Thursday, June 22, 2006

oh theft....

Ok… well things are going well here for the most part! I’ve been having sweet time with friends & family. Adam turned 24 on the 20th & it was a fun celebration. This is a picture from the “party” that his host family had. Ann made stir-fry… YUMMY!

Anyway, I should let you know that I’m fine; that I’m rooting for the USA today in the World Cup; that my day at work yesterday was a productive one; that my dinner with Craig last night was really nice; and that Lydia arrives tomorrow. But here comes the story we’ve all been waiting for!!!

Yesterday there was a hard end to a good day. I was eating with Craig at a nice place called Prestige Plaza; the restaurant was Books First. Aj had arrived, so I moved my large handbag from the chair next to me to the rung of my chair. About 30 minutes later when it came time to pay I turned to get into my wallet and my bag was gone. A lady sitting at a table behind us in a booth saw a lady carrying the bag I described. In this bag was my wallet, with 2 credit cards, my Indiana drivers license, my $400 new canon camera, and my umbrella. I began to flip out. I’m ALWAYS paranoid, especially in Kenya, about things getting stolen. Usually I look for something, find it missing, pray, & realize I put it in a different spot than I had remembered. This time all my fears of the past became a shocking reality. My bag was gone. My debit card, which contained the money needed for Lydia & I to get through these next three weeks, was gone. My new camera, which I was using for my new found love for photography & which I was so looking forward to using on safari next week, was gone. Someone had eyed a white girl, who apparently looked like a tourist, and much to my dismay and somewhat humiliation I was an easy target. This has been a trial of which I never truly anticipated. It’s testing my faith & trust. I’m certainly sad that my amazing camera is gone, my cute bag that had made it faithfully through more than 3 months of hard Kenyan living, and my debit card, but more than that I feel violated. It made me feel used, and mistreated in a way I’ve never felt. I feel stupid & I often question (un-wisely) what I could’ve done differently; or I ask why I didn’t just leave my bag at home when I questioned doing it. I feel like a people I learned to put trust in have let me down. I feel the streets I’ve walked down every day for months, are now unsafe.

With this fear, that I now feel, I’m fighting against it. Last night as I was talking with Anna, she said “Katie, if there is one thing I’ve been fighting against its fear”. I of course “eased” her mind & told her I wasn’t scared. But waking up, and knowing I had to walk to work this morning, indeed there was fear. Our staff is going back to the same place to watch the USA vs Ghana game today, and I’ve realized, there is fear.

I’m going through the needed process of finding my hope, trust, faith, & security in the Lord. I’m seeing, through this trial, answers to prayers I’ve been praying; to have open hands so that the Lord will give & take as HE pleases, to draw near to God, & to really trust Him. I’ve prayed for the testing of my faith, and so it’s being tested. God is faithful through the worst of circumstances. I’ve learned that through Sarah’s going home, & now this. There are many other things that could have happened to me, other things that could have been stolen. What happened was allowed by God and now it’s my chance to turn around & tell Him I’m thankful for this experience. I’m thankful that He wants me to see Him so badly that He’ll allow, perhaps things that are blocking my view of Him, to be taken away.

“Consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1: 2-4)

“Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Well, this is my trial. It’s easy to quote scripture, but it’s another thing to have your heart, mind, body, & soul grasp to the words of Christ. Thank you for your prayers of safety. I am safe. I ask now that you would pray for a restoration. I would ask that this experience would not just be something bad that happened, or some experience I “learned” from, but that my heart would truly say “all the glory be to the Lord.” And that my mouth with all assurance in my heart could say “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.”

As Lydia arrives tomorrow, God is faithful. He is providing. Pray for her safety & for our time together; that it would be sweet and precious time. This upcoming Tuesday we leave for safari & will be traveling continuously (Uganda & Mombasa) until July 9th. She’ll depart on the 11th, and I on the 12th!

Thank you for reading this blog, and for all the others as well. I pray you are safe, and enjoying the goodness of the Lord in this day. For He is a good God!

