Wait/Subiri

“Wait? That’s what made the bridge collapse!” ~ Of course its weight that makes the bridge collapse and not wait. However these two similarly pronounced words may be more related than we think. One of our greatest needs when we “WAIT” is to cast our “WEIGHTY” burdens to the Lord.

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Photo credits go to ‘The Heart of The Lion’  ~ http://the-heart-of-the-lion.tumblr.com/image/54839027224

God gives numerous blessings to those that wait, but oh how difficult it is to wait. After much dreaming, it’s like time and progress has come to a screeching stop.

In Hebrew, qavah, means to tarry or wait and to hope, expect, look eagerly.

In the New Testament, prosdechomai, was used in the reference of waiting for the return of the Lord. It had a similar meaning to Hebrew, but it was concerned about eagerly anticipating Jesus’ return.

Subiri in Swahili takes waiting to a new level, its not only waiting, but being patient in the waiting period. Subiri by Mercy Masika and Emmy Kosgei and Evelyn Wanjiru

I knew coming home from my Kenyan home would have its challenges. I tried preparing myself and I thank God for my faithful friends who have and are still praying for me. I knew God was calling me home for only a season. But in an unexpected season, one is never sure what to expect and one is always waiting, eagerly anticipating a better tomorrow.

I have doubted God and asked why I am home, but then God reminds me of specific people that need me over this time. I then stop in my tracks and choose to remain positive. I have been reading through the Psalms and I have stumbled on so many verses about waiting.

 Lord, how long must I wait? Will you forget me forever? How long will you turn your face away from me? Psalms 13:1

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalms 27:14

Our soul waits for the Lordhe is our help and our shield. Psalms 33: 20

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LordPsalms 31: 24

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lordwhose trust is the LordHe is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

I thought I had the next few months planned, believing that I would be accepted to my preferred job thinking it was Perfect for me, but I wait and hear no response. I faced disappointment and discouragement, but then I remind myself that God’s ways are Perfect and His ways are so much higher than my ways. And God opened another door and I am a nanny to some awesome children. His ways are so much higher than mine.I am so blessed!

I have never been good at waiting, this sanguine in me loves to act and move. And here I am told to rest and wait. “God, you really are teaching me something big here aren’t you?” But even while I trust, I catch myself thinking in Swahili or wanting to say something in Swahili, when adding a new contact in my phone, I want to start with 07, instead of 519/226, I want to shake people’s hands, not realizing that this is not always the custom here. Oh such little, but big things to adjust to.

God has given me a practical lesson on waiting. I have realized that when one makes a choice to trust God on a daily basis, it makes it a peaceful season. I picture peace as a bird relaxing in her nest, when the branches are swaying in the wind. This is how I have felt the waiting process has been like, but oh I am so thankful for the peace I have.

I am relaxing in my ‘nest’.     

I hold onto the hope and blessings that come with waiting. Not only physical blessing, but peace and joy in the midst of the storm.

What are you waiting for? God is whispering to you “Take heart my child, wait. I am working things out for your good.”

Choose to walk in faith keeping your eyes on our Creator and Maker.

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“Go To The Land I Will Show You”

“I thought I had it all planned out. I had dreams and plans, but then I feel a somersault in my spirit. I close my eyes and I know I need to close the chapter with Operation Hope Sponsorship Program.

But “God, then what?”

God: “My daughter, do it by faith.”

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I have been struggling with this for awhile now, but I knew it was time and I needed to obey or else I would be like Jonah. I needed to go home for a temporal visit to rest as I seek God for His next assignment.

In this struggle, God reminded me of Abraham’s call in Genesis 12: 1-4a

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.”

I felt God was telling me these same words and all He required of me was obedience. I imagined, Abraham had settled and was comfortable but when God say “Go”, he went in obedience. I imagined what people must’ve said and how he felt. Well, some people understood and others didn’t, but the overwhelming peace I had, spoke louder than all other voices.

