Saturday, July 24, 2010
I can't believe its over... but its not. I will be back. This is where my heart is. I will miss Sara so much, I feel she is my own child. I have done all I can do to love her, pray over her, feed her, kiss her boo boo's, change her diapers, to show her what love is, etc. so that one day she can understand what love is, and that she has a Father who loves her more than I ever could. There is so much work to do. I will be back. This is my calling. To show the love of Jesus. To be His hands and feet. God help me to be obedient.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
My sweet Sara...
If any one is interested in reading Katies blog.. this is the link:
Friday, July 16, 2010
We have had an awesome few weeks back here at Bible Baptist in Kawangware!! We have taught, done alot of crafts, sang a lot of songs, shot some hoops, jumped some rope, worshipped with the kids, worshipped with the teachers and worshipped with the family! We finally got to meet the rest of Pastor Edward and Alice's children last weekend. They took us to meet their two oldest daughters at their universities and we had a great visit with them. Their oldest son, Stephen, had been home from High School previously to visit. So we have finally met them all!!! They are a great family!
In eleven days, we will be home. Today we said goodbye to most of the kids at Bible Baptist. We will see some of them tomorrow... some come on Saturday, but they have a Friday worship and Jenni and I got up to speak today and could hardly say anything because we were both crying. We just love them all so much!! We will be returning to Kayole and Pastor Fred and Alice on Sunday evening to go to visit Sandota and the new building site this week. We are hoping to get by and visit Carolyn's daughter, Emmanuella one more time! We have a few loose ends to tie up and some goodbyes to say, and then we will once again cross the big pond back to America. We both have so many things and soooo many pictures to share. We made a video last week that we tried and tried to upload on this blog site in hope that everyone could feel firsthand what it was like to stand outside the Bible Baptist compound and enter its gates. We made a quick visit to a couple of classrooms, but they were empty! We walked toward the church to find Pastor Edward and Alice outside the doors, waiting on us. After introducing them, we entered the church where the kids were attending their weekly worship and testimony time. It is a beautiful and precious time! I really wanted everyone to hear their beautiful voices!! It would make you cry! It is like the sound of angels. It really is! BUT, we just could not get that video to upload, no matter how hard we tried. We tried to email it to Pastor Jeff, and even tried getting it onto face book, but it would go nowhere!! So I guess it is to be shared later!!
We miss you all! We will miss our sweet Kenya children and our Kenya families, but we are now ready to be home. Leaving is hard and we hate, hate saying our goodbyes, but we are ready to come home and rest a bit and then get hard to work!! Like I said, we have much to share and there is so very much to be done. I hope that everyone is ready to roll up their sleeves, again, and get in there with us on this!!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Had an awesome last two weeks with the Maasai tribe in Lerujet which is about 2 hours from Nairobi, far from busy streets, crowded slums, and civilization. Sleeping in houses called manyatas made of sticks, grass, mud, and cow dung. And working with the kids in the school… the school in a long process to come called Meeyu Academy (means ever flowing spring)... currently a school under a tree with only two benches to sit on. There are around 20 kids or so and they are great. They come from surrounding bomas. Most of the kids are from the age of 3 to 6, and then one at the age of 15. All in “Pre-unit” or preschool together learning. Most have never been to school, and if so, in the past they walked very far to the closest school in town… I know Elizabeth leaves at 6 for school that begins at 8:30. So maybe 2 hours to walk there. The teacher, named Jude, is only out of high school with dreams of becoming a doctor, but he was the only willing one to teach, but he is doing a great job with the small children. They are so intelligent. They already know their mother tongue or their tribe’s language, but now they are already learning Swahili and English. Its crazy. Most of them know the alphabet, and can count to ten, some to 100. Jacklyn, the 15 year old girl, I have been working with a lot. She can almost write her name by herself. Wow does this girl have a story. She was circumcised just a few years ago, and after she healed, she was able to be given away to be married at any time, but her father who is maybe 70 or 75 can hardly take care of