16 August, 2014

Baby Weaver

  So i'm 8 weeks pregnant.


  I have the normal nausea and hormonal upsets that happen with a pregnancy which makes for some interesting and sometimes depressing moments. Such as when i'm holding a conversation with someone and they have no idea that i'm wondering if i can hold my stomach bile down or if i'm going to have to run for the toilet. So far i haven't had to run but it's come close. It's those moments when i wonder what in the world God and ourselves were thinking to try the overwhelming responsibility of bringing another Weaver in the world.

  But we're excited and not really scared. Hadassah is such a part of our lives that there's no way to explain it. She is and was such a little gift and her sweet presence is as much a part of us as any of the children.
Whenever i think of her, or we talk of her, it's always in the context of her being with Jesus. And grandma. I see her so clearly. She's so incredibly beautiful and her spirit will go with us wherever God calls us next.

  However, we will be getting ultra sounds to make sure everything is ok with the new little Weaver. Because it does seem almost impossible to think of having a perfectly healthy child after first a miscarriage and then Hadassah but i can truly say our hearts are at peace. God is in control and that includes this tiny baby. Big Daddy Weav also says that we're going to find out if the babe's a boy or girl and of course everyone's rooting for a girl. And yet even Emily says that she thinks she'll be almost as excited if it's a boy. They all just want a BABY.

  Whether this child is a boy or girl, he or she will be equally longed for and equally loved.

26 July, 2014

Good bye

My dad having devotions at our church the last sunday before they left. 
  So the 10 days were finished and it was time for my family to head home. The last sunday at our church, Jason, my brother in law, had the sermon, and my dad had devotions. After church we all stood at the back as usual and the people came through shaking our hands and it was when the choir came thru that we realized they were singing a special song for the visitors. "We will nevah, nevah, forget you....." It was a tear jerker and i tried not to think of when they sing that song for us.

  Monday, my family experienced the animal market where you can buy all kinds of handmade goodies, and then home for one last meal before they flew out of Kisumu that afternoon.

   Dishon, our Kenyan friend, had eaten several times with us while they were here and my father took a real liking to him. Which isn't surprising because most people do. The first day Dishon ate at our house when dad was here he had ice cream. For the first time ever. My dad loves ice cream and promptly bought two tubs at the grocery store and while my kids inhaled vast amounts in an ice cream induced state of bliss, Dishon watched closely. The adults watched in amazement as he stood up, gripped the ice cream scoop and promptly laid two mounds by his bbq chicken sandwich and coleslaw and began eating it all together. I figured that was the end of the ice cream experience as i simply couldn't fathom bbq sauce, mayo, and ice cream making any kind of happy marriage. But no, after that was polished off, and after seeing that the white children were pouring coke over their ice cream, he proceeded to lay several more mounds of ice cream on his bowl and flooded it with coke, still using his bbq sauce and mayo smeared plate. He then informed us that while he's never had ice cream before, he likes it very much. Which is pretty amazing because many Kenyans, after tasting ice cream, don't like it because it's much to cold and sweet. So we told Dishon to come the last day that my family were here and he could once again indulge in that icy sweetness. And he did.

Marlin, Jason, Dad, and Dishon......i really, really don't want to think of the day when we say good by to Dishon. He has become part of our family and it tears us to pieces to think of someday saying good bye. 
Dishon and my father 
And i had to add this picture. This is the real us. Dirty clothing, torn jeans, and nose excavators. It's who we really are. 

 Marlin and i took my family to the airport by ourselves because Marlin knew that deep down inside i wanted to see them off. I didn't even know i wanted to and was planning on staying home with the littles and letting the older ones go along but wise man that he is, he knew myself better than i do. I was so glad to go, once i got over feeling guilty at all the sad puppy faces back at home, and as i hugged them good by and cried, i knew that having them in Africa was a highlight in my life.

Masai Mara

Hippos and more hippos
  Thursday morning Marlin, my father, sister Eileen and her family headed to the Masai Mara. Oh, and Zachary. Me, myself, and i and the remaining gang stayed home to keep the home fires burning and to clean house. The Masai Mara makes me a wee bit nervous since i managed to get an infected appendix the last time. You're in the middle of nowhere so if an emergency happens you simply pray a little harder and hope the doctor/nurse on site knows his stuff. But that's not why i stayed home. The Masai Mara isn't exactly cheap and neither did a 5 hour trip in a van with 19 people crammed in a vehicle with 14 people capacity look very appealing.

So let's get on with some pictures.

