Wednesday, June 23

7th Update - Prayers answered!

Many of you responded you were praying in my response to my request yesterday for prayers for Nick. Many reminded me God would care for the children. And He did. The team here Dr. Jim, Lyn, their two children Stephanie and Jake, Amy, David my son and Rebecca along with Nick and Charles made a plan to address the needs of the children. These needs included protection from malaria, clean water, lights, sanitation, food and transportation to school. One by one all these needs were met yesterday. Getting things accomplished isn't easy in a developing nation. It takes more than money. But, everything seemed to go smoothly yesterday as we planned, organized, shopped and went to the children's home. By evening, a van that had been loaned to transport the children was repaired, lanterns taken to the home for lights,, bed nets on the beds for all the children and aunties, temporary septic tank covered with plans to cover the larger holding tank, and 400 pounds of food purchased!  The children's rooms were so sweet as they have settled in. We had made name tags with ribbons for their beds and the children had hung them on their beds. And, the children had neatly made their beds before leaving for school. The children are now safe and for now have food. Praise God. And, Nick is smiling again as his children are taken care of.

At the store where we purchased food for the kids

Loading up the food

Transporting food

The bed nets hung on the beds

Thank you for your faithfulness to read the updates and pray for children 10,000 miles away,

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Monday, June 21

Prayer request

I am sending prayer requests tonight for Nick and for the children we have moved from the slum. Our hearts are heavy as Nick struggles with so many issues - transportation back to Mathare for school, no lights, mosquitoes biting the children and needing to haul water to the site. Dr. Jim and Lyn and other team members went there today and came back overwhelmed with some of the needs of the children. Dr. Jim has starting examining them and he is taking several of them to the hospital for further testing. I know some of this always happens even when we move in the US - lights, phone and electricity not hooked up as quickly as we wanted them to be. But, in a developing nation and when you are caring for 34 orphans it is a 100 times more difficult. I know all over the world there are hurting children who are living in the dark and dying from malaria. But, we know these 34 children. We have held them and loved them. For me I feel ashamed that I am here in comfort while they are in the situation they are in. And, I wonder why I didn't plan better - at least flashlights and mosquito nets should have been on our shopping list. As little children they should be able to count on us to take care of them. I am anxious for the night to pass so we can hang nets, buy flashlights and help with the transportation issue. Thanks for your prayers, Connie
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6th update - The children have been moved from Mathare Slum

On Saturday the children said goodbye to Mathare slum. We went early in the morning and took 18 of the children with us in our van and hired a matatu for the rest of the children. Taking these children from those three crowed, chaotic, dark rooms where their backyard was a slum, garbage and a polluted river was a joy hard to explain. It was like God had picked these children to be lifted from the slums to a new beginning. I could hear Pastor Karanja saying "God is doing a new thing". The children sang songs on the ride to their new home - obviously happy to be leaving Mathare slums. Part of the team had gone to the new home to prepare the rest of the beds and to cook for the children. Curtains were hung - bright red with matching pillowcases. Their new rooms with windows were a sharp contrast to the previous rooms in the slum without windows! John made a enormous pot of soup for the children in their new kitchen. They played and waited as more beds were put together. Then at the appointed time they all went to their OWN beds. We were blessed to watch these special children chosen and loved by God as they saw they each had a blanket, a towel and their own bed. Nick and Charles have done a wonderful job under extraordinary conditions. As young men building a children's home in a developing nation hasn't been easy. But, raising 34 children isn't easy either. Thank you to all who have prayed for Nick and Charles and the children and donated money to lift these children up to new beginnings. Jesus said, love the little children and you have. There is still much to do to help Nick and Charle become sustainable so they don't have to worry how to feed the children. This week we plan to put in a garden. And, Dr. Jim will examine and treat the children and aunties. We will complete the children's home ie. kitchen, place for the children to eat, security fence, etc. as we raise more funds to help them. But, for now they are in their new home. Praise God!