him self, and most of his wives except maybe 1, have passed away, leaving him with many many children to take care of on his own. Jacklyn and her older sister who is married now have to take care of all the children and their father and the cattle and goats and washing and cooking and everything. But luckily she is now able to learn, and expand her knowledge, and Im so happy that God is working in her life. She has not been married off yet which makes me happy because she is so young and now she has an opportunity for an education which in that culture, it gives her a little more freedom and say so with her own life. Anyways the school is great. Syd got them some wood and her and Bonnie made a chalk board out of it, painted it, and got some chalk. It is awesome what they are able to get accomplished and learn out here with out even a school building. But they really do need one. They carry everything to school everyday, the chalk board, chairs, books, etc, which isn’t far from their homes, maybe the length of a football field for most, some walk about a mile, but still. Then sun is scorching hot, and there are always distractions all around. Tim and I have funny crazy farmer’s tans, and a little bit of sunburns. Also, many of the kids are on different levels, the little bitty one who know nothing, and the 6 year olds who know most all the answers. So it is hard to teach, they need to really be separated. Syd’s goal is to build maybe two classrooms a year so that each year the children who need to advance, can advance, and bring in more younger kids into school from the beginning, beginning with next year. She wanted to start this summer but the funds never came, and now said she notices that that was her plan and not God’s. HIS plan is that this year is about building relationships. There is me, Syd, Tim, Bonnie, and four other women that are came. The building relationships part is wonderful and fun, and her goal is to get people attached and build deep relationships together and with God, and when we all come home, we will have a heart for the needs and work together in our different towns and cities to raise for project. Which I know I have a heart for these people, but I also have a heart for Bible Baptist. But one thing that I have really learned in Maasai land is how to more intimately pray and worship. I love how they do it. They sing with all their heart, they dance, clap, jump, shout in prayer, and every time I get chill bumps… or God bumps. Its just the most awesome thing. Every time I worship with them, I just feel the Holy Spirit moving and I feel renewed. I was there last year but only for about 3 or 4 days… and Its crazy that I thought that I was coming back here to share Gods word and the Good News and be a witness, which maybe I did, but for me I feel like a gained more than I gave. But I really hope that God is working something for their school and church.
On Sunday, July 20th… I had a really happy day! We had an amazing church service, a late church service that lasted till about 3 and then we came back to the boma and they had slaughtered 2 goats for a feast. A “Welcoming celebration” for the visitors.. As I was told…! So the mommas of the boma told me that the youngest there (which was me) would be given a gift.. And at the end, the oldest would be given a gift. HA! So they told me that I was to be blessed with maasai clothing and jewelry and so they took me into a manyata, and began to dress me traditionally. Then they put this necklace on me… which I remembered seeing one like it last year that was similar, and I was told that it was a ceremony necklace… like an engagement/wedding necklace. Then it hit me. J I then knew what was coming then. After a few minutes of everyone sticking their head in the door and taking pictures, Tim came in. Then my dad was on the phone with Syd. He was put on speaker phone so he could listen to everything. Mom came in and sat down. Then pastor Peter began talking about joining two people, and something about engagement and something about marriage. And I began to tear up and I don’t remember much of what was said after that. Then I saw Tim come towards me and he put a necklace on my that symbolized that he loves me and that he chose me to be his future wife. Then he got down on one knee and proposed and asked if I would also choose him and marry him. And of course I said yes with tears going down my face. And he gave me a pretty giraffe ring to wear here. Its sweet. Then we all went outside and celebrated. There was singing and dancing and cake and goat meat and chapati and sodas. Then Tim and I took a walk and sat down to watch the sun set. Then we made a few phone calls back home and went back. It was so great. It was a wonderful day. Thank you Tim. And thank you God for bringing me such a Christian and wonderful guy that loves you so much and is a spiritual leader.
