Monday, November 30

We haven't seen it yet but we were told by email this morning that Milligan College (Ryan's college) has an ad in the Christian Standard magazine and Ryan's work with Partners for Care. You can also see Ryan's picture and a write-up about his work with us at www.milligan.eduGMillikan
Greatful for Ryan
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Photos posted

For those who want to see Rebecca's homecoming in photos you can go to We have also posted photos of the Cumberland Community Church team.
I know you will be blessed to see Rebecca in Marsabit, Connie
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Sunday, November 29

What did Jesus ask of his disciples?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20

Die for yourself to live for Christ? What does that mean. How can you die and live at the same time? Is this what Jesus asked of his disciples? To follow him? What does it mean to follow? Yesterday in a slum just outside of Nairobi, we witnessed a team from Cumberland Community Church die to themselves and live for Christ. They served God in the most humble of ways and helped save lives for the kingdom. What did this team do that showed they had died to themselves? First, you could see Christ through them--in their smiles, the way they touched the children, how they put their arms around the poorest of the poor, and the way they sang and worshipped on the stage. Besides singing, their job was to mobilize, to bring the people to hear the praise music and receive the message of HIV/Aids prevention, and to encourage people to test to save their lives and the lives of their children.

One of the Cumberland team members taking someone to get tested

The team went from shack to shack, knocked on doors, and witnessed to the people in the slum. They should of been WAY out of their comfort zone, but you could not notice. In fact, the only thing that was noticeable was the love and joy that filled the team. The Cumberland Community Church team members served with joy.

One of the Cumberland team members being a good example, by signing a commitment card

They followed without question. They trusted me as their event leader. They died for Christ, for the team, and for the mission. For me as on the ground leader it was truly a joy to serve with them.

Grateful for those who came 10,000 miles to surrender to serve, Connie
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Saturday, November 28

Van dissappoints us....again but God delivers

Today was a special day for the Partners for Care staff. We partnered with Cumberland Cummunity Church to hold a what if? event in Kiserian - about an hour south of Nairobi. Well not exactly an hour. That would be if your van doesn't break down three times on the way! The last time was serious - more than the just push it or put water in the radiator. The Cumberland team was travelling behind us and stopped to pick us and all our equipment to take us to the slum where we would do what if? All 22 of them and the 9 of us had on what if? T-shirts and hats. The Cumberland team is wonderful - 7 worship leaders and musicians and two pastors and the rest willing participates. Their music team and ours integrated easily as they shared the stage.

The Cumberland worship team and the Temples of Worship on stage

Their team went deep in to the slum mobilizing asking people to come hear the music, get tested and sign the committment cards. One of the their pastors preached on pure and he message was very well accepted by the people in the crowd. It was a great event with people testing and hundreds signing the committment cards to do their part to create an HIV/Aids free generation.

One of the Cumberland team members mobilizing someone to sign a commitment card

God was smiling as the what if? team reached out to the people in this slum to save His children for the kingdom. Now for the is once again at the mercy of a mechanic in Kiserian. As the Cumberland's bus was full we are taking other means home. First on foot out of the slum. Then in the back of a pick-up truck (along with a goat), and then a matatu. But, God is good and protecting us. We shall soon be home.
Thankful for reaching the people today with the Cumberland team, Connie
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Thursday, November 26

Thankful for

This Thanksgiving will be different for Ryan and I than we have ever experienced. We will be in the arid land of Northeastern Kenya. We are taking Rebecca to see her father who has sent for us. He believes he will die soon and he wants to see that Rebecca will continue to be cared for. There will be no turkey, pumbkin pie or football for Ryan. But, we think it will a Thanksgiving we will never forget. Before we begin out travels I wanted to share what I am thankful for this year.
1. All my children Mike, Chris, Mindy, Bobby and David and my husband Brian and who supports my desire to serve in Kenya even though it sometimes calls for sacrafice on their part.
2. The opportunity to serve in Kenya.
3. The Partners for Care staff in Kenya who have made a difference for the least of these in slums, villages and throughout Kenya.
4. For David Gruber and Dan who without their committment, support and love Partners for Care staff would not exist.
5. For Ryan Morris who came to Kenya to serve with Partners for Care. His help has been invaluable in so many ways both to me personally, to the Kenya team and to the organization.
6. For all those who have supported Partners for Care this year - some came, some gave and many prayed. Thank you joining the fight to stop the needless deaths of God's children.
7. My friends especially sharon, Lyn and Bonnie for their love, support and encouragement over the years.
From Kenya this Thanksgiving,
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Tuesday, November 24

What do you live your life for?