Part of the wildlife scene......oh wait, that's my sister and her family. :) 

My dad hanging out with the rhinos.

King Aslan

Yes, seriously, he did have his hand on that rhino. 

The Savannah

How cool is this picture? Love that tree. That's Marlin and my dad wrapped in Masai blankets. It gets downright COLD in the early mornings.

   Good times, good memories.

25 July, 2014

Lake Victoria and Kibuye Market

   Tuesday morning saw Marlin and the family headed to Lake Victoria for a boat ride and to see the hippo. Kind giving person that i am, i chose to stay home with the two youngest and Emily and make brunch for when they came back. And the thot of a two hour ride with 14 children didn't especially appeal to me. Not to mention that i've seen safer looking rides.

Thankful that God hasn't called me to be an African fisherman.

Titus the boatman with "the crew."

Hippos are the number one reason for deaths caused by animals. If you get between them and the water while they're grazing on shore or vice versa, woe is you. They've been known to snap boats and people right in half. Another reason i decided to sacrifice and stay home. Nevermind that most of the children were along. 

My dad checking out the lake and the hippos. 

Home for pepper gravy and biscuits. This is where we ate all our meals. The carport is the ideal place for hosting anything from prayer meeting to suppers. 
  In the afternoon the men headed to Kibuye market, one of the largest markets in Kenya. Taking children along is not wise so Eileen and i stayed home and babysat the hooligans while the men strolled through the metal working and furniture part of the market. 

Ok, not just furniture and metal but cabbages also. 

And sewing......

Jason is part owner of a furniture store. His looks quite different. 
At least he looks happy.

My father just could not understand why they wouldn't build work tables to at least be able to stand while they work. A clear sign he thinks like a German, not an African. 

Minnows anyone? A delicacy to the Kenyan.

  After the market Marlin drove the van home and dad, Jason, and our friend Dishon, took a tuk tuk. 

A long, bumpy ride

Kenyans don't feel a need for any personal space, which you tell by the size of their public transportation vehicles. 

22 July, 2014

Chicken Intestines and Chai

  Yesterday my dad, my married sister Eileen, her husband Jason and their crew of 6 children headed back across the big pond. They are planning a day and a half of sight seeing in London before they fly back to the good ol' USA.

  It was so much fun to show my family Kenya. One of my favorite things about my dad is that he is so not racist and it showed. He was often surrounded by smiling faces even if they didn't get everything this white "mosay" (old man, a term of respect) was saying.

  Last monday we headed to John and Benter's place, a couple from our church, for an authentic Kenyan meal. So after an hour of bumpiness and potholes and goat and cow dodging, and a 15 minute walk, we arrived.

Heading into the "dala" 

Living room straight ahead, goat enclosure to the left, and a sleeping hut to the right. 

John and Benter

  We were ushered inside and were asked to pray a prayer. That's tradition, especially as many Kenyans believe that the white people bring blessings, such as fertility to both man and mammal, and even crops. We then sat and were served steaming hot chai and mandazis, a first for my family.

Cousins eagerly waiting. Oh, the joy of your very own cup of scalding tea. 

My sister Eileen and her husband Jason, with their oldest child, Ina to the left.

Amazing how much furniture they squeeze into a room. Every couch and chair has spotless, wrinkle free, embroidered cloths carefully placed on them in every home i've been in. Sadly, til our crew leaves they're no longer any of the above. Joseph, the bishop and pastor at our church, and his wife Becky, kindly consented to go along. They're from Belleville Pa and are serving their sixth year in Kenya.

We then headed for a walk to a tiny shopping centre while the ladies got a massive feast prepared. It truly gave my family a taste of Kenya, walking between sugar cane fields and feeling that hot, African sun beat down on their heads. 
The white man and the African expounding to each other. John, the man on the left, is a young man from church who has been a member for a number of years. He would very much appreciate a wife, as he made known at a youth seminar where he shared that the "Lord's return is imminent so get married quickly." Amen.

Of course we hadn't taken enough water for that kind of hiking and would you believe we could buy bottled water at a little store in that tiny "shopping center." So one of the ladies had the privilege of carrying our water back to the "dala." What can i say. Marlin just wasn't up to carrying it on his head. 

