The Jolly Green Giant (AKA the McCropder van) rolled back into Tenwek on Saturday afternoon after spending a week at the beach in Mombasa. It was a great time of refreshment and encouragement for all of us. Here's a brief recap of our week away....
The week began last Saturday with all the Samaritan's Purse Post-Residents gathering at a guesthouse in Nairobi. Altogether, there were 10 Post-Residents along with their spouses and 13 children, from three different mission hospitals in Kenya. We had lunch together (a LOT of pizza) and enjoyed catching up. Two of these families weren't able to continue on with us to the retreat, so it was good to spend some time with them. (Pictured below from left to right: Sarah & Malin Friess, Alyssa Pfister, Faders, John, Christina Francis, McLaughlins, Rhett Shirley, Kyle & Vanessa Jones, with Jessica & Megan Shirley kneeling in the front.)
On Sunday morning, the guys left early for the 10-hour drive to Mombasa while the ladies took the 45-minute flight from Nairobi with 4 lap babies. We settled into the two beach houses that we had rented for the week & decided who was going to stay where (a good exercise in teamwork and decision-making). After the kids were in bed, we enjoyed a time of worship. The main house had great gathering places for all of us to eat and meet together.
James Paternoster, one of the elders from our home church, was able to come & lead our retreat. He has worked for InterVarsity at the University of Michigan for several decades, with a focus on the graduate schools (law, medical/dental, business). He’s also a missionary kid from Nigeria, so he was able to understand and speak to our specific situation.
The focus of the retreat was on being sons and daughters of Abraham. We studied the story of Abraham and had a different theme for each day – leaving behind, living in waiting, and ordering to hope. It was a great time to reflect on our experiences over the last year and to think about God’s calling on our lives for the future. Thank you Paternoster family for the sacrifices that you made to serve us and thank you Tang family for the goodies that you sent our way!
During our morning sessions at the main house, the kids were busy partying at the second house. They had a good time together. We are really thankful that Ednah, who works for two of the families from Kapsowar Hospital, was able to come and help with the children. Childcare was one of our concerns going into the retreat, but each parent only ended up missing one hour out of all the sessions.
The afternoons were free for family time. The pool and the beach were both fantastic and easily accessible for the kids. Aunt Alyssa gave daily swim classes for the older kids.
Each of the couples took turns going out on a date which was a real treat! John & Jason also had a dirt bike (piki-piki) "date".
On Thursday, we all enjoyed a glass bottom boat ride, complete with snorkeling.
On our last night together, we ventured out to a local restaurant. We tested the limits of Jolly and discovered that we are able to fit 20 people as long as 8 of those people are under the age of 5.
We closed out the evening with the best ice cream yet in Kenya, rivaling Ben & Jerry’s in my opinion. Then again, maybe I’m just starting to forget what some things taste like after a year.
We arrived home safe and refreshed, yet grateful to have the kids back in their own beds! Thank you for your prayers during our travels and time together.
Genesis 15:1 “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Faith grasps the promise, rests on the promise-maker, rejects alternative offers, and reaches toward the goal.