Wednesday, August 14, 2013
A very delayed post. I've been back for about a month. I've gotten to share stories and pictures of my time in Kenya. What an amazing experience it was!!!!! God really softened my heart while I was there and continues to use my experiences to teach me and stretch me. So thankful for all of y'all's support through everyday possible. I pray God will bless you all in wonderful ways!!!! God willing I would love to return to Kenya...but for now I shall study for my licensure exam and begin my career as an OT. Those I met and the experiences I had in Kenya will continue to be cherished in my heart…and a little bit of my heart will always be with my Kenyan family.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
What a busy past few days it has been. We said our farewell in Kandaria yesterday and say our farewell in Katito today. Very bitter sweet. I miss my family and friends back home and am ready to see them but will very much miss my Kenyan family when we leave. This afternoon we will head in safari and then safari again tomorrow am before we head to the airport. This week I was able to be a part of a therapy team in both Katito and Kandaria. It was definitely a God ordained team of varying specialties. I learned so much that I will be able to carry with me and use. I really hope we were able to help meet physical needs of the Kenyans that were in our care. Through the past few days I have also gotten more time to get and know the Kenyans that are making such and impact through House of Hope. Anna and I were able to hang out with David and Pastor Paul for a couple hours and introduce them to some of our crazy American candy! We climbed the mountain where those in Kandaria used to have to travel for medical needs. Lets just say that we are healthy and had difficulty hiking it at times. With narrow rocky paths, it is amazing they were able to make the journey while ill or in labor. God since has blessed them with House of Hope medical center in Kandaria and they no longer must venture there! Tuesday ended with a lovely family dinner at David and Justine's home where we were able to spend the evening with our Kenyan family. Yesterday we wrapped up therapy and medical screenings as well as the other projects in both communities and said our farewell to Kandaria. What a beautiful ceremony and what gracious people. They have lavished their love on us in both communities throughout our time here and will forever be in our hearts.
House of Hope Chapel in Katito
Monkeys outside our hotel
Food prepared for us for lunch in Katito
Some of the ladies from Katito :)
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Whew! What a busy past few days we've had! But don't worry they have been very enjoyable!!!! Saturday we started our day off strong by loading the bus with glorious singing children from Katito and bringing them with us to Kandaria for the day. It was wonderful to hear them sing the whole way. After we got to Kandaria we walked (hiking in American terms) to the water project. We helped move bricks that will be used for the water reservoir by the spring. So amazing and wonderful that it will provide the community with water when complete!!!
After we helped move and stack bricks we walked down to a school in Kandaria for some dancing and celebration. On the walk we passed a barking dog (dogs are guard dogs and not like pets like in the USA). I had a child holding each hand and had felt something grabbing at my leg with the gentlest touch. Unsure of what it was I turned around to see a little one reaching for me. Amazing to me that this little child found comfort in me... Someone she had never even met!! (I eventually ended up carrying her and she grinned from ear to ear.) Reminds me of how innocent and trusting children are and how precious that is! The rest of the day was filed with Bible school and fun and games. During Bible school the children were taught about obedience using Esther, Daniel, and Gideon. They then learned the obedience song :)
Flash foreword to Sunday and we begin the day with baptisms. I was beyond excited for this moment and opportunity. The setting was perfect and a similar representation of back in Biblical days. Very emotional. House of Hope chapel requires a 2 month course along with a quiz to follow in order to be baptized. The 24 individuals that were baptized had met all this criteria! Below pictured is Lillian Atieno during her baptism and then she and I after. I was her sponsor at the baptism.
She was calling me "Mama" and kept telling me I was her mama before and after the baptism meaning that I now am the only one other than Jesus that shares her soul. What an honor and joyous thing to be!!!!!!!! (Talk about choking up! So sweet and amazing!!)
After the baptism we went back to Katito for the dedication of the House of Hope children's center and dining hall. What a wonderful thing to be a part of and see. God truly had provided for the community and the orphans. Each of them holds a special place in our heart and knowing they are in a place that takes wonderful care for them and shows them Jesus's love is a God sent! We ended our day with church (it was long enough to take a lunch break). It was wonderful to see the energy and excitement and to get to watch the children dance and even dance with them!! So excited for tomorrow. Cannot believe the wonderful things I have experienced these past few days. God truly had plans for me here. Things to experience and things for me to do. Amazed at His glory right now. Just as the song goes that we taught at Sunday school and Bible study, "Obedience is the very best way to show that we believe. Doing exactly what The Lord commands and doing it happily."
^Pastor Matt cutting the ribbon at the ceremony.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Today we left our hotel in Nairobi around 7am to head to Kandaria for the day. The drive was around 7 hrs but beautiful and refreshing. All of the children and even most of the adults along the way smiled and waved as we passed by. When we got to Kandaria we were welcomed and hugged by everyone. They had a ceremony to welcome us. It was beautiful to see everyone's welcoming face and to be loved and greeted by people that didn't even know us. So thankful God has provided such an opportunity for my team and the people of Kandaria to work together. I can't even explain the beauty and magnificence of today. Definitely has been a blessing through and through! Sorry this is short I am exhausted. Can't wait to share it all later!
