Friday, December 10, 2010
We return home with excitement, but we leave Kenya with a little bit of "not now". We're excited for salsa, McDonalds, and the people that we will get to connect with. I'm excited about driving in traffic with rules that actually are followed, Kerry is ready for a white Christmas in Colorado and the kids can't wait to see Memphis, they're golden doodle that we had to leave behind in Arkansas. We're all feeling the "not now" because November has finally been a good month after 4 extremely hard ones. They aren't boxes all over the house, our homework actually make sense when it comes home from school, and we'll miss our staff, students and new friends in Nairobi. I've decided in my mind that this is a good thing. Its good to want to come home, after all this is the background of our portrait. We count on our family and friends to be praying for us and supporting us as we experience God's calling in Kenya, so its fun to see them and reconnect. Its also good that we're wanting to go back (two months ago we'd weren't and coming home would of been dangerous). It was good to hear Kerry last night sigh when we slid into the bed with enough blankets to keep the cold out. It was that sigh you know means, "ahh this feels good, this is nice". I felt the same way. It was what she said that reminded me I'm married to an amazing woman of God, "I glad we're not apart of this, that home is over there." I wouldn't rate the Stickney family as the model missionary family. The make your family like this and you'll be able to serve the Lord where ever he places you. Far from it. I wouldn't say we've done the last 6 months in the best way possible, actually life together for 11 years. But I know this... we've trusted God and done the next thing.
My prayer for you and your family during this holiday season is that as you look back on this year and prepare for 2011 that you'll say to yourselves, "we've trusted God and done the next thing".
From the Stickney family to yours... Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. May this season be a sweet time with family and friends and find you following His lead in your lives.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Yesterday I was driving back to Nairobi from Nakuru after speaking to our freshman from Egerton University. Riding with me was one of our campus staff, Jonathan and one of our house staff, Tridings. Tridings and I are the same age, have kids the same age and both share the same sense of humor. During 2003 the students at First Baptist Harrison, Arkansas helped him buy an acre of land and build a small house on it. His wife lives there, farms the land and takes care of the kids. Triding pretty much runs the house, cooks for all of our conferences, keeps up with everything that needs to be fixed and is our "ear to the ground" guy with safety and the whatnot of the country.
As you travel from Nakuru to Nairobi you drive through the Great Rift Valley, passing three lakes, rolling hills, plains, forests, zebra, gazelle, baboons, and an extinct volcano. The scenery is breath taking and the traffic is terrifying, its the perfect collision of two opposites. Just after you pass the third lake, Naivasha, you begin to climb the east wall of the Rift Valley and as you crest the top of the climb you can see across the entire Rift Valley. The plains that stretch all the way to the Masi Mara seem to lead on forever, Mount Longonot towers in the middle of the valley and small farms dot the landscape. Like all good entrepreneur some locals have set up lookout points where tourists can stop, take in the view, buy a hot coke and buy carvings or whatever other piece of must have Kenya they can talk you into. I've stop plenty of times with teams from the US and in my travels back and forth now I almost run off the road trying to catch a glimpse as I keep moving to make good time.
Yesterday as we drove past the lookout points I asked Jonathan and Trini if they had ever stopped and looked. Jonathan said he thought his family stopped once or maybe it was a school trip, he couldn't remember. Triding, sitting in the back seat didn't hear me and so I asked again. He said "no, I never have. I've never had the time or the control to ask the bus I was on to stop. Its really beautiful, but I wonder what it looks like standing on the edge?" Tridings is 36, he's driven that road 300 times in his estimation and he's never stopped to look at one of the most majestic God creations in his own country.
During Worship today at church one of the slide backgrounds was of a mountain. When the slide came up, I stopped singing, sat down in my seat and dumbfounded thought to myself, why didn't you stop yesterday? I just kept driving, I had the ability to show something to Triding that he's never seen before and I kept moving. What was I thinking? Am I that driven? Am I that checked out of listening that the words "never" and "control" didn't compute?
Yes, I'm that insensitive, that clued out, that preoccupied.
I always pray for our students to be able to hear God's whispers, the have His ears, His eyes, His words as they walk through their days. I pray the same for me. Yesterday I missed a whisper. Seeing the valley probably wouldn't of changed Tridings life in any great way, but it might have. I might of missed a divine appointment with someone at the spot we stopped. I might of just needed to take in the beauty for myself and see His handwork to remind me of who He is. I will never know.