Back to the house for a feast and what a feast it was! Boiled beef, fried beef liver (can't believe i'm going to say this but it was DELICIOUS! I've had it wrapped in bacon and drenched in bbq sauce. I've had it grilled and baked with onions. One word. Nasty. But this was really good, much to both my shock and my sister's.) There was chicken fried in oil and chicken stewed in a tomatoey broth. There was rice, fried cabbage, potatoes, chapatis, ugali (always ugali!), steamed sukuma, (a  type of greens and the children loved it. Go figure.) There was chicken intestines. For some reason that was pretty much untouched altho our innocent brother in law, Jason, consumed a bit, thinking it was just chicken. Which it was. Kind of.
The meal was wonderful and the "mazungus" thoroughly enjoyed it. After the meal, we were all given sodas for dessert. And i really don't know why i have my head resting on the back of the couch, looking for all the world like i'm in need of a nap. Now that i think of it, maybe i was. Heat, much walking, and copious amounts of food have a way of doing that to a person.

The ladies hard at work in the kitchen, making all that food over little fires. American women? You are SPOILED! It's ok, you can't help that you were born an american but don't take it for granted. And be willing to leave your comfortable kitchens if God asks that. Speaking to myself here because i have an American kitchen in Africa. I love African women. They work HARD but you don't hear them complain. They always have a big smile for visitors, which is more than what most women could say if they had to serve their guests food cooked over a little fire with little or no ventilation in the cooking hut. 

The food has been served, the soda's drunk. It is now between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon and time for the final speeches, prayers of blessing, and introductions. I don't know why introductions are saved til last but it's how it's done and it works. So John and Benter gave a small speech first, then everyone had to introduce themselves, including the row of Kenyans sitting behind Joseph and Becky where you can't see them. Afterwards Joseph read some scripture, we stood for prayer and then were dismissed. We drove into the compound at home at 6 o'clock, just in time to clean up and head to Mark Beachy's house for supper. And would you know, she thot we might just be in the mood for American food and would you know, we were. :) 

  It was a great day, albeit exhausting, and we are so grateful that John and Benter were willing to host us. So thankful that my family got to experience it and make lifetime memories. 

  And that will have to do for this blog post. I will try and quickly add more posts but there's simply to many pictures to do one post justice. Because there's a boat ride on Lake Victoria to see the hippos, there's Bible study, there's supper by Lake Victoria, there's the market, there's tuk, tuk rides, and there's the Mara. And other things i can't remember. 

 I'll be back. :) 

04 July, 2014

Food and Spirituality

    I used to post about food and recipes. Mostly healthy ones, but that was before we got all spiritual and became missionaries and now no longer care what we put in our mouths.

  Maybe i should run that last sentence by my husband before i post it.

  Maybe he might not agree.

  Maybe he would be right.

  Because one time i knew of someone who also believed that when you reached a certain level of holiness there were other things a person no longer cared about. I was quite astounded and amazed at such amounts of spiritual knowledge.  But my husband said that certain ideas are anything but spiritual because the closer he himself gets to God the more he enjoys those certain things.

  Maybe i should get back to talking about food and recipes.

  I truly thought before coming that perhaps we would be so thankful just for food, especially after seeing how simple Kenyan's diets are, that my man's love for cooking would get replaced with.....with.....well, i hadn't thought that far. Maybe his super spirituality would kick in? I also thought i would lose vast amounts of weight because we would no longer have access to rich foods. I was kind of hoping it would be that way and for a while it looked promising. I picked up a batch of amoebas (nasty parasitic type things from contaminated food and water) immediately upon arrival and spent a large portion of my time studying the back of the bathroom door. I lost my appetite and i figured i had finally hit upon the perfect diet plan. I imagined people oohing and awing over how thin we all had become. And spiritual.

  Lo and behold, as my body adjusted to Kenya, i realized that my appetite for sugary delights was once again increasing in a rather unholy way and my man had not developed spiritual gifts that took away his love for cooking. Or other things.

  Also, while our access to processed foods is somewhat limited here, at least if you don't want to pay obscene amounts of shillings, there are still ways to get fat. With like chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Big bowls of homemade ice cream.

  So i realized, due especially to Marlin's family history of diabetes and heart issues, that we would
have to continue watching our sugars and heavy carbs without the benefit of super spirituality.

  So here's a recipe that we like. A lot. I tend to make these just for Marlin and i because peanut butter is not cheap in Kenya and neither are chick peas or honey. The children eat regular brownies made with sunflower oil and white sugar and flour. Sigh...and to think i would never have considered allowing that evil oil in our cooking and baking before. I do use ghee also but it's still expensive and i just can't justify using it in all our baking. And it seems this crew's stomach is a bottomless pit and it would be rather embarrassing to have the mission tell us to go back where we came from because it seems we have food issues.

  So Marlin continues to cook and i continue to think he looks mighty amazing in the kitchen. Something about the black apron, large knife, and a big smile.....

