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, December 14, 2009

Got Milk?

We do!!!  We are finally beginning to get goat milk!!  

Our older female had dried up by the time we got her, so they guys have been working to get her to start producing again. Slowly but surely, she began giving milk over the weekend.  At this point, they have not gotten more than half a cup, but we are praying she quickly increases.
The younger female is pregnant for the first time, expected to birth in mid-February. The baby kid will get her milk for the first three days, then our babies will!  And hopefully, our next step....more goats!!

We have also been given a donation from Roy Vicker's Sunday school class of North End Baptist Church of Beaumont, TX to build new goat pens to house more goats! And a gift from my mom's childhood best friend Joyce and her Awana kids of First Baptist Chruch of Jal, NM to buy a new mama goat! If prices are the same as when I last checked, I believe we will have enough to buy a goat who is already producing so that we will not have to wait.

The goats' pens must be elevated to fascilitate better milk quality.

As you can see, we have the area for plenty of goat pens, but the area is not conducive to housing goats and modified before we bring in more.

We are so blessed to have space for their housing and confined grazing.

THANK YOU to those who are making a difference in our babies' lives by making a way for them to be fed in a much healthier way!  Yea goats! And, Yea friends of HCO!!

And just another update...I wrote on Facebook about the unfortunate event of our big German Shepherd killing our male goat, but I don't think I posted it here. Yes, sadly, big Judah got a little out of control with Billy. They are usually kept apart: Judah confined in the daytime, the goats confined part of the day and all night.  Apparently, in my absence, the ones in charge of watching the goats were not so diligent in keeping them apart. Again, conversations via the phone with those who do not speak much English have proven to be another challenge in "directing" from a distance. 

So rather than buying the staff a goat to roast for Christmas dinner, they had an early goat roast in November (on our Thanksgiving Day actually) as their Christmas dinner budget was just re-allocated to buying a new stud goat!

I guess I have more goat-buying on my to-do list when I return to Kenya!  Woo hoo!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday's Favorites

Dot.  Dotspot. Definitely a favorite. 

If you know Kris or I well at all, you will know Dot & Tag.  They are the best dogs ever.  But also if you know us, you know they are full of stories...from coming home to a room completely FULL of shredded paper to walking in to find a 5 lb bag of chocolate candies completely consumed, including wrappers.

We have both had to leave work on numerous occasions to tend to their fiascoes or random illnesses.  We have both had to schedule our days around being home to feed the dogs, let them out, etc.  And in the last year, Kris has had to do double-duty...not only just keeping up with both of them since I went to Africa, but also because Dot developed diabetes and needs insulin shots twice a day.

Dot and Tag are littermates. 11 years old. Kris and I have been roommates off-and-on over the past 11 years, but Dot & Tag have stayed together.  We would play the switch-off game, but we knew separating them was not an option.  

Today, I fear they will be separated.  As I sit here bawling like a baby, barely able to see the screen, I am waiting for Kris to come home from work.  Dot has been a frequent visitor to her friends at Grant Rd Animal clinic over the past year and a half, and today will we take her one last time. She has had cancer in eye and battles diabetes. She now has cancer in her lungs and cannot breathe due recurring collapses. She does not feel well.

Dot is our Wonder Dog! For dog lovers, you will understand.  For those who are not pet lovers, you will not.  But we are SO happy for the time we had with Dot. Dot has many friends. 

These are some of Dot's favorite moments... 


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prayer Request for Safety at HOH

I just called home to check in on things. I had not talked to them in two days.
Apparently, some people showed up at the gate claiming that the landlord had sent them to inspect the property. They were afraid of upsetting the landlord so they allowed them in. As soon as they told me this, I knew it was wrong. I know the landlord and know he always calls before coming.

I have contacted them, and indeed the people were not sent by the landlord. 

The girls told me that the people insisted on seeing the whole house, every room. And they let them!! So these people have seen everything that is inside our house as well as the layout of the place.  But if they went through the house, they also saw our emergency panic buttons which are hopefully a deterant. Even if they cut the electricity (common practice in a break-in) the panic buttons will still work.  

So, over the next few days, if Haven of Hope comes to your mind, please pray for their protection.  This is a common tactic for burglary in Kenya. I am very disappointed in my staff for allowing them inside, but I understand that they were trying to do what they thought was best. 

I also know that the Lord is our protection and He has these babies, and the staff, in the palm of His hands. But, oh, how I wish I were there!