When the ton of bricks dropped in church on me today it made me realize how quickly I move. I move from this to that with just this amount of time in between for whats planned. I've ordered my day in such a way that my prayer can't be answered. God's whisper is going to fall on deaf ears because I'm on the way to something else.
It reminds me of a story my father used to tell me, funny enough about the same stretch of road. In the early 80's the Kenya Open was a golf tournament that used to attract some of the biggest names in golf. One year Sam Snead came to play and Mom and Dad followed him around the course the first day. After Sam's round, Dad approached him and asked if he liked to fish, and Sam gave a resounding "yes". Dad told him about a great bass lake about an hour from Nairobi, told him he had a boat and that he'd love to sneak him away after his morning round the next day. Sam agreed and the plan was finalized. The next day after Sam's morning round they grabbed a quick bite to eat in the club house and headed off to Naivasha. Dad, intent on getting Sam as much fishing time as possible, had the pedal to the medal. As they drove Sam kept pointing and asking Dad "what's that, who's that, what do they do?" Dad shot back quick answers concentrating on getting to the boat and out on the water. Finally, after flying by wildlife, scenery and interesting sights Sam had enough, turned and looked at Dad and said, "Allen, have you ever stopped and smelled the flowers?" There's a picture I have somewhere in an album of Dad and Sam Snead standing on the bow of the boat both holding huge bass at Lake Naivasha. Every time I see that picture I remember the story and remember the crack in his voice as he got to Sam's line.
As one of my pastors used to say, "Not that your like me, but if you are", I'd encourage you to STOP. Stop and smell the roses, stop long enough to look, stop long enough to listen.
Tridings and I have a date set to head back for the view soon.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
If you would of asked me a year ago where I thought we'd be 4 months into ministry in Kenya, I think my response would of been... settled in the house, kids settled in school, a good idea of our daily pattern, a working knowledge of each of our campuses and a good connection with our national staff team. I didn't know that I'd be where I am this evening as I write this.
The kids had their first day of school at their second school in 6 weeks today.
I've driven all over Nairobi searching for houses and have seen so many that I can't remember if that one has the shower and bath, or the other one has the great living room for ministry, or AHHHHH!
I do have a really good idea about what a normal week looks like, the problem is that normal week exists in Nakuru, not Nairobi.
Praise the Lord, my time on each of our campuses and spending time with staff has happened and I feel like we've got a great team of young men and women with a great plan to change the next generation of students in Kenya!
But my Creature of Habit wants to cry.... I'm learning that God has a surprise around every turn, maybe to keep me humble, most definitely to keep me desperate and convinced to keep all of us in just one habit....dependent on HIM.
I have to look at our 4 months in Nakuru and look through HIS lens, see HIS plan, notice HIS hand in the midst of what looks like chaos. Our ministry is connected to the community in the Nakuru area, thanks to the connections we've made at Virginia Children's Home and with a local high school. Meeting and getting to know three missionaries around the area will help us plug our students into the immediate community around them, helping them develop the habits of making a difference where God places them. I've been able to make it to every campus each month and begin to learn how our staff is reaching out and using their gifts.
It sounds holier than I really am (those of you that know me would agree), but I'm really refreshed at how God keeps us guessing. People tell me to "hang in there" and "keep at it", some here tell me I look tired. I'm thankful for the encouragement and the concern. I really am. BUT I love where God has me, where he has us. It does look and sound like chaos, but if you know the Stickney's (the younger ones that is) you know we've never done anything normal or easy. I love that our students get to watch us live life, trust God and do the next thing.
I want to encourage you to be ready for the surprise around the next turn and look for HIM as you round it! After all I'm a creature of habit and I want to be in the habit of TRUSTING HIM.
So Quick Update:
*Sydney & Nathan-Raegan have moved to the American school in Nairobi called Rosslyn. (Its a long story, ask Kerry she's better at telling it)
*We will move to Nairobi, our home campus will become Kenyatta University, but Tom will continue to invest time on every campus that we minister on.
