honor

a heart for africa

Africa 2013

I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE IN THE AIRPORT WAITING TO LEAVE…

Posted by on 8:13 PM in 2013 | Comments Off on I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE IN THE AIRPORT WAITING TO LEAVE…

(I am posting this now…because I couldn’t get the internet to work in any of the airports we were in…and it is the first time I have been on my computer since we have been home.)

Well, it’s true…we are at the beginning stages of our long journey home. I know that I (we) have been a little lazy on keeping up on these “blog” things but I thought I would bring you up to date.

Yesterday, we woke up after a couple days of hard work in Kisii. We were definitely going to church (it was Sunday). So we looked on the internet to find a church that might give us a little more “African” culture before we left. Well, we decided on MAVUNO church. After getting there late and missing the singing…we realized that it was really interesting…it was really big and had shades of a “Saddleback” worship service. Although, it became really interesting when two people came up on stage and did, what could only be called, a comedic stand up show…people were laughing and seemed very interested. They called up the “finance” pastor and he proceeded to talk about a big move they were going to make and how they needed 360,000,000 shillings to move and that they were only at 127,000,000. All I could think about was the kids that are (and are not) sponsored through Tumaini and those kids in the “Tree House” orphanage in the slums of Mathari. I was just thinking, if they could only realize the power of that money to bringing life to children (I am sure they do, but I guess it happens everywhere…people sometimes turn a blind eye to the plight of God’s children). Then I began to think of the Christian community at home…we need to be more involved with people that we don’t see; people that we choose to ignore; people that are hurting and helpless and have nowhere to turn…Yes, homeless and the poor within our own community…IN CHINO! Well, back to the church service…the guest pastor got up and she began to give a great sermon (that our group understood about 80% of…she had a heavy accent). She talked about “Fanning the Flame of our Faith”; how we needed to encounter Jesus on a personal level and we needed to have a personal altar that was built in our hearts that was dedicated to, and honored God. It was pretty cool. At the end she gave an altar call and called out, what we might call, “Sunday Christians”. Those that come to church but have never really accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. She referred to the book of Isaiah…and in how the first 5 chapters, Isaiah is speaking to the people and telling them what the Lord is telling him. Then in chapter 6 it hits him and he says, “I saw the Lord…” (vs. 1) and he said, “…I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (vs. 5) It was at that moment that Isaiah realized that God was not only speaking to Judah and Jerusalem but, to him as well. So good!! So, she calls them out (Sunday Christians) and says, “…this is your moment.” People went forward and did what they needed to do and then went out to a tent and received a new believers pamphlet and were encouraged to join a bible study…it was pretty neat…but again, my mind went back to those kids. The fact they are living in places we wouldn’t put our dog. Places where they wonder where their next meal is coming from and where they might sleep that night…and I began to think, “How messed up is it that we can’t even make a decision to follow Jesus because it might cramp our style or that we might have to change something to follow him.” Then I began to think about the church in America…it is the same struggle that we face at home. Trying to get people to “buy in to” what it truly means to follow Jesus. Man, I don’t have it figured out but, I know I want more of Him and less of me. This brings me back to the “poor” in our own community…but not only the poor but, the widows as well. Those that we turn a “blind eye” to…those that we think, “Might by drugs or alcohol if we give them money”…those that we have a tough time remembering. Well, I say, IT’S TIME TO REMEMBER!! Just like the kids that we sponsor and those at the orphanage…WE NEED TO REMEMBER!!! Our team has discussed and prayed about how we would bring the message home and relay in words all of the things we have seen. We have prayed that hearts would be softened and minds would be opened and that we would continue to look more outward than inward. So be ready because we will be having an “Africa Sunday” where we will be sharing about what we have seen and experienced. There will be pictures and probably some tears. Please come…please come and hear about the children of God. Please come and listen to stories of how people touched lives that may be changed forever for the simple reason, they know they HAVE NOT been forgotten.

Sean Cornish said something really interesting one night during Bible study…he said, “Jesus saved our lives, the only response we have is to give up our lives. It has to cost us something.”  It was a call to personally evaluate, “What is it costing me. Am I giving out of abundance or out of need?” Something to think about.

After church we headed to the Giraffe Center for an encounter with these huge, awesome creatures. Everybody fed them…some fed them from their mouths…and well, let’s just say, some should probably think about asking them out on a date. Then a short walk (hike) through the giraffe paddock…didn’t see any giraffes but the idea that we might, kept us going. Then home for a good meal and to start packing (UUGGHH!!! All of us would like to stay longer) for the journey home.

