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God is moving, can you see it?
February 7, 2014 12:43 am
Published in: Post-Field Tags:

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I am home.  Whew, that’s a loaded phrase now.  Montana, of course is my home… for goodness sake, I was born and raised here.  But now I have a home in Nairobi too.  Friends, favorite green grocers, a church, a community.  I have a home in two places, aren’t I the lucky one?

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Going away party with my small group from Church, miss this folks so much!  Nairobi // Oct. 2013

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Team mates and friends at my going away BBQ. Nairobi // Oct. 2013

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Henna and naan lessons with friends from church.  Nairobi // Oct. 2013

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Brunch with friends on a lazy Saturday.  Nairobi // July 3013

I took a meandering path home after departing from Kenya in October of 2013.  London for a day with Anna and Andy.  New York City with Courtney.  South Carolina with Taylor and Elisabeth.  Florida with Tana.  All Africa friends… all welcoming arms, listening ears, and good question-askers.  It was a good choice, it was the long way home.

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Andy & Anna in London // Nov. 2013

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Courtney in NYC // Nov. 2013

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Taylor & Elisabeth in South Carolina // Nov. 2013

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Tana in Florida // Nov. 2013

Leaving Kenya was tough.  Coming home was tough.  There is joy and love and frustration in both places.  I’m still figuring out what my next chapter is.  I wish I had some wonderful neat answers for all of you kind souls who have asked me “so, what’s next?”  But I don’t.  Right now is a season of abiding, trusting, of listening, and seeking.  It’s hard for me to do all of those things.  I want to GO, to DO, to SEE!  I want to make things happen.  But more than before, I trust that what God wants, and is, and has for me is best.

And so I lean in.  I tell my self over and over again, “trust, just trust.”

This is my life after Africa.  Thank you to all of you who have been with me on this journey, your prayers and love have left a lasting mark on me and upon a place that is now a home.  The last two years are unforgettable.  They were a gift.  Thank you so much.

 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:

faith, hope and love. 

But the greatest of these

is love.

1 Cor. 13:12-13

October 14, 2013 12:17 pm
Published in: On the Field Tags: , ,

Two whole years.

What?!  I’m sitting here at my house in Nairobi trying to wrap my mind around leaving.  It’s been an amazing ride, full of more discovery, worship, and growth than I ever imagined.  It would be foolish to try to sum it all up in a single little blog post, so I’m defaulting to my normal medium, photos.   Let me show you some of the things I’ve learned…

I’ve learned that this world is vast, multi-faceted, beautiful, and diverse… just like it’s occupants, and just like the body of Christ.

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I’ve learned that experiences are better when shared with those you love.

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I’ve learned that God is at work EVERYWHERE, we just need to pray for the eyes to see.

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I’ve learned that it is possible to have a home in two places, and it’s ok to long for both.

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searching for filming locations in downtown Nairobi

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These trouble makers made sure I got soaked!  My Kenyan brothers: Phil, Ezekiel, and Jacktone

Chai tea and hospitality at Pastor Peter's house

 

I’ve learned above all, that He is good, that He is love, and that He is faithful to fulfill His promises.

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Thank you for taking this journey with me.  For praying tirelessly.  For taking time out of your day to send me love and encouraging words.  But thank you most of all for joining God in what He is doing on the continent of Africa.  His Spirit is moving here… it always has been.


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“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count,

from every nation, tribe, people and language,

standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

-Revelation 7:9

 

May 6, 2013 12:59 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: , , , , ,
Checking out the Great Rift Valley

Checking out the Great Rift Valley

That’s right, my folks made the trek to AFRICA!!!!!!  I cannot even begin to tell you how special it was to share my world with two of the most important people in my life.  My parents were beyond troopers, they were adventurers!  Travel in Africa is not for the faint of heart and I’m proud to say that they took everything in stride and with open hearts.  Nairobi traffic and slums, unpredictable African airlines, learning the art of tucking in mosquito nets, wandering around bustling island spice market, it didn’t matter what the day held, they dove right in!   Since I’m better with photos than words, take a look-see at our time together…

Hippo spotting on Lake Naivasha

Hippo spotting on Lake Naivasha

Dad and I scoping out Crescent Island on my birthday

Dad and I scoping out Crescent Island on my birthday

Walking safari on Crescent Island

Walking safari on Crescent Island

Birthday fun!

Birthday fun!

Dad getting a smooch

Dad getting a smooch

Muah!

Muah!

Hanging out with Tony and Tito in Korogocho slum, just outside of Nairobi

Hanging out with Tony and Tito in Korogocho slum, just outside of Nairobi

My Kenyan host parents meeting my real parents... pretty amazing moment!

My Kenyan host parents meeting my real parents… pretty amazing moment!