*We officially have begun partnering with COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL and their Leadership Development Program. One of Tom's focuses at Kenyatta will be the 50+ students they have there. We will be filling the Spiritual Development part of the program on any campus that we have staff on for Compassion.
*We head home December 5th, arriving in Dallas Dec. 6th (we'd love to see you and eat salsa or drink starbucks together)
How you can Pray:
*Safe, Good Housing option in Nairobi (car jackings and break-ins are the norm in some areas of the city)
*Quick transition for Syd and Rae (they loved their first day of school today)
*Great opportunities at Kenyatta University
*Safety for Tom as he travels to the other campuses (the most dangerous thing we do here is driving)
*Kerry to connect with some ladies and moms as she builds a support group around her
*Continued Support from current ACO Partners and New ones that we are able to meet in December & January
*An amazing, faithful, inspiring Young man or Young woman to lead the next generation of students at our home church VRBC in Coppell where Tom left as Minister to Students.
*McDonalds to open a francise in Nairobi :)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We took the kids swimming and met a family from another part of the world. We talked about kids, life, school and other things. Thought I'd met a nice guy who I'd see around here and then. The same family happened to come to dinner this past weekend after Kerry bumped into them and asked them over. My new friends Faith story is amazing! We talked for about 2 hours about his conversion experience from Atheist to Christian. As we talked about faith, his questions were exciting, fresh and fun to answer. What I realized was that his experience was so raw and uncontrolled. So unlike what we might hear in our typical Christian circles. I sent him away with a Bible, My Utmost for His Highest & Messy Spirituality. That should do a good job of confusing the heck out of him or awakening his Faith. Either way I can't wait to see him and see how his "new" approach is going. Funny, I came to Kenya thinking I'd pour into college kids and I'm helping a British born again Atheist develop his faith.
Have you ever walked through your day waiting for God's plan to take shape? I am.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I’m also really excited about what has been put into place here in Nakuru. You saw the pictures of our 1st year (freshman) picnic where we had 40 students show. This summer our Regional Director for the northern part of the country, Big Vic, took 5 sophomores and did a 2-month internship with them. These students are now leading Bible studies for the 40 freshmen that came to the picnic. Our staff on Egerton is now able to invest in the sophomores as they invest in the freshmen! The NEW piece of helping students connect with their surrounding community has begun as well. Julius Odua, just came on staff in Nakuru to help our Egerton staff connect students in the Virginia Home Orphanage and in two local high schools. The groups will begin going this week to the campuses and 3 different groups will be spending an afternoon in the orphanage teaching and mentoring. The orphanage is in dire need of teachers since all but 2 walked out 4 days in the school year with better offers. The two teachers have been covering 7 classes!
God is at work! Its fun to see and at the same time Satan is not pleased. Please continue to pray for our family as we settle into life here. Everyday continues to be a battle of new things; new experiences and situations that are nothing like our American culture. Pray for Sydney and Raegan with school. Pray for Kerry and I to remain ONE united front, always communicating with each other. Pray that we find some good solid friends that we can do life together with. Pray for our conference next weekend…we’re expecting 60 of our key students from 5 campuses.
With that I’ll say goodbye. I promise to stay more on top of this blog. I’ve sat down every day this week to write this and each time someone somewhere in the country has needed something.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Greetings from Nakuru:
The kids and I are spending our first night in the house by ourselves. Tom is in Nairobi for the night. They don’t seem bothered at all. Can’t say that I feel quite the same. I think I’ll end up sleeping in their new bunk beds with them. So glad we got the full size mattress on bottom.
