Monday, May 25


This is a wonderful letter written by Johnny Culwell who just went to Kenya with me. You can read about how their hearts were touched and how they touched the hearts of those they met. Johnny says his best....
May, 25, 2009
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
I want to thank you all for the many prayers, words of encouragement, and financial support that you have given towards the First Christian Church 2009 Kenya Mission Trip last month. God accomplished many amazing things while we were there and you were a big part of it! The purpose of this letter is to share with you some of the things we saw and did as our team attempted to share the love of Christ to the people of Kenya.
The team arrived in Nairobi, Kenya around 8 pm on Monday, April 20, and was greeted at the airport by our friend and sister Connie Cheren, founder of Partners for Care, and some of her Partners for Care staff. We then travelled by van, in the pouring rain, from Kenyatta International Airport to the Partners for Care house where the staff had prepared a delicious hot meal for us. The fellowship we enjoyed with the Kenyan half of our team was wonderful.
The Partners for Care (PFC) staff was comprised of the Temples of Worship (Sammy, George, David, Justice, and Franco), a very gifted and inspiring praise and worship team; Njokie, a beautiful, young woman who serves as administrator; and John, the housekeeper and cook. All of the PFC staff were absolutely wonderful and were very passionate about their respective roles and responsibilities. We were all impressed with their servant hearts and passion to care for others.
We spent the next three days working in the Mathare Slum with the focus of our mission, Community Transformers (CT). CT is a Christian faith-based organization founded by two young men, Nick and Charles, which exists to bring hope, love, and healing to the lost and hurting people living in Mathare. Their focus involves wholistic care for orphans and widows, HIV education and prevention, after school education and tutoring, sports ministry, a children's' rescue center, home care for HIV/AIDS victims, and Christian leadership development.
Our main project with CT was to fund and build a computer learning center/cyber café on site at CT. With God's help and through the generous donations from you and others like you we were able to do just that! CT now has a wonderfully functional center with eight Dell PC's that will be used to help the children at CT learn computer skills (something rarely even dreamt of by children in the slum) as well as provide a source of income for CT as they will be able to open it to the public as a cyber café. I wish you could have seen their faces when it was finished!
We also were able to help fund and construct the Partners for Care Medical Clinic next door to the Learning Center. Several of the guys built shelving and painted the walls while I travelled into town (Nairobi) to the Chemist (pharmacy) with Paul, the PFC nurse, to purchase medications to stock the clinic. Paul, Nick, Charles, and approximately 20 volunteers make home visits to over 300 victims of HIV in Mathare every month. They provide anything from giving words of encouragement/prayer to cooking meals to providing basic nursing care for the clients they serve. And when a client dies, a CT volunteer always helps to see that that person gets a proper burial.
While all of the above activities were taking place, the team took turns splitting up and going with Nick or Charles on a few home visits to some of the clients living in Mathare and also to the Rescue Center (where the 34 orphans under the care of Nick and Charles live). It is quite difficult to describe to you in words what it is like in the slum. The poverty is devastating. There is no sewer or septic system, so the ground is covered with human trash and waste. The dwellings are typically around 10 ft by 10 ft and constructed of tin or mud. There are a few permanent multi level housing complexes that are overflowing with people. We walked deep into the slum with Nick and Charles and into the homes of several of their clients. While visiting these people, we were very inspired by the tender compassion exhibited by Nick and Charles. It was obvious to us that these people loved Nick and Charles and that they felt loved by Nick and Charles. Nick, in his wisdom, explained that living with AIDS in the slum is an unbelievable burden to bear; and that often the victims become so burdened by their situation that they lose hope; and that when they visit these people and care for them, talk to them, and pray for them, laugh with them, that it allows them to have a brief moment where they can have some relief from the burden. The break is often just enough to help the person endure for a little while longer.
While on the home visits, the people told us about themselves while Nick or Charles translated and we told them about ourselves. The people told us what a blessing that Nick and Charles have been to them. One woman said that she doesn't worry about her children because she knows that when she dies, that Nick and Charles will take care of them. We bought and delivered food to the people we visited (a quart of cooking oil, one bag of flour, a bag of rice, and a big bar of soap). It was humbling how thankful they were for such a small gesture.
One of the woman we visited had a newborn baby girl named Michelle Obama. The mother was HIV positive and we discussed with her about her medical treatment regimen. She was being very responsible about taking her medications and seeing that her baby was getting her medications too. We asked her what hospital her baby was born in. She laughed at our question and pointed to the dirty floor of her small shack…that was a bit of a surprise for us, but, so is the life of many in the slum! We learned that the people we visited could not believe that Americans were willing to come into their homes in the slum… much less touch them, hug them, and pray for them. It was one of the highlights of the trip for most of us.
We left very early Monday and traveled about 4 hours north by van to the town of Nyaharuru to visit our friends at Good Shepherd Orphanage. As some of you may remember from our last trip, this is the orphanage where I met Onesmus, the little boy we rescued who was very sick. I didn't know if he was still there, but I hoped that he was. As we arrived and began to get out of the van, a little boy (a little taller than Onesmus) came running across the grounds to us. The boy ran straight to me, smiling from ear to ear, and hugged me tightly around the waist. It was
Onesmus! He looked great! He was healthy and happy and had even learned some English since I saw him last. While we were there the children sang many songs about the love of God, faith in Christ, and about thanks for God's provision (a theme in many Kenyan songs). We spent a few hours playing with and loving the children as well as touring the facility and seeing all of their micro-enterprise endeavors (greenhouses, brick maker, tilapia farm, and livestock). The orphanage is essentially self sufficient while teaching the children trades that will allow them to be productive once they are grown. It was a long day, but well worth the time!
I want to thank you, again, for supporting us in this mission. Many people experienced the love of Christ through this experience. One of our main goals for this and any trip is to leave a positive, sustainable impact on the people and places where we serve. Through your help, CT and Partners for Care have been encouraged, enabled, and are better equipped to carry out their calling to minister to the people in Mathare Slum. I also want to let you know that our team, including our friend Connie Cheren from PFC, will have a presentation this coming Sunday, May 31, 2009, at 10 am in the Family Life Center of First Christian Church, Carrollton, GA. It will be a time of fellowship and sharing with many pictures and some videos of our trip. I hope you can find the time to come!
Thanks, again, and God bless you all!
PS. As some of you know, God has been abundantly faithful to provide for this project. We had an original goal of raising $39,000 for the project, but in the end, God provided a total of over $52,000! We have been praying for God to reveal to us His plan for the additional money.
We feel God has led us to help Nick and Charles move the Rescue Center out of the slum (something they have been praying diligently for). The additional funds will be used to buy a piece of property away from the slum and to build a nice facility for the children to live in. That means that all 34 children under the care of Nick and Charles will soon be able to live in a safe, clean environment where they can grow and flourish. In addition, we have been able to pay the rent on the space that houses CT, the Learning Center/Cyber and the medical clinic for the next year, allowing them to save all income from the cyber as profit in order to build their ministry. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