When God closes one door, He will open another one, although it may not be the one you planned. I knew God was preparing me for the next assignment in children’s ministry. People admire those that know what they are called to, but honestly it’s a full package of the sweet and sour candies. Its fulfilling to see that sad, depressed child smile and the girl who has now turned into a young woman, excelling in university, but its heartbreaking to see the coffin of a sister who died to soon and when a girl cries as she relays what is happening at home. Child ministry is not easy, but when you know what God is using you to accomplish for His glory, it is worth it. It is an honor to serve God in this way.

 

One may say then “Why are you walking away?”. Good question. God is preparing me to take me to a higher level in children’s ministry and He wants me to rest as He is preparing the ground and me for the ground.

I think of it like a seed planted in the ground. Its alone, dark and maybe wet and it takes months to germinate and grow into a productive and beautiful plant. I have been planted, being prepared for a new ground.

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So currently I am in the US with my sis who has a precious lil girl. I am having a wonderful time with my nephews and niece. There are no words that describe receiving a letter from one’s nephew and hearing another one saying your name for the first time. Special aunt – nephew moments.

 

But still I knew culture shock would not be easy. There is no water shortage, no need of wiping dusty or muddy shoes, no electricity power outages, no washing laundry by hand, no side to side hugs/greetings and I wonder what to think. I miss those friends that get me and have taught me so much. And I wonder do I belong?

And I begin missing my Kenyan home and the beautiful children.

But then God reminds me that He is not done with me yet and that He is preparing me for the next assignment. And the preparation for a task is not always what we would choose, but God has our best interest in mind. So that is what I hang on to.

I want to thank all of you who sacrificed your time to pray for me and your finances to fund God’s work. I do not take it for granted and I know God will bless you 100 fold.

“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults His Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him.”

Proverbs 14:31

Well, you and I are only a vessel and God used you in different ways to be generous to God’s people who are less privileged – prayer, encouragement, visits and finances; so I am confident that you will be honored by God. May God richly bless you.

Keep looking back here for new updates cause this is only the beginning of God’s call on my life.

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Raining Cats

I am preparing supper in the kitchen, when I hear a sound, a sound that was coming from near by in my house. I thought that was strange, but kept going. I heard it again and I then opened my suitcase. I gasped….

Thursday, I came home from work and I found some tell tale signs that a cat had come to visit me when I was away. There was no big deal and I ensure the door to the cats entrance remained close. Everything was good.. or so i thought….

An unforgettable experience in Nov.

Sat. morning I wake up in good time to do my last 6 CAT’s(Mid term exams). Saturday alone I had four, so I was in for it. I got home around 7, 7:30.

As I am preparing supper in the kitchen, I hear a sound, a sound that was coming from in my house. I thought that was strange, but kept preparing supper. I heard it again and I then opened my suitcase. I gasped and stood still for a few minutes in shock of what I saw.

Three cute kittens.

Here the mother had come visited my house seeing that it would be a good home for her kittens. This explains why she kept coming to my house persistently meowing.

“What do I do?”

  1. I knew I would need to tell the landlord
  2. I wasn’t sure about the next step, but decided to put them in the ‘laundry room’, where the mother was able to enter. I also tried giving them some milk. My love for cats as a child, has not left me.

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Sometime later, when I was on the phone with my sis, I heard the mother cat came and carried one kitten. I now could relax knowing she would come back for the others.

I knew everything was fine and retired for bed. After doing my devotions, I switched off the light, and closed my eyes only to hop out of bed a few minutes later after hearing a sound. I went to check on the kittens. I opened the door and I see the two remaining kittens dead with blood on the floor. Again, I was in shock and angry at whoever had committed this act of murder. In shock I scooped them up with the dustpan and dumped them in the dustbin. I had to decide in my heart to forgive this person, so that i could sleep in peace and wake up to do well in my remaining two exams.

