If you haven’t noticed, our blogs are kind of random. Our brains are a little scattered and bounce around a lot. So as we give updates and share what’s going on and what’s on our hearts, that’s just how it ends up getting typed, pretty scattered and random. Hope that’s okay!
The last couple weeks have been busy. We are in full swing now. Our days seem to be filled with trips to town with sick children, almost every time they have some type of Malaria. We’ll take them to the lab to see which type or how severe so we know which drugs to give, then either take them back home where I will give them their injections or medicine or if they are severe or have an additional problem we will take them to the “hospital.” I must say that I can’t brag too much on the hospitals here. They aren’t my favorite. The halls are filled with people waiting. Its first come first serve, regardless of how sick or on the verge of death you are. There’s no triage. And it’s very unorganized. You have to ask a lot of questions, “Where do I go next?”, “Are we finished here?”, “Are you busy? I have a patient here to see you.” and take initiative to make stuff happen. There are a lot of steps, and you go back and forth between the lobby and the hospital to pay each tab in between each step before you can go to the next, it’s pretty crazy. They can’t just give you one bill at the end because they know that most people here don’t have money. And if you don’t have money, you don’t get treated or seen. It’s pretty sad. So anyways, many of our days start out with trips to town with sick kids or to check on them, running to the store and market to get any food or supplies, and coming back to United Hope and having Pastor’s training, Bible studies, and night time devotionals with the kids. Unfortunately we have not been able to visit the local widows in maybe two weeks. We thought we were finally going to get to last night, but Tim was sick, so Willis and I thought we would go without him, but I also knew I couldn’t handle being the one who brought the Words of encouragement to them because every time we go, I have to fight so hard to keep from losing it. If I try to open my mouth, my lip immediately quivers, my voice cracks, and my eyes swell. My heart is always so broken for so many of them. But last night, a storm ended up coming and we couldn’t go anyway. I was somewhat relieved, but I know its something that I want and need to overcome. I want to be able to go and share with them and love on them, so bad, I want to.
Well, with Tim being sick this morning (we think he might have Malaria), we stayed home from church so he could rest. We really enjoyed sitting around and reading some of our first ever emails and Facebook messages to each other and it’s really neat to see how far God has brought us. Before we started dating, and before we even really knew each other, Tim messaged me about my first trip to Kenya, and he talked about how he felt in his heart that God might be calling him into missions. As the emailing continued, we also talked about our life struggles, living a lukewarm life, and walking the path God laid out for us. We shared our past mistakes and our stories with each other. We still hadn’t met face to face yet, when we started an emailing Bible study with each other, to help encourage each other, and keep each other focused on living for God and in the Word rather than on the world and life’s many distractions. It was a precious time of growth and learning for both of us. God stirred up a fire in each of us. It was just really neat to go back through those messages and see how God used that time to grow us, and to bring us together, and who knew when we started talking that one day we’d be sitting here in Kenya together, doing what we felt God calling us to do, doing what our hearts desire, side by side, and with a baby on the way. Haha, who knew? God knew. But I must say that I secretly had a little feeling and hoped he’d be the one the first few weeks we started talking. 😉
I am excited to say that we have 5 of the children sponsored now! And one person sent in funds to get some school supplies for those without sponsors! We are so thankful for the support! I will try to create a new place sometime soon on the website here for you to look at a list of some of the kids that are in need of sponsorship with a brief description of their story.
We had fun this past week trying to teach the kids some new songs! It was fun teaching them Father Abraham, had many sons!! Actually Tim taught them while I videoed and giggled from the back. It was fun! And also Jesus Loves Me This I Know. But I don’t think they’ve quite got the hang of it yet. The kids are doing memory verses now, which has been fun but also challenging because a lot of the younger kids really struggle with it, and its hard to not give them rewards/candy too! So this week (they get new verses on Mondays) we are going to divide them in teams, and the first team that can say it together as a group will get a treat. That way, the little ones aren’t always getting left out. Any one got any other ideas that you do in Awanas or anything?
