There are so many things we love about home assignment but the flip side is true as well. There are so many things we love about life in Kenya. Here are a few of the things we miss:
- Praising God in Kiswahili
- Cheap fresh fruits and veggies
- Our home
- Working on airplanes
- My sewing machine
- The crazy fabric market
- Prayer time with our team
- Sleeping in our own bed
- Celebrating weddings and new babies
- Nights alone as a family
- Game park camping
- Bear’s tools
- Lovely weather
- Our big land cruiser
- Ethiopian food
- Women’s Bible study
- Bear’s tools
- Riding the dirt bike
A dear friend just reminded me, “All of our homes are just temporary shelters, no matter how big our mortgage. Some of us just get to borrow ours a little longer than others.” Life in general is full of transitions. Since our life seems to have a few more than the average, it’s a good thing my blankets are easily packed, as are a lot of my other decorations (minus the giraffes!) that help turn a house into a home.
While I have mentioned to Bear once or twice that my fabulous couches are going with us wherever we might end up, my goal this year is to collect items I can take on our many journeys without the aid of a shipping container. Light weight items like the beautiful wood signs with quirky sayings and gorgeous artwork I am now collecting or my plain navy blue linen curtains that I love.
My pillow covers are fun African fabrics. I’m working on a bright green, blue and orange table runner that I’ve pieced together from scraps of fabric left over from other projects. A train quilt decorates Little Bear’s wall. Across from it hang canvas animals on wooden frames from Amani Ya Juu. Pictures of family and friends line our walls held up by tiny, little clothes pins.
All these things, while just things, are important. Best of all, they can be packed in a suitcase! Thank you to everyone who helped make us feel at home. Thanks for the extra donation that allowed us to re-cover our well-loved couches. Thanks for the beautiful wedding quilt. Thanks for the gift of teaching me to sew. Thanks for sending us back with beautiful, hand-painted wooden signs. Most of all thanks for the memories that can be printed out in pictures!
After two weeks of being alone in Malakal it was a blessing and encouragement to have a number of visitors, one of whom was my younger brother!
They had quite a few adventures; hiking through swamps, getting their boat stuck in 10 foot tall reeds along the Nile and visiting many different ministry locations. I was privileged to drive them on their trip to Baliet, where we visited the Sudan Interior Church (SIC) in town and met with the pastor. We also checked out the War Widows Sewing project that SIM in cooperation with SIA (Sudan Interior Aid), the aid branch of SIC, started.
Most of the women are in their late 20s or 30s and come from various denominations. They have lost their husbands to a war that has raged for decades in Sudan. They are husbandless in a culture that tends to value men above women. Their children are fatherless.
These widows struggle to make ends meet for their families. Yet they exude hope, hospitality and a deep-seated faith.
The goal of the project is to train women how to sew thus providing them with a source of income for their families. The main teacher and director of the project is a Southern Sudanese lady living in Nairobi who has a heart for her people. Unfortunately, because of the distance and cost of travel her visits and trainings are infrequent; only once or twice a year for 3 weeks at a time. This impedes the learning process so leadership is trying to work out a better arrangement with knowledgeable local teachers.
It is such an encouragement to partner with our local Sudanese church contacts in order to empower Southern Sudanese like these women.