I'm so glad you found us! We love to share our story of what the Lord is doing in and through our ministry in Kenya. If you are a reader, please click the link on the right-hand side and "Follow Along!" And stop back by anytime! Karibu sana!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lessons Learned...

Isn’t it amazing how much we take for granted?! It shouldn’t take going to another country to realize how blessed we are in America, but it often does. You can talk to anyone who has visited another country, and most of them will tell you of how it changed their perspective on life…at least for awhile. I wish we could all experience that and remain in the state of acknowledging our abundance and gratefulness to God for placing us where He has. I know how quickly I forget, and it is my prayer that the Lord will continually work in my heart and focus my mind on the abundant blessings He bestows upon me and the ones I love every single day!!

These kids here know how to pray! To hear from the mouths of babes that they are thankful that “God woke me today” is truly humbling! How often do I thank Him for waking me? I take waking up and having another day as something expected. To these kids, it is a hard reality. They know that not everyone wakes up every day. In the Nairobi area, roughly 700 children do not wake up each day, due to illness and simple starvation. Isn’t that astounding? These kids are truly grateful to be alive.

I’ve also been touched by how these kids are so “others oriented.” As they pray, they remember “kids who don’t have food,” “friends who don’t have clothes,” and “people who don’t know Jesus.” They are living in what we would consider truly desperate living conditions, but they remember others before themselves. I have seen them look around for their friends and siblings when food is being passed out, and give it to others before eating their own food. Such sweet hearts.

I do pray that the Lord blesses these little guys and honors their hearts of compassion. I pray the lessons I learn, and the lessons the others here are learning, are not short-lived. I believe God is a God of redemption and transformation, and He desires to redeem us and transform our hearts and minds to be in-line with His heart, beating with the same gratefulness and compassion as His. I have seen it in the lives of little ones, and I pray He transforms my heart in the same way.

May we all see the world around us, the chance to be alive and worship our Creator, as a gift today. He DID choose to wake you this morning! He chose to wake me this morning. And for these gifts, I am grateful. Be blessed in His Spirit today!

HFBC @ Brackenhurst

Well, the HFBC team arrived. Surprisingly, I feel like I am on vacation now! I was so busy before, seeing so many things, visiting so many places. Now, we are in a beautiful retreat center, leaving here around 10-10:30 in the morning and arriving back here between 1-3:00pm. We have a great deal of time to rest and enjoy the incredible beauty of this place! I've needed it, though! I did get sick. In fact, I had the full-blown flu. Running a fever and feeling horrible so far from home and my own bed was NOT fun! I was pretty much out of it from last Friday until yesterday. Finally feeling better.

The team is great. There are so many hard workers and people who are so in love with these children we are meeting. The team spent a few hours Saturday and Sunday at Into Abba’s Arms. (I didn’t go.) They helped get a container ready to be transformed into a library for the kids and got a basketball goal set up. The kids loved playing with the parachute.

Yesterday we visited a school that is run by Imani (Faith) Baptist Church in Limuru. There were only about 20 children there. We sang, played games, read stories, did a craft. Several groups went out and ministered to people in the village. There were at least two professions of faith! The school was so much different than any of the schools I visited in Nairobi before the team came! As the team was in awe of the conditions and how they were learning with so few resources, I was in awe of the great amount of resources they had in comparison to what I had seen. It is amazing what these created teachers can do with so little! And, even more amazing that these little guys learn so well with what they have.

This morning, we walked up the hill to Tigoni Baptist Church school. There were many more kids…at least 100. We rotated between games (my group – the parachute), songs and crafts, and Bible stories/testimonies. There were kids from “nursery” (age 4-5) to “forms” (high school prep, sort of). It was a beautiful campus. We were only there for about two hours.

Now, we are back at Brackenhurst for the rest of the day. Like I said, I feel like I am on vacation! Since I’m still recovering, it’s good to take it easy. Once we leave for Mukaa, the pace will pick up a lot! I’m looking forward to it!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Preparation Prayer Requests...