Goofing around with the kiddos at Sanctuary of Hope (the homes that Holly works with!)

Goofing around with the kiddos at Sanctuary of Hope (the homes that Holly works with!)

Dad getting into the safari spirit

Dad getting into the safari spirit

First day on safari

First day on safari

Big guy!

Big guy!

Baby zebras!!

Baby zebras!!

Our awesome tent at the safari camp

Our awesome tent at the safari camp

Mama lion and her energetic babies

Mama lion and her energetic babies

Sunrise on safari

Sunrise on safari

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Yoga in the wild!

Yoga in the wild!

We all got into the stretchy-zone

We all got into the stretchy-zone

Mom and our VERY tall guide Moses

Mom and our VERY tall guide Moses

Sunset in Masaai Mara

Sunset in Masaai Mara

Dad learning all about whistling acacias from Moses

Dad learning all about whistling acacias from Moses

Our digs in Zanzibar

Our digs in Zanzibar

Fishermen in the Indian Ocean

Fishermen in the Indian Ocean

Mom and Dad found some great shells

Mom and Dad found some great shells

Relaxation time!

Relaxation time!

Spice market haggling

Spice market haggling

The basket dude

The basket dude

Shopping in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Shopping in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Serious conversations.

Serious conversations.

Mom making the kiddos smile, per usual!

Mom making the kiddos smile, per usual!

Dad and his leaf glasses

Dad and his leaf glasses

Spice farm royalty

Spice farm royalty

A yummy lunch to fuel us for snorkling

A yummy lunch to fuel us for snorkling

Learning about all the fish we were about to see

Learning about all the fish we were about to see

My buddy Ryan even made the trek out to Africa and joined us in Zanzibar.

My buddy Ryan even made the trek out to Africa and joined us in Zanzibar.

Setting sun in Zanzibar

Setting sun in Zanzibar

Dad greeting the morning

Dad greeting the morning

Little local kiddos

Little local kiddos

The ever beautiful Indian Ocean

The ever beautiful Indian Ocean

Naps under mosquito nets

Naps under mosquito nets

Mount Kilimanjaro peeking through the clouds on the flight home to Nairobi.

Mount Kilimanjaro peeking through the clouds on the flight home to Nairobi.

 

My heart is so full, this was a once in a lifetime experience that I will treasure forever.

January 3, 2013 10:55 pm
Published in: On the Field Tags: , , , ,

You guessed it, I’m home for the holidays!!

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4 airports, and 24 hours of travel later found me collapsing into the arms of my family in Missoula, Montana.  I have spent the last three+ weeks reading in my pajamas, eating things like cheese, big crunchy salads, and pomagranates, hugging friends, wrapping and unwrapping Christmas presents, and generally soaking in home.  It has been glorious!  There is snow outside, lights on the tree, and an exponential amount of warm fuzzies in my heart.

In other news… WE WRAPPED PRODUCTION ON THE DISTANT BOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Filming on the coast of Kenya.

Filming on the coast of Kenya.

 What a wild couple of months it was too!  I don’t think I have ever learned so much so fast, not even in college!  There is something about learning on the fly, on the field, that really sticks with you.  Becoming an art director was challenging, hilarious, wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-panicked-that-I-forgot-something, rewarding, and ultimately the most growing experience that I’ve ever been through.

Holding a light reflector during filming.

Holding a light reflector during filming.

Now that we are done with the actual filming part of the movie-making process we will begin the long and arduous task of editing.  This means that we will take hours and hours and HOURS of footage and begin chopping it up into our 90 minute movie.  Then comes color-grading, composing the score, subtitles, credits, promotion and distribution, among other things!  We are hoping and praying to have the finished film out in the world by August of 2013!

Filming at a fishing village.

Filming at a fishing village.

Don’t worry, I will keep you all updated along the way!  You can also check out some sweet behind the scenes footage and photos HERE.

Well I’m gonna get back to vacationing Montana style!  Thank you all for loving me, believing in and supporting the work of AIM and journeying with me thus far… here’s to a whole new slew of awesomeness in 2013!!

Here are some glimpses into my family/friend/animal/food/snow-filled time at home in Montana…

Sweet reunion with my gal pals!

Sweet reunion with my gal pals!

Quiet evenings in my childhood home with the fam, can't beat it!

Quiet evenings in my childhood home with the fam, can’t beat it!

My favorite lunch!

My favorite lunch from one of my favorite local Missoula restaurant!

Baking pies with my best friends on Christmas Eve!

Baking pies with my best friends on Christmas Eve!

The Bitterroots, Montana for the win!

The Bitterroots, Montana for the win!

Sassy walks with Mom and Sam.

Sassy walks with Mom and Sam

New Years charades with dear friends

New Years charades with dear friends

Lots of time with our (many) family pets, like PT the cat and Ollie the dog.

