Partners and Friends,
We know that this is an extremely trying time for most of us in the world, as many of us engage in social distancing, isolation, and even quarantine, in response to Covid-19. Of course, there is also the fear over what may come, what the long-term effects may be, and just how long this pandemic may last. We are not aware if any of you have contracted it, or if you know anyone that has. If so, please reach out so that we can be praying with you.
For us, we are all safe and doing well. At this point, Kenya currently has 31 cases. The government acted quickly when the first case was confirmed, and all schools were closed. Since then, all international flight arrivals and departures have been cancelled, restaurants have been closed, church and large-group gatherings cancelled, curfew is being enforced from 7pm-5am, and social distancing and isolation are being encouraged. Currently, there is a lot of chatter that an official lock-down may be coming. At this point, Kenya is faring well, especially compared to many other countries around the world. However, the biggest concern is that if this outbreak isn’t contained, the medical system could become overwhelmed very quickly and easily. There is also a growing concern for individuals and families that rely on daily wages to support their families. Many in this nation don’t have any kind of safety net to get them through. There is additional concern of insecurity should things get dire, though we do not fear this and have faith that it will not come to this.
We are currently isolated at home, only going out for groceries. We are grateful that we were able to drive to the coast last week during the kids’ Spring Break, before all of the restrictions came in place. We spent a few days on the beautiful Indian Ocean, and even had a mini-safari game drive, in Tsavo National Park, on our way down. It was a blessing to have that time before returning to Nairobi to settle in for this new season.
Currently, our days are filled with home school, gardening, board games, basketball, building legos, reading, baking, and long walks in the coffee fields that neighbors our compound, all while trying to stay productive and get as much work done as possible from home (more on this later). We are trying to approach this season with hope. We have started each morning with family prayer time, specifically dedicated to those affected by this pandemic, our own feelings and reactions towards it, and seeking to see Christ in the midst of it. It can easily be overwhelming, but we are choosing to embrace this season as a sabbath. A season where we are forced to slow down. A season for prayer and reflection and listening. A season to embrace the opportunity to enjoy the unexpected blessing of extended time together as a family. That is not to say that we consider this pandemic to be a blessing, not at all. We grieve for every person that has been affected, whether medically, economically, psychologically, etc.. But this crisis has reminded us, as crisis often do, of all that we have to be thankful for in this world. We hope to approach each day with gratitude, while carrying the burdens of those around us in whatever we can, whether through prayer or direct engagement. We are praying that an awareness of the ever-present Christ will be with all who need it during these trying times.
In regard to our work, tt is difficult to move forward when I am unable to travel, however, we are using this season to shift our focus a bit. Specifically, to respond to needs that have resulted from this outbreak. We have, fortunately, been in a position to assist a few people with funds for food and needed items. We have been able to invest capital into one of our partner enterprises (Smile Sanitary Pad Program), so that the woman are able to continue making the reusable sanitary pad kits, even though distributions can not happen at this time. This ensures that the 10 women employed by the enterprise will be able to continue drawing an income, though they will have to work in smaller groups and less often. We are also staying in contact with all of our partners to ensure their well being, and to be available to assist with needs as they arise. Please pray that we would have wisdom and the capacity to be able to respond when those doors open.
We are also moving forward on a few ongoing projects…..the water kiosk at St. Joyuna Academy, a plumbing and piping project at Nakuru CMD, and a fencing project at one of the community farm projects in Tana River. These are all ongoing projects, so we feel comfortable moving forward even though we can’t be present. We will share more details on these in a future post. We are also preparing the materials and packets for the People to People Child Updates, though we do not know how long it will be before we can actually travel and complete them. We are taking it one day at a time.
You are in our prayers. Please contact us if we can be praying for you specifically. As always, we love and appreciate you.
Grace and Peace,
Jamie, Jessica, Sophie and Ethan
(Here are a few pics of our time at the coast, game drive, and what life currently looks like for us…..because people seem to enjoy seeing the kids. 🙂 )