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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Think I'm Getting the Hang of this Tortilla Thing

I'm a Texas girl. And I live in Africa. That's not a good match for finding good Tex-Mex. And what good Texas girl can survive for long without good Tex-Mex?

And though I have considered myself pretty much a novice in the kitchen, I'm learning to make due in this world of sukuma wiki and ugali by stretching my wings and busting out the flour and baking powder to make the staple part of any Mexican food meal - the TORTILLA!  Oh, how I have missed tortillas!

Well, the common thought would have been to try making tortillas two years ago. But like I said, I'm not much for making from scratch. 

Maybe it is living in a third-world country that is quite different my "homeland" that drives me to desperate measures, or maybe it is the fact that I am so close to going home for a short visit that I can almost taste the fajitas looming in the somewhat near future that I just can't wait another minute and must take measures into my own hands, or maybe it's the whole "mom thing" making me feeling a bit more domestic and driving me to strive to attain that accomplished feeling of feeding my daughter something made from my own hands. Whatever it is....I like it. Cause it resulted in fresh, homemade tortillas! Yea, Trena!

 On my tiny stove top, using my awesomely heavy chapati pan. Oh, how Kenyan of me!

And, I must say that I am quite impressed with myself for actually enjoying the process of cooking, even the fun moments of interruption by a brand new 2 year old. 

"Mama, pamas (pajamas) off." (It wasn't that late to still be in pajamas. It was only about 9am, I just got an early start. ;-) )
"Hap-Birt-Day Julia! Nana."
(Happy Birthday, Julia. This is from Nana.) 

And now, off to finish "the rest of the story" as I prepare to fill those tortillas.

Thank You, Jal FBC

First Baptist Church of Jal, New Mexico is a great friend of HCO. They have been a great blessing and support to us over the past three years. From church-wide bake sales to AWANAs and Vacation Bible School projects, they have taken an interest in this ministry and worked hard to show their support for us in many ways.

We recently received a few packages from them. They collected baby clothes and shoes and sent them in the mail. So much fun!! I got a care package from my best friend for my birthday, and my mom sends things occasionally, but this was the first time I got a real package from anyone else in almost two years. It was like Christmas!!! So many cute baby clothes, especially tiny baby girl clothes! It made me want a new baby girl. 

Then, a few days ago we got two more packages from Jal FBC and special friend, Joyce. This time, lots of great fabric to make more baby carriers!! I can't wait to get them made and start using them! 

(A box this size costs about $15 to send from the US to Kenya)

Joyce, or Joycee as my mom calls her, is my mom's best friend from childhood through high school. Joyce works with the kids at the church and coordinates most of the projects. Thanks for everything, Joyce! We really appreciate y'all!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet the Staff - Julie

Meet Julie. I love Julie! The babies love Julie! She is our Senior Baby Caretaker.

Julie has been with us at Haven of Hope for about a year. She came with us from Nairobi and we are SO glad she did! She is perhaps one of the calmest, most gentle people I have ever met. She is so very sweet and patient. The perfect qualities for a baby caretaker. 

Julie is a trained teacher so now that Julia, Jeremiah and Elizabeth are older she will begin to have a little school time with the older babies while the little babies nap. 

We LOVE Auntie Julie, and we are so glad she is part of our HCO/HOH team! 

 Julie & Julia are special friends..."Namesakes," as Julie says.

Thanks for all your hard work, Julie! We appreciate you!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hospital Ministry

One of the things His Cherished Ones does outside of the baby house is hospital ministry at the nearby Provincial hospital. George, my ministry assistant, and/or I will go one or two times a week to visit patients and check on friends in the hospital. 

Hospitals here are VERY different from American hospitals. It is common thought that you go to hospitals to die. Very true. If you saw the hospitals here you would probably realize the reality of that thought.

 The wards are usually over crowded, people often sharing beds. This was taken of an empty ward, but even in wards that are being used, there is no more medical equipment. Just this. 

People are often abandoned, left to die in the hospital. Others are there, waiting, because they cannot afford to pay for their treatment. Still others are trapped there because they cannot pay their bill. Even if they are discharged, they cannot leave until their bill is paid. 

People need help. They need money. They need medical care. They need to be remembered. They need hope. 

We have a few friends who we help in different ways. We have paid the balance of Steven's bill so that he can be transferred to a vision treatment center. He has recently gone blind from complications from illness. We have bought medicine and paid for additional treatment for the Turkana mzee, Robert, who has a tumor in his stomach. We have brought blankets, clothes and bathing items for Emmanuel, the 2 year old baby boy with TB and meningitis who was abandoned by his mom almost 6 months ago. We bathe him, then sit and hold him. These are the types of things we do at the hospital. We remember people...and let them know that they are not forogtten.

A few weeks ago we took some visitor friends with us to visit. I don't take pictures there. And I ask people not to take pictures. I really have a hard time seeing people being treated like objects of picture ops. But this day was different. It was something I had never seen, and I knew it was something the patient would want to remember. 

As I was talking to another patient, Ali, I heard the familiar sound of a moaning man from the bed just across from where I was. At first I did not even look up. But as it grew louder I glanced up and saw an unfamiliar sight. A mzungu (white person) - my mzungu friend - was putting an IV into the man.

Ashley is a nurse in Houston. When the doctor went over to put in a line for this patient, Ashley simply asked him if she could do it. She told him, "I'm a nurse in America." The next thing I knew, she was asking for a pair of gloves and was inserting the IV tube. The patient's father was beaming. This was a huge privilege and exciting moment for them - a mzungu was treating his son! And I knew it would also be a memory that Ashley would want to remember, so I asked if I could take pictures. The father of the patient asked if he could be in the picture. 

