Sunday, March 17, 2019

March Break

Ava enjoying the spectacular beauty of Kenya's coastline.

It is March break week for our children and we decided to make one last visit to the Indian Ocean as a family. We are staying in a beautiful holiday home in Watamu, North of Mombasa. It has been such a joy to unwind and play with our kids along this sunny coast.

Watamu and Malindi are relaxed coastal towns with great fishing and snorkeling. We have bumped into other families from our Nairobi church family that have also retreated to this beautiful part of Kenya, but, for the most part, we have been soaking in time with our kids. 

Ava and Tristan hanging out in the pool

The Gede Ruins, Watamu, Kenya

Yesterday, we took some time to visit the ruins of Gede, a Swahili/Oromo coral town that was built in the thirteenth century or earlier but abandoned in the seventeenth century. The 45-acre site was lost to the dense coastal forest until it was discovered in the 1920s and excavated by a British archeologist. 

Along with the incredible coral and plaster ruins, a small museum now sits on the road leading into the forest where artifacts of pottery, Muslim art, and jewelry are on display.

It was beautiful to see how the indigenous baobab, tamarin, and other flowering trees have taken over Gede. Along with holding the history of this once thriving walled port town, Gede is home to hundreds of Sykes monkeys and countless birds. Walking through the remains of the city, we were very aware that we were constantly being watched.

Emma and Aaron riding a tuk tuk on our adventure to Gede
The ghost trees of Gede

These ancient fig trees had once grown around tall trees in Gede. The original tree has long since died and has left the fig tree structure a hollow column that soars into the forest canopy. 

At the entrance to the central structure of Gede

Islamic writing still visible in the plaster on the inner walled section of Gede.

A giant fig tree towering over the ruins of a mosque outside the outer wall of Gede

Tristan serving us pizza back at our beach house
Tonight's feast!

We feel incredibly blessed to have been able to share these experiences with our family and to have so many wonderful memories to treasure. We continue to be grateful to God for his mercy and grace. 

Sunset over Mangrove-fringed waterways of Mida Creek

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Encountering Kenya with Autumn and Corey

Enjoying time with our visiting family from Prince Edward Island

Last month, we had the joy of hosting Aaron's sister Autumn and her husband Corey who came to visit us and experience safari on the Masai Mara. We had two wonderful weekends together taking them to some of our favourite spots around Nairobi and just spending time together playing games and relaxing around the campfire.

Along with our best-loved places like Kiambethu Tea Farm, Lake Naivasha, and the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage, we had some strange new encounters that we shared with Corey and Autumn. Here are a few pictures from our adventures.

Autumn and Corey meeting lionesses on the Mara
Getting up and close with a friendly lion in Nairobi.
Ok, so we got far closer than we could have imagined.
Autumn the brave!
A cheeky monkey linking Emma's fingers clean!
TK and Autumn
Giving a head massage to a chill Hyena
Natural barterers at the Masai Market
Along with the wild lions, we met Aslan and were able to cheer on Ava and her friends for the Rosslyn Middle School's performance of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Ava played one of the White Witches evil henchmen.
After the show with Ava!

We are so grateful for having had the opportunity to experience the beauty of Kenya through the eyes of our family.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Middle School Days

Tristan, Ava, and Emma

Middle School at Rosslyn Academy has been a great year for Ava who just completed her performance as one of the White Witch's henchmen in the Middle School play, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was fun to have auntie Autumn and uncle Corey here to take in the final show last Friday evening.

 This weekend, she celebrated her first Middle School Banquet with her friends. Over this past year, Ava has also enjoyed being on the Middle School track team, performing with a Nairobi dance company, and traveling on CFS in rural Kenya. We are so proud of our little girl!

Today marks the beginning of our last three months in Kenya. Our return to Canada will be a major transition for us all, but it will be especially challenging for Ava as she prepares to enter school at Hebbville Academy and to adjust, for the first time, to life in Canada. We are so thankful for the friendships and shared experiences of these last 13 years. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.

Ava and her girlfriends, ready for the red carpet!
Let the party begin!
Ava and her best friend, Shasha.
The parents view from the rafters.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Transforming Mission: Two Worlds Collided

A Baptism Sunday in Central Kenya
Rev. Samuel Mogo and Rev. Bill Lewis

The partnership between Canadian Baptist Ministries and our African partners is about transformation. Over the past sixty-one years, Canadian and African churches have worked together to bear witness to the love and hope of Christ from Angola to South Sudan. 

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to share with partners about their experiences of partnership with CBM missionaries and short-term volunteers. It is evident that the blessing of our cross-cultural mission has been felt by people and communities on both sides of the relationship. That dynamic is in a very real way an expression of the Gospel. It brings to mind the words of N.T. Wright, as he wrote about the relationship between heaven and earth in the new reality of the Kingdom of God:
"Heaven and earth, it seems, are not after all poles apart, needing to be separated forever when all the children of heaven have been rescued from this wicked earth.... No, they are different, radically different, but they are made for each other in the same way (Revelation is suggesting) as male and female. And when they come together, that will be cause for rejoicing in the same way that a wedding is: a creational sign that God's project is going forward; that opposite poles within creation are made for union, not competition."
-From Surprised by Hope, N.T. Wright

Thank you for your prayers and generous support of the ministry of CBM and our African partners. As we draw near to the end of our time here, we appreciate more and more the absolute power of God at work in forming his Church from every tribe, tongue, and nation.