Friday, February 29

4th update

Yesterday when in Isilo as we were walking through the town to the restaurant for breakfast Njokie saw something in a ditch along the road. As we stood there looking I was reminded of what Bishop David says how we respond when we see something - somebody must do something. There in the ditch lay sleeping were 20 street boys. Some were just small little boys. There were two older boys sitting there with them - the "boss" boys as we are told. The "boss" boys asked us if we would get the boys water and bread.

After telling them we would return we walked on to the restaurant. As I stood in the door to look back I saw the "boss" boy threw small rocks in the ditch at the boys to wake them.

Njokie and John instead of eating breakfast went to find a place to get food for the boys. They found a restaurant where they would give them bread and Chai out the front door - they wouldn't let them come in. As we helped pass out the bread and Chai the boys asked us if we could help them go to school. They just wanted to go to school. They didn't even ask for a bed to sleep in or anything else - they just want to go to school. More and more street children came and Njokie made sure they were all fed. The boys then sang us a song about AIDS killing their parents.

S.N. gathered them all around and spoke with them. He told them he will work with a pastor to help organize footbal teams and he would give footballs to the pastor. There isn't a GOA church in this town. Somebody must do something and S.N. will do something. He told me he would develop a short and long term strategy.

Seeing and spending time with these street boys and knowing some of their parents died from AIDs can't help but make you feel urgency about HIV/AIDS awareness and testing. It is one thing to know there are 1.3 Million orphans in Kenya, it is another thing to spend time with them and hear their pleas for the opportunity to go to school so they can have a chance at being more than a street boy.

The GOA Peace Bus Team
(click on pictures for a larger view)

Praying for healing in Kenya, Connie

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3rd update

Yesterday the Peace Team wittnessed first hand the difficulty of a lack of food in some of the IDP camps. The Peace Team went to Nyrahruru at the invitation of Pastor Simon. The pastors had set up an IDP for those displaced during the Navasha clases. There are 300 people sleeping here with another 1300 coming for food. These 1300 are displaced but living with other people and in need of food.

We did medical camp, tested 85 for HIV/AIDS and brought food. Many were sick with diarrhea and upper respiratory illnesses. They sleep on the floor women in one room and men in another room. Sammy and David did praise and worship and Pastor Muturi encouraged them.

When the pastors passed the food out there was almost total chaos as people are hungry and there wasn't enough food for everyone. Five media people came TV, radio and print and stayed a couple hours with us. They were amazed to watch people in the Eastern region of Kenya scambling for food.

After all the food was gone, everyone seen in medical and all tested who wanted to be tested Sammy and David led people in praise and worship. Half-way through praise and worship Pastor Simon received a message that a peace agreement had been signed! People cheered as Pastor Simon told them and they thanked God!! And then we showed them Pastor Karanja's message DVD Prayers for Kenya. It was just perfect message as Pastor Karanja told them to have an attitude of forgiveness. Sammy and David ended with their song Par for Peace Kenya. Everyone listened intently as David sang. There was a spirit of needing healing in Kenya.

I have been asked how this agreement will change kenya Relief and the Peace Bus. Pastor Muturi is surveying the ground to determine those still displaced and hungry. And it will take a long time to close all the IDPs. Many of their homes and buisnesses have been burned. The Bishop will advise how he sees the Peace Bus used best. The healing and reconcilation is now beginning in ernest

God delivered peace in Kenya, now we pray for healing, Connie

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Thursday, February 28

Kenya reaches peace agreement!!

In an IDP with Pastor Simon and he just received word there is a peace agreement!!!! IDPs to return home and be resettled. More later....praise God!!!
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From Bishop David Thagana:
Dear Friend,
Today Thursday, February 28 the Kenya government and the opposition party has signed an agreement to work together.

President Mwai Kibaki in his National address speech has said "Kenya has enough space for everybody" Raila Odinga in his address speech has said "today Kenya has marked a significant day from confrontational politics to co-operation. Join us to thank God for answering our prayers for peace. Meanwhile keep praying that our parliament will enact laws to protect these agreement. Thanks for your prayers and standing with us when we went through hell.

Bishop David
Glory Outreach Assembly
P.O. Box 13940 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: + 254 (20) 606738/48
Mobile: + 254727407247
Skype: dthagana
… Making Christian disciples of all Nations

Wednesday, February 27

2nd Update

Kenya seems very much different from my last visit. The KLM crews are now staying in downtown Nairobi, there are no police with riot gear, and no reports of violence. While the leaders have yet to settle their difference the Kenyan people very much want things to stay calm. I even went to Mathare Slum today and there is calm there. Buildings are being repaired and repainted. There is talk from the people of a healing nation. That was my first message when I arrived in Kenya - welcome to our healing nation.