Fw: Thank you

This is a wonderful letter written by Johnny Culwell who just went to Kenya with me. You can read about how their hearts were touched and how they touched the hearts of those they met. Johnny says his best....

Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry

From: John Culwell []
Sent: Monday, May 25, 2009 5:00 PM
Subject: Thank you

Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

I wanted to send you all a note of thanks for supporting our mission inKenya. I have attached a letter and some pics about our trip. I hope you'll have the time to read it.

Also, I wanted to let you know that our entire team, including Connie Cheren from Partners for Care, is hosting a presentation about our trip at First Christian Church in Carrollton,GA this Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 10 am in the Family Life Center. I want to extend a special invitation to you as you were a vital part of the success of our trip.

Thanks, again, and I hope to see you on Sunday!

In Christ,


Thursday, May 21

Print honoring President Bush

The picture below has been prepared to honor President Bush for his diligent effort to battle HIV/AIDS, through the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is providing the funds which allow the children at Beat the Drum and Kathi's House to have access to life saving ARV medications without cost.

We are in contact with the office of the former President and are working on setting up a meeting during which we can present a large, framed copy of this picture to the President and Mrs Bush. Please pray for this opportunity to be realized so that we may draw additional and continued attention to the needs of the children at Beat the Drum, and the need to fund educational and outreach programs to prevent future generations of children across Africa from being born infected with HIV/AIDS for lack of knowledge.

Click on image for a closer look

Gal. 6:9 - Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Friday, May 1

Spiritual Attacks

I just sent an update about what a great team we had from Carrollton.  But, now I want to tell you that we have been under spiritual attack.  We have had 8 people sick in 10 days.  Two of those sick required us being in the emergency room in the hospital for 5 hours each time.  We have 5 Partners for Care staff who have malaria.  Some worse than others.  They got malaria in Mombasa when on mission two weeks ago - not here in Narobi.  All are on treatment and will recover but malaria can really hit a person hard - headaches, vomiting, joint pain, weakness.  Also, there have been three deaths this week.  I sent you all an update that Baby Diamond died.  Two days ago Charles was notified his 28 year old sister died.  He is traveling back to the same area he buried Baby Diamond to bury his sister on Saturday.   She leaves a little girl.  And, one of the Temples of Worship members - David - lost his grandfather on Sunday.  After the Carrollton team left we traveled 10 hours to be with David's family and to leave David there to be with his family for a few days.  Many, many good things are happening such as the Carrollton team and we met with the Vice President on Monday to discuss working together on the what if? campaign.  We will be having follow-up meetings with him.  He wants to work with us on both HIV/AIDS and moving the remainder of the IDPs.  We are not discouraged.  I was a little mad at myself when i had my Blackberry snatched from my hand on Sunday though.  My fault were not being careful.  I wasn't hurt or anything it just made me mad at my carelessness.  And, I always lose "my balance" when I lose my instant communication with everyone.  I sometimes think God does that so He reminds me it is Him who I should rely on and not my Blackberry!  I know many of you pray for me and the PFC team and I wanted you to know how much we value your prayers.  For us here we are just trying to ensure we have on the full armor of God as He tells us to.  Fighting the spiritual attacks, Connie

