Friday, September 30, 2011

(Trying) To Come Home!

We hope that most of you--our friends and family--have read the blog about our new adventure in returning to the States.  We are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to buy our tickets and to be able to return home in time for Christmas, and then to settle into our new place in Seattle. 

The hard part about making this transition home is that apparently the airlines want us to pay in order to fly. We're nice people. We've been serving the Lord in Africa, but I guess they don't play favorites. We still have to purchase our tickets. 

So far we've raised 1/4 of what we need to get home. Thank you to those of you who have already donated towards our airfare. We really appreciate your help and generosity. 

We still need to raise another $4,500. We know that God is bigger than bank accounts and bad economies and fears and worries, so we're choosing to trust. 

Would you pray with us?  We actually have several prayer requests:
  • Funds for airline tickets
  • Homeschooling the kids until we leave (focus, time, energy)
  • Getting Sarah (grandma from Sister Freda's) settled in her new house before we leave
  • The water well projects that Howie is working on in various communities (more to come on that subject) 
  • To make the most of our days left in Kitale. 
  • That God would sustain our marriage and family relationships through yet another giant transition. 
Thanks for reading this, and for partnering with us financially and/or in prayer. Your support means the world to us!

-Howie, Amy, Howie, Kenya, Isaiah & Mya

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I was just explaining to my house helper, Lucy, the concept of a vacuum cleaner. She was giggling as I described a machine that you plug into the wall and move around the floor as it sucks all the dirt into itself. She is presently sweeping out the entire house, and somehow getting all of the dirt out the door without a dust pan. She also hand-washes and line-dries all of our laundry--provided there's sun. 

Just yesterday, 2 minutes after I got into my nice warm shower, we lost power, which means that I lost my hot water. The water in our shower is heated in the coils of the pipes electrically so if there's no power, there's no hot water. I endured the freezing water, thanked God for the hot water that I normally take for granted, and 30 seconds after I got out shivering, the power came back on.

One of the showers in our house.

My point in writing this is that I don't want to forget. I'm asking God to help me remember my time here of hand washing and line-drying clothes, taking the occasional freezing cold shower, only being able to sweep and not ever using a vacuum, hand-washing all of our dishes. I don't want to get back to the States and start complaining about my dishwasher or all the laundry I have to do, when I have the conveniences of a machine that will do it for me. I don't want to complain about having to vacuum, but I don't think that will be an issue . . . I'm really excited to use a vacuum cleaner again. 

I'll have to be very purposeful in remembering that the majority of the world does not have the conveniences that I used to have, and that I'll have again soon. The discipline of not complaining about these conveniences is something I know I'm going to have to practice all over again. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Big News . . .

It was just one year ago that we were preparing to write a letter to ask all of you to pray about the call that God had put on our hearts to move to Kitale, Kenya.  We are humbled and grateful that God chose to call us here, and for what He has been doing in and through us since we arrived in March.  We could fill books with the stories of what we have seen God do here in Kenya, and of God’s provision for our family—materially, physically and spiritually. God always provides, and always loves. We are overwhelmed.

We had committed our time here for up to two years, knowing that it was always subject to change. With much prayer and counsel, we feel that our time here in Kitale is coming to a close. We are praying that God will provide the necessary funds to enable us to buy tickets to fly home towards the beginning of December this year.

We’re sure that this news leaves a lot of questions for many of you, “why?” being at the forefront. Instead of using this letter to explain and justify, let us just say that we don’t regret one second of our time here. We feel that God used our family to the full extent, and that He knew all along what was to be the entirety of our trip. We are grateful that He chose to send us, and grateful that He is calling us back “home”.  Our “safari” is far from over . . . just changing location.

In addition to our normal monthly support, we need to raise roughly $6,000 for our airfare back to the States. We would appreciate your prayers. God provided the funds for us to get to Kenya, and we know He will provide for us to get back, but raising money is nerve-wracking!  If you’d like to contribute to our airfare to help get us home, a one-time gift can be made to the right on the “Donate” button.  Of course all these donations are still tax-deductible.