Lots of time with our (many) family pets, like PT the cat and Ollie the dog.

My dear and wonderful parents

My dear and wonderful parents

Rejoicing with our pregnant friend Jill!!

Rejoicing with our pregnant friend Jill!!

Soaking in the beauty of Montana, salve for the soul.

Soaking in the beauty of Montana, salve for the soul.

I pray that you and yours have a deeply rich and blessed holiday season, and a New Year full of unexpected wonders!

And God is able to bless you abundantly,

so that in all things at all times,

having all that you need,

you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8

July 27, 2012 2:45 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: ,

Thankful.  That’s how I’m feeling.

Thankful that God knows what I need.  I’m talking beyond food, water, and shelter… He knows what my heart needs.  This month it was refreshment, and it came in the form of familiar and dear faces.

Mo, Dar, and Candice, wonderful friends reunited in Africa!

Not just one friend, not even simply two… but THREE of my beloved gal-pals made the trek to Kenya, and I was lucky enough to soak up some laugh-filled days with them.

Mo exploring Kitengela, Kenya

On the bridge to Kitengela Glass, don't look down!

Maureen is my oldest friend from home in Montana.  We first met eachother on the playground in 2nd grade.  She was part of the reason I came to Kenya in 2009.  She had gone to Africa the summer previously and told me I should really consider going.  I couldn’t be more grateful for her nudge out the door.

Dar & Mo, the brunettes!

Darnell and I had the priviledge of venturing around Kenya in 2009, and staying together in Korogocho slum with a wonderful Kenyan host family for three weeks.  There is something about killing cockroaches, learning how to make Kenyan food, sitting through 3 hour church services, and leaping over sewage rivers in the slums that turns new friends into sisters.  I can’t believe we got to revisit that place again 3 years later, thanks Dar!

Dar & I with our host parents in 2009

Darnell with the camels in Kitengela, Kenya

Currently, Darnell is living in Italy with her husband James.  She sent me a message a few weeks ago asking if she could come down and see me before she and James moved back to the states.  DUH.  We had a great time running around Kenya, laughing at old stories and seeing old friends.

Candice and Mo in Kitengela, Kenya

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I met Candice on the 2009 Kenya trip as well.  I have never known somebody who emanates so much grace.  Candice is that rare person who makes you feel instantly calm, understood, and loved.  She is a treasure, and I’m so blessed to have had a few days with her.  She is off to Dallas Theological Seminary to study counseling this fall, I can’t think of a better career fit for this big-hearted gal.

Boat ride on Lake Naivasha

Brownies, games, and Jane Austen!

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Sunrise on Lake Naivasha

We adventured all around Kenya, recounting old memories and make new ones along the way.  There is nothing like a taste of home.  There is nothing like friends that know you.  This month was balm to my soul and food for my heart, it was so, so, SO good.  Mo is here for a couple more weeks, and it feels like time is whipping by like the wind.  My prayer is to stay present and savor.

 

Your Father

knows what you need before

you ask him.

Matthew 6:8

 

July 25, 2011 1:19 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , , ,

DRY (adjective)

1. free from moisture or excess moisture; not moist; not wet

2. having or characterized by little or no rain

3. characterized by absence, deficiency, or failure of natural ordinary moisture.


Yep.  That is how I feel…like my soul is flaking, my heart is parched, and my frame is withering.  Dry.

 

 

Is it this arid, hot, Montana summer?  Have I failed to drink enough liquids?  No… this is dehydration of the spirit, and I need a long cool drink out of God’s fountain, before I turn to dust.

Have you ever gotten to this place?  Where you go and go and GO, until you find that, whoa, I actually do have a end to my rope… and here are the frays to prove it.  Preparing for Africa is so… involved.  I never expected it to be so hard. Being a big picture kind of gal, I tend to not consider the weight of the details, the amount of work that is attached to one big adventure. Or the amount of feeling.

Everyday I find myself stopping and staring at people and things that I will miss.  Just this morning I looked at a picture of my mom and sister dancing in our family kitchen, lit by morning light, and had a mound of sadness well up in my chest.

 

 

I will miss the sound the coffee maker gurgling, the dogs’ fingernails clicking across the wood floor, and my dad talking to Lidia Bastianich on PBS as they make the same Italian dish… continents away.  Soon I will be continents away.  Whew.

Turns out the process of support-raising is more involved than I ever dreamed too.  I feel like I have hit a wall.  After hundreds of letters, copious phone calls, relentless calculating, endless spreadsheets and paperwork, I still have miles to go… and I am spiritually on empty with the pedal pushed to the floor.