A great team

A 8 person team from Carrollton, Georgia First Christian Church spent the last 10 days with us. This team was everything you could hope for in a team and more. Led by Terri Morris and assisted by Johnny Culwel this team served God in a mighty was. The team had spent nine months preparing, praying, raising funds and gathering a prayer team from New York to Georgia. The team stayed with the Partners for Care team - eating with us, serving and celebrating together. Each night all 18 sat at the table truly integrated black, white sharing the joys and sadness of the day. Early each morning we worshipped together with song, devotion and prayer. The teams learned from each other. The Kenyan team admired how they American team were so much a TEAM - moving together, caring for each other and consistently meeting to debrief the day. The American team admired how much the PFC staff were servants and how much they loved the Lord. They very much enjoyed the daily singing by the Temples of Worship. And both teams enjoyed the humor of each other. The American team did what PFC believes so strongly in - equipped, encouraged and enabled the Kenyans to do what God has placed them here for - to serve the poor and care for the widows and orphans. They went where most including Kenyans don't go - to Mathare Slum. They sat at the bedside of people dying from AIDS. People who had though sick had not eaten in two days. Delivering food and hope they prayed for and with them. The Partners for Care staff were moved to see white men cry. They spent time in the Rescue Center and by the time they left they called the children "our children". They had raised enough money to really make a difference in the lives of people in Mathare. They funded a clinic and a cyber cafe! After they had made their goal of support raising they still raised another $10.000 - which will be used to move the children in the Rescue Center out of the slum. The night the children in the Rescue Center were told Baby Diamond had died two of their team went with us to comfort the children. I will never forget as we prayed with Nick that night one the the men told Nick whatever it takes to bury Baby Diamond please let us help. They took the children with them when they went to see the animals at the National Park. Riding with the children on the bus around the park was a highlight for many of the team members. This team as respectful, caring, loving and really servants for God. The PFC staff miss them as they have returned to the US. But, each one of them have said in their evaluations that they will return.

They have also partnered with Nick and Charles to do the work of Community Transformers. Nick and Charles have waited a long time for someone to walk with them as they serve the sick, the dying and the many children orphaned in Mathare. God has rewarded their faithfulness with an awesome team of men and women from Carrollton, Georgia. I was truly blessed to see these two teams working together to serve,

Sad news

Thursday night a child we knew and loved became one of the 563 children under the age of five that die everyday in Kenya. Baby Diamond who lived in the rescue center at CT died from AIDS at Kenyatta Hospital. Nick had found Baby Diamond under a tree at one of the Mathare IDPs during the post-election violence. His mother had gone to search for food. When Baby Diamond became sick Nick took him to be tested. He tested positive for HIV/AIDS. For a over a year Nick and Charles have cared for Baby Diamond and his mother in the rescue center. Nick and Charles have taken him to the hospital throughout the year for treatments, found food for him and his mother and prayed for him. They loved him as their own. So did the 33 other children in the rescue center. Keeping with what they believe is their calling to see all the clients of CT who die are properly buried, Nick and Charles began the preparations to see Baby Diamond was buried. Nick had his uncle make a baby coffin. Taking the coffin to the morgue they received Baby Diamond. Hiring a transport company they placed the baby coffin on top of the vehicle and late Friday nigh they left Nairobi traveling far interior to the village where his Baby Diamond's father was from His father had died from AIDS. When they arrived they found a grave dug. As Baby Diamond's body had not been prepared properly for burial they had to remove him and clean him and rewrap him in a cloth they had brought with them.

Few people were there to bury the baby so Nick and Charles had to play major roles to see Baby Diamond was buried. No one from the family or the village would step into the grave to place the coffin for the burial. Nick got into the grave to receive the coffin. Covering the coffin with dirt they placed 0n the grave a wooden cross the transport driver had made. Baby Diamond became the 78th person the 23rd child they have lost to the disease of HIV/AIDS. When I met with them to hear the story of the death and burial of Baby Diamond I offered to get them some counseling but they told me what I could do is pray for them - God was their counsellor. When they told the children in the rescue center the children were very sad They thought of Baby Diamond as their sibling They couldn't understand and ask when Baby Diamond would be returning home Nick and Charles are 27 years old - young men called to do mighty work for the Lord.

Praying for Nick and Charles,