Right after dinner we did a “Time of Encouragement” where everyone went around and shared something about every single person on this team…IT WAS AWESOME!!! Our (your) team is so great at encouraging one another. Everyone felt so blessed…a real bonding time.

PACKING, PACKING, PACKING…So much stuff that we need to pack…HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET IT ALL IN?!?!?! Well we did! Everything made it except for the few items we left behind.

Woke us this morning and ate breakfast, loaded the bus, and headed out. First stop…more souvenirs? Those last minute items that we needed to buy for that person that slipped our mind…no, I won’t tell you who they are…but just to say, I think we are completely covered in the gifts we will be giving out! Next stop…highlight of the day…we met Paul and Stanley for lunch for the very last “good-byes” and to just hang out with two of the coolest people I know. Then our last stop…the “TREE HOUSE”…why? You might be asking? Because, we put together a suitcase of items that our team is leaving behind to bless the children and Lynnett (the young lady that oversees the children day to day) at the orphanage. Everyone was involved…we left everything from shoes to Frisbees, toys to toilet paper, shampoo to shirts, undergarments to soap. We just began to put things is that we didn’t really need, and even some things we did. The only one there when we arrived was Lynnett…she was so surprised when we showed up. Oh, did I mention we didn’t call before we went…we just showed up. She was so blessed and excited that we were there. With tears in her eyes she said, “thank you so much…I have missed you so much…please come back again.” We took time to hug her and encourage her with our words and prayers, and as we left, she stood at the door of the orphanage waving as we drove away, that is when it hit us all, “WE WERE GOING HOME!” For everyone it was not a time of cheering and joy…it was a time of reflection and, almost, sadness…leaving our family in Kenya. Bitter-sweet…the sadness of leaving one family and the joy of reuniting with another. God is so good and He has blessed us so radically!!

So we showed up at the airport early (REALLY EARLY), so early we couldn’t check in for almost 2 hours. Finally checked in only to “hurry up and wait” some more for the actual gate to open. Which brings me to this very moment…right now…sitting in the terminal in Nairobi, Kenya waiting for our flight and writing the last blog of the actual trip…what an amazing adventure!!!

God has blessed us by:

-using us.

-giving us incredible opportunities.

-showing us things we might not ever be able to explain.

-putting this whole trip together.

-proving that we are all family, bonded together by His Spirit.

-opening our eyes to things that we may not want to see.

-opening our hearts to things we NEED to feel.

-allowing us to be His hands.

-allowing us to be His feet.

-LOVING US!

-and through His unsurpassed-unconditional-crazy love, giving us the ability to LOVE OTHERS…

THANK YOU JESUS for a church that is so supportive and so mission focused…thank you to everyone that helped through the giving of finances, prayer and/or both. Thank you to the families that have allowed family members to be on this trip. Thank you to all those friends and family members that stepped into the “gap” while we were gone…and thank you to everyone I have forgotten to thank. It has been a trip that we will not soon forget and, it is a trip that has changed lives. It is a trip that has confirmed the call that Christ has put on the lives of people and, it is a trip that we will try to explain to those we love and come in contact with. ALL I CAN SAY IS, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!”

See you soon…

This is Mike. Signing off…after 28 days of being on one of the most incredible adventures of my life.

“GOD IS GOOD; ALL THE TIME,

AND ALL THE TIME; GOD IS GOOD!

IT IS HIS NATURE!”

Where to begin…

Posted by on 8:40 PM in 2013 | Comments Off on Where to begin…

Today was a great day. We entered in, having an idea but, not really knowing what we were in for. First, let’s go back a couple days. When we arrived at HEART on Monday, we really did not know what they were going to have us do. So, we woke us Tuesday morning and went to the WEEP Center and painted the room that the women sell the items they make (well, I didn’t go. I was back at the hotel sick as a dog…visiting the restroom about every 30 minutes). But that on Tuesday night, Vicky (the lady who is in charge at HEART) came to us and asked us if we would be interested in traveling “up country” to work on a new WEEP Center in Kisii they were trying to “get ready” (75 kilometers from the border of Tanzania). I said, “Vicky, you are talking to the right people…we love to do stuff like this. We are the group for you.” She laughed and said, “Are you sure?” Then she proceeded to tell us that mostly all of the groups that come there don’t want to travel. This is right before she told us that it would be about a 7 hour drive. After figuring it out with Joseph (the driver)…we were ready to go. After an incredible day with the kids at CT (Community Transformers) “Tree House” orphanage, we got back to HEART at 5:30pm and had dinner, did our Bible study, and went to bed…we were awoken at the crazy hour of 5:00am to get ready, have breakfast, and head out for Kisii. WHAT AN ADVENTURE!!!! On the way we saw baboons, zebra, gazelles, and monkeys. We went straight to the WEEP Center and “assessed” the situation, went into town and purchased the supplies, then headed to where we would be staying. It is pretty nice place…not that we will be here for long…we leave tomorrow and we are basically eating and sleeping there.

