"And if you SPEND YOURSELVES on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday."
"The Lord will continually guide you. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."- Isaiah 58:10-11
Friday, April 4, 2008
Once it was over we had a chance to play with the orphans a little which was very fun! They are a lively and joyful bunch. I can tell already that it will be difficult to leave them. Tomorrow we will spend the entire day with them and begin the interviews with each of them! The younger children are fascinated with our kids. They keep rubbing their arms to try to get the white paint off to see the black skin beneath!
It is amazing to be in a land where everything is so opposite what it is in America. No one has a car here – everyone walks…far. The houses are made of mud with grass roofs or are made of crude bricks with aluminum roofs. They are grouped in threes or fours with miles between them. The roads are all dirt and there are mostly foot paths that people travel down. There are small herds of cattle scattered around. No one is in a hurry – everyone stops to greet each other as they pass. Children wear tattered, filthy clothing. The babies are all wrapped in blankets because there are no diapers. There is no running water and people cook over a wooden fire with pots. There is no electricity save for the generator at Joseph’s house and one at the orphanage. No one has a bathroom – they make due in the wild. There is one here where we are staying but it is only a hole in the ground. Everything seems so primitive except that many people have a cell phone! It is very humorous to see someone dressed in traditional Maasai clothing walking along with their cows and then hear their cell phone ring and watch them pull it out of their beaded belt and start talking!
As we traveled along we were amazed to see elephant herds, zebras, strange large birds, unusual plants, and huge termite hills. The most amazing sites were the people. They live in mud huts with grass roofs. There many were very young children (4-6 yrs old) along the roads tending cattle – cows, sheep, and goats. There were mothers and grandmothers working in the yards, doing laundry, carrying heavy loads on their heads. Everyone was very interested in us and were very friendly – waving and yelling ‘Jambo’ or ‘Sopa.’ Our children had the windows wide open and were yelling and waving as well.
As we neared the town of Kilgouris which is at the bottom of ‘The Hill’ (our destination) throngs of people came to welcome us. All along the road the children were running to our vans and reaching out to slap the hand of our kids. Everyone was waving. It was very fun! We finally reached our destination and were amazed at the beauty of the landscape. It is very mountainous. Everything is covered in green grass and you can see for miles and miles the hills and valleys. We were surprised how spread out everything was. We walk half a mile to the school from Pastor Joseph’s house. Many children walk 2-3 miles to school each day – some of them up to 7 miles and it really is all uphill!
When we got to Joseph’s house there were about 20 Maasai women dressed in full Maasai garb singing to greet us. They slowly marched forward in two rows and gave each one of us a huge hug! We then went into Joseph’s living room which his wife, Anna, had filled with wooden benches and tables for us and were introduced to everyone. Then we filed outside again and the children from the orphanage came down and sang us their welcoming song and we did the whole thing again. We were welcomed for about 2 hours! What an honoring tradition!
It was so awesome to finally meet the orphans! We recognized so many of them from the pictures we have been looking at over the last several months! They were so excited to see our kids! They are such beautiful children – their smiles are remarkable – the sight of white teeth surrounded by soft black skin is strikingly beautiful!
We ate dinner very late that night and went to sleep in our small but very cosy beds! We can’t believe we are finally here!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
We returned late last night from our 3 day trip to the Indian Ocean! What an incredibly beautiful place! We had a great time planning and preparing for our trip out to the Trans Mara and just relaxing and having fun with our family and friends. We head out to the Mara in the morning... We are so so excited!!!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
We had a very interesting conversation the other day when we were talking about Dave and Carrie's houseworker, Emily. She is in the picture above with us. She is a single mom of two boys, one of which has sickle cell anemia and is often very sick. She works for Dave and Carrie full time - 5 days a week. All of the families here have houseworkers - it's a way of supporting another family and of providing jobs for Kenyans. (I'd like to bring a houseworker and a gardner home with me!)
Sorry we haven't posted in a few days. It's been thunder-storming in the evenings and we lose internet at those times. Rick and the Haywards made it here safely!!! We were so glad to see them! The kids have really missed their Daddy so today has been great. We had lots of time together!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Today we went to a Kenyan Tea farm. One of Kenya's major exports, along with flowers, is tea. It was very interesting to see what makes up a large part of their economy and employs many, many people. This particular farm was started by a British man and his wife. His grand-daughter and her husband now run it and give tours of their grounds and tell of the tea making process. The large picture is of the kids in front of the tea bushes. The go for hundreds of miles all around and cover the hills that once used to be forested. We were given a tour by a very old Kikuyu man who grew up on the farm and whose father used to give tours. It was very interesting. The homes are those of some of the tea farm workers
On Thursday we had an incredible experience. We went to Amani Ya Juu. It is place where women who have literally fled for their lives can come and work and sell the crafts they make. There are women from all over Africa - Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, the Congo etc. We were able to hear some of their stories. One woman fled with her husband and 8 children. They found a tiny one room shack to stay in and had no source of income. With her family starving she connected with Amani through word from a friend. She was accepted and now can feed her family. They have moved into a two bedroom house with a living room inbetween! She was so thankful. I think of the verse in I Thessalonians 5:18 "...in everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." It takes on a whole different meaning. What a blessing to have met her and heard her story.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It's actually day 4 for us here but today we just took it easy b/c Katie came down with a fever about half way through the day yesterday. Please pray for her. The rest of us are still holding out. But I'm going to tell you about our day yesterday...
Monday, March 17, 2008
After we left the market we went to a halfway house of a large orphanage called "The Nest." We were at kind of a satellite orphanage. This house cares for small babies and children whose mothers are in prison. The older children were at school so we got to spend time just holding the babies. The girls and I were in heaven! We were there for almost 2 hours holding them, laughing with them, and playing with them. We had a chance to pray for each one of them as we held them that some day they would find Jesus as their Savior and would grow up to be strong leaders and make a difference in their community. I'm sure we'll go back before we leave.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The purpose of our trip is twofold. First, we have very dear family living and serving as missionaries in Nairobi, my brother Dave and our sister-in-law Carrie and their 4 boys. We are so looking forward to spending time seeing what their life is like. We can't wait to play with the cousins and to reconnect with them. We look forward to seeing and experiencing life as they have described it to us.
The second needs more explanation. A few years ago we heard about a group of guys at the Chapel who made a trip out to the Maasai Mara in Kenya and fell in love with the people there. They met a Maasai pastor named Joseph who had a God given vision to reach the Maasai people by influencing their youth. Joseph spent many years in the slums of Kibera in Nairobi trying to minister to the young people that ended up there. Most of them had come to the city orphaned and penniles and looking for hope. They found none and ended up escaping by getting high on glue. By the time Joseph got to them they had so destroyed their minds that a future for them was empty. Joseph decided that he needed to reach these young people before they reached the slums. The group of men from the Chapel made it possible for Joseph to move back to the Maasai Mara and began supporting his vision for the Maasai. These men together agreed to start a mission organization called Oasis that houses, educates, and cares for orphans. Two years ago 11 orphans entered Oasis' care. Just last month, with a financial blessing from the Chapel people, phase 1 of an orphanage was completed. Over the last two weeks 41 orphans have been moving in!! See oasisfororphans.com .
Our hearts have been captivated by these orphans. We feel like they are an extension of our family. We are going out there to meet them, play with them, teach them, and love on them. We are looking to learn as much as we can about each one of them so that when we return we can find families who will 'adopt' them as their own. Please be praying as to whether you would like to be a part of this.