When Your God Daughter Gets you a Ring

MeWe are back in full force camp mode but just before camp started back we had a few weeks of travel. During that time we essentially did two things, we took camp on the road to lots of places in Nairobi and out for students who might never have been able to experience camp otherwise. And we took our staff who are mostly from the US to see some of the amazing and beautiful sites in Kenya I’m going to write a few blog posts about those experiences.

As anyone who has followed our story knows we have been privileged enough to have our God Daughter, Nadia, come and serve with us this season of camp. It has been such a joy having her here, she is amazing at camp and personally it’s been a blessing to share these experiences with someone so close to us.

We have let our US staff have a few opportunities to experience a Maasai Market. The Maasai are one of the local tribes people and often near large tourism places they will have markets to sell various crafts, local made jewelry, clothing, or blankets aka shukas. It can be a stressful experience if you aren’t mentally and even physically prepared but it can also be fun if you don’t mind haggling. Nadia was of course pretty good at it and so she bought some items for herself but even more as gifts, I was the lucky recipients of one of those gifts.

I’m not saying I would ever go out and purchase a gold ring for myself and I don’t think anyone on the planet would ever in a million years buy me a gold ring. After all, my wedding band is made of blue rubber, however Nadia thought very differently and decided the thing my finger needed over anything else in the world in a gold ring with a picture on Kenya on it. Here it is in all of it’s glory. The Ring

Now immediately I knew something was wrong  with it and after some inspection and conversation we determined that Kenya was facing the wrong way on the ring. But, misprinted baseball cards are worth more money so maybe it isn’t so bad. The ring also has lots of jagged edges something I discovered every time I did, well anything. It also may have started to turn my finger the slightest shade of green and because it’s “adjustable” it pinches the fire out of my finger about twice a day. Because I’m back at camp and I don’t want to inadvertently cut anyone I am no longer wearing it, but I did proudly display it while we traveled.

Nadia will be the first to say that I am not very sentimental, however I can guarantee  I will keep this ring forever. I don’t love it but I love her and she gave it to me. It will all be special and important to me because she will always be special and important to me.

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Camp on the Road

We are back in full force camp mode but just before camp started back we had a few weeks of travel. During that time we essentially did two things, we took camp on the road to lots of places in Nairobi and out for students who might never have been able to experience camp otherwise. And we took our staff who are mostly from the US to see some of the amazing and beautiful sites in Kenya I’m going to write a few blog post about those experiences.

Because of the way the school systems fall in Kenya we have a gap between the first few weeks of camp and the last five sessions. During that time we want to give our staff an opportunity to relax, find time to grow in the their Faith, experience Kenya and give back to some of the communities we serve. Since we know camp and know how impactful it can be we decided this year to take that knowledge on the road and take Camp BlueSky to places and students who otherwise may never be able to be a part.

We chose four locations, one near Mathare a large slum in Nairobi. Two at schools we or some of our team have relationships with and one at a very remote village. Of all the amazing things we have done in Kenya these day camps may have been my favorite. The days weren’t complicated, we set up three or four stations with games and then divided the groups up by age and let them rotate through each station. Some of the students were much more standoffish at first but in the end most joined in. It was such a joy to see our team connect with these kids in such powerful ways. One of our girls sat and talked to a group of older girls all afternoon, they never did much but talk and it was perfect. Another of our guys is really good with a yo-yo and had a group of boys mesmerized with his tricks. When we left a bunch of the boys had tied string to rocks to emulate his tricks. In the end, all of our team connected with the students and were probably much more deeply impacted than even the kids were.

After the games we sat in groups and shared bible stories and worship songs, we prayed and talked about anything else that came up. It was truly four amazing days, days I may never forget and days I know we learned more about other cultures, ourselves and the God we serve.

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Playing with a Tire

img_3961We are back in full force camp mode but just before camp started back we had a few weeks of travel. During that time we essentially did two things, we took camp on the road to lots of places in Nairobi and out for students who might never have been able to experience camp otherwise. And we took our staff who are mostly from the US to see some of the amazing and beautiful sites in Kenya I’m going to write a few blog post about those experiences.

Our first adventure of “Camp BlueSky on the Road” was Starkids School and Rescue Center. This is a school Bronwyn and I have been building a relationship with for some time. We took the entire team to host a day of fun and games with the students there and in the process wanted to build relationships that could lead to opportunities to share Christ.

As I walked around watching our team doing amazing things a small boy approached me with a tire. He never said a word he just rolled his warped tire at me. I rolled it back to him and the game began. I don’t know what it was but for some reason I just felt at peace rolling this tire back and forth. I decided in my mind that I would continue to roll it as long as he wanted to. He was a little guy and I assumed he would get tired or board pretty quickly. That was definitely not the case, an hour later we were still rolling and he had still never said a word. Occasionally he would run over to a few rocks next to him and move them around as if he was keeping some kind of score but then he would be right back to rolling the tire. We rolled that tire until it was time to go. I felt blessed to do it.