So they asked us to paint a couple rooms (oh joy, painting…j/k).DSCN0521

DSCN0540 DSCN0550 DSCN0600

Well, we did it and today we are headed back to finish up. The people here are so great and they are so excited we are here. Kids and adults are coming from all over to “watch” us paint…or maybe it is just to look at the “mazungus”…either way, it is pretty cool to talk with them and play with them. GOD IS SO GOOD!

I can’t believe it is only a few days until we leave for home…Can’t wait to share all the stories with everyone.

Tribute to Muia

Posted by on 4:34 PM in 2013, Blog | Comments Off on Tribute to Muia

Pls take 5 min and watch. More info http://www.tumainiinternational.org. Thanks to @StevenCurtis

?#?HonorKenya2013?

Please pass along if you feel so inclined.

Muia Video

 

“We do our best and God does the rest.”

Posted by on 2:28 PM in 2013 | 1 comment

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…” -Galatians 3:26

DSCN0511

 Charles                                   Nick

Nick and Charles (founders of Community Transformers) were born and grew up in the Mithari Slum. In 2008 (Nick and Charles were about 19 years old) there was a political uprising in Kenya (most of you have probably heard about this). Two tribes each had a representative running for President. When the election results came in, one lost and one won (obviously)…but this caused one tribe to war against the other. Well, within the Mithari Slums people from the two different tribes live together. One began to war against the other. Fighting broke out…people were killing each other in the streets. Houses were being burned. People were being beheaded and cut to pieces…literally!! The streets were running red with blood. It was complete mayhem. The children, as well as adults that were not involved in the fighting, watched in horror and feared for their lives. There was a building that the Community Transformers had just started using to bring hope to the Mithari slums…people ran to that building seeking refuge and safety…hiding for their very lives. Nick and Charles (founders of Community Transformers) realized something needed to be done. Without hesitation, they ran into the middle of all the fighting and began pulling injured people out and carrying them up to the street (which in many cases was very far and uphill) to be picked up by ambulance and taken to the hospital. The ambulances would not enter the slums because the drivers feared they might be killed. So for people to get help, they needed to make it to the street. As Nick and Charles carried one person after another up the hill to the street, they would put them down and would run in for the next one. This went on for hours. Nick cried out to God and said, “Father, please help us we are so tired…if we just had a stretcher we could do this so much faster.” As Nick rounded the corner headed up to the street…there it was, a stretcher leaning up against the door of the Community Transformer building. “PRIASE GOD!!” Nick thought to himself…maybe even yelling it out. Using the stretcher, they began to carry out three and four people at a time. The only reason they stopped was due to complete and total exhaustion. This began a ministry to people (“clients”) of the Mithari slums. This “transformed” into helping women and children affected by, and with AIDS. They brought food, medicine and would make sure they were able to get to their doctor appointments (as well as helping them spiritually and letting them know they were not been forgotten).

-Side note:

AIDS is an interesting thing here in Kenya. Due to the lack of education about the disease, people who have it are “shunned” and pushed aside and left to die. Friends, neighbors, and even family will simply wait for the person to die and then “collect the body” of the deceased. People believe just touching someone infected will cause them to become infected also. There is also a “denial” that is very prevalent. Men, the main spreaders of the disease, won’t get tested and just keep spreading it around by sleeping with many women. This is a very male dominated culture and the women are mostly treated like sex objects…never saying “no”, and if they do, they are usually raped by the man (Now to be clear, this is mostly in the slums and in the poverty stricken areas). THE CRAZIEST THING?…After the men know that the women are infected, they don’t hang around! They leave…leave the infected mother and all of their children. COWARDS!!!!!!