This is a good time for those in America as you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving to ask yourself the question Ryan ask in his weekly update - what are you living for? Blessings to all of you this Thanksgiving, Connie

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What do you live your life for?

The question lay on the table. It was one of those questions whose weight makes stomachs tighten and mouths close. It is the kind of question that elicits awkward laughter from those who can stand the silence and makes faces turn away, lest they might be called upon for an answer. A question whose true answer is "so precious that it is guarded by an army of lies," to quote Winston Churchill.

That table happened to be in the Partners for Care dining room. At the beginning of each new week, all of the staff at Partners for Care will meet at this table to discuss the happenings of the previous week, and plan for the one ahead. This past week the discussion reacted like a mushroom cloud-growing bigger and heavier as we progressed. Towards the end of the meeting I asked the table, "What do you live for?" The reaction was just like you'd expect. Finally, after some moments that seemed one or two too many, someone shyly offered up, "Well, Ryan I live for many things."

"What do you live for?" It was a question that I had been asking myself much more than usual in the last several weeks.

My family. My friends. My work. A perfectly struck 5-iron from 205 yards late in the evening. A clutch three-pointer down the stretches of a fourth quarter. Winning. Excelling. A good day of missions. Church. Mom's pork roast. Granny's peanut butter fudge. These are but a fraction of the many things that flashed through my mind as I thought about this nagging question.

One of the reasons I love missions and Africa is that it makes you think about these things. The people, the land-the atmosphere of Africa crowds around you, weighing on you, until you are forced to peel them off by answering life's tough questions. "Living with the poor does not keep me away from evil, but it does allow me to see evil in sharper, clearer ways. It does not lead me automatically to good either, but will help me see good in a brighter light, less hidden and more convincing." A well-known Christian servant, Henri Nouwen, spoke these words to describe this feeling of discernment through the lens of the mission field. Africa, for me, has been a place whose lens has made areas of discernment sharper and clearer.

Many of you have never been to Africa, but as we all approach this week of Thanksgiving, I believe looking through a lens of thanksgiving can lead us to answer the same question. To oversimplify, for the point of illustration: "what we live for determines what we are thankful for." Moms are thankful for their family, Dads are thankful for their jobs, and kids are thankful for their toys, to put it in the extreme. In other words 1+1=2. In the light of this way of thinking, I think about the book of John. What does Jesus say about living?

My human side begins to cry out on His teaching. "This Way is too hard!" "He really can't expect me to HATE my mom, my dad, and even myself!" "This teaching is much more radical than your normal sermon." Jesus does say some powerful stuff about how and who should live your life. The theory of many Christians can be this: follow Jesus, he'll tweak and fix a few things in your life, and then you'll be ready to go. The frustrating thing about this process is that once you let Him into your life, He goes and begins working on EVERYTHING, even the stuff you didn't want fixed. It has been said that the more you mature in your relationship with Christ, the greater evil you see in yourself. My dad always uses the quote, "You never know how much you need Jesus, till He is all you have."

My trip in Africa is drawing to a close, and thanksgiving week is approaching. During this stretch, I will be missing my family, friends and the dinners. Over this next week ask yourself, "What do you live for?" I think our answer needs to be that we don't WE are dead; Christ lives in us. When we can look through HIS lens, whether in Africa or Atlanta, we will begin to see things in new light. Looking on the things that you are thankful for in life through the lens of Christ will transform us from seeing them in black-and-white (1+1=2) to seeing these things in high definition IMAX (1+1=10)! live.

As this next week marches on and I spend my thanksgiving in the deserts of Northern Kenya, I can truly say that I am thankful for my God, my family, everyone in my life, even my 5-iron ... and of course, Africa.

