who are aiming to grow in their love for Jesus and make Him known.
We love you guys!