Monday, March 30

What if? a success in Mombasa

The five-day what if? mission in Mombasa concluded last night. Christian from the Milele gospel group and Martin Luther King, Jr. Were right - music can be used to bring people together and to prepare their hearts to hear the message. And, Rick Warren was right. The HIV/AIDS pandemic will not go away until the church preaches it from the pulpit and until the pastors test and call their congregation to test. And, he was right when he said it wasn't being preached from the pulpit! The what if? campaign is changing that. In the five day mission in villages near Mombasa 8,200 people were reached with the message of salvation and HIV/AIDs prevention, 597 signed commitment cards to test, wait and be faithful and 108 received Christ.
Hear from the team themselves and feel the passion they have to reach their generation to be HIV-free and to save their children from AIDS.
From the team:
Yesterday was just a success. We first attended church at Pastor Peter's church, which was fantastic. Everyone loved the service, and when the Temples of Worship were presenting You Are My Foutain everyone stood to their feet and couldn't stop jumping and shouting... they really love those guys.

The Temples of Worship singing You Are My Fountain

I was shocked to hear the Pastor call me to the front to "speak to his people about AIDS, doing what I do best", and I went. I told the church about living pure in Christ, and I was surprised that half of the members test frequently. They hung on to every word I spoke, and agreed with me that it's the church that can be most effective in eradicating AIDS, first by living by example.
In the afternoon the concert started, and this day I really was surprised at how many people turned up. We had a crowd of over 3,000 people, and particularly today they were very responsive and participating, especially during the presentations by the Temples of Worship. I spoke and referred people to the nearest VCT, which coincidentally was a few meters from where we were. 295 commitment cards were signed yesterday, and 16 people gave their lives to Christ after Pastor Omondi preached.

People giving their lives to Christ in Watamu

It was hard leaving, with everyone begging us to extend the concert till 11pm. When we were leaving all the people wanted to know was "when are you coming back?" Songs by the Temples of Worship were on everyone's lips.

The Temples of Worship

I walked by two drunkards arguing, and I laughed when I heard one ask the other one "because you are feeling so on top of the world, have you been tested?" and the other one replied "go to Watamu Maternity Nursing and VCT Center (the VCT center in the area), and you'll find my name in almost all the sheets". The team did an excellent job of distributing the commitment cards.
In this five day Mombasa mission, 597 commitment cards were distributed, 8,200 people were reached with the message of salvation and HIV/AIDS prevention and 108 people gave their lives to Christ.


Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Thursday, March 26

Successful mission for Partners for Care Kenyan Staff

My daughter Mindy once asked me when I wouldn't be needed in Kenya for the work being accomplished by the Kenyan Partners for Care staff. I was clear from the beginning that God called me not to do the work in Kenya but to encourage, equip, empower and engage those God placed on the ground in Kenya. To do the work. I think this update from the what if? team on mission in the Coast answers my daughter's question. This update shows they don't need me to reach many with the message of HIV//AIDS prevention. If you take the time to read their update from the second day of their 5 day mission you will see how competent they are to take the what if? campaign throughout Kenya and Africa.

what if? Marereni
Today started with a meeting with the local pastors. The pastors' association here arranged for a meeting with us, which started at 10.30am. I, Sammy, Pastor Omondi and Njoki attended the meeting, and a total of 16 pastors were there. The pastors first introduced themselves and the chairman of the association invited us. Everyone spoke from our team and I must admit that at first I was a bit intimidated to speak to be speaking to pastors.
Pastor Omondi spoke about the whole what if? campaign and how pastors should be united in eradicating the disease from the church, and how they should be avoiding politics in church, which brings discord. Njoki spoke about pregnant women, and how we can avoid giving birth to HIV infected babies by having our women test. She gave an example of Brian and how he would not be suffering right now if his mother chose to test or even to abstain since the beginning. I spoke next, asking the pastors to test from the pulpit, and explaining how if from the start pastors were doing this, we would not be having majority of the 40 million people living with HIV worldwide being Christians. I asked them how many of them talked about HIV from the pulpit, and all the pastors said that they don't ever talk about this to their congregation. Sammy spoke next, telling them how ignorance of the disease results to deaths.
We were surprised when the pastor who was hosting us told us that he has never talked about HIV in his church. He told us that the number of people living with AIDS in this area made up close to 80% of the population. This owed to the fact that this area is where truck drivers who are travelling all stop here for the night, and sleep with the locals.
We closed the meeting and they begged us to come back again, or even to stay longer and continue with the concerts.
In the afternoon the concert started earlier than yesterday, and after the Temples of Worship presented a song the people begged them to sing more songs. They sang two more songs and after the local pastor introduced other pastors, I was called to speak. I spoke about the ignorance I had heard about in the area, that despite Marereni being the leading area with HIV in Malindi. I spoke for about 15 minutes and when I asked how many people were promising to test so that they may save their area from being destroyed by AIDS, very many hands went up. I didn't believe they got my question and thought they had misinterpreted me, so I repeated the question again and even more hands went up. I referred them to the nearest VCT center and talked about the commitment cards, before the team went round distributing them .