Serving Christ in Kenya,

Ryan Morris

You can reach me at

Monday, November 23

Equipping and engaging the workers in the fight agaist HIV/Aids

Have you ever given up something you really cared about to join a cause? Given up something like the disciples did when Jesus called them to come with Him. He told Peter and others to leave their fishing and come with Him and He would make them fishers of men. This last week five men in Kenya chose to leave their first love to fight full time the war against HIV/Aids. When I was at the Rick Warren International Conference on HIV/Aids three years ago I heard Dr. Warren say two things that I remember and that have become the cornerstone of Partners for Care.
1. Until the church engages in the fight against HIV/Aids the disease will continue to spread
2. It is the indengious people and churches that must be equipped to fight the war
When I first came to Kenya and found myself drawn to fight the disease of HIV/Aids, God brought to Partners for Care a music team called the Temples of Worship. Those of you who have come to Kenya with me know them - Sammy, George, David, Franko and Justus. For almost two years now they have been the Temples of Worship working for Partners for Care doing the what if? campaigns, writing songs and recording. This week when I came they wanted to meet with me. Over the two years I prayed they would develop a heart to fight HIV/Aids. I knew much of their passion and work was about the music and the fight against Aids was secondary. They were very serious as they talked with me. They had met and discussed their future amongst themselves. The Temples of Worship's vision was to reach people for the kingdom using the talents God had given them. Partners for Care's vision is to "save lives for the kingdom". Two similiar but different visions. They didn't like having two visions and they felt conflict between their desire to do music and their work with Partners for Care. Sammy told them to go think about what they wanted to do and come tell me the next day. I prayed that night asking God to give me peace about their decision. I must admit I thought they would choose music. I see them when they are performing and they love their music. They loved the Temples of Worship. The next morning when we met again I prayed God would give me the grace and courage to accept their decision to leave Partners for Care to do music. Ryan and I waited as they prepared to tell us their decision. They told us they had decided to abandon Temples of Worship and to engage with all their effort in the fight against HIV/Aids. They explained how over the two years God had broke their hearts for the devasation this disease has called. From Brian who lives with us and has Aids, to the infected widows in Mathare that they had met, to the infected children at Beat the Drum, to their own family members who over the two years have become infected and some even dying God revealed to them the pain and suffering of Aids. And, now they were ready to fully commit and surrender themselves to the fight. I felt very mixed emotions. Suprised first of all and humbled that they would trust and believe Partners for Care can make a difference in the fight. And, a very heavy sense of responsibilty to them to do whatever I can to help them prepare and fight against HIV/Aids I believe in them, I believe in the teachng of Rick Warren and I especially believe in a God who can break the heart of five young musicians who would walk away from their first love to committ themselves to the fight to save the children of their nation. As we then met to discuss our approach to fight Aids I sensed a new fervor among them to "get moving" to engage the church in the fight. It was one of the best planning meetings we had ever had - everyone engaged in the fight. They had left their fishing to follow the call from God to fight Aids. Ryan and I are committed to these young men and we will continue to find ways to help equip, encourage and empower them so they can make a difference in their nation. I appreciate all of you who have joined in the fight supporting Partners for Care with your prayers and funds.
Grateful to be a part of Partners for Care,
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Friday, November 20


Another update from Ryan. Such a joy to read about Partners for Care through the writings of Ryan. Connie

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Writer's block. That's what I have caught. It is a disease that has no easily discovered remedy and it's symptoms look very much like what you are about to read. Two months have elapsed since I made the long flight across the Atlantic Ocean and set down in East Africa. Some of the weeks have flown away with a whirl, seeming as if it was just a fleeting moment, and some have crawled to an end with excruciating deliberation. All together, they have streamed away into the past, leaving not quite five weeks dangling perilously attached-the homestretch. Many of the updates regarding the prior weeks have been the tales of my experiences and the lessons learned from them. This week; however, I want to break a cardinal rule in the world of missions: I am going to tell you what is to take place in the last month of my stay. "Never be bound by promises of the future," should be a mission credo because who knows what plans will be changed, delayed, or canceled altogether. Accurately predicting the events of an entire month in missions is like stepping up to the plate and pointing out your homerun! You just don't do a thing like that; you hope for a homerun but you'd take a single in a heartbeat. So here's my swing at a homerun.

