Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where’s the adventure?

This is why we are here. To wipe a tear and tell of His Love.

A couple of days ago I was thinking about how things are going here. I asked myself the question, “Where’s the adventure for us? Where are the risks?”  I read a lot of missionary stories and know that if there’s no risk involved you’re probably not accomplishing much. Recently I’ve read about George Muller and Hudson Taylor and how they depended completely on God to meet their needs. Last week I heard of two missionaries here who had suffered financial loss by trusting people who took advantage of them. The loss wasn’t personal but it was money given to help needy people. We’ve visited the slums, the dump where people actually live off the garbage, and even the streets of Nakuru, one of the fasted growing cities in Africa. So I wonder what God wants from us here in our ministry. I know that God is our provider and that He will never stay in our debt. But, are we trusting in Him? Are we looking to Him or just considering our own means? I don’t know much about ‘fund raising’ but I do know how to give, how to take care of people and how to love. Not that I ever do so in any case perfectly but I am learning. So I thanked God for all He has done and asked Him to lead us into His will. Let the adventure begin again.

Yesterday we went to a restaurant and someone stole my purse. I’m usually so careful but yesterday I let my guard down. I lost some money and credit cards (we disabled the cards right away). I lost my iphone, and my Kenya cell phone, but I didn’t have any personal ID in it, like my passport or driver’s license, thank God. The police are trying to track the thief with the phones. Pray they find them. We saw them in the restaurant because there were only us and them as customers. The waitress didn’t like them and she was so mad when she found out what had happened. They were sneaky and no one noticed what they did until we were ready to go and my purse wasn’t there.…Sigh :-P  
The robbers were not bums off the street. They were well dressed and driving a nice car. The police suspect they were probably carrying weapons. Who knows what we were saved from? I feel like a burden has been lifted. My fear of being robbed is gone – although I will continue to be cautious. But I know my God is watching and will keep me in whatever circumstances come.
Otherwise things are going well here. Lots of opportunities for ministry are coming up. I’ll be speaking at a Christian ladies conference in the slums and I’m doing a health seminar on nutrition this month.
We also will do an eye clinic to test vision and give glasses. We’re working with Christine, Simon and Elkana to train them in the I SEE program.
I’ve been corresponding with the doctor at I TEC,  in charge of developing the I MED program. I offered to help in implementing the program and will meet with her when we return home in November.  These programs, I SEE and IMED, are for teaching indigenous people to be able to help their own people.
Kenya is feeling more and more like our second home. We are growing in our friendships and becoming more accustomed to the culture. I’m not as homesick as usual but I miss you all as much as ever. ….especially my darling grandkidsJ

In the garden at Johnny's boy's home.

I’ve added a donation button through paypal. Your donations will be used only for the work here in Kenya. It's impossible to do what we are doing without your prayers, encouragement and support. We are grateful everyday for you. Thank you!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Day with Susanne

Last week we went to Nairobi to pick up Doug, Zach and Suzie from the airport. It’s so good to have them here with us. They’ve already added a new dimension to the dynamics of our household.

Today we went grocery shopping as we always do on Monday. This time, however, we had 6 people with us. Our little car has become a sardine can. Noah and Doug sit up front- Noah is our driver. Me, Nikki, Zach, and Suzie squeeze into the back seat. It’s a good thing we have a good sized trunk for all the groceries. First stop is Guava Coffee shop. Me and the young people talk household schedule while Noah, Doug and George discuss church business at another table. This is our favorite place to go. The servers have become our friends. It’s very clean and relaxing place to hang out. Ali and Joseph are so welcoming and Julie is a practical jokester. Be sure I get her back though. I’ll try to get a picture of them next time we go.
We walked a couple of blocks to the bank then back to the Butcher Shop for our meat. We get fresh organic lamb, beef and pork for real good price. We put it in a cooler because we have other places to go. I like to go in the morning because the meat is fresh and it’s not so busy. They, too, are very friendly.

Then we went to the produce market called “Top Market”. First we sit down for a nice cup of fresh juice, that only cost 20 bob. (that’s about 20 cents). Patrick meets us there to take us around and make sure no one takes advantage of the wazugu. White skin means money to most Kenyans. We don’t mind paying a little more but we also don’t want to be taken advantage. After we get our produce we go down to the end for fresh tilapia from Lake Victoria, and organic chicken. One whole chicken cost 400 shillings (about $4).

