Our Journey back to the coast wasn’t without its share of struggles. It took us 16 hours over two days to travel 375 miles on the infamous Mombasa-Nairobi road. In America, that distance would just be a 5 to 6 hour journey on the interstate. It took 5 hours to travel through Mombasa and to cross the ferry. The sun had set when we finally arrived near our house. We turned off the paved road and onto our little stretch of dirt road. We had planned to arrive in daylight because we had been warned the road was impassable after the recent rains. The rain had washed gullies 2 feet deep on the sides which narrowed the road. The car slide off the road and we were stuck only 200 yards from home. Claudia and Anastasia walked to the house. The neighbors came to our aid and helped to work me free. I could only get the vehicle closer to the house. The next day the neighbors and I “fixed” the road and made it passable for now. We will see how long this will last.
Since being back we have been re-setting up the house. We are finally unpacking completely after being on the road for almost a year now. We have been so many places over the past year. It feels good to hang something on the wall and call it your own. The neighbors have come over to see Anastasia. It is nice to be back in the village. The day after we arrived, I went to the market to see my vegetable dealer and he warmly greeted me. He gave me extra veggies and gifted me 3 bananas for Anastasia. Africa is full of kindness and love! We have purchased a palm tree and decorated it as our Christmas tree. We have placed a small nativity beneath it. Just today Claudia was able to briefly explain what the nativity is about to two ladies who were visiting. We look forward to starting language learning again and building relationships. Babu’s death while we were gone has changed our neighborhood. Some of his family have moved up from the coast and are now staying in his house. This has brought some new women and children to our backyard which is a blessing. Pray with us as we engaged those around us and continue to build relationships. We are excited to start a Bible Storying project in the coming months which we will share more about later.
Wow! What a journey the past two years have been for us.
Thanksgiving Day 2015 we flew into Namibia to start living among the San Bushmen. Our time with the little people of the Kalahari was cut short because the Namibian government did not renew our work visas. So Thanksgiving 2016 we found ourselves with family in the States.
As 2017 started, we didn’t know where we were going. We escaped to our cabin in the woods of East Tennessee because we had no answers to everyones questions. We spent a month there. We were snowed in for 5 days. We prayed a lot. By the end of our time at the cabin God had given us a peace to set a deadline to hear from the Namibian government. It broke our heart when there was nothing but silence.
But in the silence God started to grow a blessing for us. We found out about this blessing in March. There was a third Hazel growing inside. She was being knit together by the Lord. Anastasia arrived right on time according to God’s plan on September 23rd.
God also had another blessing for us, a new assignment in Kenya among another unreached people the Digo. This meant we were starting over. New country, new people group, new culture, new language, new team, NEW EVERYTHING. To tell the truth, the past 6 months have been overwhelming. Thankfully God has broken things up for us: 2 month of language learning in Tanzania, 2 months in the village to start learning culture, and 2 months to start to learn how to be parents. In a weeks time, everything will come together language, culture and parenthood. We are ready to settle for a long period of time after living out of a suitcase for more than a year now. With God’s help, we will start to reach the Digo people for His Kingdom.
This Thanksgiving we are celebrating with our New Team in Nairobi, Kenya. We have much thankfulness in our hearts.
We are thankful for our good Lord who has plans to give us HOPE for the future. We can trust Him totally! He provides always!
We are thankful for Anastasia!
We are thankful for everyone who has supported us the past few years. We truly could not be here in Africa without YOU. Thank you!!!! We pray you all experience God’s rich blessings this Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends. We love each one of you and we send a BIG HUG to YOU.
Greetings from Nairobi. Yes we are still alive. Sorry we haven’t blogged an update in awhile but life has been a little unsettled. But as I sit here and pen this post I can say we are moving in a good direction. Since we last posted, Anastasia is now 6 weeks old and eating, growing and pooping and sleeping. Mommy and Daddy are trying to keep up with her with little success. We have also been able to acquire her birth certificate and she is now an official U.S. Citizen and her passport is coming in the next few weeks. Jeremy has been able to find a good vehicle and this week we should have the transfer complete and take possession. I’ve also been able to get my Kenya driver licence. (Both no small feat). In three weeks we are due to head to our annual AIM Kenya Conference about an hour north of Nairobi. It looks like we will have all our paperwork, doctors visits and a vehicle ready to be able to head back to the coast after our conference. This is a HUGE deal!!! We are excited and ready to return to the village knowing we don’t need to return to Nairobi anytime soon. We are slowly getting adjusted to this new life of parenthood and all the joys and struggles that come with it.
