6 Months Later…

I remembered today that I have a blog…which I haven’t written anything on for almost  months now! I didn’t think it had been that long. Honestly it’s been a very full six months – full of family, travel, new friends, work, more travel, some heartache and lots of laughs.

Our time in Canada was full :). But we’re grateful that our schedule was full and we were able to meet so many great people and to share our hearts about the work that God has called us to. We’re also grateful for God’s provision and protection during our time in Canada. He is so good to us.

We left Canada exactly 3 weeks ago today and we arrived back in Mwanza on August, 20th. I’m not going to lie the jet lag struggle was SO real this time! It took a good week to feel human again, and poor Hubby was off again after one week as he traveled to Zambia for VOH Africa Meetings. It also probably didn’t help that I had two wisdom teeth pulled two days before we left Canada–but we all survived and Julius is coming back home to Tanzania today, so I am one happy wifey. 🙂

Five days before we left Canada my Grandpa had a major brain bleed and subsequent stroke. We were told the bleed in his brain was massive and inoperable and he wouldn’t recover. It was quite a blow and very unexpected as he was very healthy. The Doctors said there is no way to predict these things; they are totally random. Grandpa always used to joke that he was ready and that he wasn’t long for this world – which we all hated, but it’s like he somehow knew. He was only 71 when he passed away a week later while we were in the air somewhere between Turkey and Tanzania.

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I really miss him. It’s been hard for me to process. I am very glad that I was able to see him in the hospital and to say “see you later” and to be with my family for those few days before we left. But everything still seems very surreal to me. I can’t believe he’s in Heaven already. This is the hard part about living overseas (one of them). I feel as though it won’t really seem real to me until the next time we’re back in Canada and he’s not there, which won’t be for a couple years and I feel like it might hit me all over again. It’s also hard to be away from family during the time of a family death. But in all of this I thank God for His grace and strength and peace – to continue to do what He has called me to do. I know my Grandpa would be proud of that. He was one of our biggest supporters in every way, financially, praying for us and even visiting  – he came to visit us twice in Tanzania. I will cherish those memories and many more forever.

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I am grateful that the boys saw Grandpa this past summer and were able to have some time with him. Ezra went fishing with Grandpa at Family Camp and had a great time. I know he won’t remember much about Grandpa when he’s older, but we will tell him the stories. It was challenging for me to try to explain to Ezra what had happened. It’s really the first time we have had to talk to him about death. He is five so we just tried to keep it simple and explain about Heaven best we could. Since then Ezra has questions almost every night about Heaven. He has really been thinking about it a lot. Some questions are funny and others are so insightful I am taken aback. And he also prays for Grandpa nearly every night – that he is with Jesus in Heaven and that he is healed. It’s all I can do not to cry every time. At first Ezra told me he didn’t want to go to Heaven because he would miss everyone here. But then one night, he told me, “but if my friends are like me and know Jesus they will be in Heaven with me too, right?” “You’re absolutely right, Ezra.” I told him, my heart full. My kids teach me so much about having a relationship with God. And about how God sees me as His Child, now that I’m a parent. It’s such a special thing to be able to see the world through a child’s eyes and also to catch a glimpse of how much God loves me, knowing how much I love my boys.

Heartache comes. We can’t ignore it or run from it or avoid it. There is a season for everything and it’s trusting God through each and every season that gets you through it all. Is my heart aching a little? Yes, some days more than others, but at the same time my heart is so very full and grateful for this wonderfully amazing life God has allowed me to live – and for the amazing people who are a part of it.

I hope I will write again before another six months goes by but sometimes there’s just a lot of life to live and that’s OK too.

JK

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That Kind of Legacy…

I want to leave behind a legacy. I think most people do.  Some kind of legacy – something to be remembered for. I think it’s a natural desire within us as humans. We want to make an impact on this world. We want to do something worth people talking about long after we’re gone – though it can be hard to plan your legacy. It just doesn’t really work that way. I think the best way to live – is to live your life to the fullest, following God with ALL your heart and being as faithful a person as you can be – and leave the rest to God. If you love God with all you have and love people with all you have – you will be remembered, count on it, because love these days, true love is harder and harder to find. But it’s what God asks us to do. To love Him. To love our neighbour. To love our enemy. That is the kind of legacy I believe God wants to help us leave. One that spurs on others to the same sort of legacy. A legacy of a powerful love and of a steadfast faith.

My husband’s grandfather passed away a few days ago. He was 110 years old. (Seriously). He lived a LONG and fruitful life and he has definitely left behind a legacy of faith. One that will be impacting people for years to come, I’m sure. He saw a lot in his life; lived through the colonization of Kenya and Kenya’s gaining of independence. He had a large family – 13 kids if I remember correctly and was married to one woman who passed away quite a number of years ago now. He has many grandchildren and great grandchildren living all around Kenya and other parts of the world.

I remember the first time I met this man. It was when I was in my first year of Bible College in Kenya and we took a trip (a couple other Canadians, myself and some friends – including my future hubby) to Kisii. Kisii is beautiful – all green and rolling hills and the air is clean and clear. At the time “Sokoro” (Grandfather in Kisii) was about 102 or so but he was bright and strong and sharp. He still walked everywhere in the village, still lived alone, took care of himself completely. And I’ll never forget the way he prayed for us. I always remember Sokoro’s prayers. (He prays for us every time we visit). I can’t understand much Kisii but there is something about the tone of his prayers; quiet but strong, simple but meaningful, powerful and authentic. You can tell he knows this God he’s praying to intimately. You can tell he’s a man of prayer and that he trusts God wholeheartedly. He was a man of faith. Plain and simple. And he was and continues to be an inspiration to his family and everyone who knew him. He might not have travelled widely  – but I know he touched many lives in his 110 years on earth.

Sokoro, you will be missed but we know you are now dancing with Jesus and I have no doubt continuing to intercede in prayer for your family. Rest now for you have run your race well.

I have always liked the song, “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman. I want to leave the kind of legacy she talks about in this song. Just like Sokoro. You can listen to the song by clicking on the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KEe-dA3a4M

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

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