Cupcakes and Terrorists

IMG_0696[1]You never know what is going to happen in life.  My last couple of weeks have been filled with fun.  We have Sandy visiting us from Minneapolis. We went on safari with a couple of the girls (the rest had gone in August) and got to see a cheetah!  Last Saturday we had family visiting day and many of the girls’ family members attended. The girls performed songs and dances as well as had a tasting of all of the wonderful things they have learned to bake. We had delightful visitors from England. It is so fun to watch the girls interact with people from all over the world.  I am constantly overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of those who visit.  Our latest visitors came with armloads of clothes and even a hand mixer to help us with our baking and frosting endeavors. 

The girls are perfecting their cake and cupcake making skills.  Word continues to spread around Nanyuki about our small cake baking business. This last week we worked on buttercream. Several generous people from the US sent decorating supplies to us in Sandy’s bags.  We are now able to practice using a pastry bag, spreading frosting and making cakes and cupcakes that are light and delicious. The girls have never frosted anything, never used a pastry bag, never even decorated a Christmas cooking. We had buttercream everywhere and our practice cookies were piled high with pink, green and orange frosting.

Speaking of cakes, I just have to share a quick story.  Last week we were asked to make a 50th birthday cake for a good friend of ours, Katy. Since we are still perfecting the vanilla cake, I made a practice one a couple of days before the birthday party.  It turned out perfectly.  Whew, it worked (thanks for the great recipe Kathleen)! As I carried the two cakes to the kitchen table to cool, one slowly slipped off the cooling rack and landed bottom side up on the floor.  Of course, my effort to catch the sliding cake sent the other one flying.  Luckily, that one landed right side up.  For a brief moment I just stared.  The girls came running to see what all the noise was.  At that point, what do you do? These were our trial cakes.  We needed to know if they turned out tasty or not. So, with all the girls watching, I leaned over and tasted a piece of the cake off the floor (not the part actually touching the floor). The girls were amazed.  Finally I said, “Well, aren’t you going to taste it? Just don’t eat the part touching the floor.” For a second they stood stunned, and then it was like piranhas and a piece of fresh meat.  Within seconds the cake was gone.  Thankfully, they did avoid the part where it hit the ground. I wish I had the moment on video.  Talk about a feeding frenzy!IMG_0688

In the midst of all the good, of cupcakes, of visitors and of days watching babies learn new things and their young moms excelling in school and skill training, Kenya is experiencing terrifying acts of violence. But in the midst of terrorists and violence I believe we need to celebrate the good that is happening in Kenya, the lives that are being changed, the love that is being shared and the work that God is doing. Though the bad is terrible, the good is still stronger and there is way more good going on here.

It seems surreal that I am sitting in a hotel room just a couple kilometers from a major terrorist attack.  It is even more surreal that I had planned to be in Nairobi at Westgate mall on Saturday, but at the last minute changed my plans. The Nakumatt there, is where I do a lot of Imara’s shopping.  I bought my phone in the small shop on the first floor.  I take visitors there whenever they are in town. Westgate is part of my normal route during stays in Nairobi, a place that reminds me a bit of being at home in an American mall, and now it is a place of unspeakable violence.

IMG_0704[1]Am I scared? No. I don’t know why I’m not except that I am being lifted up by hundreds of prayers. As I sit typing this post I can hear military helicopters circling above.  Everything around us is closed. Every Nakumatt in the city is closed. In this disaster, I still believe that God is good. I believe that he weeps at the cruelty that humans inflict on one another. And I have to believe that somehow, some way, he will redeem this terrible situation.  He didn’t cause it, humans did, but in the midst of the great sorrow, I pray that all of those affected by this senseless act of terrorism will experience the    loving care and comfort that only God can give.


Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.