We are still in the process of fighting day to day struggles of getting the house in order; can the electrician come again today, the water still not pumping up to the tanks, building this and that, the fundis (workers) hauling gravel and materials up my driveway with a wheel barrel 20 times a day, trying to figure out what in the world to use for cat litter, I wish I had on video what the “pet” store owner and his customer said to me and the way they looked at me when I asked if they carried cat litter. Long Pause….”You mean where they use the toilet?” “Most people here use soil.” Duh, how stupid am I, of course I should think to just go dig up the yard and put it in a box and that is exactly the same thing as cat littler. Oh well, at least they had a good laugh. The British Lady gave me a scowl and some explanation about you could use grat. Oh, thanks so much. I’ll run to the Grat store and get some right away. And yes, of course I couldn’t help myself but to ask her what grat was? I wont bother explaining because I didn’t understand what she said, I don’t know if it was the british accent or the you’re the stupidest American in the world trying to buy cat litter in Africa tone that kept me from understanding. We were hoping the month of August would have been us adjusting and enjoying our new “set up” home and helping the kids to have fun every day so they don’t miss home too much. But instead it has been a month filled with workers at the house every day trying to fix one thing or another and us running back and forth to town for materials. The crate arrived the day before we left for Mombassa. I’ve had a total of about 3 days to unpack and have managed to unpack maybe 10 boxes. The great idea of how neatly the ikea furniture would pack in the crate is being second guessed as it seems to take poor Tom about 3 hours to put together each piece. The new coffee table and tv stand however are beautiful in my yellow living room and it brought such a surprising joy today to unpack some knick knacks that made the room feel so cozy. Like the coasters we’ve had since we got married, my faith love and joy letters. So even though I’m surrounded by a maze of boxes in every direction I’m thankful for these small gifts of comfort.
I was hoping to be much more plugged into ministry at this point, but I have only had one night of knocking on doors to share the gospel and I think I will be unable to be involved in the girls bible studies for another 2-4 weeks. Even though it’s not what I had hoped, I know I need more time to get our home in order and get my little ones comfortable in school and myself able to somewhat exist here, like maybe go to the grocery store by myself. I keep reminding myself of a missionary story that I randomly read recently (I’m not the avid reader). She had spent all this training and time in nursing school and missionary training and when she got on the field it seemed that all God wanted her to do was hand out water to the children that knocked on her door daily. She felt so wasted until God finally told her, “Are you willing to “just” hand out water for me all day?” She was a nurse and of course had different ideas for what her being a missionary would look like.
The kids are starting school next Monday and I would be so grateful for your prayers: specifically about:
*Their teachers being kind and gentle
*Adjusting to non filtered water
*Adjusting to food that looks different that especially Sydney probably will
not eat. I’m hoping their not forced to eat their lunches or miss privileges if
they don’t. I am fearful of the British system and it’s strictness.
*making new friends quickly. They are desperate for friends and playmates.
Thank you for sharing these prayer requests for the kids with your Sunday school classes or small groups this week.
Some of you have asked about sending care packages. There is a girl coming from Plano September 23rd. She can bring several extra suitcases. I have made a list of the items we wish we would have brought more of and if you would like to pick any of these items up and take them by the church. I have asked Jennifer Jones if she would have a box in her office where they could be dropped off. I have not heard back form Jennifer for sure, but if she doesn’t have room, I’m sure we can start a box somewhere at the church, so that maybe we could just get one person to drop them by Plano, Tom’s mom’s house. If anyone is out of town and would like to mail a wal-mart gift card to someone who might be willing to pick these things up in Dallas so you don’t have to pay for shipping, let me know and I can give you a name and address. Please comment if you think you might pick up a certain item under this note so someone else will know not to get that one and also so I can maybe find someone to make a last minute wal-mart trip if need be. It would be great if these items could be collected by September 13.
-Stawberry or cherry caugh drops
-Honey-lemon caugh drops
-Quacker strawberries & cream instant oatmeal. 3 or more boxes.
(pack packages out of box in Tupperware)
-Apple sauce, ( large plastic jar or disposable cups)
-(6-10boxes) Pop tarts -brown sugar/cinnamon & strawberry w/ frosting (also
pack in Tupperware if possible)
-Tupperware ( set of 20 or whatever set comes in). Please unpack and pack other soft food items in Tupperware to save room; hand me down tupperware would be great too, doesn’t need to be new. If you just want to donate one container.
-Bandaids, (assorted sizes & some large bandage coverings)
-2 bottles of Childrens pepto bismol chewable tablets
-Sudafed-behind counter kind
-4 Large ziplock bags (freezer)
-4 Sandwich size ziplock bags (freezer)
-Pudding powder boxes ( chocolate, vanilla)
-2-3 Lysol spray
2 Franks hot sauce
4 Rasberry Hazelnut salad dressing
2 Thousand island salad dressing
Sonny bryans barbeque sauce
Any good salsa
Large purple or pink dog collar & leash
Baby shampoo ( purple kind, lavendar)
Loreal 28 day hair color, level 2, dark blonde or light brown. NO Ash, Warm or Golden in the name of the color
If anyone is good friends with a vet, I know these are expensive items so anything to help with fleas/ticks would be appreciated.
