A good feeling you have towards someone who has helped you, given something to you, etc
A feeling of great happiness.
The quality of being thankful.
Today, we stand in AWE, hearts overflowing with GRATITUDE for all the surprises of JOY the Lord has given our hearts in this place. Here are just a few among the very long list of reasons why our hearts sing His endless praises.
Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to WGM for moving as the Spirit led and opening a door for us to come to serve here at Tenwek on Valentine’s Day 2012. I think it more than mere coincidence that it was the day of LOVE that the door for us to make our first journey to Africa opened wide before us. His Banner of LOVE has covered every tender step in this journey. It is HIS sweet whisper each and every morning of LOVE NEVER FAILS that fills our hearts with confidence that those things done from a pure heart with HIS GLORY being the soul purpose for everything we say and do, will truly never, ever fail, yet will produce more LOVE and GLORY for HIS name among the nations. We are blessed by the LOVE we have received here on this hill, for its value in our lives has outweighed all of the treasuries on the earth. We are grateful for the endless opportunities to watch LOVE HOPE, LOVE BELIEVE and the Author of LOVE PROVIDE. LOVE has changed us, challenged us, taught us unthinkable things and has sharpened us for the rest of the journey ahead, and for that we are abundantly thankful.
Precious Brothers and Sisters
We PRAISE HIM for the beautiful people, HIS very sweet and fragrant aroma, that HE has filled our home with. They might have started as co-laborers, but they have become family too. I’ve never really loved the term missionary. I prefer the term my Savior used … disciple maker. It says so much more, His instructions on it are abundantly clear and it is not limited to the thought of one needing to go, but rather challenges us to be wherever He calls us to be. Three of these disciple makers of HIS entered our home each week, bearing HIS radiance upon their face, HIS LOVE prompting every thoughtful and sacrificial thing done, and HIS blessed assurance of peace in every word they spoke. They were as iron to us, sharpening us with their powerful prayers and words of encouragement. They made serving here with all of our hearts possible for our family, because we did it as ONE body, unified in purpose, with many gifts, spurring each other on to more love and good deeds. They were co-laborers in these fields, enlightening me with cultural wisdom and understanding, interceding for our good on the hardest of days, providing nourishment for our weary bodies, making time for us to instruct our children day after day, allowing us rest on the weekends to get recharged for the work held in the week to come and challenging me to go deeper with my Savior. Their partnership in this work allowed us to lavish love beyond our home and be instruments that bring healing to many. They were a very significant part of that. They taught me to trust Him for more, to wait on Him more, to fall face down before Him more and to REJOICE in Him more. Their hands and feet are indeed beautiful upon these hills and it has been our JOY to learn to walk, to live and to share in the JOY of bringing Good News to their neighbors here. God’s strength is always sufficient, but we are abundantly thankful for these vessels of LOVE that He uniquely crossed our paths with and used to fill each and every day with HIS STRENGTH and HIS JOY! We are thankful for their faithfulness and the way they prayed for us through the watches of night … letting us know through precious texts. Oh if I could just express the thankfulness in our hearts for the way HE has allowed us to come along side of them … to labor with them in His fields …to behold HIS righteousness shining in hearts and being displayed upon the most beautiful faces. We pray HIS blessings and provisions in their lives will be abundantly more than ALL they could ever hope for! We are most thankful for these friends who have become family and so much more.
Our always resourceful Geofry.
And here’s a few more adventure photos, thanks to a generous donor who just gave us gift to have some fun! We certainly had some fun!
And those feet that are so beautiful on these hills.
We pampered those hands that love and give so much.
And relieved the tensions in those well worn mussels.
First time ever to enjoy soaking in a warm bath. I had to lock them in there for 30 minuets cause they tried to come out after 4.
This is just a few of the many who made our coming possible. We thank you all!
