Promises

Remember that promise? A toy as a child, a dream job, education, love, a miracle child, the list goes on.

Some promises have been kept, but others were broken and have gone with the wind. These unkept promises can bring pain, disappointment, hurt and even mistrust. A loved one promised you something and they didn’t keep their word.

Today, I am writing of someone who keeps His EVERY promise and that is God.

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His Promises are YES and AMEN! When can I go back to this warm weather?

A year ago, I was preparing to leave the people that I have grown to love. It was heartbreaking. I thought I was only coming home for 6 months to year, really not understanding God’s plan in all this. Here I am and it is almost a year later and I have no certain plans of returning to Kenya/Africa yet. This is disappointing and I begin to doubt God’s plan for me here in Waterloo and His purpose for me being home. I begin believing lies that I don’t belong and even not fully believing in the Sunday school ‘God loves me’.

I am discouraged, groping in the dark, trying to understand. But slowly i am waking up to the reality that I am believing lies and instead, I need to speak God’s promises over myself. So many people I love dearly have at one point in my life broken a promise, but there is one and only that has not. That is my God, my Father and my Creator.

I am LOVED – Zephaniah 3:17, Psalms 36: 5

I am CHOSEN – Deuteronomy 7:6, 1 Peter 2:9

I am TREASURED – Deuteronomy 26:18

I am FREE – John 8:36

I will never be ALONE – Hebrews 13:5

I am a CHILD of GOD – 1 John 3

I have heard and said these things to others too many times to count. I have said it to children that are in dark situations, but here I am needing to hear them. Who else struggles with sometimes believing these promises?

Recently, I was at a Worship night and it was a HUGE reminder of who God is and who I am in His sight.

‘I am chosen, not forsaken; I am who you say I am’

‘I’m no longer a slave to fear; I am a child of God’

`Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God that is who you are.`

Now promises are not fulfilled on our own timeline, they may take days, weeks, months or years to come to pass, but yet God’s promises are yes and Amen(2 Corinthians 1:20). He is painting our picture and putting our puzzle together, piece by piece. Some areas need more time than others, but yet His promises will come to pass in His time.

His ways are PERFECT(Psalm 18:30, 2 Samuel 22:31), even when we don`t see the full picture.

Look at Abraham. God promised him and his wife a child in their old age. They were past their child bearing years, and obviously it was hard for them to believe that they would have a child. Doubting, Sarah took matters into her own hands and consequently her servant had a child. God had promised a child to Abraham and Sarah and even this act of disobedience would not stop God from keeping His side of the deal. Isaac was born 25 years after God’s promise.

Is it hard waiting? Oh boy is it hard, but I am sure of one thing, God will keep His Promise!

 

 

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Winter Ponderings

I bundle up in my warm parka, gloves, hat and scarf. I step out the door and there is like 4-5 inches of snow. Its a laid back evening so I decide to clear the driveway so that there is less to clear in the morning. Its gently snowing. The street lights are shining softly on the surrounding homes. Its a winter wonderland. I hear a vehicle spinning cause the road isn’t in the best driving condition, but other than that its peaceful.

As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I thought I must be crazy thinking such.

A couple weeks later:

I spent hours picking and shoveling ice off the driveway. The sun was shining, melting the thick layer of ice, making it easier and more enjoyable somehow. My muscles begin to tell me that I am not used to this kind of work, but I kept going. It was hard work, but at least the sun was shining(something that has been rare these days).

 

A year ago, I was making the hard decision of returning to Ontario and here I am pondering how my life has changed. This past week was a harsh reminder that I am in Ontario. Two storms in 2 weeks, cold weather, no sunshine, bad driving conditions – all things that I am not used to after being away for 5 1/2 years. And its been hard to keep a positive attitude about it. God’s still working on that one.

But then tonight, I force myself to thank God. So I began thanking Him that I am home to hold my 6th nephew/niece, Jaxson, and how glad I am. I thank Him for a warm house and blankets. I thank Him for life and health. Sometimes one needs to change one’s attitude and I think, I’ll need to do a little more of that around here.

The past year has surprisingly been good mixed with some thorns of course. I have been blessed with God’s provision of work, a wonderful church family, special moments with my family and finding new friends.

I also had the opportunity to visit Kenya and my dear friends there. It was strange to go back as a visitor, but yet it was relieving to not have as much responsibility. It was hard to go back and realize that God doesn’t want me there right now. It was a confirmation that I am to be in Canada for such a time as this.

I told the children ‘goodbye’ and that God has a different chapter for me now. It was tear wrenching for me to say these words. I have seen them pass through the hard and good and now we are parting ways. These children have taught me to be an older sister and a closer follower of Jesus.

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Walking the dusty streets with a girl that I have seen sick and so weak, was so refreshing. She had such a concern for me, asking me questions about home and how I was doing. She always tells me that she prays for me and loves me. She was one that I would plead to God to save her life, cause she is too young to die. And God has heard my prayer. She dreams of becoming a Doctor and I strongly believe that she will be a Doctor one day.

Witnessing a boy receive a prize for performing well in school almost brought tears to my eyes. He’s not just any boy. He used to not speak or write. He was restless and had a very low self esteem. But God has given him hope. His name has been changed to miracle. Today he quotes Bible verses, leads worship songs and is maturing into a young man.

Having the opportunity to teach young and open hearts about Jesus is always fun and challenging. This year, we had a larger class and so we were kept on our toes. I left early because I was going to celebrate my friends wedding and the children told me not to leave. It was hard to leave before the camp had ended, but it also was very important for me to be at my friends wedding. But than one clever child pipes up and says, “Mwalimu, ukienda, uende salama/Teacher, if you have to go, have a good trip.”

 

These children have such a special place in my heart and seeing them grow into mature and Godly young men and women is what I desire.

I thank God for the successful trip: seeing the children, visiting friends, Stella’s wedding and picking my school certificate.

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It was wonderful to be home in Kenya, but I also was ready to return to my Canada home. So here I am in Waterloo and I am serving God here for this time. Obedience and trust is a hard thing to put into action, but yet there are blessings that follow.

Life has changed, but God hasn’t. Tonight I choose to rest in that!

Jesus is Enough

I recently had a dream that I and another girl were at the beach. We both were working out, but she had a gym membership and emphasized that I didn’t have one. I replied and said that I didn’t need one and that I would still work out. I started running on a beautiful beach. It was amazing cause I was running so tirelessly!

I woke up feeling wonderful and wishing that I could actually run like that, especially on the beach.

JESUS IS ENOUGH

  1. Others around me have the resources and skills, but all I need is Jesus.
  2. When I have Jesus and let Him flow through me, my actions will become tireless.

You know, this sounds wonderful, but how often do we exert ourselves trying to do things with our own strength and energy. Its great to do good things, actually it is a command, but our good deeds should come out of a desire to please our Heavenly Father! Jesus desires me, more than the things I do. I have gotten this confused so many times. I do this and that and another thing and then not spend time with God. But God wants me to spend time with Him and then do Great things for Him. When we do this, Jesus will work through us and we don’t need to use our own strength, but lean on our strength giver.

In my dreams – Jesus is enough. In my job – Jesus is enough! In my family – Jesus is enough! In my relationships – Jesus is enough! In the unexpected – Jesus is enough! In the hard things – Jesus is enough! In the good times – Jesus is enough!

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

 

 

Hope

Its been 6+ months since I boarded that plane to return to Canada and I am trying to figure out how I feel about it!

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I miss Kenya – working with the children and my friends!

 

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Such a joyful girl. God has changed this girls story from despair to hope!

Life has been busy and now things are catching up and it all hits me in tears.

It was a rough start as you all may have read in my previous blog, but I can testify of God’s faithfulness. So even tonight as I am sitting here missing my Kenyan home, I am choosing once again to remain positive. Why because I have hope. What is hope?

Hope – a confident expectation of what God has promised

My Testimonies

  1. My job

I went with mom to help her clean a family’s home one morning and a few days later I was asked by this same family if I am looking for a job. And here I am loving my job. They are a great family and have welcomed me into their tribe! The children are awesome and we have so much fun together. I love opening the door after a weekend away and being welcomed by a little but big hug or hearing “Charmaine, you’re like family, aren’t you?” or hearing “Thank you for babysitting us, Charmaine.” Plus many more….

Thank you Jim and Jennifer, Wyatt, Olivia and Lyla for welcoming me into your family!I love you all! Oh and I also love the way you have accepted my passion for orphaned children. It means alot!

 2. Celebration of Love

As soon as you read this statement, I bet some of your were thinking “I have a boyfriend”.

Well, just read on.

My coming home was so timely, I wasn’t home long and I get a phone call from my best friend saying “I’m engaged!”. I was so excited! She continues saying “And I have always dreamed of you being my maid of honor.” Of course I’d be honored and I consented! 🙂 I would not have missed this wedding and here God timed it all perfectly so I could fully participate in the planning of her big day! Those nights of sitting on the floor planning were great! And oh the joy I had standing beside her as she said “I do”. I thank God for this special gift from Heaven.

I am not done yet….

I came home desiring friends and I found one in my home. 2 wonderful ladies were welcomed into our home and family and guess what the oldest and I are only 6 months apart! We became friends and sisters. Oh those staircase conversations were the best and also sharing our nannying stories!

She got engaged and I enjoyed helping where I could! I was honored once again to  stand with her as she married the man of her dreams!

Both of these were beautiful weddings and a reminder of why I was home at this time. I thank God for the opportunity to stand with them as they vowed before God and man and said “I do”.

     3. Friends

Coming home from Kenya was lonely. After being away from Canada for so long, understandably people take different paths. And now I was on this scary path looking for friends and searching for where I belong.

Well after much prayer and waiting, like always, God provided!

I attended a church to visit Bishop Henry and Rev. Betty that I hadn’t been at for 3 years(I think). We had talked and lost contact, but now we reconnected. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in ‘Godcidence’.

In this search of belonging, I was looking for a church that I can call family. It was the 2nd Sunday there and this lady and I connect like Insta friends! There was a church bonfire and we laughed and talked like we had known each other for years. The next morning, we go on a walk and that is the beginning of many other memories made!

Sorry, I don’t have photos, but trust me they are real friends! 🙂

 4. Family

My nephews are reaching an age where one can connect at a deeper level and its been so special to have these moments! Conversations about Jesus, laughing, sleepovers, praying with them and playing! There are no words to describe when you hear them say your name for the first time!

I love them to the moon and back!

So tonight in my tears, God slowly turns my tears to joy. He reminded me of His faithfulness and all the things I should be grateful for. I am blessed. I am loved!

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the Heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”

Psalms 36:5

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.