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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Changa: The Dirt in Our Lives

Elizabeth wrote a wonderful post on her perception of one aspect of life in Kenya. Very insightful and real. Visit her blog to read it.... Changa: The Dirt in Our Lives
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Baby Girl

Two weeks from today, my little girl and I will be on our way to America!!!!!

I never thought I would long to be in West Texas in July, but oh how excited I am to have my Texas time! And even more excited to take my baby home with me!
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Establish the work of their hands, O Lord...

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us - 
yes, establish the work of our hands."
(Psalm 90:17)
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244. “Is Humphrey my brother?”
245. Orange candle glow on African painting.
246. Pitter-patter feet of Little Girl on a mission.
247. Two weeks.
248. Walls pink from early sunrise.
249. Singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” under the spotlight of Little Girl’s night-light.
250. Morning blue birds on barbed wire.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cherished Handworks - beauty

The ladies are busy as usual. We are so blessed to be a part of their lives, and Cherished Handworks is truly offering them a new hope of a future.

Please pray with us that the Lord uses this in a mighty way over the next months as we set out to begin selling their handcraft in the United States. May the Lord bless and multiply the work of their hands.
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Busy times!

Although I knew we would go to America, I was afraid to let myself really "go there" with the reality of it. I felt like I really needed to guard myself and not act on some things in case it did not work out. There have been so many ups and downs along the way, too many last-minute let downs, and many more horror stories of other peoples' journeys than I wanted to hear. I knew I would be even more heart-broken if things did not work out, had I started doing things to prepare.

So, all these things that I knew would need to be done if I were to leave, now need to be done! And there are many! I have had some VERY productive days lately, which is nothing to be taken for granted! Productive days are few and far between when they involve doing business and accomplishing things outside our homes. God has been overly gracious in allowing me to accomplish the tasks I set out to do.

Because of that, I haven't had a chance to write about the many things going on. And there are so many fun things going on that I would LOVE to share! We have had some great times with our boys and our ladies and our babies lately! I have enjoyed them all so much. I believe it is a gift God is giving me before I leave. For now, rather than trying to catch up and sharing some of those great things, I will let our girls tell you about their time here.

Elizabeth Strange is here with us for a few weeks. She is from my home church, Trinity Vineyard, in Houston. Elizabeth brought some great gifts and supplies from Trinity Vineyard, including some fun projects from the kids at VBS. She is journaling about her time with HCO on her blog, A Bigger Plan.  Be sure to click the link to read about things going on here right now.

And Rebekah is doing an awesome job at jumping in and learning the business processes of HCO Kenya. As we have grown, our business plan is in need of revamping in order to be more efficient. Rebekah is already getting things moving in the right direction! In between work times, Rebekah is enjoying time with the boys and babies as well. Be sure to read about her time with HCO on her blog, This Little Light of Mine.

Our "Countdown to America" is at day 15! Two weeks from tomorrow, Julia and I will be heading to Texas!
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Meanwhile, I am still counting God's blessings, my gifts, as constant reminders of His love and grace in my life....

228. The pair of twin roses at the top of the bush.
229. Moses in new school uniform.
230. Elizabeth and the boys playing Uno on the back steps.
231. Hats in sunshine.
232. Little Girl going to sleep with flowers in her hand.
233. Tobias in a tree.
234. Boys, remembered and loved.
235. William's drool down my arm as I talk to a fundi.
236. “Countdown to America”
237. Dark brown, calloused hands carefully creating soft baby things.
238. A hopeful opportunity.
239. Little Girl wants her camera to take a picture of pretty flowers.
240. New baby Sam toddling around with his favorite push toy.
241. Baby boys in blue onsies.
242. David jabbering, message forming.
243. From the ladies to the babies.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A visit from the babies

Standing in my kitchen, I hear Julia yelling at the top of her lungs, "Welcome! Welcome! Kibu! Kibu!" ("Karibu" = "welcome)

The aunties texted me early in the morning to ask if they could bring the babies on a field trip to surprise Julia with a visit from the whole baby house. And she was indeed surprised! She was so excited to run to the gate and welcome them, and then to tell me over and over that "the babies are at Julia's house!"

All the aunties walked down the hill with babies tied on to spend a few hours at Julia's house. They walked down at the beginning of morning nap time and stayed through lunch, going back just in time for afternoon nap. After a busy time with all babies out of their familiar surroundings and routine, we drove them back to the baby house so they could be sure to all get their full rest time in the afternoon. We all shared tea and muffins while the babies enjoyed crawling around in the sunshine.
Oh, how I love my job! And as excited as I am to be going to America, I will miss these little ones and their beautiful aunties SO, So, so much!!!
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208. Rain through the sunshine.
209. Pinning flowers on little girl hats.
210. Boys pretending a Dora adventure with Julia.
211. The right verse at the right time.
212. Julia telling the Consulate officer: ”I want to go to Papa’s house.”
213. Words from a Consulate officer: “I’ll be able to help you today.”
214. and “Safari njema, little Julia. Say hello to your Papa.”
215. Knowing guests are here by hearing Julia yell, “Welcome! Welcome! Kibu!”
216. A surprise visit from ALL the aunties and babies!
217. Feeding lunch to William, under the shade of the avocado tree.
218. Staff meeting in my back yard.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome new baby Samuel!

Today, little Sam came into our home.
Sam was brought to our local Children's Department by his sho-sho (grandmother), and then to us. His mother died and his sho-sho is unable to care for him. He will be with us for the next year and will then return to his family when he is older and they are better able to care for him, or he will be placed in a long-term home placement.