Your LOVE has given us great JOY and encouragement! It has celebrated our JOYS and carried us through our hardest days. It has SURPRISED us with JOY more times than we can count in thoughtful notes, your remembrances at Christmas, gifts thoughtfully packaged and sent from afar for us and for others on this hill in need, you have spent precious time packing trunks filled with instruments that bring healing and sweet treats that bring our hearts great delight and for that we give THANKS to our Father! You will never know what your LOVE has done to and for our hearts. Your prayers for us have provided power, strength and that blessed peace that surpasses all understanding an untold number of times. And for those of you who made your commitment long ago to give so that we could serve here on this hill, your faithfulness and commitment have mirrored that of our Heavenly Father, who never once let one fall away. In fact, He surprised us many more times with new provision and new JOYS through the rich generosity of our friends and family with open hands unto their KING and the work He called us to, leaving us abundantly and perfectly supplied for every good work. Your faithfulness reminded us time and time again of our Lord’s steadfast FAITHFULNESS and HIS promise to see us through each and every step, that HIS unfailing plans may prevail in the light of HIS glory and grace. Your love, prayers and steadfast commitment He has used to spur us on and to turn our eyes to our sweet Jesus. It has and continues to be our prayer that HE would multiply that which you have so faithfully given to HIM, that you would lack for nothing and that your cup of blessings, joy, love and provision would be perfectly all you ever need. We PRAISE HIM for YOU!
The Gift of Language & Understanding Culture
It was a long summer, but oh the rich things we learned and the gifts God gave through them. What a confirmation and a JOY it was when I understood the word Yangu,when it fell from tiny lips and a precious hand was laid upon my chest. Yangu means MINE, and that’s when the best and hardest fight of our lives truly began. You can keep praying for it! We learned that Kenyans don’t appreciate flowers when you visit their homes. They’d much prefer practical gifts such as sugar, tea or maze. Makes perfect sense. However, I love having fresh flowers in the house and a few of those near and dear to this heart took notice and welcomed us home after our long summer away with a house full of flowers that bring this heart JOY. Their thoughtfulness never, ever ceases to amaze and bless me.
We praise HIM for those who first taught us of HIS wonderful LOVE. Those that have graciously, though a rich and unshakable faith, have loosened their grip around each of our necks and allowed us to step into HIS plan with their blessings. We are undeserving of this LOVE He has allowed us to experience this side of eternity. It hasn’t always been perfect, because as broken people, we are not perfect, but it has been perfectly all we ever needed to see us through the challenges and hardships of life. They have been as much a part of this calling as we have been and we are thankful for how our Father has used their love to send us out. They have persevered through the missed phone calls and facetime appointments, leaving them in silence to rely only on the ONE that promised to never leave us on our own … the very same ONE who is, who remains continually FAITHFUL! How do we begin to express our gratitude for the love of our family? We offer our lives in thanksgiving to the very ONE who gave each of them to us. It’s all we have left to offer.
A Son and A Big Brother
The Lord has added to our number here on this hill. He has given our son the big brother he’s always wanted and in HIS own unique way, given us another son to love as our own. A little over 5 years ago, we were preparing for our 4th child to enter the world. Our son’s hope was that it would be another boy to balance our family, but to his dismay that sweet one turned out to be a girl … the perfect addition to our family, adding her own sweet touch of spunk, fun and JOY to our lives. However, when we were trying to decide on a name for her, the Lord brought four to mind. I scribbled down these four names and tucked them into my journal where we would debate them for nights on end. I left that paper at home with all her baby stuff, but the names were as follows : Cecilia, Ivey (this one won for it’s meaning ~ eternal, as HIS promises always are), Naomi and Adison. Strangely, the name Ivey is fairly common in these parts though pronounced Ivan, and as it turns out my sweet friend and mama to five who lost her husband while pregnant with her 5th child, named her 5th child, a little girl, Ivan. She and our Ivey are the sweetest of friends. The Lord though wasn’t done with this list He has made. The other 3 names above are not very common here. The last one often leaves Kenyans a bit confused with it’s pronunciation. However, the Lord had a precious way of directing the steps of this sweet, Godly young man down to our home and making him a part of our family. He’s given us another son, a brother and the Adison He had written upon our hearts almost 6 years ago. We magnify HIM for HIS indescribable gifts and HIS surprises of JOY discovered in every step of faith.
