Category Archives: Preparing for Africa

We made it!

We made it to Kenya! It was a looong journey, but we arrived in Nairobi yesterday afternoon. Our bodies, however, had no idea what time it was. But we’re here! And all our bags arrived right along with us. Praise the Lord!

Pete and Kelly got the truck all loaded up on Tuesday morning for the drive to the Tampa airport. These guys are rockstars. Seriously. It was pouring as they finished packing and they somehow managed to get everything into the one vehicle. I wasn’t sure that would happen.

As we made the drive to Tampa, we got multiple messages letting us know our flight to New York was being delayed. Since we had a twelve hour layover, we didn’t mind it being pushed back. It took away any anxiety about getting everything through security and left plenty of time for dinner near our gate.

Sam woke on Tuesday morning and immediately signed ‘airplane’ and asked to go. I think he was so excited about something big happening he wouldn’t take a nap that afternoon. By the time we got to the airport at 7pm, he was wiped.

At last, we boarded our flight for New York. We flew Jet Blue, which you might have guessed from the blue lighting. It was a quick 2.5 hours to JFK.

The airline took a while to find our stroller after we landed, but the kids didn’t mind a bit with this play area across from our gate. I would have liked to be on the way to our hotel since it was 1:30am, but this was a decent second option.

The kids were so tired by the time we reached our hotel, they actually slept the whole night in the same bed. They usually can’t do this because Sam gets so excited and wants to keep Ella awake. I about melted when I woke and saw them cuddling.

Our flight from New York to Dubai was long. As in 12 hours long. We flew Emirates and were really happy with the service. It was a fairly comfortable flight (well, as comfy as one can be sitting in the same seat for 12 hours) and the flight attendants were so sweet. We watched a mountain of movies. By the time we reached Dubai, however, we were all wanting to be done.

The flight from Dubai to Nairobi was just 5 hours. I had really thought the kids would sleep since they hadn’t on the long flight. Sam did, but it was a fitful sleep. He’s had a bit of a cold for a few days and it was clear to see he was really uncomfortable. He would only sleep if he was lying on me, which didn’t allow me to rest for more than a few minutes at a time. Ella didn’t sleep at all, though. Well, not until the moment we hit the runway in Nairobi. She stayed awake for so many hours but couldn’t keep her eyes open by the time we reached our final destination.

We found a bench for the kids while Pete and I worked to gather all our bins and bags.

We located everything but Sam’s stroller, which we had to check at JFK. Pete borrowed a wheelchair from the airport. The moment we set Sam in it, he was wide awake and grinning. Just before we left the airport, though, someone found the stroller! So everything is with us again. We’re so thankful.

A driver met us and helped get all our bags – and children – to the guest house. We’re staying here until Sunday when we’ll head out to our new home!

Today has been a day of rest for Sammy and me. Sam’s cold and his lack of sleep have caught up to him, and he’s needed time to sleep. Ella and Pete went shopping with a friend from Tenwek. They haven’t come back yet, so I’m hoping they’ve been successful.

I can’t tell you how happy we all are to finally be here. I cried quietly as soon as we were outside the airport yesterday. This morning Ella crawled out of bed and said, “Mom, we’re doing it! We’re in Kenya!” It’s true! We’re doing it! Thank you, friends, for all of your encouragement in helping us make it here. We couldn’t be happier.




I woke early this morning feeling anxious. That’s natural, though, for any move. I’ve moved enough times in the last ten years to know. The only difference is this time the move is a little bigger. The distance is greater, yes, but this move means so much more than any other move I’ve made. So yes, I’m anxious. But I also fully trust this is the most natural thing I could be doing with my family. And I deeply, deeply trust that this is the very thing God designed me to do.

This move is the culmination not only of the work Pete and I have done in the last eleven years, but this truly feels like the point in my life that everything else I’ve done points to. All of my college studies, my teaching, the years I spent working in our church, my graduate degree, and how I’ve learned to be a wife and mother. It has all pointed to the desire I’ve had since I was very young to live and teach abroad.

I grew up in the church. My dad was the pastor of each church we attended, so I really did grow up in the church. For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite church events was when missionaries shared their stories. I loved seeing photos of their adventures and hearing about their daily lives. That was when this dream began. Then, when I was in the middle of elementary school, a couple guys from our church came back from China where they had been working secretly to get Bibles into the country. While talking with one of them after their presentation at church, I said I wanted to be a missionary, too. He handed me a piece of paper money from his travels and said I could keep it if I really was going to work to share Jesus. There was no hesitation in accepting his gift that day. I already knew it was exactly what I wanted to do.

