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, August 31, 2009

Success Story #1

We received the most precious baby girl last week. She was 3 days old when we got her. Her name was Joy.

A friend reminded me today that most newborn babies are only beautiful to their moms. So, the picture just doesn't capture how precious she really was. Sweet and tiny, and such soft curly hair. And no, she did NOT really look like a baby monkey as my friend suggested.
(And as I am sitting here writing this, Jackie says, "Yeah, she kind of did.")

She was initially registered as an abandoned baby, but it turned out that the mom handed her to strangers in the hospital to hold while she went to "find money" to pay the bill. When she went to her house she found that her "husband" had taken everything they owned and moved out. She fainted and was too disoriented when she woke up. She apparently went back some
hours later looking for the baby who had since been taken to the police department and then to Nairobi Childrens Home.

Having Joy in our home for the short time was such a blessing! Since we have a staff of two ladies who care for the babies, I decided I could not ask them to wake every 3 hours through the night and still stay completely alert and awake all day to take care of the other babies. So....Joy stayed with me. It was my first time to have that round-the-clock responsibility for a newborn. Oh, what a different perspective that is! But I would not have traded it for the world! It was absolutely priceless.

Though it was hard to let Joy go, it was an overwhelming blessing to see God's work in progress! My first reaction to her mother being found was disappointment, but as God reminded me of the purpose of Haven of Hope a sense of fulfillment and completion rose up. I was able to see the whole picture of what He called me to do through this home......be a safe haven for babies until they are able to go live with the families the so greatly deserve to be with. He has called me to care for HIS children for a season, while they need a home. This is exactly the role we played. We were able to take in this sweet little baby and keep her until her real family was ready for her. Releasing Joy to her mother, grandmother and auntie was a precious gift, as was our time with her.

Jackie & Joy - Jackie has been a live saver the past few weeks! SO glad she is here to help!

Tracy - Jeremiah - Joy - Julia - Elizabeth
They aren't all smiling and happy, but they are all looking the same direction!

I would ask that you continue to pray for me, for the staff/volunteers, for the babies and for their future families as we care for them and prepare them for the lives they will transition into in the future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whose Game Is It Anyway???

We were not able to have Bible Club this Sunday, so the kids came during the week to play football (soccer). Jackie, the girl volunteering here for her summer/fall semester of independent study (yes, she is getting college credit for this!) is quite the soccer player and our neighborhood boys are very impressed with her. Several have even asked, "She is a girl?"

So, what starts out as a game for the boys, turns into Jackie vs. Emmanuel!
The kids still love it. We usually have about 20-30 kids here each time. Even though we did not have Bible Club, I still overheard some of them telling the first two stories and reciting the six attributes of God that we use from Chronological Bible Storying.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Outside Playtime

Some cute pictures of our babies playing outside. Well, they started out playing but weren't so much in the play mood by the time I got the camera out.

Jeremiah is a serious little man. He is not upset or mad (as he kind of looks in the pictures), he is just serious. He looks intently and takes everything in. Tom is our security guy, and as Jackie says, "I'm pretty sure Tom thinks Jeremiah is his real son." He is a cutie!

Julia's my little girl! We bonded from day-one. I remember working in the nursery at church and there was always a little one that would be perfectly fine until Mom walked by or stuck her head in. When the little one would catch a glimpse of her, it wa
s over. The fussing began. You try to convince the mom that the baby has been fine....happy, playing, laughing. The staff does the same here. And I can hear Julia downstairs jabbering and laughing. As soon as I walk in the crying starts and she's making her way to me like she is in a desperate fight to reach me. She's such a drama queen! That is really the only time she cries. Other than that....the happiest, easiest, funniest baby ever!

Elizabeth will play for a little while, but when she has had enough...that's is. She is a very sweet little girl and is usually very playful. She likes to smile and play little games like mimicking head-shaking in different directions and peek-a-boo.

Tracy is a great "big sister." She is a typical 16 month old who is having a hard time with mama's attention going towards all these new babies, but she is such a sweet little thing! She is really a funny girl. We enjoy her so much!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thank You, Lisa!!

I am a little late in posting this, but it is due its time. I wasn't actually up-to-date on my blogging at the time I should have posted this. But, better late than never, and of all people, she understands better than most the reasons for the delay....

