In August 2016, we moved back to Kenya. Now, our blog is moving too.
As of early January, http://www.betweenhereandthere.org will close. But not to fret! You can subscribe to our new blog (www.croffordsinkenya.com) by simply clicking on this link:
Once over there, scroll down a bit and look in the right column. Enter your e-mail address where it talks about following our blog. That’s it. You’ll now get an e-mail every time we put up a new blog post with our missionary news.
For those who enjoy FaceBook, “like” our new page, “Croffords in Kenya.” For Tweeters, follow us at: @croffordsinken1.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Superman stepped up to the conductor’s platform and wowed the choir during intermission.
A big part of Christmas is the music. We like listening to all kinds – Pentatonix, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, Whitney Houston, Josh Groban, Andy Williams and the Carpenters.
Making music is also a must. Enter the Nairobi Music Society. Last weekend, they presented back-to-back concerts at the beautiful, historic All Saints Anglican Cathedral on the edge of downtown Nairobi. (Greg sings first tenor in the choir). The roughly 100 voices were accompanied by the Nairobi Orchestra and – on a couple of songs – by a magnificent children’s choir from an area private elementary school. Beside three pieces from Handel’s “Messiah,” the repetoire included two songs in local Kenyan languages (Luo and Kikuyu), Blackwell’s “Steal Away,” “Hear My Prayer” by Mendelssohn, and a special performance of Andrew Carter’s “Te Deum.” The concerts were well-attended as praises echoed in the walls and high ceiling of the 1923 sanctuary.
During the intermission of the second performance, there was even a cameo appearance by Superman (see photo) who wanted to try his hand at choral conducting. Our leader, Levi Wataka, gave an impromptu lesson.
May your Advent season be filled with the wonderful music of Christmas!
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Here in Kenya though, it is just another working day. We and the other missionaries and Americans celebrated on Sunday afternoon. We had decorations and the doxology, conversations and casserole, pie and a puzzle. Loved it!
Even before the celebration, it was a memorable day. I was amazed at church as chairs were brought in time and time again. First, they filled from the normal back row to the wall. Next a row was put in place in front of the front row and the aisles were narrowed. People were still standing at the door. I turned around and noticed the associate pastors on top of the office area at the back of the church. I hadn’t even known this balcony area existed. Still people stood. When the children were released for their service, all the adults had a seat. Amazing.
On Monday, Greg gave the devotional at the 8 a.m. chapel time for the students in the school based program. His message was, “Fulfill your calling, but in the power of the Holy Spirit just as Jesus did after his time of testing in the desert” – from Luke 4.
Other shots from this week… The cat is for my daughter-in-law. (Oh, how I love writing that!) We have about four cats that live on campus.
L to R: Claire Hollis (flute), Marina Antoline (clarinet), David Richmond (bassoon), Sandra Daniel (French Horn; obscured), Yuki Watanabe (oboe)
Being involved as faculty/staff at ANU is a rewarding but often intense job for Amy and me. We treasure the chances we have to get off campus and recreate. This afternoon was one of those times.
The Nairobi Music Society sponsored a concert by “Equatorial Winds,” a quintet including flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and French horn. Their 90-minute program included rousing pieces from Franz Danzi, Anton Piazolla and Antoine Joseph Reicha. In the group, three nations were represented (the U.S., U.K. and Japan). Nairobi is a real musical crossroads.
In two weeks, I’ll be singing tenor at the Christmas concerts for the Nairobi chorale. I attend rehearsal every Tuesday night. My soul soaks up the beauty that choir music gives me and I always come back refreshed.
Teachers work hard. Teachers in Kenya are no exception. Due to several variables in the past, many people had been allowed to teach, particularly at the primary level, without a bachelor’s degree. A few years ago, the government decided that this must change. A limited time was allowed for people to upgrade to a degree level education.
ANU took the challenge to educate those already teaching by offering courses during school vacation periods. Now, the students who come for the “school-based” program are not only getting education degrees. Many courses are given and several of those teachers who came originally for a bachelor’s have obtained a master’s degree.
The school-based students’ day begins with chapel.
It is great when these students are on campus. They give a different feel. They are older. They are hungry for education. They are intentional in studies and faith.
University Church of the Nazarene was so packed out on Sunday that the people who gave announcements found their seats had been quickly filled when they were on the platform. Children were on the laps of nearby adults and extra chairs were placed in the aisles.
When you think of vacation, do you think of taking classes? Do you cram your days with worship and learning? These students do.
Bonus pictures of the ANU campus this week 🙂
On Friday, November 4, our younger son, Brad, married Emily (Em) Papp. We flew from Nairobi to Des Moines, Iowa for the celebration. In the days leading up to the wedding, we had time as a family, including John, who came all the way from S. Korea to be the best man. It was the first time the four of us had been together in over 3 years. Now, we’re thrilled that it will be the five of us, as we welcomed Em to our family. It was also fun getting to know Em’s mom, Amy, and some of the the family on her side.
A lot of the Crofford extended family came for the wedding ceremony and reception. Greg’s dad and mom were there, as were four of Greg’s brothers, their spouses, and some of their children and grandchildren. Amy’s sister, Meg, her husband, Dan, and their children also came.
We’re safely back at ANU now, after 1 1/2 days of return travel. Our bodies are tired, but our hearts are overflowing!
Greg and I are visiting all of our favorite haunts from the last time that we lived in Nairobi. A week or so ago, we visited Yaya Centre. The Indian restaurant has changed its menu. Unfortunately, all our favorite dishes were casualties. We went to Java House instead and discovered that they now have really good (and spicy) burritos. Win!
While at Yaya, we also visited the music store, the craft store, the toy store, and the souvenir shop none of which had changed much in the past three years. I was reminded of how expensive embroidery kits are here. A small one cost almost $50 USD. That’s not happening. I will design my own.
We saved our favorite store for last… BookStop, Ltd.. As if we need to be told to stop for books! It sells new books, but also used books at prices that are not garage-sale-cheap, but also not outrageous. While I was perusing the used books, Greg meandered around the rest of the store. Then, he signaled me to come over to where he was. He held up a book and said, “She’s famous!” He then snapped the pictures in this post.
Prof Leah Marangu is well respected beyond the campus of Africa Nazarene University. It is an honor to serve under her leadership.
We are looking forward to the Commencement ceremonies on Friday. Please, say a prayer for all of us as the day will be glorious, but hectic as (I believe) ANU graduates a record number of students… again!