Now for the dry goods we head for Nakumat. It’s the closest thing to an American supermarket and we can find things there we can’t get elsewhere. And the job is done.
At home we are met by Simon, Lloyd, and David.

 Yesterday at Johnny and Kates we had a cook out for the kids. They had a lot of fun playing volleyball, 4 square and eating lots of nyama choma - grilled meat (goat and lamb.) 

David was going after the ball and cut his hand pretty deep. I will remember now to always take a first aid kit on Youth outings. I did a temporary cleaning and bandaging. When we got home I redressed it with rescue cream and comfrey powder. Today when I checked it, it was well on it’s way to healing. David was amazed. He asked me if I was a doctor. I said no, I’m a nurse and herbalist. I had to explain that I’m not a witchdoctor. He asked me if there were witchdoctors in the US. I said yes but I’m not one of themJ

We met some wonderful people at the Missionary Fellowship dinner last week. One of them named Susann, offered to take me to her sewing school. It turned out to be a half day tour of all that her and her husband, Leif Madsen, from Denmark, and all they have done in the past 16 years. They work with an indigenous church called Philadelphia Church. All of their leading people and teachers are Kenyan. They have sponsors to help with financial support of the school kids and many donors for building projects etc. They also rent wedding dresses, donated by a business in Denmark, to help raise money. 

But it didn’t start that way. They came with nothing, themselves and their 4 children, and just started with one thing at a time. Now they have a school for orphans including boy and girl dorms, a crisis center for street people, single moms, and others in crisis situations. They counsel and train them in a trade so they can get out of the poverty that put them on the streets. They learn skills in sewing, bead making, jewelry making and other crafts. 

One of the single moms had poison for her and her two boys to drink because she was in such despair. A friend introduced her to Susanne. Now she is on her own and is a international certified hairdresser. She is a Christian and shares her faith with anyone she can. Some of the workers in the school were raised there and are now actively involved in helping other orphans like themselves. 

They have sewing classes for students and make their own school uniforms, and a computer classroom. It was very inspiring to see what can be done with a steadfast working together to give New Life to Kenyans.

After we toured the school we went to the dump to see how so many desperate people live. They literally wait for the trucks to come and dig around to find food eating it right there on the spot. Susanne and Leif helped start a nursery school for the kids to rescue them out of the slums. They work with the moms and help in whatever way they can. The kids are fed and schooled and taught bible stories and scripture memorization. 

They are truly amazing to be around. I was surrounded by the children more than once as they stroked my mzungu skin and asked me to take their picture. Some of the newer children were sad and sick but they will improve in time. We plan to go back and visit the homes of the dump people – their houses are plastic and cardboard. We’d like to bring them food and speak to them of the love of Christ. Pray for us to know how to love these people and bring them hope.

This day was so inspiring to me. I know we can make a difference. It will take time and endurance to see a change but I see what has been done. There are so many more lost, hungry and desolate souls here. We can work together to help.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

News from Kenya


We started coming to Kenya 5 years ago. We came to see a miracle. Not of healing or prosperity but the greatest miracle of all – the manifestation of unity and brotherly love amongst believers of different emphasis. A kingdom is made up of many and various peoples, with different skills and gifts, but with one King who leads them all and calls them according to His purpose. The Kingdom of God is like that. Our King, Jesus Christ, has a desire for all people of God to learn to work together, loving and helping each other every day. Here in Kenya wazungu, (wazungu is the plural form of mzungu – Caucasians. Swahili doesn’t add ‘s’ at the end of words), and  Kenyans are working together to make a safe place for orphans and widows, young people, families, pastors from many different churches and missionaries. We are learning to love God and each other so that there will be a bright light breaking forth through the darkness in one the fastest growing cities in Africa - Nakuru, Kenya.

Amazing Life Fellowship - reaching to the sky.

 That unity is growing steadily every day. God is giving us out reach situations. We aren’t sitting down and making plans everyday but we are praying and seeking His guidance. He’s bringing us into His plan for Nakuru.

Janet and Elkana sing 'Praise Him in the Storm'

On Father’s day Janet and Elkana sang the song, Praise Him in the Storm at our gathering. This was very special because they are the brother and sister that lost their dad in a motorcycle accident last year. Janet had expressed how hard this day was for her and I’m sure it was for Elkana too. It was so sweet to hear that song coming from their hearts on this day.

