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, March 31, 2010

My Little Getaway

I know that many people may think I am crazy for leaving little David, but I did. I left him with the aunties for a few hours each day since last Thursday so they could get used to him. They are doing great, and so is he. I AM going home every day to check on him...and the other babies, too.  And for the record, I miss him terribly!! Even though I am seeing him each day, my nights are strangely lonely.  Don't get me wrong...I have LOVED not waking each hour for the past two nights, but I miss him.

But now....I have been given a great gift of a getaway this week!  I am staying in Tigoni with some friends' kids while they go on an anniversary trip.  (A much-needed getaway for them, I might add!)  The kids are ages 16, 13, 6 and 3 and they are fabulous!! The three oldest are girls and the youngest is a boy. I am enjoying them so very much.

So, I am on my own little getaway in the beautiful tea fields of Tigoni, near Limuru, Kenya. For those of you who know Brackenhurst, this home is on the same hillside as Brackenhurst. Simply amazing. And an added bonus: 25 minutes from Village Market! :-) 

I am so thankful to be a part of this family for the week! The older girls are taking GREAT care of me and Julia! And the younger ones are just adorable!  Julia and I are having a great time! 

And I am having fun getting to be "pretend mom" to a whole family. Even cooking for more than one is fun!

Here is my "family for the week"....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

OH NO!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is not about Baby Nasib. :-)

 Tragedy has struck Haven of Hope!!! Okay, not really a tragedy, but definitely a shocking moment for me. 

Imagine my horror when I walk into the room.....

You don't have to imagine. This is what I looked like:
 Not a good picture AT ALL, but it was unfortunately my immediate reaction.
...and expect to see something like this when I look at Kate....

...but am surprised to see this....


"We cut her hair."


"It was needing to be cut."  

I know there are way bigger things to worry about in this world, but I must admit, I am kind of mourning the loss of Kate's beautiful curls!  

And for the record, the staff and I have now had a conversation about not making any changes to the babies' appearance without consulting me first.

Good thing she is a beautiful baby anyway! But her curls were like her personal little baby trademark.
No doubt Kater-bug is still a serious little cutie!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our Next Baby

FAQs I encounter on a regular basis:

How many babies do you have in your home?

Will you get more?

Why do you only have six?
Our goal is to provide superior quality care to infants in a family home setting. We intentionally keep our numbers low so that the babies we do have are able to recieve a significant amount of one-on-one time with their aunties (caretakers). We want it to feel like a home, a family, and not an institution. We obviously cannot take every child in need that we encounter and that is a HARD thing, but we trust that God gave us this vision for a purpose and we will give the best care and love to the babies He blesses us with.

So, that being said. We may be getting a new baby this week! Over the past few weeks I have been sensing the Lord's prompting, thinking that a new baby was on its way. I contacted the Childrens Officer at the government childrens home where our other babies were referred from for an unrelated issue. She said, "I just told my assistant this morning that we needed to call you. We have a baby that needs to be in your home." 

My ears were perked and I was anxious to hear what she had to say. They had just received a baby boy from Northern Kenya. He was abandoned in December, either at birth or shortly after, and had been in a childrens home. A home that obviously had NOT fed him. He was literally starving to death. When I saw him last week, he was 2lb, 7oz!! THREE MONTHS OLD! It was one of the most horrific sights I have ever seen.  He did not look human.  Under his ribs, I could see mounds of his intestines and I could see the bands of his tendons in his legs. It was quite disturbing. 

That home has a new policy of keeping babies for at least one week before placing them. It does not look good on record for them to immediately place a sick baby who dies at its new placement within days. 

Therefore, our conclusion was that if he survives the week/weekend, we would take him this week.  He is scheduled to have his immunizations tomorrow (Monday) and we could possibly bring him home on Tuesday.  When I talked to the Childrens Officer on Saturday for an update, she informed me that he has already gained a half-kilo in the few days since I have seen him, which means that he is now approximately 3.5 lbs!!  Praise God for that! 