Isn't it crazy how easily and quickly a doctor handed that over? Just when I think I have seen enough in this country that things don't surprise me anymore, I prove myself wrong. 

Thanks to all of you who support HCO so that we can support others. Simply our presense makes a difference to people, reminding them that God remembers them and loves them, but helping with their physical needs gives them a picture of Jesus that they also need to see. Once again, it takes the whole community of Christ. Thank you to the partners of HCO who are part of that community of Christ! You ARE making a difference in the life of someone in need! 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Baby Girl

I love birthdays. I love traditions. I love memories. I love making memories. And making moments special. 

And to help us remember the memories (ha!) I copied from other bloggers and decided to start documenting with a sign. Julia loved her first sign! 

"My very last day as a one year old"

Today was a special day for my little girl and I wanted to start making memories of fun traditions. In what I hope will be a birthday tradition in our home, Julia woke to find her Birthday Door and a string maze around the house. It is always a bit of a challenge to accomplish what I want to while living in Kenya. Things commonly found in America, those "little things" that add special touches, are sometimes hard to find in a third world country.

I ran a string through the house, from her room to her birthday table. At each corner point was a little gift that she stopped and unwrapped as she followed the string.
(Thanks, Nana, for care packages full of fun stuff....like wrapping paper and ribbon!)

The string was hung at her level and she had to cross over/under a few times.

Her Birthday Door!

She was not quite sure what to think at first, but she got the hang of it and was completely into it by the end. 

The string ended at her birthday table. 
Yes, always a kindergarten teacher, I had to make sure her sign and end-point were at her level. :-) 

She saw this individual birthday cake pack in a package that came from Nana a few weeks ago. She was SO excited to finally get it!

"Prilly" Girl

Happy Birthday, to my Baby Girl!!

I love you forever!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baby Update - Julia

I know there are more Julia updates than for any other baby, but since this is kind of a ministry and personal blog that just happens. And since I have started doing baby updates on Thursdays, and today IS Julia's birthday, it kinda had to be her. :-)

In case you haven't been with us for long, yes Julia is one of the original Haven of Hope babies and yes, she is "mine."  The short version of the story: Americans cannot begin the adoption process in Kenya right now so I am not in the process of adopting, but I am in the process of attaining full legal guardianship of her. We will see what the Lord has in store for us in the future and we pray that adoption does become an option. 

For the story of how this happened (it was NOT planned!)..... CLICK HERE

We are currently waiting for Julia's committal papers to be processed with the Childrens Department. Once this is complete, it should be fairly easy to process the documents for me to become her foster parent. I hope for this to be completed by the time I go to America for Kris's wedding in October. Once I return home we will hopefully be ready to go to Nairobi to petition for permission to travel. This must be done through the Nairobi courts and will be quite strenuous. They have really cracked down and are being much more critical in evaluating cases. 

There is still a long road ahead of us before she is permitted to travel with me to the United States, but I KNOW it is worth it and I have faith that it WILL happen.  Until then, I enjoy every moment I have with this little angel. She is truly a blessing in my life, my joy and my delight. I am grateful that the Lord has allowed me the privilege of being her mommy. I wake up every morning, look at her beautiful face and smile. I am in awe of her - her beauty, her inner joy, her ability to overcome obstacles from the very beginning of her life, and her sheer pleasure in life. What a picture of God's abundant grace! 

To read Julia's background story and meet her birth family, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Baby's Last Day as a 1 Year Old

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hakuna Maji

Hakuna maji - "no water" - a very common phrase in our baby house

Our baby house is on the municipal water system. By definition, that is obviously related to a branch of government, which in turn, by definition, in Kenya means that it will have issues. Our house is only equipped with one reserve water tank. When water goes out, it does not take long to deplete our tank. We do a LOT of laundry! This is something we inquired about prior to choosing this location, but considering all factors, it was still the best place for us.

So, the pictures below are a common sight at my house. My personal residence is equipped with a large reserve back up tank and a pump to keep it full. The groundskeeper at the baby house loads up all our jericans (water basins, cans, tanks, etc) into a tuk-tuk (small public transport) and brings them to my house to fill them.

(Julia & Judah think that playing in the tuk-tuk is quite a treat.)

We hope to have a large reserve tank and pump installed at the baby house. That would be a great asset and would allow us to have sufficient water! If you would like to contribute towards that, you can go to our website and donate online or CLICK HERE to go directly to the "Network for Good" link. Designate - "water project 2010"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meet the HCO Staff - Kennedy

Last week I started a weekly introduction of our HCO staff. It takes a team to make things run and work efficiently, and God has blessed us with a great team.

Meet Kennedy. Kennedy came with us from Ngong. He was our night watchman. Once we got to Nakuru, Kennedy began to step up and take on a lot more responsibility. He was showing a great deal of initiative and giving many ideas of how we could improve our new compound. 

I came to learn that Kennedy was way overqualified to be our night watchman. He is a very skilled mason and landscaper. We made some changes and switched him to be our groundskeeper and he has done wonders for our compound! We are so blessed to have someone who is not only skilled at work that we need him to do, but also has a heart for helping and a desire to work to the best of his abilities for the glory of God. And an added bonus: he loves our babies and loves to play with them. They love him too, and it is great for them to have a male role model around.

Thanks for all you do for Haven of Hope, Kennedy! We are glad you are on our team!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Year Later....

Our first babies have now been with us for ONE YEAR! 


This is the night we brought them to their new home.


Julia - she had already attached herself to Mommy

Playtime one week later. They were obviously relaxing and adjusting to their new home.

Always a serious little man

Growing babies = Happy Kids

Lizzy doing what she LOVES - babysitting the babies

Mischievous little man

Little 'Lulia

What a BLESSED year we have had! Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of being a part of these babies' lives!

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