Saturday, October 31

Run for Rebecca

When I was in Kenya I was able to see Rebecca and all the children at Beat the Drum. The children sent a message thanking those who are going to run for them at the Run for Rebecca. The link is

Please send to anyone who you think might be encouraged to run when they see the children on this video.

David and I appreciate any help you can give us in ensuring we have many runners to support Rebecca and the other children at Beat the Drum! You and others can sign up at

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Saturday, October 24

Temples of Worship invited to sing at World Aids Day in Kenya

Last year when I attended the World's Aids Day event here in Kenya I had wished the Temples of Worship were performing. There were other groups selected to entertain the key leaders who attended the event. But, God knew it was not their time. The World's Aids Day is a very high level event even sometimes attended by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila. It is attended by many ambassadors and other dignitaries who are in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year though it is their time. The Temples of Worship have been asked to sing what if? at this year's event. This is a wonderful opportunity for them and they will inspire hope of winning this war to the thousands of people who attend World Aids Day in person and those who see the event on T.V.
Proud of the what if? team,
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Thursday, October 22

A good day in Kenya

I always look forward to sending you updates from Kenya. You are my family, friends and supporters. There is much to be grateful for right now. The Partners for Hope team was so much fun! And, they tried so hard!! Even when emotions got the best of them they tried so hard to do the right thing for the people they came to serve. If you haven't watched the DVD I hope you do. Someone just told me they sent it to Barack Obama. I still smile when I remember that day with "Mama" Sara. The women could hardly contain their joy at meeting her! Seeing "Mama" Sara without them would have never been the same!

I am also very happy about Ryan being here. We have had a wonderful time together! And, he really understands and has passion for the mission we are doing in Kenya! His marketing ideas are great. I don't know how I can ever repay Ryan for his work. Below you will find his first work to recruit support for Partners for Care. When I showed him Mare's reports he wrote people asking for support for her. If you would send his appeal on to others we would appreciate it. We need to raise support for some of the programs we are doing and Mare was a good place to start. If you haven't read Ryan's updates I encourage you to. You will laugh and cry. He gets encouraging messages some from people he doesn't even know. He is an awesome Christian! You can find his updates at
And, speaking of the blog if you go to the blog you will see it has a new name thanks to Ryan. We almost selected "Where is my Blackberry" because Ryan had heard that more than once from me. But, we we went with "Bury my Blackberry in Africa". You get the message.

From my Blackberry in Kenya,

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From: Ryan Morris <>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 12:03:12 +0300
To: <>
Subject: Mare Report, the revised version II

Project 473

473. Remember that number. Have it on your mine. It's the number of calories in a McDonald's double cheeseburger. It's the number of minutes most people work in one day. And it is the number of children under the age of five that die everyday in Kenya. 473 children...sit with that number for a second. That means 1 in every 9 children born in Kenya will die before their fifth birthday. 473 children...90% of these children die from preventable causes, malnutrition, malaria, AIDS. 473 children... There is not much else to be said. No poetic way of stating this situation. There is no way to get around the subject. This is the number that drives Partners for Care; this is the number that we cannot accept, nor tolerate.

To say that Partners for Care is dedicated to reducing this number would be understating the urgency in which we work, in the urgency in which we live. Every single one of our projects is a tireless attempt at reducing this number. The what if? campaign calls the youth of this nation to live in purity and be free from the burden of HIV/AIDS, the cause of 15% of children deaths. "Beat the Drum" and the rescue center at "Community Transformers" helps shield precious children from malnutrition, the underlying cause in two-thirds of these deaths. 93 children out of the 473 die from malaria; we have handed out mosquito nets for protection. Mare Dushe, a social worker in Marsabit, faithfully works with us in this fight.

"Our great prayer is for children to get opportunity to go to school, to save their lives, and better their future. To man belongs the plan of the heart but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue, let us commit our entire plan unto the Lord and it will succeed." --Mare Dushe

That is her life. That is our mission. That is Project 473.

Her life, and our mission need your help. The needs of Mare Dushe are 300 dollars a month. I cannot promise that by helping to support Mare, the face of Kenya or its people will be forever changed. I cannot promise that these 300 dollars a month will be the cause of great miracles and revival through the lands. But I can promise that it will help clean the feet of the hopeless. I can promise that it will help bring peace to someone who has never known it, love to one who has never seen it, and joy to one who has never felt it. With you help, maybe, just maybe one of Mare's 473 children will be able to see tomorrow.