Connie Cheren, the president of Partners for Care, returns to Kenya next week. The anticipation of her arrival is beginning to mount, not only because she is the boss, but also because of the events that will cling to her coattails. The first of such events is a trip to Marsabit. This town is situated in the far northeast of Kenya, near the border of Somalia. It is perhaps the worst area of Kenya: severe drought, vast desert, no roads, little food and water, and the occasional bandit-the seed of adventure without doubt. The reason for the two-day excursion over sand is to meet with the father of a child that lives at one of our children's homes. He wants to give his land and full custody of his daughter to the organization in the hope of a better life for her. The long journey will be well worth it. With a piece of land and the full care of responsible guardians, this child will have a bright future.

Returning from Marsabit, we will then turn our focus onto a mission with a group of Americans from Atlanta. Cumberland Community Church will be bringing a team of 16 to a town called Kiserian. The purpose of this event is to hold an evangelistic concert with both Kenyan and American praise bands for the community. It should be a great time for all involved. Taking place over Thanksgiving weekend, I secretly hope that the American team will bring some treats with them. Although I do not fully expect turkey, gravy, and football, I won't turn away an occasional holiday granola bar or a festive jar of J.I.F. peanut butter. I have decided that one can determine the strength of a nation by its peanut butter-and I have to say that Kenya's product is most definitely third world.

December 1st is a circled date on the calendar of Partners for Care. It is World AIDS Day, and appropriately Kenya holds a huge "celebration." It is a day where the world comes together and renews its resolve to fight the spread of this deadly disease. Outside of the usual importance of this day, this year is especially exciting to our organization because our team will be performing on the main stage in Nairobi during the event. Thousands, including the President of Kenya and the U.S. Ambassador, will hear our message. Everyone is looking forward to this opportunity.

After our concert at World AIDS Day in Nairobi, we all head east towards the costal town of Mombasa. This is the second largest city in Kenya and it is the nation's most popular resort destination. Yes, even Kenya has a Myrtle Beach. Our team goes there not for vacation but for the year's last mission. We will hold a series of concerts and messages about the Gospel and the deadly effects of HIV/AIDS. All the guys love Mombasa and I have been told of its wonders many times, I look forward to seeing them for myself.

At the conclusion of these events my time in Kenya will have come to an end and I will make the journey back home. This homestretch looks to be exciting and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation. I will have traveled from the arid lands in the far North to the costal tropics in the southeast. Through a series of missions, I will have met a host of new people. I look forward to new experiences, new lessons, and new discoveries. Call it being young, call it being optimistic, or romantic but I always think that the best is yet to come. This bell rings no truer than the events of the coming month. The homestretch-it looks to be a homerun...but I won't do any pointing.

Serving Christ in Kenya,

Ryan Morris

You can reach me at

Wednesday, November 18


Flight was leaving and I didn't finish the first update! This trip we are also beginning the process to open what the Partners for Care team wants to be a combination cyber, computer training center and a teaching center for the youth of the local slum to develop their musical talents. They also hope to have a music center there. It would be a Christian outreach helping the youth find and follow Christ while developing their computer skills or musical talent. It will be right in the local village in walking distance from our house and near the slum. The computers have been donated by a new partner we are working with in South Florida C. Ron. He is the reporter we met who wrote the article about the Sisters Going To Kenya. He helps black at risk youth through a program called Lend A Helping Hand. They are helping us with the cyber. And, Cumberland Community Church is bringing four of the computers C. Ron donated to Partners for Care. All of this fits with what Partners for Care is trying to do - a hand up not a handout. We believe in equipping Kenyans especially the Christian youth to address the problems in Kenya. And, this trip we hope to move the children from the rescue center to their new home - possibly November 30. This is a mighty task! Completing the building will truly be a miracle. But, what a joyous day it will be to move the children from the slum to their new home! We will take plenty of pictures and post them on the blog. And, as always I will follow-up on funding opportunities for Maggie's School.
Going to try to sleep now,
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Tuesday, November 17

