November somehow became a month on the move. I (Jennifer) was asked by our Serge leadership back in August to attend a first-ever "Vision Summit" for our mission, an event designed to honor and draw in donors as we clarified our vision and described our work. A lot of work was invested in making this a professional-quality presentation. Serge uses three pillars to explain what we do: Renew, Reach, Restore. Renew encompasses the Sonship course, Gospel-Centered Life, and the plethora of resources for personal discipleship and Bible study that propel our hearts to come alongside the work of Jesus in the world. Reach incorporates the extension of this Gospel-focused transformation from the lives of believers to neighbors and friends across cultural barriers all over the world. And Restore embraces the full-person whole-world nature of the way Jesus is making all things new, including partnering in health care, education, rescue from slavery, job provision, agriculture, training indigenous leadership.
So last week found me on the Florida coast with dozens of supporters, board members, our executive leadership, and a few other missionaries, worshiping together and giving speeches and watching videos that represented these three pillars using examples from Serge work. I was the "Restore" speaker, and while I loved writing the speech I was pretty nervous about giving it. I'm told it went OK.
A huge perk for me was that my mom had been invited, so we got to spend several days together at a lovely hotel, and we decided to fly Julia down for two nights so I could catch up with her too. Julia and I took a beach walk and a bike ride in our free time, and we all enjoyed just talking and eating together.
I left here on a Monday night after work, arrived Tuesday evening in America, conference prep and rehearsal on Weds, conference Thursday to Sunday. I flew out of America Sunday afternoon and got back this Monday night and went back to work on Tuesday, facing a week with staffing shortage, a Tues/Thurs call sequence, and a lot to do. It was what you might call a whirlwind. So I have to give the testimony that God gave me grace to jump into the time zone and the work both ways. I have never traveled so easily, and been so quickly functional. I slept and woke on the right time zone immediately both ways. It was amazing. I'm not recommending this but if you have to do it, miracles can happen.
Meanwhile Scott had a birthday in which he delivered four "birthday buddy" babies by C-section then went to a dinner that was hosted by our wonderful Serge team here, held down the fort, taught Sunday School and hosted the boys' football (soccer) team end-of-season pizza-fest all on his own, while working full time. Jack got the news that he was a National Merit Scholar which I found out when I noticed a card tucked in behind a picture on the mantle . . and continues to work on college apps here and there as the deadlines loom.
But November is not quite over, and another trip starts tonight for me. This one is in my same time zone, but a couple countries away. Kijabe Hospital doctors make about four trips/year into this area that is poorly served medically and difficult for outsiders to access. Most of the trips are surgical, but they asked a Pediatrician to join this one. As this trip came together it became clear that the only one on our team who could possibly go was me. So tonight I head towards the airport, joining two young Kenyan surgeons. I'll be teaching all week (family medicine residents and medical students) and seeing patients in a rural hospital. I'm not quite sure what to expect, and I have to dress extremely conservatively including head scarves, so prayers appreciated. Renew, Reach, Restore is what we're all about here, and I'd rather do it than talk about it, but I'm nervous. And pray for Scott and Jack, abandoned once again, with me missing Thanksgiving and the last week of the school term with exams. Grateful for your partnership . . . Jennifer