Renee and I curled up by the fireplace today. It’s quite cold in Nairobi, unseasonably rainy too. Today is the tail end of an overdue week of vacation for me… the week itself an end to three overly busy months. I have fallen behind on nearly everything, including this letter. Finding time to write has become the elusive quest of my life these past couple years – but one I may be finally gaining on.
I took some vacation days and an airplane and headed off to Kenya’s northern frontier with the family this past week. We picnicked in the desert, encouraged our missionary friends who are working in a remote and lonely place, saw the stars again, and generally rested from the pace of the past several months. Upon our return, we welcomed back to Nairobi a missionary family who has become dear to us over the years. They have also now become our neighbors, much to our delight, and will soon be our co-workers in the Media Ministry.
September marks the beginning of AIM’s On-Field Media Ministry, which I hope you already know some about from our previous letters. Myself, along with two others, are now in the throws of developing a viable ministry model for this new department, and looking forward to jumping in with the actual work. Looking forward is perhaps understating it… We three are giddy with excitement, but attempting to keep a low profile lest our new ministry looks like too much fun (which it probably is.)
I have arranged to share my time between AIM AIR and the media department equally. Some have expressed concern (unwarranted I assured them) that I would simply resort to filling two full-time positions. Such imbalance is not entirely out of character for me (Renee rolls her eyes at this point in the conversation) but I have taken careful steps to make sure that proper boundaries are in place. I will, in effect, have two bosses. Despite my best efforts, however, this will be something to pray about. Both my flying and the media work are ministries of service, and it can be difficult for me to say no sometimes when I ought to.
AIM AIR will be losing me as an administrator as I shift over to this dual-role. But my flying will probably continue at pretty much the same intensity as before. The past three months were full – typical runs in and out of Sudan (where they have seen the worst flooding in decades… making travel impossible at times, and giving me plenty of opportunities to muddy the airplane.) I’ve experienced quite a few of those moments which bring a smile: Arriving at an airstrip to be greeted with welcoming handshakes and a heartfelt “boy are we glad to see you.” As I continue to serve and interact with the missionaries who rely on the airplane, I am tuning my senses, now more than ever, to see the stories of God at work through them – stories I will then be able to develop in the media office. Renee’s also excited about the work ahead of us, as it brings me a little closer to home, but also presents a few ways for her to get involved – something that’s not as possible for a pilot’s wife.
At home… school is in session again. Renee has started Amelia in third grade and Zach in first. The home-schooling is going well. Renee is a natural at teaching, and I think we have some pretty smart kids too. They say the principal is too mean, and that he shouldn’t kiss the teacher in class… but I can’t help it (she’s rather cute.) As for being mean, well I hardly think lectures on responsibility qualify as torture.
It’s September now and the sun, a bit behind schedule, is shining again here in Kenya. Sometimes I just walk outside and stand in it. After a few cold months, the warm rays can feel like God is smiling down on you. This, our fourth term in Africa, has been mostly sunny days – full of wonder and blessing, and an appropriate measure of hard work to ensure we don’t take any of it for granted. Especially all of you. Thank you again for your faithful prayers and support that touch us every single day. It feels like a privilege to be here (have I ever said that before)? and we know very well that we are not here alone.
Blessings from the city in the sun,
Mike and Renee