Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mary goes F.I.S.H.ing!

December 22, 2009

Sunday after the gathering we met with the clan leaders and the people who were chosen to be in the first phase of receiving micro loans.

It took a lot of seeking God, talking to each other and making changes according to the unforeseen needs that inevitably arise in a project such as this. Noah, George, Nelly and I did a lot of the setting up process. We were glad for Doug’s assistance by email on the forms. We set up accounting books and made applications. The clan leaders did the interviews and gave their recommendations on who should receive the first loans.

This process took weeks and we are still making changes.The funny thing is none of us are good at financial matters, but our God is and He has led us in what we believe to be His will. We will learn as mistakes are revealed and resolved. There was opportunity to teach the people about sacrifice and taking care of each other, avoiding gossip and slander, and trusting God to meet our needs – not money. The goal is to learn to work together and help each other. Building businesses will help build the church and give opportunities to give to those who are less fortunate.

As we sat with the people it felt good to all of us. We had the peace in our hearts that made us feel close to God and to each other.

Those chosen range from good business people to widows without means to start businesses. Business here means buying some vegetables, coal, bales of used western clothes and the like to sell on the streets and to neighbors. This gives them enough money to pay rent, eat and send their children to school.

We handed out the money in brown envelopes and received their grateful slapping handshakes, hugs and holy kisses on our cheeks. I don’t know who was happier, the source or the recipients. It is truly better to give than receive.

We left the tent gathering and went to town to celebrate at Gilani’s Restaurant with Petranilla and Alice. Gilani’s is also a wholesale warehouse like Sam’s. Now Joel was in pain with sunburn blisters on his feet and pain on his back. So we decided to go into the store and get some aloe, leaving Noah and George at the van. As we were standing in the isle blankly staring at shelves full of unfamiliar bottles of lotion, suddenly from out of nowhere came....

Mary – remember the chicken story where the lady placed a live chicken in my lap; remember the story about the lady who the police broke down her door looking to arrest her for selling fresh milk, and she went on her knees and cried out to God telling them she was a priestess and they should let her go, and they did? – It was this same Mary we found F.I.S.H.ing in Gilani’s wholesale warehouse – or should I say she found us. Now catching a big fish is no fun unless you can tell somebody. When she saw Joel and I she came up to us very excited. Mary doesn’t speak much English and we don’t speak much Swahili so the communicating was in action form. She grabbed me by the arm and led me away. I had no choice but to follow. I left Joel standing there, “I’ll be right back”, I said, hoping it was a true statement. She had something to show me.

She had taken her bait money and went straight to the warehouse and started F.I.S.H.ing. She bought groceries to sell in her store.

I saw the big F.I.S.H. and I was amazed. It was so large it sat in a pile knee high and had to be delivered to her trunk with a hand cart.

She wanted me to meet her husband so she dragged me out to the street where he was looking for a place to park the car so he could reel the catch into his trunk. By now, seeing all the commotion, Noah and George joined us on the street to admire the big F.I.S.H. and meet Mary's husband.

I took this opportunity to slip back into the store to rescue Joel. He was still trying to choose which aloe lotion would be most helpful. I didn't think any of them would serve the purpose so we decided to go to a chemist (drug store) to find pure aloe. We ended up just going home and using rescue cream which did the trick and gave some relief.

All in all it was a wonderful day. We have a successful start at teaching and learning the art of F.I.S.H.ing. Many thanks to all who made this trip and this project possible with your support in prayers and contributions. Mary represents one of 18 faithful servants of God who will begin the working out of our endeavor to help those who need help here in Nakuru, Kenya, Africa!    

Missing you all. I am so anxious to see you all, but at the same time it will be very hard to leave these precious saints.  Love, Haviylah          

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas in Africa

This year at Christmas time I find myself surrounded by unfamiliar scenes. None of the usual triggers to remind me of the things I am used to seeing – like Christmas trees, presents, lights, shopping traffic jams, men in Santa suits, parades, and manger scenes on front lawns. As a matter of fact, things don’t look any different than any other day here in Nakuru. So as I look around and remember the birth of Christ I see sights I have never seen before to remind me of the events that took place so long ago.

I see a young maiden praising God and I think of Mary’s praise.