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
After 30 hours between airplanes and airports we are safely in Kenya with all members and all baggage. Traveling... What an experience.... First flight to Dallas was a breeze. The flight from Dallas to Dubai was interesting. I passed out for the first part of it...shortly after take off and almost missed dinner. Despite silly me having my underwear on inside out (which I didn't discover until I was on the plane.... Was gonna fix them in the bathroom but someone had missed the toilet.... But that's a whole other story!) the plane ride went well looooong and rough at times but well. I think my crazy sleeping scheduled paid off because I was all ready for the day at 9am Dubai time (1am my time)The flight attendants were all so wonderful and helpful! They even gave me a Milky Way!!! The worst was the length of the flight. But got to the beautiful Dubai airport safely and now in the wonderful Kenya :) going to head to sleep busy day tomorrow starting at 6 am! So excited to go to the community of Kandaria tomorrow!
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Cannot believe how soon I will be headed to Kenya. This time next week I will be sleeping because it will be nearly 4am. But I will have lions roaring outside my window!!!! Haha. And will be busy with the many things we have planned. We will be going between Kandaria and Katito while there. I'm super stoked that I get to participate in therapy screenings and eye glass fitting for the Kenyans, as well as, many other ministries. It's all hitting me as I pack and prepare. Today I did my last Walmart run, hemmed the last skirt that needs packed and went over my check list! Almost completely packed and ready to go!!! I am so blessed for all the support I have gotten throughout the preparations of this trip. Our God is awesome and I can't wait to see what He will do through us I'm Kenya!!! :) Thank you all one last time before I go for all you've done!!
I will try to post on here with some updates while there so stay tuned! In If y'all want to check out House of Hope in the meantime, go to http://hohkandaria.tumblr.com/
Friday, June 7, 2013
I cannot believe that I will be in Kenya in less than a month. Everything is coming up so quickly!! I am beyond excited! I just got home from Walmart getting the essentials: bug spray, sunscreen, toothpaste, etc. This morning I called to get my script for my malaria medications and those dog-gone vaccines are ALL done. (Hallelujah!!) And let me tell you, God has been absolutely MAGNIFICIENT in this whole process. (I mean, as He is always!)
I originally was afraid to sign up for the trip because of the price tag. Yes, I know God is bigger than a price tag. But it was scary putting it on the line. I was also scared because, although I was going with my church, I knew NO ONE on the trip when I signed up. Since I’ve been in Erie for school the past 5 years and started going to Grace my sophomore year of college I hadn’t really connected much with the church. But back to the point…God continually has been laying Africa and Kenya in particular on my heart and I knew I had to go there and as time went on I knew, more than anything I’ve ever known in my entire life, that God wants me in Kenya.
So all rainbows and butterflies now, right? NO. I still had that HUGE price tag to fill and was not sure how to do it. As a new grad school graduate there isn’t much room in the bank for a trip to Africa, so support raising it was. I knew God has a plan for me during my time there. Not exactly sure how He’ll use me but I know He is going to use me, so I asked family and friends to support the trip through prayers (which have been helping my nerves and preparation tremendously!!!!) and/or monetary donations. I’ll admit I was nervous sending letters out and putting myself out there, but the responses were amazing. I can’t even tell you how many times I cried of pure joy from God’s faithfulness. I am so blessed to be surrounded and to know such wonderful and amazing people that, because of them I will be on my way to Kandaria, Kenya in 25 days! I have also been amazed at how many times and how easily this trip has been a bridge to talking to people (sometimes even strangers) about Jesus.
I was stressed at times about this trip and how everything will fall into place. This past week in particular has been very stressful. Our funds are due on Sunday and last Sunday I still had a little over $1,000 to go. I kept calculating in my head how I was going to make it work. I kept praying, wondering why God would bring me this far if it wasn’t going to work out! (Silly me! God already had it figured out!) Tuesday on my drive home from work I got a phone call from our mission team leader. The trip costs had miraculously gone down tremendously in price and I now owed less than $500. WHAT!? I seriously could have fainted when she told me! THANK YOU JESUS! I got home and couldn’t wait to tell my mom. As we were talking she told me how there was a check that came for me in the mail while I was away the past weekend. Slowly but surely more money keeps showing up in the strangest of places. Why would I ever doubt my God? He’s got this covered and I am privileged enough to be a vessel of HIS love and compassion to the Kenyan people.
I am constantly amazed at God’s faithfulness. We, as humans, cannot even fathom such loyalty and grace. We serve a God that is much bigger than any circumstance before us. Don’t let worry or doubt get in your way this week. God has His hand in the situation you face. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Be the seed that has a noble and good heart, hear God’s word and hold it close. (Luke 8:11-15) He doesn’t waste experiences, so take in every moment. Use every moment to grow closer to Him!