The last two days have been spent preparing for the trip to Marsabit. Tonight 16 of the 18 team members are here in the apartment. The Peace Bus sits in the parking lot with hundreds of bed-nets on top, the back of the bus packed with medications, musical equipment, HIV/AIDS test kits and sanitary pads. We will buy food in Nyharuru and in Marsabit. We are taking the Partners for Care staff - three nurses, three social workers, four Aids counselors and the praise and worship team - Sammy and David. S.N. sports evangelist will be joining us. He has purchased Peace Balls, nets and a trophy. He is setting up a peace tournament.

Sammy and David Singing Pray Peace in Kenya

The reason for the trip to Mathare Slum was to see Nick and Charles. For those who don't know my friend Vickie Winkler introduced me to Nick and Charles a few months ago when we needed to hire AIDS testers (VCT counsellors) to go with us when we doing the testing iniatives for Professir Orego. They are young men who grew up in Mathare Slum and are amazing Christians. They run an organization called Community Transformers - mobilizing volunteers to make home visits in the slum to 150 people infected with Aids and they have 250 children come for fun. Food and Christian fellowship on Saturdays.

During the burning in Mathare they stayed helping people carrying out the injured on stretchers and promoting peace as they could.
Nick and Charles already had five children living with them. They are relatives whose parents died from AIDS. During the violence 12 more children were brought to them to care for as they were separated from their parents. These includes the three street boys I found on the streets of Nairobi when I was here last time. I had asked Nick and Charles to care for them. They had rented two more 10X10 rooms for the children. Njokie had gotten the school age children uniforms and they were in school.

Nick and Charles are not funded and the money they receive is when they are able to do AIDS testing. Vickie has provided help for them getting them furniture and renting a building for their Community Transformers work.

I had never visited Nick and Charles because I have grown to love them like family and I really did not want to see where and how they lived. But I know after sitting in their one room today with them that something in me has changed. Today I did not care about they did not have - a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed for themselves, etc. I have seen so many without here in Kenya that I compared what they had with the nothing of many others. But more importantly I saw the joy of Jesus Christ in these young men. Nick and Charles are always happy - never in a bad mood. I asked them if they were always like I see them - happy, laughing and joking and they said yes - and they told me they had God to thank for that!

I thought how many people I know including myself who have so much and can be in a bad mood! I really saw how it is not what we possess but it is how we manifest God's love.

More tomorrow on how we are helpng Nick and Charles place all the children!

Blessed to be in Kenya,

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Monday, February 25

1st Update

Good start to the trip. Ed was working today at KLM so able to take two extra bags without charge so am able to bring some of the medical supplies donated by Med Share International. I am in Amsterdam boarding flight for Nairobi. As last time there many empty seats on the flight.

Goals for this trip include:

1. Assessing situation on the ground, in the IDP camps in respect to food, water and shelter. GOA social workers and I will visit with Kenya Red Cross as they are the designated agency for coordinating relief.

2. Travelling to Pastor Simon's area to provide food, medical care, PEACE balls, worship and whatever supplies GOA has been able to purchase to the people in the displaced camps.

3. Travel on the PEACE bus to Marsabit. From the report sent by the new Partners for Care/GOA social worker in Marsabit and Pastor Hirbo there 125 orphans with several in need of immediate interventions. We are taking the GOA nurses and medications. We will have almost 1000 nets to distribute. Also we have 4 VCT counsellors who will test as many people as possible for HIV/AIDS. People are dying in this area from malaria and probably AIDS. There are very few nets in the area and very little testing for HIV/AIDS. GOA hopes to not only care for the orphans but to stop people from dying creating more orphans.

3. We will visit other IDP camps as funds allow.

We have not raised enough funds to take the Lorry with us this time. We do hope to buy food at both Simon's and in Marsabit. ILI is keeping up with the donations and if more donations come in early this week they will wire them to GOA and we can still fill it with food and take it with us.

We are very blesed to have the nets. They are donated to us from our partner Vickie Winkler of HEART. And we have thousands of test kits donated to us from OraSure.

Pray for the Kenya Peace Team. They are going where others are not going. They are doing what God calls them to do - feed the hungry, cloth the naked and care for the orphans and widows. Thank you to so many who have donated funds - they know it is because of your financial support they are able to serve.

Blessed to be going to Kenya, Connie
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Wednesday, February 20

I just got off the phone from speaking with the Bishop. He was trying to make the decision where the Peace Bus should go while I am with the team the next two weeks. Please pray with the Bishop as he makes this very difficult decision.

