Photo by Tony Cece

Monday, August 5, 2013

We're Back in the States!

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Well, our Monday morning adventures started with some last minute purchases at the airport in Dubai before boarding our overbooked flight to the US of A. When observing the massive amount of people join us on this flight, we came to the scary realization that many children would accompany us on this 14hr flight. Thank God for sleep aids.

The flight was relatively uneventful. There was a huge selection of good movies and shows to entertain. There were some points along the way where the turbulence was really bad. But our God is good and in control so He eventually made the rest of the way clear and smooth for us. Due to seats being rearranged within the group last minute, one team member was able to sit next to a girl from Uganda visiting the US for the first time. After some time talking the team member was able to share some relaxation techniques, which seemed to help calm her nerves about being here alone.

We arrived at Dullas International Airport at 8am and made it through baggage claim and customs without any problems. It was at the airport that we said bye to Maria, Dr. Kathy, and Tracy. On the bus ride home we had our final debriefing and prayer. During this debriefing many had to focus hard on this trip to remember how we felt about what we did in Kenya. It was as if being in Dubai had served as a buffer for us emotionally and cognitively. Stopping at Dubai was intentional in that it helped us to emotionally close out of what happened in Kenya.  This was a trip that I don’t think any of us will forget. The amount of growth in counseling skills and personal growth is immeasurable.  The people of Kenya have touched our hearts and we hope that the seeds planted will sprout and flourish. The trainings and information presented to the Kenyans were so new to them. Therefore Matthew 13 seems to have been a constant thought and prayer throughout the trip.

We are so thankful for this experience and for all who have supported us financially and through prayer. As you may have read, some days were really hard and it is because of your prayers and the Lord’s goodness that we were able to make it through.


- Jen and Sarah 

Dubai Day 2

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

We started our morning with the hotel breakfast – an all you can eat YUMMY buffet. We ate what we could, knowing we could not eat or drink anything in public until 7pm because of Ramadan. We met our joyful tour guide, who showed us New Dubai – which included a trip to Atlantis Resort, the marina, Emirates Mall, the Burj Khalifa (the tallest man-made structure in the world), and Dubai Mall (which also has an aquarium, ice skating rink, and movie theater inside). Some of our group headed to the beach and swam in the Persian Gulf. It was a fun day of Rest & Relaxation before we board our flight tonight. Please pray all our baggage arrives in DC with us tomorrow morning. Thanks again for all of your prayers!

-Jen & Kelly 

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Saturday 08-03-2013

Dubai! The place as hot as hades! If you are not a Christian and are questioning salvation, come to Dubai – it is so hot. Spending an eternity with Jesus going to be so good. Judging from today’s heat, hell is not worth the temporary joy of sinful living.

We arrived in Dubai around 5am this lovely Saturday morning. We embraced the thick, warm, humid air for a total of 5 seconds. This is such a drastic difference from the weather that we have had these past few weeks. After arriving at the airport we had a short drive to the hotel in which we are staying. Let me tell you, it is such a relief to finally settle down for a hours/days and just relax. Unfortunately we were unable to move into our rooms this morning so our belongings went into storage. A lovely breakfast was provided at the hotel. Omelets and mixed fruit were very welcomed as breakfast foods compared to what we have had. We soon left for a bus tour of Old Dubai. I’m not quite sure how much information everyone retained during the tour because it looked like everyone was passed out on the bus due to utter exhaustion. Throughout the tour we were able to get off the bus and walk through a beautifully completed museum, harbor, and the spice and gold souks. The people of Dubai are very pleasant and it was a wonderful experience being immersed in the sights and smells of the city.

After spending about 2 hours bargaining and sweating, we finally made our way back to the hotel to settle in for a few hours. Now we are getting ready for a ferry dinner cruise. According to Dr. Keyes, we worked hard so now we are playing hard. We are looking forward to a good time simply enjoying each other’s company.

Having a final meal together and talking about everyday life events was a nice break from the counseling like talk that we have become accustomed to over these past two weeks. There were a variety of foods to try, some ranging from relatively mild to others being very spicy, all of which were very good. The atmosphere was very warm and inviting.  Being immersed in this culture is an experience that many are not likely to forget.  We closed the evening by debriefing, as usual, and are preparing for our final day here and flight home.