Mare Dushe. To many, she is just one more meaningless human in a meaningless land.
She calls herself a social worker and she lives in Marsabit, Kenya. A place no one wants to live. Desolation and despair are about the only two things you will find in Marsabit.
She went to school in Nairobi. Most would take that as a chance to get out of the hell that is Marsabit. Not Mare. She went back to serve her people. "Her people" live in an area that is a "perfect storm" for missions. Marsabit, in the northeast of Kenya: Unending drought, un-reached people groups, AIDS, malaria, starvation, violence, and an increasingly growing Muslim influence. Most would say there is no hope, but Mare walks from house to house, kilometer after kilometer, day after day in the name of Hope.

Partners for Care supports Mare as she helps serve in the most humble of ways. She bathes the dying. She feeds the hungry. She cleans and washes the feet of those with "Jiggers." She prays for the lost. Her monthly reports on her service are heartbreaking. "The community is bearing the death of its livestock and their hunger in this drought, most resort to barely eating one meal a day. Time for drought to end, and time to seek God," she writes in her September report. Every report Mare writes are full of horrific suffering, yet exude grace and love.

If you have low self-esteem, do not read Mare's reports. They would make Mother Teresa feel like even she hadn't done enough. She has no flashy ministry techniques, or impressive media tools to spread her message. She just does her best to feed the hungry. She tries to clothe the naked. She spends her day caring for the sick and poor. She brings people to Christ. She calls herself a "social worker," I have a feeling she is called a "good and faithful servant." She pursues her work with nothing more than a prayer, "Our God is a merciful and loving God and answers prayers whenever one humbles." That was a line in her report…right before she described how people were burning their dirty clothes because doing laundry was impossible…there is no water.

When I think about Mare, I think about how we serve a Great God, One who holds the past, present, and future of our universe in His hands. Immense in power. Mighty in His ways. But as I read of her work I think about the blessing it is to serve a small God. One who is wholly distracted by the calls of the dying in Marsabit, by the calls of the hopeless in the slums, by my call.

I am truly blessed to serve a small God. Faithful in his distraction. The God of 473 children in Kenya. The God of Mare Dushe.

Written by: Ryan Morris

*If you would like to contribute to the work of Mare Dushe. Please go to and click on "Donate" and specify "Mare Dushe." Or you can send a check to "Partners for Care" at 2001 Breckenridge Lane, Alpharetta, GA 30005. We are currently looking to raise funds of $300 per month for her to continue her vital ministry to the people of Marsabit.

Wednesday, October 21

YouTube link - Partners for Hope

The Partners for Hope team video is on youtube, the link is
Enjoy! Connie
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Monday, October 19

7th Update - Mission Accomplished

The Partners for Hope team is gone but their impact will be felt by many. Here is there last update:

This is what the Partners for Care (PFC) do to try and change this Nation and the continent of Africa. HIV/AIDs is everywhere orphaning children, infecting children and creating a country of sick and the caregivers who care for them. The PFC house sits right next
to a slum. If we hadn't seen it ourselves we would not have believed
it - the slum is worse than Mathare Slum. A month ago Njokie, PFC
staff, went to see this slum for herself. She found a woman sick in
bed with a six year old child. She took her and the child riding on a
public bus for testing - she was positive and so was her child. She
took her home leaving her with food. The women died that night leaving
another orphaned child infected with AIDs.

The what if? campaign uses music to draw a crowd. Then Pastor Omondi talks to them about
HIV/AIDs. They are asked to sign a committment card committing to
test to know their status, wait til marriage and to be faithful to one
partner. These are the behavior changes needed to stop AIDS. We met so
many young girls - hopeless with no skills to seek jobs. Some selling
their bodies for food. This is where we are putting the Alain
Hyppolite IT Center. It will be run by the PFC staff. Young girls and
boys will learn to type, learn computer skills to help them find jobs.
We are honored to be a part of the solution - to help lift these young
Africans out of poverty. We were so happy to have witnessed the
pastor of the church test publically in the morning church service - a
very unusal event in Kenya. And, it made a difference in the number of
people willing to test at the event. There were 330 people tested at
the two day event! We were the mobilizers - on the ground asking
people to test, taking them by the hand to the counsellors for
testing. Four people found out they were infected. They were all
referred for care and treatment.