One of the Pastors leading by example, signing a commitment card

A very large number signed them, and Justus is still tallying so that we know exactly how many of them were distributing.
It's a good thing that we distributed them while Pastor Omondi was preaching, because many of them saw me passing by and were asking me questions concerning the three commitments, which I answered. I felt really sympathetic when two women called me and asked me "now if we commit to do the last commitment, what will we be doing when our husbands don't satisfy us?" I asked them whether they loved their children, and when they told me yes I told them to picture those children without their mothers, and at this point they quickly asked for a pencil to sign the committment cards, which they hadn't done. I went on to talk to them, and they promised not to be promiscuous. I was really impressed by the openness of the people of this area.
Pastor Omondi preached and about 40 people gave their lives to Christ. The Temples of Worship closed with Remember me and people still begged them to do "one more song", which they did, but still they asked for more, and because of time we ended the concert.
It was a very successful mission. A total of about 900 people attended the concert today, which brings the total number of people who attended the concert for the two days to 1700 people. 66 people gave their lives to Christ.
Can't wait to see what God will do through us in Watamu.


Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Monday, March 23


This trip food was a major focus. From the trip to the Turkana where we found starving children and old people to the rescue center in Mathare to Beat the Drum everyone was trying to obtain food to feed the children. Even with the house I live in with Partners for Care staff obtaining food was an issue. Kenya is not food secure at this time. There is many reasons for this including the post-election violence when grain was destroyed and land was not planted, months and in some areas even longer without rain, political issues and even corruption has played a part. Kenya has been declared an emergency situation with people dying from lack of food and water. Kenyans are responding with food collection center set up by the Red Cross, a Mercy train carrying food is moving around Kenya, cabinet members are to "sacked" for corruption and Kenyans have been asked to eat two meals a day and donate the money from not eating one meal. If you feel God telling you to "feed my people" you can donate to Partners for Care and all of the money will be used for food. We went early Saturday morning to meet the trucks coming in from the fields carrying beans, maize and rice. It was chaotic and very crowded but we managed to buy maize, beans and some flour to take to the children in the rescue center. We gave Pastor John some emergency funds to buy food for BTD. The filming we did in Turkana became a six part series on the Christian TV station hopefully raising awareness that will bring some help. And, pray for rains. Kenya needs rain for water and for the crops.
Praying for food and rain, Connie
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Sunday, March 22

Maggie's School

Maggie's School video is also posted on YouTube:;feature=channel_page <http://>
Blessings, Connie

Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Maggie's School

Here is the link for the video about Maggie's School. Enjoy these precious children!
The link is:
Blessings, Connie

Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

One of Temple of Worship singers injured

Last night about 10 pm we received a call that Moses one of the Temples of Worship singers was hit head on with a vehicle while coming home on a motorbike taxi. We feared for the worst but prayed for him on the way to the hospital. Praise God we found him counscious. He had serious wounds but no fractures. The doctor at the Kenyan district hospital was very skilled as he stiched the wounds closed. He should recover fully as long as the wounds do not get infected. His greatest disappointment is he will miss the Mombasa mission this week as he recovers.
Praise God for protecting Moses from serious injury, Connie
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Friday, March 20

