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!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Keep Praying for Kenya

Chaos (on a smaller scale) has resurfaced in Kenya in the past week. Thanks be to God that it has already begun to subside! Rather than the massive post-election violence, there has been an uprising of the pseudo-religious/political sect called Mungiki, Kikuyu for "a united people." They are a dangerous criminal organization which has had government ties in the past. Basically, they are an extremist group who is anti-Westernization and modernization, and anti-Christianity. Their beliefs are extreme, radical, even grotesque. They take their oath with a communion-type act partaking of human blood and roasted flesh, and are then baptised into this "religion." Yes, I've actually seen the footage of their initiation ceremony. Very disturbing.

Last week, Mungiki went on a rampage creating havoc around Nairobi and Central Kenya. The short version is that they were reacting to the death (possible murder) of the wife of their leader. They began hijacking trucks, busses and matatus (public transport vans) and barricading roads. Several were killed at planned attacks that were coincided across the area in early morning.

At the time of the initial attack, my language teacher, Hellen, was unaware of what was going on, but was confused by the lack of public transportation on the roads and was hearing shots along the way to my house. (NOT close to my house!!!! Just as she was leaving hers.) The following days, she was unable to come to for lessons because Mungiki presence was so heavy.

One afternoon, while working in the office downtown, I received a text message saying, "Police alert - leave town immediately." ("Town," meaning downtown.) I was perfectly fine and made it home safely. It was a precautionary act based on bogus threats from Mungiki.

The following day, we walked out of the office to go to lunch to find a mass of people running from the City Center. Again, Mungiki were on a rampage and people were dispersing. Mungiki are greatly feared, very dangerous. They kill many more people than are reported, usually in the slum areas. They are notorious for burglarizing and destroying property.

They seem to have settled over the weekend, after the Prime Minister invited them to "talks" to hear their complaints. Please continue to pray for the situation, though. This group is massive and has strong roots. They will not disappear, but they will subside in their attacks and intensity. That is what has happened now.

So....thanks to the provision of our God, I am safe. But, as always, we pray for the Lord's protection in all circumstances! May He continue to protect and bless His children. Great is His faithfulness!
Children look at a train that was derailed by members of the Mungiki, an outlawed quasi-religious sect, Monday, April 14, 2008 during protest in the Dandora slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Members of the Mungiki, an outlawed quasi-religious sect linked to a string of beheadings, held protests in several cities across the country to demand the release of their leader from prison. Protesters also accused police of being behind last week's killings of the gang leader's wife and their acting leader's brother.
Members of the police remove barricades set up by members of the Mungiki.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Loving These Babies!

Here are a few pictures of a fun day at New Life Home.

Since Georgie went to the big class, my baby is Elmo, the one in my lap. When I get there each day, the supervisor, Auntie Jane, always says, "Elmo, your Auntie Trena is here to see you, babe." It's so funny how each baby has a special someone who loves them, either a care worker, an office worker, volunteer, and even a grounds guy!

This was a particularly fun day. We had all the babies on the floor and in walkers and we totally went off schedule, just spending time playing and playing! Going off schedule is virtually unheard of at New Life!

Elmo...PRECIOUS baby, but oh, so serious!! You should see him when he does smile! Priceless! It's just too rare to catch on film. He's just taking it all in. I think he is going to be smart! He'll start talking next week, probably! :-)

Amititi, the only baby girl! 10 boys, 1 girl. Needless to say, she is quite spoiled.

I don't know why I'm posting this, just am. It's the groceries that I took today. I take about this much at least once a week. I will take a picture of the laundry building one day. It is incredible how much laundry is done here everyday! 54 little ones, under 4 years!

Monday, April 14, 2008


Who knew it was Swahili?!?! It is the Swahili word for "build." Isn't that cool?

I found that out when I learned that "jinga" is Swahili for "stupid." I said, "Oh, like the game!" She said, "No, that is 'jenga.'" So, now I can remember them both because we play the stupid building game. (I don't like the game...too frustrating, and loud when it falls!)

TIA - This is Africa

Where else can you see camels and monkeys while driving down the same road?! What fun! And driving a 4WD and really needing it is quite fun as well!

And I love hearing quotes that you don't often hear in Texas, like, "Close the back door so the monkeys don't get in!"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Kiswahili Teachers

These are my teachers. Hellen is my real teacher, but I have lots of helpers.

Hellen comes to my house each morning for language lessons from 8:30-11:30. We do some language study until about 10:00 or so. Then, we go out and practice on the roads to New Life Home. There are several places where we stop each day.

