Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Wonderful Gift

These are some of my favorite pictures.
I am hoping to have access to some more pictures soon. For now, Enjoy! I have written below the pictures about my experience. West Africa Tough Girls! Me, Tracey Ries, Mandy Chankin, Becky Reeves and Melissa Johnson....This was taken at our Texas party!
We came a LONG way to be here and it was worth it! I was so thankful to be here with my West Africa friends. Tracey and Becky serve in Togo with their families and Mandy and Melissa serve in Burkina Faso with their families.
West Africa Sweet Girls

Me and my Sweet Mom


My new DEAR friend Cheryl Cash.
Cheryl lives in Fort Portal Uganda.
It is the Lord's kindness that has brought us together as friends.
I am so thankful for Cheryl.
God actually began drawing our hearts together in the blog world. We have been reading each other's blogs over the past year and finally had the chance to meet each other face to face! Thank you Lord!

I LOVE Donna Willbanks. We had so much fun together.
Donna I truly thank God every time you come to my mind...which is very often!!

Sweet Bevie (Beverly Ross)
Bevie is on the CBW team and one of my new favorite friends!
I think I talked her ears off! What a gift she is to me!
Before and after the Renewal I shared a room with my mom and Peggy Nelson!
This of course was a blast and a delight. My mom is always fun and now I know that Peggy is too! Peggy is funny, sweet and so thoughtful. I was so blessed by her kindnesses, morning hugs, and the way she shared the stories of her life.


I feel different!
I was given a gift that I was fully aware that I needed. The gift came from so many different people...generous givers to the Come Before Winter ministry that make these renewals possible, a generous friend who provided the complete financial support for my travel to Kenya, a generous mother who met me in London 2 days early before we traveled together with the team to Kenya the rest of the way, generous Come Before Winter team members who poured out love, prayers, counsel, teaching, hugs, and spiritual encouragement, generous missionaries who freely shared continual testimonies of God's grace and presence on the field in every circumstance AND my extremely generous husband who let me leave for 2 weeks so that I could receive these gifts in abundance.
The summer of 1990 I went to Kenya for the first time and I absolutely fell in love with the Continent of Africa and at the same felt my heart awaken to the sweetest love of knowing Christ. At least in my own heart I have often referred to Kenya as where I had my honeymoon with the Lord. It was a wonderful experience and a life changing one as well. It was during that internship serving with some wonderful missionaries who became my dear friends that I began to dream of serving the Lord as a missionary in Africa. 9 years later Randy and I arrived in Benin with our sweet Tori!
What a blessing it was to return to Kenya as our time in Africa is drawing to an end. I immediately remembered why I fell in love with Africa. Kenya is breath taking beautiful. The Kenyan people are warm and kind. And I was again blessed to be surrounded by missionaries who serve the Lord with surrendered hearts and who give joyful, tearful testimonies of our amazing God. I was reunited with friends from years ago and had the opportunity to make so many new friends. The fellowship was rich and deep. As well my time with the Lord was SO precious. During the renewal we studied the book of Philippians. It was great to be in the Word and to have some true quiet time to hear the Lord speak to my heart.
I feel deeply renewed! Thank you Lord!

I have returned to Benin to different circumstances than when I left on March 11! For the past 21 months we have been consumed with Lael's adoption process...which as you likely know, became final on March 20 while I was in Kenya! The reality is now, that it is time to start packing up and saying goodbyes. Goodbyes to a life that has been hard and full of challenges and strangely I have come to love....because I have known the Lord's presence.
I am also saying goodbye to people that my family has come to love dearly and we are about to say hello to a whole new life....and we are looking forward to it!
As these thoughts at times overwhelm me, I will press on in what I know for sure... something that was renewed in my heart over the past 2 weeks...
My confidence is in Christ Alone.














7 comments:

Brooks Inc. said...

loved your pictures, loved your words...love your heart!

So great to anticipate the Lord's goodness with you in the closing of this chapter and as we anticpate the next!

Love you so!

Becky

vicki said...

What a wonderful testimony to our Lord and to CBW. What a significant ministry that is to you precious ladies. Love, Aunt VG

Ron and Marilyn said...

Hey Kelly,

I loved reading your blog tonight and recalling the sweet times we had there with all of the wonderful women of Africa!! You are all a special breed of incredible women on mission with God!!

Can't wait to see you really soon!! FYI, Rick's lesson today: In Christ Alone!! from Eph 2.

love you,

Marilyn

Beverly Ross said...

Kelly, I miss you!!!!!!!! What a GREAT post! I love your pics - especially the one of you 'tough' West African girls! Can't wait to have lunch soon and very soon, my friend! You are a blessing!

Cheryl said...

Great post Kelly!!! I am so thankful for the richness of fellowship in Christ...so thankful for our friendship...not a day passes that I don't think of you and pray for you and yours...

(I've been battling internet issues...but my pics and posts are coming too...Love you---)

songbirdintl said...

What an awesome post Kelly! Praise God for His renewal. It was such a blessing to be with you!! I praise God for the amazing ways He has AND WILL use you and Randy and your kids. I'm praying for sweet goodbyes and am expecting rich sweet blessings for you as you return to the states!

Sandi said...

Kelly,

I loved reading of your renewal in Kenya -- thank you so much for sharing.

May God give you and your family peace as you say your goodbyes and look towards the future. You will be missed in Benin just as you have been in the US.