For almost 3 weeks now, our family has been in Turkana. Next week we head back home to Kitale.
When coming here, we loaded up in our land cruiser, and I mean LOADED up.
But I was thankful for a stronger working vehicle (insert heart of thanks to those that have given to vehicle funds so far). In Turkana, the people are mostly nomadic. When water dries up or there's no where left for goats and camels to eat from, they move. They have these woven baskets and stretcher like things that go on donkeys and camels to carry everything. Including the sticks for their houses. And they will walk for days. So you could say I was thankful to have an upgraded version with suitcases, a land cruiser and tents bolted on top.
Every mission up here usually looks different but always has the same purpose of continuing to build relationships and share Jesus wherever we go. Last trip that meant giving out food. This trip has been a lot of going low and slow (as Mama Heidi would say). Praying, listening and learning. We are basing out of the main town in Turkana and travel into the reserve for some days. Last week we went for a three day outreach. We loaded up the whole fam and ventured into the middle of the desert where we make our own roads and it feels like the end of the earth.
We are very much about missions as a family. Sure there are times just Bud or just myself goes to do ministry when its best we go without kids.But we realize that doing missions and ministry as a family adds something to it that opens doors and brings the Kingdom like nothing else. But it's messy. And it's hard. And it takes more time. It takes pulling over on the side of the road several times because your five year old daughter has a small bladder. It takes several packs of wet wipes because your two year old keeps eating sand which causes poop to flow all down his legs. Often. It takes staying up at 4am praying over your kid with a fever because the devil isn't happy with what we are doing. But Jesus heals. And we see him heal our kids over and over again. It takes time to pull your seven year old to the side to talk again about how to respond best when kids crowd around him to touch his hair and pull on his shirt. It takes time at night to talk with our teenage boys about what's going on in their lives.
But what comes of this family on a mission is only God. It means when we go into a village, there's no warming up to us, our kids break the silence and bring smiles and laughter to us all. It builds trust for people to see us come in with the whole family. One of the best examples is when one day we went around a village prayer walking. We went into one home to talk to a young man and walls went up. He said he was fine and didn't want prayer. We kept walking and our son Ian stayed behind. Eventually this young man opened up and shared a lot with Ian and Ian was able to encourage the guy and share Jesus. So powerful! Then there are many times Bud comes in and is able to talk as a father to many. Im SO thankful for the way he takes care of our family. He has become quite the handy man and i continually see some Mcgever characteristics come out of him. Especially in the middle of the desert. There was a day one of our boys birth mom was very sick. Turns out she had just had a baby the week before. I got to pray and love the sweet little newborn while the mama rested. I knew from experience exactly what the mama was going through. Well I say exactly. Ha. I can't even imagine birthing a baby on dirt floors and recovering in such hard conditions. So scratch that, i had no idea. But I could come in as a mama to help with the sweet little. I mean, he was definitely one of the sweetest squishy newborns ever so it didn't take much to love him!
Because it takes more time and effort as a family, there are definitely times we wonder what on earth are we doing. And times when our children act crazy and disciplining them becomes tiresome. But that's when you have to stay the course and keep the focus. Trusting. Just when we were having one of these low moments, our sons speaks out a prophetic word and says "hey I have a verse I can't stop thinking about". We were driving through crazy roads and barely making it through dry river beds when he speaks this out from the back seat. We were hot, tired and hungry. And our vehicle was making a bit of a strange noise and my husband was starting to wonder if it could be something serious. But we all tune in to hear what he was saying. "Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight". It was a verse I've grown up hearing but wow was it ever a timely word and took on a whole new meaning for this season.
The first day we set out to travel up here, I pulled up Facebook to find an article that spoke volumes. It talks of a movement. A movement of families on a mission. Through the crazy bumps, I managed to read it out loud to Bud. And bam, spot on. Because sometimes people can put words to what we feel. Here it is: http://www.burn24-7.com/articles/the-pursuit-of-family-traveling-europe#.VTspCX8ayK0
And i cant figure out how to move pics to flow in with what i shared above. Power out (again) and on an app on phone...