Tuesday, November 23

Many people served - the devil is shamed

It is hard to believe but in 7 days time we went 12 hours north to Marsabit and 12 hours west to Cherengany - all on the "roads" of Kenya. I use the word roads even though at times there were no roads.
The medical camps in Cherengany met so many challenges that at times we could only laugh at the disappointments. But, the leaders from the PLO Foundation who we partner with to do medical camps said it best "the devil was shamed". None of the challenges stopped us from serving the people. The day before we left for the camps everything seemed "to fall apart". Drugs weren't ready, bed nets weren't available, transportation was a problem. I put out a specific prayer requests for people to pray for God to intervene if He felt us worthy. Early Friday morning we secured both the drugs and the bednets.
We arrived in Cherengany very late Friday night only to have the bus breakdown as we were delivering people to their hotels. The staff from Lumumba Foundation stayed up all night solving that problem. Somehow though we managed to get everyone to their camp site - we did four locations. People were already waiting to see a doctor. At the end of the day:
1536 were seen by doctors and received medications
700 children received polio immunization as we launched the Kenya polio program
900 mosquito nets were distributed
306 were tested for HIV/AIDS with 12 referred for follow-up
Many received community health and family planning
Tom from our team analyzed the water situation and developed a plan for them for safe drinking water
352 bibles were donated for the people
All were prayed for

Tom praying with the sick

The Nandi women singing to the guests at one of the sites

Transportation back to Nairobi was well let's say interesting as we didn't have the bus we traveled there anymore....but we all arrived safely.

The best part of all it was meeting a team of Kenyan doctors who are passionate for their people. The doctor who headed one of the sites told me when I called to see if he was ready to be picked up..."We can't stop now, we have 20 people waiting in line to be seen". He is a real servant to the people.
The final report written by the Lumumba Foundation is titled, What if there was passion for servant leadership?
Tonight we meet with the Lumumba team to debrief, analyze this camp and plan for the next one - Marsabit in February. I am looking for passionate people who want to come with me to serve along with the Lumumba team in Marsabit. Doing medical camps in Marsabit is as Ryan used to say...a task that is daunting and seems sometimes impossible but with God all things are possible.
Blessed to serve with those who care for the people here in Kenya,
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Friday, November 19

Little Elizabeth laid to rest

Early yesterday morning George took Nick to the morgue at Kenyetta Hospital where Nick dressed Little Elizabeth in her burial clothes, placed her in the small coffin he had made for her and placed on top of one of vans for the trip to bury her. The van was full as George drove Nick, Charles and 8 CT members to Elizabeth's home village. A small car with 5 more people followed behind.

When I sent the message that Little Elizabeth had died, Robert (a team member from the August trip) wrote:

In Kenya, you never know when you hug a child, when that beautiful creature may ascend to Heaven.  You never know if it will be in a year, a month, next week or even tomorrow.  You never know, when you look into their eyes whether the next time you visit Kenya, they will be looking and smiling at you or Jesus.  You never know who that treasure will be holding our her arms to for a hug.  You never know, only He does.

Nick has accepted Elizabeth's death telling me that he read in Isaiah 55 where it says God calls home some early to protect them from the pain and suffering they would endure here on earth. He also told me he never saw anyone fight for their life as Elizabeth did. He said she would ask Nick to pray for her. Nick brought me her hospital reports - she died from kidney failure.

When CT sent out the announcement they closed by saying:

"When we lose someone we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memories of hours when we loved not enough". I can tell you Nick will not cry bitter tears as he loved Elizabeth and cared for her with the love of Jesus.

On the list of help Nick needed this week was "white dress for burial". When I received that request I was traveling back from Marsabit on Wednesday late afternoon - they were to leave the next day to bury her. The Water Team and I stopped at a small village and went into a grocery store. Upstairs we saw a beautiful white dress with pink satin flowers and pink velvet sash. There was only one and it was Elizabeth's size. The team remembered she would need shoes. They had one little pair of white shoes perfect size and a pair of white tights with pink ribbons. Amazing...all perfect for Elizabeth. When we gave to Nick late that night he said Elizabeth would look like the angel she was.

