Passing the Baton

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  • This has been a day of retrospect… a day where God has my attention.

Randy has gone to Nairobi to pick up a new friend. So I usually try to use these times to sit quiet before the Lord. I’m reading some biographies of some men and women who represented the exchanged  and abundant life I daily desire. The team outside are all working so hard to accomplish all Randy left for them to do. So I decided to make them ‘popcorns’. Yes, plural. I decided to listen to some teaching while I popped 8 pots of corn for my 20+ hardworking friends.

I love these people. They have become like my kids. I love being a mom. I always have. And 35 years ago as I was anticipating my first baby at the young age of 20, I was filled with eager joy. I wasn’t walking with the Lord at the time. I had been raised in Truth. I knew Truth. And I believed Truth. But I was not walking in it. Even still, I knew even before my child was born, it wasn’t about me anymore, this child, any future children, they needed Truth.

And in my quest to see them get that, The Lord got me. Over time I became a lover of His Word and a believer in prayer. God used many people to disciple me as I was determined to teach my kids. And teaching them the Truth drove everything I did. I can say that honestly. I may not have had the purist motives some of the time, but I was very cognizant of the potential message in my actions, my words, my responses, my life.  Oh… I made so many blunders, and outbursts, and mess ups and mistakes… but I can absolutely say that my primary focus, my deepest desire, was that my kids knew Jesus, knew the power of His resurrection, that they knew His faithfulness and His love and that they grew up to walk and abide in Him. That was all I cared about, far over education, careers, even relationships, I wanted them to KNOW Jesus.

Again, you don’t need to ask them, I’ll admit… I made so many mistakes and dropped the baton regularly. But I do believe that God saw my desire and poured out grace beyond measure. Grace that covered my mistakes. Grace that covered my outbursts and my messes. And, day by day, month by month, year by year… I grew, they grew and together, ONLY through the grace of Jesus, we are all living for and diligently serving our Savior. We are all eagerly awaiting His return and we are all consciously spreading the gospel and making disciples.

Yes, I know what a privilege and amazing blessing this is. I do not take it for granted. And my husband and I praise our God daily for having revealed Himself to them. It is this faithfulness of God, having seen it proven through my kids and so many other ways that gave me the courage to trust and obey God when He called us to Africa. Out of the blue, never a dream, at a season where it made NO sense, He called us to Kenya and again, He has blown me away.

Well, today, as I was listening to some teaching, I found myself before the Lord. I was being clearly taught something that I think God has been trying to show me for some time. But somehow, this message, this pastor, this time… God’s anointing, God’s desire for me to ‘get it’ spoke deep down in the innermost center of my heart. This pastor spoke boldly of God’s Truth, of His call for holiness and righteousness, he taught of the utmost importance of the furtherance of the gospel and how my motives to serve MUST BE for His glory. I want to want to!!! Oh God may my conduct be worthy of the Gospel and may I stand fast.

  • What moved me to share this today… was after years of praying that God would speak and reveal Himself to my children THROUGH me, desiring to pass them a baton of faith… today… He spoke and revealed Himself to me…. THROUGH my son. The Baton of Faith has most assuredly been passed and I simply praise the Name of my Jesus!!!!
    Hey, if you want to hear some sound and spurring teaching… check out Pastor Ryan Saul at He lives and he teaches…. TRUTH!

Today is my wedding anniversary… 32 years!!!

imageAs I sit on this little porch in a lovely house in a village tucked up in the highlands of western Kenya, as I look over the tea fields, cluster of banana trees, crops of maize… all seemingly choreographed to the sounds of a perfect African morning…  Cows mooing, roosters crowing and that loud distinct African bird… I sit here among the peaceful sounds of Africa and I’m thinking THIRTY TWO YEARS???????

I knew I would marry Randy within days of our first date.  THIS was a good man!  I won’t say I was madly in love, gushing with stars or even feeling I couldn’t live without…  I just knew… he was kind, gentle, and thoughtful, loved his family… and somehow, at the naïve – think you know it all – age of 18…  I knew this was a good man.