I still have that piece of money, tucked inside my Spanish/English Bible from the year I lived and taught in Honduras during college. These two items have been reminders to me of what God called me to when I was a little girl, sitting at the front of the church, watching missionaries share their slides and stories.

I’m so incredibly thankful God put a man on my path nearly twelve years ago who had a similar calling. We’ve spent countless hours dreaming together of what it might someday  look like when we were finally able to move our family to East Africa. That trek begins tomorrow. The next chapter for us will open. The one we hope will be the longest of any in our lives so far.

I’m now thirty-five years old. I’m married to the most sincere, caring man I have ever met and we have two adventurous, loving babes . I fully trust with every part of my being that this is exactly what God has called us to do. Simply put, I just couldn’t do anything else with my life and feel satisfied.

So off we go! With nerves and excitement and so many more dreams in our hearts, we are ready.

Tomorrow the true adventure begins.



We have a date!

Last Monday, we asked friends to join us to pray that Pete’s Kenyan work permit be approved within the week. Incredibly, we received word of its approval the VERY DAY we were all praying. God’s timing is amazing! We had been waiting months for the approval. It was the very last piece we needed before leaving for Kenya.

four days!

And because it was the last piece we needed, we have now set a departure date!! We will be flying out of Tampa this Tuesday evening, June 13 and arriving in Kenya the middle of Thursday, June 15. In all, our travel time is about 40 hours because of a long layover in New York. We find it a touch hard to believe that we’ll be in Kenya at this time next week! All these years of dreaming, praying, planning, and working, and we’re finally going!!

Please continue to pray for us as we go through these final few days in the States. We are placing our last-minute orders on Amazon (thank you, two-day shipping), making a Target run, and holding Skype meetings and business phone calls. I am so relieved, however, that we don’t have the last rush of packing since we did that before leaving Minnesota last month. All our bins and bags have been sitting in Kim & Kelly’s garage here in Florida, waiting for their next leg of the trip. Four days. Eeeeeee!

Love to you all for helping make this happen! We are so thankful for you!


Made it to the Beach

We made it to the beach! What a journey it was the last few weeks to get to this point!

Pete finished work the morning of May 15. Two Harbors was such a good fit for us as a family. He worked there for the last year. We were able to spend lots of time with him there, especially after we started homeschooling in February. Not having to be back to Duluth super early each morning meant we could go up in time for dinner, get the kids tucked in in their own room across the hall from us, and then Pete and I could stay up watching TV and talking between patients and then sleep a bit in the morning. It made such a difference for us since then we didn’t have to wait all week to see him when he briefly came home. We’re so thankful to the staff and leadership at Lake View Hospital for allowing us to stay with Pete!

Once Pete completed his last shift, we set to work finishing projects and packing. I had already done a bulk of the packing and cleaning, but there are always lots of little things to finish with any move. This was particularly true since we’re moving to the other side of the globe! Managing mail, collecting keys, making trips to the storage unit and donation sites, paying all hospital bills, selling the Jeep, etc. I really hope we thought of everything.

The morning of May 18, Luke & Hannah came by to help us load up our luggage and get it to the airport. We had decided a few months prior that we wouldn’t have family take us that morning. There are just so many emotions tied up in saying goodbye and trying to get all the bags checked and through security. It wouldn’t have made for a very good goodbye.

Luke & Hannah have done so much life with us, so we were so thankful to have their help that last morning. We arranged the bags and then had a nice, long breakfast of donuts and chai with them before heading to our gate. Honestly, Luke & Hannah are like family, so there were definitely tears shed in that goodbye, but it was exactly how we hoped to leave for our first term abroad.

We waved goodbye to Duluth as we flew up over Lake Superior. It was a little hard to know what to feel as we left the city we so dearly love.

This girl loves to fly.

On the first flight she colored pictures for the pilots. When she gave them to the flight attendant as we left the plane, the kids were invited to sit up front for a few minutes. Obviously, they were thrilled. So was I!

Ella colored pictures again on our second flight and then joined the pilot for his lunch up front after everyone deboarded. I have a feeling she may be trying this on every flight in the future.

We’ve now been at the beach for one week. Pete and I agreed last night at dinner that we’re finally feeling like we’re able to rest. Neither of us slept well the first week, as we started our transition. I am so thankful to our coaches who told us in January we needed to take at least two weeks to rest.

Ready to conquer the beeeeeeach!

We’re still waiting for Pete’s work permit to go through in Kenya. Please keep praying it happens soon! We’ll keep you posted. And now that we’re resting, I have more time to write, so be sure to check back for more posts very soon!


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