We were blessed to know through the
funds we raised, through our mobilizing efforts lives were saved.
Blessed to partner with PFC staff to save lives in Kenya,
Sisters Going to Kenya

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3rd update - Partners for Hope team travels to Kisumu

Enjoy the Partners for Hope 3rd update.

------Original Message------

From: Dan Kellenberger

Sender: Dan Kellenberger

To: Connie Cheren

Subject: 3rd update - Partners for Hope team travels to Kisumu

Sent: Oct 14, 2009 11:41 AM

Early yesterday morning we travelled to Kisumu which is a 6 hour drive

west of Nairobi. It sits right at Lake Victoria. We then went on to

Siaya an hour northwest. We stopped at a village market where we felt

like rock stars. The children and the women loved us and we loved

them! They were excited to see African American women. We shopped

buying their goods. We gave the children the lollipops we brought. We

hated to leave. We then went to George's family who lives on a boma -

what we would call a small farm. George is one of the Temples of

Worship musicians. George's family is Luo like Obama. They live very

traditionally with 1st and 2nd wives. Unfortunately, the HIV/AIDS has

come to their boma. We were given a traditional meal of two kinds of

brown ugali, chicken and greens. Due to the drought there is a lack of

food in this area. We brought for George's family two large bags of

maize which will feed them for sometime and left money for food. We

went to our hotel and we must admit we were somewhat out of comfort

zone but did fine. The lights kept going off, the toliet had no seat

and let's just say there were no little bottles of shampoo and lotion!

One of us thought of putting water on the floor in front of the door

because we didn't trust the lock on the door but we decided we would

probably be the first ones to slip.

From the villages of Kenya,

The Partners of Hope Team

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Sunday, October 18

We had heard but we did not know - 6th update

This is how the African American women responded when they visited the Rescue Center at CT. I was suprised at their response as they had seen so much this week. I think this update from them shows sometimes we never know what will touch us the most.

From Kenya,


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-----Original Message-----


Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 02:40:46

To: Dan Kellenberger<>

Subject: We had heard but we did not know - 6th update

It isn't that Connie hadn't told us. And we know poverty - we have been to the neighborhoods. Some of us had been to Haitti. But, nothing Connie told us prepared our hearts, our minds, our very souls for what we encountered. It was our time to visit the Rescue Center run by Nick and Charles from Community Transformers. We drove through Mathare Slum feeling confident we were prepared. We walked into a one of the two rooms where 34 precious African children live with their six Aunties who care for them. It was the smell of the garbage from the slum outside, the smoke from the small cooker in the corner of one of the bedrooms that affected us first. We really don't completely understand but we suddenly felt overwhelmed and unprepared. We wondered what conditions these children could have been rescued from. We couldn't imagine any worse place. Then we realized many were rescued from the streets. There was one toliet for all of them and everyone else who lived on this floor of this tentament house. There were two sinks at the end of the hall where clothes and dishes were washed and people bathed. A narrow balcony overlooked the slum - we could see mounds of garbage and the Nairobi river and we understood why people die from drinking the water. Connie said we could go buy bananas to give to the children. When we didn't come back she came looking for us. We had an uncontrollable desire to buy these children shoes which we did. We returned and met the children, gave them their shoes and their bananas. Then the children stood as a group and worshipped - praising God. Oh, little children living in a slum praising and thanking God. We were humbled at their faithfulness. Stephen one of the children gave the closing prayer. We left, our hearts touched by the joy and believe in God by little children living in a slum.
We then walked through Mathare Slum to CT to meet the women we met earlier ths week who were bringing us their jewlery for us to take to the US to sell for them. On the way we met some of the women who greeted us with laughter and smiles proudly showing us their MorseLife shirts they were wearing that we gave them. The women were so happy to see us. We bought their jewlery and ordered more. Then we said our goodbyes.
Forever we shall remember those we have met,
Sisters from Kenya

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A very special update from Ryan Morris in Africa

The bottle of hand sanitizer has run out, the burden of buying water bottles has become too great, and my malaria medicine has been misplaced. One month has ticked away and my dreams of becoming a "Robert Redford-like" hunter roaming the Serengeti are quietly subsiding. Much has happened since my arrival 30 days ago in Kenya: lessons have been learned, sights have been seen, and strangers have become friends. My objective this week was really to paint a picture of all my experiences over the past several weeks, and when I actually began to think of a way to convey that message I realized that I have neither the talent nor the time to begin to tell the story. Therefore, while this attempt may not poetically live up to the thoughts and feelings that reside in my head, or my heart, I do hope some of it shines through.