So, I ask you to please keep this little baby boy and this situation in your prayers.  If it is the Lord's will that he come to our home, we will lovingly welcome him. It will require a great deal of special care and time, but that is exactly the reason we have just a few babies in our home. We are ready, willing and happy to receive the next baby God brings to us!! 

I will update as soon as I know about this precious little boy, and/or the next baby who will be a part of our family.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thanks, Facebook!

Wow....time flies!  Yesterday I met someone whom I have not seen in almost 19 years!  I spent the summer of '91 traveling across the US and Europe with some awesome people. We were Continental Tour F of the Continental Singers.  Yes, super cheesy, but some of the best memories of my teenage years. 

Thanks to Facebook, a bunch of us recently reconnected. As it turns out, one of the guys happened to be traveling from his home in Australia to Kenya to visit a friend so we were able to meet up and catch up.  It was a great time and it was such a privilege to be able to introduce him to our babies and show him what the Lord is doing here.  
Jeremiah was especially enamoured.  He wasn't sure when this giant of a man walked into our playroom, but after staring hard and seriously analyzing him, Jeremiah easily warmed up to Jason and they became great buddies.
What a great experience.  I love when God does that...little surprises and fun little blessings. 

Thanks, Jason, for taking time to come see our babies! We had a great time. Karibu tena!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On the Homefront

I hope you enjoyed a little tour of ministries and meeting some of my friends here in Kenya.  Between that and being sick (which I am getting WAY tired of, by the way!!) I have not really updated much about what is going on here, on the homefront.  

The babies are doing great! They are all growing SO much!! Even tiny baby Hope is sitting! Eli is starting to crawl. Kate can pull herself up and stand. Jeremiah is walking everywhere! And Elizabeth is making HUGE progress and enjoying being a "big girl" and going to school at Heshima.

The staff is also doing well.  We have had a few changes, but things are good. 

Our shamba (garden) is finally doing well, too.  A little more training for our groundskeeper and the rains have done wonders!  Here are a few pictures of the girls in the shamba this afternoon...

This is Hellen, our cook. She also helps tend the shamba.
Linet and Tracy, getting sukuma wiki for dinner

We are having new goat pens built, too. (Pictures to come soon.) It has been quite an ordeal to find a breeder of our kind of goats in our area. I have resigned to the fact that we will go back to our previous breeder to get our next goats. Hopefully, I will be able to make that trek in the next few weeks. 

Meanwhile, Ellie should be giving birth to her kid (or kids) very soon. Yea! It is her first birth so now she will be able to give us milk for OUR babies!  

So, there ya have it! Update on the homefront of HOH. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :-)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friends in Ministry - The Brooks

Johnny & Kate Brooks.  Another amazing minsitry: "A Future and a Hope." 
 The Brooks have an incredible approach to taking care of orphans!  They have their own version of "John & Kate Plus 8."  Having five of their own biological children, they have taken in eight additional children to be a part of their family! Yep, that is 13!

Johnny & Kate believe that any orphan is better off with a family. How true. And there are SO many people that believe that, but very few who actually open their own home and welcome them into their own family. Johnny and Kate did not just "start an orphanage," they increased their family to provide these girls with home. 

The Brooks's home may be running out of physical space, but their hearts and vision are not diminishing. Their different approach to orphan care extends into other families. They have found other Kenyans who have the same heart for children and are now assisting them as they open their homes to children in need of families. This is the pattern for orphan care that they intend to take: offering children in need a future and a hope by allowing them to be a part of a family.

I LOVE that the vision that God has given Johnny & Kate! I love the picture of redemption it offers! These children are taken from a state of desolation and hopelessness freely offered the new hope of a new future, just as we are offered in Christ!  What an awesome physical representation of what the Lord freely offers His children.    

