Saturday, September 20, 2014

Karibu Nyumbani/Welcome Home

We arrived in Kenya a month ago, and have received warm welcomes from friends.  "Karibu nyumbani," was the repeated greeting from our Kenyan friends.  "Welcome home!"  As we have re-entered life and work here at Tenwek, we are indeed beginning to feel at home.

Our friend Evaline made us these baskets from used plastic bags.
Cecelia, Peris and Robert - friends and fellow workers - welcomed us with flowers and  a banner reading, "Karibu Nyumbani." It is great to have them as part of our daily lives once more.
Chai time!!

John's hospital staff Bible study group welcomed him and helped celebrate his birthday with us. They want to continue studying God's Word together, this time in our home Thursday evenings.

It was thrilling for Linda to be back to the monthly Center Leaders' Bible study for Tabitha Ministry. The women were eager to report of God's faithfulness during our year apart. 

Leaders studying John 14.

And Joel is enjoying reconnecting at Rift Valley Academy, as a junior. Each day it feels more like home.  We got to visit his classes this week during Open House. We wonder what he might become in future:

future chemist?

or carpenter?

We talk frequently to Rebecca and Julia, who are glad to be in their present homes, Wheaton College, in Illinois, and Indiana Wesleyan University.
Rebecca with drama friends
Friend Casey and Julia
We are so thankful that God has blessed us during this transition in our lives!  What a privilege to have Christ make his home in us as we dwell also in Him, wherever we are.  We are grateful for your prayers on our journey, and ask you to continue. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Homeward Bound!

If home is where the heart is, we have been quite at home these last two weeks, travelling with our three children and visiting many dear relatives in Nebraska and Montana.  Good old fashion fun was the agenda of our visits to the Black Hills in South Dakota and the Tetons in Wyoming.  Photographers captured our expressions as we rafted whitewater in the Snake River near the Tetons, and Rebecca got to “ride the bull” at one of the turbulent parts of the river. 

Our hearts are still full with thankfulness for the many friends who helped us move out of our home, preparing it for renters in late July, and for the caring commissioning prayer at our home church.  We have just a few errands left and more family good-byes before heading separate ways for the next two years.  Julia heads down to Indiana Wesleyan on Sunday, 8/17; Rebecca heads over to Wheaton College on Saturday, 8/23 and Linda, Joel and John fly to Kenya on Monday, 8/18.  We all know we are going to the places where God has called us, so despite the pain of splitting apart for a time, we rejoice that God is going with us.  And in that sense, we are all homeward bound.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Assured of God’s presence and leading, we move ahead towards our planned return in August.  We are SO grateful for the team of partners the Lord is raising up to be our senders.
No cross-cultural worker should leave home without a strong, integrated, educated, knowledgeable, excited-as-he/she-is, active team of people who have committed themselves to serving as senders. (Serving as Senders, by Neal Pirolo, p.20)

We met with a group of these enthused senders a few weeks ago in our home to update them on God’s leading, our schedule for the next few months, and our prayer concerns.  They are our “Timothy Team” from our home church.  Their role includes moral, logistical, financial, prayer, communication and re-entry and departure support.  Wow!  They are a huge encouragement to us!

Besides being some of our most informed and committed prayer warriors, they have been a big help in organizing the clearing of our yard of four-years’ worth of volunteer trees and weeds, getting our mower out of storage and into working condition, transport to and from the airport of luggage and mini-van, helping to set up our house and then take it down and pack things away, sending out our prayer letters, collecting and shipping items to us in Kenya, meeting regularly to pray, sending care packages, acting as liaisons in communication with groups from our church... We love these guys!  And thank God for them.

There are lots of others, too –
The retired couple who was overjoyed to inform us of their increase in Social Security pension so now they could give regularly to our ministry

 A couple in Arizona who host a holiday event each year to raise money for cows. They have sent us money for 4 cows this year.  Many others do similar thrusts.

Our home church, The Chapel, who supports us in prayer and finances.  The women’s Bible study groups from our church pray for specific needs of our Tabitha Ministry women every week, and collect offerings to purchase Bibles for the Kenyan ladies.

Visiting medical staff and spouses who experience hospital and village ministry with us during their visits to Kenya and then return to the US as enthusiastic champions in prayer, raising support and serving as consultants. 

We are especially thankful for the Southwestern Medical Clinic in Michigan.  John joined this group in 1991 and they support us in so many ways, including helping to find a place for John to plug into American medicine during our Home Ministry Assignment year.  This year it has been as a hospitalist, with a bit of walk-in clinic work, too.   They also volunteer their time to come alongside us in Kenya, sending groups to cover needy times at the hospital, and coming out as individuals.  Here is   pictured a group from SWMC that came to help during our last term.   Two physicians from our home town are currently at Tenwek and several others returned recently from a stint there.  Welcome back anytime, but preferably when we can be there to welcome you!

Family members who pray so regularly and give us up for years at a time.  They know how to come alongside us just when we need it (shopping, packing, painting, etc.) and are a tremendous support to us in so many ways…  Family members came from several states to welcome us last August, and helped celebrate the girls’ high school graduation.

