We had planned with Chris to be driven to RCV and we were grateful he volunteered for the 3 hour journey. Yet, because of the urgency and needs of Chris’s father’s burial, he could only drive us half-way to Tennessee.
Yet half way there we were met by our spiritual daughter Simchah (Joy) who brought us the rest of the way. Simchah and her husband Frank had planned for us to stay with them the first week of our RCV visit, but when Frank suddenly came down with Covid that ended plan A. We did not have a plan B, but our Heavenly Father did … B was for Briggs!
Haddasah Briggs (Dossie), who was away on a mission trip, heard about our dilemma called us and said “stay at my house and make yourselves at home”.
Which we gratefully did and finally began to mentally, physically, and emotionally rest. The remainder of the days we spent with the spiritual family was refreshing.
Special thanks to Mercy, Maranantha, Doug and his wife Lynn, Ariel and David, Chavvah, Yashana, Donna and Ed and others for taking time with us.
We also got to spend time with Anavah (Dossie’s Mom). Anavah has always been a special person to us. She was one of the first people to become part of the spiritual family that Christ would bring together so many years ago. Her health is failing and she told us we would probably not see her again on this side of the veil. But that’s ok, because we are convinced that when we close our eyes for the last time, we know when we open them again, we will see her smiling face.
While in Tennessee, we were able to visit some our favorite people just over a hour away from RCV. Gideon, his wife Faith and their two daughters Amy and Hosannah are precious and long time members of our spiritual family. We have been praying for them to find God’s people (a church) and they have been searching diligently for a group of people they could have spiritual fellowship with. This trip they had finally found them. They are now part of a growing home church community with people who are really desiring to walk in biblical reality.
We especially loved meeting two of the responsible brothers that oversee that fellowship … Ryan, his wife and David. We were honored to share with their people during two gatherings and shared again at their men’s prayer breakfast the following Tuesday morning. Their home church is part of a larger circle of home churches that is growing in Memphis. Friendly folks.
It was such a relief to see and know that our dearest friends were being built up in the midst of God’s people.
Before we came to Gideon’s, winds from a tornado that came very close to their house, uprooted huge trees, one of which tore off the corner of his backyard workshop.
When we arrived Gideon was suffering from a bad cold and Faith was having painful back issues. Seems as though the people God loves the most never have it easy. (Heb. 12:6 ). Yet, if this earth is just a place to prepare us for heaven, we should indeed rejoice in all things, knowing that not just some things … but everything happening in our lives is for our temporal and eternal good.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Another blessing along our journey was spending the day with Blake Howard and his family. Blake is a brother who, a few years back, visited us in Kenya and has helped us immensely with our social media. Our visit was partly for him to train us on how to use new technology. When Facebook ‘updated’ how our pages work I was and still am … completely lost. A few years back he and his assistant visited us in Kenya to make a small documentary for us and is now working to completely redo our StoneHouse Ministries Website. He is also planning another visit to Kenya.
Our Father has put a love in his heart for us and he wants to help us and be a part of our ministry. After we finished a little business and training, he took us around a nearby lake in his beautiful pontoon boat. It was so relaxing. After dinner with his family we left to return to RCV and Dossie’s house.
Out of the goodness of her heart Dossie said she would drive us back (four hour drive one way) to Warrior, Alabama at Chris and Renee’s house who would then take us to the airport hotel in Birmingham for our departure early the next morning.
On our way out of town we stopped and visited Dossie and Simchah’s church. It called ‘LifeWind Church’ in Selmer, TN.. They are very sweet people and the church’s leader and his wife were very gracious. We were able to speak about our life in Kenya and the ministry. They seemed to really take it in and enjoy hearing about what our Father was doing. Before we went to our car they prayed for us and gave us a generous check to help the ministry. The funds we received on this trip will help us finish the Airbnb we’ve created at Windy Hill in assisting the funding for widows and abandoned women’s ministry. We are almost finished.
One final mishap … Early the next morning, two very weak and weary travelers would load up their 300 pounds of luggage and board the hotel airport shuttle for the long journey home.
Exhausted that morning we sat in the Birmingham Airport eager to catch our plane to Kenya. We had a hour before boarding so I took out my iPad to pass the time. The time passed quickly and soon they announced it was time to board. We boarded quickly and it was a short flight, with a 3 hour layover in Chicago. When we landed at O’hare we found our gate and a good seat … I reached for my iPad to help the time pass … and alas, it wasn’t there. I couldn’t remember where I had used it last, because at this point we’re both quite brain dead. After 30 minutes we remembered I had left it plugged in the seat next to me in the Birmingham Airport. We thought for sure someone would have taken it and were ready just to call it a loss.
Then we remembered how through all our problems on this trip … our Father had provided an answer. As hope sprung up in our hearts, we felt an urgency to call Chris and see if he would go and check it out. (He lived about 30 to 40 minutes from the airport).
By this time we had remotely erased everything on the iPad with a friendly little app. called ‘Find My’ to prevent someone from getting access to financial data. To make a long story short … the airport security found it, gave it to Chris and he sent me this picture of him holding my IPad.
As with all our troubles on this trip … our Father has always been one step ahead of the situation and had all the answers. We were wondering how we could make it on one more 8 1/2 hour flight sitting up the whole day. When the doors closed we realized we both had empty seats next to our assigned seats. So we could stretch out and get a little rest!
We arrived in Kenya to the smiling face of our spiritual son and driver Njeroge with all of our 300 pounds of luggage accounted for. Getting up early the next morning, we returned to the loving arms of those we live with in WindyHill Christian Community.
Honor and praises to our Heavenly Father! Special thanks to all who watched over and covered us with the prayers that carried us there and back again.
Look for Part 4 where we’ll tell you about what was happening back in Kenya during our absence…..
Much love … StoneHouse