Temples of Worship sing at the United Nations, Kenya

Today the Temples of Worship took the what if? campaign to an international level. Dr. PLO Lumumba was one of the sponsors of the International Young Leaders Summit held at the United Nations, Kenya. Other sponsors included the Youth Fereration for World Peace, Martin Luther King III Realizing the Dream and Universal Peace Federation. Dr. Lumumba is one of the most inspiring speakers in Kenya. He is the spokesperson for the what if? campaign. He gave a speech today at this summit to a standing ovation. He ended his speech with the question what if? He had asked the Temples of Worship to sing their new song what if? when he completed his speech. The audience loved the song and ask them to sing again after lunch. They received many, many positive comments from international organizations. The conference theme was "the role of young leaders in achieving UN millennium development goals and peace-building in Africa." . Other speakers throughout the day spoke of the work of the Temples of Worship in combatting HIV/AIDS. We thank the prayers of my sister's and Carey's bible group who prayed for the Temples of Worship that their message would touch the hearts and spirits of the young leaders from around the world. God heard and answered their prayers.
Praying for an HIV/AIds free generation in Kenya, Africa and the world, Connie
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Friday, March 13

Maggie's School

Yesterday we met with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education Professor Karega Mutah. He invited three other high ranking public officials to the meeting. We showed them the pictures of Maggie's School. They were very excited that over 200 children are receiving education in the desert of Turkana. They were also very happy 45 adults are receiving adult literacy classes. Some of them were suprised that some children come to school naked! They want to help the school and told us they will move quickly on registering it so they can to help with the costs of the teachers and the the food. And they all want to come when my sister visits the school in July.
As an followup to our visit we are doing the following:
1. Andrew PFC social worker is purchasing some clothes for the naked children
2. Andrew will purchase a bell, flag, and a scales for the schooll. All the children will be weighed and height taken monthly.
3. Andrew will take dewormering medicine for the children.
4. Rain quards will be put on the roofs of the school and teachers house to catch the rain will it does come.
5. Mats wills will be bought for the children to sit on while eating lunch. And my sister requests we build a shelter for the children to eat under to protect them from the very hot sun.
We are also talking with the Member of Parliament for this area about partnering with the Ministry of Health to build a clinic here as the closest healthcare is 20 miles away. And remember there are no cars or motorbikes there - only mode of transportation is walking.
Blessed to be my sister's partner in Kenya to help with Maggie's School, Connie
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Thursday, March 12

RE: Who will feed the Turkana people?


I can barely look into the eyes of the children without jumping across the globe to pick them up into my arms! Praise God He is there to love them and provide for them through us! The answer to your question is very simple...we are each to be His hands and feet. His word says in Matthew 10:42 "And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward." We must all take this upon ourselves as CHRISTians (meaning in its original form little Christ's or followers of Christ) to be Christ's hands and feet!

Thank you for sharing with each of us so that we can be the servants that God has called us to be!


Wednesday, March 11

Re: Who will feed the Turkana people?

Hello Connie:
Are you back in Atlanta? Very sad pictures, you raise a critical question that we all must answer and take some responsibility in Turkana. Give me a call.
Joe Beasley

Who will feed the Turkana people?

This is the link to the DVD we did on our return from Turkana - Who will feed the Turkana people? You can see the suffering of the people and how difficult it is in Turkana. And, remember this is not the only place ithe children are hujgrey.
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Tuesday, March 10

Oral testing in Kenya

I just spoke with Professor Orago, Director, National Aids Control Council, and he has informed me oral testing is now approved for HIV/AIDS testing in Kenya. That is good news. I believe more people will be willing to test using the oral method. I want to recognize all those who helped Kenya with accepting oral testing starting with David Whithers, Director, Recovery Consultants. He personally came to Kenya and conducted oral testing iniatives. And we want to thank Joseph our friend from South Africa. Nick and Charles from Community Transformers were involved in all the oral testing iniatives including the one in Marsabit. Many Partners for Care staff including Ann and Pricilla, VCT counsellors helped with the 14 oral testing iniatives conducted. Professor Orago said they are ready to run and want to test 8 million people. I told him Partners for Care is ready to help fight HIV/AIDS anyway we can.
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Link to photos

The pictures of the visit to the Turkana people and Maggie's School have been posted at Pray for rain and food for Kenya. Many are suffering not just in Turkana.
Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Friday, March 6

Maggie's School - An oasis in the desert

Some of the team members that visited Maggie's school

Some of the children walk 6 miles through the desert to go to Maggie:s School. Waking at 4:00 am they begin their journey early to arrive at the start of school at 6:30 am. And most have no breakfast at home. At 10:00 am they all receive what for most of the children is their first meal of the day uji- a nutritious porridge made from maize flour (corn.). We didn't intend for there to be so many children in the beginning but there are now 207 children at Maggie's School! There is one headmaster Fredrick, an assistant teacher, two cooks and a security guard. We plan to add more teachers soon. The children are so disciplined and have learned so much in three months! They followed the headmaster as they greeted us in English. And each child wanted to touch my hand!