Late last night a child from a different boma ran crying and screaming to where we were staying asking us to come with the cars up the road, that there had been a wreck. So we jumped in the cars with the first aid kits and flew there. It was a big truck.. But a school truck. There was a whole 6th grade class in the back of the truck, about 40 or 50 of them, there were only two benches along the side and the rest of them were standing holding on to the rail, and the truck went of the road and flipped on the side and dumped all the kids out. When we got there all I could hear was screaming and moaning and crying. It was awful. I couldn’t help but to cry with them. I did not know what to do. I just squatted down and hugged some of the girls and cried with them and prayed over them. Syd began to pick out some of the worst ones and had some of the men carry them in to the van to take them to the hospital. There was one girl that my heart broke for. She was on her side moaning and crying, and when they began to pick her up she fell limp. I thought she was gone. I was so scared, I was crying. The young girls began smacking her face and she woke up, she had just passed out for about ten seconds. And she began to cry and scream again. We all continued to load up the worst injured. Many probably with broken arms and legs, back injuries and head injuries. Tim and I began going around with the first aid kid cleaning up blood and cuts and small wounds. Put some antibiotic ointment and bandages on them where needed. And then I went and hugged and prayed with some of the girls while Tim and another guy continued helping with injuries. It was a very long and scary night. I know when the kids did not come home on time their parents had to be so worried. And I just ask you all to pray for the kids and their families because I know many are burdened with high hospital bills and some are probable burdened with nightmares.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
At Bible Baptist school in Kawangware slum, Pastor Edward and his wife Alice have dreams in buying some land near their school, within the slum, to build an orphanage, to take in the children and get them off the street, or at least some of the children. And then to add on to their school, make it two levels, get more kids in school and in Church, and gaining an education and learning about God’s love, and gaining a sense of belonging, and hope for a future. And then to just keep on expanding, building up or out, and growing, reaching out to more and more of these children. But where does that money come from to get going? They are so poor. We also want to begin an income generating project here. Making something to sell to go toward the school. Not clothes because many people sew, so too much competition. Not farming/gardening… and selling food because it is the same way. (sad that there IS food, BUT starving kids with no parents, too young to work, and no money to buy the food). They tried to raise chickens to sell. They had 60 but then they got sick and all of them died but 2 chickens and 3 babies. Mom and I thought about making soap to sell, because everyone uses soap, the same cheap soap for dishes, laundry, bathing, cleaning, etc. What if we can make it cheaper than the super market and sell it with in the slum? Just a thought to look in to. Does anyone know how to make soap, and with out lye? Or any ideas for income generating projects? But that money would be only enough to cover a small portion of the children’s school fees that are used to feed the children and pay the teachers the absolute minimum (which currently they have not been pain in about 2 months). And when they do get paid, they said its only 2000 shillings a month which is about 26 dollars… A MONTH! Wow.. Anyways, I just think about all the wealth we have in the USA. I know we have poor and homeless there in America too, Tim and one of his friends and I have went to the streets a few times to talk to some homeless, and I know they have a hard life too, but at least there are places like the Knox Rescue Ministry that give food, water, storage, showers, sitting area with tv‘s etc. on I think a daily basis, and Water Angels, and one ministry that goes out weekly under a bridge in Knoxville that we attended to see what it was and they serve food and have a rummage sale where everything is free and teach and share about God and give out Bibles and pray with people. And yes there should be more of that in back at home. But what about here in Kenya, shouldn’t they have something or someone to turn to, and all around the world, they don’t have as many things like that, and here they are walking in sewage and trash. There are so many children out here on the streets. CHILDREN, like 7 year olds taking care of their baby brother or sister, and their parents dead or away. I believe there is so much crime here because children come together on the streets, form gangs, and steal together to survive. What other choice do they have but to sit and starve and die? I just can’t even imagine. I hope nothing I have said is rude or offended anyone. Its just hard to explain how bad it is here in some places. And going over and reading everything I’ve typed, I even still feel like I have made light of what it is like in some places here. But that is all for now. If anyone has any suggestions or comments or wants to help, feel free.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
(Post by Loura, My Mom)
A new day, a new week and a new place...at least for me.. Jenni was here last year! Pastor Fred and Alice and the children, John, Karina and Reva, came and picked us up yesterday after church at Pastor Edward and Alice's. It was bittersweet in that Jenni and I needed a little change of scenery , but at the same time, have grown so close to our new Kenya family. It was hard to leave them for this 3 weeks, but we will be back. If it was this hard to leave after a week and a half, how hard is it going to be to say goodbye to come home to America!! But we are here now, At Pastor Fred and Alice's. It is entirely different from Kawangware. Much quieter, less people...probably a little safer. Here there are indoor toilets and showers at Fred and Alices, but you have to be careful with water because it is rationed. Still, not everyone here has the convenience of indoor plumbing...there are many here also who live in stick and tin homes or no home at all. Off in the distance, I can see some mountains, which helps me... I miss the mountains. I got up this morning and looked out to see where the sun was rising, but it was not over the mountains... it must set this way!! I will look tonight to see! Last night I finally got to meet Christine and Moses and Grace and her grandson, Pavo. It was so very good to finally meet this person that has become my Kenya sister!!!
So it is morning now...Jenni and I are getting ready to head out with Alice to Candlelight school. They have a session in the mornings that Alice calls music therapy. I will write more later!!
We went to Candlelight this morning. I enjoyed so much meeting the children. We went to each class and met them and spoke with them about ourselves for a few minutes. We stayed in the fifth grade class for the longest. They were so full of questions about America... do we eat snake? What karate movies do we like? Who is our favorite actor/ actoress? What is our climate? Do we have snow and what is snow like? It was so fun to tell them about America because they enjoy so much hearing! Then Alice took me on down to the baby, preschool, and 1st grade classes while Jenni stayed up at the main school with the teachers she had made friends with last year to visit. I think I would be happiest there all day. They are so young and tiny , just still babies, so many of them!! So many stories that Alice shared with me about their lives... some left behind by their momma's because the daddys had left or were abusive. Sad stories!
