Full and Rich

Dear Friends,

The last four weeks have been full but rich. Full and rich could be used to describe some of the coffee we have in East Africa………or it can be used to describe the last few weeks of our comings and goings!

MID TERM BREAK- Just a quick update about our mid-term weekend with our kids. I am sure the pictures can speak for themselves. We started out from home on a Thursday morning expecting to cross into Kenya later that day in order to get out to R.V.A. by late morning on Friday. We were in convoy with Margaret who was heading up to Arusha for a few days. 10 kilometers from home (about 5 miles) we had to turn back due to water flowing across the road. It had started pouring at about 6:00 A.M. and was still raining when we departed at 8. I walked out into the water, about a third of the way across and the water reached my mid-thigh and was flowing fast and strong. We turned around and went back home to wait it out. When we returned a few hours later, the water had receded and we were able to cross. We had to change up our travel plans a bit but it all worked out and we connected with our kids a little later than we had hoped on Friday but without further incidents.

We stayed in a rustic cottage on the edge of Nairobi game park. The views were amazing. We heard a lion’s roar on the first morning, saw 3 rhinos in the park in the distance, had a dik dik (small antelope) grazing in the front yard and impala and giraffe close by as well. We enjoyed our time together, playing games, reading, watching movies and swimming at a near by hotel. We celebrated Drew’s 12th birthday together as well. Jon also bought me flowers for Valentine’s day. He paid $5.80 for 28 roses in a beautiful bouquet. Kenya exports 60 tons of flowers a day. My guess is that by the time they reach places like the U.S., the same bunch would be more like $58.00. Both Rachel and I enjoyed the flowers all weekend long!

LEADERSHIP SEMINAR and DREW’s B-DAY – After mid-term break Jon attended an AIM leadership conference which was excellent, learning about leadership teams, studying the book of Nehemiah, and praying collectively for AIM’s work across Africa and the world. I was at RVA during that time and enjoyed special time with friends and time with my kids. We celebrated Drew’s birthday again with some of his friends and his dorm family. It was a real treat. He’s very excited about building his big birthday present during April vacation……… a Lego Millennium Falcon! Drew turned 12 on Feb. 17th, so like Josh did, he gets to start working on his 12 Tasks of Manhood. Pray for him to continue to mature in to a godly young man.

NANA’S HOMEGOING- The weekend of the 27th Jon made a special whirlwind trip to the US to attend the memorial service for his grandmother, who passed away at the age of 90. It was a wonderful time with family celebrating Nana’s life and faith in the Lord, there were tears and laughs and praises, and such a special time for Jon with family and with his grandfather who is 91. Jon especially enjoyed singing ‘In Christ Alone’ together with the four other grandkids during the service.

LANGUAGE COURSES – Two weeks ago I attended a Scripture Use seminar in Dodoma, learning about how people engage with the Bible in their mother tongue or heart language. Right now I’m in Dar es Salaam for week of learning the GPA language learning method, hopefully I’ll gain some insights that will help me with Swahili and perhaps other local languages.

In Magambua we’ve had a fourth year medical student from Dallas, Texas named Ashley, doing a rotation in international medicine for the last month. She’s been shadowing Jon at the health center, doing a water usage survey, and was also able to go on some of the mobile mother/child health clinics. Just this week, she received word that she matched for a residency program in Family Medicine, so that was a huge praise for her and relief as well!

We give thanks to God for safety in all of our travels. Please pray for Jon as he heads to Pahi for another meeting this coming weekend. Then the kids will be home with us for Easter and then April break, we can’t wait!

Thanks for your love and prayers,
Melissa for us all

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