Africa can best be described as one big contradiction. An organized disaster. A horrific beauty. You see it everywhere. Sights of great beauty; the "Great Rift Valley," the plains of Africa, Lake Victoria are lumped into a jumbled mess with sights of starvation, HIV/AIDS, poverty. A tall Masai Warrior bathed in red, a regal statute, staring across the plains. A twelve-year old girl in a slum, selling herself for a bag of flour. Groves of mangoes and bananas swaying in the cool mist. A group of street boys huffing glue to make the hunger go away.

I recently attended the National Service Week in Nairobi. Every organization in Kenya has a booth with brightly colored displays depicting how they serve the Kenyan people. It was a huge event, tents set up row after row covering the large yard in front of the City Council Building. Every government department was there and I will have to say it was impressive. They have turned the solutions to the problems that face Africa down to a science. They can chart the exact time people groups in the arid lands begin to die of starvation. They can measure the exact amount of porridge per day it takes to keep a baby alive. They even predict when prostitutes in the Mombasa area are most likely to transfer HIV/AIDS based on their menstrual cycle. I have no idea who got the lucky assignment for collecting that data, but envy him I do not. But in the arid lands people still starve. In fact in one report, people there are getting desperate for food, so desperate that some have even been killed and eaten. The spread of AIDS shows no slowing as the number infected rises everyday. Somewhere, somewhere between these National Service tents and "out there," the solutions are lost, I thought. An organized disaster indeed.

The happenings of this past Tuesday and Wednesday wholly sum up my month's stockpile of experiences. The events in these two days were perfect in their haphazardness. We trekked west across the "Great Rift Valley", through plains, over mountains and through dense forests to arrive in Siaya. Siaya is roughly 50 or so kilometers east of Uganda and is the home to one of our staff members, George. Many know it for being the home of Barack Obama's grandmother and clan. We arrived Tuesday evening after a van ride of more than 7 or 8 hours. George was excited to see his family so we went into the countryside to his family's land to have dinner. A traditional family from the Luo tribe, I was able to meet George's father, mother, and his "small mom," his father's second wife. Sitting in a small thatched-roofed hut, we had a great meal over candlelight. I wondered if the family of chickens that scurried under the dinner table in the darkness knew that someday they would be able to sit on top of a nice little pot. The hut sat on a piece of land, complete with mango trees and a small farm. It was a perfect setting. But this is Africa and its horrific beauty touched even this place. George is from a district that has a 24.3% AIDS infected rate and sadly his family has not been spared. After some quick medical check-ups we headed to a small hotel back in the town of Siaya.

I woke up early that Wednesday morning and didn't know if it was the anticipation of the coming day or because the mosquitoes were terrible and the bed was two-feet too short. We were to meet with "Mama Sara," Barack Obama's grandmother at her country compound. Being able to talk with her about our AIDS awareness campaign and having juice inside her house excited the whole team. Even I, a FOX-news junkie, found the experience pretty darn cool.

After the meeting we began to make the long-trip back home, back across the expansive landscape from which we had come a day earlier. The van tumbled and rumbled across the bumpy roads and I settled in for the long journey feeling good about the day. But the romantic view of Africa burned out quick and the great contradiction appeared once again. Njokie had called. The boy, who she had devoted her life in caring for, was in the hospital. Brian is a 9 year-old relative of Njokie and is infected with AIDS. He is a part of our family and we were all quite concerned to hear that he had a high fever and had to be rushed to the hospital. A great day had suddenly turned dark. We hastened our pace to get back to Nairobi. As we climbed through the mountains, the weather curiously mirrored our mood. Clouds became thicker and thicker, the air cooler. Soon it began to rain, the mood was somber as we all silently prayed for Brian and we all dosed off one by one.

