August 31st

August 31, 2007


Wednesday August 31, 1977
Limuru, Kenya
This morning Ken went to town with Sammie and Ralph Harrell.  I looked a bunch of greens from the garden and got them on to cook at 12:30pm.  This afternoon I made a lemon ice box pie.  Tonight we had the Jones family for supper.  I fixed Mexican food.  The American U.N. ambassador Andrew Young is here in Nairobi now.  There was an article in today’s paper about elephants at Ngulia Safari Lodge digging up the main water pipeline.  They are doing this even though there are two water holes in front of the lodge.

Mom was cooking greens in the house and that meant one thing, get out quick.  I love to eat greens but they can sure give the kitchen a weird aroma.  I am trying to figure out how the greens worked into the Mexican food we had for supper that night.  Maybe she was making them for another meal.

The Jones family where our next door neighbors in Limuru, their two boys and Alan and I spent many an afternoon playing in the surrounding forests and tea fields.  Some of my fondest memories were our weekly games of “hide and seek” usually played at the Jones’s house.  They had a huge front porch that we used as home during the games.  The only drawback to these nocturnal events was the ever present danger of safari ants.

These ants measure anywhere from less than one half inch to three quarters of an inch long, all of them are armed with powerful pinchers.  Once you got into the ant trail the only thing you could do is strip down to your skivvies and run for the house.  This hazard added extra spice to our weekly gatherings, and was always good for a laugh if you weren’t the one being bitten!


August 30th

August 30, 2007

Sunday August 30th, 1981
Limuru, Kenya
This morning when we woke up the electricity was off so I cooked breakfast on the camp stove.  It didn’t come back on until about 10:30am as we were leaving for church at Uttum which is near the road that leads down to R.V.A.  They didn’t know that we were coming.  M.G. ended up preaching a short sermon and Ken did 3 magic tricks for them.  He used some of the children so this really thrilled them.  We left at 12:00pm and went on our way to Naivasha where we were to meet Jim and Thelma Robinson for a picnic lunch.  The Jim tried to get Bostick’s boat to run but was unable.  Tonight Harry Garvin preached at the English 6:00pm service.  We didn’t get Charlie on the ham tonight.

The Ad for this boat tool said it had all the tools you need to work on your boat.  I think the only one I would know how to use was the bottle opener!

If God told you everything you would have to learn to do beforehand most of us would refuse the honor.  Life on the mission field was great and I know Mom had no regrets about offering herself on His alter.  However, having to step back into the early 1900’s to cook breakfast over the camp stove might have caused her to question her resolve.  She kept up her usual cherry attitude and just learned to accept God’s will no matter the circumstances.

Dad and I tag teamed the morning service at the local church.  He delivered the road map to salvation and I brought in the “pony show”.  I have said before that God will use any talent you give to Him.  I continue to thank Christ for letting me participate in even a small way in the process of leading someone to Him.

The picnic went ok at the lake but I am sure that both families’s needed to attend the evening service after fooling with a stubborn boat all afternoon.  There are several things that can cause me to demonstrate less that good behavior and working on combustion engines is one of them.  God once again puts his children through mountains and valleys to temper them into warriors for his cause!

August 29th

August 29, 2007

Tuesday August 29th, 1978
Limuru, Kenya
This morning M.G. went into town to get some parts for our car.  He didn’t get home until after 1:00pm.  Ken and I were just finishing up lunch.  We had fried chicken.  This afternoon at 2:00pm Cherry and I met with some African women to plan our women’s work.  I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  They are still showing people going by looking at Mzee’s body on T.V.  Tonight after supper M.G. and Ken went up to the garage to work on our car some more.

Dad makes a not so quick trip into town to get some parts for the 403.  Whenever you plan on a quick trip in Kenya something always happens to extend your venture.  I am sure Dad got to enjoy some leftover chicken when he got home.

Mom and Cherry Kirkpatrick were once again setting up an initial plan for the women’s work.  I say initial because in Africa nothing is ever set in stone.  Of all the lessons that I learned from Mom during her years in Africa this one ranks amount the best.  Try to make a plan and stick to it, however if circumstances warrant be willing to bend with the wind.  God calls us to be sensitive to His still small voice.  During my everyday hustle and bustle I would be wise to calm down and stop and listen to see if I am following His plans.

President Jomo Kenyatta was in office when we arrived in Kenya.  He always kept Kenya a stable anchor in the midst of the stormy sea of African countries around him.  Thankfully his successors also guided the ship with solid leadership.  Kenya like any other country has its problems but they are nothing like those experienced in the nations that are close to her borders.

Speaking of problems, it is a good thing that Dad was there to guide his youngest son during the car tune up.  Since sometimes I do not know a lug nut from a rotor button.

August 28th

August 28, 2007

Thursday August 28th, 1969
Limuru, Kenya
We had our regular meetings this morning.  This afternoon was a free afternoon.  I played my tennis match and beat 6-2.  Jane Holloway and Jenny Musen beat Betty Whitson and me.  Tonight Alan got a badge for the rank of squire in R.A.’s.  There were several girls who got queens.  Roger Swann and Edna Huskinson had charge of the service.  This afternoon M.G. went into town to play basketball.  His team won one game and lost one.