After a night of ‘raining cats and dogs’ or in Kenya ‘raining lions and zebras’, i wake up and prepare for, I am hoping a better day.

I could tell it was going to be a rainy day, so I wore my boots. As I am walking out of our compound, a girl stops me and says that the shops outside our compound have been flooded. I think ‘Oh, so its really rained last night’

I then casually ask in Kiswahili ‘But there is still a way to pass, right?”

She repeats her previous statement of how its flooded. Obliviously, I continue walking, until I reach the gate and think twice ‘Oh, so its seriously rained last night’. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture, but I will try to form a picture in your mind.

Imagine a 3 – 4 inch river running over a sidewalk blocking you from the church entrance and remember you don’t have a vehicle. What will you do? The river is passing over your walkway/road, with no way, so you choose one of the following options:

  1. you pass through the river hoping your boots will be waterproof, knowing that you have exams and the whole day ahead of you
  2. Wait for a vehicle so that you can get a ride across the river
  3. You can be carried across by someone and of course you’ll need to pay.

Lets just say I chose one of them, thinking that I had experienced ‘Life in Kenya’. 🙂

Here is a photo of one of the places we had flooding, and this is like a week later, so just imagine it like almost running over the road. The flooding caused some people to lose property and forced people to temporarily move out of their houses.

 

We know the saying goes “Its raining cats and dogs”, well I had the mixture of the rain and cats that weekend, but I thank God that I had a dry place to return to at the end of the day.

 

 

God Made An escape

Have you ever felt something in you dying and you are powerless? It’s like a lioness creeping up to her prey, which today is an antelope. She takes her time and in her slow movements, her friends join her leaving no hope for the antelope. The antelope at first oblivious to the fact but loses hope as she looks around at her enemies. But than something happens.

After being in ministry for 5 years, God has taught me so much through HIS word, people and circumstances. In the beginning I needed to depend on God for the learning of a new language, finding friends, finding where I belong, little education when it comes to vulnerable and orphaned children, little comfort from what i am used to(scorpions, snakes, matatu, etc). As the years went by, I became more accustomed to the culture, people, the ministry with children, and life. I guess I could say I began to depend less on God n more on personal knowledge and experience. One could say, I knew what i was doing, considering the knowledge and experience. It partly may be true, but in ministry one constantly needs God and His Spirit.

Many circumstances began to deter and discourage me and I wondered what was happening to me. I felt lost and powerless. I had my Teaching Practice from May to July and God knew I needed it in more ways than one. It was a practical lesson for teaching and it was another lesson that I still had the calling to minister to children. I identified a few children, whom I saw their self esteem was low and God used me to be hope and love. Tears came to my eyes when I read how one sensitive girl who didn’t talk to other teachers but initiated talk to me. She wrote “I want to be a teacher like you.” or “You are my favorite teacher”. The other day, I met two of my students at a wedding and they were thrilled to see “Teacher Charmaine”.

It was a great experience teaching and depending on God. I feared being assessed by the professionals, but God gave me favor and success. The one Professor who assessed me marveled at how I knew all the students names and actually thought it was my school where I teach. I told him it was my interest and my love for children. His response was humbling “I could tell”. My professor for teaching practice told me more than once that he had a very good feedback from my assessments. A week ago, I received my results and I got an A!! I never had taught in the classroom before and here I succeeded with flying colors. Truly, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:13.

God showed me once again that yes, I am in the right place, but I wasn’t quite convinced.

I went home for an unexpected 6 wk visit to encourage my bro and when I was home, I had an encounter. One night, I felt like Jacob wrestling with the angel. I came out with a breakthrough. I now faced my fears and believed the truth that God has called me to be His hands and feet to orphaned n vulnerable children.

I was at peace. God was beginning something new in my life. He made an escape for the `antelope`

“It was dark and all the other passengers on the plane were oblivious to the fact that God was speaking to me, he gave me a word/vision”

God gave life to the dead bones, I witnessed that in my life. He breathed His breath on me and has given me a second chance.