Thank you for your prayers for Nick and all those who loved Elizabeth and will miss her. She was the story teller at the children's home always telling the other children when they returned from school the events that had happened while they were away. We are helping Nick organize a memorial for Elizabeth that all the children can attend.

Grateful for those who read these updates and care,

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Wednesday, November 17

The Water Team

The team that is traveling with me this trip all have an interest in water - both access to water and clean water. Tom is with FirstWater, Inc.. He partnered with us in August cost-sharing for a water filter that we took to Marsabit. Belinda is the Director of the Joe Beasley Foundation. Mr. Beasley has faithfully followed the work of Partners for Care for several years. We have wanted to work together and have come together on this water project. Deb has been to Kenya many times and is here to help us connect with other programs and to "see" the Partners for Care programs.

This team has done what some would call crazy. We flew in Sunday night and within four hours we were on our way to Marsabit. Only those who have gone to Marsabit know what it is like. We travel 10-12 hours north from Nairobi - six hours which is off-road through the desert. Off-roading looks fun on the TV commercials but soon gets very tiresome.

But, they endured and we arrived in Masabit at noon on Monday. We were anxious to go see the Gabra tribe. (For more on the Gabra tribe read the blog on www.partnersforcare.org for the August mission trip).

Our vehicle stuck in sand in Marsabit

The children's feet that we treated in August for jiggers were still healed and Jane who we taught how to treat the jiggers had helped more children with the supplies we left her. We saw and held the baby that was born the day we did the medical camp. She is 3 months old and looked good. The next day we went to see the Rendile tribe. We arrived in time to see 65 little children sitting on the floor in a one room small building reciting their lessons. Their teacher is paid $10.00 a month. They were precious all reciting their lessons as one of the little three year olds led them using his stick baton to point out the phonetic sounds on the chalk board.

We had brought supplies to treat the jiggers but the children needed more than treated for jiggers. They seemed sicker than when we were there in August. We triaged the children assessing what medicines they needed. We were not there to do a medical camp so we did not have medicines. 26 children had fungus infections on their heads, two with ear infections so bad you didn't need an otoscope to diagnose and 3 possible cases of malaria.

Without medicine we couldn't help. We drove to the closest place where the Rendile have medical care - 5 miles away. There were two nurses working there and we asked one to come with us with the medicine needed to treat the children. It was a blessing to see the children get treated.

The Water Team came to assess the water situation for these tribes. Everywhere they saw women and children either going to fetch water, waiting in line for water or returning from fetching water - walking with the familiar yellow jugs on their backs. We were able to meet with the Kenya government officials - water management, enviorment impact and the Public Health Officer for Marsabit. All of them were very helpful sharing what has happened to both secure water and clean what and what is planned. We learned there is 80% illiteracy in Marsabit with a population of 200,000. The top three illnesses are upper respiratory, malaria and diarrhea. The diarrhea is related to the poor quality of water. We saw most of the water sources in Marsabit. We also saw a program in progress for harvesting the mist to use as water.

We asked what they believe are the things to do to help improve the water situation. Their answer:

1. harvest water with rain guards and tanks all public buildings - schools, churches, etc

2. trucks with water tanks to distribute water

3. education of the people on safe water

We saw the progress on the PFC Hope Farm. This farm is growing food to feed the many orphans in this area. The ground has been tilled and some plantings are in. We have purchased a water tank that will help with watering the plants.

There was a lot accomplished in two days. The team worked from early morning until late at night...with no complaining. We are now on our way back to Nairobi.

Deb with a child in Marsabit

A child drinking water directly off a water tap

At Dr. Lumumba's office

Left for this team - medical camps with PLO Lumumba's Foundation and work with Nick and Charles and other programs the team members need to connect with.