I see a young woman with child and I consider the mother of our Lord.

I see a donkey and I think of how difficult it must have been for her to ride so many miles in the fullness of her pregnancy.

I pay sales tax and I think of why she took that journey.

I see a hotel and remember there was no room in the Inn for her to rest, to labor, and to give birth to the only Son of God.

I see flocks of sheep on a hill and I remember the heavenly host that came down to earth, to announce this birth of our King, to mere shepherds.

I see a gathering of people who love Him bowing down to worship Him and I remember the unknown faces of those who came to worship the baby born in a stable.

I see little boy and I remember the Magi who brought gifts of gold, frankincence and myrrh, to a young boy, saving Him from the wrath of Herod.

And I am filled with a new wonder! Our God’s Love is so great it has come to us again. If we will only pause to look for it each day of our lives. We are surrounded with signs of that Love.

May you know the Love that was born in the earth so long ago.
Let it be born in your heart anew this year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

An African Wedding

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yesterday was a busy day. After breakfast we all headed out to the van for our bumpy ride to the gathering. Kids were yelling, “how are you?” and waving as they ran down the road after us. People are everywhere going to one of the many churches in the neighbor. As I look out the window I wonder why we can’t all just get along and be one family of God, His people and His Kingdom. One day may it be so.
After the gathering we had a ladies meeting. I spoke to them about women in the Bible from different phases in their lives – single, married and widowed. The language and culture makes it hard to know if what you are saying is either helpful, too complicated or too simple to understand. They are so expressive when they are singing, praying and praising but when they listen it is hard to read their faces. They are good listeners but give little indication or response to what is being said. Nelly assured me that the interpreter makes sure they understand. So all in all, you just give what you have and let God speak to their hearts the message He wants them to hear. I love being with these ladies. When the meeting was over their faces came back to life with expressions of love and kindness.  I think they are trained to listen when it’s time to listen and talk later. Hum… not a bad idea.
It’s fun getting to know their culture and learning to understand the difference in perspectives. After the ladies meeting we took pictures to put on the F.I.S.H. applications then had a clan leaders meeting. It was about 12:30pm when all this was over so George took us back to the house to get something to eat before we went to a wedding. We had samosas and rice. I love samosas. They are triangular shaped stuffed with minced meat (ground beef) and / or vegetables deep fried. They remind me of eggrolls. George said we shouldn’t go to the wedding hungry. Later we found out why.

This was a wedding for one of Petranillas friends. She brought her over to meet us a couple of weeks ago. I had a conversation with her and we connected right away. So I was interested in going to an African wedding and glad that it was hers.  We got there a little late so I expected we would just sit in the back and be inconspicuous. Wrong… we stuck out like a mzungo at an African wedding. They escorted us to the front row where people moved around to make room for us. The sermon was being preached by a very enthusiastic  preacher. We all liked what he was saying. Then it started to rain really hard. But he kept on preaching with the P.A. system blaring loudly over the sound of a downpour of rain on the tin roof over our heads. George told us later that it was a unique ceremony. I won’t give the details because we may want to borrow some of it for one of our up and coming weddings. After the preaching the bride and groom exchanged rings, prayed and then were seated on the stage. There was a little commotion of chairs being moved to the stage, and suddenly we found ourselves seated amongst the relatives on the stage, being served by the bride and groom bite sized pieces of cake followed by a plate full of …uh….. food….. we still aren’t sure what kind of meat we were supposed to eat off that plate. We did our best and washed it down with Stoneys and Fanta orange soda. During the meal friends and relatives gave their blessing and advice. I looked up as Noah was being handed the mike, then me, then Joel.  We said some nice things, thanked them and went on our way.

We got home and chatted a little with Petranilla. She asked me questions about life in America. As we talked I realized how different our lives are and how hard it was for her to even relate to our lifestyle. She is a tailor and when she was told by Nathanael that Rachel was a “tailor” too she pictured her with a little shop with a sewing machine that she sat at and sewed for people every day for a business. I told her that people mostly bought their clothes ready made and that we sew mostly for special occasions.  She didn’t have a clue what I meant by ready made. If the tailors didn’t make the clothes then how did they get made? I told her factories made them. She was shocked.