LISA - my "second set of hands"

Lisa was here with me for seven weeks helping to get the baby house started. I could not have done it without her!!! Not only did she help me talk through things, make decisions and problems solve, she was a great friend. It was so nice to just have someone around to do things with.

Here is a small list of some of Lisa's "helps." I am so thankful she was here to work side-by-side with me while we were....
* packing and moving me out of my house & into the baby house,
* ordering furniture
* fixing the car battery

* writing childrens home registration documents
* organizing the babies' room
* opening the back door to the Prado
* unpacking in the new house
* revising childrens home registration documents
* planning for ministry teams
* decision-making for solving staffing problems
* setting up the staff housing
* choosing a floor rug for babies
* submitting registration documents
* making me walk down the baboon road!! (a few times)

* meeting Sam (about a hundred times)
* "counseling" (or threatening) Nellie
* "counseling" (or threatening) ME!
* rewriting registration documents
* discipling HOH staff
* playing football with the Bible Club boys
* choosing curtain material
* videoing momentous occasions
* resubmitting registration documents
* making me stick to decisions I had made
* getting me back on the blogging track

* choosing curtain material
* making friends with our new neighbors
* meeting with childrens officer and seeing our new babies
* being "auntie" to our babies, even before they arrived

It was hard to let Lisa leave before the babies came, but I know she had to get back to her "real job" and ministry at home. She did so much to help us get ready for a ministry that she will continue to be a part of....even if she is not here with us.

Lisa, I could not have done it all without you!! Thank you for giving your time,
energy and gifts! I am so thankful for you and cannot express that enough. God knew exactly what He was doing in bringing you here this summer....even if you and I did not. Please come back soon and see all your friends! We miss you!

**Note to Mrs. Horning - Jackie is awesome, too! She's doing a great job and there will be more to come about my friend who is STILL HERE helping! By the way...can she stay?!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Meet Our Babies

What a wonderful week it has been at Haven of Hope! Full of smiles and laughs. Taking these little babies into our home has been such a blessing! They all seem to be adjusting very well.

I feel so honored to be a part of these babies' lives. God has truly entrusted us with some precious children and we want to do our best to give the love and care they deserve. In their short little lives they have already experienced rejection, neglect and
pain. We are blessed to be a part of offering them the hope of a future where they will prosper and not be harmed. Haven of Hope is happy to be "home" to Jeremiah, Elizabeth and Julia during this season of their lives.

Jeremiah is 6 months old. He was completely abandoned by his mother and we have no information whatsoever. He was referred to Nairobi Children's Home, a government operated temporary placement shelter, in April. He was told to be 1 or 2 months old at the time. He was supposedly found and taken to the the Dagoretti Police Station, which is not far from our home, but we have no official record of that. I do have a social worker who will be trying to attain more background information on Jeremiah.

He is a tiny little guy. He doesn't look so small in this picture, but he wears
3 mo clothes, even some 0-3's. He started out as a super-serious little man but he is beginning to laugh and play and show his personality more. He still has a very serious, analytical side. He likes to look and study peoples' faces. But when he smiles, he can melt any heart! In the past two days he has started laughing and playing a lot more. He has very little core muscle strength, likely due to lack of exercise. He is looking forward to Auntie Kris coming for a little physical therapy play (although he doesn't know that yet). :-)

Elizabeth is approximately 2 1/2 years old. She was referred to Nairobi Childrens Home by the High Court as her mother was declared "unfit." We are told that her mother is mentally unstable and tried to kill her. We do not know if this was an intention act or simply a negligent act due to her condition. Elizabeth was in NCH for over one year.

Elizabeth has a beautiful smile! Her favorite toy is a baby doll. She face lights up when she is given the doll, and then she pats her back and tries to rock the baby. So sweet! She will even use her eyes and make little grunt noises to communicate when she wants to be
given the doll. Elizabeth has CP (cerebral palsy) and is currently unable to sit or stand. I have no doubt that sitting unassisted is easily within her capabilities and will be accomplished very soon! (Hopefully while Auntie Kris is here in September to do daily therapy with her!) She began therapy yesterday at Heshima, the center for special needs where I help out. I am the special education coordinator there, but the only financial commitment that His Cherished Ones has with Heshima just happens to be that we pay the salary of the physical therapist! Hmmm....funny how God works.

