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First year complete–lessons learned.

Obedience to His call, coming to love western Kenya, and experiencing the reality of re-entry shock–these are a few of the things a missionary wife, mom, and grandmother reflects on at the end of her first year on the field.  A glimpse of missionary life from SSMF missionary Kari Saul, who serves in rural Kenya alongside her husband Randy.

2013…What a year….

As most of you, I, too, am finding myself quite reflective today, this last day of 2013.

I have had a couple silent months as I’ve slipped into the hustle and bustle of the American lifestyle.

That… and the fact that God has had my attention intensely… and honestly, it’s been just a bit numbing.

A year ago today, my heart was torn so deep, such as I had never experienced before.  I was preparing to “move” to Kenya…  and my family was remaining in Florida.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, I just didn’t want to leave.

But, one thing I knew was that God was calling and I desired to obey.  Through the year, God has very definitely made it clear that Florida, Palm Harbor, Clearwater–is not my home.

Neither is Kenya, which is where we now live.

We boarded the plane after very painful goodbyes and left on this adventure of holding God’s hand tighter than we have ever held anything.

Well, our God is faithful, generous, loving, protecting and so, so much more!!!!

–We spent 5 months in language school and were blessed beyond measure by a group of Kenyans who opened their arms, their hearts and their country to us.

–We were able to begin friendships with fellow missionaries across East Africa and are so grateful for the bond God gives that knits our hearts so quickly and so deeply.

–We had opportunity to visit some of Kenya’s most beautiful sites.

We’ve settled into a village in western Kenya, where our neighbors live in mud huts with thatched roofs and no electricity.

–They walk down to the river daily for their supply of water.

–They cook in their outdoor kitchens over wood or coal burning fires.

–They work hard in their shamba (gardens) to provide for their daily bread.

And… they are hungry for the Truth of GOD!

I’m finding my heart anticipating what God has ahead for my Kenyan family.  What hearts will lean in with ears to hear and will taste and see how great our God is?

I’m expecting great things for my new friends as we study God’s Word and as we build deeper relationships.

I look forward to the opportunities that God will present that will allow me to be a part of HIS work!

Our visit to the place that was our home has been a sweet blessing – accompanied by some challenges.

There is something we were warned about – that “re-entry” shock.  But honestly, I didn’t think it would effect us – we were only gone a year, and for me, just 10 months.

But, it’s true.

So much here and in the lives of those we love has changed, and changed without us.  Yet still, we’ve been welcomed with wide-open arms and loved on much.

We needed this!

One thing that I am headed back with – or actually without – is my hearing.

In a very bizarre way – I have lost the entire hearing in my right ear.  Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

We have no idea of it’s cause, but after eliminating much more serious possibilities, I’m left with no real answer as to the cause, and little expectancy of it returning.

I suspect it to take some time to acclimate but have very much considered that scripture that urges us to have an ear to hear.

So – on this last day of 2013 – as we all reflect on the past and anticipate the future…

I do so pray that the Peace of God, the One Who holds both our past and our future… AND our present–is guarding your heart and mind tonight and that you are resting in HIM!

Happy New Year!

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