She asked what kind of jobs the ladies do. I listed a few and mentioned that Marlene hangs wall paper. You can only imagine what confusion that would bring. She doesn’t know what wall paper is. I tried to explain but I think she may think it’s something like the unframed posters they put on their walls.  She went home. We had some greens and ugali and went to bed.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making progress....

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Our time here is getting short. We have less than 3 weeks to go and much to do. The leaders here are in unity about the F.I.S.H. program and we are encouraged by the response of the people. We don’t have unlimited funds so most will have to wait for assistance. We will start with a few people’s businesses to see how to go about it and hopefully be able to help more in the future. We are working hard to make sure they are doing the work of it and decision making with help and support from us. We want to equip them for the work. We repeatedly tell them this is not about financing as much as it is about them learning to work together and take care of each other. They are very responsive.

Last week we took Christine’s husband, Patrick, to the doctor. This is the same doctor that took care of Austin and Joel. He’s from India and seems to be competent and caring. He only charges 300 shillings for an office visit. He is not ‘getting rich’. His office is small. He has a receptionist and a couple of benches for a waiting room and an office with an examining table. He pulled out a BP cuff that looked like it came from the 18th century. He has no nurse and uses a notebook to document his findings.  I talked to him about what we could do here to help with health care. At first he talked about a friend who is doing work in the villages. When I told him we want to do something here in Nakuru he seemed to get excited. I asked him if I could come work with him a day or two and he said he would like that too. We will head in a direction and let God lead us. I am thinking we could set up a lab to do diagnostic tests for people at a cheaper fee than they charge here. That would help a lot. Most people just guess and self treat because they can’t afford the lab and doctor fees.

On our way home today we stopped by the butcher to get a chicken for dinner and some meat for the next couple of days. There was a fresh side of beef hanging in the window. They will keep it for up to 2 days that way making cuts as it is sold. They say if you refrigerate it you lose all the juices. I told Petranila she would never see a sight like that in our country. She was surprised. She thought that was the way everyone processed meat. If you ask for a chicken they go get a live one and kill it, gut it, and pluck it for you. Fransisca is our butcher. She used to work at a place in town but now she has her own shop. She just opened a couple of days ago and was bringing the meat to our house before that. She’s very kind and I like supporting her business.

Oh, by the way, there are no Christmas trees or decorations, no “merry Christmas” or parades. We are going to have a feast where all the ladies will cook together at the church and a Christmas program. Most of them have never done any of this before so it will be a new experience for them. I’m looking forward to seeing what God will do.

We had a youth meeting today. Noah told parts of the story of the birth of Christ and the events surrounding His birth. Then we came home so they watched the RCV version of the Christmas story. On the way home in the van they sang Christmas carols. That was nice.

Please leave your decorations and Christmas trees up for us to see. It would be fun to tour the village for a late Christmas.   Missing you all……………Haviylah

                                      Here comes Michelle Haviylah to help me write this blog.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Wednesday December 9, 2009

I went to bed last night thinking about Anne. She is the young lady who has been crippled since she was about 13 years old. I think she is 19 or 20 now. The remarkable thing about her is that she doesn’t complain or ask for money. She has a grateful heart and smiles a lot. We have talked about getting her a new pair of crutches. The ones she has are made of steel and are very heavy with wooden arm rests that go under her arms. When I asked her if they were too heavy she said no, they are fine. That’s what I mean when I say grateful and not complaining. I would probably be complaining. We went shopping for new crutches and found some nice ones at the second shop we went to. They are aluminum but sturdy and cost all of about $40. We bought them and took them to her today. When we drove up to her little one room house she greeted us at the door, smiling big. When she saw the crutches she was speechless. We adjusted them for her on the lowest setting. She is about 4 foot 10. She loved that they would not rub under her arms. What a joy and privilege it is to make her life even just a little bit easier.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A day of adventures!

Monday, December 7, 2009

 What a day! Monday is a “rest” day. We got up early, had breakfast, packed a lunch, and walked to the car wash about a block away, to pick up the van.  Then we headed for the hills to visit one of the parks here in Kenya. The park is only about 1 hour 15 minutes African time, or 2 hours real time, away. It was a nice drive and we enjoyed the scenery as we went from green landscape to the semi arid lands of the foothills of some mountains I don’t know the name of.