Sam already seems so comfortable and happy in his new home. I think he will fit in just perfectly fine in our house with all his new little buddies.

Karibu sana, little Sam!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

A gift from our friend, Megan

We have an amazing friend from my church in Houston, Trinity Vineyard, who sent the boys a super-fun package! Megan is a 14 year old girl who started her own organization called Fundamentally Fundraising and raises money for ministries and people in need. Last fall, Megan raised money to buy our playground equipment at the baby house.

Now, Megan has blessed our boys with a whole container of stuff that was bought and sent just for them! They know that everyone remembers the babies and sends thing for the babies, so this time, they were elated to have a package that came filled to the brim with fun gifts for them!

In the container, Megan sent a note specially written to each boy. They were amazed that she actually knew them and knew things about them.

There were things that each of them enjoy, like cars for Collins and footballs for Humphrey and Patrick.

And things that they could all enjoy and do together, like books of words searches and a Twister game.

This was an awesome gift for the boys. Every night, they have been enjoying special gifts from Megan. Books, Jenga, dominoes, playing cards, and so much more!

Thanks, Megan, for being such a special part of His Cherished Ones! Be sure to check out Megan's website to see what this gifted, focused and determined young woman is doing.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The countdown is on!

With a visa granted and airline tickets bought yesterday, we started our countdown today! With 23 days left, we made our paper chain to count the days.

So, 23 it is! And, boy, do I have a LOT to do to get prepared to leave!
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189. Humphrey listing me as his “mother” on Facebook.
199. New pop-in friends at the baby house who love the Lord.
200.Mom standing to do her hair the morning after an episode.
201. Hearing Kris interact with her family so naturally & comfortably.
202. Responsible Maina who loves taking care of sick puppies.
203. Pinning flowers on baby hats.
204. French toast with homemade bread.
205. Boys opening a box of gifts from new friends in America.
206. Playing Twister with the boys.
207. Serious William bouncing and smiling.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We're going to America!!!!

God is faithful!
Last night I read Psalm 20 before going to bed. (It was the 20th) These are some verses that I went to bed holding on to:

"May he give you the desire of your heart 
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious,
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests." 
(vs 4-5)
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, 
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." 
(v. 7)

This morning before I left for the US Embassy for our visa appointment, I read Psalm 21. It goes from petitioning and present tense to past tense. I claimed it!

"You have granted him the desire of his heart
and have not withheld the request of his lips."
(v. 2)
"Surely you have granted him eternal blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence."
(v. 6)

So, I carried that word of His presence being with me, while already having granted the desire of our hearts. And throughout the morning, there were definitely were some scary moments where I had to remind myself of those words! But He is faithful, and He did carry me through....from the beginning, over one year ago, to today when we finally received permission to go to America.  And I have no doubt the He will continue to hold us and carry us to the point of setting foot in America!
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Monday, June 20, 2011

New Friends

I love meeting great new friends, especially when they are from my home town! On Saturday, we met the Espinshades, from Midland, TX. They go to First Baptist Church of Midland, an amazing church with many wonderful people who support His Cherished Ones. Matt & Lisa and their four children recently moved to Nairobi.
We met for lunch on Saturday, and let me just say that they were instant encouragement!! So wonderful to meet such godly people, with smiling faces, and connections from home. You would think that me having been here for several years, I would be the one offering encouragement, but it was the other way around in this case. They were a huge blessing!
Matalyn, Julia, Ava, Ella & Seth
(I'm hoping Julia's new "smile" phase passes quickly.)

And Julia was absolutely in heaven with the girls! She has already been asking about her new friends. And she has the added bonus of getting to go to their house and play with them later today!
Thanks, Matt & Lisa, for being such a huge encouragement!
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Letters to Julia - just two more days!

Dear Julia,

The day (well, the determining day) that we have been waiting for is almost here! In just two days from now, we will know if we will be allowed to go to America or not! It seems so strange that all we have worked for comes down to this one meeting, this one interview.

I truly believe that the Lord has brought us this far, and He will not abandon us now. I believe we will get to go to America! All the documents we have gathered, affidavits signed, days and days waiting hours and hours in crowded court rooms, we are at our final step in our journey to America. The visa interview at the US Embassy. The guardianship ruling and getting your passport were HUGE steps in getting us to this point, but those things alone can't get us to America. But...this one can!

Oh, little girl, I can't wait to tell everyone that we ARE coming to America! I know you are so excited too! You talk about it more than I expected you would. It is fun for me to see that you really get it and understand what we are going to do. You are such a smart little girl!

And speaking of smart, your favorite school thing right now is your bears. (Thanks, Mrs Rhonda!!) And this former kindergarten teacher LOVES that you started sorting them by colors all on your own, the very first time you played with them. And right now, at the Hampton House, you are enjoying playing with them in the bathtub!

your first attempt at making a pattern :-)

And more for Nana....

So, my precious baby girl, we are almost there! In just a few days we will officially be allowed to travel to America! (And if for some reason, we are denied the visa, everyone better start praying for your mama's sanity! We will have to wait for possibly up to a year before going.)

I love you, Sweetie!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Eli came for a visit

Eli went to live with his forever family in March and they brought him back today for a visit.
Oh, has this little man grown!! He is so big. It is such a blessing to see how these little ones thrive in their very own families.
It took him just a bit to warm up and remember everything, but once he did he had a wonderful time with all his friends. It was especially sweet to see how excited Lizzy was to see him.
He is nearing the end of his foster period with his adoptive parents and will soon begin the official adoption process.
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