Where to even start…
This will be in no particular order, but will just write as things come on my heart and mind!
I’ll start by saying that God is so good and is always providing for all our needs through the most random and surprising avenues and through many of you and through people we don’t even know as well, He is guiding our steps and directions, opening and closing doors, He is leading us ways that we didn’t expect, and at times, He is testing our patience!! But hey, that builds perseverance, right?
So we have a new boy here at United Hope, if you have been following me and Tim on Facebook, you saw us posting about George. He is around ten years old. We met him a few times in the supermarket in town begging for money to “help his mom start a business.” The first time we just gave him a couple shillings and talked to him for a few brief minutes and went on about our grocery shopping. Then we saw him again, and again. Three times total. The 2nd and 3rd time we didn’t give him any money, just talked. And Tim and I and even Willis all felt there was something about this boy, and also pulling us to dig deeper. He told us his mom was disabled from a car wreck and was getting money to help her start a business. So we asked if we could meet his mother. We set up a time and Tim, Willis and I went and met him again a couple days later back at the same super market, picked him up and he pointed the way to his house. Of course on the way we got stuck (car issues is a whole other story), and we had to get some locals to nearly lift our car off the ground and scoot us a couple feet. We thanked them by giving them tea money (which we had no choice, lol) and continued. We got to George’s house in a slum part of town, and we find that mom isn’t there. At this point we thought maybe this was a big joke, maybe George didn’t want us to meet his mom. We talked with neighbors and gathered some information and came back a few days later. There we found Momma George and kids, but George was not around. The family of five live in a small room, about the size of most American bathrooms. Momma George was sitting on the bed in the dark by candle light. We opened with prayer and began talking. This Momma has a heartbreaking story. She “used to be a Christian but later declined” because she was mostly rejected because of her disability in the church. Momma says that she is handicapped due to Polio when she was five years old. She talked about how she was a burden to her family and how she didn’t get to go to school as a child. She married and had children, and her first husband passed away. Another man agreed to marry her and help her care for her family, but he got her pregnant and didn’t want the burden and pressures of taking care of Momma and family. So he left her. She was able to start a business buying and reselling clothes but the she fell very ill and needed to use her income to pay for the hospital bill. She was never able to recover from using that money and her business fell apart and ran out of stock. George then started going and begging for money for him mom, but he ended up just pocketing the money. Momma said that after the dad passed away, George’s behavior changed a lot. Then when he started getting money, he felt like he was in charge and did not respect the mom any longer. He has quite the attitude and a “my way or the highway” mind set. Mom talked about her struggles with him and him getting mixed up with the street boys and getting into trouble. She can’t discipline him because he just runs away and she can’t chase him in her wheelchair. She said her next oldest son, who is probably five, is the one who helps her wash cloths, dishes, cooks and does other housework. When George was asked to help, he just refuses and leaves the house. We talked with the local children’s department representative and he said they have struggled with him as well and had many talks with him in hopes he would change, go to school, and focus on the right things but nothing changed. Mom wanted us to take him with us to United Hope to get him off the streets and into school. And also so he would not set bad habits for her younger kids. She said the school there would not accept him until the new school year in January. The children’s officer encouraged us to take him and help him with school and with being more disciplined. And maybe if mom agrees, he will return home in January to go to the local school. So he is now here. Although he doesn’t want to be. He is used to being independent, earning money from begging, and doing whatever he wants with it. But I think the structure is good for him. He is very disrespectful and enjoys playing the ignore game. But yet there is something about him!!!! He is very smart, and strong willed. We are praying for him and ask that you do the same. This boy has so much potential, but also his heart is so hardened. Tim and Willis talked with him for two hours the other night about Jesus Christ and our need for Him, and about our sins, about hell and heaven, about everything, and at the end, all he said was “when can I go home?.” We are praying for God to soften his heart and guide him into His arms to heal his broken heart and to fill in the missing pieces. We think a lot of his anger stems from losing his father at such a young age and feeling the need to grow up so fast, but also the life of the street boys has hardened him also. The street boys drink, smoke, steal, fight, etc. And he has already tried to fight a few of our boys here. So we just ask you to pray for him. Our hearts loves him.
Testing our Patience
So we are slowing being forced to grow our patience and perseverance. The Lord is making us strong and tough! LOL Had no electricity for seven days. We thought the well water was drying up, but then we got a lot of rain, thankfully! And car problems, Oh my. We have gotten stuck in the African clay mud too many times to count. Got new tires (Thank you New Hope!) and still got stuck! Thought we got the four wheel drive fixed, but got stuck again. And the front tire weren’t spinning, nope it wasn’t fixed. Then we drove through a massive puddle and we think when we came out it slung mud up in the car, knocked the belt loose into the fan and shredded it, cracked the fan, and on down the road the radiator busted. And of course we were on a muddy back road in an unfamiliar place. But somehow, the Good Lord provided a semi on this nameless road! And they towed us home! But I tell you what, God has always just provided for repairs! Before all that, our water and the oil was leaking and had that fixed, and before we returned to Kenya we spent 1000 dollars in other repairs. Bumpy Kenyan roads just aren’t good for cars here. We found out today that it will cost around 800 to fix the four wheel drive. So that is on hold for now. Also the big pot that is used to cook the kids food in busted out the bottom, it was repaired but still has a leak. Its cooked over a fire stove so I think it just chars the bottom and makes it weak, a new pot is close to 100$. But hoping to start using propane to cook because firewood has become expensive and it won’t wear out the pots as quick. But again its another expense! But that is just life. We will just wait till the money accumulates from our awesome partners and it will be taken care of.
