10 on the 10th, “Do you ever sleep?!”

I recently had the privilege of sharing with a group of beautiful older ladies, the story of how God is leading us back to Kijabe. I began with a brief recap of meeting Nate in Senegal and shared photos of our first two years in Kenya. I went on to describe the circumstances of our going back and what that will look like for our family. At the end of my presentation, while I was giving them info about following our blog and how to receive our email newsletters, one of the ladies just blurted out in a southern accent I couldn’t love more, “My word! I’m tired just hearin’ about all yur doin! Do you ever sleep?!” After assuring her that I do indeed sleep (when the baby sleeps) I admitted that while I AM pretty busy with all that’s going on, I love it. I also let her know that this “Wonder Woman” (ha! gotta speak it into being) doesn’t work alone and the only way to get back to our village in Africa is with the help of the village we have here. Shout out to all the grandparents spoiling the baby and the teachers educating our children while we work! 

Hers and the questions of so many others about what all we are doing before we leave, gave me the idea for this post. Keep in mind, I am not complaining. I truly am best when I have lots going on. Otherwise, I’d just fold laundry super slow and get stuck watching old reruns of Friends on Netflix. Plus, most of what I get to do involves meeting with other people, which is a true gift.

In case you were wondering what it takes to move a family of 6 {back} to Kenya, here’s a small sample of what we’re up to. Sorry if it’s kind of boring…I promise to make next month’s post more interesting! Note: This is mostly my own personal list. Nate is busy doing a million others things so we can do things like eat and have electricity. 🙂 As a reminder, the blog is from my, Becky’s, perspective unless otherwise stated.

In the order in which they should happen:

1. Prep the house to hit the market March 28th! Nate will do all the outside work, praise the Lord, but it’s usually up to me to make the inside as desirable as possible to would-be buyers. As a lady who came to look at the house a while ago observed, we don’t really have much stuff. Moving every couple of years will do that. But even our little bit of stuff is still a lot. Somehow it builds up even over just the course of a year. So I will channel the instantly famous Marie Kondo and drop off all the things that do not spark joy at the Salvation Army, pack the things that make the cut for Kenya and start filling up the storage space at Granny and Grandad’s once again.

2. Update the Blog and send quarterly newsletters. It might not seem like a necessary task, but I am realizing more and more that unless you’ve lived this type of life, you really can’t possibly understand what in the world we are doing. I’ve found that most people actually do care about us and what’s happening, but unless we share our experiences via this blog or through updates, we will completely lose touch with the people we love. The blog is therapy for me in many ways, too, so I’m happy to keep it up and running. Thank you for following!

3. Make the God Ask! Like I’ve said before, we can’t return to Kenya until we have 100% of our monthly support secured. Many of our previous partners are joining our team again, but we need to bring on new partners too. Since Nate is working more than a full-time job, this task mainly falls to me. Again…with the people…I love it. I’ve been reading a book that was recommended to me called The God Ask by Steve Shadrach. It describes the best way to go about building a ministry support team, all through one-on-one meetings. I am loving this approach and the opportunity to share what we get to do in Kenya with people face-to-face! I’m namestorming, making lists, phoning friends, sending emails, praying over it all as the book suggests, and setting up appointments to meet and share our dreams. Watching God once again build our team is a privilege and so much fun!

4. Meet with friends and previous supporters. Since the moment we decided we’d be returning to Kenya, a sudden sense of urgency hit me. There are so many people I deeply love with whom I want to share time. A big part of preparing to leave again for me, is making time for those relationships. Lunch, coffee, meet at the park, walk the babies, talk on the phone…there are not enough minutes in the day.

5. Paperwork! (Passports, Work Permits, Kid’s school applications, etc). The big kids’ passports expire soon and little MJG is getting hers for the first time. If you’ve never done it before, getting passports for kids is an event. The office is only open during school hours every day except Wednesdays, when they stay open later. The child and both parents must be present. It sounds easy enough, but when you try to work it all out, it gets a little hairy. Schedules are busy for each of us. We finally found a Wednesday that worked, and headed over only to find out we didn’t have all the paperwork we needed for Maggie Joy. I’d like to say we hadn’t triple-checked the website, but we had. After visiting a couple of other government offices, which strangely wasn’t terrible, we were able to apply for hers just a few days after the other kids. Keeping our fingers and toes crossed that it will all go through and we will soon be clutching 6 blue booklets as proof that we really are American. As for our work permits…it’s a little bit of writing and a whole lotta prayer that it all works out in time. There’s a lot of paperwork, but after you’ve been through an adoption, all other checklists seem small in comparison.

6. Acquire household items for the house in Kenya. While we will take some things from America with us to Kenya, we have to buy all the bigger things like furniture and appliances in country. It’s pretty costly to ship extra luggage, so we try to keep it to a minimum…except where the Christmas stuff is concerned (see last month’s TEN). This leaves us with the options of buying items from stores in Nairobi (expensive and/or not the greatest quality) or buying from people who will be leaving Kijabe for good. The turnover of missionaries is pretty high in Kijabe, so it’s mostly a matter of getting a good list of what we’ll need and figuring out how to best acquire those things. It’s complicated, but not impossible. I have learned to master Google sheets over the past couple of months…so that helps. 🙂

7. Get the house in Kenya move-in ready.  We’ve been informed by the previous renters, that the house we are moving into could use a little work. A fresh coat of paint, repairing some tiles, polishing the floors etc. That may sound weird to some of you, who are still expecting us to move into a mud hut. But the truth is, our home in Kenya is a nice little ranch, 4 beds/2 baths. Cinderblock walls. No central HVAC, but it’s warm when it needs to be and cool when it’s hot out.  We’ll have running water and electricity…most of the time. I am blessed to have friends in Kijabe with great taste and experience with updating a home in Kijabe. So while we won’t be calling in Skip and Joanna (or more likely for us, Uncle Rusty, my amazing contractor and big brother) for a complete overhaul, we will be getting to make a few choices about paint colors, or whether we want an outlet added here or there. Hopefully, by the time we arrive, any necessary work will be finished and we can move right in.

8. Keep up with all that’s still happening here. Probably the most difficult task is remaining present in the present. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all that must be done to move forward, but there’s still so much that needs to happen right now. We’ve got soccer practice, First Tee golf lessons, church stuff, spelling bees, birthday parties, summer swim team…and don’t even get me started on 3rd grade homework!! Although it’s busy, for the most part, we are really enjoying getting to take part in these activities and never want to take these opportunities for granted.

9. Speaking Engagements. While I’m quickly learning that one-on-one conversations are both more effective and more fun for me, we are still happy to get to share the ministry of Kijabe Hospital with large groups. We hope to use our time in the States wisely, and spreading the word about what’s happening through a hospital in a small village in Kenya is time well spent. Any partnerships, prayers, or words of encouragement we receive are a blessing.

10. Move, sell, distribute, pack, move. In a few short weeks we will be moving back into the missionary furlough house, or “The Fur” as our kids affectionately call it. After we make that move, we will begin to sell some things we don’t want to keep, store some of the furniture we do want to keep and begin the process of packing.

While some days all that lies ahead seems impossible, most of the time, by God’s grace alone, I am reminded of His past faithfulness to us and a wave of confidence rushes over me. He has done great and mighty things and will continue.  “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2.