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!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Beautiful Baby Cherry Grace Okello

Baby Grace is the new little daughter of my good friends, Shem and Joyce. She is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen! Apparently, she sleeps all day and cries all night, but I think they are making that up! When I have seen her, she is wide-eyed and the most pleasant baby you’ve ever seen.

They think it is funny how Americans talk to babies, like they are adults who understand. I’ll still do it, though!.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sports Ministry Update

A few weeks ago, when Kris was here, we went to Ahero, Kenya for the sports outreach project. When I posted about it, I mentioned that there were many (41 to be exact) who raised their hands to accept Christ. I asked for prayer for the local ministers and the follow up of these guys. I don't know about all of them, but...

12 members of the soccer team are now in a 7 week discipleship class in preparation for baptism! Praise God! We continue to pray for the rest of the guys, but we thank the Lord for His faithfulness and His work in the lives of these 12.

Our team, called Salama Baptist Football Club, has since been invited to another community for the same type event! The word has gotten around and the territory is being enlarged!! So, we will return to Western Kenya on July 11th for the tournament on Saturday, July 12th. We will once again have the opportunity to preach the Word of God before the game and at half time. It is so exciting to see how quickly God has taken this team, this ministry partnership, and is growing it and using it for His glory!

Please pray for...

* continued growth and discipleship of those who made professions of faith at the last event
* the team to be an example and light to the community
* the upcoming event on July 12th, that the Lord would be glorified
* further opportunities to share the Word of God and love of Christ through future events

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Women's Ministry

It's me again,Trena. Thanks, Kris!!!! If you didn't read Kris's post from yesterday, go down and read it! Very funny. Sadly, some of it is WAY too true!

Kris and I got to spend some time with some of the women who are part of the women’s ministry program in the Nyando area of Western Kenya. Simon, the director of NOWA (Nyando Orphans and Widows Association) was one of the men with us when we met Mamma Mary. He works with over 200 women in the area. They not only receive vocational training, but are also discipled in Christian living and Biblical principles.

We went to the shop where the women learn, work, and sell what they make. Life is very difficult for women in the village, especially if they are alone. Most women either live in complete poverty, in deplorable conditions, or turn to a life of prostitution. This ministry offers them Hope in Christ and provides them with an opportunity to learn and use skills to support themselves and their families.

In addition to this venue of tailoring, NOWA also trains women in farming, cultivating and profitable selling of goods. It also assesses the situation of women in need to see how they can best assist them. Then, works to meet those needs, such as providing healthcare, helping them start a business, or building a home. This is who we are working with to build Mamma Mary’s house.

NOWA is a great ministry! It was so fun to see it in action! They even made Kris and I Kenyan dresses!

Kris and I have been praying about how we can be a part of this ministry and we have already started a partnership. Baptist volunteers in Missions will be working through them more in the future, but for now…..

...if you are one who partners with me in ministry, you are now a part of NOWA as well! Mamma Mary’s house will be built with your help, and many women will be discipled and hear the message of Hope if Christ! Thank you!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thoughts from an Outsider Looking In...

Hello, everyone. This is Kris. Trena has given me permission to take over her blog today. After visiting her in Kenya over the last couple of days, I just had to post on her blog with some of my experiences. And, considering I am up WAY TO EARLY today as my internal clock is getting reset, I thought this would be a perfect time!

Trena is adjusting amazingly well. Jared (one of the men she works with and is good friends with) is very complimentary of how she has adjusted so quickly to the language, the culture, driving, village life, etc. Although, he also agrees there are areas she can improve. Right, Jared?? ;-) Please pray for her as she continues to adjust to life in Kenya!