For some reason I suddenly woke and felt the strange sense something was wrong. It was pouring rain and night had fallen. I heard George, who was driving, speaking in Swahili. I could tell by his tone he was worried. Driving through the dark, densely forested mountains, a heavy fog had set in and we could not see more than 10 feet in front us. Everyone else was asleep and I was thankful that they did not see what I was witnessing. I told George to just stay close to the white line and drive slow and we will be fine. Secretly I was thinking, "great, I now know why they call this place the "dark" continent because I can't see a thing. We are hurrying to get back to the hospital. We are somewhere in the mountains on a dirt highway. I have no seatbelt, no airbag. It's pitch dark. It's pouring rain and this is the heaviest fog I have ever see. I am going to die in a heap of wrangled, twisted metal. This is scarier than "Jumanji." And those are the thoughts that came to me in just the first split second.

Some of the team members awoke to the newest update of Brian. He was not well. His temperature had risen to 41 degrees Celsius. We did a quick conversion, 106 degrees Fahrenheit. With his weakened immune system, the situation did not look good. Prayers were made and some tears shed as the group tried not to think of the worst outcome. After thirty minutes of silence, George's phone rang. Again he spoke in Swahili, and again I knew something was terribly wrong. When he hung up, I quickly called out and asked what was wrong. "Brian is in God's hands," his voice yelled out in stress as he drove through the fog. Brian had gotten worse. He had lost consciousness and began to go into seizures. It looked like he was not going to make it, Njokie had cried.

As George told us the news, and I began to pray, and all the past month's jumbled, organized mess of contradictions flooded back across my mind. Strangely, I was at peace. Because it was then that I realized that the theme of this past month was not the mess of contradictions that Africa presents but it was much more simple than that. No tug-of-war. No up and downs. No back and forth...

...we were in God's hands.

Serving Christ in Kenya,


Thursday, October 15

Dream comes true for Sisters Going to Kenya - 4th update

They said it wasn't possible. Many people told us that. But, the Partners for Hope team believed from the beginning that it would happen. And, yesterday it did. The four African American women who people said couldn't even raise their funds to come to Kenya, met President Barack Obama's grandmother. Connie had asked a special kenyan friend of hers if she could help us meet Mama Sara as they call her and she connected us to two of the closest people to Mama Sara. We were to meet them at the District Commisioner's office in Siaya at 9:00 am and be escorted to meet her. We were there by 8:30 in anticipation of the great opportunity. We drove on the dirt roads to her house. The Kenyan police protect her 24 hours a day and there is a fence around her home with a quard. We were greeted and allowed in only because we were with our hosts. We sat under the mango tree as we waited for her to join us. Mama Sara had sent word out for us to feel at home. Soon she comes from the house and sits with us. Ryan opened with prayer and we did introductions each one telling her how much they loved her grandson. She smiled each time someone told her that. Then it was time for the gifts. Ryan gave her a pin from Atlanta. Justus spoke to her in Swahilla giving her the Temples of Worship Uwema CD. Chris gave her an awesome Obama t-shirt she brought at the swearing in - Mama Sara loved it! Gillian gave her the framed picture of the team and Keith (the CEO of the nursing home the women work at) with a message from Keith "Sara Obama we love you". Virginia gave her one of the Sisters Going to Kenya shirt and a MorrisLife t-shirt. Jenette gave her a handmade beaded American flag tying it on her wrist saying America and Kenya were connected . George gave her a leso (a wrap) which she really liked. Even our driver Peter wanted to give her something so he gave her the newspaper article written by C. Ron. The women had autographed it and he told Mama Sara he was the one who brought them to her. The last thing we gave her was the Time-Life picture book of Barack Obama. Connie sat with her and showed her the pictures. She saw pictures of herself with Barack at the front door of her house. She saw the picture of herself on her sofa with pictures of Barack Obama on the wall. We were suprised no one had ever given her that book. It was so special to her. Then she said something about all the children dying of Aids. We asked if she wanted to see the what if? picture book and DVD. She loved seeing Justus and George singing on the DVD and they were right there with her. God was moving fast and we were listening to His direction. We asked her if she wanted to join the what if? team in the fight against AIDS. She said yes and George put the what if? bracelet on appointing her an ambassador in the fight to end AIDS. The what if? team has been invited back to do the what if? campaign during the one year celebration on Jan. 20, 2010 which will be held at the school where Barack Obama's father attended. Justus closed in prayer.