The reason it is difficult is because of the great human need for food right now. Every district of GOA has asked the Bishop for money for food to feed displaced people. While I am in Kenya this time I will return to the Kenyan Red Cross to determine when they will be able to have everyone under shelter and with food. GOA pastors know there are still thousands of people living without adequate shelter and food. I met with Kenyan Red cross before and know they are trying but they told me they never anticipated Kenya would face such a great humanitarian crisis. Remember Kenya has been host country to refugees from other countries. Now they are the country experiencing the crisis.

The second place the Bishop feels we need to go is Marsabit. Some of you know Partners for Care funded Mare, a social worker who is of the tribe Boran, to work with Pastor Hirbo in Marsabit. She was to assess the needs in this area as that is what social workers are trained to do is assess. We just received her report - you will be moved by her words. She found 120 orphans. Her assessment is 20 of them will die from starvation without intervention.

Her words:
House to house visitations of the orphan children was successfully made by Pastor Hirbo and social worker in Marsabit. The main objective of the visitation was simply to collect inventory data of the orphans.

Despite the long-distance to the children residents we assured the collection of child’s report. (Note from Connie neither Pastor Hirbo nor Mare have transportation not even a bike so they walk to do these assessments - waling miles) It was investigated that one hundred and twenty children lived as orphans. The interviewed children are from central, Milima Tatu, Shauri Yako, Dirib Gombo, Kubibagasa and manyatta Duba. The research reveals that Kubibagasa and Gombo totaled to 17km and manyatta Duba 7km from town. The targeted community includes Burji, Gabra, Borans and Turkana.

On the other hand the targeted children mostly age ranged from 3 years to 7 years. According to the decision made, 20 children needed to be transferred to a children orphanage and 100 supported at their household. In addition to that 20 (twenty) cases of histories have been sent to the head office. The twenty selected were based on their situation which is so pathetic aiming to do better ending physical and spiritual hunger.

Beside that, manyatta Duba has also difficulties on its own. Something so touching is to find an old man living with six double orphans and himself doesn’t have a good conditioned house and it is about to fall if it rains. Recently a group of Muslims established a tent in order for him to live in and the children themselves stay starving whole day since grandfather himself is too old to serve them. During the interview, grandfather made exclamation to the children; “please eat lemon if you are hungry”. This is horrible but on the ground this is how they live.

In another household, a mother of five children is shivering because of malaria. Since the mother was shivering of malaria I continued to ask why she haven’t visited hospital where she knows there is a dispensary in the village but she didn’t have money. When she was asked how much it cost, she answered only thirty shillings (50 cents). This made researcher so disappointed and regretted why go empty handed but all in all prayed for her with tears and left the place.

The Bishop is trying decide if we should go with the Partners for Care nurses and social workers and HIV/ Aids testers to Marsabit. We would take food for Pastor Hirbo to give to the most needy, conduct medical camps, deliver nets and test for HIV/AIDs. Mare's assessment found most have never been tested for for HIV/AIDS.

The Bishop would also like five of the most at risk children brought to Tumaini. For those who know Rebecca she came from this area. She has AIDS but today is thriving and healthy and in school. She lives at Beat the Drum children's home. You can see in her before and after pictures (below) what miracles can happen for even children who have AIDS.

Obviously the woman Mare met needs to be treated for malaria. She is a widow and if she dies there will be five more orphans. We have already sent money for Pastor Hirbo to meet this immediate need. It is probably deaths from malaria and HIV/AIDs that are creating so many orphans in this area. These are public health issues that can be addressed with nets, testing and education. "My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge" Hosea 4:6

The problem the Bishop is having is how best to use the remaining funds which right now are $7,500.00 for the relief effort. We could go without the lowry just taking nets and medication on the Peace Bus. Bishop also wants to help give funds to the GOA pastors for food for displaced people. If anyone has any ideas of how to help please let me know. I leave Sunday.

Praying for God's wisdom for the Bishop, Connie
The following is an email received today from Bishop David Thagana of Glory Outreach Assembly.

For those planning trips to Kenya this year please read carefully to understand the immediate needs of GOA and the people of Kenya.

Dear Friend,

Since post election violence broke in Kenya over 300,000 people have been internally displaced, while 1000 people have died. Peace is slowly returning to all parts of Kenya. No violence has been reported in any part of the Country in the last couple of weeks. Tourists and Mission teams have started coming in. A team from Mt Pisgah United Methodist Church played with Merciful Redeemer kids, fed the displaced people in Mathare North and preached a power message from Luke 10:2-5-37 at the Nairobi GOA church on Sunday Feb 17th. Today they are serving in Maji Mazuri project and on Friday they join my wife Joyce and myself to Beat the Drum, Strong Tower and finally Tumaini Children's home.

