Friday, December 31, 2010



Looking back over 2010, we are so thankful for such an incredible journey that we've been on with our children and all of you! The life of faith is a rich and beautiful gift. It is not easy: There are days that it is downright terrifying, but this in no way dims the joy of it all.

Tonight, we were making our way home across the crowded and chaotic streets of Nairobi. We met the full scope of life here, from the luxury cars of a government official's motor caravan, to children begging in the streets and crippled men knocking on our windows. The roadways wound like spaghetti through the city, and around each corner we encountered one extreme to the next: A road accident, a light display, a traffic jam, a friend waving, and on the drive went. No one knows what the next bend in the road will bring in Nairobi, or in life.

As we enter 2011, we pray that the purposes and presence of God in your life would propel you in new directions. No matter what this new year might hold, may you meet it in the assurance and profound reality of the peace and grace of God who knows the destination and does not leave us alone on the journey!

From our family to you -- Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Vacation!

Boxing Day Battles!

We are enjoying a great Christmas vacation with our children; after such an intense fall it has been so nice to play together at home without having to think about our next trip or ministry assignment. The kids have been enjoying all of the attention.

On Boxing Day, we had a great water war in our yard, setting up large buckets for our water blasters. We also brought a slip n'slide back with us from Canada this summer, which has been a great source of fun!

Careful "Agent M", the evil TK
is sneaking up on you!

We've appreciated all of the Christmas greetings and emails over the past few weeks. We are so blessed to have so many great friends and family thinking and praying for us and the ministries we are a part of here in Africa. We'll have lots to write about in the coming year, but for now please excuse us for their is another battle brewing in Tristan's bedroom.... a video game maybe?

Baby Susan's first Christmas

We've also been blessed by little Susan who has been sharing Christmas with us. Please remember her, and thousands of orphans like her within Kenya. Presently the Nest Children's Home has about a dozen infants who need a loving family.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!


On Christmas Eve, Ava was extremely concerned about the practicalities of Santa's visit. When he was coming; How he was getting in; And a hundred little details. She had mommy help her inspect the chimney to make sure it was ready before she went to bed.

... all three of our children slept together in sleeping bags on Tristan's bedroom floor -- eagerly awaiting Christmas morning. Much to Ava's confusion, Santa came in the middle of the night and did not think to wake her. She was more than a little frustrated that he would come and not visit with her. After all,... everyone who comes to our home visits with Ava!

Ava was in the forgiving mood though, especially when she discovered the Dora the Explorer guitar that Santa left for her. She strummed along with it all day, and we suspect that she'll be taking it to bed tonight.

Christmas Quilt
Although we all "loved" the Dora guitar (how long do those batteries last??) -- One of our treasured gifts this Christmas was a quilt made of African fabrics by our colleague Diane Bannister.

From our family to all of you..
We wish you God's richest blessings this Christmas and throughout this coming new year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Happenings

Campfire and great hot chocolate with friends

With the end of the fall semester, we enjoyed a great evening with our friends Melanie, Atalie, Wendy and Melissa, Tristan's homeroom teacher. Kicking off the Christmas holidays with an outdoor film -- The Polar Express.

Board Game in the Backyard

Yesterday we had a great game of Settlers of Catan with the guys. Ben and Kyle were great first time conspirators, but none of us were a match for Eric's devious ways! BUT, there is always time for a rematch! The guys return to Canada on Tuesday night.

Baby Susan

Over the next three weeks, we also have a very special little guest staying with our family: Susan is an orphan from the Nest Children's Home, being fostered by our friends Mel and Kerry. Since they have returned to America for the funeral of Kerry's dad, we will be caring for Susan until Melanie's return on January 8th. Our kids are delighted to have a four month old to cuddle and sing to.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Building a Strong & Empowered Community

Iftin Women's Conference
Building a Strong & Empowered Community
Earlier this week, we ended the year in Eastleigh with a day long conference that looked at six pillars for building a strong and empowered community in Eastleigh. Along with speakers from the Kenyan government, GTZ, the national self help group organization, and St. Paul's University, the members of the various Iftin projects shared in cultural songs, poetry and dance.

Our friends Willem and Nirmal
at the Eastleigh Conference

(Nirmal serves in Southern India with our Canadian Baptist partners in Hyderabad where he is a lecturer at the Baptist seminary. He is in Kenya attending Carey Theological College's doctoral program, with Aaron, in Mitaboni)

Frodosa showing off some of her jewelry
from the Noor Creations project

The District Officer for our section of Nairobi, addressing issues of security for Muslim refugees living in Eastleigh

Over 200 Somali women and youth participated
in Thursday's conference at the Eastleigh Community Centre.
We are so thankful for the hard work of Laura Muema
and the organizing committee for their efforts
in making this day a success!

Our friend Willem, from Saint Paul's University, presenting on the importance and practicalities of Building Bridges between Muslim and Christian neighbours in Eastleigh.

Sheik Abdi Nassar sharing about the importance of mutual respect and understanding between Christians and Muslims. It was a very exciting day as such a diverse group came together in cooperation and partnership!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guardians of Hope Christmas Gathering 2010

Guardians of Hope Leadership in Kenya
This past Tuesday, we had a great day celebrating Christmas, and a full year of ministry among the Guardians of Hope in Kenya, with several of our colleagues. We met together in our yard for a Kenya style Christmas dinner picnic -- although we did opt for beef over goat!


Henry & Julia Mwangi

It was such a treat to get to meet the spouses of some of our colleagues and to hear about the customs and traditions that each of their cultures have around Christmas. Interestingly, while cooking is generally seen as "women's work" in Kenya, when it comes to slaughtering and roasting a Christmas goat on an open fire... now that's "men's work"!

