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!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekend at Auntie Trena's

I brought all the boys into town for a long weekend. Their "mama" had not had a day off since June and we had to force her to finally go home for a break. She really wanted to take one of the boys home with her.

We had a wonderful time in the city! The two older boys are learning a bit of English, so that combined with my little Swahili made for an interesting weekend.

We played outside in my compound a lot. At one point, I looked over while the kids were playing with bubbles and notice little Godfrey....
You can take the boy out of the village, but...

You can't take the village out of the boy.

I don't know how moms do it! I was exhausted after the weekend. But it was WAY worth it! They are such great boys! I think you ALL should come here and meet them!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Heshima - PART II

This is Heshima. It is a center for children with special needs. It is located in the Ngando slums of Niarobi, Kenya.

Heshima is a Kiswahili word for "dignity." In Kenya, children with special needs are rarely treated with dignity. They are often hidden away, kept inside the home. As they grow older, most are shunned and treated with very little respect.

There are a few schools for children with special needs, but the average Kenyan, especially those living in conditions of poverty, cannot affort them. Their only option is to keep the child
at home.

Heshima is a place of hope for these children and their families.
We want to show them that they deserve to be treated with dignity, with respect, with love. Our God cherishes them and long to lavish His love on them!!

The facilities of Heshima are extraordinary!!! It sits in a row of rooms which are home to some people. It is a concrete building with concrete floors! This is considered WAY high-end compared to its surroundings. Most surrounding buildings are made of tin (corrogated iron sheets) and have dirt floors. Tracey, the founder of Heshima, has put a great deal of effort into beautifying the center. By doing this, the community around the center can see that we believe these children are WORTH the effort! We love them enough to make this special for them.

I look forward to how God will use Heshima to reach into this community. I can't wait to share that with you!

Heshima - PART I

God does the most amazing things!

If you know me or have read much of this blog, you know that I work with Haven on the Hill (home to our five precious boys - see pics below!!) and with volunteer mission teams coming from the US. Since I have been in Kenya, God has faithfully laid out His plan for me.

I absolutely adore our precious boys at Haven and I am so excited about the future of Haven on the Hill and its place of light in the village community. I also love working with mission teams. From the moment I meet them at the airport, I love to share in their enthusiasm and excitement for what the Lord has in store and what He will do through them during their time in Kenya.

Over the past weeks I have sensed God laying something on my heart; I can tell that there is something in store and have been trying to remain in the Spirit so that I am open to where the Lord guides. I have had a desire to be somehow more involved in the poorer parts of Kenya. Those that are so very prevalent. You cannot help but notice the sheer desperation and desolation on the faces of those all around. There are slums around every corner.

And that's just it...they are around every corner. You can see them if you open your eyes to them. But it is easy to keep your eyes on the road and not notice what lies behind the store fronts and produce stands along the streets.

What is back there? Poverty. Sadness. Sickness. Hopelessness.

I can see that in the faces of people I meet every day, yet I do not live in it. But I want to know it. I want to know it so that I can better understand the people with whom I live. My kids at Haven on the Hill are precious. The poor babies have horrendous backgrounds. They now live in luxury compared to the dreadful circumstances from which they were rescued. I want to know where they came from; where the majority of the people in Nairobi come from....live in.

So, that in mind...my prayer since I came back to Kenya has been that I would be totally open to the Spirit; that I would not simply act out of expectations - expectations of those around me, my friends and family, my supporters, myself - but that I would act out of total obedience to the Lord's leading in my life. I want to be locally involved. Haven is about a two hour drive away. I don't solely want to work with orphanages or programs already supported by churches or mission organizations, although there are still MANY of those who do need assistance. My prayer has been that God would show me how I can best use my gifts, abilities, and time to make a difference and minister to the poorest part of the city in which I live.

I was praying that exact prayer last week as I drove to my first night of a church home group. Imagine my shock when I listened to the host of the group, Tracey, update her friends on her project. She was saying that they have made great progress with the center. They had rooms rented and painted and ready to go...
...in the slums
...behind "furniture row" on the road to my house!

Her project:

Her concern at this point:
She has a God-given vision, but no professional experience in the field.
She has resources, but no one to provide implementation.
She has a staff, but no one to train them to work with special needs.

My job before coming to Kenya:
A preschool special needs teacher!!!

