Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Prayers of the Multitudes

So this is what it feels like to have hundreds upon hundreds of people praying for you at the same time.  I was laying in bed, still awake because of lingering jetlag, and basking in the peace that continued to surround our family.  We'd been in Kenya less than a week and the smooth transition was continuing to amaze us.  Eli and I joked about how surprised we were that things were going so smoothly.  It could only be explained by God's goodness, favor, and grace in response to the outpouring of prayer.

People were praying over our travels and transition to Kenya for weeks before we boarded the plane.  The day before we left, Easter Sunday, entire churches were lifting us up.  Literally hundreds of people were praying for us throughout the week that we ventured to Kenya, and it was palpable.  I can't explain it any other way.  We could simply feel the prayers of the saints being lifted up on our behalf, and the Lord was gracious to hear and to answer.

Our first flight, from Detroit to Amsterdam, was flawless.  We have flown a lot with our kids, and suffice it to say that anything goes when you board a plane with little kids.  We have been the parents who've had a screaming baby for 30 minutes straight, and we have been the parents whose child was wailing while trying to climb over the seat in front of him in an attempt to get a window view, and we have been the parents who've had to forcibly keep our crying child in his seat because he's required to wear a seat belt during landing.  For the record, we've had more good flights than bad, but flying with children is simply a gamble.  We took the gamble and boarded the plane in Detroit, armed with new books and toys and lots and lots of treats to pacify potentially cranky kids, but we barely needed them.  The flight was at bedtime, and after the initial excitement of being on a plane, our boys slept.  All three of our boys slept for the majority of the flight!  We could scarcely believe it.  And when they woke up not having slept enough, they were happy.  The flight to Amsterdam was flawless and we felt the prayers of the multitudes, praying specifically for our boys to do well.

The flight to Nairobi was not flawless, but it was not terrible.  Caleb did amazing and truly couldn't have done better, but poor Kai was dealing with some constipation issues that required a lot of attention and patience, and Asa was completely off schedule by that point and couldn't stay asleep very long whenever he did fall asleep.  Despite these minor setbacks, the flight went okay overall and, even more importantly, Eli and I maintained patience and peace in the midst of sleep deprivation.  We felt the prayers of the multitudes, praying specifically that we'd maintain our sanity regardless of what happened.

Getting off the plane in Nairobi was a bit of a challenge, but because we took so long and had so much to carry we were blessed to discover that we were candidates for a free ride in a special bus that went directly from the airplane right to customs.  (The bus was there to help a woman in a wheelchair, but they let us catch a ride also and we know it was God's mercy to us after such a long trip!)  Even though we were literally the last people to make it through customs, the pictures of animals on the walls kept Caleb entertained, and fruit snacks kept Kai mostly content.  And getting through customs was as smooth as could be.  All of our luggage arrived in one piece, then we arrived at our guesthouse for the night to discover that Caleb and Kai's room was the exact same layout as the room they just left in Michigan (with a bunk bed on the left and a twin bed on the right), and so it was familiar and easy for them to settle in.  We breathed a sigh of thankfulness and felt the prayers of the multitudes, praying specifically for our initial transition into the country.

The next day we spent shopping for supplies in Nairobi, which went smoothly.  The day after that we made the drive from Nairobi to the hospital, which was nearly 4 hours in the car with our kids, and the trip was flawless.  We even saw baboons on the way, and our animal-obsessed 3-year old was over the moon with excitement!  We continued to bask in the provision of peace as we felt the prayers of the multitudes, praying specifically for smooth and safe travels all the way to the hospital.

And then we were here, at Tenwek Hospital.  We arrived safely and sanely with all of our kids and all of our luggage, which can only be accredited to the grace and mercy of God and the prayers of the multitudes, praying specifically for our family the entire way here.  The peace was palpable for days, which is why I laid in bed a couple nights after getting here and thought, So this is what it feels like to have hundreds upon hundreds of people praying for you at the same time.  The peace and presence of God were close at hand, not just for a moment or an afternoon or a day, but for days on end.  And we never cease to be humbled by His grace and provision.

We've been in Kenya for a week now, and we are doing well.  There've been some bumps and bruises since we arrived (quite literally, including Kai escaping right after we got here and falling down a gully into some brambles before we found him, plus a slip on wet cement for Caleb that left a small gash in his chin that required superglue to avoid stitches), but we are somehow getting settled and beginning to feel at home.  The rainy season has begun since we've been here, and the temperatures are absolutely perfect - warm enough for short sleeves and shorts during the day but cool enough for a light jacket in he evening.  The boys can't be outside enough.  They're getting mud and dirt on every inch of their bodies while making new friends and playing with chameleons.  It is truly a little boy's paradise here!

And Eli and I are doing well despite the constant sorting of details for life here.  (How do we buy eggs?  Where do we pick up mail?  Can you find butter in town?  How do we hire a househelper?  etc etc etc)  We are busy and sleep-deprived, but the Lord is sustaining us and we are getting things figured out.  And we cannot say THANK YOU enough for the prayers of the multitudes on our behalf during this time of transition.  Thank you for praying, for caring enough to pray, for telling us you were praying, and for continuing to pray.  We have felt God's response to your prayers, and we are blessed beyond measure.  May He be glorified!