Come to mama

  And now for the recipe. Please don't harm your happiness and think that anything with beans is disgusting until you give it a try.

Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt

YIELD: Makes 16


Nonstick cooking spray
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, almond butter, or your favorite nut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, honey or agave nectar (i use part stevia)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 × 8-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips. Process until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and spread batter evenly in prepared pan with a buttered spatula. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons chocolate chips over top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges are very light brown.
Let cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt and cut into 16 squares.

Adding an egg to the batter will make the bars more cake-like.
If you’re using chickpeas, make sure they’re peeled.
Feel free to get creative and add nuts, dried fruits, or anything else you like.

14 June, 2014

In the Name of Jesus...

So a church in Ohio sent money to pay for Bibles for a church they have been in contact with about 2 hrs from here...

In the highlands...

In rainy season...

Into the interior...

In a van full of children, SAW (support a widow) parcels and 80 Bibles...

Isn't that the cutest baby EVER??? 
   Our van was FULL but we still found space for vital things like snacks and clothes. After dropping off the Bibles, we were planning on heading to some other Anabaptist missionaries about an hr from there (2 1/2 hrs from Kisumu) to give them the SAW parcels to hand out to the widows in their village. Everybody was happy except for the mama of the family who really wanted to skip the Bible handing out in the interior because she is selfish and the thot of driving into the interior on mud roads in rainy season made her feel weary and ornery. Marlin was warned that it might not be a good idea to drive that far into the interior with a van and i was delighted that God felt like me on the matter and was on my side. Turns out that God was on my side but not the way i had planned. Marlin called the pastor as we were driving and asked him his thots on how the roads would be. He assured Marlin that the roads will be fine, while i muttered in Marlin's left ear that i would certainly NOT trust THAT man's advice. Marlin got off the phone and told me since this man used to drive that he trusts his opinion. I shut my mouth and asked God to please keep it that way. 

   We arrived at the pastor's house and altho we warned them that we can not stay because by then it was already around 10, there is no leaving a Kenyan's house without a bit of tea which will be served in only two minutes. I sighed and resolved to be pleasant and cheerful and drink the chai as fast as possible. Besides, i discovered that the pastor's wife was actually very nice and very friendly and knew English quite well. I also discovered that we were this pastor's very, very good friend and by the way, would we be willing to start a farm in his area, supply the funds and he would be our manager. Marlin assured the man that it would not be a good idea as he is very busy with AGAPE and when Marlin went out for a bit and the pastor suggested the plan to me i took the opportunity to tell him that we serve where God puts us and we have no idea of our future, altho we're pretty positive it doesn't involve having him as manager. I kept the last opinion to myself.
Such is Kenya...

   So after drinking chai, handing out a few Bibles and gently reminding them that we NEED TO GET GOING BEFORE THE RAINS HIT, we all piled in our excruciatingly full van, and with 4 more people added, we headed off into the interior to his second church. Only an hr or so of being packed like sardines with them assuring us that there is no rain coming we finally got off the main roads and continued 14 km farther and onto red mud, slipping and sliding and gunning our way through mud holes 2 feet deep. Marlin kept telling Joseph, the pastor, that we can not have any kind of extended service because in spite of what they were assuring us, the rain clouds were building up and Marlin knew if we get caught in the rain, we would have a real problem. Finally, finally, we pulled up in front of a stick and feed bag structure with people lined up clapping and singing. The mazungas had arrived!!!! We were greeted with hugging and hand shaking and were ushered inside where chairs were lined up in front facing the rest of the congregation. More singing, and then the introductions started with all the elders, complete with formal attire, standing and their wives and then us, and on. And on. And on. Marlin was asked to give a sermon, as long as he pleased, 2 or 3 hours would be great. I glared great holes in Pastor Joseph's back for even suggesting that, for any simpleton could tell the air was cooling and the rains were coming. I began praying deeply that God would hold the rains back and i assured Him that He is amazing and could easily accomplish that and since He loves us so much........