Now we have to remember that most (if not all) these women have children (usually more than 1…normally like 3 or 4) that might also be HIV positive or have full blown AIDS…now you have a complete family that is in need. Now the challenge is…What happens when the mother dies or can no longer take care of her children? Enter a new level of Community Transformers intervention. They opened an orphanage for children whose parents have died or are no longer around. 3 rooms on the third floor of a building that was dark, dirty, and cramped with neighbors that would come in and steal from them and treat the children horribly. Nick and Charles knew they needed to get out of there, and their dream was to build an orphanage that could house, feed, and care for these children. Well, God blessed them and they began building the “Tree House”.

DSCN0323

It is no by no means finished but, the children are living in it…safe, cared for, and loved. It is an amazing place with amazing children and amazing people running it. All of the children are in school, well fed, and have a clean place to sleep with beds, blankets, pillows, bathrooms, showers, and their own “trunk” for their personal clothes and items. It is awesome!!!

ENTER THE DEVIL…what does Satan try to do when the Kingdom of God is actually happening here on earth? He tries to tear and down and destroy it…because that is what he does…HE ALSO IS A COWARD…THE BIGGEST COWARD!!!  Enter…someone (let’s just keep it that anonymous) that gave a lot of money to help complete the roof of the Tree House.  This person came to Nick and Charles and said, “I have given a lot of money for this orphanage, and I need you to sign over all of the property and everything to me and my organization so we can take over and run it right.” Nick and Charles said, “Thank you for your help and contribution but, we can’t do that.” This person tried something different, this person began to spread rumors saying, “The children were not being taken care of properly” and, “They were not being fed” and, “They were not clean”…and a bunch of other BS statements that just crawled up under my skin and made me want to hit something or someone…all to just get control of the orphanage. Then to hear Nick and Charles say, “We couldn’t believe what was being said about us. But then we just stepped back and said, ‘God we know your justice will win out. We know you will do what you want.’” Well, that person is GONE; never to bother Nick and Charles again…she gave up!! That is what happens when the devil comes up against our MIGHTY GOD! I began to cry…for the next 10 minutes I poured out encouragement and praise over them…hugging them about every 2 to 3 minutes. We finished our tea and I called the team over, we laid hands on them, and prayed Kingdom down on them. Right before we left, I hugged Charles and told him that I loved him, and then hugged Nick and began to cry and told him that I loved him and that they were doing God’s work and I was honored to know them and pray for them and that we would be back.

There is so much more to this story…wait till I tell you about my friend Lucas! And I didn’t even mention that today was another “FUN DAY” for the children at the Tree House.

DSCN0507

DSCN0319 DSCN0320 DSCN0321 DSCN0322

It was an amazing day…and I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now.

MY CHALLENGE TO EVERYONE IS TO PRAY…CRY OUT TO GOD FOR THESE CHILDREN, AND STAND IN THE GAP FOR NICK AND CHARLES AND ALL THE STAFF OF COMMUNITY TRANSFORMERS!!!

“Normal” Things From Our Days in Kenya

Posted by on 11:19 AM in 2013, Blog | 3 comments

On this blog, the team has captured so many of the momentous events during our time in Kenya.  Now that I’ve been home for a week, one of the aspects of life in Kenya that I miss are the more mundane things.

  • Whether in the morning or the evening, we turn the knobs to take a shower not knowing what we’ll get that day.  We may get a strong, hot shower, a cold shower, or no water at all.  Since we ended many days covered in dirt and sweat, any water was welcomed.  
  • The toilets weren’t always up to the challenges we imposed and some team members were too embarrassed to ask for help until they could no longer hide the ‘situation.’  (Names have intentionally been withheld to protect the embarrassed.)
  • Before breakfast each day, we had a quiet time with a song and prayers to make sure we were centered and fully present for the Lord had intended for us that day.
  • During breakfast, we had a line for the buffet and another for the eggs.  Choosing which line to go in first and preserving your place in line was often an artform.  Doing it wrong may mean missing out on eggs or something scarce from the buffet line.
  • Chapati is a round flat bread and a staple of many Kenyan meals.  It’s eaten rolled up like a tortilla.  The team found many creative ways to eat a chapati: nutella, jam/jelly, stuffed with cabbage (“Kenyan egg roll”), stuffed with anything else, with chili sauce.
Chapati and cabbage

Chapati and cabbage

 

  • In Masii, we stayed on the third floor of a building.  The first two floors are occupied by various businesses and offices (including the offices for Tumaini and Masii Christian Chapel).  The building is a hollow rectangle with an open courtyard.  From the third floor, we can look down and see the two bottom floors.  During the daytime, the moment we stepped out of our rooms, we were greeted by children on the second floor saying “hi” (or something of the sort) and following our every move.
  • Whenever we walked around town, there were undoubtedly a group of children there to greet us.  Many walked with us wherever we were going.  Others shouted joyfully, “How’re you?” to which the proper reply is “I’m fine.”    We were treated like “rock stars,” which was awkward but seemed to bring the children a lot of joy.
A group greeting us outside the gate of the hotel.