From Kenya,

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Wednesday, June 16

5th update - " My mom doesn't have a net"

"My mom doesn't have a net" this sweet little girl told me. She had managed to capture my attention and my heart in the midst of the chaos. And, it seemed this little girl's mom wasn't the only one in the village of Watamu without a net to protect their children from malaria. I have held medical camps before but never in conjunction with the distribution of bed nets. Distributing bed nets brought thousands of people to the medical camp. To say the "ground was mobilized" for this medical camp doesn't really describe the response. The first day we arrived what we thought was early to find at least two hundred people in line waiting for us. There were 500 people registered by 10:00. The second day we arrived there were already over a thousand people waiting from 6:00 am. Sadly, we couldn't possible see everyone. Dr. Jim from our team joined the local health practitioners seeing as many as they could. Ryan, Amy, Kristen, Stephanie, David, Logan, Rebecca and Nick ran the pharmacy ensuring the doctors and nurses had medicine, helped distribute bed nets and cheered for the final games of volleyball and football. Nick and Charles worked with the local VCT counselors to test people for HIV and Njenga (from CT) interpreted the medical symptoms of the people for Dr. Jim.

Charles testing people for HIV
 Dr. Jim with his daughter and Njenga examine a child
Only with a team of 8 security men were we able to distribute the bed nets. Justus shared the word of God and prayed for those who came as we organized the "flow" of people into groups of 10. He asked the people to pray for those who had brought bed nets and medicine to their village. The groups were moved through community health teaching as the local educators taught them how to prevent the diseases they were sick from - water borne diseases, poor nutrition, etc. Then the groups moved to family planning. George, as our outreach mission coordinator assisted by Franco and David, had spent two months and gone to the ground three times to organize the local committee. USAid joined us and had people there to help. Best we tried we could not serve everyone. The two days ended with the final football playoff. There had been 15 teams playing for the last 6 weeks. As the winning team lapped the field to the cheers of thousands it seemed like we were at the World Cup. Everyone came to the stage for the prizes and for the reason for the outreach.

The winners receiving their prizes

The Temples of Worship took the stage and Sammy told them of the need to stop HIV and create an HIV free generation. They sang their song what if? When Franko sang "we can stop our children from the street" the crowd cheered. Pastor Peter told the crowd about Jesus and when he made the call for Christ hundreds raised their hands. New believers were given bibles but everyone it seemed wanted a bible. Bed nets and bibles - both saving their lives but one saves them for eternally. We had worked with the pastor fellowship in Watamu. We pray that they can use this event to continue their reach for souls for Christ in Watamu and to bring those that accepted Christ the last night of the event into a relationship with Him. At the end of the two days:
1030 were treated and given medications
1450 bed nets were distributed
500 were tested for HIV/Aids
600 were taught community health
600 heard about family planning thousands heard about the Great Physician - the ultimate healer
And many accepted Christ
Even in the chaos of so many people with so many needs the whole team stood still and prayed for a little baby that was brought to Dr. Jim. The baby had been abandoned and a old woman brought her to the medical camp. The baby tested positive for HIV. She was sick with a large, infected lesion on her head. Dr. Jim removed the "pus" from the sore and gave the baby an injection and oral medication. The next day Dr. Jim stayed behind to find the child to check on her. While the rest of the team did as planned and went to see the beauty of Mombasa Dr. Jim and his wife Lyn and I walked the small village of Watamu with Justus and Franko. Dr. Jim and Lyn were tired, hot and weary from their 36 hour trip just days earlier but they wanted to do as Jesus would do - serve the people. We found the child who was doing better. She will be taken to Gede hospital for further testing and what could be a life time of medications to treat her disease of HIV. This child reminds us of why we do what we do. To stop babies from being born infected with HIV - stop their mamas from dying and leaving them orphans. We preach the gospel because we know He is the answer - the only answer. With Him all things are possible even stopping HIV/Aids.
Thank you to all of you who supported this mission. Next we move to Marsabit in August where it is more difficult to get to, the ground is harder and the people more desperate. Pray for the team who is preparing their hearts to go.
Praying this the Mombasa mission will impact the lives of the people of Watamu and spread the gospel to so many that need it.
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Tuesday, June 15

4the update - we are all safe

I will send an update later about our Mombasa mission but just wanted to let everyone know we are safe. You may be hearing on the news "five Christians were killed in Nairobi". On Saturday there was a demonstration in Nairobi concerning the proposed Kenyan constitution to be voted on in August. Five people were killed when violence broke out. We were in Mombasa and not even in Nairobi. We will not be going near any demonstrations. Please pray for those who lost their lives and their families and pray this nation can peacefully vote on the constitution.

