Confession Time

This morning I woke up in sheer panic when I realised that in 16 weeks we would be jumping on a plane and heading off to start our new ventures in Kenya. And when I say panic, it was just that. This is one of the few times in my life I’ve been overwhelmed by worry. So I did what I do most mornings and headed up the beach to pray (thanks Ps Phil for setting the standard in this).

I got to thinking about what on earth was happening and realised some important things.

I’m not scared of:

  • Living in a strange land where everything is different, especially the food
  • Being without my dishwasher or waterbed
  • Saying goodbye to Hannah (Skype is the best invention)
  • The possibility of picking up malaria, dysentery or a myriad of other diseases
  • Being the minority just because my Swahili sucks (well, not fluent anyway)
  • The very remote but real possibility of a bomb/suicide attack happening

What it came down to is that I don’t want to be poor and not able to go out and earn money. We’re on a missionary visa and we aren’t allowed to work.

We decided in April last year that we would move to Kenya, but give it a couple of years. That way we could get more financially secure, pay off some debt and be in a strong position. When we got to Africa in September it became very obvious that they wanted us a lot earlier, like immediately. We chose to move in October 2012 because that meant we could take another team to Mt Kilimanjaro and pretty much everything we own is in desperate need of replacing, especially the car, which is in survival mode. If we stayed another year it meant buying a lot of stuff and really be no better off financially because of it.

In our minds it was all going to pan out because we could come back and work our butts off for a year. That was before Pete broke his leg and couldn’t work for a couple of months, and then the 3 months of travelling through several states of Australia for BeyondWater. Remember, Pete is self employed so no work = no pay. So, in essence the 8 months we’ve been back, he’s only worked for about 4 of these. Not the best way to start, but in a way it is.

We are really blessed because a generous business covers our rent in recognition of the role I play in BeyondWater. But beyond that there were no drop offs of groceries or even phone calls to see how we were doing. The insurance money was months in coming and that went to paying back some good friends who had lent us the money to get home. While Pete was stuck to a couch he learned, probably for the first time to really relax in knowing he could do nothing but trust God. Was it easy? No way. We got down to $30 in the bank account and Hannah was heading back to serve at YWAM in Hawaii and we didn’t even have the money to take her to the airport. I kindly suggested to her that her friends (Han, Chan & Mo) might like to do it.

But I will never forget Bevvy. She just happened to be in Sydney for the day, walked in the door and promptly handed both Hannah and myself $500 each. We lived on that for the next month and Hannah paid for her living and school costs.

One person, that’s all it takes to make a difference.

For me this morning, it was that one Person of the Holy Spirit that took me from a burdened, scared kid to one who had that assurance that if God was big enough to create the universe He certainly was big enough to look after 3 little Creans in Kenya.

Yes, we need people to believe in us and our work. Yes, we need people to give us money or we can’t go, but overall our reliance is on God, whose pretty good at providing.

Thanks for standing with us, we appreciate you all – and actually mean it.

The Journey

Some people are shocked that we’re moving to Kenya, but for most they’re not surprised. It all started back (for me anyway) when I was in Standard 4 in New Zealand, when I was about 10 and we did a study on the Manyatta (settlement) of Kenya. It just stuck with me forever, along with a love for hippos (weird I know), which happens to be Africa’s most dangerous animal.

We always hosted at our house missionaries who were working in developing countries, and yes we even managed to get to India once but we never had the budget to travel extensively to other countries, for about another 14 years. Instead, we had kids, did youth work and looked after others who were doing what we wanted to do in far away countries.

It wasn’t until 2007 that I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and Ghana over a couple of months for work. I always wanted to go to Ghana, in the West, because that’s where my childhood penpal, Hector Ofuri, was. Out of the two countries, I loved Kenya way more (sorry Ghana but you’re not my thing).  It’s also the year we started BeyondWater, to build water projects in East Africa.

In 2009 we took our first team to East Africa, did the same again in 2011 and in 2012 will take another team to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Africa was always been a dream, something I’d hoped for but was always in the distance. For the past 4 years we have sacrificed everything to take people there. That meant no new car, dental work, going to the movies, buying clothes or CD’s. I have the same couch we bought 10 years ago and the girls have never had a new bed since we’ve lived here (2002). Is the sacrifice worth it? Yep, but it’s getting harder as the needs at home get bigger. The kids have journeyed with us, we’ve all had to sacrifice, a lot.

So from small town Tokoroa to Christchurch then Sydney. Now it’s mere months before we head off to Nairobi. Yes, we do need your support and encouragement. Check out the ‘Donate Page’ and partner with us to change the lives of hundreds of young people forever.

What a Blast!

We’ve just spent 11 days in chilly New Zealand. For those who don’t know much about the country, it’s only a 3 hour flight from Sydney, and our homeland. We left there 10 years ago, tired of being broke youth pastors, started our lives all over again and now we’re off to Kenya for the next 20 years, how crazy is that!

Our time in NZ was primarily to say goodbye to Pete’s parents (mine have passed on) so we thought we might as well fit in as many people as possible. We quite literally ate our way through the week, with everyone saying ‘Let’s have a cup of tea and a meal’. I think we rolled off the plane last night!

The coolest thing was that we met up with lots of people who had a significant impact on our lives while we lived there. The downside was that there were also lots of people who we missed out on visiting simply because of a lack of time.

It was great to be able to be prayed for, sent off by our old church and blessed by so many people. It certainly wasn’t a holiday though, one day we had 5 back to back meetings. We could’ve been there for 20 days, but I still think we wouldn’t have seen everyone. We traveled 1600km’s just in the central North Island.

It makes you realise that you don’t do life by ourselves, that was never God’s intention. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, so it takes a whole community to raise an adult. Our destiny is wrapped up in the lives of people we actually do life with.

So while we consider ourselves honorary Aussies, we thank all the Kiwis who put up with us, loved us, disciplined us, and helped us along the way.

To us people matter the most and we’ve had the privilege of spending some time with just a few of our Kiwi family. See you all in about 3 years.