15 June, 2015

Elephant Orphanage

  Last week we headed to Nairobi to take Marlin's mother to the airport because she was flying back to the states after being with us 3 months. We arrived in Nairobi on a Saturday and since she wasn't flying out until Monday at 5:30, we decided to visit the elephant orphanage Monday morning and watch the caretakers feed the baby elephants. It was a neat way to end our time with grandma. After all, who doesn't love babies of all sizes and shapes.
Nothing like a drink and a loving hug around the neck at the same time.

These are the little ones. Well, unless you compared them to the babies on the other side of the rope. 

Not every child can claim the distinction of petting an elephant.

He's liking it so very much.

A little love.

Grandma Weaver is one of those grandma's who likes a little adventure in her life. Petting a behemoth? Sure, no problem.

The adorable sleeping quarters for the babies. And for only $50 a year you can "adopt" a baby elephant and have the rare privilege of watching it go nighty-night.

Marlin and i saw these cute mammals and decided to adopt them instead. Putting them to bed is as exhausting as putting baby elephants to bed but far more worthwhile. Baby Christopher was asleep in my sling and being that he was sick, i hated to disturb him. There was a young Brazilian woman who was amazed at our crew and kept saying in amazement how perfect and handsome they are. I couldn't agree more. :)
  Marlin and i have mixed feelings about the elephant orphanage. While we agree that its heartbreaking to have orphan animals, it seems kind of ludicrous to spend millions on animals without souls when there are thousands of hurting children a few miles from the orphanage in one of the biggest slums in the world. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2297265.stm) Even tho i'm not an animal lover as in wanting them to hang around my feet, I hate to see hurting animals and few things make me as angry as a defenseless animal being cruelly mistreated, however, in comparison to children........

  Tonight we sat around the campfire as a family and the conversation turned towards Hades/Paradise and what that is or means and how we can know that we are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Good, heart searching conversations, especially in light of moving back to the States in just 2 1/2 months, Lord willing. Here, poverty and the fine edge between life and death are always present. You leave our compound and it smacks you in the face. Last week we made a wrong turn in Nairobi and ended up in the outskirts of the very slums i mentioned in the previous paragraph. Last week, at a police check, Marlin got locked into a tiny room and then was asked for a bribe. Those kinds of experiences force our children to ask a lot of hard questions. They recognize that their growing up years are in the minority in this world. The safety and love of a two parent home, a warm bed, plenty of nourishing food, and christian friends is something that is hard to take for granted when you see the opposite all around us. They've seen the glue boys, sniffing their bottles for a bit of relief and the drunk, homeless men sleeping in the middle of a grassy patch between two highways. In the city slums, the consequences of not serving Jesus are very clear and horrific. Sin and despair are obvious companions on the streets. 

  So what will happen when we go back to comfortable, middle class America? Our heart is to continue to serve "the least of these" in whatever capacity God calls us. Our mission experience here has been quite the ride and there are parts we weren't prepared for, but one of the main reasons we came has been fulfilled, and that was so our children could see that the world is so much bigger than America. Very few people have had the privileges we have and we pray we won't forget that. God is going to hold us so very, very responsible not, as Marlin says, for what we have given but for what we have kept back. We're excited about going home and wrapping our arms around family and friends. We're excited to move to Virginia and worship Christ with new friends, and to sleep in a house without bars across the windows, but at the end of the day, we want to want Jesus more than anything. 

  Pray for us. It seem the spiritual warfare has intensified in the last several weeks as we start turning our faces towards "home." I'm fighting a lot of fear and at times it's overwhelming. Jesus is calling me to start getting up quite a bit earlier than i normally do. He's wooing me, wanting to have me soak in His presence, and my heart is hungry for that. Not out of law or fear, but out of relationship. To think He loves me and wants to fellowship with me is more than i can fathom, but getting up early is hard so if you think about it, ask God to give me the strength to deny that extra hour of sleep. 

  I'll leave you with a verse that has spoken to my heart.  

John 14:27 - Peace i leave with you. My peace i give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 



  1. We took our tribe to the zoon on Saturday so I know my kids will really enjoy your pictures here. I love the baby holding his own bottle! And yes, you do have a good-looking bunch of your own. Love that line-up. Thank you for sharing your heart. You always bless me. I too, have felt Jesus calling me in the mornings. It is a sweet calling. I pray for you faithfully, but I will pray more specifically.

    1. Thank you Amy. You are always an inspiration to me and i continue to check your blog daily. Thank you for being that "big sister" to me in spite of us never having met. :)


  2. Thank you for sharing!
    Pictures as well as thoughts. I will pray for you as I go to bed, knowing that in just a couple short hours you will be waking to spend time with the One Who Never Sleeps.

    1. Ah Licia, you are a faithful friend!!


  3. Darla, I know that God will keep moving you to minister Life to people wherever He calls you. I am deeply impressed more and more as I walk with God just how much LIFE is missing from many in whatever part of the world we live. I am an American missionary, a citizen of heaven. For a few years, I was asked to help the staff at a Youth Bible School. My children told me last year that they are a minority there, with many of the youth coming from places without a fellowship of believers, or from homes broken by sin, or from homes whose parents are new Christians, struggling to find their own way and their youth feeling left without the discipling they want for growing in the Lord and observing all that He commanded. And I pause, and thank the Lord for breaking the chains in our own home, delivering us from generational strongholds of passivity and soul neglect and religious idols, and I ask Him to keep working in us to shine the Light in our part of the Vineyard, no matter how briar covered and disappointing it is at times. And I say "YES" to God in being a light amidst the darkness in America, particularly in my childhood culture, where many have the outside of the cup clean, but their hearts are dark and do not really know Christ.

    Truly the fields are white unto harvest, but the laborers are few. And truly I am learning to know well the words of Jesus that "few find the narrow way" and I am crushed at the great falling away: friends whose marriages are torn asunder by unfaithfulness, homes of loved ones that are unhappy because God is not the head of it, youth who rebel and choose to walk their own way...The older I get, the more I see, and the more I fall on my face before Almighty God, knowing that the devil is busy and that of ourselves, we cannot make it safely home. But GOD IS GREATER!

    I know this is an 'epistle' but you touched a cord in my heart. I wish you much blessing as you journey to know Him and make Him known to others.

    Love and blessings,

  4. You are an inspiration to me!
    Can't wait to see you all again.
    ~ Jo


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