Leaving for Kenya

Once again I am heading to Amsterdam and on to Kenya. This trip, if it is God's plan, the Partners for Care staff will travel to far Northeastern Kenya and to far Southern Kenya - from Marsabit to Mombasa. And, they are scheduled to sing what if? at the World's Aids Day event. Also, I am very much looking forward to having this time to work with Ryan. He has been developing our marketing material and I am excited to see everything he has done. And, I am looking forward to seeing little Brian. He has been marking off the days on a calendar until I return. Last time he and I got very close. I think it had to do with him almost dying that night in the hospital. And, the Partners for Care staff will be joining the Cumberland Community Church kenya team to do a what if? event in Kiserian. All 23 of their team members will be wearing the what if? t-shirts and hats as they mobilize in a slum asking people to test for HIV/Aids. They are bringing 6 of their worship team who will perform with the Temples of Worship. A very special opportunity for the Temples of Worship and for the American worship team. As always for those who want to follow along I will send updates.
Blessed to be returning to Kenya and to be partnering with the Cumberland Community Kenya team,
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Run for Rebecca

Some additional information about the inaugural "Run for Rebecca"...

Photos from the race are available at and at True Speed is donating the proceeds from the sale of any of their race photos to Partners for Care.

Below is a picture of the race shirts, being held up by some volunteers from the Beta Club at Chattahoochee High School. We had a great group of volunteers who made this race fun and well organized for all.

We are especially grateful to InComm, one of the race sponsors - who was also represented by about 25 runners and volunteers. Their support was invaluable. Thanks to Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee shop of Roswell, for providing delicious coffee for all. This coffee house does more than just sell coffee - they support Rwandan coffee growers and truly deliver on their slogan, "Drink Coffee. Do Good." Check them out at

Thanks to all of our sponsors, including Ellis Family Chiropractic of Roswell ( who was on hand to provide massages after the race as well as offer steeply discounted initial chiropractic examinations for all participants.

Information about the race is still available at the race website - here. Stay tuned for information on upcoming events and the 2010 edition of the "Run for Rebecca".

Sunday, November 15

Run for Rebecca a success!

So many people to thank for helping to make the first Run for Rebecca a success. The weather was perfect! Many volunteers got up early to serve coffee, register the runners, pass out t-shirts and make sure all the runners had water on the route and at the end of the race. Gary, our race coordinator had the run start on time and made sure all the prizes were awarded. The runners liked and appreciated the long-sleeve shirts in the cool of the morning. And, everyone loved the prizes from Kenya. I was very happy to see the American Youth team run the race. They got up very, very early to drive to the race from college! Mike my son and all his family were there by 6 am to help! And David's daughter and new husband were there early to help. And, almost of the Kenya team members from Cumberland Community Church were there. They leave for Kenya Thursday night and will see Rebecca and all the other children at Beat the Drum. We feel great about the first Run for Rebecca. We are already planning the second run! Thanks to all who volunteered, recruited runners, ran the race and supported Rebecca and the children at Beat the Drum.

Til next year's run,
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Wednesday, November 11

Rescue Centre Video

Here is a video on the Rescue Centre, a home for homeless kids who live in Mathare slums. To view it click on this link:

Be blessed as you watch it.