Our tentative plan is to fly into Phoenix, AZ and then drive through Southern CA and then up to Santa Cruz for Christmas, seeing as many friends as possible along the way. We are then going to drive North to our new home in Bellevue, WA, outside Seattle.  We are thrilled to be relocating to the Pacific Northwest. We will be renting Amy’s Grandmother’s house, which is right next door to Amy’s aunt & uncle who we adore, and near a lot of other family and friends.

This leaves one minor detail: please pray for a job for Howie. He is currently looking into several different possibilities on the East side of Seattle. We are definitely moving on faith, but confident that God will lead us to the right job and provide for our family.

Thank you for your prayers and support for our family as we make this transition. Leaving Kitale is not going to be easy for our family. We have developed a lot of relationships here that will leave an imprint on our hearts forever.

For Him,
Howie, Amy, Howie, Kenya, Isaiah & Mya

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sarah update

I went to Kipsongo last week to find a new place for Sarah, and we were able to find a nice little mud hut to rent for the next 3 months. While we were there, our friend took us to the place where Sarah used to live . . . the place she was removed from to come to Sister Freda's because of dehydration, malnutrition and jiggers. Here is her old "house":

Sister Freda with our friend Patricia, outside Sarah's old dwelling

The inside of Sarah's old hut. She slept on the dirt with no food or water. 

The new place that we found needed a little fixing up, but is far better for Sarah than her old hut. We've had the floors and walls re-smeared with mud and cleaned up a little. We negotiated her rent down to half of the original price, since we're having work done to clean up the inside, and around the outside. We'll post "after" pictures when we're done. 

Sarah's new place, with the landlord posing out front. 

We're getting padlocks for the doors, and have purchased beds and other items to set up house, but we have hit a few roadblocks. We had arranged for a specific person to move in with her and be her caretaker, but that person is not going to work out after all. Also, Sarah got very sick again a few days ago, and is not ready to leave the hospital after all. Please pray with us that we will find a new caretaker to move in with Sarah--one who is trustworthy and will not neglect her. Also please pray for Sarah's health, and that she will be able to move into her new digs soon

Several of you have donated money to help Sarah. So far we have collected almost $300. If I haven't already written you to say thank you personally, then thank you! The money is going to pay part of Sarah's hospital bill, and the rest to pay for fixing up the house, paying the rent, and purchasing items that Sarah has never had before, like a bed and blankets and a padlock. I'm sure if you could go visit her, she would say "Asante Sana", and give you a big smile like this: 

Sarah hangin' out with Kenya. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a Jungle Out There.

Most mornings we wake up to these 20 lb. birds meeting for breakfast on our roof. A few of these guys on a tin roof right above your head is kinda loud. 
The Sacred Ibis

So of course we just thought it was just another morning of big birds when we were rudely awakened a few mornings ago. We were wrong. Emmanuel and the kids were the first to discover him, and we were quickly beckoned outside to meet our little friend. We've lived here for almost 7 months and have never seen one of these guys on our property, so of course everyone was very excited. 

Well it seems our little buddy has found a new home. We heard him again the next morning, and then had a little play date with him yesterday. We figured a banana would do the trick--it kept him close long enough for us to take some pictures and give him a name. This is Bob. (Named by Isaiah).  

Howie was very brave, even after he noted this primate's "3 inch canines"

Bob is a Vervet Monkey; very common in East Africa

We're so thankful that God has gifted us with this beautiful place to live for the moment . . . we're trying not to take for granted the mango trees, bamboo "forest" (in the background of these pictures) or that there are Hornbills, Monkeys and Ibis on our property on a daily basis. God's beauty is breathtaking.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


There is a book that has inspired some amazing changes for me in the past 3 months.  The book is called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.


(This is the part where I say THANK YOU Cathy Fields 
for sending this gem to me all the way in Africa.)

I could sit here and type out the myriad of quotes and pearls of wisdom, but I would end up retyping the entire book. There isn't a soul on earth who I would not recommend this book to. It is raw, candid, refreshing, and opens up pearls of scripture in a new light. It challenges the reader to think of all things as God's grace--God's good gifts. It has helped change my heart, and it is just what the Lord knew I needed to be reading at this point in my life and ministry. What a gift. Wanted to share it with you.  
Here is the website, should you feel like heeding my advice:

All is Grace.