Honestly, I feel like it’s probably like that with God. He is so big and powerful but also enjoys getting into our simple tasks with us. Enjoying our company and reminding us of how much He loves us.

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Connections that Last a Lifetime

People come into and out of our lives all the time, that’s a perfectly normal thing. But as you examine your life are you making it easy for people to come in and difficult for them to fall out? The metaphor I am about to use isn’t pretty, but I bet you remember it. Your life should be like a roach motel, you are open and inviting for people to want to come in and once they are there they are there forever. It’s so easy to let people fall in and out your life but I honestly think we need to work on making sure we keep people around for the long haul. I think a lot of people live their lives in tiny little communities that are made up mostly of their immediate family and never do life with anyone outside of that. In other words, they are only doing life with people they have to. Living that way is both boring and unbiblical. We are called to share our lives. Christians seem to love saying they are “sharing their Faith” and that’s great, but what else are you sharing? Are you sharing your table, your Saturdays, your prayer time or even your paycheck?

I’m not going to write this and say I have it all figured out because of course I don’t. I will say that Bronwyn and I have been working hard on sharing more of ourselves and because of that we have found and built and rich beautiful and diverse family here in Kenya. When we left Memphis, the hardest thing wasn’t leaving possessions. Most of what we had we sold, gave away or it burned up, what was hard was leaving people. Now that the time is coming when we will be leaving Kenya, it’s going to be the same thing all over again. A couple of people have said they don’t even want to talk about it until they must. However, I know two things! One, Bronwyn and I don’t let people fall out of our lives very easily and two I truly believe all my Brothers and Sisters in Christ will spend eternity together in perfect relationships with God and each other. So yes, temporarily it may be hard when we create these deep bonds and are then separated but that shouldn’t discourage us from doing it.

Be deliberate about building communities and let God bring people into your life. Don’t miss out on people. Examine your life and your community and make sure it’s full of people who love you and that you love.

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When God Moves

So, it’s true that I’m not a big crier. It’s not that I’m not emotional because I totally am, I just don’t have tears very often. However, in the last day and a half I have almost cried no less than six times. Now I want to make it clear that so far, I haven’t actually cried but I think it’s coming. The thing is I know exactly why. It’s this absolutely amazing staff team coupled with the powerful moving of The Holy Spirit.

We are in the middle of staff training and I have been so touched by the outpouring of love from this team that it keeps bringing me to ALMOST tears. The first time happened when I walked out of the office and saw that Victor and Nadia were sitting together on a swing. Victor, who has been staying with us and has become family and Nadia, who has been like a daughter to us were just sitting and having a normal conversation. I just looked at them and the worlds that God had brought together and just turned around and went back in the office so I wouldn’t break down right there. I thought it was just a quick onetime thing but what came later was so moving I nearly completely lost it.

I had asked several of our staff to prepare 2 Minute Testimonies, just a quick telling of how God was moving in their life and what God was showing them. All the camp team sat around in a circle and I asked if anyone wanted to share their testimonies more or less expecting that the ones has asked would be the ones to share. What happened next isn’t something you can ever plan or put on a schedule. God just filled the room with his presence and one after another the staff shared powerful stories of how God had transformed their lives or was in the process of transforming their lives. It was so overwhelming and powerful that now two days later as I type this, I’m still incredible moved by it. The next morning it was all anyone could talk about. I think people were incredible touched by everyone’s openness to share their brokenness. It was a powerful reminder that God uses broken people to help broken people and through the power of His love we can all be healed.

After several morning conversations I thought I was finally over my ALMOST being brought to tears. But then at lunch I received a note from one of my fellow staff team members and again I almost cried right into my Cream of Zucchini soup. God is moving in a powerful way here at camp and we don’t even have campers yet! I know that everyone here can feel how powerful this camp season will be. Please be praying for me and Bronwyn as well as our entire camp team.

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2019 Staff Team
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Making Time for God and Man

One of my favorite Quiet Time spots at camp

One of the best things about camp is that you are around amazing people all the time, Christ centered, loving people and amazing campers from all over the world. One of the hardest things about camp is that you are around other people literally all the time. I told a member of our team the other morning that Sunday mornings are one of my favorite times during camp because it’s just about the only time someone doesn’t need anything from me. Look, being around people is amazing! The first thing God ever said, “was not good” is found in Genesis 2:18 where it says, “It’s not good for man to be alone”. However, just as true is what is found in Luke 5:16 where it says, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray”. So, absolutely we need other people. We need to open our hearts to others and share our lives with them. But we also need to time alone with ourselves and with God to pray, process life, even tune out from the world at times. Life can be stressful, people can drain you, and you and I both need to just relax sometimes and know that those times are just as important as anything else you do.