I have one more day to get ready for the HFBC team. I have done most of the shopping. Tina's livingroom is full of mattresses, pillows and blankets! The boys are dying to use them for some major jumping contests! I will do more shopping on the way to Brackenhurst tomorrow.

I have a driver for tomorrow! His name is Mwangangi. Jared said I may not be able to understand his English, so we may have trouble finding a meetins spot. Once again, Mutua will prove to be a life-saver! He will also take me to do more shopping on the way. Jared was going to take me, but has to go to Kisumu now to be with another team. Pray for one of the teams here with the Baptist Mission. They had an accident on their way to Kisumu yesterday. One person is going home for medical attention.

I am supposed to go visit Flomina school tomorrow morning. This is a place that William has heard is in great need. I will assess the situation and we will determine how we can help while we are here. Pray for clear direction.....directions to get there, as well as direction for how to serve! ;-)

The HFBC team leaves today and will arrive tomorrow night (Kenya time). They are on the same flight schedule as Loren and I were, so pray for their connections, as well.

Finally, pray for my health. Everyone in my house is sick! Tina says they have had the flu. Mutua says it is just because of the weather. Either way, both kids were just pathetic yesterday, and Mutua and Musila are home in bed all day. Totally uncharacteristic of Musila!! Right now, I am feeling fine, but getting a cough. This is not a good time to get sick! So....I won't!!

Thank you all for reading and praying! I am finding how greatly life is dependent on prayer!! That is the only way things get done! And, how rewarding that it brings us closer to Him!

Oh yeah....PRAISE GOD for protection!! I didn't feel all the temors. Everyone else did, though. I happened to be sleeping or driving for all but the last one. This country's advise for how to prepare is crazy! News is quite interesting here! Thanks for praying!!

busy times...

I've had a busy week. I've seen so much! I'm beginning to learn my way around Nairobi. It is so crowded. Imagine Houston traffic with no traffic rules, horrible streets (way worse than any already are!), and tons of polution & exhaust fumes!! I love it though! You can sit in traffic and get anything from a pen, to a necktie, to dinner! Although you might not want the dead chickens hanging off the side of the motorcycle passing by. Someone's dinner, I'm sure...but not mine!

I spent a day going around with another missionary, Jen, as she prepared for her upcoming team. We went to several orphanages and schools. Very enlightening. We are SO blessed to have the education and resources we do!! Incredible stories of survival from some of these students! Wish I had time to tell some. I am going to visit one more school/orphanage tomorrow morning in preparation for our HFBC team coming.

The Baptist Mission of Kenya

I visited the Baptist Mission today. Well, I went the other night, but it was dark. I actually got to see the place today. It is really pretty. I reminded me of a camp....lots of trees, wooded areas. The Educational Resource Center kind of even looked like a little cabin at the edge of it all. I was impressed with the resources there, especially after having visited so many schools this week. I just wanted to sit down and read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," but I didn't think Shem would enjoy that much.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

First Trip Updates

Stella - the sweet little one in the pictures has been adopted! I was sad not to see her, but very happy that she has a home.

Mukaa Families:

- Most of you know that he had accepted Christ since our visit.  That visit was able to open doors of communication and ministry and Mr. Mayoli has been great for him.  He is now able to work and is supporting his family!

- Is in very poor health.  She is still unable to work and her family is totally dependent on what our team was able to do and what the Mayoli families does to supplement, as well.  The HFBC team will visit her and take some food.  I hope to continue to support her and her daughters in some way after our visit. Please keep that in your prayers.  
(I'll have Kris upload photos of these families for those of you who have seen pictures, so you'll know which ones I am talking about.)

Loving It!