Joyfully God’s,

PS- I wrote this in tears… and I’m now recovering. Yesterday I downloaded “This Little Light of Mine”, by Sam Cooke, off itunes because someone was singing it in the office. As I sit here and listen to it, its giving me joy & hope. This was a situation and its over now. Things will be fine. I hope you’re all well & enjoying life today. And if you’re reading this today (June 22) YOU BETTER find the USA playing Ghana today & root for your country!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Last Month...

Well I suppose as time runs thin I should keep my updates frequent. I am living in my last month in Kenya. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the Chicago airport, scared half to death, and thinking “what on earth did I get myself into?” But even then God was shown faithful, as I desired an isle seat or a window, and I ended up in the aisle.

He has been faithful for over three months now, and I know He will continue to be the same God He was yesterday, today, & tomorrow. Last week my team (Tanari staff) left for a climb up Mt.Kenya. I opted not to go because my friend was arriving. What can we guess? That God is faithful. Last week I was sick. I actually vomited and literally haven’t done that in years; not only that but that God given woman time of the month arrived the day before they left… I have NO IDEA how I would’ve handled that one. I’m getting better, besides a slight chest cold, which coming from the states is no big deal to me. God is good, amen? He confirmed my choice to stay back. Asante mungu! (Thank you God)

As you well know, my 23rd birthday was this past Saturday. It was lovely. The night before some of my best friends in Kenya (those who weren’t up the mountain), Adam, Craig, & Mark, took me out to what is Adam’s & my favorite restaurant. The Moon Flower. Louis Armstrong (or one who sounds like him) was on stage that night, candles were lit, & rose petals were on the table. It was just so romantic…seeing as though I was with three guys! I can only hope this male influence has been good.

Craig surprised me with a gift Amanda had bought before she left. It was so special to receive that from her. I had Mark order for me, and he ordered a steak. This is something I would never order for myself, but due to his selection I’ve now enjoyed one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten! Anywhere, let alone Kenya. After that we went back to Adam’s place & he played the guitar & sang, sometimes with Craig harmonizing. It was great. We just stayed up and talked and sang; one of the best birthdays I’ve had. It was super relaxed and I enjoyed myself fully.

The next day, my actual birthday, I woke up to pre-written cards by my sister Laura, Lydia, & my friend Leah. Those were fun. Then I went downstairs, and hung out with Jane; our househelp. She taught be how to make one of my favorite Kenyan foods, chapati. Oh it was lovely. As the day went I was worried about how I was getting to the airport to pick up Adam, aka Aj. It ended up he met up with people he knew & I met them in town. Then we went back to my place, and with much excitement I opened the five cards, tons of candy, my favorite shampoo & conditioner, earrings, and my favorite magazine, that my parents all sent with Adam. He had been traveling since Wednesday, and was in desperate need of some rest & a shower. We grabbed a bite & settled him into his short term home.

The rest of the week has been great. He is enjoying his stay with Kaguru, & he’s adapting to the culture well. We’ve hung out a lot with Craig & Adam, so needless to say, when Lydia arrives the girly company will be welcomed with much anticipation. I met up with Sandy & Rob Davis, our hosts from Uganda in 2002. When Lydia arrives, we’ll be visiting them in Jinga again. It was nice seeing them, and catching up on the past 4 years!

As for me, my time is getting low. It’s strange to think in one month’s time I’ll be landing in the United States; to a home I once knew. But I’ll be entering in differently; with new experiences under my belt, a small bit of a new language, & all this has developed me into who I am now, at this moment. My prayer would be that I could look at how I’ve changed, and take what’s good & keep it. I pray that my relationship with God would only get better, and that in the busyness of America I would find my times of rest, peace, and stillness. With my verizon phone, and American area code, anyone can reach me at any time; often this is a plus, but to me it might feel overwhelming. Of course I’m anticipating seeing everyone, to even think about how many there are, even in my immediate family, is stressing. Just my immediate family alone would be a high number of how many I make efforts to hang out with here.

So, with these things in mind, I’m scared, nervous, excited, and over all weirded out and I have no idea how to transition out of Kenya & back into America. If you’ve got any advice let me know!