VILLAGE LIFE: Who would have thought that little Miss Trena would be showing me the ropes on how to survive village life with no electricity, no plumbing, truly Kenyan foods, and crazy roads. I can't believe Trena spent 11 days in the village!! Actually, I can....being immersed in a Kenyan village is like no other experience...the people are so welcoming, loving, and giving. Some people you meet are so gracious and thankful to God while others are in such despair. I can see how Trena has a heart for Kenyans and wants to share the Hope of Jesus Christ.
Things I will miss about the village
....a simple life, immediately praying in the main house after you arrived thanking God for a safe journey and asking for blessing over that house and family, the tree that I planted and the kids protecting it with sticks from the goats/cows, sleeping under a mosquito net, story-telling by lantern while taking tea in the evening (but only in English...sometimes the conversation drifts into Luo), uji (like pourage), stopping to speak to nearly everyone (or so it seems) you meet by car on the road,
Things I will NOT miss about the village
....story-telling in Luo, going to the bathroom in the bush, "spit baths", ugali, picking up as many people as you can fit in the car on the way back to the village, the roads getting to the village (although I hear they are much improved thanks to an effort from Odinga after the recent elections)

LIFE in NAIROBI for Trena: Nairobi is a crazy place! I don't know how Trena drives there! She even knows how to use her horn which is amazing. She was always too afraid/embarrassed to use her horn in Texas. In Nairobi, using your horn can be a friendly gesture...like just a little tap to let a bicycle or truck know you are about to pass. In the midst of chaos at roundabouts and intersections, there is somehow a pecking order and people gesturing to let people in. Oh, how I wish Texans would learn that skill! Although there are rare times when Kenyans are just as stubborn and will NOT let you in!! All in all, her car has been the best thing for her and her ministry there...meeting teams at the airport and around town, driving to village/remote areas where teams are, use of an extra car while at the village, etc. Although, gas in Kenya is very expensive...almost $7 per gallon...we just thought we had it bad here! Trena does have a small efficiency apartment which is in a good, safe part of town and somewhat centrally located to the areas she goes in Nairobi. I brought her things from home to make her apartment more cozy. Trena tries to speak in Swahili when appropriate and they are usually very surprised and encouraging when she does. She says she understands much better than she speaks it. I am very impressed and proud of her for what she knows although she doesn't give herself much credit....and she is learning some Luo for survival in the BVM office! And, Trena is quite the bargainer! Again...who would of thought?? But, I guess it is very much a way of life in Kenya and she is making her way nicely!
Things I will miss about Kenya....my friend, Stoney Tangawizi (like ginger ale but MUCH better), being able to buy any kind for produce from the comfort of your car (if you don't see it just ask), being able to buy a car phone charger from a guy walking next to your car in a "jam", Java House, taking tea, sunset in the Masai Mara watching a heard of elephants walk across the horizon, Jared and his chivalrous impression of Mr. Bush as he takes care of Laura (George Bush, that is)
Things I will NOT miss about Kenya...Kenyan English (they say it's the same language but sometimes I am not so sure), Kenyan time (how is an hour late on time??), mosquitos, not drying your hands after washing them, monkeys chasing after you near your tent in the Masai Mara, Jared and his LOVE for Obama (ugh!)

I suppose I have written enough for now. I may have another guest appearance in the near future...stay tuned. And, I will post pictures when I can.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mamma Mary

We first met Mamma Mary when we were visiting a friend’s shamba (garden). We were looking over at this precious old mamma whose dilapidated house was caving in and crumbling down from the rains of the past weeks. (Mamma - that is how older women are referred to with respect.) She was working hard, making rope from plants to sell at the market.

As we were standing in the shamba, discussing the sad condition of her home, we knew we could do something to help. It costs less than $200 to replace the type of home she lived in, plus upgrade her to a metal roof that would not allow rain to seep in as her thatched roof currently does.
We went over to her and were invited into her home. We sat as she told us her story of how she works to make rope to sell to buy food. Her husband and four sons have all died. Her daughter-in-law lives near her, but is barely able to care for her own children. When it rains, Mamma Mary goes to her house for shelter. She can stay there and rest, but according to culture she cannot spend the night there; she must return to her own home to sleep.