The children greeting Connie

When school is complete for the day at 3:30 pm the headmaster and assistant teach 45 adults how to read and write. Life is changing in the desert of the Turkanas thanks to Maggie's School. My sister Wink not only built Maggie;s School in memory of her daughter Maggie but she ensures each month the school has funds to operate and food for the children. Each month the food is brought in on a truck from Lodwar - a two hour drive that can only be made by a lorry or a four wheel drive.. For many of the children this is the only food they eat all day. And we saw children carrying their little pots home from some of the food they were given for lunch. We knew they were carrying food to their parents.
Only the pictures can truly tell the story of Maggie's School. We will post them on the blog -
There is so much I know my sister will want me to do for the children. The first is this week I will wire Andrew our Partners for Care social worker funds to buy the children clothes! Imagine our surprise when we found some of the children come to school in their birthday suit! They have no clothes but still want to learn. Second, the containers the children held up to us as we served their beans and maize made us hesitate to even put food in them!

The children queuing for lunch

Some were fuel plastic jugs cut in half and still dirty inside. It was one of those moments when you try to decide what is worse - dirt or no food.

Njokie, one of the team members present during the visit,
serving lunch for the kids

We will send up on the missionary flight little lunch buckets with lids. There are no desks at Maggie's School and no place outside for them to sit when they eat lunch. They sit on the hot sand that burned our feet! Christ Church (Maggie's School she attended) has raised money for desks so soon the children will have desks. We will send funds for the children to have mats to sit on for lunch. Imagine how simple and basic these things are - clothes, lunch pails, mats, desks. And imagine that my sister is seeing these 207 children have these very simple things that change the lives of the Turkana children in the desert. Imagine.
Blessed so much to have seen the miracle of Maggie's School, Connie

Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Thursday, March 5

"I am hungry"

The little boy looked up at us and said the only words he knows in English "I am hungry". He was just the first of many who told us this.
We have come to Turkana to visit Maggie's school and to film for a documentary on the famine in Turkana. We are with four Partners for Care staff and a reporter from one of the Christian radio/TV stations in Kenya.
Our goals were to assess the situation "on the ground" and to attempt to identify the problem and possible solutions. We identified the key players involved in the famine relief - goverment officials, NGOs, relief organizations and church leaders. Yesterday we divided into three groups and spent the day interviewing key people who represent these groups.
Sometimes being white can get us in places that Kenyans have difficulty acessing. So first thing is the team asked me to go meet with the top goverment official in Turkana - the District Comminisioner (DC). (The member of parliament was to meet us in Turkana but had to return to Nairobi. We will meet him when we return to Nairobi). He was easy to see as I was white. We were taken directly to meet him. We were told in this meeting things were not that bad on the ground and there was maize to be distributed. We left somewhat hopeful that the reports of starvation were exaggerated.
While others went for more interviews I went with the group that went "to the ground."
We didn't have to go far. Less than a 30 minute drive from Lodwar we saw the effects of the famine in a small village called Natoot.
We saw children who are malnourished - the large belly, small arms and legs, sparce hair.

Faces of Turkana children

We saw the old people so thin that you could see their bone structure. Moms trying to nurse their babies but I wondered how they could have any milk as they were so thin themselves. They gave us the universal sign for eating with their hands to their mouth and their stomach indicating they were hungry.
We asked permission to take photos and they granted us permission.

This child was crying when brought to Connie,
but kept quiet after being given water to drink and a snack

We left and went to the area chief. Kenya is governed by a system of district commissioners, district officers, chiefs and sub chiefs. The chief told us he has not been given food since November to distribute. We returned to town to visit the district officer. Here we were told as we had been told earlier in the day that distribution of relief food has been delegated to the Kenya Red Cross. We went to talk to the officials for the Red Cross.