God is keeping us safe, we give Him all the glory,

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Friday, June 11

"I get my own blanket" - 3rd update

The new children's home is almost complete, and yesterday we were able to deliver the new items purchased for the children. Blankets, towels, and a host of other supplies for the children made their way to the new home. But this stuff didn't come easy! First, all the money we used was donated by many of you and by members of this team. Our "move one" campaign raised funds to help. Due to "overruns" though in the building of the children's home we didn't have as much money as we we bargained hard to make the money stretch. We went to a shopping area where Americans don't go - River Road. It is where things are made so as they say in Kenya we got the "best price". John who plans, shops for and prepares all of our meals went with us. Imagine - one Kenyan and 8 white people! We bargained so well John declared us Kenyans. At times John longed to back in the kitchen! We were shopping for 34 children! At the end of hours of walking, bargaining and buying we had:

Pink sheets for the girls
Blue sheets for the boys
Green sheets for the aunties
2 outdoor cookers
2 bigger than large pots
Towels for every person
5 large thermos for chai
Wash basins
And, a nice blanket for every child
Pillows are being made

We were left to buy mattresses. Funds were low at that point so we priced three thicknesses of mattresses. We have enough for the foram pads for each child. Over time, we can replace them with better mattresses.

We met the children at the new children's home. To say they were excited to see their new home, new beds and all the new things is an understatement. Amy was showing them they have windows and she told them they will each have their own beds. One of the little girls said, "I get my own blanket?". These children have slept three to a bed and shared a blanket. God has blessed them not just with a bed and their own blanket but with Nick, Charles and their aunties who love them and with people in the US who gave to change the live of a child.

As the home is not quite complete we will move them permently when we return from Mombasa.

Blessed to partner with those who made a difference for these children,

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Wednesday, June 9

The way it works - 2nd update

This is the way it works. You learn 473 children under the age of five die EVERYDAY in Kenya. As a mom, a nurse, a Christian you want to help. You recruit your family to the cause. You recruit your friends to help. You decide the way to help is to equip, empower and engage young indigenous Christian leaders in the fight to save their children. Then you need money to do the work. You need money to pay the young Christian Kenyan leaders so they can support their parents and other family members back home in the villages. You need money to do the mission outreach like the one we are doing this weekend. You put together an American team and ask them to come join the Kenyan team to do the mission. They raise funds to come to Kenya and for the mission work and you pray they raise enough to support the mission. You are so grateful for the hundreds of people who support them with the funds to come and the funds to do the work. I hope everyone knows that whatever they gave large or small is making a difference. This weekend at the Mombasa mission we will see hundreds of people who are sick and give them medicine to make them well. Young men and women who have been playing in our soccer tournament for this last month will play the finals. Not the World Cup but to them it is as important - the winning team will receive soccer shoes and uniforms. Some of these kids play without shoes so to receive soccer shoes is a "big deal". Yesterday there over a 1000 people watching the quarter-finals! We have 1000 bed nets that we will distribute to children 5 and under and pregnant women. Sleeping under a bed net can prevent a child from dying from malaria. Hopefully, we will prevent one of the 473 children from dying. The Temples of Worship will sing all weekend from the stage and do a what if? event. Counselors will test people for HIV/Aids and people will sign commitment cards pledging to do their part to create an HIV-free generation. They will ask people to give their lives to Christ. None of this could be happening if this American team Ryan, Kristen, Amy, Rebecca, my son David, Logan, Nick, Stephanie, Jim, Lyn and Jake had not come and if so many people had not supported them. So that's how it works. Many people - American and Kenyan working together to save the children.

Blessed to be a part of the Mombasa mission team and grateful for all the $supporters,

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Monday, June 7

1st update - something is different

I have returned to Kenya. Returned to a country, a continent and to people I have grown to love. But this time it is different. I have felt for awhile now that I needed to be under spiritual cover. When you go to the unreached people groups, the enemy isn't happy. The last six months have brought many attacks to Partners for Care. To help us as an organization, Pastor David Karanja said he would send me. So last Sunday Pastor karanja, Christ Harvesters International Church, Marietta, Georgia, commisioned me in front of the congregation to serve under his spiritual authority. I am now sent by Christ Harvester's Church and have the prayer support of the Kenyans who worship at this church. I am also blessed to have the prayer support of Cumberland Community Church in Smyrna, Georgia. I met Pastor Allen and Pastor Rob and 15 of their members when we partnered with them for a what if? event last November when they came to Kenya. I really feel welcome in their church and am learning from Pastor Allen's sermons. One of their church members, Amy, is on this trip with me for three weeks. We are blessed to have her join us! So, things are different. I feel more protected from spiritual attacks. They will come but we will continue to focus on the mission - finding and equipping young Christian leaders as they lead people to Christ. These young Kenyan Partners for Care staff are saving lives for the kingdom.

Blessed to be sent,

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