Our world has forever been changed with the arrival of Anastasia Louise at 2:28am of September 23, 2017.
She is a precious gift from God. We have much to learn about being parents. Thankfully, we are surrounded with so many people with their love, support and encouragement. We feel this through all the messages and prayers.
Several people have asked about how to give a baby gift. You are able to give in two different ways.
1) If you want to send a card with a love gift of money so that we can purchase items here in Kenya, then mail a card to Jeremy’s parents.
109 Pineview Rd
Statesboro, GA 30461
2) If you want to send a small and light weight gift to us here in Kenya, then mail the gift to Claudia’s sister.
2819 Evansdale Circle
Atlanta, GA 30340
Claudia’s mom and sister will bring all the gifts with them in January when they come visit us here in Kenya. This is why the gift needs to be small and light weight to fit into their luggage. Gifts need to be to them by December 15. We do have a baby registry on Amazon.
Here is the link to go directly to Our Baby Registry:
Thank you for wanting to express your love by giving to our family of 3 now as we celebrate this precious gift from God.
With much love,
Jeremy, Claudia, and Anastasia
Ha3els in Africa
I (Jeremy) thought I could you give a flavor of what a day is like here on the mission field. The events of the day happened because I have adopted a philosophy that people are the currency in God’s economy. In other words, people are the most important thing. Thus, you must focus on being intentional in building relationships with those who you live around and meet.
Saturday, I awoke knowing I had a “come any time after 10 a.m.” appointment at a new friend’s house. So, I purposefully started my 30 min walk to his house at 9 a.m. I knew I would have a few stops along the way and those “spontaneous” stops did happen. It allowed me to go a different way to the road, stop at neighbour’s house to greet, sit with them for a few minutes and chat. My journey continued as I practiced my Digo greetings every chance I could. I got to the road and started to walk down the hill. I thought ohh look I have some extra time I will talk slower as I didn’t want to arrive earlier. Then another friend on a piki stopped and offered me a ride down the hill but I said it’s close and I need to walk. Shortly after that I heard my name from behind. I was perplexed as this was an area I hadn’t been to but once before. I turned around and behold a high school boy I recognized was coming my way. He spoke good English and so I stopped and we chatted. You see this boy and I had played a brief soccer game back in May when we came to the area. My American mind was conscious of the time and I knew I couldn’t talk to long or risk being late. However, my friend did say “come any time after 10.” So, as I continued to slow walk he joined me and we caught up on many things. We hit a bit of shade provided by a big tree and he said can we sit and chat. I had to fight my American culture and also remember my new philosophy. So, I said sure. For the next 45 minutes we sat, talked and traded phone numbers at the end of our time together. It was now 10:45 and my friend and I had made it to the driveway of my new friend’s house. I said goodbye and made my way up the driveway. I had no timetable on how long this visit would be and so over the next 4+ hours my new Kenya friend and I talked about everything you can think of. We had chai, (tea with a snack). As noon rolled around He asked if I would stay for lunch. So, he had mama cook something for us. I stayed until 3:30 and the visit was very good. As I left his house and started back up the road a piki piki (motorbike taxi) pulled over and I wondered why they stopped. As I got closer I recognized that is was the pastor of the AIC church in Kwale. He was on his way back to Kwale and stopped. We chatted for a while and He offered to give me a ride back up the hill. I agreed and we chatted and laughed all the way up the hill. It was now 4 pm and I was back home. I took the quiet time to check in on Claudia and catch up on the day. I then needed to go for a run, pray and clear my mind so I did. At the end of my run I stopped at the field near our house and some boys had a soccer ball so I went over and spent the next 45 minutes just playing and laughing. By this time, it was almost sunset so I needed to go home. My day had been long and filled with so many conversations. Some short, some long. Most of it random and not planned. I believe the way God likes it most of the time.
You see when people are the main focus you do what you can to make sure you connect. We are here to share and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ but in order to do that we need to gain their friendship and respect. Do you think your neighbours’ will listen to you if you don’t take time to get to know them? They won’t. Regardless the culture you find yourself in, you must make time to put people first if you want to share Christ in an effective way. This new mindset has transformed my view on life and I do believe I am a better person for it. May this encourage you to have days that are filled with people and not tasks.