- Jen, Kelly, and Sarah


Friday 08-02-2013

This morning, we said our goodbyes to the sweet kiddos and wonderful staff of Into Abba’s Arms and headed to Nairobi. We have the day today to rest and explore before our flight to Dubai. On our way to Nairobi, we stopped at a bead and pottery workshop and store, Kazuri. Kazuri is a Swahili word which means “small and beautiful.”  We heard the story of how the founder started the organization with a dream to help single and disadvantaged women of the community.  We received a short tour of the bead and pottery making process from start to finish. 

Once in Nairobi some went to see the baby elephants while others went and finished last minute shopping and self-care activities.  When it came time for our flight we thought everything was going smooth and we arrived in plenty of time to check in roam the airport before we left.  However, we did not account for our trunk in one of the vans getting stuck and having the drivers use every wrench, bar, and screw driver they had to try and pry it open.  After many prayers and much sweating the door finally popped open.   We had several other complications that made us worry whether or not we would make out flight or not.  If you have ever seen a movie where groups are running through the airport to catch their flight, those scenes could accurately describe what we looked like.  We all safely arrived and made our flight. 

- Jen and Kelly

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Men’s Conference

Thursday 08-01-2013

We had our morning devotionals after breakfast.  The passage from I Corinthians 3 was shared which discussed the necessity to nurture with milk before meat.  The message to us was that we were sharing some very advanced material during these conferences and perhaps it is too much to ‘digest’ for some.  After a time of prayer that the hearts of the men would be open to change and that we would be sensitive to them,  we walked to the chapel to await the men.

The weather was the coldest we have experienced this trip.  It was very misty as well.  By 9:30 ish, about 18 were gathered so we started our lively time of worship and praise.  Dr. Reese led the first session on Justice.  It was a very moving presentation emphasizing the concept of Shalom, sharing to the poor and making and keeping good relationships.  Two verses that illustrated his talk were from Micah 6:6-8: “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before thy high God?  Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?  Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil?  Shall I give my firstborn form by transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?” The other verse that concluded his talk was from Isaiah 58:10:  “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noon day.”  Dr. Reese pointed out that the staff at Into Abba’s Arms personifies this verse.  They extend their souls to the hungry little ones and satisfy their afflicted souls.  Their light shines into the darkness.

At the end of Dr. Reese’s presentation we had 35 attendees.  Dr. Keyes decided to break into two large groups with Dr. Reese leading one and Dr. Keyes the other.  We had lively discussions about the concept of equality in the home and the changing role of the husband and the father.  Several of the men were very open to this change while others were more cautions to adopt the new ideas.  One man shared that the schools were teaching the importance of more openness in the family.  Again, some fathers are happy about receiving this new information while others are resistant to the children having such influence over the family.  It is traditional for the father in the family to have full authority over the children, the wife and the running of the household.  They are learning see how sharing power and control with their wives will lead to a happier home and a more fulfilling relationship.
We then broke for tea.  After tea we had a short time of prayer and worship.  Dr. Harris and Dr. Keyes lead a presentation on Domestic Violence and then two students presented on Logical Consequences vs. Punishment to tie in with the domestic violence.

After supervision we had lunch of rice, beans and cabbage and then another time of worship.  We then broke into our three groups.  The 12 men in Dr. Keyes group were all interested in sharing their reactions to the concept of Diffusing Anger.  The details of this technique had to be clarified in terms of the couple understanding the procedure so that the wife would know why the husband was stepping out for an hour.  It seemed that everyone thought that this technique was a good one and that they should be more transparent in the area of finances so that their wives would understand what was possible financially and what was not.  Many expressed the desire for us to return to give a couple’s workshop next time we come.  Walking back to the chapel, our interpreter, Stanley told us how excited he was about what he had learned and that he intends to hold a couple’s workshop at his church.

The last session was on Drugs and Alcohol. When the presentation ended, we held a debriefing with all of the interpreters. The pastors each shared how thankful they were that we came and for the information and resources they were given. They looked forward to being able to share this information with their churches and their communities and said they had many ideas for new sermons. After many hugs, thank yous, tears, and a group picture we departed ways and began the work of packing our bags to head home. Please pray for safe travel as we head out tomorrow and for rest and refreshment during our time in Dubai.

- Cathy, Jen and Kristina