I don't have a lot of exciting news to share, but I am still loving this place!  I'm learning the roads and am getting familiar with the city of Nairobi.  I have done everything from spend half a day getting a car battery (remember everything takes longer!!) to learning African dance at Club Afrique.  So much fun!  I am taking salsa lessons with "the family."  They are so great!  They have totally included me in everything they do and treat me as one of the family.  They are very protective, as well.  I'm so blessed and thankful to have them!  Thanks, Susan, for sharing your family.  Susan's sisters (Tina, Dee & Jane) are singing in church tomorrow....Nairobi Chapel.  I'll try to post the link to the church  website, but if I can't, I think it is www.nairobichapel.org.  Very cool.  After that, another family picnic.

I am spending this week doing things to get ready for our team's arrival.  Shopping for mattress, etc can be chore, but fun.  I'm learning a lot!  Jared is taking me today to visit Brackenhurst, where our team will stay, and Limuru, where we will be working.  

Yes, still loving it!   I can't wait to come back....and I haven't even left yet!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My First Test of Survival!

And, I passed! The driver brought me to YaYa Center (like a mall) to go to the ATM and cybercafe yesterday. I was to text him when I was about ready to leave. As I was withdrawing shillings, I accidentally turned off my phone. I hadn't reset my password, but I knew what numbers it was, something like 2987, or was it 2798, or perhaps 2978??? Well, you don't get three tries! It locked!! OFF!!!! I had no cell phone and no numbers! Hmmm....quite a predicament. There are no pay phones or security help-desk type things. What was I to do? I though I would go up to the cyber to try to email someone I knew. But, i knew Tina doesn't check email often, and I didn't have Mutua's address. I would try Shem. But, the internet was down! An even bigger predicament! By the way, people don't share nicely here...phones at least. It is very expensive. I asked the girl at SafariCom (which is where I got my phone-isn't that a cool name?!) if she could unlock my phone or if there was a landline I could pay to use. She was not very helpful, to put it nicely! I went back to the cyber to see if it was up. I was praying all the while that it would be, and that someone would be nice and let me use their phone. I'm not good at being bold and asking complete strangers for favors. The internet was up! Praise God! I told the girl working there what had happened. She was nice and sympathetic. So....I got on the internet, checked my mail, only to find an email from Shem saying that he was out of town until Wednesday! Uh-oh...even BIGGER predicament! He obviously wouldn't respond to my email! Now, I could find a few numbers, but still had no way to call!!! As I was sitting at the computer, I heard...oh, I can't remember the name..."You're faithfulness, reaches to the heavens..." What is that song? Anyway....I needed to hear it! Just after that, the girl came and asked if I was having luck, then she offered me her phone!!! Praise God again!! So, I tried Tina....no answer. I tried again...no answer. Beginning to panic. Called Shem. Even though he was out of town, perhaps he could advise me. As soon as he began to tell me what to do, the girl's phone ran out of credit! Fortunately, Shem called back. I asked if taxis were safe, and he told me which one to look for and how to find it from where I was. He told me to find a driver that would call him and he would do the talking and tell me how much to pay. Huge help!! So, I took a deep breath, and set out, ready to be a confident American rather than a poor little lost girl who looked frantic. Then, as I walked outside headed to the taxi, David, my driver was coming up to look for me!!! I had taken too long! I was so glad to see him! God WAS faithful. I had prayed earlier that morning that He would be my Guide and Protector, and He was. Since I passed yesterday's test, I set out again today. This time, completely on my own. I will not even have David to call when I leave here. I am going to New Life Home from here!!! I haven't decided if I will walk or taxi. I think I know the way, but am not entirely sure. Perhaps I should taxi this time. Then, I will walk back home later today. I DO know that way! I'll let you know if I pass this next test. :-) Thanks for all your prayers!!!!

The African Waiting Game

Waiting for bags. I am more than 100 Nairobi passengers from London Heathrow to have lost bags since last Wednesday! I am staying with Mutua and Tina (Susan's sister). Mutua has been MORE than helpful!!! He calls BA often to check the status. He even wrote a letter on my behalf. They are now very nice when he calls! :-) Fortunately, the bag with my clothes and most of my personal things arrived. The one with all the gifts did not. Pray that it comes soon. The boys keep asking if my bag has "reached."