Christine - 'Warrior Queen'

Christine Ware is an amazing Kenyan woman. She was responsible for saving lives during the post election violence of 2007. She is very active volunteer in community services teaching classes and visiting the sick and needy. She has a family of her own with 4 girls and 1 boy. Even though she lives in the slums herself, she never tires of helping people. We named her the “warrior queen” because she fights for people. She invited me to speak at a community health meeting of about 30 or more men and women dedicated to help improve health standards in Nakuru. It was good to teach them about how the western diet is taking over their country. Many of the health issues are digestive disorders. Now that the medical health care has saved so many lives from infectious disease, such as malaria, there will be more nutritional diseases to contend with. The western food industries have introduced many processed non healthy foods – coke, sodas, margarine, white bread etc. I am warning them of the results of such a diet. They are amazed and indignant that they have been deceived into thinking those are healthy food. Kenya has wonderful organic produce and organic meat available fresh every day. I encouraged them to make healthy choices. I told the story in Daniel chapter 1, where the Hebrew young men made a stand against unhealthy diet and convinced the king’s officials of the benefit of healthy eating. There were many questions following and I had fun answering them. I hope to be able to do more workshops.

Boys home playground - Butterfly and Makena swinging

We went to visit Johnny and Kate’s boy’s home yesterday. They are helping a Kenya couple, Ali and Virginia, with 6 orphans. They operate like Daniel in India and consider those boys their family. The place is humble but very beautiful. They have landscaping around and a nice little playground. Johnny found Ali years ago when he had nothing and lived on the street. He took him up and helped him grow in God and prosper in such a way to help these children. Virginia, his wife, keeps a very tidy, simply beautiful little house. They’ve build a small nursery school that will soon teach 60 children. We shared goat meat with them enjoying fellowship. William, was also with Johnny. He’s a missionary from Massachuses looking to start an orphanage here in Kenya. So he was visiting to see what has been done and where he wants to go with his ministry.


I went to Nairobi with Kate and her sweet little 2 year old, named Aowen. I got a real experience of traveling in Kenya the way the Kenyans do. We took a Matatu, that’s a 10 or 15 passenger van, (we took the 10 passenger – it’s roomier and has a good driver). We used matatus, taxis, and buses to get around town. First we went to an outdoor/indoor mall called Village Market. We couldn’t think of buying anything- Very pricy- But we had a nice lunch and enjoyed walking around. There’s a water slide park there for only $3 for the whole day, a bowling alley and a movie theatre. From there we walked to the U.S. embassy to replace Kate’s passport. The whole family lost all their passports through the Kenyan immigration office. That happens here. We stayed in a mission house which reminded me of the Tennessee state park cabins. It was comfortable and safe so Kate and I spent the evening into the night talking and sharing life stories. The next day we had breakfast in the cabin and went back to a different mall. We found the Masai Market which is a very indigenous open market for crafts and entertainment. It was fun. After lunch we found our Matatu with the help of a nice young man and headed home. Our little traveler, Aowen, was so good the whole trip.

Noah teaching the teens.

Noah has been busy with pastors influencing them towards unity. They are so open and searching for a deeper walk with God.

Teens praise and worship

We went to a high school boarding school Saturday to interact with the kids there. Two of our Kingdom Hikers are students at this school, Evelyn and Lloyd. Lloyd is very burdened for his fellow students. They are being drawn into worldly ways. We went down a very bumpy road for about an hour to get there. We were welcomed by the Christian Union which is a group of about 8 kids dedicated to God and not ashamed to show it. After spending a little time with them a large group of about 200 kids gathered in the auditorium. We sang and shared with them encouraging them to stand for their faith and do the hard thing, make right choices and consider the consequences of those choices. The response was at the end about 3/4ths of them came forward to be prayed for. We only had 3 hours this time but the teacher in charge asked if we would come back to do a 3 day conference for the kids.

Many come forward for prayer

Tomorrow we go to Nairobi to pick up Doug, Zach and Suzie from the airport. We are so excited!! 

We miss you all every day. Thank you for your emails and comments. They mean so much to us.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summary of our first (of six) months in Kenya...

Today marks 4 weeks since we left our homebase in Tennessee to be at home away from home in Nakuru, Kenya, Africa. It’s winter here with temperatures in the high 50’s to low and mid 70’s. We’ve had frequent rain and a couple of storms with strong winds, raining ‘cats and dogs’ with ‘poodles’ everywhere. But it’s absolutely beautiful with green mountains and blue skies with puffy white clouds  at most other times.