Sunday, November 8

Nick's week

Just in case you thought you had a difficult week I thought I would share with you Nick's week. Many of you have met Nick in person, the rest have heard about Nick from me or from reading the updates. Nick is 27, grew up in Mathare Slum and made a decision to stay in Mathare and try to help those infected and affected by AIDS. Nick does this with his childhood friend Charles also 27. Together they have ministered to over 400 persons infected with Aids and personally been at the bedside of 75 persons who have died of AIDS 22 of these children. They were right in the middle of the epic center of the post-election violence two years ago where they carried the wounded out of Mathare and promoted peace even in the midst of intense violence. The front of the Community Transformers (their CBO) building was burned. During this violence they began to rescue children. Three of the children they rescued I "found" on the streets of Nairobi and took them to Nick and Charles to care for. They are still with them and doing great. Nick and Charles are trying desperately to move these children and God willing we are close to seeing that happen! And none too soon. This week Nick took 10 of the children to the hospital some with malaria, others with pneumonia and others amoebas. Little Junior who is ALWAYS smiling and sitting on someone's lap was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Nick's family comes from Siaya - an area hit hard with AIDS. Several of the children in the rescue center are his nieces, nephews and cousins - orphans from parents dying of AIDs. And this week Nick's Aunt became another statistic in Kenya dying from AIDs. Nick has to try to figure out how to get her transported back to her village for burial. At the same time helping all the children - those sick and those well to study for their school exams. School exams are very important for the children in Kenya. And, in Nick's spare time he is opening the cyber and overseeing the building of the children's home. Sometimes, we become impatient because the cyber isn't open yet or the children's home is over budget. Then I remember Nick doesn't have the benefit of a college degree (there wasn't money for him to go to college), all his "staff" are volunteers some without even a high school degree and he is working in a slum in a developing nation! And he is carrying for 34 orphaned children and running a CBO (Christian Based Organization) helping widows and orphans infected and affected by AIDs. And, he still is hopeful, still believes God will provide and usually has a smile on his face.
So how does your last week compare to Nick's?
I will be putting together some things Nick and Charles need as they move these children - beds, linens, truck rental to move what little possesions the children have. The children will also need new school uniforms as they will be attending a new school in January. Let me know if you want to partner with Nick and Charles as they move these precious children. I will be blessed to be there to help them move. Plans are to move them hopefully by the end of the month. It will be a glorius day when the children can play in a backyard, smell fresh air instead of the smoke coming from the small cooker in the corner of their bedroom, eat vegetables from their own garden and sleep without the noise from the bars in Mathare. God has taken care of these children during the almost two years they have lived in the two rooms in Mathare. Nick once told me that the God who brough him these children is the same God who will feed them. Even when Nick has no food for the children and he tells them it is time to fast Nick knows God will bring food. And, some of you are the ones God uses to feed these children. Thank you for what you have done to help Nick and Charles care for these children. If we don't grow weary we can finish the task.
Praying for moving day!
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Friday, November 6

The “end of the spear” is found not in distant lands but inside all of us.

How blessed am I that missions is part of Ryan's life and that after spending 10 days with us in Kenya in the Spring he made the decision to spend three months with us. I, the Kenya team and Partners for Care are better because of his decision.
Blessed to know Ryan,

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The End of the Spear

By the end of next week, two months will have passed and the final leg of my adventure will have begun. Admittedly, the past few weeks have not quite lived up to "adventure" standards. I am learning that not all mission work is ripped from the scenes of "The End of the Spear." My assumption that dodging warlords and wild animals was an everyday occurrence for missionaries in Africa has proven to be slightly over-romantic. The past few weeks have been spent in an area of missions that has not been portrayed in a blockbuster-the office. Sadly, Monday mornings, even in Kenya, feel like, well, Monday mornings. Days have been filled with office work, reading over manuals, and writing tentative projects. One such project has taken up most of my time as of late, a brief manual for creating successful short-term mission trips. During the course of writing this manual, my mind has wandered around the arena of missions and why its serves as an integral part in my life.

"The front lines of the great spiritual battle:" this is the proclaimed world of missions. Personally, as I sit in this office and type this update, I do not feel as though I have traveled from my home to some sort of battle ground. While the experiences I have had during the course of the last few months have been different, and at times exciting, in many respects life is pretty much the same here as in Georgia. Going to the market in Nairobi, while different, seems like no more of a battle ground than a Wal-Mart. Like I said, Mondays are Mondays. Being a part of a "great battle" is not what really drives me in this endeavor.

"Missions: serving the Lord." For many people, this might be the true reason I am sitting in the middle of Africa-to be of a service to the Lord. Sounds like a good reason enough, but if there is anything that I have learned it is this: #1 the Lord does not need my service and #2 I do not get any closer to heaven from sitting in Kenya instead of Georgia. In the end, it is neither my service nor actions that provide the inspiration that I require to be here.

Warfare, service, and actions aside, I am so interested in missions because it is the mirror reflection of me and my contents. Everything about missions-the great works, the horrible tragedies, the orphan infected with AIDS, the fervent pastor, the life, the death-all are the grand scale version on what churns inside of me. Seeing a starving child in a slum is no different than looking inward at the depths and corners of my own situation. For me, this is the beauty of missions. Witnessing the ugly side of humanity in Africa reveals the ugliness that is me. And being a part of something good reveals what resides in me. This is why missions play such an important part in my life. It is something I choose to participate because I can witness the "first faint gleam of Heaven already inside of me," as C.S. Lewis writes. The "end of the spear" is found not in distant lands but inside all of us.