And, the phone...more waiting! I got a phone easily on Friday, but it is still not receiving international texts or calls. :-( It is, however, VERY helpful for local communication!!! (More on that later!) After many calls, again by Mutua, the livesaver, I am still waiting!!! Definitely Africa time! They're common phase is so true! As I am experiencing, time moves more slowly here and at a completely different pace than everywhere else. I had been told that, but now I believe it. It is way different than even Latin America or other places that seem to operate at their own pace. I even got an email from William saying that it is harder to plan things in Africa than any other place....and he should know!

Oh, well, God is good....and faithful! So I know I will have bags and a working phone sometime. Hopefully, sooner than later.

A First Class Trip to Kenya!!

Literally...thanks to Kirsten's specific prayer! Before I left, she prayed that the Lord would show favor and show His love for me by blessing me with getting bumped to First Class. We all laughed at the time. But, it started out great by Loren and I getting on the same row with no one between us on the flight to London! I guess I was in line with Executive Club membership to get a seat in the next section up for the flight from London to Nairobi. We found that out at the airport and we again laughed at the fruitfulness of Kirsten's prayer. Then, boarding the flight to Nairobi, the lady took my ticket at the gate, walked to the other side, and gave me a new ticket. She said, "This one is on the isle. That should be better." It was seat 20D. When we walked on, it was in the first section! (I actually think it is equivalent to Business on Continental - First is the complete other direction.) I looked at Loren and thought there was something wrong. I didn't want them to come in another minute and tell me I was in the wrong place. So, I asked the flight attendant. She said, "No, a simple bump-up, so it looks. Have a seat and make yourself comfortable. Would you like a glass of champagne?" And, so it began...the best flight ever! And I even slept on the plane!!!! But, that's not so hard to do with an actual bed, heavy quilt and full-sized down pillows! God did bless me with an amazing gift!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Best and the Best...

My best friend brought me the best treat! My last Chic-fil-a for awhile. Can I survive two months without it?? Everyone should have a Kris in their life! I'm going to miss her. And the rest of my family and friends, too...some of whom are on their way over to pray for me before we all go to the airport! Thanks, Kirsten, Connie & Monica! What a great support I have! :-) AND....bye Mom & Dad! Love you!


I leave this afternoon. At this point, I don't know if I'm more excited to be leaving or to be finished packing!

My prayer requests at this point:
GETTING THERE - travel mercies; smooth & timely connections
BEING THERE - that the Lord would guide my steps each day and open doors for service
COMING HOME - continued guidance and a flexible job

GETTING THERE - I'm a little nervous about my flight connections this time. I fly into London Gatwick and out of Heathrow. I have a 3 hour, 15 minute layover in which I have to get bags from baggage claim, go through customs, take a bus to the other airport, and go through security there. The British Airways website says it is a 1-1 1/2 hours bus ride. I have HEAVY bags! And, in the light of heightened security in London, I'm a little nervous about the security lines.
BEING THERE - I have no plan!! It is so hard to leave not knowing exactly what I will be doing each day. It is NOT my personality to go into this without a plan! It is such a strange feeling to know so clearly that the Lord is leading me to Kenya this summer, and still not know exactly why. I do know several things I will do and places I will go. I know of several people I will stay with. But as far as the details and any sort of schedule on the calendar...nonexistant! It is a true test of dependence on God...and it's already stretching me! Please pray that I would submit to His leading each day and that my eyes would be open to opportunities to show His love to the people in front of me. I have asked the Lord to place people in my path all along the way, the people He wants me to meet. I know there is a purpose in my going, and trust the Lord to bless my time there and use it for His glory and honor. I would appreciate your prayers for the same.
COMING HOME - again, no plan! Well, for a job, anyway. I will probably sub at CCS and inCy-Fair, but I want to be open to whatever God has. I do need to be in a job that is flexible, as there are several times I know I will need to be out of town.

So...I'm off! Thank you for your prayers and support. It is because of so many of you that I am able to go. Thank you for allowing God to use you as a tool in my life!
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