Thanks for the prayers!  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thanks, Kris!

Kris Nulik - the one who makes it all possible! 

If you have had any interaction with HCO, you have probably come into contact with Kris in some form or fashion. Kris is the Secretary of the HCO Board of Directors and the Director of Stateside Operations.  And my best friend! :-)

Kris did an AWESOME job of preparing for the HCO benefit dinner on Saturday! She is the one who had it all planned out, organized and ready to go. The went off without a hitch and everything flowed so absolutely smoothly.  That was all thanks to her.

Honestly, I could not be doing what I do in Kenya without her. Kris puts in an average of 10 hours a week doing work for HCO. She knows the financial side of things inside out and keeps us way more organized than I ever could! As we continue to grow as a ministry, she is prepared and ready to grow with us.

I am SO blessed to have her as my partner in ministry! Thank you, Kris, for all you do for me and for HCO!

Blessed Beyond Measure

We had our first HCO benefit dinner on Saturday. Blessed beyond measure. That is the only way I can describe it! Every single aspect of the evening was sprinkled with blessings from the Lord. 

We originally planned for and expected maybe 55-60 people.  We had 110.
Those 110 people included...
- friends from my former schools,
- friends from HFBC (and the old Shed days!), 
- friends from the awesome Trinity Vineyard church,
- friends from Kenya connections,
- friends from my childhood (including one who visited my mom when I was born),
- friends of friends, 
- friends who I had heard of but never met,
- friends who have been with us from the beginning,
- friends who are new to the HCO family,
- friends who give faithfully every month,
- friends who pray faithfully every day,
- friends who are dying to come hold our precious babies,
- friends who have had the privilege of holding our babies,
- friends who came from down the road,
- friends who came from New Mexico, Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

Most of all, we were blessed to share an evening with friends who care about what we are doing in Kenya and want to be a part of it!  The Lord has truly blessed me abundantly over the past few years.  And He has blessed the ministry of HCO far more than we could have every asked or imagined in its first year!  

What we saw on Saturday was an amazing display of God's provision and faithfulness! I simply CANNOT wait to see what he has in store for us in the next year!  We have set out on our goal of $250,000 in order to purchase our Haven of Hope compound and this weekend brought us a HUGE step toward that goal. 

I know God has an amazing plan for the babies of the house and the ministry of His Cherished Ones in Kenya, and I am so honored to have so many amazing partners in that! It truly takes the partnership of all of us to provide this life for these little ones. 

THANK YOU to all who joined us for such a wonderful night! I hope you enjoyed it.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Update on Kate

Thank you for your prayers for little Kate and the situation surrounding her. Kate is now back at our house, safe and sound with all her little "brothers" and "sisters."

Kate's parents have accused each other of abandoning or selling the baby. At one point, they were both in jail. The "father" has been released and appeared in court to testify.  His statement was that he had never seen the baby before and did not want her.  So, the police took Kate, along with our social worker and Julie, the babies' caretaker, to Langata Womens Prison where the mother is being held.  She was to identify the baby and make a statement. 

According to Julie, the mother "cried tears of joy" when she saw Kate. The mother is an IDP (Internally Displaced Person) with no job, no home and no way to care for her baby. She probably left the baby on the man's doorstep out of sheer desperation. Things are so different here in Kenya than in America. It is not so "black and white." This mother could truly love and care for her baby. She had obviously taken great care of her before she left her; that was evident from the day we received Kate. In fact, I told the staff several times within the first few days that I expected the mother to come back for her within days. 

At this point, Kate was summoned to court in order for the parents to identify her and for the judge to see the state of her welfare at this time. Her mother claims to want custody of her, but obviously does not have a means to provide for her. Our position at Haven of Hope is that we would release Kate to her mother if she indeed can find a way to provide for her baby.  We will keep Kate in our care until that is done. If the mother cannot meet that requirement and/or if the judge terminates the rights of the parents, then Kate will be eligible for adoption after the waiting period of six months.  

We will go back to court on December 18th.  A DNA test will be done on the "father" to prove if he is or is not the father. If he is the father, he will also be charged with abandonment. The judge will determine their parental rights at that time. It is highly likely that he will rule that Kate will remain with us, at least for a predetermined amount of time.

Above all, we pray that the Lord's will be done; that Kate is in a place where she will be greatly loved and well cared for.  

God DOES have a plan and a purpose for each of our babies' lives.  As is painted on our wall in teh playroom of HOH, "Every child is a story yet to be told." This is just one more page in the story of Kate's life.