Julia is 9 months. She was taken to Nairobi Children's Home in March at approx 3 months of age. Her mother is mentally retarded and we are told that her condition worsened after giving birth. She progressively became more confused and could not even recognize her own baby, leaving her many places. She was placed at NCH as "a child in need of care an protection."

Julia (or "Lulie" as Tracy calls her) is known as "the easy one" and "the funny one." She's a small little thing (wears all 6 mo clothes) but has no delays. In fact, she's quite a little mover. She can easily pull up on anything and make her way around. The first night and morning that she was in the house she was trying to get up on her knees to crawl. She had no trouble scooting around! Within a few days, she was crawling all over the place! She just needed space and opportunity to do what her little body was ready to do! Julia's little personality is adorable! She likes to talk. It usually comes out in a loud, fast gibberish. She looks at you intently as if she expect you to understand and respond. And the conversation begins.

Tracy is the daughter of Lynette, one of our baby caretakers. They live with us. I first met Tracy and Lynette at Heshima. They lived two doors down from the center. I have known her since she was about 6 months old, and she has never feared me. (Many Kenyan babies who are not exposed to white people regularly fear them.) In fact, Tracy loved me and would easily leave her mom and go next door and hang out at Heshima with me. I originally asked Lynette to come work for me just a few days as we were setting up the house. I quickly learned what a valuable resource she was! Lynette is an amazing young woman. She has a great heart, willing spirit, and gentle nature. I cannot wait to see what the Lord does through her here at Haven of Hope! She has great potential. She just needs some encouragement and to know that she is indeed valuable, talented and very worthy of the gifts God has given her.

Tracy is a wonderful part of the "Lynette Package." Tracy is one of the most fun kids ever. She is 16 months old and is very bright. She talks a lot, LOVES Daisy and Judah (especially "Uda") and is a great "big sister" to the babies. When she is tired, she will walk up to one of us and stand behind us with a lesso, the cloth piece that Kenyan women use for everything, mainly for carrying babies on their backs. We love having them with us!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome Home Babies

Elizabeth - Julia - Jeremiah

The new babies came home to meet the rest of their family. The staff has been waiting to see them and was so excited to welcome them home.

Emmanuel and Tom were just like proud papas. Just look at the joy on their faces. (Tom and Emmanuel are our Maasai security guys. They live with us and are completely a part of the family.)

They were so good to take time to introduce Tracy to the new babies. She is such a good big sister.
Joshua came to meet the babies....literally, with a handshake and name introduction. So cute!

We all came inside and had a fun time showing the babies their new playroom. Tom is feeding a bottle for the first time. He was soaking wet afterwards, but he was proud of himself and Jeremiah was full. Sarah was a little stressed out about how Tom was doing it, but I was impressed that he wanted to be a part.

Babies Here! - Even HAPPIER Times!

Three months to-the-day from when I landed back in Kenya ready to start the process of opening a home for infants, we welcomed in our first three babies.

Could it have really been that fast? Being in the middle of it, it seemed like it was taking FOREVER! Finding the house, repairing/updating/modifying the house (it
had been vacant for over a year - in Africa - lots of work to do), starting the governmental registration process, getting the governmental run-around, submitting and resubmitting paperwork, waiting for the recognition letter to receive babies, waiting, waiting, waiting.

But as I have been reminded, it takes nine months for a baby to be born,
so getting three babies in three months isn't too bad.

We received our letter on Thursday and went to pick up our babies on Friday. They have been at Nairobi Childrens Home, a government home. Lisa and I had already go
ne there and identified the babies a few weeks ago. It was such an amazing feeling to see the reality of it as they brought the babies out for us to take.

This is Jackie. She is here working with me until the end of October. Since Lisa left and Kris has not yet come, it is a huge blessing to have Jackie! After all that registration process, all the waiting to receive "the letter," this is what it came down to. Just a signature. In fact, a huge mix-up and we even stopped to pick up the babies when we did not have the letter with us. No problem! They still released them to us with a simple, sign-the-book kind of thing. And you can see how old and dirty the book is. Oh-so-official! Yaye! But praise God...He brought us here and now these three babies have been untrusted into the care of His Cherished Ones (Haven of Hope). May God continue to guide us as we care for His cherished treasures...Julia, Jeremiah (Milton), and Elizabeth.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Judah's Back! - It's a Happy Time

I had Judah before, but my yard was too small and he had to go stay with friends. Well, we have plenty of space for him now and he is happy to be back with his girlfriend Daisy.

