Our First Blog !
Sabet and I decided to start a blog as a way to keep those interested up to date as much as possible with our personal lives here in Africa. I’ll try not to waffle on but this week has been very full so far!
Monday September 29th
We woke to NO INTERNET and so much to do with just 24 hours away from traveling. That felt like huge spiritual warfare to me but the Lord turned it for good and we were NOT able to get any or reply to emails from Sunday night up to Friday morning, by which time we were in Nairobi and because of this I was able to focus on packing. So thanks well-wishers for your farewell emails! I have to say everyone should get a 4 friend cleaning crew, I highly recommend it!! I had a bunch of ladies come over and clean like crazy, which freed me to think about the last of the packing. It’s so hard to decide what to take and what to leave when you know you’ll be gone for 3 years. I had some ruthless help in the last minute decision making, which was very needed and appreciated by this hour. Anyway the women were a blessing and I realized it’s stuff like this that I’m going to miss in Sudan…Christian sisters just wanting to bless others. Another sister in the Lord came over with the plans for our home in Sudan that she has designed with others at church. Get this…it’s made from earth bags and is very inexpensive! She worked on the plans for a solid 24 hours to make sure we had them before leaving. And not only for our house but the medical clinic too! Oh thank you Lord for my Christian sisters that bless my life with their sweet friendship.
Tuesday September 30th
One of the hardest things about leaving is knowing I leave loved ones behind and may not see them for 3 years. God’s good however and even though tears were flowing at the airport I had overwhelming peace. Hannah was also crying at the gate and I think that was harder to watch for me. I got to use my USA passport for the first time, I have to say it did feel a little strange. Our first flight was to Denver and Sabet got seated at the front of the plane away from us who were seated right at the back! We were juggling 8 pieces of hand luggage and several pillows! As I finally made it to my seat, the Lord totally blessed us and sat someone we know right in front of us! Carlos, a worship leader at our home church!! He was able to swap seats with Sabet. In Denver we had a 2 hour layover and Jeamette drove 1 ½ hrs, cleared security and met us at the gate, with a bag of goodies for the kids. It was so wonderful to have our final USA goodbye with a person that has served us selflessly for so many years (she’s our previous stateside coordinator). Thank you Jesus for putting all these people in our lives and making our transition back so fun. Our 9 ½ hour flight to London was great, the kids were asleep before take off!
Wednesday October 1st
I love flying into Heathrow because all my Englishness comes flooding back! We had an 8 hour layover so my sister and her 2 kids met us for playtime. The last time I saw her was when I was coming to the States and I had never met little Harry…14 months and so cute. We found a secret little hideaway under one of the escalator’s and the cousins had fun running in circles, while Harry tried to keep up on all fours! It was so good to see her and have time with the children.
Thursday October 2nd
We arrived in Nairobi on time after 8 ½ hr flight and very little sleep. As we landed the grey clouds were thick and rain was definitely on the cards. All 10 checked pieces of luggage made it and customs saw our action packers and waved us on. They know missionaries use these sturdy plastic bins to transport their things…so in Nairobi…action packer spells MISSIONARY!
First thoughts: Well I didn’t have a melt down or “what have I done” moment in the baggage claim, which I had thought I might. It really did not feel like I had been away for so long. Every thing looked the same.
It took 2 hours to go 10 miles and I sat in the car thinking “I did not miss the traffic jams, exhaust fumes, pot holes, making sure our doors are locked and all the crazy matatu drivers! I immediately expressed to Sabet I was in no hurry to drive here! But despite that, the familiarity of a place that has partly been our home for 7 years felt good to come back to. The Lord is so faithful in preparing our hearts for the work He sets before us.
OK so we have less than 3 weeks before we leave for Sudan. We’re staying with missionary friends in Nairobi, who have graciously given us the top floor of their home to use as a sanctuary when we come out of Sudan. It’s one bedroom with a balcony, a bathroom and lots of storage space. It’s perfect for our needs and we just praise Jesus for providing this for us. Before we left a friend said to me “remember it’s the family unit that gives your children the security and love they need not bricks and mortar”. She has no idea that the timing of that comment was so needed as I have struggled as a Mum with guilt for not really having a home for my children.
As jet-lagged as I was I had this sudden need to unpack the boxes we came with and so I did! All 8 of the action packers. It’s so much faster to unpack than to pack. I reorganized everything so we have things in Nairobi for when we come out on short breaks and things in Sudan. The hardest part about Sudan is we have always lived in the compound but that now has become a home to so many we now will live in one room there. I know this is a temporary situation until our house gets built and I am trying to focus on that.
The first day in Nairobi we all crashed around 12 noon (2 am in San Diego) and that led to me being awake most the following night with Jedidiah, who finally fell asleep at 6am. Oh and it did rain…..lots!
Friday October 3rd
At 9am Sabet suggested we venture to Java House for breakfast and free internet connection. So after just 3 hours of sleep I woke the kids up and off we went (I’m still not driving). It’s so strange not having instant access to internet or instant anything for that matter! After eating breakfast at a time that felt like we should be eating dinner, we decided to go grocery shopping. Oh how I’ve missed the greengrocers, where they follow you around with a cart while you throw in what you want. And everything fresh is so cheap. Next stop, Nakumatt, the Kenyan version of Walmart. It’s the funny things that make you smile, like milk that only has a shelf life of 2 days and no choices…which makes shopping quick and simple!
The afternoon rained so hard so I spent my time trying to keep the kids awake and unpacking 8 more boxes!
Back to cooking from scratch, we had some friends over for dinner and I loved making the soup and salad. It may have been more work than in the US but it just felt good.
The kids managed to stay awake until 8pm….yeah, they are now going to adjust to the 10 hour difference.
I thought a lot about my precious friends Ayme and John who lost their son Noah one year ago today. This is what makes being away so hard. I had a few tears but I’m now OK.
Saturday October 4th
Sabet suggested I drive the family to Java to check emails. We hit a major jam because it was pouring with rain I could hardly see and definitely could not see the gaping potholes disguised as puddles! It was so awful and I whined at Sabet all the way for making me drive, until Hannah said out of the blue as she gazed out the window at traffic mayhem “It feels so nice to be home”. Sabet and I just started laughing, if only I could see the world through her eyes! At java I was able to skype several friends in USA, so please get skype, it was so fun and helped me feel connected.
It’s now late and you’ll never guess where I’m writing this blog from? The car!! I can explain. As the kids were getting in the shower tonight, everything went pitch black! Oh how I missed Nairobi power cuts. So I fumbled in the dark to look for the flashlights I had unpacked and repacked. Because of that packing insanity, I knew exactly where they were, even in the dark. By the time I got the kids in bed and came down to write emails and this blog, my computer battery had died. So I decided to go out to the car and use the car charger to power my laptop, and that’s where I’m writing this! In less than one week my life has dramatically changed and when we get to Sudan, it will change a whole lot more.