Until then… Lydia arrives the 23rd; 9 DAYS from today. That’s nuts. And then we’ll begin our travels. I hope you are all well. Thank you for all you do for me; your love, support, & prayers. Keep them up! My great adventure is almost over!!!


ps- Two pictures are from my birthday dinner (one with Mark, & the other with all four of us- Adam, Craig, Mark, & Me) & the other is Adam & myself, at the end of his first day in Kenya!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Time is flying...

Oh wow... I realize I am keeping up to date with this blog pretty well! Yeah for me!

Anyway, within the past couple weeks Amanda left for C.A. She received what’s been dubbed the “Adam/Katie Disease”. (Adam being my friend who I met here) It’s pretty much chronic diarrhea! Poor Amanda! She’s been seeing the doctor since she returned & she said they’ve run every test on her imaginable. So if you think about it, just pray for healing!

Yesterday, there was a public holiday here! It was glorious. I “slept in” (till 9), and with my recent membership to Body & Soul (a gym about 200 feet from my house) I went and worked out. It was so nice. Then I finished watching the 10th season of FRIENDS, and met up with Jackie. I hadn’t seen her for SO long & it was such a refreshing time to just catch up. She is such a blessing, and Lord willing next year she’ll visit Indiana in May so you’ll get to meet her!

Last week another intern for Tanari arrived from PA. His name is Jon Sovocool & working mainly with the ROPES program. It’s been great having him here for the simple fact that it makes me extremely thankful for the time I’ve spent here & what I’ve learned so far. It’s amazing how much you can learn by living somewhere for 3 months! But he is a cool guy & will be with Tanari for six months. He upped me by 2 months!

Well… on Wednesday I went to Kibera. (the largest slum in East Africa) I hope to put up a lot of pictures on my yahoo account ( It was a great experience. We met one woman who through Tumaini Medical Clinic [a ministry through Nairobi Chapel & who we were working with] asked Jesus into her heart in 2001. She now works with the clinic & the way she talks is with every breath she is thankful to God. She still lives in Kibera; among the people she ministers to. These were often the type of people I met in Uganda & it was refreshing to see the destitute be more filled with the Lord than I ever have been! It was great. In addition to meeting her, I didn’t know my blood type. So we pretended that I was coming in for service. I paid 60 schillings (about a dollar) and went through the whole process! A finger prick hurts worse than getting your blood drawn! So we saw how they test the blood, and we were in the lab with the doctor to see the different tests. We went into the pharmacy & got to see the different drugs they carry! The prices they have are more than 50% less than other clinics in the slums! If you want to support this amazing ministry I’ll find out more information. Just email me… God is good & is working through them in a major way!

SO those are the major updates. I sadly have about 40 days left in Kenya. My friend, Adam Delp, arrives next week, June 10th (if you are the first one to tell me why that day is significant in my life, in exchange I’ll bring you a gift from Kenya)! His team will arrive on the 15th, so we’ll get a few days to hang out. Then Lydia arrives June 23rd. We are looking forward to our travels together. If you could pray that we will have the finances to do all the touristy things we hope to do that would be great! Thanks. I know God is good & I’m just thankful she’s at least able to come for three weeks. She’ll leave Kenya on July 11th & I leave on the 12th. So she won’t even be able to hold my hand on the plane while I’m balling… but all will be ok. Perhaps I’ll need that time to allow myself to sob as I leave my family & friends here in Kenya.

With that said, time is flying & I try & make the most of the days here in Kenya. God is so good to me & I’m eternally grateful for this amazing experience. More to come in a couple weeks I’m sure! I hope this finds you all doing well in America, or where ever you are. More soon than I can probably grasp I’ll be home eating a strawberry poppyseed salad from Panera & drinking an IC Carmel & wondering where the time went!

See you,

Ps- if you can be praying for a job for me & a car that would be great![preferably a wrangler, but I’ll take what I can get] Jolly (my 1994 Camry) is dying fast, and Lydia & I are “sharing” it at the moment. So when I return a job & a car are a definite necessity! PRAY PRAY PRAY! I know God will provide, but it never hurts to have people asking for you too! ASANTE SANA!