Daisy and Joshua are happy to have someone to play with.

And we are ALL happy to have an extra measure of security!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A "God is Working" Moment

This was from a few days ago. I was up in my room and heard the sound of some loud talking in the breezeway between the main house and the garage/staff housing where we do laundry and stuff. I went down to find Sarah, Tom and Emmanuel in a somewhat intense conversation. No one was upset or anything, they just tend to talk loud when trying hard to make a point, especially Sarah.

As I stepped out of the door, Sarah motioned me over inviting me to help prove her point to Tom. As it turned out, they were discussing the fact that Satan tries to use things that look good to distract us and draw us away from Truth. They were specifically talking about the lure of money and a certain scenario. Tom, however, argued that money is a good thing, it is never bad and should be taken in any situation, regardless of the corruption or deception that may be used to entice. The conversation came from Tom questioning and Emmanuel trying to explain the verse, "The thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy," (John 10:10) and will use
any means necessary to do so. Sarah and Emmanuel are believers, but Tom is not, although he reads the Bible daily and is asking many questions. (Such as what led to this discussion.)

Eventually, Lisa and Joshua came out as well. (Joshua is amazing, by the way, and he is the perfect man for this job.) It was so great to realize that even though we do not have babies in the house yet, God IS still working.....working to bring the staff together as a team, working to bring all of us to a more solid belief in Him & who He is, and working to slowly-by-slowly draw Tom unto Himself.

Please pray for the staff here at the baby center -
* That we all might work in unity together,
* That they continue to view this "job" as their personal ministry (which most do),
* That we always realize the broader impact of our being here as it reaches beyond our gate,
* That Satan would not try to enter in through "little things,"
* That God would use this time before the babies come to mold us together as a team and draw each of us closer to Himself.

Please pray specifically for Tom, that he would come to know the true saving grace of Jesus Christ. That is the piece missing in his perception of God. Once he makes a decision, it will be true and solid through to his whole inner being!

This is Tom and Joshua, a common sight from my window above the lawn where there sit and talk most evenings....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kids Club

We started our Sunday afternoon Kids Club today. It was great fun. The kids started coming during HFBC's visit and they had such a great time that we decided to start a weekly thing.

I will start doing Bible storying (Chronological Storying) with them. Lisa started today with the creation story from Kiswahili books she brought. Nelly (my Heshima friend) was here to help. And Joshua...he is amazing! He is my ministry assistant who proved, again today, to be the perfect person for this job! I'm so glad God brought him. He works great with any age group, and he's the disciplinarian we need.

After the story time and singing they played football and had snacks. They are already such a fun group! I'm so glad God brought them here...or brought us here....or both.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Haven of Hope Dedication Service

We had the dedication service for the baby center last Sunday afternoon. It was an amazing time.

I had wanted to have babies in the house by then, but it didn't happen. Obviously, that was my plan and not God's plan. But as always, His plan far exceeds my expectations and is far better than what I could plan myself. Looking back, I can see the benefit of not yet having children in the home. Now, these children will enter into a home that has already been consecrated to the Lord and prayed over by many people who already love them. The day was wonderful and God truly showed Himself faithful.

I was so blessed to have such an amazing group come to participate in the home dedication. There were people from so many different areas of life....all the ministries I work with, friends and church members here, friends from home, neighbors. I was sad that some people were not here to celebrate and pray with us - my parents, Kris, Bev, Don & Bonnie, many others. You guys were missed! Thanks to all those who did come. I was truly honored and blessed to have you here.

We had a time of worship, led by Stan and a few guys from Ngong Pentecostal. Then, I shared a bit about how we got here. I talked about the support of all of it, how we could not be here without all our friends in America. William shared, representing the many from "that side." Then, I was able to introduce the board of Haven of Hope and the staff here at the home to be the ones from "this side." It was a great full-circle kind of day.

We had a time of sharing and worship, then everyone when their own way and spent a little time praying over the home....the grounds, the house, the animals, the babies' beds, everything. Such a special time.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...