It is this "personal" view of missions that causes excitement because it means that we all have a place in its world. Shift your view of the "mission field" from something that rages in distant wild, untamed lands to something that churns inside the wild, untamed parts of yourself. I think, through this change in perspective, you might feel the importance of missions and begin to discover that the "mission field" is not limited to adventures in Africa, it is something that can be found anywhere... yes, even on Monday mornings.

Serving Christ in Kenya,

Ryan Morris

You can reach me at

what if? Marurui event

In October the what if? team, joined by the four African American sisters, held a what if? event at the slums near the Partners for Care house. To see what went on during the event, visit:

God bless you as you watch this video.

Thursday, November 5

A routine week bring more lessons.

Some of you have told me how much you enjoy reading Ryan's updates from Kenya. What a huge blessing Ryan has been to me personally, to the Partners for Care staff in Kenya and to the mission of Partners for Care! Enjoy his update from last week. Connie

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The Lord's Day brought about a meal I never would have imagined.
As daybreak arrived, I arose to get ready for the day. As I sluggishly climbed out of my bunk bed, I could hear some of the girls in the house. Sounds of a sweeping broom, the clanging of pots and pans, for their day had already begun long before sunrise. Per my routine, I hurriedly threw on some clothes and headed downstairs for the celebratory morning cup of Kenyan coffee. Made with the rich milk from some cow down the street, this cup of coffee is considerably sweeter than its American cousin - Folgers.
The sweet taste does come with a price, I am rather positive that this milk is not "skim," or even "2%," and I never ask about the "sell by" date. For better or for worse, while the girls are doing the morning chores, one-by-one the men gingerly make their way to the coffee thermos. Secretively, I always chuckle at this customary routine and think, "women in the U.S would kill us for doing such a thing." Like most developing countries I have visited, most of Kenya's day-to-day work is done by women: the cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, farming, laundry, and the list can continue.

The guys finishing 'taking' breakfast, as they say here, and headed towards the small car in the driveway. It was Sunday morning, and me and three other from the team headed towards the town of Limuru, an hour or so northwest of Nairobi. They were to lead worship at a church there and I was along for the ride. The sky was overcast and the morning air was cool and wet as we climbed our way through the hills of outer Nairobi towards Limuru. The buildings and apartments of Nairobi soon gave way to tea plantations and small huts.

Everyone seemed to be heading to church, as the landscape passed by, people strolled this way and that clothed in their Sunday best, their brightly colored suits and dresses standing out against the dark green of the tea fields. As we approached Limuru, I could instinctively feel that the elevation of the land was higher than that of Nairobi, the air was cooler and the clouds seemed to be heavier, making everything appear darker.

Limuru is an ordinary African town, with lots of colorful-albeit dilapidated shops and buildings. It was ten in the morning and the marketplace was already packed with people shopping. I am always amazed at the number of people that can be seen walking around the streets during any part of the day, I haven't the faintest idea where they are walking to and from, and I suspect that idea may have eluded them as well. We made our way down several dirt paths and pulled up to a small metal building.

The "Sword of the Spirit" church was a nice church by Kenyan standards. A good stage, covered with an array of green plants, a nicely constructed tin roof, and about 300 plastic chairs. Whoever makes these chairs is a rich man. These one-piece plastic chairs are everywhere in Africa and usually come in some shade of white, red, or green. These are the chairs that you might see at a fourth of July barbecue. In Kenya, you can see them in every church, restaurant, or any public gathering place across the nation. I took my seat in one of these indestructible chairs and by ten-thirty the guys had begun the worship service.

It is hard to describe the atmosphere of a worship service in Kenya, partly because it is so different than its American counterpart and partly because how can you accurately describe the sights and sounds of such an active event. "Sensory overload" is a phrase that comes to mind. Huge speakers aimed at creating, not necessarily a good sound, but a loud sound, belt out the worship music. The options one has in participating in worship are both abundant and dramatic. You can sing, dance, pray, yell, dance, cry, shriek, dance, or even lie on the ground. Did I mention dance? I swallowed my pride several weeks ago on participating in worship. No matter how goofy I, a tall white dude, may look I figured, if David can do it in his underwear, I should be able to manage it.

