Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Tory, Emma, Tye, Claire, Levi, Josie, Jane and Ethan

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Memorable Family Events: A Gift from God

Easter Morning Sunrise Service, extra special with Grandma and Grandpa Kinkel.

"King George" the bacon- and sausage-eating Morey eel.

Claire amidst a sea of tide pools in Watamu, Kenya.

Sunrise on Turtle Bay (photo by Jeremiah).

Jeremiah's baptism.

The last few weeks have been incredibly memorable for our family, full of meaningful events. We were invited to the annual WGM (World Gospel Mission) spiritual retreat at the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi, and every year, the highlight is a baptismal service in the Indian Ocean. When I mentioned the possibility to Jeremiah a few months ago, he felt strongly that he was ready to make this commitment. Then, after Grandma and Grandpa Kinkel heard about Jeremiah's plan, they could not stand the thought of missing this important event, and immediately booked tickets! After picking them up at the airport in Nairobi, we returned to Tenwek for a few short days, which included the Easter Weekend services at Tenwek. The pinnacle was the Sunrise Service, where participates were invited to place flowers on a cross erected on the Robert’s lawn. Later, we enjoyed an Easter meal, at our house, of locally obtained roasted leg of goat!

A few days later, we were off to Malindi, a very poor, yet beautiful town off the Kenyan coast of the Indian Ocean. The timing was perfect, as we all were feeling rather spent from the constant barrage of homeschooling, patients, surgeries, etc. at Tenwek, and the spiritual renewal, connection, and relaxation were a gift from God. Heather and I awoke every morning at 6am for a walk on the beach while the sun was rising in the east, and then back for a perfect cup of Kenyan coffee. There was a new moon the last few days of the retreat, thus the tides were especially extreme, creating a huge mosaic of tide pools containing the most incredible montage of creatures: Morey eels, lion fish, red snapper, starfish, “Nemo” fish, sea urchins, brain coral, magic coral... Every pool was like a natural salt water aquarium designed by God. We all grew in amazement of God’s creativity, wisdom, and power in his creation, all for His glory.

The highlight was Jeremiah’s baptism (which also occurred on Heather’s birthday). After sharing his testimony of what Christ had done for him, he concluded by saying, “I just want to live my life for Him.” I had the privilege of baptizing my son with Roy Lauder, the visiting guest speaker for the retreat. We waded out into the high tide of the Indian Ocean, the water warm like a bath, as the sun was setting, and shared this moment with the 50+ people at the retreat. What a perfect event!

Thank you for the prayers and support you have given our family these last 5-1/2 months. We could not be here without you, and count it a privilege to partner with you in Kenya. Please continue to pray for our family, for Jeremiah that he would grow in his faith, for wisdom and peace and joy for Heather as she manages our home and home-schools, and for me as I continue the work at the hospital. We appreciate you so much!


Julie said...

thanks for the post. Been wondering about your family. Praising the Lord with you over J's baptism!

Unknown said...

Wow! I know as a parent the sheer joy it brings when your child commits themselves to the Lord. Give Jeremiah a kiss from us and tell him we will be praying for him.
Greg and Joyce

SarahMaurer said...

God bless you Jeremiah!
How old are you now?
I was 13 years old at WABC when I was baptized.
Did you get the gift from Grandpa Erve Maurer? I think it was knife.
Anna also sent some African Littlest Pet Shop animals for Emma and Claire.
Anna Maggie Maurer my 9 year-old little sister prays for your family (especially her beloved friend Emma) in Kenya and The Vuletiches in Croatia every morning at about 8am Phoenix, AZ time (right before I drop her off at school). We pray for you and think of you often.

Josh and Brin said...

hi Jeremiah, this is Ella. Do you remember me from Wisconsin Dells? That is very cool that you got baptized in an ocean. How do you like homeschooling?