Flea collar-dogs over 50 lbs
Frontline (dog tick flea killer) for dogs over 50 lbs
Revolution (flea tick/heartworm medicine from vet). for dogs over 50 lbs
Cat flea/tick medicine
Large Horn from a Mac truck!
Monday, August 2, 2010
I had my first breakdown this week when left to myself in the house for a few hours because Tom was not feeling well.You would have been extremely amused at the fight I had with some shelves and a sewing machine Sunday.. The shelves won.They did not budge no matter how hard I hit them with the 100 year old solid metal sewing machine. Tom was sitting there watching me and calmly said in “Tom manner”, you might need that sewing machine in a few weeks to fix your curtains. :) The next day there were painters and a carpenter at my house. I have a good husband.
The kids are enjoying their new house and yard even though they are anxiously awaiting their bikes and bunk beds to arrive on the crate. Star Wars and Narnia are their huge enchantments right now as they watch as much as we will allow them to on their little portable dvd player in their new BLUE room. They love it. It’s cracking me up that they are perfectly content with their little portable dvd player laying on a twin bed next to each other on their bellies watching. And we thought they needed a TV room in Dallas. So silly, we are. No worries, we’ll have them spoiled and rotten again in no time if the crate ever arrives and their toy room/tv room gets set up. They also are spending a lot of time enacting their star wars and Narnia adventures throughout our yard. It’s very interesting to watch these two worlds of Narnia and Star Wars merge into one.
The tree that fell over the top of the house during the 10 minute hail storm has been removed. The tree cutter guy brought his machete and overlooked the tall ladder and shimmied up the tree with his legs wrapped around it and began cutting. Ropes were tied around the sections that he cut off and tried to be pulled away from the house as they fell to the ground. Only one window was busted during the whole event. Sequinta (our new contractor friend from up the street) has been at the house almost daily solving new problems that occur. He had someone there to replace the window by the afternoon, however because the rains were coming in again, the window pane slipped and broke but was placed gently in to keep water and mosquitos out until he could get another piece the next day. He is trying to find tiles for the roof to replace the broken ones and hopes to have those done next week.
Raegan asks daily when we are returning to Texas. Tonight, we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, friend okra, macaroni and cheese and black eyed peas for supper. Sydney says, “Mom, this taste like “Texas Corn”. And Raegan says, I wish they had cheese dip and salsa in Africa. Bless his heart, not a day goes by that he doesn’t say he misses Texas or wishes he was in Texas
Ellias was so excited about his new push lawnmower that Tom spent one afternoon this week buying. There are no words to express the amount of time it takes to accomplish the task of buying something, rather it be going to the grocery store, not to mention the hardware store. Tom tried to drop me off and run get gas for the stove to pick up another liter of paint, that we had put in the order for 3 hours earlier. The manager says, “Well, you can take my guy to the paint supply place across town or we might have it ready tomorrow.” Well, sure why not. Can you imagine running the paint guy from Wal-Mart in one town over to the next Wal Mart to get the appropriate base paint and bringing him back and then waiting for him to mixi it! Welcome to Kenya. It was at this point in the day that we decided a bank account could wait another day, Since the first day Tom tried to open an account, they told him even if he had a million dollars he could not open it without 5 letters from different organizations recommending him and confirming who he was. However, the opposite of that is to register a child at school, you just fill out the form. No need for certificates of any kind. We are learning to understand the Kenyan phrase, “Tomorrow is a day.”
Our Family Church lesson this morning was on Joshua and the kids memory verse this week is “Do not fear!” Isaiah 35:4. We re-enacted the Israelites following Joshua (tom) into the promised land and looked for scary giants in the yard. (like the massive bird we saw cross behind some flowers) We took notice of all the beautiful blessings of the promised land like the flowers and the strong trees. We talked to the children about anything they might be scared of and prayed together about their bicycles arriving safely, the crate getting here soon, mommy sleeping better at night and safety in travel to Nairobi tomorrow. I highly recommend the pre-K Sunday school lesson for family church any Sunday, but only if your willing to dress up and act out the story together. Thank you VRBC youth for the idea. They did such a good job at the orphanages getting the students involved acting out the stories instead of just listening to them.