A group greeting us outside the gate of the hotel.

 

  • For whatever reason, the kids love stickers.  It didn’t really matter what kind.  They often swarmed around us when we started with the stickers.  By the time we were through, faces, arms and hands would be covered.
Stickers!

Stickers!

Swarmed for stickers

Swarmed for stickers

 

  • The weather was perfect is almost every way.  Several days, the high was in the upper 70s.  It wasn’t particularly hot but the sun felt more piercing.
  • The lanes on the road are merely suggestions.  Like many parts of the world, you drive on the right side of the road…that, too, appears to be a suggestion.
  • Our driver’s name is Joseph.  With him, roads are optional.  Cows and vegetation: beware.
  • We ended most days with dinner and a Bible study.  Though we were often physically, and emotionally, exhausted, the study forced us to focus back on our purpose: radical obedience to His calling.
  • For those who were still conscious, the night ended with cards games and/or the Internet café.

The emotional and mundane things we faced, each in their own ways, helped to create a close-knit team.

Miss you all!

A DAY FILLED WITH BLESSINGS AND…CHICKENS?

Posted by on 1:11 PM in 2013 | 3 comments

Today we said our good-byes and headed to Nairobi for our last week here…but before I get into that, I would like to share what happened today before we left. I don’t have any pictures right now, so I am going to try and describe it in words. We had arranged for the 5 children that were sponsored while we were here to come to the Tumaini office today and be blessed by their sponsor (and those representing their sponsors). It was a great day!! These children came and had no idea that some of our team members would spend the rest of the money they had buying them shoes, socks, sweaters, skirts, hats, an abundance of toys, and in some cases ice cream. Some of the children had no idea how to react, but they felt loved…you could see it on their faces! How awesome!! I came to a conclusion that I think this is the response of a heart is turned towards God and a person that realizes the blessings in their own life. Kaleb Puckett made this statement tonight in a prayer, “God, I am so blessed and I know the only reason I am blessed is to bless others.” This is how we should respond in every situation…our faith and love for God cannot be determined by the situation we are in. This was never more displayed to our team then visiting and getting to know the people here. We are also reminded of a night that we attended a Bible study. We met in this small courtyard down a dark alley…our light came from a small dimly glowing porch light and those holding flashlights with mosquitoes buzzing around. We opened our Bibles and began to take about who God is and the Truth of who He is…then it came to an end and it was time for prayer. We went around and everyone was asked what they would like to have prayer for…it came to a girl named Ann…an amazing young teenager with a twin sister named Alice…this is what Ann said, “Please pray for the needy.” WHAT!! You are asking for prayer for the needy? YOU ARE THE NEEDY? But the truth is, God’s love, grace, mercy, and calling to pray for others, is not based on our situation. We can all learn from Ann. So in getting back to the children that visited today…our team here (the team you sent here) has blessed and been blessed more that we could ever describe in words. This brings up the next thing that happened today…

WE BOUGHT CHICKENS!!! Well not actually “we”…it was Ken and Sean that both put in 4000 shillings each and bought 19 chickens for the “Wamunyu Special School”…the school for disabled children. How great is that?!?!?! When we had visited the school to deliver the mosquito nets that Emily had bought for every student, we were taken on a tour. During the tour we came to a chicken coop that had 3 chickens and a rooster. Damaris (the lady that runs the school) began to tell us that they had alot of chickens die and how they were hopeful to fill the chicken coop again one day. We finished the tour, played with the kids, listened to them sing, handed out stickers and “sweets” (candy), and then loaded up on the bus to leave…but something was different. Ken and Sean came to me and said, “We want to buy chickens for them.” Again, I believe that this is a response of a heart turned towards God. A heart that listens to His Spirit…and then responds. The response? Buying the chickens, and delivering them today to a group of cheering and excited students…how awesome is that.