When we met him in January, he had no family to call his own, now he has 3! A chord of 3 strands is not quickly broken! Oh the plans HE has for this young man. The precious girl to the right is our neighbor, JOY! She is a continual reminder of what our eyes should be fixed on … the JOY set before us! Love her and her family!
Ivey and Ivey!
Our Long Awaited Hope
We PRAISE our FATHER for providing Skymiles that we never had to use in the event of an emergency, but instead provided a beautiful opportunity to use them to offer HOPE to a precious little one of HIS. In complete FAITH we have put our HOPE and TRUST in the ONE who is FOREVER FAITHFUL, and used them to purchase an extra ticket for our plane ride home. Pray GOD’s very, very BEST for this child of HIS who needs some long term medical care. He is moving in ways that only our God can, the very ONE that beckons the question to our often doubting hearts … Is there anything too difficult for me?? Pray that HE moves this dear one into arms that will love, hold and support him forever, fueled by nothing else but the Father’s love for this little. Pray that God saves and gives the victory to this glorious and wonderful creation of HIS. Pray for our hearts as we take this new step in our journey of faith.
And for Neighbors
Tis so sweet to love your neighbor! We’ve had precious neighbors of old who faithfully sent us to these hills where we entered into community with precious new friends. Tonight we broke bread together after having multiple ovens going all day (Thanksgiving can be a bit challenging with super small ovens with just one rack ~ it does take a village my friends to pull Thanksgiving off in these parts). There really are no words to express the exorbitant wells of gratitude we have for each of these lives. They have become like family to us and they have taught us so many rich lessons about sharing and sacrificing. They were easy to love. It was our JOY to make our home beside theirs. Please remember to pray for each of our hearts as we prepare to say our goodbyes for now.
These sweet young neighbors wanted to learn how to bake so we baked up several dozen cookies yesterday to share at our Thanksgiving dinner (they were a hit) and to send to those serving in South Sudan.
Pure JOY in my kitchen!
A home brimming over with blessings and JOY!
Two of my favorite beauties, because they smile just like their mama!
Only in Kenya do our sweet potatoes come topped with pink marshmallows. You do what you have to do folks.
So VERY thankful for these helpful hands that have loved our family well. We have loved wrapping up our time with you … couldn’t have done it without you sweet girl!
The making of another fishes and loves story … extra guests finding JOY around a table shared.
If we run out of turkey, our bunny hunters have found us an alternative. Thankfully the turkey storehouse was abundantly full!
Sweet neighbors who remind me to practice PATIENCE!
And these precious love birds and Marietta friends brought their own taste of home to our Kenyan celebration. Oh how we loved having you here.
Sweet neighbor who makes me laugh! Would you just look at my hand washing laundry guns.
The cloth says Asante Mungu, which means Thank You God, and thank you God for sending these new friends to dine at our table. Pray for this sweet couple as they embark on their faith journey here in Kenya.
Oh the laughter that filled this place!
Another sweet Kenyan neighbor brought me flowers. They are always watching… always thinking of how to bless another.
And HE took one “Matilda” in the States and traded it with the real deal on this hill. Oh sweet Aunt Matilda how we missed you this year around our table. We praised HIM for blessing our lives with you as our neighbor! When He asks you to let go friends, TRUST HIM to give you abundantly more blessings that matter most!
Praying yours was abundantly blessed. Thank you to all of those who made this night of inviting in and lavishing love and good things to each of these possible tonight. May your table be abundantly full of HIS goodness and love! Good night from Africa!
Oh sweet and blessed Jesus, where can I go from Your love?
Why would I want to be anywhere else?
Thank you for where you have allowed our feet to roam.