The worship service went on for about an hour and a half. Even though I could not understand the songs, the guys were great and by a little after twelve they took their seats next to me. It was now time for the scary part, the sermon. I glanced at a sign on the wall saying the worship service was from "10 am - 1pm," already being noon, I hoped for the best. As the pastor skipped up onto the stage, I noticed something in his hand. "Oh can't be," I thought. It was a handkerchief.

For the next hour and a half, the Pastor paced back and forth on the stage discussing the parable of the yeast. In the Bible this parable is all of about two or three verses, but the Pastor yelled, screamed, dropped to his knees, and sang his way to an hour and a half about the topic-with no notes. "I'd hate to be here for the 'Sermon on the mount' Sunday". By this time, the pastor was drenched in sweat; his treasured handkerchief had given up and his "Bernie Mac" style suit was soaked. As his cadence slowed and he caught his breath, he informed the congregation that the past hour and a half was his introduction to the lesson and he had five points to deliver. The sound that reverberated around the room was one of mixed laughter and moans! I looked at the team of guys with me, and without a word, we all came to the conclusion that it was a little past two and we haven't eaten since seven, and with that we all got up and slipped out the back door. Who knows how long the pastor's sermon ended up lasting, I do know however, that the church elders need to install a Gatorade cooler on that stage for the poor man.

As we laughed about the sermon on our way to the car, our attention immediately turned towards lunch. One of the guys told me he had just the place in mind, and then turned to the rest and said something apparently rather funny in Swahili. The car stumbled its way down to the town and we parked it right in the middle of the marketplace. We got out and wandered our way through the crowds and toward a line of shops constructed of sheet metal. We have arrived, one of the guys announced. I looked around. I did not see any immediate restaurants and then my gaze settled on a small hut appropriately titled, "butchery." Ask any health expert where NOT to eat in Africa and the response would undoubtedly include a picture of this particular "butchery." Hmm, the best way to paint the picture of this gem: take a metal rail car and throw it down a rocky mountain. When it finally comes to rest, paint the word "butchery" on the side, hang two skinned goats from the ceiling, and open up business.

I followed the guys past the hanging goats, and ducked into the dark metal container. We sat down on wooden benches cafeteria style and we were served roasted goat meat, ugali, and spicy salsa. The guys, and I am sure everyone else in the shop, thought that it was unusual an American would eat at such a place. "Today, Ryan, you are a Kenyan," they all joked. I don't know if it was because I hadn't eaten much that day or that the food was simply good, but I can honestly say that was the best meal I have had since my arrival in Kenya. Before I leave to go back home, I have to go back to that rail car-"best roasted goat in Limuru," they explained, and I am inclined to agree.

After a great lunch, we all crammed back into the car and headed home. With the windows rolled down and the sun breaking through the clouds, the warming air filled the car and I drifted off in a Sunday afternoon nap.

Sometimes, I thought, after such a great Sunday, life isn't so much about the lessons learned along the journey. However, life is just about the enjoyment of being in God's presence. You know, just to be a kid before our Father, to focus less on the actions of worship, the power-point presentations, the long-winded sermons, or the perfectly formed illustrations. To play in His presence is something I want to do; to be near Him is where I want to be. It was in Limuru, Kenya where I had the best goat meat around and I spent the day next to Jesus and was a child before Him. All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Serving Christ in Kenya,

Ryan Morris

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Wednesday, November 4

Good news

I wanted to update all of you on the Run for Rebecca. Everything is really coming together. So many have helped from Gary our race coordinator is has been great to the team who is helping to sign up runners to Dan who managed somehow to add the financial and registration of the race to his already many responsibilities he has for both my buisness and for Partners for Care to Mike my son who contributed to the cost of the t-shirts. And, the race would not be possible without David Gruber! The race volunteers are the team members from the Cumberland Community Church upcoming mission trip to Kenya. It is their bonding event. The prizes are from Kenya and were made just for the race. You can see the prizes and sign up if you haven't already on the run's web site and you can see Rebecca and the other children from Beat the Drum thanking people for running on YouTube
We got more good news today. Land of a 1000 Hills Coffee said they would provide coffee on the day of the race. They sent the following message. "We are thrilled to partner with you and help raise awareness and support for this very important cause."
And, thanks to so many people who used their social networks and passed out flyers many now know about the race and about the miracle of Rebecca.
All in all - good news.
Hoping to see you November 14 at the Run for Rebecca.
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