“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.“

Psalms 3:3

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. “

1 Corinthians 10:13

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Reflecting and looking ahead

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

2 Corinthians 4: 8 – 9

This elephant has visible battle wounds on her ears and a broken tusk, but yet she has persevered. Her life has been tough, but she is walking strong and her calf is confidently walking beside her. 2016 has been tough, but I believe by the grace of God I have come out strong.

As I look back on 2016, I think of the above verse. It was a tough year with numerous challenges.

Big changes in the workplace, losing a brother and 2 sisters, sickness off and on, etc.

I was burnt out and it was affecting all areas of life – physically I was weak, emotionally I felt like I had nothing to give to the children, I was unable to study as well in school, etc.

I recognize the fact that its only by God’s grace that I came through this season. I was so ready to come to my Canada home for a lengthy break, to just rest. Oh, those four words, REST, sounded so wonderful, but yet at the same time I felt guilty. I am so used to serving 24/7, so taking that step away made me feel guilty. Through friends and family, God somehow gave me grace for those 5 months and now I am home. Resting and taking a break.

Despite all that inside and outside turmoil, I was not crushed and destroyed like 2 Corinthians 4: 8 and 9 says. To my surprise, I still performed well in school, which was a some of my studying and a lot of God’s grace. I thank God for the support and prayers of my faithful Kenyan and Canada friends in this season. God truly carried me through.

I thank God for a new year and for the opportunity to see 2017. 2017 comes with excitement, fears and many questions, but I go forward with confidence, knowing that God is in control. I am in expectancy of what God has in store for me this year.

I am in Ontario till the beginning of March. My mom will be coming back with me and staying till the beginning of May. I will be beginning my Teaching Practice or placement for school in May, where I will be teaching at a primary school in Kenya. I am ready for a new challenge, although it comes with a little fear of not knowing what to expect with my very little teaching practice.

With all this said, I want to thank all of you for your words of encouragement, prayers and support that you gave me in 2016. I look forward connecting with you all in 2017.

I wish you a BLESSED 2017!

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Hebrews 11:6

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Christmas 2016

Special moments with my nephews, praying and thanksgiving, building a snowman, playing games, and some eating made up for a wonderful 2016 Christmas.

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My dear family. The guy in the red shirt in the back is our exchange student from Belgium. An addition to our family.

I came home on Christmas day. Its been a year and a half without being home and its been wonderful. The first week was full of family time and I enjoyed myself to the fullest.

Meeting my miracle nephew was so special. A year ago the family laid hands and prayed for this child and this Christmas we were thanking God for him. We serve a miracle working God.

Playing with my nephews made for some very special moments. This is something I really miss when I am in Kenya. We made some good memories and this is only the beginning.

Winter fun – snow is cold, but it is beautiful and fun

Have a blessed January!

A Missionary’s Battle

Have you ever sat back and wondered what has happened to you? Have you ever felt like you have given all of yourself – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and you have no more to give? Have you ever felt alone, even when surrounded by wonderful and supportive people? Have you ever been tired of being tired?

I reached this place a couple months ago.

I love what I do in Kenya and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love the children and I dream of them growing up to become independent adults that love God and will give back to their communities.

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Photo credits go to Krista Tillotson

After four years of giving of oneself day in and day out, one can say that one reaches a point, that fatigue catches up with them and one must also take care of themselves. I had taken a 3 week leave, which was refreshing, but I have also made the decision to take a lengthy rest.

I came to Kenya, excited and full of energy to serve God. And now to feel exhausted, with a weary spirit, I felt guilty and so vulnerable, because this is not the Charmaine I know. 

I have made the decision to take the lengthy rest from some duties and responsibilities. I am not staying at Journey of Hope, the children’s home, but I am full time with the sponsorship program doing communications and field visits to visit the children.    This means I am just working from the office and going out on the field. It’s been 3 week and it already has done wonders. I feel I have energy once again, and my spirit is on its way to being refreshed.

