Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Chapters and Sacrifice

Every family needs a crazy picture right?
We are in our second week of school and all four of the kids are in new places.  Rainey is now is high school - don't ask me how I came to be a parent of a freshman in high school.  Asa started 6th grade and is now a "big" kid - soaking up the glory of middle school.  As I type this he is at tryouts for the middle school boys soccer team.  We are becoming more African every day!  Nehemiah started his first day of school, entering 5K and he has had a terrific start - I am not aware of any detention yet.  Of course this all leaves Benny in a new place too.  He is home alone with no one to play with but our Great Dane, Angus.

Quick story about Angus.  We have met some awesome friends who live here in Nairobi with us and serve with another organization.  They are also from SC (Greenville to be exact and they are Clemson fans - nobody is perfect) and also have four kids at the same school as ours.

They are Great Dane people.  They love 'em.  They had them in SC and they were able to find a pair here too.  Last fall they bred the pair and had nine beautiful puppies that they were selling.  The puppies were adorable and were bringing big prices.  My kids fell in love with them but since we are on a modest budget (and because I have Dinkins genes) we were not going to be able to spend that kind of money on a dog.  A couple of weeks before last Christmas the parents called us up and told us they wanted to give us a puppy.  We told them we could not take a puppy - we knew what they could get for it and we did not want them to forgo the money.  The dad asked us to look over at his minivan and he said, "you see that van?  We have that van because some friends of ours in the states were selling a brood of high dollar Dane puppies and when they found out were going overseas they took every dollar they got for those puppies and gave it to our family so we could buy a car in Kenya.  People were gracious to us and we want to be gracious to you."

Sarah and I were amazed and thanked them both.  They told us to come over and pick the one we wanted and they would hold him until Christmas for the kids.  We went and tried to pick the runt of the litter but they insisted we had to take the best they had.   Sarah settled on one that was healthy, cute, and strong.  Mainly to appease my prideful heart, the father let me pay what they had spent on the puppy's shots and first vet visit.  About a week before Christmas we surprised the kids and drove over to their house and picked up the new puppy.  After a few days we settled on "Angus" as his name, he is now taller than Benny and growing like a weed.

Boys are growing up. Benny, Nehemiah,
Asa, and me.
The center of that story is sacrifice.  It was a sacrifice for them to miss out on the cash that was rightfully theirs and that they had worked for because they wanted to love our family well.  Many of you reading this have also sacrificed to love our family well.  We are so grateful.  You have sacrificed in so many ways for us and the kingdom; financial gifts, valuable vacation time to come encourage us and work beside us, time on your knees pleading with God for our family and the people to whom we are reaching out, and countless other ways.

The secular world likes to say "Pay it Forward" and pass off the idea like it is some new product of our society, but the very thought is anchored in the Gospel of Jesus.  After loving God, "paying it forward" or as Jesus put it "Love you neighbor as yourself" is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39) and at times it is so hard.  Jesus modeled unselfish, sacrificial, extreme love for us and we are told by him to model this type of love, putting others first.

So - we are thankful for our Clemson friends and their example to be unselfish and love others and we are grateful to so many of you who have set the same example in a myriad of ways.

Tuko Pamoja,
(We are together)

Stephen and family

Below are some unrelated pics to the story above!  My parents, my aunt Amelia, and my sister Lori with her son Silas (1 of her 5!) came to visit before school started and we had a great time with them!  They participated in ministry with us but we also took a few days to have fun with them and take them to see the beauty of Africa.
Mom, Dad, my family, and Silas
my nephew who came to visit!

My sister Lori and her son Silas at Karura Falls

The boys w/ cousin Silas climbing in the Aberdare National Park

Rou and me at the foot of Chania Falls

We brought Lori, Silas, my aunt Amelia, Mom and Dad up
to one of our favorite spots way up in the mtns.