Tuesday June 8, 2010
Last night Syd picked up Jenni and I and we went and picked up Jenni's boyfriend , Timmy Jarvis, at the airport. On the way, we stopped for gas and to get money from the ATM. As we were getting ready to pull out of the parking spot, a young boy, around the age of eight came to Jenni's open window and with glazed over eyes, asked if we could give him 10 shillings for juice. As Jenni was reaching for her purse,Syd turned to her and immediately told her 'no'! She told her that if she wanted to do something, to let Bonnie , who works for Syd, run into the market to get him juice and a snack, but that he was a glue sniffer and would use the money to buy more glue.... not food. Many street children resort to sniffing glue to numb themselves against the pain of the hunger and starvation they are feeling. It is highly addictive, brain damaging and often deadly. So many, from very small do this. It is so sad and so heartbreaking. The image of that thin, young boy and his sad , glazed over eyes will always be with me. This little boy may not live much longer. It just breaks my heart. By the way, Bonnie did go get him something to eat and some juice.
Timmy is now safely in Kenya!!!
Jenni has been experiencing some allergy issues and woke this morning very conjested and just not feeling too well... please keep her in your prayers. She stayed in this morning to rest. I went on to Candlelight to teach Bible. I just prayed and asked that God would set me aside and speak to the children through me and that they would understand me in spite of this nasal, southern drawl that I have! Marc had emailed me a picture of Nephelum skeletons that had been dug up by archeologists and I took my laptop and showed them one of the pictures and the message was about the Nephelum (giants) in the Bible and Goliath and how David killed Goliath because God was with him. I spoke with them about how problems in our lives today can seem so gigantic. That the giants that they face today of hunger, sorrow, loss, lonliness, etc. can be conquered by faith in the same God of David. I told them that God speaks in His Word about the importance of knowledge over and over and that they needed to keep learning and go as far as they could and that God would use that knowledge to fight the giants in their lives. I was so shocked when the 8th graders stood and clapped and cheered and no teacher was there to tell them to. God is so good because they got it.... PRAISE GOD for answered prayer!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!! How I love HIM!!
Jenni is feeling some better this afternoon. Please pray for her. And pray for that little boy at the gas station. Pray for all of these hungry, hurting children. Pray that God can show Jenni and I how to communicate and portray how things are here , to others at home in America... that we can be eyes for others to see.... that hearts will be stirred to compassion.... that change will come! These are some of my prayers... will you join me? ~ loura
Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version)
The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Saturday, May 29, 2010
What another amazing day... the end of the school week. It's hard to believe that in less than a week we have traveled half of the world away, arrived in Kenya, met two of God's sweet angels, Pastor Edward and Alice! We have met their sweet daughter Rachel and many , many sweet and precious children and the teachers who get paid little and sometimes not at all..... they are angels too. The children love to be loved and oh how they appreciate and hang onto every word you say and anything you do or give! And how they love to learn!!! We have worshiped with the teachers, we have had worship with the teachers and children combined, we have taught (and learned much), we have cooked some Kenyan meals, we have played... but mostly, we have been blessed.
Today after classes and lunch, Pastor Edward and Alice took Jenni and I outside of the Bible Baptist compound and we walked through the streets of the Kawangware slum. I am at a loss for what even to say. As we walked through the streets, of course being the only Muzungus (white people), generated a lot of stares and conversation. The children would come up and touch us and say "Muzungu, Muzungu"!! They love to rub our skin and touch our hair. Many of the people were friendly and would smile and speak.. a few would not. But the children were all friendly and would wave at us and smile! I have never, ever in my life seen anything like this place. I don't care what anyone else says, we do not have poor this way. We do not! I am not saying we don't have poor people or that there aren't people who have needs and need people to help, but not like this... no! The smell of the sewage and garbage in the streets is, BAD !! For that matter, the streets are bad! They are dirt, deeply rutted, garbage filled and narrow. There are shanty markets and homes everywhere made from sticks and tin or just whatever the people can get their hands on. Many, many people live in these tin and stick homes the size of most of our bathrooms. Speaking of that, there are no bathrooms.