Tim has just gotten over malaria. And also at any given time we can have 3-8 kids with malaria at a time. Please keep our kids in your prayers. Had a really rough night with Keelyn last night. He was up and down all night, and really fidgety and fussy. Around 4 or so, I noticed he felt warm, so we got up with him and he had a fever around 101. So I decided to test him for malaria… and it was positive. So I gave him antimalarial medicine and infants ibuprofen and Tylenol and made him a bottle and he later finally nursed back to sleep. So far his fever is down today and he is acting pretty normal for the most part, but a little cranky and sensitive. But still laughs and playing. Eating well, etc. Pretty sure we caught it early because I just tested him as a precaution about 4 or 5 days ago when we found out Tim had it and it was negative then. So he should recover quickly, but we still ask that you keep him in your prayers. Also, some of you may have seen pictures Bonnie and Ouma on facebook. Ouma is 13 or 14 and has ear problems that requires surgery to fix. The doctor said when he was little he probably had an ear infection that was never treated and the puss had no where to go and built up so much it busted out the ear drum and created a hole. Dr said its basically like having no ear drums. He gets recurrent ear infections from water entering the ear that brings in dirt and bacteria. And sounds aren’t clear, often has trouble hearing and says that things like echo or have a thundering sound. He has really struggled in school and is really behind. He even asked to quit school. The doctor told us about a bi-annual camp to do free surgeries for kids under 18 that qualify. This camp is the last week of November and the first week of December. So we are praying that he will qualify!! But if he has an infection at that time then he will not be a candidate for the surgery. So he uses cotton balls while bathing, but still gets the infections time to time. So we pray that he will be infection free at the time of the interview process. We plan to give him the antibiotic ear drops starting a few days before just to be safe.
Bonnie is five years old. He has had stomach issues for a while now, for over a year and maybe longer. We took him for testing a few weeks ago and found out he had two types of amoebas and also bacterial overgrowth. We treated him for both and now a few weeks later he is sick again with stomach pain, vomiting, and high fever. We took him back to town again yesterday to have him tested again to see if we got rid of the amoebas and bacteria. If not, guess we will try a different combination of meds bu we are also wondering if he could have a chronic problem. So please keep him in your prayers that we get to the bottom of this and for his healing. Many of the doctors here that we come across are not very helpful, and many just give you medication without even testing or investigating. Luckily for Ouma, there was a ear, nose and throat specialist that has really helped us and has taken time and patience to look for solutions for us. But we have asked around and people are telling us there is not a GI specialist in Kisumu, only in Nairobi 7-8 hours away. So just pray!!!!
Our ministry is getting into full gear now! Tim and Willis started meeting with a group of pastors in Waware for Pastor Development once a week and also meeting with a group here at United Hope once a week for Pastor Development. They are doing a conductive Bible study called Discovering God. It is a 15 week (15 lesson) study. Tim and Willis are also meeting with group of 4-5 men once a week for Jesus Film Outreach training. They are going through discipleship materials, and they will then in turn go and disciple people that make professions of faith after showing the Jesus Film at different villages and areas. These men have volunteered to meet the new believers once a week for discipleship until the discipleship is complete. And then start over with a new group, and so on. Saturdays is designated for visiting widows, however we didn’t get to yesterday since we took Bonnie to town for testing, and Tim and Willis were both still recovering from being sick. But I am really looking forward to spending time with the widows. Also, with the kids, we have a kind of church service with them on Friday nights. We gather in one of the classrooms and have games, singing, dancing, and then a lesson. This past week 9 children made professions of faith, and on Sunday evenings, Tim will be meeting with those kids and those who previously made professions, to disciple them and talk more about what it means to be a follower of Christ.
In the meantime…
The kids are at school during the day time until 3:30 so mornings is our time to wash clothes (my hands are toughening up quicker than they did last year!), wash dishes, sweep all the dirt out of the house, and have family time, or a couple times a week we go to town for errands, getting food and supplies, go to doctor, etc. Keelyn loves hanging out with the kids in the afternoon. I’m enjoying spending time with the kids, and making them popcorn and potato candy, and watching the Jesus film with them on the weekends. They love wathching tv, and the Jesus film is the only thing we have in Swahili so I think it’s pretty awesome that they prefer to watch “Movie with Jesus” over Disney movies!