Everywhere I turn God is leading me to study Joshua and this move to Canaan. This journey to the promised land. This following of God. This when he says do something, you go first thing in the morning to do it-whenever your morning is, mine is normally not the same time as the rest of the world.
I am so moved today by what Priscilla (one in a million bible study, says). It’s not enough any more to hear the stories of the saints who have heard the voice of God, seen the miracles of God, experienced the power of God. I want to experience the power of God, hear the voice of God and expect the miracles of God in MY life. My I trust that my his power is mighty enough for my seas to be parted. May I be open and ready to hear when he speaks, and to act when he moves.
Raegan missing home and everyone who meant so much to him
Sydney-keeps making strides in her communication and learning
Kerry-patience with new pace of life, for new relationships & friendships to form quickly
Tom-wisdom, new student orientation at Moi and Egerton University
Safety for our team going to Botswania for 2 weeks to help missionaries there start college ministry
Negotiations to buy house and vehicles
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Team leaves for orphanage tour. Babysitter is not here yet, so I stay. I think (“ Maybe I will read or rest”)
Alice needs to go to the Doctor. He says he can see her NOW. Babysitter arrives. I will go with Alice. (“maybe I will read or work on pictures while I wait at doctor’s office.”)
Alice: “Kerry could you drive, I’m not feeling well.”
Kerry: “I guess; should I get my license?”
Alice: “No, it’ll be ok.
Call to Tom. “WHAT? Your driving where? Take your license.”
(“OMG, we are in Nairobi, so much for my plan to learn to drive in 3 months or so in the much slower paced town of Nakuru. It’s Friday of course. Busier day of traffic, even though all days of traffic in Nairobi is CRAZY. Well, here we go, no lessons, no country roads, just masses of people and cars and matatus to swerve between.”)
We arrive at hospital. Parking lot is similar to elementary car pool line on steroids. Cars are parked on each side of me in 1 lane of spots and cars are parked parallel behind the parked cars. One line of traffic is driving between this garbled mess.
Alice: “I’ll jump out here. Go up and around and left and you’ll see a parking lot. Give the man your ticket and he’ll give you another. You’ll see it around the corner.”
I see nothing now but a jumbled mess of cars. I pull forward, I find "up and around and left and parking lot", Parking Lot Closed! Awesome. What now? I will just circle. I don’t know where I am so I can’t get out of parking lot. 5 very slow circles. I’m calling Tom now, what am I supposed to do. He says Edwin is close. He will come to help. A man knocks on my window. I’m nervous about opening it, I’m holding up the circle of traffic. He asks me if I need help; if I would like his parking spot? I say yes, so he gets a van parked parallel to move up, he moves his car and lets me back into his spot. (Did I mention back in? It couldn’t be as easy as pulling into a spot in this jam of traffic. J)
The van pulls back in front of me and I wait hoping I didn’t just trap my self in perfectly to this spot to be robbed. But the man was just a gift from God, who gave me his spot. We joke about praying for parking spots close at Wal Mart. I always think that’s lame, but today I have no doubt God had that man give me his spot. I think, what now. I look down, Alice has left her phone in the car, she has no idea where I am parked and I have no idea where her doctor’s office is. Edwin arrives! He gets out and talks to the guy blocking me in. Their conversation is in Swahili-this day is great motivation for me to speed up my learning of Swahili. Edwin finds out that the man will be there to move when we come out of the doctor, so we set off to find Alice in the hospital. Edwin finds out from the reception where his office is and we head to the elevators. We get on first; we are going to 5th floor. Other people get on. Edwin nudges me to tell me we must get off. I’m confused but I do. I then ask why. He says. “Too much Weight! This was definitely the highlight of the day getting told to get off the elevator because I weighed too much! I’m loving it. Seriously, it’s getting hysterical. How funny is that. Can you imagine if that happened to us in America, we would be completely humiliated and freaking out about it, but trust me it was just too funny for words. Day 2 in Kenya, get off the elevator your too fat! J Love it!
I managed to drive us several other spots to pick up prescriptions. So driving lessons complete. Nakuru will be like the difference of New York City and West Texas farm roads now. One obstacle accomplished!