Nothing more primal then a man and his barbecue!

GOH leadership team, Kenya
ACC&S GOH project officer, Patrick & Mary Maina; CBM Africa team leader, Colin & Karen Godwin; Our little Ava; ACC&S development director, Henry & Julia Mwangi; our friend James and ABC development director, Triza Mulandi; and Erica & Aaron. (Missing is Elizabeth from the ABC and the CBM African development director, Ruth Munyao).

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Wisemen

The Three Wisemen...
* Ben * Eric * Kyle *
...They traverse a far!

This week, we've had the pleasure of hosting three intrepid young Canadians at the end of nearly three months of volunteering and backpacking up the Eastern Coast of Africa. After a week of exploring South Africa back in September, the guys travelled to Malawi where they served in a children's home for over two months. During their last three weeks in Africa they decided to come to Kenya where they have shared in some time with Tim and Diane Bannister in Athi River, and as well as volunteering in the extreme hot and colds of Kenya (Dadaab and Limuru).

This past Sunday evening, the senior class at Rosslyn Academy lead many of the members of the Nairobi International Christian Fellowship (ICF), in an outdoor Christmas candle lighting service at sunset. Despite a mighty wind, the service was beautiful!

Ava cuddling with Kara Carline at the service

Erica and Kelly at the Candle lighting service

One of our great joys of serving in Kenya has been the wonderful community at Rosslyn and ICF. Although we miss the snow and nearness of our families and friends in Canada, it has been such a gift to be a part of such a diverse and unique community as this.

Aaron and Willem

Erica, Melanie and baby Susan

Many of you will remember our friends Mel and Kerry, who continue to foster orphaned infants from the Nest Children's Home. This past week, Kerry was shocked by the sudden illness and death of her father in America. Please uphold Kerry in your prayers as she has returned to the United States to be with her family there.

Our family's Christmas ball
This year at Rosslyn Academy, the senior class organized a Christmas fundraise for a local orphanage, by having families purchase and decorate Christmas balls to decorate a tree at Rosslyn Academy.

Ben, Eric, Ava and Kyle

The guys continue their journey with an early morning good-bye. After a night away at the Nest and then another night with us, Aaron brought the brave young travellers into Eastleigh early on Tuesday morning to catch a bus to Garissa. The guys have met our colleague Yattani Gollo there and travelled to Dadaab today to visit the refugee camps there. We are praying for their safety as they travel back to Nairobi on Saturday to spend their last three nights in Africa with us -- much to the delight of our children!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

HIV and AIDS Advent Journey

A d v e n t

Our friend and colleague, Patty Card, just sent us this wonderful link for an HIV and AIDS Advent Calendar that we are now reading each day as we journey through Advent. We invite you to follow the link below and join us as we pray for the power, and presence, of Jesus the Emmanuel (God with us!), to come into the lives of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

Please pray this Advent for the countless families of Subsaharan Africa that are struggling with issues of health, poverty and insecurity. May the light of hope in Christ, dispel the darkness within all of our lives this Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Goose!

Ava -- Our Silly Goose!
This morning Ava's kindergarten class at Potterhouse ended their fall semester with a part in the annual Christmas performance. Ava was very excited to sing her songs and dress up with her friends.
Ava and her classmates celebrating
a great performance!

Now... It's Christmas Vacation!!!!

The Next Noel

Christmas Play!

Mommy and Emma
On Thursday evening, we had a great time at Emma's Christmas play directed by Erica and her friend Kim Remich.

"Sing Noel"

The Next Noel
This year's Rosslyn Academy Elementary School Christmas play was "The Next Noel" a sequel to last year's Christmas play "The First Leon". In this follow up to last year's story, Tristan's old role of "Leon" (played this year by fifth grader Brandon Githinji), returns to his school to direct the annual Christmas pageant. But the role of director goes to Leon's head. Pretty soon, the other children begin to fear that the Christmas pageant is more about Leon than anyone else!

Emma's character "Julie" played the role of Mary
in Leon's Christmas Pageant

As the "Christmas Pageant" began, there was NO Leon...!

...In the end, Leon remembers the true meaning of Christmas as he humbles himself and kneels at the manger in the "Christmas pageant" ... as Shirley the Sheep!

Directors Kim Remich and Erica, with the cast


Sunday, December 5, 2010

CBM Kenya -- Christmas Party!


Erica, R, Emma and Diane Bannister

On Saturday afternoon, we hosted a Christmas party for the Canadian Baptist Ministries' Kenya team at our home. It was a fun time to be together before people go in different directions over the holidays with children returning to Africa from University and the Godwin family returning to Ontario to visit with family there.

We want to thank everyone who has been supporting and praying for our team and the ministries that we are leading and serving in together in Africa -- Merry Christmas!

D and Keenan Carline

Christmas Potluck Dinner

The kids transfixed in a game

Santa has something for good little girls

Tristan and Santa ...Conspiring

Santa Claus Comes to Town!
Karen Godwin, Erica Kenny, Diane Bannister, Saint Nicholas, R, and Kelly Carline

CBM Africa Team Leader -- Colin Godwin
... not only does he wear many hats!

Diane and Tim Bannister -- at the campfire

The guys deck out for the Rosslyn Christmas Banquet
Caleb Bannister, Andrew and Isaac Godwin

At supper time, several of the teenagers got ready for the annual Rosslyn Academy High School Christmas Ball at the Lord Erroll Restaurant, near our home. The teens seemed to have had a great evening -- Ava (despite her best efforts) did not attend the ball.

Ava and Andrew Godwin --
ready for the Christmas banquet!