Then we were suprised to be invited in the house for juice. We stayed 2 1/2 hours and were told most people are allowed to stay only 45 minutes. Our hosts told us they had never seen Mama Sara as happy with visitors as she was with us. Meeting Mama Sara was so special to all of us. It is something we will always be grateful for. But, we are most grateful that she will join in the fight against AiDS in Kenya! We believe one of the reasons we went there is to help make that connection with her and Partners for Care. We are blessed to be used by God to help in the fight against AIDS in Kenya, in Africa and in the world.
From Kenya,
The Partners for Hope Team

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Wednesday, October 14

Brian is improving

We arrived in Nairobi around midnight and went to the hospital to see Brian. He is now conscious and several doses of penicilin. He has pnumonia. Njokie is staying at the hospital with him. His fever is still up but not as high. Justus prayed for him and we are going back to the house now. I will go to the hospital in the morning to see the doctor and hopefully we can bring Brian home to care for him at home.
Thanking you for your prayers,
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Urgent prayers needed

Many of you know Brian ppersonally others have heard me talk about him. He is Njokie's nephew who lives with us. He has AIDS. He is nine years old. He took sick a few hours ago. He is unconscious in the hospital. His fever was over 105 degrees. I am rushing to the hospital to be with Njokie but have still 3 hours on the road. Please pray this little boy doesn't die from this disease AIDS that take our innocent children.
Praying in Kenya for little Brian,
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Partners for Hope Team

It is impossible to tell you what it is to be with these four African American women - the Partners for Hope Team. Here is their second update;
Yesterday we met the women we came to help. The women are some of the people Nick and Charles, co-directors of the program Community Transformers (CT) support. Nick and Charles are 27 year old Christian men who grew up in Mathare Slum and have stayed in Mathare to help those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. CT works through volunteers to offer support groups for women and men infected, a sports program, income-generating projects, a cyber cafe, and home-based care for those sick with HIV/AIDs. We found them more like "wise fathers" than young men of 27 years. We sat and listened to the stories of 25 women and one man infected with HIV/AIDS. With very soft voices they told us how and when they became infected. Some shared how they had one child infected, some two children infected. One woman told of how her husband was in denial and refused to take the medicine. He died from the disease AIDS. Although infected with AIDS, poor and unemployed the women had a calm and peace and actually joy. They laughed and joked. They were suprised to know we called ourselves African Americans. When we brought out the MorrisLife t-shirts we brought them there was dancing and singing in celebration. Just a simple gift brought jubilation. We were humbled. Chris connected with a woman named Chris who is infected. It is one of those things God does when he connects the hearts of two people. Gillian's son (10 years old) was originally hestitant about his mother going to Kenya. Then he told his class about his mom being in the paper and got excited about what his mom was doing . He gave his mom $20.00 of his own savings and asked her to give it to a child in need in Kenya. Gillian found that child in Mathare Slum who needed a uniform to go to school. We gave Nick and Charles one of the computers we received from C. Ron.

They were so happy to receive such a nice computer to add to their cyber! We left the women agreeing to meet again on Saturday when we will see the jewelry they make. We plan to help sell their jewelry for them to give them help. What they want is a hand-up and not a hand-out.
At the Partners for Care House we helped the what if? team with a pastor's dinner where the Partners for Care staff recruited the pastors to join the fight against HIV/AIDs. The Partners for Care staff are dedicated to win the war against aids. We are blessed to join the fight here in Kenya and in the US.
From Kenya,
The Partners for Hope Team

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Tuesday, October 13

Prayers work

I can honestly tell you all your prayers and Justus' prayer worked! I was so determined not to be sick. I was able to get up after about 30 minutes and join the pastor's dinner we had at our house last and I woke up today fine! Thank you so much for your wonderful messages of prayer and encouragement! I am humbled at the concern people showed! I am witness to the power of prayer.
Grateful for the prayer partners!
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Monday, October 12

Prayer request

Not to be selfish but of any of you on my Partner list has a chance to pray please pray for me. I may have malaria. I have never been sick while travelling so I am praying it is not true. Justus has prayed for me and I know God answers his prayers. If I don't feel better soon I will go to hospital like we have so many times for others and be tested. Right now prayers for health would be appreciated. I don't mind being sick and I know malaria medicine will kill the malaria but I don't want to disappoint the Kenya or the team from US.
Grateful for partners in the US who care for this ministry here in Kenya.
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Friday, October 9