The list is endless.  And so is our thanks to our Father who goes before us and surrounds us with His presence and with the presence of His people in such tangible ways.  In His grace we press on, assured and bolstered by the support and love of our senders.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

God! I am in your hands!

“God! I am in your hands! What you say will happen! Nothing baffles you!"  (A Nigerian prayer)

Since I have come home to Michigan for summer break I have realized what fast-paced lives my parents and brother have been living. I have been home for a week and the days and hours have flown by. Yet God fills each one of our hearts with peace and perseverance to move on – to tackle each day’s to-do list. Whether running errands, going to work, going to high school, cleaning, speaking at churches, corresponding with people, having devotions, or teaching kids to drive. God is sovereign.

Dad is working part time at Lakeland Hospital and walk-in clinic. On his days off he is over in Chicago helping his parents get their house ready to be put on the market in July. SO PLEASE PRAY THAT THE HOUSE WILL BE REPAIRED AND EMPTIED BY THEN!

Mom loves being a stay-at-home mom. A few of the things she does are helping her family excel  -whether that is prepping herself for talks that that she will share at different gatherings, making sure everything is packed and in the car for each trip, working in correspondence between churches and people from Kenya, making sure her kids are where they need to be.  THANK GOD FOR THE THREE MONTHS OF HAVING US ALL TOGETHER THIS SUMMER.


I (Julia)  successfully finished my freshman year of college at Indiana Wesleyan University. One step closer to nursing school in January 2015, Yea!! I am enjoying living with my family again and am excited that I will be living with them for 4 months, which is the longest period of time since my sophomore year of high school! I will be babysitting this summer and taking two online summer classes. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME THAT I WILL HAVE GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT DISCERNMENT.

Joel is finishing up his sophomore year of high school at St. Joseph public schools. He has been quite busy with all his classes and schoolwork. He has loved getting his drivers permit and driving for hours on our trips. PLEASE PRAY THAT HE WILL HAVE GOOD CLOSURE WITH HIS SCHOOL FRIENDS AND THAT HE WILL BE READY AND PREPARED TO RETURN TO KENYA AND BOARDING SCHOOL IN AUGUST.  He will be working odd jobs and doing volunteer work this summer.

A few glimpses into what the Spriegel clan has been up to since our last family update.

Rebecca and a group of her theater friends (the one on the left and with the white sweater)

First week of March I went on a winter backpacking trip (the one in the red and black hat) 

My family came and visited me at IWU to celebrate March Birthdays!

Mom went to Nebraska to visit her dad

On my parents' Virginia trip (Joel's Spring break) they spoke at a college and church and enjoyed a hike in a state park in West Virginia 

Mom spoke at a Christian Working Woman conference in the Chicago area

Cousin Bethany’s wedding in Nebraska

Joel and Rebecca dying Easter eggs

Enjoying a Selah concert at Moody

Speaking at a partner church - Moddersville Reformed church in Falmouth, Michigan

As days have flown by. I try to slow down and remember God’s grace and power to get us through each week and I know full well that He will continue to carry all of us on. Whether it is a quick ping pong game between my dad and me or my brother and me, a quick bike ride that turns into an hour long one with my brother, or a Selah concert at Moody, or a busy moment, I try to treasure each moment realizing it is a blessing from God and I won’t get to spend time with my family again after this summer for a long time. I calculated exactly how many days I had left with them here in the States. The staggering amount came out to 117 days on April 30th. “God! I am in your hands! What you say will happen! Nothing baffles you!"  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Halfway Home

Six months ago we came "home" to St. Joseph, Michigan, after completing our second term at Tenwek Hospital in western Kenya.  We have embraced the joys of reuniting with family and friends, the comforts of good roads and easier living in general, and the privilege of sharing what God is doing in Kenya with people who really care and are partnering with us.  We have also embraced the blessing of abundant snow!  Our home has looked like this for at least two months, having received about 10 feet of snow so far this winter.

There are aspects of this home which we have found difficult to embrace - the sliding morality of our country, the self-centered mentality of many, the blatant sexual messages in so much of what you see and hear, and the effort to eliminate religion and a core set of absolute values from education and life in general.  This is not news to you, or us, but when you don't have to look it in the face every day when you are on the other side of the world, it really hits you when you get here.

And now as we have rounded the corner into the New Year, we are done focusing on our family's adjustment to this home (which has gone very well, thank the Lord), and we are facing the preparations of heart, soul and mind for our return to our Kenyan home.  Six months of stateside living behind us, and six more months to go before changing settings.  How do we do this turn-around again? How can we face leaving Julia and Rebecca behind us in college when we go, and face leaving aging parents another time? Only with the deep assurance that the Lord is going before us and that this is His plan for us. We are seeking that assurance now, as we do each time we are back in the US, and we ask for your prayers.

In realizing our own need for more time for prayer, reflection and restoration, we have planned individual prayer days this month at our favorite retreat place, appropriately called "Still Waters."  Hopefully we will have several more of these days over the next months. And we are initiating this blog, to improve communication with those of you who read blogs, to enlist you to pray with us.

Halfway Home!  Halfway here, halfway there!  It keeps us reminded that we are sojourners, looking forward to our final Home with the Lord Jesus.  Pray for wisdom at this particular point in our journey, and for God's clear leading on the road ahead.