During the three months of camp I would be completely worthless to my team and the campers God entrusted us with if I didn’t have time to be alone with God to recharge and make sure I’m aligned with God. The same is also true of our counselors, we must make time for them do the same thing. For these three months when we are all living in same place practically on top of each other it isn’t always easy, but it must be done. I mean Jesus did it so clearly, it’s extraordinarily important. It’s such an interesting thing, we need people in our lives, but we also need to be alone with God too.

I think an amazing example of that is Jesus in Garden of Gethsemane found in Matthew 26:36-56.

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus wanted to be alone with God but also not completely alone. Are you spending adequate time alone with God while also balancing that by not being alone? The right balance of both is healthy and biblical. This camp season please pray for Bronwyn and I as we work through just that for ourselves, our team, and even our campers. Also, examine your life and make sure you are doing the same. With the right balance you will be a better parent, grandparent, employee, employer, church member, and all-around person.

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93 Days

Bronwyn and I and the camp team are about to enter a 93-day period of nonstop ministry. This is not an exaggeration at all, the next 93 days we will be working pretty much day and night. Of course, this isn’t a surprise, although we do year around ministry this is the most important months of our time in Kenya. If we even began to try to rely on our own strength, we would fail. During this time, we have to rely on verses like Isaiah 40:29 and Ephesians 6:10 reminding ourselves that God has an endless supply of strength and that our cup can literally overflow with the abundance of His power.

Last year during camp season I only had one really rough day, I mean I had other rough times and was often in difficult situations and even discouraged but truly only had one really bad day. I honestly can’t even remember all the circumstances or even exactly what week it was but I remember being emotionally and even physically drained. That afternoon I went up to the area we call “The Impala Grounds” to pray and be close to God. What God did for me that day was astounding! OK, maybe it won’t sound that astounding to you but to me it meant everything and gave me the strength to get through the rest of the season.

I sat down and opened my Bible and was writing in my journal and after a while I walked over to one of the tin cans we keep out there. We mix kerosene and wood chips in the cans to make a light source at night. Inside the can was a ladybug, one of only three I’ve seen in all my traveling in Kenya and Tanzania. For those of you who have never heard me say it, seeing a lady bug always reminds me that God loves me. Lady Bug Saga  I didn’t cry, but I almost did. However, God wasn’t done yet.

I decided I needed to hear some of God’s word and went to one of my favorite places to hear it. I put on Jason Cook our pastor at Fellowship Memphis. I promise I chose a sermon at random, David and Goliath. It was how I was feeling, and I needed to hear it! You must click the link and listen to the first 10 seconds. Fellowship Memphis (David and Goliath) I didn’t remember that this was the sermon that was preached the day Fellowship prayed over us before we were supposed to move to Kenya just a few days before the fire that delayed us by a month. So, with this I cried, I wept tears of pain and joy and even now typing this I am getting emotional being reminded of what God will do to comfort His children.

So, for the next 93 days please remember Bronwyn and I and the rest of our camp team in prayer. We will have some hard days, but we have a Creator, Master, Savior, and King who loves us and will strengthen us when we remember to rely on Him. Don’t ever believe that God won’t give you more than you can handle, of course He will so you can be reminded that it is HIS power, not ours, that is our greatest strength.

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Ready to Build

As I think everyone is aware by now that Bronwyn and I have determined that God is calling us away from BlueSky and Kenya in August after the camp season. Our time here has been unbelievable and we know that the past few years we have walked in God’s perfect will for our lives. But, now it’s time for us to move to our next calling.  So of course, the question is what’s next? Well, we honestly don’t know. We have stated a few times that we feel God is calling us to trust Him, to step out in faith, to listen to Him and be led by the Holy Spirit. And the next question is, isn’t that scary? Well, yes and no. I honestly am finding it to be exciting, seldom do we as Christians truly step out in faith and let God take over and be the God of our lives. Moving to Kenya was very calculated, we spent over a year planning and preparing for it but now here we are with no house, no car, and no jobs as of August and I can tell you from the bottom of my heart I’m not worried at all. God, the creator of the Universe has a plan for us, and we are just going to walk in that plan.

2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Here is what I do know! God is calling us to build something. In my quiet times and prayer, I see it all the time, God is calling us to serve Him by building something. I don’t know what or where, but He does, and I trust His plans way more than I trust my own. I know that God has been preparing us for a long time for this next calling. We had things to learn about service and leadership, sacrifice and giving, hospitality and forgiveness and for whatever reason He knew the best place for us to learn those lessons was in Kenya. So, now we are ready for our next great calling, the call to build. The call to plant an orchard and see the fruit grow and spread throughout the world. I honestly am not trying to boast I’m just sure of my calling. My God, King, and Master has called me and Bronwyn to a season of faith and we are going to trust and obey. We are going to walk on His perfect path trusting Him with our very lives and we are excited to be on the journey.

