Not quite sure what we are doing in Kenya? Here are some frequently asked questions about us and our ministry:
When did you arrive in Kenya? We arrived here in Nairobi on August 9th, 2016.
Where do you live? Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya is located in East Africa, along the equator. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya and is an urban city of 3 million people. More specifically, we reside in the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi.
What kind of home do you live in? We live in a house, much like one you would find in the U.S. Due to the close proximity of the United Nations and US Embassy, the houses in our area are actually quite big! We are renting a 3 bed, 3 bath home in the upstairs of a house that has been converted into two homes.
What are you doing there? Youth ministry (Much like what Nate did at First Presbyterian Church in Georgia). We are the directors of youth ministry for BlueSky in the Gigiri neighborhood. We are able fulfill that role by partnering with International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Church and leading the church’s Jr. High and Sr. High youth ministry.
What responsibilities do you have? We are in charge of organizing weekly youth gatherings, as well as planning and facilitating events (such as Disciple Now, youth retreats, etc.). We also lead morning Bible studies and are pursuing relationships with students by attending their games and other school events.
What kind of students do you work with? International students: Kenyan, American, Korean, British, Canadian, French, German….kids from all of the world! Due to the United Nations being located in Nairobi, along with many foreign-based businesses and ministries, Nairobi is a hub for international folks.
Where do those students go to school? Most of the students we work with go to the International School of Kenya (ISK) or Rosslyn Academy. Both are private, American-accredited schools. Rosslyn is a Christian school, whereas ISK has no religious affiliation.
What is BlueSky? BlueSky began as a Christian summer camp, and has expanded into four different ministries that invest in and connect people in the Nairobi area. BlueSky currently consists of four parts: Climb, Adventure, Camp and Consulting.
How did you get connected with BlueSky? Nate first heard about BlueSky in 2010 through his youth pastor, Shawn Koonce. Shawn encouraged Nate to spend a summer as a camp counselor at Camp BlueSky. Shanna heard about BlueSky in 2006 through working at WinShape Wilderness (Teams). She was a camp counselor in 2007 and again in 2010. …We met each other while working together at camp in 2010!
Who will disciple you and hold you accountable? We are held accountable to both ICF Church and BlueSky. George, the former pastor of ICF, and his wife Martha are discipling us on a bi-weekly basis. We also take part in weekly staff devotions with BlueSky.
How long will you be in Kenya? We verbally committed to 2 years. However, we know that longevity is important in youth ministry, so we are hoping to stay for at least 3-4 years.
Will you be living off support? Yes. We have a team of monthly supporters who continually invest in our ministry financially and prayerfully. The money that is provided goes towards our salaries, housing, insurance, flights, ministry costs, etc. International Christian Fellowship Church and our home church First Presbyterian Church of Rome are our largest supporters and together are supporting us at over 50% of our total need. We are still in need of a few more monthly supporters.
When did you begin living off of support? We began living off of monthly support on August 1st, 2016. Any donations that were given before then are set aside for initial expenses like plane tickets, security deposit, vehicle costs, etc.
Was your son born in Kenya? Yes, our son Levi was born in Nairobi on September 10! We chose for him to have American citizenship, however he can apply for Kenyan citizenship when he is 18 years old.
Will you visit America? We do planning on visiting State-side every 1-2 years. We want to be careful not to have “one foot in America and one in Africa,” so our visits home will not be frequent. (We also want to honor our supporters by being diligent with our finances…flights are expensive!) We are, however, have a strong desire for our son to know his grandparents and other family members well. We believe visiting every couple of years will provide opportunities for us to remain connected well with family, supporters and friends. These trips home will also allow for us to reenergize and refresh.
Are you in danger? We can’t avoid the reality that Kenya is a third world country. Although we will not necessarily be in the more danger-prone areas of Kenya (many miles away, along the borders of Somalia and South Sudan) there is some risk of theft and terrorism. We have made our best effort to stay safe by hiring a night guard on our property and not leaving our valuables sitting out, etc. We do appreciate your prayers for safety!
What did you do with your house in the U.S.? We have been blessed with some WONDERFUL Berry College grads who are renting our house from us while we are overseas!
What is your plan after Kenya? It’s tough to say any definite plan right now, as we have no idea what the Lord has for us. We have tossed around the idea of eventually moving somewhere that Nate could finish his Master’s of Divinity from RTS. It is also a possibility that God would call us to Kenya longer, or even open a door to somewhere else. Really, the possibilities are endless!
Can I visit you? We would absolutely love to host visitors! Depending on the time of year, our schedule may not allow us to take you on many adventures out of the city. However, you are welcome to visit and see our ministry in Nairobi any time! (We may ask you to bring a few things from the “motherland” for us in exchange for a free place to stay!!)