Check out their website:

And their blog: (updated regularly, quite amusing, and often very thought provoking)

Thank you, Brooks family, for allowing God to use you in such a unique way. Thank you for doing exactly as Jesus would do!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friends in Ministry - The Bails

Sorry for the "skip" in introducing you to some great ministries during our week of "Friends in Ministry."  I have been sick...again. :-(

So, meet the Bails! Another inspiring couple serving the Lord here in Kenya! 

Molly and Joseph are the founders of a ministry called Springs of Hope Kenya. They have one son, Elijah, who is in school at Rift Valley Academy. They live in Nakuru and primarily work with orphaned and homeless children affected by the AIDS pandemic. They recently opened an amazing children's home that is now home to 25 kids. 
Molly and Joe also have an active ministry working with some of Nakuru's many street boys. Walking down the street, young children flock to Joe & Molly.  Yes, it is true that children would flock to most any mzungu (white skinned person) walking the street of Nakuru, but their draw to the Bails is different. They know that Molly and Joe truly care for them; that they love them.  

Though the Bails' ministry primarily focuses on children and making a difference and cultivating change in their lives, they also have a desire to make a difference in the greater community. They have a food distribution ministry and assist countless people with many different needs, in addition to being involved in a variety of other projects. Check out their website!  It has some great information about what they are doing, as well a great overview of the situation in Kenya.

Joe & Molly's compassion for others is admirable. They truly take every opportunity to help people in need. It is a blessing to watch them in action!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Friends in Ministry - The Hagmans

I love the Hagmans. 
I love their comfortable and welcoming house. 
I love their awesome sons. 
I love their dedication. 
I love the fact that they don't hesitate to ask the hard questions. (I may not love that part at the moment but do in retrospect.) 
I love their passion for their family.  
I love having lunch with them on Sundays and watching America's Got Talent.
I love to see what the Lord is doing through their open hearts and willing hands.

Eric and Tracey Hagman are originally from Minnesota, but have been here in Kenya for 8 years. Eric is the Africa Area Director for Wycliffe Associates.  They have two amazing sons. Sam is 16 and has to be the most wonderful teenager in the world.  (And he happens to be the only white-skinned male that my Julia will go to. She loves him, too.)  Simon is almost 14 years old and is the kindest kid you will ever meet. He knows and loves the Lord in such a special way.  

Simon was born at 22 weeks. He has a number of special needs, yet he is a true miracle of healing and picture of God's faithfulness. He spent the first year and a half of his life in the hospital overcoming countless obstacles. He has spend the past 12 years of his life living in the joy of Jesus' love. A truly special kid!!  Simon is the inspiration of Heshima Center for Children. 

Heshima is the special needs center that I have talked about for the past year and a half. After living in Kenya and seeing the plight of children with special needs first hand, God began to stir something in Tracey's heart. She recognized the fact that her son happened to be born in a country that is equipped to take care of her sick baby...healthcare, insurance, well educated medical professionals. Here she saw mothers with no means to care for their babies with special needs in a country who discounts those children as dispensable.

Heshima was founded to provide these children an opportunity for growth and development that they would not otherwise have.  The center offers physical, occupational and speech therapy in addition to general developmental instruction. "Heshima" is a Kiswahili word for "dignity."  It is the desire of Heshima to be a place where these children are treated with dignity and respect. God has a special plan for each of them and He truly values their life. It is that message that Heshima wishes to instill within these children. 

I greatly admire Tracey and Eric for their dedication to this special ministry. God has blessed Heshima greatly and continues to do so.  I am thankful for the friendship of Eric, Tracey, Sam and Simon, and for their ministry (Heshima and their many others).

Lizzy's First Day of School

Elizabeth is now an official student at Heshima Center for Children with Special Needs! Though she has been receiving physical therapy at Heshima for about six months, she now attends the center daily and receives physical therapy twice per week, plus speech and occupational therapy and lots of developmental play and instruction.

Her first day was a huge success and she loved getting to play in the new relaxation room!