On the way we passed a field of Sisal plants. George told us how the plants were used to make materials for mattresses, couches, twine and such things. We came to a factory and decided to stop and see. We took some pictures as we toured the area, observing the step by step process of turning green plants into a useful material to be shipped to England. George knew about this because his parents had worked on a Sisal farm. We went a little further down the road and stopped for a picture of us standing on the equator.
Back on the road again when suddenly an Ostrich darted across the road we were traveling on. We almost hit it! George pulled over so we jumped out of the van and got some pictures. What a huge bird! We found out they run wild in the area.

We arrived at our destination and entered the National Reserve Park heading towards the Hot Springs. The road ran alongside the lake and all along the way there were wild animals to be seen. Flamingos lined the shores of Lake Bogoria. We saw wild warthogs, impalas, hawks and eagles flying low and perching in the trees, and big squirrels. We knew we were in the wild when we saw a dead zebra lying in the open. Noah found a horned skull which he will bring home for public viewing. I, on the other hand, collected a few pink feathers, left on the beach by clueless flamingos.

Picnic with the boys:   Now they are not boys but I often feel like the mom so I think that way. I have enjoyed being with these men of God -  General, leading out through the wilderness of Christianity, culture and foreign countries; Captain, doing his best to follow; and Jerogi learning all about the Way.  We parked the van and got out at the hot springs area. We enjoyed the sauna with other local, and not so local tourists. By now we were pretty hungry so we went to the picnic area. Almost flat rocks served as a picnic table.

As soon as we popped the top off our Stoneys, our favorite ginger ale, the flies took up the invitation to join us. But we were hungry enough to perservere. Joel and I made some sandwiches. We discovered if we kept moving and ate and drank fast enough the flies didn’t have a chance.   So we gulped it all down and headed back for home.

But not without another surprise adventure. I guess that is what makes adventures… surprise, unkown territory, danger, sweat (lots of sweat on this one), and tears. After about 30 minutes traveling down the road the van stopped running. No big deal. George is a mechanic, he can fix the problem. Hum… a mechanic without tools can’t do much. He tried though, using a butter knife we brought for our picnic. He wasn’t able to get very far into the engine without a wrench. Meanwhile we were visited by some neighborhood boys who were no help at all but seemed to enjoy the destraction to an otherwise boring day for them. It was obvious to all that without tools we weren’t accomplishing anything so George hitched a ride to town. He had already told us we were 40 minutes from the nearest town so here we were 3 mzungus stranded on the side of the road in the bush country. That practically means no trees for shade and no people visible anyway. We knew they were out there somewhere but unseen. It was day time so we didn’t sense any danger but wondered where George went. Then we saw another car come from the direction George went in. The car stopped a little ways past the van, George got out. They seemed to be looking in the trunk for tools or something so we felt relieved….. but…. He never came to the van, he just got back into the car and left in the opposite direction. (It seems that there was a town about 10 minutes away in that direction so George decided to go that way instead of the 40 minute town in the direction we were headed. He is so smart.) Ok, we know from experience that informing us of his intentions is not something George does. He assumes we know he is wisely taking care of us, and he usually is. So we weren’t even worried yet. We settled in for the wait….. which we do a lot of waiting here anyway so we are pretty good at it….I took the back seat and stretched out to rest, Joel laid down on the floor and Noah walked around carrying his big walking stick. He reminded me of the massi warriors, protecting the tribe:-) I dozed off in the back seat of the oven - I mean - van. It was so HOT! The side windows and side door were open but not much air was coming through. Finally George returned with two mechanics. They began to work and quickly diagnosed the problem. As they were working it occurred to me that maybe if we opened the back door it would help with the heat. So I asked if that would be possible. Noah went to the back and opened the door. Immediately a cool breeze filled the van.  Now why didn’t anyone think of that before?  How refreshing!  Alas, cooling off only made us aware of how thirsty we were. We had each brought one water bottle and drank it all on the way there so there was not a drop left. We had asked George to bring water back from his search for a mechanic, but he was anxious about us sitting on the side of the road and forgot to get it. The mechanics fixed the problem, as described by Joel in his blog, and we were on our way. Our mission now was to find water. We drove for a good while asking every few minutes, “when do you think we will get water?”  “Not long” said George. Uh is that real time or African time the mzugus wondered. It seemed like a long time but it really wasn’t. We took a side road and found a little town full of interesting sites. Now interesting sites in Kenya means interesting people. Noah got a picture of the most interesting one which I’m sure he will share with you. It seemed to take longer than usual to get water but soon George showed his smiling face with 4 one and a half liter bottles of ice cold water!!  George drank his down because driving here takes both hands on the wheel at all times.  Then we were off.
We thanked God for leading George to help and for the good timing of the van breaking down. - It could have been into the night time with darkness and malaria infested mosquitos feasting on us.- We reached Nakuru at about 5pm, picked up Nelly and came home to the aroma of Morella’s fine cooking.
We all slept well that night. Thankful to be safe in our beds dreaming of natural saunas in the wilderness and how to stay out of hot wate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Letter to Rose Creek Village from Petronilla