Mom had a competitive side.  She was pretty good in most sports she played.  She excelled in ping-pong.  She would never mount much of an offense but her defensive game was superior.  I have seen men that played her reduced to shambles just by her simple yet consistent defense.  I am sure there is a lesson in this memory that God wants me to learn today.

R.A.’s is the Baptist equivalent of Boy Scouts.  They want to combine all the outdoors type stuff with Bible knowledge.  As I remember the badge system went page, squire, knight, and king.  The girl’s equivalent was the G.A.’s.

Although Dad was no Pete Maravich he was pretty good at round ball.  Alan did quite well in high school with the game.  However I stunk in Africa and still stink today at hoops.  Although I do have the distinction of slam dunking off a mini-tramp at a Lady Vol home game.  (Check back this afternoon for picture of event.)

August 27th

August 27, 2007


Friday August 27th, 1965
Limuru, Kenya
The only thing that we had today was morning devotion.  After devotion we went to the game park in Nairobi.  Jim Houser went with us.  As we went through the park a baboon got on the car and rode for quite a ways.  This really did amuse the boys.  The Boyd Pearce family and us ate Chinese food at the Chop Sticks restaurant in Nairobi.  The boys and I rode back to Limuru with Syd.  Tonight Marshall Phillips was the preacher.  He had just returned from furlough so he gave some of his impressions of America and the conditions existing there.

Africa is a land of extremes.  We went on a trip to the game park that is not even ten miles outside of the capital and have a baboon hitchhiker much like the one above ride with us throughout the park.  You can be looking at lions resting on a kill and in a matter of minutes be eating Chinese food at a table in town.  This is why Kenya has such appeal for tourists.  With some of the safari packages you can “rough it” very smoothly indeed.

If you have ever stayed out of the country for extended periods of time you know how culture shock feels.  One of the many problems facing missionaries then and now is how their children will adjust.  From reading Mom’s diaries I have come to realize that my lack of trouble in adjusting related directly to Mom and Dad’s prayer time.  The fact that both Alan and I would leave the nest one day drove them to their knees early and often.  I speak for myself and probably Alan when I say a heartfelt “Thank You!” to my folks for spending that time with God on our behalf.

By the way I love what Alan has done with his hair in the picture for today!

August 26th

August 26, 2007

Tuesday August 26th, 1980
Limuru, Kenya
This morning I met with Elizabeth and Raheal, two African women and Betty Evans to discuss the women’s work.  Right after lunch M.G. and Ken went trout fishing with Ralph and Sammie Harrell.  Sammie was the only one who caught a fish.  We got a long letter from Alan today, and a clipping from a sports magazine.  Tonight I went to a baby shower for Beverly Curp.  I made her a bib and gave a pair of booties.  My watch is on the blink.

Although Mom could not read a road map to save her life she would not think of doing mission work without a plan.  Throughout her diary she is always meeting women here and taking them to their destination.  She followed this plan when mapping out the direction of her life’s calling.  She somehow knew that God meets us at our point of need and helps us to reach His perfect will.  The road will not always be easy but He promises to be there beside us along the way.

Dad and I went fishing but thankfully we were not providing the evening meal.  Had we been pickings’ would be slim at the house that evening.

I guess most parents love to see their kids get favorable notoriety.  Mom was no exception.  Whenever we got a letter and clipping from Alan we would all sit around the supper table and she would read the letter and pass around the article.  I have said before how proud I am of my brother but I would have liked to have an article or two from “Geeks Quarterly” to hand out about that time, unfortunately they did not deliver to Kenya.

Mom went to the baby shower alone and I am sure she had a good time.  However the comment about her watch leads me to believe that the shower might have run a bit long.  Dad and I probably sat around the house telling fish stories about the one that got away!

August 25th

August 25, 2007

Thursday August 25th, 1977
Limuru, Kenya
Tonight was the night for the mission banquet.  I fixed the green beans.  They were good except for being a bit soupy.  Ken was dressed like an Arab coffee vender and sat outside the banquet hall.  We made him a Muslim cap at 5:00pm.  We used an old pillow case to make it from.

Mom, like most great cooks was her own worst critic.  I don’t remember any complaints about the quality of the beans that night.

I am sure that I got to enjoy the leftovers from the banquet as payment for my part in the production.  I remember greeting the guests as they ascended the stairs to the dining room.  My role was to sound like a street vendor hawking his wares.  I was supposed to help set the mood for the evening.  I am sure that upon seeing a boy dressed in a flowing gown proclaiming “Kahawa!” (Swahili for coffee) at the top of his lungs with a pillow case on his head moods were deeply rooted for the evening.  I remember the Africans unmitigated glee at watching me make a fool of myself for 1-2 hours that evening.  Long into the evening they would mimic my plaintive cry and then break into gales of laughter.