Noah has become quite the Kenyan driver. We get around pretty well in our little Toyota. There are so many pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, matatus (15 passenger transit vans), tuktuks (little golf cart like transports), - oh yeah, cows, goats, sheep, etc. -  and you have to stay on the wrong side of the road; unless of course you want to pass. Then you play ‘chicken’ with the oncoming traffic. It’s really a cooperative effort to get from one place to another. Speed bumps keep everyone from going too fast as there are no traffic lights or stop signs. I will NEVER drive in KenyaJ

Cows in the alley way we go through to get to the road.

Close enough!

Don't worry, that truck didn't fall over.

Rapid transit system..... boda boda bicycle rides to town.

Our house is being improved each trip. This time we are getting the shower to work in the second bathroom. That will be nice because the shower is divided from the rest of the bathroom and the entire floor won’t be wet when you are ready to dress. We also won’t have to stand in a bucket to shower. These are minor inconveniences but will improve our disposition in the morning.
Saturday we had a kingdom hiker meeting. We’re working to get more interaction from the young people so we decided to break up into girl/boy groups. Lisa, who teaches the choir, said it’s hard to open up because of being afraid of being talked about. She said that is African culture. Yes, sadly gossip is a big problem -  here and all over the world. We’ll talk about general issues that affect most teens. We want to make a place for them to come one on one if they need personal help.

Noah and Johnny.

Kate's kitchen - homemade sausage.

The family table - lunch time!

Emma and Aowen do art.

That evening we went to Johnny and Kate’s for pizza, yeah real pizza. We really enjoyed our time with them and our friendship is growing. They’re a young couple with 5 kids of their own and 7 adopted Kenyan girls. I don’t think any of them are legally adopted but they have them as family members. Kate has frustrations because they are very withdrawn and don’t quite know how to fit in. They also have a boys home in another house run by a Kenyan couple, kinda like a mercy home. We haven’t met them yet but will soon. Their hearts are simply to help people. I’ll be going with Kate next weekend to help with a women’s health clinic.

Our Sunday gatherings are good. The Youth choir start by leading us in songs of praise and worship. I love to watch them. They sing with their whole heart! It’s evident that they are saved and love God. Our future depends on them and they know it. They are determined to make their corner of the world a better place to live. Noah preaches with and interpreter. That can be a challenge, more so to the interpreter than to Noah. Some of the concepts are difficult to convey in this culture, but the listening people always help with a good word when the interpreter gets stuck. George follow up with a supporting message and explains things thoroughly. We have a time of offering when the children come and sing, recite verses and do little skits for our intertainment. Their leader always starts by saying, “Sit back, Relax, and enjoy!” We certainly do. It’s delightful!  These children are on a path following close behind the young people. Janet, 17 years old, is their teacher.

That's Janet in the blue dress. She's Mary's daughter. Lynn in the pink shirt is Patrick and Christine's daughter.

We went to Mary's farm. Mary became a widow last year when her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident. She has 3 children at home and works hard to feed her family. All the food she grows goes to feed the family including helping her older children who don't live at home. Millie, her son's wife, helps her a lot at home. They are a precious family and we always are encouraged by every one of them.

Mary with Millie in the background.

Elkana holding Leon, Millie's son, Mary's grandson.

Untangling the cow. 

The two children who gave their lunch money for the building.
After the gathering there are usually meetings for men/women every other week. This week we had a fundraiser to buy building materials for a meeting place. It’s called a “harambi” – that means a gathering of people to share their possessions for a common purpose. It’s a lot of fun. What impressed me the most was the two children who gave up their lunch money to donate to the building fund.  Mr. Moniki has given of his time and money to supervise and work on the construction. He’s done a mighty good job. We all appreciate him. They auctioned off boiled eggs, green onions, cups of porridge for the kids. These items went fast because everyone was getting hungry. At last there wasn’t anything left to auction so Simon and Kenford went around collecting ladies handbags and Noah’s bag. George bought Noah’s bag so Noah insisted on buying Georges van keys. Everyone got a good laugh. The items were returned to the proper owners after the money was collected.

I think she's desperate:) 

Monday is grocery shopping day. We go to a newer supermarket. You never know who you’ll meet there. Nikki found a friend. He’s kinda boring though. Doesn’t talk and he works all the time. Then we go to Tusky’s for really good whole wheat, fresh baked bread. All in all we usually end up at 3-4 different stores to find the things we need. Nellie goes to the open market to get most of our produce.