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Today we had a good gathering in the tent. Noah spoke from the book of John chapters 13 – 18. This was His last conversation with His disciples before the cross. We serve such a savior who went to all extremes to teach us to love one another and then sent His Spirit to enable us to do the same. We have no reason to ever doubt His love. After the gathering we gave grains to the people. This is a portion of rice and beans that will feed a family for 2 days. They were so happy and grateful! We then went to Judy’s house for lunch and conversation. Judy is our Judah in Kenya. I have never seen anyone praise like Judy praises. We came home and spent some time with Petronila. She gave me this letter to send to you:

To the church:  

Hello! My name is Petronila. Sometimes I am so amazed with what the Lord is doing. Since Noah and Ammah came for the last one month we have seen a great revival in church. We had twelve benches in a room where we used to fellowship together but through their teachings the place filled up. He bought for us a tent and 4o chairs of which the place is full again. Since they came we have learned a lot from them and the church is growing rapidly. Thanks for your efforts in sending them to us. I know know you are really working tirelessly for the work of God to succeed. Thank you again for your prayers your labor is not in vain. General will reward you. Ammah has taught us about forgiveness and repentance and also intimacy with Christ and with each other. It’s wonderful to hear all this revelations from the men of God. It’s good to be around them. Noah has taught us accountability, responsibility, authority and walking on a narrow path. That it needs obedience and perseverance.

Praise the Lord, oh Jerusalem. He is worth of all your praise!

 Please continue to pray for "Captain and General" as they lead us into war against the enemy.                   Let us follow them into battle every day until the Lord returns.

Work and play....

Saturday, December 5, 2009                                                                             Beatrice and Michelle

The 5th weekend in Nakuru is upon us. We are feeling a little time pressure to accomplish what we are here to do. Pray for us that it is His will and not our own that we succeed in. We are finding the balance between what we need to do and what they need to do. Together we will work as we learn to overcome obstacles of communication and culture. It will be good for us to leave and give them a chance to experience the rewards and sacrifices of this Life. Petranilla came over and we had a ‘round table’ conference to work on F.I.S.H. micro funding plans. We will meet with all the leaders this afternoon.

The young people are in the living room with Joel watching Ingathering DVDs. They seem to be enjoying it and break out in laughter from time to time….why are they laughing, who knows? The girls really liked the dance the Sundari Jewels did. They want me to teach them a dance like that. Ok I’ll try. The dvds were over so they’re playing chess with Joel. I popped them some popcorn for a snack because they are going to play soccer. While they played soccer Noah and I went to the park to make videos for the grand kids. The monkeys and baboons were fun to watch. There are the most beautiful,
iridescent blue birds I ever saw. We watched the Impalas graze in the distance while we had a cup of tea and chatted with a Massi warrior. He was there to keep the baboons and monkeys out of the café.
The clan leaders meeting went well. They are truly coming together to do the work of helping people. They are learning to put themselves aside for others’ sake. We got home a little late. I helped  Morella make the chicken curry. We had a nice dinner and we’re going to bed now. Hope you all have a nice day while we are sleeping. Much love…..Haviylah