Maggie's School Updtae

As they say in Kenya we have "been running up and down" this week coordinating the next steps for Maggie's School. And, the fruits of the the work are good. It is not like in American when a school is run by the goverment teachers will be assigned there. Here it is not "automatic" but one must submit letters and walk those letters to the right person in the right ministry. Then pray, then follow-up. We met with the official at the ministry of education and then had to go home and write a letter telling about Maggie's School and the need for teachers. That official then contacted an official at the Teacher's Service Commission (TSC). TSC is the agency that posts the teachers. We are closer to having teachers posted at Maggie's School but no one can tell me what month that will happen.
While at the Ministry of Education we learned of a vulnerable child program. This program helps orhans, vulnerable children (OVCs). The money is coming from the United Kingdom. The program involves selecting a school and assessing the needs of the children for uniforms, desks, support at home, etc. It is a well designed program focusing on outcome measures including school attendance. They have helped 1,800 schools to date. They are 18,000 primary schools. They will be working with more schools. They requested from the local areas the names of the schools in greatest need. We checked and Maggie's School wasn't on the list. But, then we learned the list was compiled prior to Maggie's School being registered. We plan to bring Andrew our PFC social worker to Nairobi soon and will take him to meet the program director for this program. We are hoping to get Maggie's School on the list.
After the TSC posts a head teacher, then we will go back to the Ministry of Education to the nutrition office. There we learned is where the feeding program is coordinated and the good news is they will coordinate with the Ministry of Health who will deworm the children every three months.
Today I met with Thomas of the Kolonzo Foundation. Kolonzo is the Vice President of Kenya. They are finalizing a proposal with Coca Cola to drill 100 wells at primary schools. Thomas said Maggie's School will be at the top of the priority list for a well!
It has been a good week for Maggie's School - the Oasis in the Desert.
From Kenya,
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Ryan Morris working in Kenya

When you read this letter you will see why we are so blessed to have Ryan with us in Kenya. We cherish each day he is with us.
Serving Jesus with Ryan in Kenya, Connie

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News from Ryan Morris in Nairobi, Kenya October 1, 2009

The work continues!

When I made the decision to go to Kenya, I gathered some things, said good-bye to friends and family, and jumped on the plane. I arrived in Nairobi airport, paid twenty dollars to get my visa, and walked through the front gates. That process was in the forefront of my thoughts as I prepared some of the team here to make a journey to the United States. Over the course of this past week, one of my tasks was to secure visas for 5 members of the Partners for Care staff to make a journey to Atlanta so that their message could be spread to the area churches. I was to find out that the task at hand was a little harder than my experience just a few weeks prior.

The stories, rumors, and legends about America have been the topic of discussion with everyone as the date of this trip to the U.S. approaches. It will be the first time anyone from this team has visited America. Stories ranging from "Americans never eat meat!" to "there are no unpaved roads there" have been giving me nightly entertainment. All these stories have been making me realize how great of a place in the United States. I have always been proud of my home, but not until the last few days have I realized that we are truly living in the greatest country in the world.

I cannot describe how coveted we are here because we live in the U.S. The guys here speak of it as a dreamland, and when I hear their description I have to agree. "America is a land where everyone drives to their destination, even when its within 5 kilometers." I have to laugh at that one. A big news story in Kenya right now is that the United States is threatening to not allow top Kenyan officials participate in talks because the corruption level in the government is at an all-time high. The news story went on to say that the US must stop its bullying tactics and it is not Kenya's job to make our government happy. As I turned the page, the next story was about the need for more than $220 million for flood relief in a remote part of Kenya. The money for this project? "Kenyan government reaches out to U.S. aid for flood relief." Appropriate stories to put side by side!

Much of the last few days has been spent filling out form after form for a request to obtain a U.S. visa. Recommendation letters were compiled, bank statements secured, complete itineraries made so that the five guys could qualify for a visa. To obtain a visa, each man had to have a huge portfolio of all this information and then pay a non-refundable $150 to schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy. Packets were secured, money was paid out, prayers were made, and we all waited as the first two men went for the interviews.....Both were rejected.

Out of the hundreds that were at the embassy that day, two visas were granted. So no trip will be made, the money gone, and the dream of going to America was not to be. They were considered an elevated risk of running away and staying in America. The guys were heartbroken, as was I. But I also had an overwhelming sense of gratefulness that a country I call home is a land that millions dream about.