All of these things, whether buying shoes, clothes and gift for sponsored kids or, buying chickens for a school…this is the response God wants us to have when people are in need…PERIOD!! End of discussion. This does not need to be done only in Africa…think about the people around you that truly need help. “God please give the ability to see people the way you see people and break our hearts for what breaks Yours. -Amen”

Closing thought:

Please pray for our team members. We were all sitting around the table tonight doing our bible study, and began to share from hearts. It was so hard for us to understand that while we would be sleeping in a nice room, in a bed, with clean water within arms reach, with full stomachs from dinner we just had…that there are children like Muia who are crammed into a small room with 6 other people, without a bed to sleep on (yet), and probably hungry…at that same moment. That is something hard to wrap your head around.

“WE ARE BLESSED SO THAT WE MAY BLESS OTHERS!!” Words to live by!!

KENYAN MOUNTAIN CLIMBING!!

Posted by on 12:44 PM in 2013 | Comments Off on KENYAN MOUNTAIN CLIMBING!!

Yes…I said MOUNTAIN CLIMBING!! Today we had an incredible day with the Masii Christian Chapel Youth Group. We took the opportunity to encourage and edify the students (and adults) that are part of the Youth Group. It was a great day!! They said they wanted to take us on a “hike”…not a hard hike but a challenging hike. Well that is exactly what it was…CHALLENGING!! But all in all it was great (although there were times we were all wondering if we were even on a path). Please pray for the Youth Ministry here in Masii. They have the same challenges we have in the U.S. but, some are extreme.

Yes! This is the mountain we climbed.

Yes! This is the mountain we climbed.

AT THE TOP!!!

AT THE TOP!!!

Family

Family

Lunch @ Cornelius' Home...after the hike

Lunch @ Cornelius’ Home…after the hike

"Githeri"

“Githeri”

Ken going for 2nds

Ken going for 2nds

After hiking the “TALLEST MOUNTAIN IN THE AREA” we were treated to “githeri”…a traditional dish of peas and corn…SOOO GOOD…we all gathered at Cornelius’ home. His mother, father, and neighbor hosted us and made us feel like family. Cornelius’ father made this statement, “I see different churches together, honoring us by coming to our house and eating our food, and being with people you don’t even know…I want to go to your church because it is a good church.” This is the “church” that God expects us to be…KNOWING JESUS AND MAKING HIM KNOWN! Amen!!

Pray for us as we continue to walk where Jesus calls us to walk.

“SAWA-SAWA” (This was posted 1 day late…Sorry Rick)

Posted by on 11:40 AM in 2013 | 1 comment

“It’s fine, it’s fine” (or “it’s good, it’s good” saying it is OK whatever you are telling me)…This seems to be the answer to almost everything. What a great day this was. One of our goals in coming to Masii again was to, not only, see all the children, have 2 day camps, build a house, and work at a WEEP Center but it was to HONOR those we came in contact with.  This morning was just that. Last night we decided that we would all share verses of encouragement to the entire Tumaini staff and then wash their feet. We ambushed them (haha). Cindy went to the office and told them we need to talk to them all, and so they all came up to the dining room and sat down. Then we proceeded to have them sit in a line of chairs and began to share with them. It was awesome…every team member shared about what they see in the lives of the staff and unbelievably encouraged them. Then we pulled out basins of water (that we had prepared earlier) and proceeded to wash their feet. What was funny, is when we started to wash their feet, they began to giggle…we thought, “Why are they laughing?” Then we found out. After we were done washing their feet and we hugged and prayed over them (and the tears of joy were wiped away), they told us that they knew about Jesus washing the disciples feet, and they had read the story many times but,…THEY HAD NEVER HAD THEIR FEET WASHED!!! What an honor for our team (your team) to kneel before servants that are on the front lines of ministry and do something for them they had never had done before. Thank you Jesus.