This week we changed the women’s Bible study from Monday to Friday because their Mondays were busy, and the number increased from 5 women to about 18 women. So that was pretty exciting (but makes me nervous too.) Speaking and leading a large group has never been my strength. I get so nervous and I usually feel like I lose my focus and get scatter brained. (Which I suppose isn’t all that abnormal for me!) But as I prayed and prepared throughout the week, I was not content on what I wanted to talk about, and finally God popped in my head to share my personal testimony and have some of them share theirs. So that’s what we did! (And even that’s what Tim and the men did at one of their meetings this week!) I think we all learned so much from each other’s testimonies. There were many that remained silent but I pray that they learned more about their God through testimonies and if any of them have never came to Jesus seeking Him as their savior and friend, maybe now they know a little more about Him and will begin seeking after Him. But it was neat to see the many different ways God brings us to His feet and opens our eyes to how desperately we need Him. I felt like God gave me some few words of encouragement to share as He placed verses on my heart, so I read some scripture and we discussed briefly before we dismissed in time for them to get home before a storm came in.
Well we’ve been having some ideas and discussions with Willis about some things to possibly try in the near future. We’ve learned that about 10 or so of the children staying here at the orphanage still have a living mother or close relatives nearby and they may be able to bring their children back home. Many of the widowed mothers were not able to bring in enough income after their husbands passed away to be able to feed their children 3 meals a day and pay for them to go to school. A lot of women try to find work under local farmers or selling food from their garden or doing laundry for some neighbors that can afford to pay them a little, but it’s usually hardly enough to feed them. So they sought assistance from United Hope to care for their children so they could ensure they would be fed three meals a day and get an education. But we’ve come to realize that when you have over 40 kids in a home, it’s just not much of a home. United Hope is a wonderful place and these kids get fed, and get to go to school, and have clean water on sight. But they can’t get all the love and attention and disciple they need like they could if they were living at home with their families. Willis and his wife and the 4 caretakers here try their hardest to give them the love and attention and discipline, but they are always so busy cooking and washing and cleaning and with other tasks, and with over 40 children, it’s just a tough job. When Akiko was hurt in the motorcycle accident, he was such a tough little guy. He was all banged up and didn’t even cry. Nurse Jenni cleaned him all up and gave him some love and kisses and carried him to bed. Then his momma came to check on him, and all tears broke loose. As soon as he heard her voice, he began to cry. His mom came in and loved on him and talked to him, and it was just the sweetest thing to see the love between a mother and her child. If we could find a way to help the moms and capable grandparents to make enough income to support their families, how wonderful would it be to get their families back together? Like maybe get them a sewing machine and fabric to start out if they know how to sew, or teach them how to make the African paper bead jewelry to sell, or buy them a charcoal oven to bake breads and cakes in to sell, or raising and selling chickens, etc. We think this could work! It would be good for the families and kids, and would additionally take part of the load off the Orphanage.
Also, one of the goals at United Hope is that they will eventually become self sustaining. They already have a chicken project that helps feed the kids, and once some of these 17 baby chickens grow up, they can be eaten or sold for income to buy other sources of food or pay for school fees. One of their hopes is to get solar panels for their electricity, rather than spending money each month on electricity. They also have a grinding mill to grind up corn and wheat to make flour. However, it is currently broken with no money to repair it. However, the income from it was only about 150 shillings a day which is about 2 dollars. However, when school fees for each child is about 5 to 10 dollars a month, then that 2 dollars a day helped tremendously. They would like to get assistance to invest in a professional oven and a generator (because electricity here is quite unstable) and make about 100 loaves of bread a day to sell in the local markets and stores. Willis believes that the income from that and the bread itself could bring them in about 20,000 to 30,000 shillings a month ($240-$360). They need about $500 a month to feed the children which they currently receive from a church in the US. So that would be so huge in helping them get on their feet!!! So just some things we are discussing!
So I think that is enough for now. Please pray for Tim that he will get better soon! And pray for all the mosquitoes that carry malaria to stay far away from this place to protect us and these kids.