There are a number of costs required for Lizzy to go to school. She needed a sponsor in order to add additional staff and pay for school incurred expenses. There was also the additional cost of transport fees for her and her aid, Anne, to get to and from school each day. (We live quite far out.)  

Thank you to Charlie & JoAnna Swift and Rhonda Hoffman & Alysha Oswald for taking the financial responsibility to allow Lizzy this opportunity!! God has truly used you to make a difference in Elizabeth's life!

An update on Elizabeth's progress: Not only has she met her physical goals of sitting unassisted and rolling over, she has exceeded those by sitting for long periods of time (over 5 minutes) and rolling successively. If she falls forward while sitting, she is able to push herself back up to a sitting position.  She can also wipe her mouth with a bib when instructed, climb out of her Bumbo chair, and is beginning to try to crawl. 

Consider in all of this that Elizabeth was barely able to hold her head up when she came to us in August at the age of 2 1/2 years old! If she has made this much progress in these first six months of one day per week therapy and in-home support, imagine the progress she will make in the next six months with such focused support!!  What a blessed opportunity for this precious little girl!

Thanks to everyone who has had a part in making a difference in Elizabeth's life! Your prayers are invaluable!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Friends in Ministry - The Smiths

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." 
Romans 12:4-6a)

This is the verse that comes to mind when I think of Jerry & Deborah Smith. I love to see how the Lord works differently is each person's life. It is like seeing His fingerprints in the lives of His children.

I am reminded of this when I see Jerry and Deborah Smith minister. Their passion for the Lord is amazing, and they have such a burning desire to share that with everyone the Lord places in their lives. As much as I love to talk about what the Lord is doing in my life and share Him with others in conversation, I know that I do not have the gift of evangelism. So seeing that in someone else is inspiring and encouraging.  The Smiths truly have the gift of evangelism and use that gift at every opportunity.

Jerry and Deborah serve with Days of Elisha Ministries.  http://daysofelisha.com/  They live just outside Nairobi with their 13 year old daughter, Arden, who is actively involved in their mission. The vision for Days of Elisha Ministries is simply to see lost souls saved.  They regularly hold crusades and open air evangelism meetings where they boldly speak the Word of God and proclaim Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. This family is doing exactly what God has called them to do, "no questions asked," "whatever it takes." As Jerry and Deborah preach the Gospel, Arden and her Kenyan friend, Cynthia, lead the children's program. Since God placed them in Kenya they have fervently pursued their calling and seen countless people come to a saving knowledge of Christ, hundreds praying to receive Him as Lord and Savior.  

Thank you, Jerry and Deborah, for your faithful obedience to what the Lord has called you to do. The example of instant obedience is an encouragement in the faith.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Friends in Ministry - Omondis in Africa

Some of you may remember my "Blogstalker" story from a few years ago.  http://thelordprovides.blogspot.com/2008/01/trena-blog-stalker.html 

Yes, I am a blog-stalker.  I can't help it. I become so intrigued by other peoples' stories. Yes, people I do not even know. I just get so sucked in to cool stories!  
 The Omondis have a cool story.  I will let you read about that in their own words on their blog. The Omondis in Africa:  http://theomondisinafrica.blogspot.com/

Dennis and Allison are here as the Kenya Field Directors of Serve International, a ministry of Denton Bible Church. (http://www.serve-intl.com/team/index.cfm?regid=106) Dennis is the pastor of a local church and his primary focus is training of pastors and church leaders. They have an awesome heart for discipleship and true Biblical training. 

They are currently in the process (a two year long process!) of legally adopting their daughter, Anjela, Dennis's niece. They are wonderful parents and are finally close to "officially" becoming Anjela's parents. I am sure they would appreciate your prayers as they go to their next, and hopefully FINAL, court date on March 11th.

Allison has been a great help and friend to me as I learn my role as the Director of this baby house. As a former neonatal nurse, she is a wealth of information! Our babies (and myself) always love to see Allison and Anjela come to visit.

So come back soon!  We miss you!

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