Within 6 months of our “I do’s” – we found out I was pregnant!!!!  I can close my eyes and recall every detail of emotion and excitement as I sat at the reception desk of my father’s office and received the call from my doctor’s.

Randy and I were thrilled and the day our first child was born, I felt a love for and from Randy I had not known before.

I wish I could write that I held on to that love and contentment all the way up to this morning.

But –

Let’s talk about “bliss”.  The dictionary defines it as supreme happiness, utter joy and contentment, complete happiness.  The second definition describes bliss as heavenly paradise.  Well, baby, you’re good, but you’re not THAT good!

Let’s see – 32 years, 2 or maybe 3 near divorces, a good amount of silent days and nights, we’ve had money, we’ve had NO money, we’ve experienced serious health issues and we’ve enjoyed being in great shape.  We’ve parented in harmony and we’ve been nose to nose in opposition.  We’ve wondered what we would do without each other and… we’ve daydreamed of ‘freedom’ apart.

I remember looking at each other one time – and both of us were done… ready to walk… and Randy says, “Well, we don’t have any choice”.  What he meant, was we didn’t have that choice – the choice to ‘walk’.  We were followers of Christ and HE had said, that THAT was not an option.  This was likely the wisest thing my husband has ever said. We were young and young in our walk with Christ but he knew that being obedient was the only option.

So – 32 years – wedded bliss????  I think not.  But – what I can say is that for most of that 32 years, the ones we’ve followed Christ, the ones we’ve trusted HIM, the ones we’ve purposed in our hearts to obey HIM, those years have been the foundation of where we are today.

Young marriages, even older marriages need to be reminded that it’s NOT easy.  But – it’s so so worth it!

As I think of this man who plays games with the children in this village, despite language barriers, connecting with them at a heart level that few can do….

As I think of this man whose gentle strength will grip the hand of a man walking down the dusty road in a village on a hill in east Africa and somehow communicate that he cares and he loves through a simple greeting….

As I think of this man who will sit in the other room and talk with his mom on the phone, miles and miles away, sharing with her all that God is doing, asking her about her days, loving her from so so far….

As I think of this man that loves his family, his children and grandchildren, Love that stirs a joy that literally flows out as he speaks of them.  This man who beams as he talks of and tells of this gift of family he has… who prays for and thanks God for them every day!  This man that, despite his never ending, deeper than deep, unmatched love for our children and grandchildren, would be willing to pursue a call so very far away….

As I think of this man who loves his God… As I recall looking out the kitchen window last night and listening to my husband share about Jesus with our little friend Derrick, this man that despite disappointments and frustrations has repeatedly stood on the fact God sent him here to share the Truth of God and disciple and that is what he will do.  When I think of this man who has a depth of understanding, wisdom and knowledge that only is God given…

When I think of this man I’ve been married to for 32 years and see who God has made him, when I remember where God has brought him, and me, from, when I think about the countless what ifs, what if we had.. if I had… given up any one of the many times I thought that was what I wanted… what if I had missed seeing the man I love today?  What if I had forfeited the blessing of seeing God’s faithfulness and workmanship in our lives?  What if???

So – this morning – 32 years after I said “I do”…  I thank God with all my heart for somehow impressing on a couple of young 20, 30 something’s – that pushing through, pressing on, obeying God, trusting God was worth it.  This morning, I can not imagine my life without this man I love and respect so very much.  This morning, as I sit on this porch over looking the beautiful African morning…  I’m thinking…

Happy Anniversary Baby – I’m so glad you are my man!

Things under the sun…

Rand Kari Naivasha drive

So Randy and I have walked with The Lord for nearly 30 years. We’ve sought Him, we’ve served Him, we’ve studied His Word, we’ve prayed and we’ve seen His faithfulness first hand! We’ve prayed many countless times through the years together, interceding for our children, our marriage, one another. I’ve watched Randy grow in Christ sometimes pole pole (slowly) and sometimes right before my eyes.