We’re taking lessons in Kiswahili from Christine. After the lessons we talked to her about ways to reach out. She has a lot of experience with social working in the community. Classes in nutrition and hygiene, parenting and marriage, are some ideas we had. We’re hoping to be able to implement the I-SEE program – (helps provide eye glasses to needy people for less than $5 a pair). Our hope is to get the building done so we can have a place to meet.

That's Simon's sister Grace and me. 

In the evenings we chat in the living room, read books, email and wind down from the day. It’s especially fun to sit and make jokes when the electricity is off. Candle light conversations are a good way to stop and reflect on the day. Thank you for all your comments. I love to read them.

May God keep us together by His Great Love!

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Typical Day in Kenya.....

Beatie buying greens at our front gate.
I'm awakened each morning around 5:30 am, by the 'cock a doodle do' of Nellie's rooster. Shortly after that, I hear the clanging of the iron gate, as Beatie goes out to turn on the water pump. It’s a rather pleasant awakening, much better than the buzz of an alarm clock. By the time I’m actually out of bed it’s close to 7 am. I get up, collect my things, and go to the shower. We’ve learned a few techniques. First, don’t touch the hot water switch while you’re standing in a bucket of water. You’ll get shocked. Secondly, don’t take too long. Someone is waiting.

Mary, our cook.
Breakfast is next on the agenda. Nellie and Beatie have been cooking breakfast most mornings. Yesterday we had boiled ‘sweet potatoes’ – they taste something like our sweet potatoes crossed with a red potatoe – not very orange but very good; also fresh fruit – mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, and grated beet root – yogurt and granola from England. Today Nikki and I made egg sandwiches – it’s Georges’ favorite. We go out to the little kiosk on the corner of the building to buy eggs from Mary. There are lots of Mary’s in Nakuru. After breakfast, and all meals, we boil water to wash dishes. I put up a menu for Mary, our cook, to follow when she gets here around 2 pm. Then we go to our room for morning devotions and prayer. A great way to start each day.
Nikki got sunburned pretty bad on Sunday. She sat on the back row of the tent where the sun was directly on her white skin for 3-4 hours. I’ve been putting aloe lotion on her back and it’s getting better.

I fixed the curtains in our room, with Simons help, so they actually hang from the rod and can be opened and closed with ease. It’s amazing how many inconveniences we're getting used to here. Americans are so used to having things easy. We’ve actually had that same curtain every visit for 4 years so it seemed a good time to fix it.

We check email throughout the day, write blogs and emails. Yesterday I cut out a dress for Nellie. I went to sew but when I plugged in my machine it blinked on and off and then wouldn’t do anything. I didn’t know not to plug a 110v machine into a 220v outlet without a converter:-/  I’m trying to find out if there’s any way to reset it.

Teresa June
Today we went to town to meet Teresa June for lunch. That was fun and productive. We’ll be getting together with other missionaries as they meet about once a month or so. It’ll be good to connect with them and see if we can work together in any way. She also told me she has a sewing machine I can borrow. She got it for free from a mission she worked with. It’s a ‘White’, that’s a good brand, and I’m going to take her up on it.

Monkeys everywhere!
We bought a little car to get around town in. Since we’re going to be here 6 months and George has work etc. We thought it would be worthwhile to have the ability to come and go as we need. Noah is a good driver over here. It’s a Toyota, as are most vehicles here. Runs well but has a few glitches Noah and George are getting fixed. It’s in the car wash now getting cleaned up. We bought it from Johnny and Kate. It will help them with some financial needs they have taking care of orphans in their home. We took it for a spin and showed Nikki the monkeys at Lake Nakuru Park. We really want to spend more time with people on a daily basis rather than being mostly focused on meetings. The car will really make that possible.

Tuesday night we went to Anna’s house for a ‘clan’ meeting. There are two groups that meet in each other’s homes every Tuesday and help each other with daily needs. Last night Noah taught at the tent. We had a good group of people half of which were young people. They are hungry to learn and delightful to be with. The kids are telling us how grateful they are to their sponsors for the LEARN program. They’re happy to be going to school and hopeful for a better future.

Working on the concrete at the meeting tent.

We came home to dinner and conversation in the living room before we head for bed. We’ve made the adjustment to time change and are sleeping well now as most of you back home are going about your day. Think of us as we think of you. God’s grace be upon us all. 
LEARN students