Galatians 5:25  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 3:9 “ For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”IMG_3176

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Nadia Foster

img_3395Bronwyn and I have been very blessed to work with some amazing young people now on two continents. Some we have worked with only for a season and others we have been fortunate enough to do life with for a long time. There are more than a few who have become more like family than anything and one of them we are trying to help get to Kenya this summer to serve with us at camp. Before we moved to the other side of the world, Bronwyn and I ran a large teen program at the YMCA and honestly some of the people we are closest with in the world were part of that program.  There really wasn’t anyone we were any closer with than Nadia Foster. We began working with her before she was even a teenager and were fortunate enough to watch her grow into an a amazing young women and college student.

Now she feels called to come and serve the summer with us at Camp BlueSky. Nadia would be an unbelievable asset to our team, she has a tremendous amount of experience working camp and most of that experience comes from working with us. It’s honestly not just a matter of wanting her here, we could truly use her gifting, her heart and her abilities.  All of that being said I am asking that you would consider clicking the link and choosing her name, Nadia Foster, and helping support her to spend her summer with us in Kenya. Support Nadia Foster

Currently Nadia is a student at the University of Memphis, but I asked her to share a little of her heart, this is just an excerpt of what she sent:

It is in light of the position God has placed me in that I am able to attend the University of Memphis as a double major in psychology and social work with the aspirations of doing all that I love for His glory. It will be only through the grace of God and His calling for people from different areas of my journey thus far, to support me financially and prayerfully so that I may fulfill God’s current call on my life to go and serve. It is only God’s doing that I, Nadia Foster have the opportunity to put forth practice for not only my future career as a child counseling psychologist but more importantly my relationship with Christ. The opportunity to put forth all of that in being a camp counselor in Kenya this summer is truly a blessing. I would love for you to join my support team prayerfully and/or financially, to act as a catalyst in spreading the love of Jesus.”

Because this all came up so quickly, we honestly don’t have much time for her to get the support she needs so I am asking that if you are able to please act now to help get Nadia to Kenya. We are about $3000 from our needed goal and would really appreciate any amount. Thanks, and please be praying for her and us as we get ready for a crazy three straight months of nonstop ministry.  Support Nadia Foster


Important Update from Brett and Bronwyn

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“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

This morning during my quiet time I was reading Acts 14:24-28. At first glance there isn’t much here but for me it was very powerful and profound. The passage talks about Paul and Barnabas returning to Antioch at the end of their missionary journey. Well, after much praying and fasting Bronwyn and I have surprisingly felt that God is bringing us to the end of our missionary journey. Not immediately, we still have an entire season of camp to lead with an amazing staff and are truly excited about it! However, once we have closed camp, we will be completing this exciting and deeply transformative period of our lives. So, you may be asking, what’s next? Well, honestly we don’t know. Even with its challenges, we have loved living here and developed amazing relationships that will be tough to leave. All we know for now is God is moving telling us our time here is finished and to step out in Faith trusting Him with our very lives. We have been praying through and standing on these three verses.

2 Corinthians 5:7

“for we walk by faith, not by sight”

Psalms 47:4

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Galatians 5:25

“If we live by the spirit, let us also keep in step with the spirit

Now, some people may think it’s crazy that we are sharing this now and not waiting longer since we are still completely reliant on our financial partners. Well, we wanted to share for two reasons. First because we have always had such faithful partners and we would never want to do anything that kept them in the dark about what God is showing us. He has supplied all of our needs so far and I know that He will continue to do so. Second, we really want people to follow us on this faith journey. We want people praying for us, but we also want people to see that the God we serve is faithful and trustworthy. We truly want to live lives that point towards God and allow God to use us for whatever His purposes are. We are excited for what He has next for us, even though we don’t know what it is yet.

So, in the meantime please be praying that we can finish our time here strong and that his purposes for us here will be completed. Also pray that God will in His time show us His perfect path. And finally pray that God will use us as a testimony to believers and non-believers that His grace and power is all we need and that trusting in Him and in His perfect plan for our lives is not only possible but preferable.

It looks as though we will be leaving Kenya in late August and will continue to receive pay through BlueSky through October. We would ask that if possible, please continue your ongoing support through then. Also, if you have always intended to be a donor but never got around to it now would be a great time to join us. We greatly appreciate all your prayers and support; we absolutely could not do this without you. God has moved so many people to help us and for that we will be eternally thankful.

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