Thank you for praying for our babies and for the next chapters of their lives.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pray for Kate

The police showed up at Heshima with a Children's Officer looking for me.  They needed directions to Haven of Hope to locate Kate. My social worker, Elizabeth, met them at Heshima and escorted them to the home.  

Apparently, there is a dispute over her placement and I do not know the details.  I know that Kate's mother is in jail.  The courts want to SEE that she is indeed in our home and being well cared for.

Kate has been summoned to court at 8am tomorrow morning. From my understanding, it is just to prove that she is in our care and doing well.  The social worker does not seem to think they intend to take her.  

Julius, who is on our HOH Board of Directors, will be taking Kate and Elizabeth  to court tomorrow.  (This will be at 11pm tonight CST.) 

Please continue to pray that things will go smoothly and there are no major issues.  We trust that Kate is in our care because God has placed her there for this season of her life; that we are to love her and care for her while she waits for her "forever family."  Though we don't know if that forever family is her biological family or not, we DO trust that Kate's life is in His hands and if she is returned to her biological family He will be faithful to protect and care for her.  If she is not returned to them, we will continue to love her in our home until God prepares her forever family to receive her.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I just got a call from home that the police are contacting our social worker for directions to Haven of Hope to "claim one child."  I have not been able to get accurate information to find out which child. 

Please pray....

* for peace, patience and wisdom for me while dealing with this from so far away,

* that those acting on my behalf will act with responsibly, with dignity and discernment,

* that the "one child" is not Elizabeth or Julia, as they both come from dangerous/abusive backgrounds.  I cannot stand the thought of releasing them back into that without being there to assess the situation myself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Miss My Growing Babies!

I am SO happy to be at home in Texas for a few weeks, but I am missing my babies terribly!  I am constantly looking at the clock, calculating the time difference and imagining what the babies are doing right then.  Yes, constantly. You could ask me at any given time what is going on at home (my Kenya home) and I could tell what the babies would be doing within seconds. Pathetic, I know.  

Since I am missing them and cannot see them right now, I decided to reminisce a bit and post some pictures of some of the babies the week I left (last week).  They are growing so fast!  

Hope - I weighed her the Friday before I left (Nov 20) and she was 6lbs, 9oz.  She is still so small, but just look at her!  She is so alert. She lifts her head herself and can hold it up for a LONG time, almost a minute. She will also track with her eyes and move her head to follow.  I may be a bit bias, but I think she is advanced and is definitely going to be a genius!
She is two months old today.

Jeremiah - Not a great picture, but how often can you really get a first crawl captured in a photo?! This is Joshua, our groundskeeper/manager with him.  Joshua comes in daily and plays with Jeremiah, always crawling on the floor with him, putting his legs up under him and trying to get him to crawl.  Jeremiah is usually not so interested.  He can scoot and commando crawl faster than we can walk, so why bother with crawling?  But, this is the day he did it!  Joshua was down on the floor with him.  They were playing the copy-cat game (which is WAY funny to watch!) and then Joshua said, "Up!" and Jeremiah copied him! Joshua said, "Walk!" and Jeremiah did it!  His first crawl....right here.  Last week.  
Jeremiah is now nine months old.

Elizabeth - Sitting with just the support of a boppy pillow!!  She is very tall, so if you know these pillow, you will understand how little support that it for her!  She has made GREAT progress in these past three months.  I am so proud of her.  I really believe she will be sitting alone within the next few months.  She can sit for a few seconds and thinks it is just the greatest thing ever.  She will laugh and laugh at herself, especially after she falls over.  
Elizabeth is 2 1/2.

Julia - Almost walking!  She can take a few steps before falling. She still does not want to be forced to walk. Crawling is SO much faster!  And yes, I know she looks like a little ragamuffin. Teaching the girls (the caretakers) to match clothes the way we would here in America is NOT as easy as you would think! And the nappies (cloth diapers) are HUGE! No wonder she doesn't want to walk...too much to maneuver! 
Julia is almost 11 months old. 

Thanks for letting me ramble about some of my babies.  It helps with the homesickness.  I know everyone around me wishes I would just shut up about them, especially Julia.  She will get her own blog post very soon. I already feel that one coming on!  

Oh yeah....and stay tuned for a BIG blog change.  I have heard that some of you do not like this new one, but just wait til you see what is coming!!! (Then, I will leave it alone and not change it anymore.)
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