People are hungry... very hungry, but too poor to get food. So they sniff glue to numb themselves from the hunger. Yes, Jenni saw that today. The other night we were sitting after dinner and I could hear a baby crying. I said to Pastor that the baby had been crying for a long time. He said most likely, it was hungry. It made me so sad. So many of the kids that come to school here... that is the only meal they get, but it is more than a lot of people get here. And their clothes are in rags and they wear them all week. I have seen children with nearly a third of their foot hanging off the edge of their sandal, or 2 different shoes, or their big brothers shoes that he has outgrown that were way too big! I could go on and on ! I know I can't change all of this myself, but I wish I could. For now... this school. They have many , many needs! Jenni and I bought over 100 pencils today that will mean the world to them. They are writing with pencils that are used down so far that they can't hardly hold them anymore, and today... I was horrified when I saw a little girl sharpening her pencil nub with a razor blade because the school has no sharpeners! That's what we want to buy them next... and they need new writing tablets and chalk and books and the list goes on!! So at least we can start here... at Bible Baptist School... Maybe someday one or many of these little ones here can pass on some of the love we are giving and can make some changes ! I hope so!!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We arrived in Nairobi around 7:30 am, got our visas, and claimed our baggage and met up with Pastor Fred and his wife Alice that I stayed with last summer, and also with them was Rev. Edward. We left the airport and went to exchange a few dollars. Then we went on to Bible Baptist School in one of the bad slum areas (can’t remember how to say it, and sure not spell it) which is where we will be spending most of our summer. We arrived and they began to take out our luggage which I thought to be a little strange at first considering we were staying with Fred in Alice. Turns out we are living here at Bible Baptist which made me nervous at first, but as the day has come to an end, I already love this family and all the children. Each child has their own heart breaking story. Bible Baptist also has a heart breaking story and a lot of needs and has already began to reach out and trying to reach and serve God so much more. Rev. Edward and his wife Alice are so wonderful and are so passionate about that they do. They love these children and care for them, and most of all, they love and trust God with all their hearts. It is such a beautiful thing. There is a school structure. There are 9 class rooms, however they are very small and crowded, therefore they have to turn children away. The walls are made on tin sheets and card board and do not rise all the way to the ceiling, which makes teaching difficult trying to yell over the teachers in the classrooms next door and hard for the children to fully listen and comprehend. Then after they are finished with 8th grade, many either do not have the grades to go to high school or if they do they have to money to afford it so their educations stop there, so most children end up back on the streets, no job, and many begin to prostitute or sell drugs, steal or starve. It just doesn’t seem right. They do not have the opportunities that we have. Why? It just doesn’t seem fair. They currently have the money for feed the children a plate of beans and maze which is most children’s only meals a day, however fire wood and charcoal to cook and food is quite expensive trying to feed all the children. The teachers do not get paid, they just work to eat and to share their loving hearts to help the children. The desks/benches the children sit in are not in great condition and many children squeeze onto one. And the children do not have their own books, they copy everything down the teacher says or writes up. I realize even more than last year how crazy I am for taking an education, food, clean water, a toilet, toilet paper, books, etc. all for granted. Gosh. But today is only the first day, and see only few needs out of I’m so sure much more. The church, the old van that doesn’t run, no offices or desks for teachers, so on and so on. Oh and all their chickens just died of being sick with some disease. Anyways, I am looking forward to hanging out with all the children tomorrow. They are all so loving and precious. Rev Edward told us that we will teach English and math tomorrow and also maybe some games or crafts. I just love these sweet kids that have so little but love so much. They were just so happy today to have pictures taken because they had never had a picture taken before, and never seen their picture before, so I think we might try to do a slide show for them at the end of our trip with all their pictures. I really enjoyed their singing and dancing today. Wish I could sing and dance with them. Well this is all I have time for for now, but please just pray for us to be salt and light to this little school and for us to be positive, loving, patient, generous, and for God to just speak through us and live in us so that we can be His hands and feet. We want to plant the seeds of the Gospel in their hearts and one day they can bear fruit. I know many of you have read The Hole in Our Gospel, well I just started it on the plane. “In the ministry of Jesus he healed the diseased and the lame, showed empathy for the poor, fed the hungry, and literally restored sight to the blind. Jesus clearly cared about addressing poverty, disease, and human brokenness in tangible ways.” Romans 12:10 says to be devoted to one another in brotherly love, and to honor one another about ourselves. Verse 11-13 talks about serving the Lord and to share with God’s people who are in need. Read James 2: 14-26. Anyways, Aren’t we supposed to be trying to live like Jesus lived? W.W.J.D. What would Jesus do? What can I do? How can God use me? What will you do?