My prayer for direction to the place He has prepared for me (or prepared me for):

Though I did not completely understand God's plan or my involvement in Tracey's project that evening, it was clear to me that God was revealing Himself and working all around me. After spending time talking to Tracey, hearing her vision and needs, talking with the staff and spending time at the site, I am confident that the Lord has opened this door of opportunity!

The center is called Heshima, a Kiswahili word for "dignity." I will be helping them at least one day a week, providing training for the teachers and overseeing their work with the children. I will be putting my experience as a special needs teacher into practice...in the slums of Nairobi!

God never ceases to amaze me! I cannot tell you the joy I felt as I sat in the school, talking with the staff and walking with them through the "neighborhood" finding the "hidden" children that we hope to minister to.

There is so much more that I want to share, but this post is already WAY too long!! Stay tuned for more of the story of Heshima. Pics soon to follow....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And Who Wouldn't Miss These Guys?!

Baby James





Finally Back Online

I guess the biggest reason I know I’m back in Kenya is the internet issue. (See post below for all the other reasons I know I’m back.) There often is no internet. I had wireless before I left, but since I came back my computer has encountered some sort of glitch with the SMS card I use. I finally got it working today!!!! I finally feel re-connected to the world! Cyber cafes are so not fun.

I did make it back safely. My trip home was good. I was able to spend some great time with friends and family and did a little support raising and updating on the ministry. Due to stupid Hurricane Ike, my fund raising was greatly hindered in the end, but God is sovereign and He continues to meet my every need. He is, indeed, our Jehova Jireh.

It is great to be back home. I missed it so much! I have since been able to settle into my new house. I spent one night here before I left, but it now feels like home.

The best part of being back is seeing first-hand how God works and continues to amaze me!

I was GREAT to see my boys at Haven on the Hill again! I can’t describe the joy I felt as they looked out the window and I heard them yell, “Auntie Wa-yoo! Amerudi! Amerudi!” (Auntie Wa-yoo – long story, that’s what they call me. Amerudi – “She has returned!”)

The older ones have really learned a lot of English. We met them on the road by their school as we drove up. They were on lunch break. As I said hello and greeted them in Kiswahili, I was surprised to her Kelvin answer me in English! He said, “I am fine, thank you.” His usually smiling face was especially beaming. He was so very proud of himself. When he and John returned from school a few hours later, they recited a song for us in English. What sweet boys!

The little ones had just gotten new haircuts, so they looked “smart” as Kenyans would say. Of course, Baby James has grown the most. He is starting to try to speak a little bit too.

Now, I am busy trying to find buyers for the vegetables from the home and contractors for our next building projects. Our goal is to be self-sufficient for the daily operations of the home and only have to fund-raise for major projects, like drilling the water well….which, by the way, we are at $43,000 of the $50,000 needed!!!!! Praise God!! So, by selling the vegetables from our very productive shamba (garden) we hope to cover our own operating costs. The next building project will be a playground. This, along with a water well that can service over 5,000 villagers, will be a great way to connect with the community. We want to get to know them and to truly be a light and the face of Christ in the village.

There is so much more to tell, but I will stop there for now. That’s the problem with not being able to update on a daily basis….all the great info and fun things that God is doing adds up!!!!

So, more later…stay tuned….

I'm Back!

And here are the TOP 10 reasons I know I'm back in Kenya:
  1. I have to learn to shower with bugs again.
  2. The stinkin' roosters crowing outside my window. (And they don't go by the 7am wake-up call. They squawk whenever the heck they feel like it!)
  3. Having to stop on the road (in the city, no less!) to let the little Masai shephard and the cows cross the road.
  4. When my electric shower doesn't work, which is quite often, it's back to cold splashing water baths! (This was particularly un-fun after arriving home at 11:30pm after 32 hours of travel.)
  5. I had to grate and peel my own carrot sticks. How spoiled am I to want to buy a bag of sweet baby carrots, ready to eat?
  6. A box of Raisin Bran costs $7.
  7. Fixing a puncture (flat tire) on the side of a bad Kenyan road.
  8. Nine hours of power outages on one day, and mutliple short outages on any other given day. (At least I get to re-live the drama of Hurricane Ike several times a week. Oh, the fond memories!)
  9. Getting OUT of our Land Rover and WALKING on foot to within 30 yards of elephants! Yes, stupid, I know, but WAY cool. And great pics!
  10. I could buy fresh fruits and vegetables, a backpack, roasted maize, a dining room table, and an engraved headstone all within a 50 yard stretch along the road to my house!
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