We were told by the Kenya Red Cross that one month ago they were asked to take over the distribution of the goverment relief food for some of the Turkana people. She told us it was true that the relief food for the central district had been in the storehouses since December without distribution and in the north since September. She told us there is not enough money to distribute the food. She showed us on her computer the costs of distributing the food. 1.8 million shillings.
While we know the problem is massive and needs serious intervention to even begin to solve this century old problem of the hunger in Turkana we knew God had shown us a small group of people who needed immediate help. We went and bought food and the team returned to the village to distribute the food. We parked under the same tree we were at earlier and soon they came to greet us for the second time in a day.
There was a church there and the pastor had joined us earlier in the day. We asked the pastor to pray for the people and the food. We knew it was important that the pastor be the person responsible for the distribution of the food.
As the team distributed the food the moms brought me their sick children. Children affected by the obvious malnutrition - sores on their mouths, listless babies, children developmently delayed, etc. There were also children with fevers. Possibly malaria. The best we could do is leave money with the pastor to help the sickest of the children with medical care. We left water for the baby with a high fever telling the mom to give the water through the night to prevent dehydration.
When a child dies in Turkana the child is buried in the village. There isn't always the collection of data about causes of death. I asked the pastor if he knew of deaths in the village. He said three last year - one a child that looked like the child we saw today with the "big tummy" - a sign of malnutrition. How many other children are buried in their villages who looked the same?
We make no assumptions that we can determine the reasons for the situation in the Turkana region and certainly do not feel we are in a postion to propose a solution but in interviewing people in positions that are dealing directly with this problem we learned some of the causes of the problem. These include:
1. There is a dispute over the number of Turkanas - .4 million to .6 million and when relief food is allocated it is on the . Million people.
2. Even if all of the relief food was distributed there is not enough to feed even .4 million people. We were told the number of bags of maize sent to the area and it is very little per person.
3. There is a District Steering Committee that has developed a plan that involved the goverment offices and the NGOs and they have divided the responsibility of the food distribution with Central and South - World Vision and North Oxfam. We were told there is fighting and disagreement among all the organizations. We heard many complaints from relief organizations and goverment official about other organizations. There does not appear to be a "team" effort to solve the problem of famine in Turkana.
3. Culture certainly plays a part. We were told by many people a Turkana man will starve before he kills his goat to eat.
4. There has been limited development in the Turkana area. Lake Turkana produces enormous fish. We saw a woman carrying in a 3 feet fish on her head in a restaurant we were in. We returned later to find the fish prepared.. We all ate the fish. Because Lake Turkana is salt water the fish is very good. Many years ago an NGO built a fish factory. It sits unused and attempts to vitalize the factory has resulted in lawsuits. Meanwhile the Turkana people go hungry and Lake Turkana remains under utilized. And there isn't even any irrigation from the small river that runs though Lodwar. There could be small "kitchen" gardens near the river with irrigation.
5. And as the priest from the Catholic diocese told us a major problem in Turkana is the sun and lack of water. It is a semi-arid area. When you visit here you wonder how anyone survives.
6. Another concern we learned about is the possibe conflict of interests in the distribution of the relief food that has been sent. We have no documented proof but we told by several people that high ranking public officials own some of the transport companies that have refused for months to move the food from storage because of demanding payment first and requesting higher rates.
7. The opportunities for education also impacts on both the immediate crisis and the continued problem of a lack of food. There are schools especially primary schools but not for every child yet. And the harsh living conditions and lack of consistent, well-balanced food has impacted on school attendance.
8. Unlike in the US there are no "sunshine laws" so meetings held by goverment officials that develop plans are not open to reporters or the public and minutes are not published. So most people we spoke with did not know what the goverment plans were for distribution of the relief food.
What did the people say were possible solutions if the people of Turkana are to survive? And can it be just more than survive? First, it appeared that there needs to emerge a leader to lead all the politcians, NGOs, relief organizations and well-wishers to develop and see to the implementation of a plan. All things are possible with God. But God uses strong leaders to accomplish His objective of seeing all worship Him. The Turkana people will continue to be unreached and the enemy will be happy as people argue and point blame. It was suggested an outside party be brought in to first assess the situarion ie. how many people are there? high much food is needed?. And someone needs to monitor the distribtuion of the word so it reaches the people.
Second there needs to be serious incentives put in place to encourage the Turkana people to be self-supporting. One should never do for a man that which he can do for himself.
Third schools need to continue to be built and enforcement of all children in attendance. No people have become fully self-supporting or fully developed without education.
If Americans want to help they could concentrate on trying to save a child or a small village. GOA has nine pastors in Turkana and Andrew with Partners for Care works from Lodwar. Later I will send the update about Maggie's school. Here PfC through GOA is feeding 200 children two meals aday. Not only are the children being educated but they are being fed.
The situation is serious and will take much prayer for Turkana people and the leaders, people, organizations and goverment officials to solve this problem.

What if there was no hunger in Turkana?

Praying for God's intervention for the Turkana people, Connie

Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry