The last few weeks have signaled a new beginning in our family. We are settled into our new home, which means we have been having people over for meals and hanging out. This makes it feel more like a real home for us rather than just a place to land for a while. It gives us a space to have new friends over and get to know people in a way that invites them into our lives. We are very happy about that.
We are also in the process of getting ready for school in a new way than we have done before. This year we have had meetings with guidance counselors, teachers, and principals. We have had placement testing and opportunities to talk about where each kid is at educationally with professionals who actually know and can help. We printed off school supply lists and went shopping for all the specifics that are needed in each grade and each class. (Made even more difficult when we are shopping in a place that’s not completely familiar and offers different takes on things that should be familiar!) We bought new school clothes (read: ones that don’t have holes from hand washing or been totally bleached by the sun!) We have been planning morning schedules and lunchbox meals, and those things that many of you have done for years, but we have not really experienced before!
We brought our new dog home, which is both a blessing and a curse! No, for real…she is a sweet dog, and we are enjoying her. Unfortunately she is a lot older than we were told, and also has pretty severe arthritis, so we have already had a vet visit. She is also adjusting to having to be tied up most of the day while our grass grows in, but that means we get out for a good walk each day, so that’s not so bad!
We also found out that it seems our work papers have been approved! It’s nothing short of a miracle that they went through in that short of a time, and it means that we can stay in the country as residents and work at NCF and with Serge for the next few years with no worries about visa issues.
We’ve started planting a garden, so we are quite literally putting roots down. It has always been a way of connecting to our community by starting a garden and planting things to have a sanctuary in our place. Shawn in particularly loves doing this, and we have been scouting the area for cool plants, herbs, and flowers.
A house, a school, a dog, a church, a van, work papers, a garden, familiarity with where to buy things or go for certain services needed…all of these things are signs that we are starting to build a life here. When we had friends over the other day and they asked about our plans, we shared our heart with them. We told them that though we landed here in uncertain circumstances and are still grieving some of the old dream, our hearts are longing for roots and stability, and Nairobi seems to be the place for that. To see their eyes light up at the thought of having us around long term made me realize that we aren’t the only ones longing for these things. As they shared how hard it is to have people coming and going every year or so, we realized anew that we really want to commit to this for the long haul. And all these little things working out and falling into place are helping us to start to put roots here.
We know that God has every right to do what he wants in our lives, and we give that permission to him without kicking and screaming most of the time. But we are also trusting that he is putting these things in order so that we can be here for a while. Thanks for your continued prayers for our family. I admit that there continues to be words and thoughts filling my mind, but I am still struggling with putting them on paper. So as I blurt these things out, I appreciate that you actually take the time to read them!