I am at the famous junction… the place where I have mustered all of my humanly efforts and come up short, and God has to show up and divinely finish this thing.  Moses was here, not to mention David, Ruth, Daniel, Elijah and countless others.  It was God who parted the sea and provided an escape for the captives of Egypt, not Moses.  It was God who led the king to victory and saved him from his enemies, not David.  It was God who delivered a poor foreigner and her mother-in-law back home and saved them from destitution, not Ruth or Naomi.  It was God who stayed the lions’ jaws and gave a man the wisdom interpret dreams and to navigate the royal courts, not Daniel.  It was God who sent a fire ball from Heaven to consume a soggy offering in front of hundreds of people on Mount Carmel and prove His power, not Elijah.  And on and on.  It is God who accomplishes, not me.

Lately I have been letting my failures and lackings determine my worth.  After my dear friend Kim prayed for me this Sunday, she looked at me and said, “Bess, it is God who tells you your worth.”  ZING, that one went right to the heart.  Nothing else has the right or authority to tell me my value, and I am closing my ears to God when I allow anyone or anything else to tell me what I am worth.

 

“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.  God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.”

2 Thessalonians 1:5-7

 

Trying to do all of this on my own (and failing), compounded with the ache of impending transition, separation, and raw newness has sucked all the moisture out of my soul.  I looked up dry in the back of my bible, and God brought me to tears as I read this passage in Ezekiel…

 

The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin;

I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.

Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”

Ezekiel 37

 

I need the breath of God to enter these bones again.  I need to know the sheer power of Your might, because I have none left.  I am as useless as a pile of bones on the desert floor.  I need to know that it is You who will do it, that You won’t leave me in a heap on the cracked earth.

 

The Spirit of God has made me;
the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:4

 

Breathe on me Lord, and I will inhale deeply.  Bring me to life again, and in your time, bring me to Africa.

 

 

May 8, 2011 6:29 pm
Published in: Pre-Field Tags: , ,

Well, that’s not entirely true… I can generally make a sloppy twist out of my hair, that started out with the best intentions of being a beautifully symmetrical french braid, but ended in a sad tangled mess.  This must be remedied.  I cannot possibly hope to be a thriving missionary in Africa if I can’t even braid my own hair, right?!

Ha.  The things that whiz through my ever active mind these days.  It gets a bit ridiculous sometimes.  But there is something down there, at the root (follicle?) of it all.  It is my need to feel well prepared.  My desperation, rather, not to be found wanting.  Especially in a new place.

This is my first big move away from the home I have known for 23 years.  Sure, I moved away for college… 20 minutes away to be exact.  But, by the end of this year I will be more than 20 hours away!  Go big or go home, right?!  Speaking of home… I am going to miss this place so much, my roots run ever so deeply here.  This is looking out over our back pasture of my childhood home.

I know myself here.  I know my place, and what is expected of me.  I know how to speak, eat, travel, interact, work, and behave here.  I am well equipped for life here… I am prepared.

Soon I will be failing the Boy Scouts’ mantra, and find my self un-prepared.  My life will be roughly ten time zones, one hop over the equator, several languages and many cultures away from everything I have ever known.  How do you prepare for Africa?

There are the practical ways… vaccinations, visas, international drivers license, head lamp, and a sturdy pair of shoes.

But what about my mind, my heart, my soul?  How do I prepare them?

1. I am taking my armor with me… even if it sets off the metal detector in the airport.  Without it, I am like a Boy Scout without his pocket knife, a Girl Scout with out her cookies, uh, er, her crafty nature and knowledge of the 52 uses of pipe cleaners.  Ok, so I was only in Girl Scouts for a few months… but the POINT is, I would vulnerable to all sorts of crap without my holy armor.

14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:14-17

2. I am anticipating hard times.  I am expecting to be challenged, misunderstood, annoyed, home sick, and painfully stretched beyond myself.  But through that, God has promised me that I will grow.  I cling to that.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

Not lacking in ANYTHING.  I like the sound of that.  I have the feeling that I am going to like the reality of that even better.  I am coming to Africa with four bags, bright eyes, and a heart that is ringing with a call… comeFollow the sound of my voice, come forward, come deeper, bring everything that I have been equipping you with all along, I have more for you, I have a life that you could never have dreamed up on your own… come.

My friend Kate told me, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” Take the disciples.  One day, their hands touched damp nets, the smooth scales of fish, and the rough wood of boats… but then Jesus came.

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-20

He called, they answered.  He walked beside them, taught them, and grew them up into the men they were meant to be.  Then their hands touched people… Jesus changed everything.

I’m coming Lord, I know you have what I need.

7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 40:7-8

Engrave your word upon my heart, refine me through fire, even though it will burn.  Give me grace as I venture out, and perseverance that I may endure.  Continue this work you have started in me.

And if it’s not too much trouble, send me a friend who knows how to french braid 🙂