Praying to help the people of Marsabit,

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Dear Connie:
Thank you so much for including the Foundation. Although we don't have money at this moment just to have a presence in the person of Belinda is a blessing. As always your report is very touching. May God continue to bless Partners for Care as you serve G
od's people. Give me a call when you can. Give Belinda and other team members my love.
Joe Beasley

Monday, November 15

2nd annual Run for Rebecca a success

The weather was perfect for a run. All the volunteers showed up early to set-up and register the runners. Thousand Hills Coffee was there with coffee - such a blessing early in the morning! David Gruber had made a new video showing the work of Partners for Care. Seven board members came to help as well as seven Jr. Partners for Care representatives. Alpharetta police blocked off the road and city works employees set out the cones. Months of preparations and many hours of volunteer time paid off. Runners really seemed to appreciate the "African" prizes. We were especially pleased to have representatives there from the Christian Runners group. We will meet with them in December to plan next year's run. Thanks to all who helped this year we had 20 sponsors! Some repeats from last year Star Travel, InComm and new ones Parson's, Miller Realty etc. We took notes on ways we could improve next year's race. All the funds raised this year will help with the mission in Kenya of saving lives for the kingdom. Grateful for a successful run, Connie
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Sunday, November 14

Little Elizabeth

Our plane has taken an emergency landing in Rome to remove a passenger who has had a stroke. I turned on my phone to receive the following message from Nick:


I feel so overwhelmingly sad for Nick. I wish this plane would get there so I can be with him. This is now the 78th person Nick and Charles have helped who has died from AIDS - the 23rd child. Little Elizabeth was so special, so little and so frail with a disease she was born with.

I will let you know more as I arrive and see Nick.

Pray for God to comfort Nick and all those who knew and loved Little Elizabeth,

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Tuesday, November 9

Partners for Care is very pleased to announce the newly formed Jr. Partners for Care. Led by Laura Espisto there are 8 high school students representing 8 high schools. They are passionate about their faith and their call to serve God. Read about them in their profiles. We are very blessed to work with such dedicated young people. Come meet them at the Run for Rebecca this Saturday. They will all be there! Connie

Monday, November 8

Little Elizabeth needs prayers

She is three years old...born with AIDS. She Nick's niece - one of the 34 orphans Nick cares for. She has just been hospitalized with vomiting and diarrhea. Nick texted me and asked for prayers for her. Pray God will heal her.

Praying for Little Elizabeth,


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-----Original Message-----
From: Connie Cheren <ccheren@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 2010 10:00:45
To: Connie Cheren<ccheren@aol.com>


Most of you know Nick. Some of you have been to Kenya and met him and walked with him through Mathare Slum as he showed you the work of Community Transformers. Others know Nick through the reading of the updates I send you.

I believe God uses Nick to speak to me in ways that break my heart. It isn't that Nick knows that or even that he tries to do that but it does happen. This morning I called Nick. He had not communicated recently and I wanted to check on him and the children he cares for. I told him the good news that Jane Lumumba (Dr. Lumumba's daughter who is interning for us this year) has agreed to help Nick develop a plan to secure funding. While Nick's ministry, Community Transformers, is long on passion and care for the homeless, hurting and those infected with HIV/AIDS, it is short on business plans, budgets, and even a brochure showing their work. Nick responded by saying how welcome she is and how glad he is for the help. Then he said, "I am always so ashamed to have to ask for food for the children".

Nick is ashamed because he can't as a young man with only volunteers as staff care for 34 orphaned children? I am the one ashamed as I sit in the comfort of my home with plenty of food. Ashamed of the ways I have spent money in the past. Ashamed I haven't been able to help him and the children more.

Pray for Jane as she helps Nick. Pray for someone to come along side Nick and CT to as Jane said "help them to prepare themselves in a manner that allows them to ask for funding for their work".

Thanking God for sending Nick to remind me what it is important to God,

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