As we sat in her home, Shem shared with her about the hope for a brighter future. She had been to a church before, but did not understand the meaning of salvation. Shem explained to her that God offers hope of eternal life, pain-free and ultimately fulfilling, through Jesus Christ. Before we left, Kris and I got to share a word of encouragement and lead her in the sinner’s prayer where she accepted Christ as her Savior.

Wow! That was a great walk to the shamba! We thought we were just going to see a garden, but God had a much bigger seed to sow!

Mamma Mary does not yet know, but she will be getting a new home! The director of NOWA (Nyando Orphans and Widows Association) just happened to be with us and she is now part of their program. This is one of the local ministries that Baptist Volunteers in Missions partners with. Mamma Mary is now one of ours in more ways than one!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kris is Here!!

Yea! But sadly, she's already leaving tomorrow. :-( We have had a GREAT time!

Last weekend we went to Western Kenya, outside of Kisumu city to the village I spend a lot of time in. This is where we began the partnership with the soccer team through sports evangelism last month. When we first met them, I was able to share the Gospel with them using a cool sports evangelism soccer ball. These guys are in such great need of a venue of activity that offers something positive, rather than pushing them into the typical night-life of the village....full of drugs and alcoholism.

Knowing that I am oh-so-athletic, it was quite ironic to be the standing before them, talking to them and encouraging them!! All the while, I kept thinking how much Kris would enjoy it! I called her and we started working out the details of how she could participate in this. True to Kris's nature, she was on the ball within days. She brought them uniforms, t-shirts, balls, and some other stuff. They LOVED it!

So, last weekend we went for the tournament (that was scheduled around her visit). It was awesome! There was someone there to preach between the games and the activity brought out HUNDREDS of villagers! They estimated 300-400 people gathered! It ended up being a great community event...something for everyone! The kids had fun playing with each other, while the women even started games of net ball. (Net ball is kind of like basketball, without dribbling.)

In the end, there was an offer for people to receive Christ in response to what they had heard throughout the tournament. The hands going up were countless....probably close to 50! There were a number of local pastors there to be a part of this. Please pray for the follow up of these decisions! We have tried to mobilize the pastors, but it will be a big job for them.

All in all, it was a huge success and we are grateful to the Lord for opening this new ministry partnership!! There are SO many opportunities for future ministry here! SO......if you're interested in ANY kind of sports and ready to have fun in Africa, consider coming!!!!
Just ask Kris...it was WELL worth it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

a team in pictures....

My “first team” is back home in North Carolina now. I was so blessed by them and encouraged by the way the Lord used them. I wish I could have spent more time with them. I enjoyed each and every one of them. They were a great group. (Hi guys!) This is why I love this job!

This team worked HARD! They were busy all day, every day and completely exhausted by the time I met them back in Nairobi. Even still, they were elated at how they saw the Lord work in their midst during their time in Kenya. Here is some of what they did while here…

Working with newly started home-churches…

An open-air crusade…

Door-to-Door Evangelism…

Activity-based Evangelism…

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Busy Weekend

Shem, Jared, Tom and I (the team of Baptist Volunteers in Missions) made a mad-dash trip to visit teams on the field this weekend. We made the 7 hour drive (on the lovely Kenyan roads) to Awendo, in South Nyanza District, to see a medical team from North Carolina. This is an amazing team that comes every year, treating approximately 4,000 patients in a five-day period, dispensing over $3,000 worth of medicine! It takes a whole day of prep work just to get medicine organized and ready to see patients. Unfortunately, they did not start treating patients until Monday, but I did get to spend time with them and some of the locals of Awendo.

On Sunday, we went to visit another team from Tennessee who has been doing evangelism near Homa Bay, Kenya. We met up with them at “church.” They were teaching at a new church that currently meets under trees.

They have an open-air service after the Bible classes.

Aren't these cute little mamas? The siblings always take such good care of the little ones here.

After the main service, we joined them at the river for over a dozen baptisms! That was a little added bonus surprise blessing. It is so much fun to re-join the teams on the field to see the fruit of the Lord’s work!
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