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. (not a mudhut!). The biggest difference is that we have a wall around our property with an electric fence. Though we live in a relatively safe neighborhood, walls and a night-guard are a must!
Why don’t you post on this blog as often as you used to? We have found that it can be difficult to post on a public blog due the nature of our ministry. Because our students can find and access this blog, we choose to post more frequently in a closed group email to friends and supporters. Let us know if you would like to be included on that email!
What are you doing there? Youth ministry (Much like what Nate did at First Presbyterian Church in Georgia). Nate has a dual role being on the pastoral staff at International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Church and being the BlueSky Community Youth Coordinator. We do both middle school and high school youth ministry. Since the growth of our family, Shanna has stepped back from a primary role, but still leads multiple Bible studies and helps out where she can!
What responsibilities do you have? We are in charge of organizing weekly youth groups, as well as planning and facilitating events (such as Disciple Now, youth retreats, etc.). We also lead 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), Rosslyn Academy, or another international school in the area. 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, Team Building, Camp and Community.
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.
How long will you be in Kenya? Only God knows! …literally. We came with a commitment to stay at least 3-4 years (which has passed already), but we feel like God is calling us to be here for quite a while longer! We have no plans to move anytime soon.
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 about 50% of our total need. We are still in need of a few more monthly supporters.
Was your kids born in Kenya? Yes, our sons Levi and Andrew were born in Nairobi! There is a great hospital here named Aga Khan.
Will you visit America? We do planning on visiting the U.S. 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 do, 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!
Can I visit you? We absolutely love to host visitors! We have hosted many friends and supporters throughout our time here. Karibu (“you are welcome” in Swahili)!