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God is moving, can you see it?
March 11, 2013 5:58 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: , , , , ,

I barely had time to catch my breath upon returning from the States before life in Africa swept me up again. And I’m glad of it. So many great things are going on here, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. But I’m a little bashful that two months have gone by without a peep from me on this blog, whoops!  Let’s catch-up, shall we?

January saw the team and I back into the thick of the MOVIE.  Many brainstorming sessions and hours of editing later, we launched a trailer for The Distant Boat!!  Check it out HERE!

 

team brainstorm session

team brainstorm session

searching for filming locations in downtown Nairobi

searching for filming locations in downtown Nairobi

 

I had a great time catching up with friends after the holidays, both in Nairobi and up in the mountains of Kijabe, Kenya.  I even got to spend the weekend on my friend’s farm, enjoying some wonderful home-grown food and fresh air.

 

hanging out with chameleons and dogs

hanging out with chameleons and dogs

Japanese feast with friends

Japanese feast with friends

The Great Rift Valley, on the way to a friend's house

The Great Rift Valley, on the way to a friend’s house

Maize fields and forests out in the countryside

Maize fields and forests out in the countryside

delicious bounty from a friend's garden

delicious bounty from a friend’s garden

New friends!

New friends!

friends feeding chickens

friends feeding chickens

Jean picking some fresh mint for me

Jean picking some fresh mint for me

backyard marshmallow roast with my neighbors

backyard marshmallow roast with my neighbors

My international license expired and so I had to apply for my Kenya drivers license, now I'm official!

My international license expired and so I had to apply for my Kenya drivers license, now I’m official!

shopping in the local market with my friend Anna

shopping in the local market with my friend Ana

 

February was such a fun month, namely because it was chalk full of visitors!  Some of my dear friends converged on Nairobi for a conference, and I had the pleasure of hosting many of them at my house.  We cooked, laughed, played lots of Bananagrams, and soaked up this rare chunk of time in the same country together.  Below are some of our adventures.

 

Courtney, Andy, and Anna all came to visit, what fun!

Courtney, Andy, and Anna all came to visit, what fun!

glass-blowing demo

glass-blowing demo

country traffic jam

country traffic jam

My fellow Montanans, Anna and Andy!

My fellow Montanans, Anna and Andy!

 

church potluck to say goodbye to some great friends

church potluck to say goodbye to some great friends

 

A thrill and a photo assignment wrapped-up into one came my way at the end of February.  I got to photograph a family’s flight to their new home in rural Kenya for AIM Air.  I took two cameras along and snapped the morning away.  It was so great to see diverse land of Kenya fly by underneath me, from mountains and forests into rust colored scrubby deserts.  I even got to fly the plane for a while, that is until I started throwing up… ah motion- sickness, my old friend.

Flying high over Kurungu, Kenya

Flying high over Kurungu, Kenya

The men of the Callahan family on their way up to their new home in rural Kenya

The men of the Callahan family on their way up to their new home in rural Kenya

The acacia tree dotted land near the airstrip in Kurungu, Kenya

The acacia tree dotted land near the airstrip in Kurungu, Kenya

The Callahan family meeting their new neighbors in Kurungu, Kenya

The Callahan family meeting their new neighbors in Kurungu, Kenya

Kurungu is home to the Samburu tribe

Kurungu is home to the Samburu tribe

Flying the plane on the way back to Nairobi!

Flying the plane on the way back to Nairobi!

 

March brought the 2013 presidential elections with it.  We were on lock down for a few days, just incase things became insecure in the city.  But God was so faithful and peace reigned in the city, even amongst a lot of fear and anxiety of a repeat of the violence that occurred during the 2007/2008 elections.

waiting for election results to come out

waiting for election results to come out

I don’t pretend to understand Kenyan politics or tribalism, but nothing seems cut and dry here.  The new president and his running-mate are both expected to appear before the ICC in a few months to answer for charges of crimes against humanity relating to the 2007/2008 Kenyan elections.

Vice President Ruto, and President Kenyatta

Vice President Ruto, and President Kenyatta

 

But these are the men that are in the driver’s seat of this country now; Kenya has spoken.  Would you pray with me that justice, integrity, and solid leadership would prevail even through these confusing choices?  I have so much hope for Kenya, and I know that God is at work here.  Please continue to pray with me.

 

He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others.

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

Daniel 2:21

Whew, I’m glad we are all caught up!

February 18, 2012 4:26 am
Published in: On the Field Tags: , ,

But not just a still, quiet peace…

Contained within shalom is a tapestry of meaning.  Threads of safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, rest, harmony, and the absence of discord are woven together into completeness, wholeness, and fullness.  The result of shalom is enemies reconciling, injustice disappearing, wounds healing, fears ebbing away and communities being restored.  It is a loaded, rich peace.

Shalom is not the sort of thing typically associated with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dusty streets of Bunia, DRC

Instead war, rape, poverty, violence, tribalism, disease, injustice, and unrest are lashed together into a crude picture that represents the Congo in many of our minds.  True, these things have taken place in the Congo, and sadly are still happening to this day.

But there are also echoes of shalom, unexpected patches of peace, sparks of deep love and joy… like the millions of bright pricks of light in the dark night sky.

Sunset in Bunia, DRC

The media team and I went to the DRC to see just what God was up to in swiftly growing school called Shalom University.

Flying over Lake Victoria

The campus is located in a rough town in north-east DRC called Bunia.  It is a place of dust, razor wire, and UN troops.  This city has seen a lot.  These people have been through more turmoil than I will ever know.  War, tribal strife, mass looting… the list of unspeakable hardship goes on and on.  During one of the conflicts, the school became home to more than 1500 refugees, holed-up in classrooms, offices, and the chapel.  Miraculously, the school remained unlooted and on the whole, undamaged by rebels and troops.  The same could not be said for the rest of the town.  Now Shalom University is growing exponentially; nearly 900 students are flooding the campus.  We went to tell this story, to see how shalom is catching fire, and to witness it spreading.

Professor Witmer walks through campus

God is up to something in the Congo.  Something big, something beautiful… He is urging His children in the DRC to spread shalom, to be peace-makers.  He is using this school in Bunia to send out solid, servant-hearted leaders into the Congo.  Into business, into agriculture, into ministry… they are bringing sparks of change, and becoming ambassadors of peace.

There is evidence of shalom here, the fingerprint of the Creator of peace is all over this place. It is on the faces of sweet light-hearted children, in the melodies of Congolese choirs practicing at dusk, within tight community gatherings, upon the eager minds of the students as they soak up knowledge, and resting on the distant mountains, hazy and glowing orange in the setting sun.

Light will always overcome darkness.  Always.  I am so grateful to have seen a slice of Congo.  True, it is a tough place.  But it is also a place of surprising beauty, full of people that God’s heart burns for. I pray that one day I will see more of this country… and witness just how deeply peace can take root.

Congolese mama and her children

Bananas at the market

Waiting to mud the chicken coop

Dried fish, yum.

Market ladies, selling everything from peppers to nail polish

Community water tank

Sorting beans for dinner

Before church

Camera v. Camera

Outside of a rural church

Sweet girls living in campus housing

Sugarcane snack

Campus housing at dusk, three families to a building

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;

then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:17-18