On Monday 355 tourists landed in Mombasa beach. Now we are not worried about violence. We are worried about:

1. That the opposition and the government may not agree in the near future. They have started shifting goal posts in their discussions with Kofi Anani.

2. Resettling the displaced. Basic needs like food, clothes, medicine, sanitation are a huge need particulary among the internally displaced people, and the families that are hosting other displaced people in very small houses.

Different people have responded in different ways since our nation started suffering. While some have devoted their time to pray, others have come to comfort us and others have sent funds which we desparately need. We thank all of you for your support at this critical time of our nation. While the minority have turned their compassion into action in one way or the other, the majority have continued to say: The government and the opposition must agree. What is the United nations and red cross doing? What is the church doing?

Today I was presented with the
attached report of what GOA Peace and reconciliation ministry in partnership with Partners for Care have been doing while I was away. It is refered to as the Peace bus initiative. You will be blessed like I was to see that your donations have continued to produce rays of hope to the displaced, naked , hungry, sick and helpless internally displaced people.


Going Deeper

Bishop David Thagana

Glory Outreach AssemblyP.O. Box 13940 00100 Nairobi, KenyaTel: + 254 (20) 606738/48Mobile: + 254727407247Skype: dthaganaEmail:

… Making Christian disciples of all Nations

Saturday, February 16

GOA Peace Bus Update

The violence has subsided in Kenya - praise God. But what it has done to this country and its people we love is heartbreaking. Please read the following from GOA staff who are truly on the ground. They went out to the displaced people in the Internally Displaced Camps as a peace team travelling on the Peace Bus. As you read their words you can feel their pain. You also can read their intense appreciation of the funds that have been sent to enable them to reach out to the hurting. The peace team on this trip included Paul, RN, Ann and Priscilla VCT counsellors, Pastor Muturi - Peace and Reconciliation Ministry field and team leader, Njokie - "cook" turned health care worker, Sammy and David singing the Peace song, S N setting up peace soccer tournaments, with David driving. The team picked up Pastor Francis and his wife Elizabeth, RN. Read what they said about the day:

From Francis: Today, I feel very satisfied for having helped someone in need at the Rongai camp. The Peace Bus picked up me and my wife who is a nurse to take the so much needed food and medicines to the IDPs.

After buying the foodstuff, we set off for Rongai, a fertile valley in the great rift valley, about 25 kilometers East of Nakuru city.

We found the many women, children, and men living in a police station for their safety. We visited the Officer in-charge of the police station and mapped out our work for the day. The camp leaders are responsible for the distribution of the food.

Instantly, my wife and Paul began to treat the sick. I became a pharmacist, having been with Elizabeth for 16 years, I know a little of dispensing medicine of course with her guidance. The patients were many. We treated almost 300 patients. We also tested 27 for HIV with one positive. We helped people infected with AIDS to travel tomorrow to get ARVs at the Provincial hospital, where my wife works.

I saw people walking with a smile despite all that has happened to their relatives and friends, properties burnt, but the hope in Jesus surpasses all the pain and suffering. Hope of now having food to cook for their family and that their the children will have something to eat when they returned from school.

On our way home after giving all that we could to the people and giving out peace balls to the youth and school children, we gave a ride to an intelligence officer from the interior, and this is what he told us:
"When peace is restored, the many people who have been fighting and burning peoples' houses are already starving. Get ready to start taking food to them and medicines, lest they die of dehydration and hunger"

I am worried because the Kikuyus are farmers, they grow food crops to feed the Nation, but now they are out of their farms. It means that hunger is going to bite hard, especially to the non agricultural people. They have been displaced and unless they go back to their farms before the rains come in mid March, there will be no harvest for the year.

Pray that His eminence Annan and the two parties are going to come to an agreement that will bring long lasting peace to Kenya.

I want to thank all those who have given for this noble cause in helping the displaced people and praying for them.

Give all that you can afford to our people. We thank God that we came to Nakuru not knowing what lays ahead of us but God knows it. We are very strategically located in the rift valley to reach out to the people who need love and care, and healing.

We thank you all for your support in prayers, for we have gone through many dangers and snares but have overcome them.

We love you, Shalom.
Francis and Elizabeth

From Njokie:

I've realized Connie that we've not finished yet, the journey is long and we are needed. We gave out flour, beans, rice, and mosquito nets.

Their journey is long but we can help them so they can help others. Donate on-line or send a check marked Kenya Relief and encourage others to donate.

Do not grow weary of doing good or of helping others do good, Connie