The lesson I learned this week? There is a sense of responsibility that comes with being truly grateful. This is exactly the feeling I want to have with my relationship with Jesus. Protecting. nurturing. cherishing. expanding. sharing: all cultivated by being grateful. Many of the "spiritual" rules I have been changing for myself over the last several weeks have been focused on making my spiritual life more proactive. And that is exactly what happens when you are truly grateful. Last week my "new" rule was to base all of my relationships with Jesus, and this week I am truly grateful for those relationships.

God Bless,


Serving Christ in Kenya,

Ryan Morris

You can reach me at

Thursday, October 8

The best and worst of times

So much has happened since I have arrived in Kenya. I will try to be brief but bear with me as there is much to tell. I say it is the best of times because:
1. Ryan is here. Having him hear makes me wonder how I ever thought I could do this work without someone like Ryan helping! He does so much and he is fun, he laughs and listens and is so supportive. We all love him!
2.The team is good - the best I have ever seen them. They are focused and excited about the many opportunities God is opening.
3. We had great favor at the Ministry of Education yesterday. They love the what if? campaign and other work of Partners for Care. They have asked us to take 5 high schools and work with them in the what if? iniative and study the results. They said for nine years they have been trying to impact on high school students and what they are doing isn't working. The PFC theam really wants to find a way to change the behavior of high school youth. The Ministry of Education is even looking at sending a group to Beat the Drum with us next week when we take the Partners of Hope team that arrives Sunday night. (See separate update for news about Maggie's School)
4. We have planned a very big outreach in the slum near our house on Oct. 17, 18. The team has really worked well to coordinate everything. The Partners of Hope team will be here. They are coming from National Aids Control Council to see the what if? campaign.
5. We have been invited to join Pastor Rob Irvine from Cumberland Community Church when they come in November. We will do what if? In a church in Kiserian. Today we met with Pastor Herbert from the church there in Kiserian. We liked him instantly. We planned the venues for that trip.
6. Our what if? church assessments are going very well Monday night there will be 20 pastors here for dinner and to complete the what if? assessments.
7. Ryan tilled by hand the back yard for gardening. I had bought the book Square foot gardening and each person is taking their squares and planting! It will be beautiful.
Worst of times
It isn't really that bad but it does add stress. The funds we wired from the US last Tuesday haven't arrived! And today I tried to take funds from the ATM. The ATM deducted the money from my account but didn't give it to me. The bank official said oh that happens. It will be put back in tomorrow! So we wait for the wire transfer to arrive! We are running out of food, fuel, airtime, and almost patience with the wiring system!
Truly enjoying working with Ryan and the PFC staff,

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Saturday, October 3

The momentum builds

All the mission trips I have participated in and everything I have had read about short term mission trips consistently says one thing - as a team member going you need to send letters asking for support and build a sending team. Well I am seeing first hand why that is so important. (Billy if you are reading this I know you are smiling). Because they had to fund raise to go to Kenya the Partners for Hope team has gathered a sending team unlike I have ever seen - and it continues to grow. From the newspaper article last week has come more newspaper coverage. And, the nursing home asked them to speak at the administrative staff meeting. When I made my visit to the nursing home last week people told me it is all the talk at the facility. This week they have been invited to speak before the family council who wants to support them. The Rotary is now involved as well as the Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network, Inc. When C. Ron Allen the reporter from the Sun Sentinel heard they wanted to do an IT center in memory of Alain he gave us 5 computers and told us he can get us as many computers as we want. I spoke before the Delray Beach Rotary on Friday morning and the they want us to come back when we return (C. Ron is the President of the Rotary in Delray Beach). It is a blessing to watch this small team of determined women build their support. The Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network, Inc. mentors high school black students who are at risk of being in criminal trouble, dropping out of school, etc. We met one of the young men Thursday night when we picked up the computers. When I showed him the pictures from Kenya he was in disbelief. He has been talking about it to his mentor. The Partners of Hope told me today when they return they are raising support for two of these boys to go to Kenya. Mr. Beasley emailed last June when he read about the teens that went with me in June and said that would be so wonderful for black teens to be able to go but it would be almost impossible for that to happen. Well, God has now seen to it that it will happen.
Blessed to take the Partners for Hope team to Kenya,
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