Lessons Learnt

Factors to beware of when one is on the mission ground

  1. Discouragement

Let’s be real, not everyone in this world will understand why one is so passionate about the work God has called one to. And because they do not understand, they will sometimes comment and these comments at time will cut to the core of one’s heart. Some people will be able to express the hurt and let go, but others will keep it in their hearts and it will continue causing great pain. This pain causes a distraction and an opening for discouragement that Satan loves to use.

But then look at Joseph who was  abused by his brothers and then later scarred and abandoned to die. He was again falsely accused and jailed for the same act. But after all this pain, God had not forsaken him, but instead He had called him to a high position in the kingdom, which would consequentially save many people, including his own family, from a severe famine.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

This was Joseph’s responses when his brother’s realized who they were speaking to. Joseph made the deliberate choice to forgive his brothers and put his ultimate trust and hope in God.So the best choice we can make is to forgive, give them to God and allow Him to use harm for good. Much easier said than done.

  1. Doubt

This can come after hearing negative comments or in Satan’s quiet and sly ways. One can start asking oneself, “Was I really called?”, “Am I really doing any good?”, etc. Satan’s first thing to tell Adam and Eve was “Did God really say?”. Satan has come to create doubt in our ministries and lives. Let us not feed this doubt and when Satan comes to say “Did God really say that”, let us remind Him, that our God does not lie and change His mind(Num. 23:19). Instead of reminding us of the positive moments, Satan brings to remembrance of all the negative things a friend or colleague  has done or bring regrets to one’s remembrance. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life abundantly(John 10:10). Which one will we choose?

When we are doing our best in serving our Lord and Maker, we are not labouring in vain(Heb. 6:10).

Tactics to Fight this Battle

  1. Praise

When we turn our eyes to focus on God, worshiping Him and giving Him all the glory, we remember God’s goodness and what He has done in the past.

“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. The Lord will reign forever and ever.” Exodus 15: 13 and 18

  1. Pray

Prayer is a powerful weapon to fight the devil. It has power to move mountains. When one is discouraged and weak, one may find it hard to pray, but James 5:15 says that the “prayer of a righteous person has great power”.

  1. Read the Bible

God has left us His Word to convict, lead and guide us and when we read it, it has the power to encourage, uplift, heal and forgive.

“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two – edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

  1. Continue Serving

Satan thinks that if only he can stop us from praying and reading the Word by discouraging, we will stop spreading God’s Word and love. Sharing about God and His love has the power even to encourage the one sharing. Although it also is important to spend personal time with God, because we can only give what we have. Even Jesus went to be alone with His Father, this is where He drew His strength to continue preaching, healing and doing His Father’s work.



As I am taking a step back, God is reminding me why I am here and he has brought these precious moments to mind.

Having important life discussions, such as relationships, modesty, music, etc with my brothers and sisters at Journey of Hope. And I just pray that these discussions will create a desire in their hearts to follow God and His commandments.

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A little boy was asked where he learned English, and he replied “Charmaine”. This made me laugh, because I had not spent much time with him previously, plus I wondered if I really had spoken to him in English.

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Photo credits go to Krista Tillotson

 

The joy that I feel in my spirit to see two of our girls from the program joining University, of which one joined the same university I am at. One is studying a degree in Education to be a High school teacher and the other is studying environmental sciences.

The pure joy of teaching about God and the Bible to young, eager hearts. Seeing the spiritual growth in them, is my ultimate joy. And when I was young I said I could never be a teacher, Oh the ways of God are much higher than mine. 🙂

And I look back over the past almost four years, and I am in awe at how this beautiful country of Kenya along with my hurting brothers and sisters has become home.

Photo credits go to Krista Tillotson and Hannah Miller

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Phillipians 1:6

May God Bless you for the work of your hands!