   Meanwhile the service continued with them asking us to sing as a family, and Marlin thankfully sharing a very short meditation and assuring the people that we would love to stay but the rain is coming and we needed to get going. They promised that they understood altho they also said we have to have chai first, but only for a "little bit." Yeah, right. By then thunder was rumbling and i casually leaned over to Eric and Emily and told them to start some serious praying. If Marlin said we needed to get going NOW, then i was quite sure we should have left 20 minutes before. Finally we were ready to hand Bibles out but to my complete dismay, they had certain names to be read off and, NO, NO, NO, i was hearing rain drops. "Please dear God, please, please, please don't let it rain. Seriously, we don't want to stay out here overnight." Long story short, til they were finished handing the Bibles out (no one paid any attention to my suggestion of leaving them pass out their own Bibles while we skedaddled) it was pouring rain, my nerves and stomach were in a mess and i was quite put out with God. We scrambled into the van and for the life of me i couldn't figure out why the pastor from that church was in our van while pastor Joseph was walking down a path towards a mud hut. Yup, they weren't joking about us staying for chai. By that time the rain was coming sideways and as Marlin pulled into the "dala" i felt like throwing myself into the maize and kicking and screaming. There was nothing we could do without horribly offending these people but stay, for if we would have left it would have been like spitting in their face. I could tell Marlin was on edge and when they came out with piles of mandazis and vats of chai, i wanted to puke. But i smiled and gulped my chai and choked down a mandazi while Pastor Joseph and his wife Helen drank cup after cup and contentedly chewed multiple mounds of fried dough. The hut was dark, the rain was pouring and people kept filing in until there were people standing outside. This was a major event in their lives with the white people in their home, even if we couldn't hear a word that anyone was saying thanks to a tin roof.

   By this time i was downright struggling and realized that something was seriously wrong with my spirit. I had prayed for the rain to hold off. That prayer certainly wasn't answered and usually, when i have no control over a situation i'm able to let it go. But having Marlin nervous made me downright  mental hospital material. So while the rain poured and the people slurped and chewed, i did what i should have done from the beginning. I told God that i can't begin to manufacture faith on my own, so would He please do that for me. I prayed for strength to surrender. If it was His will for us to stay in the middle of no-where in who knows what, i was going to trust Him. After a few minutes i realized my fear was leaving, my nerves were calming, and a gentle peace settled over me. The rain was still pouring and i did a happy inside dance when we finally ran to our van, but my fear and frustration had left. Pastor Joseph assured his dear, dear friend Marlin that we would get out because they had prayed in Jesus name and it would be ok. I looked at the rivers of red water pouring over the road and wondered but decided it wasn't for me to worry about.

   Want to know what happened? Well, on the way into the interior before it was raining, the mud was slick and slippery and Marlin had to fight to keep the van where it belonged, but on the way out? In spite of water gushing over the road and in many places not even able to see the road, the roadbed was solid as rock. Not once did we slip and slide but the van plowed happily through vast amounts of water with Pastor Joseph promising after each one that the worst was over.

    After a bit we drove ahead of the storm, dropped Pastor Joseph, his wife and their two children off,  and headed for our friends on blacktop roads with the rain behind us.

    I'm crying as i write this because God's plan was so much better, so much bigger. He chose to show His power to some very undeserving people, in particular the mazungu's wife. How pathetic i am and yet how He loves me. I repented of my selfish and faithless heart and our hearts echoed what Pastor Joseph had said...
  In the Name of Jesus!

Our missionary friends from Kitale.   
   We did make it to our friends house and had a sweet visit. We saw what it's like to live with the natives as your neighbor and how to manage without electricity or an inside toilet. We reveled in the beautiful maize(corn) covered countryside and delighted in hanging onto Big Daddy while riding on a piki piki (motorcycle). Took me right back to being a newlywed and i loved it. Something about wrapping my arms around my man while waving to little, chocolate children as the piki piki rumbles past made me feel very happy. Esp the wrapping part. Ok, and the piki piki. Some things never change. :)

That's my man!! And the two little men in the left hand corner are mine also. Never have i seen Levi's eyes shine as they did after his piki piki ride.

The Marc and Cindy Carrier family who were the first ones at this mission. Cindy is a sweet woman who inspires me with her selfless serving. 

We headed back home Friday morning. 
Back to dirt and dust, bar music and truck horns. 
Back to a huge laundry pile and working instead of visiting. 
But also back to dear friends and our inside toilet. 
After this week, i am content to let Him worry about our future and the next time my faith fails,
 i want to remember 5 words...

A lovely family, Charlton and Natasha Sweazey, who moved to Kenya only a couple of months ago. They have a beautiful testimony and we're excited to see where God takes them. Their baby is due in November
so please pray for them. Moving to a new country is overwhelming esp when mama is pregnant. 

Charlton's mother, Wanda, is the nurse who runs the little clinic for the locals.  I am blessed by her willingness to move across the world and leave her other children and grandchildren behind. Indefinitely. 


Clinic in session. The Kenyan to her right is a retired nurse and helps Wanda with translation.