Stephanie Bys writes: I'm sure many of you are thinking "Are you people crazy?" or "What about the farm that you love so much?" or "How is this even going to work?"
Are we crazy? Yes we are crazy; crazy about Jesus and what He would have for us. As mentioned previously we want to follow Him and the things He would have for us. Romans 12:2 tells us "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." We have tried to simplify our life so that we can slow down and not be so busy that we don't have time for each other and others. If you know mine and Jeff's past then you already know that we are crazy. We met when I was 20 and have been together since (14 years if you really want to count). I dove into motherhood head first at the young age of 20 and now we have 10 children. One time we had another crazy idea (from God) to adopt a teenager...if you knew us then and didn't think that was crazy, you might be crazy :). Before James 1:27 was Jeff's life verse it was mine ;). I knew we needed to adopt (and we have once), I knew we needed some sort of group home with lots of kids who need love (coming soon in Kenya), I just knew that God had that for us, and Jeff's mission trip to Africa solidified that in my heart. John 14:18 says "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." I believe that Jesus is sending us to be His hands and feet in Kenya.
The farm...I will cry tears of sadness when we leave this place. In the short couple of months we've been here I've grown so much and made some incredible friendships. This place felt like home instantly and the kids have really blossomed here as well. I've done and learned things since being here that I never knew I needed to know. Just the other day I took a whole raw chicken (bought from the store :) and butchered it into pieces so it would cook faster. Until one of my closest friends showed me how to butcher a pig, which I never thought I would do, the thought never crossed my mind to cut a chicken up. It sounds silly I know, but if I bought a whole chicken I cooked it whole, if I wanted smaller pieces of chicken I bought different cuts. The move to the farm has also allowed us to get plugged back into church. Before we lived here we were so unsettled and not plugged into a certain church. Honestly we had been unplugged too long and forgot how great it was to be part of a church body. Being in a small town church with sweet, sweet people just warms my soul. So while we are only planning on being here, at the farm, for a year I am certain that we were directed here so we could see, learn, do, love and be loved before heading to Kenya.
This is one of the many amazing things we have experienced at the farm. Our oldest daughter Caitie helped deliver this sweet baby!
Another thing I'm sure some of you are wondering is "How is this going to work?". Well for starters we will be starting completely over in Kenya. We are looking at Kenya as a permanent move, not a 2 or 5 year mission. Kenya will be our home and where we plan to continue raising our children. Before leaving the states we will sell or donate most of our stuff. Right now the plan is to pack a small container with the few things we will be taking and have it shipped to Kenya, everything else will be sold or donated. The purchasing of our new land should be in the works soon and the building of the house and orphanage will start soon after it is purchased. I've been promised electricity and a proper bathroom, with a real working toilet! Most homes and even the school that we will be building next to don't currently have those things. As far as finances, we are trusting God to cover that. We have a house that will be sold soon and any money left after paying it off will go towards our new home in Kenya. We plan on doing a couple of fundraisers (I would love ideas on that if you have any) and once in Kenya we hope to be able to start a couple of micro businesses. Starting businesses there is awesome because we can help pastors and church members provide for their family and also help provide for ours. The cost of living in Africa is MUCH lower than what we are used to here, and we serve an amazing God who will always make sure our needs are met, even when we are 9,000 miles away from the only state we've ever lived in.
Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
If I left something out that you would like to know feel free to ask, we are an open book! We hope that you enjoy following us on this wild journey while we follow Jesus and what He would have for the Bys family!