DSCN9590 DSCN9676 DSCN9756DSCN9631 DSCN9603

Today were home visits of the children that our team sponsored while we were here!! Kevin and Tina Puckett sponsored a young boy named Joshua; Sean Cornish sponsored a young girl named Nzula; Emily Hoverson sponsored a young girl named Pauline “Mwende” (very cool); Sarah Hoverson sponsored a young girl named Faith…you might be asking yourself, “Wait, I see 5 pictures. Who is that last little boy?”…Well, his name is Simon and he was just sponsored by Patty Puckett (Kaleb’s aunt). Simon is Joshua’s brother. GOOD JOB PATTY!!…IT WAS A GOOD DAY! Everyone needs to consider sponsoring a young child…it brings hope through saving their lives…LITERALLY!!! $35 dollars a month to bring “life” (literally) to a child that is dying. A child who has lost one, or both, parents to HIV and is usually HIV+  themselves…CRAZY!!  STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND JUST DO IT…

SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY!! Copy and paste the link below in your “search bar”:

http://www.tumainiinternational.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=72701

Giving Out of Poverty (Mk 12:44)

Posted by on 6:30 AM in 2013, Blog | Comments Off on Giving Out of Poverty (Mk 12:44)

He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”  — Mk 12:43-44, NET

During the course of our trip to Africa, six additional children have been sponsored by members of Valley Christian Church.  Five of those sponsored are by members of the team in Africa.  They’re each too humble to admit it (and rightly so) but I feel compelled to boast on their behalf, particularly because their actions are borne out of faith and compulsion due to their love for Christ.  Each is a student and each is “minimally employed.”  They saw a need and answered a call.  There’s no complex theology.  As Jesus commanded, they answered out of faith.

Emily, Sarah, Catie Kaleb, and Sean you are each heroes of the faith in my book and examples for us all.  I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to serve by your side.

Emily and Pauline

Emily and Pauline

Sarah and Faith

Sarah and Faith

Kaleb and Grace

Kaleb and Grace

 

Catie and Rose, who is 7 months pregnant

Catie and Rose, who is 7 months pregnant

Sean and Nzula

Sean and Nzula

 

Family

Posted by on 12:24 PM in 2013 | 1 comment

Okay so I have a little bit of explaining to do. Yesterday I talked about how I met the newest member of our family, Mutunga, who my parents sponsored. Well it turns out Mutunga had been sponsored before I said we would sponsor him, but it hadn’t gone through the system yet. So this morning, Rose, Paul, and Elizabeth (Tumaini founder and employees) told me the “bad news” that my family didn’t actually sponsor Mutunga. I was bummed of course, but when you think about it, that’s kind of a good problem to have. There are too many sponsors. And I believe wholeheartedly that God has a purpose for everything that happens. I mean I got to meet Mutunga and impact his life in a way I will never be able to comprehend. God is good.

So today we did more house visits and I got to meet the little boy who my parents actually sponsor, Joshua. Joshua is eight years old, an older brother, in grade two, and HIV+. He, his brother, and his mother live in a house on land that belongs to Joshua’s grandmother. Because of this they only have one small room with one bed where all three of them sleep. I noticed that Joshua and his brother Simon weren’t wearing shoes and had very flat feet, a sign of not wearing shoes for an extended period of time. It broke my heart. I found myself again experiencing this overwhelming feeling of family. I love Joshua. I gave him a backpack full of shirts, school supplies, and star wars toys and he just had a smile from ear to ear. It is amazing to see how such a small gift gives so much joy. Joshua and Mutunga will both be coming to the office on Monday and I will take them to the market to buy them new clothes, shoes, and whatever else they need. I will buy them whatever they need. I have so much. I feel it is my responsibility to give what I have. And I just want to give to them. Like I said, they are my family and I love them.

What broke my heart about today though was Joshua’s little brother, Simon. He is also HIV+, but is not sponsored. He desperately needs a sponsor because he needs medication to fight this disease he has. It broke my heart. I am praying that he will be sponsored very soon. I trust in God because He always provides for us. The Lord is good and brings families together across oceans. I could die today and be completely satisfied because God has spoken to me and shown me so many things over the past two and a half weeks. I got to meet Grace, the girl I sponsor, and meet Joshua, the boy my parents sponsor. God has blessed me so much. I know this probably sounds bad but I just want to come back here to see these two kids again. I mean we haven’t even left and I’m already planning on coming back and visiting them again. God willing I will be back here, in this exact place writing about how I finally, after two years, was re-united with Grace and Joshua. God I love you so much and I pray provision, protection, and healing over these two families.

DSCN9595 DSCN9610

 

Okay…two hours later and I just found out right now my super awesome aunt is going to sponsor Simon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How amazing is God!?!?! He works in amazing ways that we DO NOT understand. Huge shout out to you and Mike aunt Patty :). I love you guys and appreciate your contribution because you will change this boys life!! Below is a picture of newly sponsored Simon. God is so good!

DSCN9602