This is me and Joseph standing at the shop just outside our gate. (The “shop” is the kiosk that sells basics like sodas, bread, milk, and sweets. It’s very small, not a real store.) Joseph is very good to always help me speak Kiswahili. In fact, he won’t sell me anything unless I ask in Swahili. He even makes me count money and the change in Swahili, even though most people in Nairobi uses English words for money, time, days of the week, etc.

Ronald is a gate guy (security). He is nice. When I accidentally pulled out and hit a bicycle and freaked out, he saw the whole thing and was VERY helpful! It really turned out to be no big deal, but I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t want to drive away, but was afraid to get out of my car. He motioned to me to stay in my car and not say anything. He came across the street, talked to the guy and made sure everything was okay. Then, he came to me and told me that everything was taken care of. I am so glad I knew him and had been developing that relationship! What a blessing! In fact, all that took place hours after this picture was taken. Don’t worry….I really am a good Kenyan driver!! This was a freak thing. And according to everyone, it was “no big deal…happens all the time.” And truly, I have seen 4 bicycles hit since I’ve been here.

These guys are hilarious! I haven’t figured out exactly what they do or what the purpose of their job is, but they sit in a security truck on the street all day. Occasionally they leave and go tend to something, but I have no idea what they really do. They are all so good to help me with Swahili. They always use the same vocabulary and repeat things back to me so that I hear it both ways.
Like if I say, “Nitaendesha qwa bara bara ya Thika leo jioni na sitaki mvua itanysesha,”
one of them will say, “Sawa sawa, Utaendesha qwa bara bara ya Thika na hutaki itanyesha.”

Then, at 11:30 I go to New Life and have a whole new crew of teachers! I hope I actually learn something from all of this!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kenya Post-Election Update

Please pray for Kenya. The power sharing deal that was signed the end of February has come to a halt, at least for now. As the sides have failed to agree on the stipulations for choosing which departments each party will oversee and who the Cabinet members will be, talks have stalled and people are becoming impatient. In their frustration, some Kenyans are becoming restless again. In the past few days small skirmished have re-erupted in Western towns and in the Kibera slums of Niarobi. Once again, a kilometer of railway was torn up in Kibera, putting a stop to the transport of goods to the Western regions.

Please pray that peace will prevail and that the leaders will find terms on which to agree. May the Lord guide them in their decisions and may He continue to bless and protect the country of Kenya.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Babies Grow Up

I know that's a good thing, especially at New Life. But my favorite little guy moved up to the big babies class today. I'm sad. Isn't he adorable? He's even wearing a baseball outfit!! I want to take him home! I know he would love going to an Astros game!

Georgie is only six months old. There is one younger than him that is much bigger, so I tried to talk them into moving Koros instead. In fact, one of the nurses said that she and I could start a petition to keep him, but...babies grow up. So, I went to the new class to see George today. I know he misses me! :-)

And, speaking of growing up...I met one of the first five babies of New Life Home!! She is almost 13 years old. Her name is Abby and she will be moving to Texas this month. I went with my friend, Jen, to look at some stuff she was thinking of buying. A missionary family at her church is moving back to the States and selling everything. Abby's family. What a blessing to see a real follow-up to a New Life baby. I was so excited to hear their story, and they were thrilled to tell it.

So, here are some faces you can pray for. They will grow up, too. And God has big plans for them! Okay, so I can't get them uploaded now, so just be sure to check out the pictures from the links to the left..."New Life Home" under "My Pictures."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Almost a Kikuyu Bride

This past weekend I went to a pre-wedding ceremony of some friends, Tim and Rose. The traditional part of wedding is held prior to the Christian church wedding. This is where the families of both sides get together and agree to the marriage and negotiate the terms of the dowry, which is paid by the husband’s family to the bride’s family. This may vary somewhat among tribes, but is basically the same. Traditionally, the couple is considered to be married after this event/ceremony.

The Kikuyus have a fun tradition. The bride, along with her friends, matrons, etc. are all covered from head to toe and presented to the groom. He is to choose his bride out of the line-up. The girls are to stand quietly and not move, and the groom is not allowed to touch. If he chooses the wrong bride, he is fined.

Well, I was in the line-up and was almost chosen. (I am in the middle, dark blue flowers. The bride is 4th from left - flowers and stripes.) I had no idea of any of this at the time because they spoke no Swahili and no English, only Kikuyu! Tim had narrowed it down to two….me and Rose! I could sort of see his shadow through the sheet and I knew he was pacing right in front of me. He finally picked Rose, after she tried to hide a chuckle that gave her away! Afterwards, so many people told me I was almost chosen! They were even talking of the amount of the fine!

A fun experience! Definitely a first.
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