|Packed and ready to move - 2 parents, 5 kids and our life inside 24 pieces of luggage|
Our feet are on the ground in Kenya! We left Little Rock, Arkansas on Tuesday, September 13th. After 24 hours of travel, a 2 day stay in Nairobi and a 4 hour drive, we walked into our new home at Tenwek.
The journey went... ummmm.... smoothly? God graciously delivered us from one point to the next. However, I think of Jim Gaffigan's line when people ask him what it's like to have 4+ kids. "Imagine you're drowning... and someone hands you a baby." This is also descriptive of traveling internationally with five kids. Constant survival mode - Is everyone accounted for? Is a carseat optional for this toddler? Are we supposed to be awake or asleep now? Can 7 people survive on five granola bars and a bag of jolly ranchers before the next stop?
I am so thankful for each person that prayed for us through our travel days and the challenging days of preparation before. Many texts, calls and emails of love and prayer were sent our way from friends in the US and new friends in Kenya. And at just the right times when I thought I couldn't do it!
I do not have enough words of gratitude for our families. They were troopers and rallied together to get us off the ground in Little Rock. Here are some traveling photos.
|Pops helping us pack the trailor on the morning of our flight|
|Nora keeping an eye on the luggage|
|At the Little Rock Airport and so happy to be done with the packing part!|
|Checking it all in at the airport|
|Hard good-byes to grandparents|
|Will's mom and Harper Claire|
|Liam, Uncle Ellis and Hayden|
|Happy to be on the plane|
|Getting into the entertainment bags packed by family and friends|
|Thank you to the Cruce family for these airplane toys!|
|Landed in Nairobi|
|Chris and Will outside of the Nairobi airport|
|Eating a nice lunch in Nairobi hosted by Samaritan's Purse staff. A Brazilian steak house!|
|Liam watching a pig being butchered outside of the restaurant|
|Doing a big grocery run at the Nakumat (sort of like Wal-Mart but not) in Nairobi with Hayden and Beth White|
One of the long-term missionaries from Tenwek, Beth White, met us in Nairobi to help orient us. She ran around with us to tour the Samaritan's Purse headquarters, arrange for new cell phone service, and do a giant grocery run to stock up on basics before leaving the city. She and her family have lived in Kenya for 19 years and she is a wealth of wisdom. She and her husband Russ have been assigned to us as mentors and we are so glad to have their support and guidance. Beth has a quiet confidence and steady trust in God. I have found her to be a good listener and trustworthy. She has already become a friend!
|Sarah helping with the big grocery run|
|Saying goodbye to Chris and Sarah and looking forward to more time together|
|View of the Rift Valley as we drove from Nairobi to Tenwek|
|Will and the kids with Tony, our driver from Samaritan's Purse. Tony drove us carefully through the chaotic traffic and bumpy, pitted roads and delivered us safely to Tenwek.|
|Our new home|
|Nora walking with Sheila, our new house helper|
So grateful to finally be here but missing the family we left behind.
So excited to be in our new home right next to the hospital but not feeling at home yet in these new walls.
Struck by the beauty of the country around me but feeling awkward in my own skin as I walk from one place to another.
Surrounded by a kind and welcoming team of missionaries but feeling largely unknown.
The kids have all had highs and lows but are overall positive and happy to be here. They are making fast friends with the other missionary kids and easing their way into the world of homeschooling - that's another post for another day.
|Harper and Charley playing with flower pods in the yard|
|A little homeschooling action|
smelling all of my clothes and towels that still smell like detergent from home
taking an extra minute to hold and snuggle Nora before bed
looking at my mother's handwriting from a note in the front of my journal
Today after a meal of rice, beans and chapati (a Kenyan flat bread), Charley said, "Mom, can you make macaroni and popcorn and pizza?" I think she is looking for familiarity too.
This is ringing in my ears now... a song I used to sing as a kid. I haven't sung this song in so many years and now it is always in my mind and a song I've begun singing at bedtime to the kids. It's from a chapter in the book of Lamentations.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
Great is your faithfulness
The Lord is my portion says my soul
Therefore I will hope in Him
God, may I be grounded in you as the smell of my detergent from home fades.