Last week, after some challenges, disappointments, set backs, several very long months of language study, after feeling defeated and inept in our studies… We made a decision to go away… to set apart… With purpose. We realized our need and had a great desire to seek our God, to hear from Him, to wait on Him, to rest in Him and to expect that in His faithfulness He would reveal, speak, meet, refresh and totally pour Himself out!

We had an amazing weekend! Randy felt we should go though the book of Ecclesiastes together????? Ahhhh okay? We first read straight through it and still, I thought, ahhhh hmmmm okay?? Then we began to dig in a bit deeper.

Written by Solomon… The wisest man, the richest man… It is thought provoking as he writes of so much… “Under the sun”. That phrase is used 29 times! Constantly he wrote of the things “under the sun” with no real eternal perception throughout most his writing. While we are not finished going through this book, Gods purpose for us to take a look, at a book I must confess I’ve never spent much time at all in, His purpose is certainly to remind me I can NOT be looking at my life, this mission, Kenya, Kisii, Randy, my children, my grandchildren, my “pain”, my upsets…. I cannot be looking at these things… “under the sun”… but rather… through and in the SON!!!

It is clear that apart from Christ and an eternal perspective… There is very little… actually… there is nothing left!


As God is refining me, refining us… I am more and more in awe that He would invite me to be apart of HIS plan.

We had such a sweet time together, enjoying His creation, taking advantage of our Kenya resident status, and prices, setting ourselves apart and with purpose, seeking Him, as I must also confess…. We’ve really never done

    together like this before in prayer and fasting. And I can say it WILL happen regularly!

    As a result of our time we have made some plans subject only to His Hand. We will remain here in language school through May. We then will spend a couple weeks gathering supplies, packing and finalizing some things here. Then we will take another week to do as we just did… Set apart and sit before Him. After that we will head to Kisii, move in and spend that last week of June settling in. Also during this time, Randy will be preparing for his first session.

    He will teach 2 ten week sessions this year. Each session will have seats for 8 men and will meet three days a week for 6 hours a day.

    I will be going back to the states mid October so as not to miss a very special wedding! Randy will fly out Dec 5 or so after his second session and we will break for the holidays, returning early January to begin again.

    We have a number of specific prayer requests…

    1. Pray for a continued drawing to Him. Pray for our walk, our commitment, our prayer time, our time in the Word, pray for our abiding in Him…. Apart from which… Is only under the sun.

    2. Pray for our language learning. We are actually making sentences and can carry on a simple, albeit, broken conversation!

    3. Pray for Kisii. Pray for those men God is already preparing to take through His Word.

    4. Pray for the orphanage and school. Pray that God will direct the next steps there and that He would be glorified through the outreach to young people who have no one. This arm of the ministry is on the alter for Gods direction. Pray for wisdom, discernment and for specific leading as a we move forward.

    5. Pray for those God has called to teach His Word.. That they will guard the treasure, study to show themselves approved, rightly dividing the Truth. Pray for them as they minister to their flocks.

    6. These people know the stories of the Bible probably better than you or I. But I am finding that few are actually walking with Christ, abiding in Him and actually understand the Gospel. Pray for hearts like our teacher Peter… Who pastors a church down the road. Pray for those God wants to put that heart in!


    7. Pray for Gods provision. We have a few expenses not budgeted for or not budgeted enough for. God has been amazing to provide and we know He will continue.

    8. Pray for the next phase of adjustments and cultural shock as we move up to the village.

    9. Join us in thanking and praising God for some very encouraging brothers and sisters… Both in the states and in Kenya! We are blessed beyond measure. I was pretty humbled by the outreach of encouragement after my blog about my Jericho wall. Our family back home shot through the miles to embrace me. And we have been blessed by amazing missionary friends here — most with years of experience — and each one opening wide their arms and their hearts. Oh God is so so good!

    10. Finally, please pray for protection from the enemy. Please seriously intercede for us. Know we have a prayer journal we are faithful to go through… We welcome opportunities to pray specifically for you.

    Tu basi… That is all!

    We love you and thank you and praise our God for you as well!
    In Him!
    Randy & Kari