Friday, July 6, 2018

Going home or leaving home?

When we moved our family of almost 8 to Kenya, we left behind what we called home and everything that was familiar.  Minnesota was home.  

We arrived in East Africa and felt far from home.  Separated not only by distance, but also by culture, by language, by complete change of routine, by physical challenges, by new ways of doing daily tasks and schooling.  

And we talked about home.  “I wish we could go to Costco and get all the samples.” Or “I miss my friend at church.” or “We need snow.” And the most repeated “I just want a Chick-fil-A sandwich.” These things were part of the home that we had left behind.  

Nearly two years have passed now and Chick-fil-A and Costco are hardly mentioned.  In May, Will flew back to the US for a short medical conference.  Before flying back to Kenya, he went to Wal-Mart and called the kids and I to see what we might want him to bring back to us.  Joyfully, I announced, “Y’all, Dad is at WAL-MART!!!”  

Only 3 of the 6 kids knew what Wal-Mart was.  Charley said, “Is that a red place?”  Clearly, she’s having Costco flashbacks but just can’t put a name to it.  

It’s time now to pack up and go back to the states.  Our two-year term serving with Samaritan’s Purse is coming to a close. We board the plane in almost a week.

But are we going home or leaving home?

Pieces of our life here:
The road behind our house
(Emery, 1, Liam, 11)
the ladies that help us in our home and my friends
(Me, Joyce, Sheila)
first broken bone
(Will, Dr. Kiprono, Liam and Caleb)
growing up
(Charley, 5)

(Harper, 7)

Chai with Ms. Joyce
(Doreen, Nora and Joyce)
the everyday
church family
black eye and missing teeth
great friends
loved by Ms. Sheila

girls, girls, girls
(Nora, Harper, Charley)
co-workers and friends
(Will, Nellie, Umi, and Weldon)
Pizza night with friends
(Caroline, Joy, me)
Nora (2.5)
east coast of Kenya
(Hayden, Liam)
time with cousins
(Copelands and Nicholsons)
lunch at our gardener Felix's house
the beauty of this country
(Janeth, Nora, Purity, Emery)
Masai Mara retreat with co-workers

(Will and Hayden)
playing outside
(Nora, Emery, Harper)

our Kenya baby, Chepkemoi
(Emery, 1)
Saturday night with friends
(Will, me, Lydiah and Kimutai)

new hair
Kenya has become home.

So when we are asked “Are you excited to go home to the United States?  Won’t it be nice to be back home?”, it is not an easy answer.

I think we are forever split. Torn.  It is hard to leave our home in Kenya. But we also look forward to going back to our home in the U.S.  

We will be returning to Arkansas this month and staying in a rental house on the same street where Will grew up in Little Rock!  He may revert back to his childhood – sleeping in late, playing X-box, egging cars, and of course pining after his high school girlfriend (me). Probably not...

Will will be working, doing neurosurgery at the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute.  No time for egging cars.  

Our hope is to be in Little Rock for about a year as we prepare to return long-term to Kenya.   We are in the beginning stages of applying to get back to Tenwek Hospital in the summer of 2019 with an organization called World Gospel Mission.  

We will no longer have financial support from Samaritan’s Purse so we are actively looking to grow our monthly support team.  If you or your church would be interested in being a part of the work at Tenwek, please contact us at

For now, if you are already part of our financial support team, please continue to give as you have been giving with Samaritan’s Purse.  We will continue to have ministry-related expenses while in the U.S. and we are required to be fully–funded before returning to Tenwek. We will notify you when things change.   

Thank you to our supporters for sticking with us and being a part of this work here over the past two years.  We remain grateful and happy that this is just the beginning!

For all of this, to God be the glory!

“For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.”
Hebrews 3:4


  1. I am so happy to hear your updates. And, that your family finds Kenya a home is an extraordinary living example of a Godly life. You inspire me to want to live a life more committed to God. I am so proud to know you and call you family. God bless each of you and surround you with his angels! Love, Aunt Pam

  2. Love this post and thank you for sharing your life not just with us but with the Kenyans! I know they have been blessed through you all:)