Here’s a picture drop! I know I am really bad about doing blog updates and such! So here are just a few photos from probably the last two months. If you hover over the photo, the caption should pop up! I am going to TRY to start doing a picture or so a week just to be better about giving updates and letting our friends and family see more what’s going on over here. 🙂
As an advocate for the kids, we feel the need to do things we aren’t always comfortable with. I hate asking for money. As much as I see people post on Facebook about how they hate having to give their hard earned money to people on welfare, “my money is MY MONEY” type of things, I almost hate asking for people to give money toward these 36 orphans that have become our children. But what choice do I have? These kids deserve a house. Not to live in a metal shack their whole lives. They deserve a place where the mosquitoes can’t get in as easily, where they don’t get malaria the usual once or twice a month. They deserve a place to call home, a place with security, a place to enjoy and be able to have a place to study and do homework, and just be kids. 22 girls living in one room with bunk beds crammed together in a metal sheet room isn’t exactly idealistic. The same for the boys, 14 in one room. So we have this plan. And I am hoping and praying about our family and friends and strangers becoming friends that have also loved and prayed for these children, and the new ones that will begin. We first had some blue prints put together about a year and a half ago. So far, there’s a little more than $15,000 in the account for the building fund. Our goal is $105,800. That would a two story building with each floor having four units, for a total of eight units. Each unit would be like its own house or apartment, having two bedrooms and a living room. That means that we could have 4 children per unit, or 2 children per bedroom, with a live in “momma” in each unit. And that leaves plenty of room so we can welcome more children in the future if needed. But even if we can’t get the $105,800 right away to build it all, we can do it in phases. Because even 8-10 children in each unit is still a lot better than the rooms they are sleeping in now. So each unit is going to cost roughly $13,225. If we can just start off building the first floor, we need about $53,000. That means we only have $38,000 more to go. It sounds like a lot, but I believe it’s possible with a little help. Can you give a little, every bit counts? Can you spread the word? Maybe you have a garage full of stuff you can sell, maybe an old car that hasn’t been driven in years, or some sports equipment you haven’t used in years, or that sofa or bike you have in storage, I don’t know. I know, I feel like I am asking a lot. I almost decided to delete this whole message, but I didn’t because of those kids. They are counting on us and on you. We are their advocate. They don’t have their parents here to fight for them and to provide for them. And I know if my son lost us, I would sure hope that someone would care and provide for him the way that I also would have wanted to provide for him. I will just be praying for hearts and mountains to be moved. And I ask that you also pray and take action. I know you might not know these kids, and it’s hard to dedicate time and money into somebody you don’t know. But just let me tell you, these are great kids. The sweetest. They can make you smile with their simplest goofy grin, they dance and sing, they pretend to be police or taxi driver or cooks, they gather fire wood and help cook and wash, and they go to school all day and study hard, they work harder than any kids I’ve ever known, they can warm your heart and fill it up so full, and then some days they can break it, because theirs is also broken, but it’s amazing to see how far they have come and how much they are growing in so many different ways. Please believe me, they really deserve it!
Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions
To GIVE, please visit worldim.com/give and there you will see donation options. For the building fund, please use #5266 as the place to designate your funds.
Thank you for your heart for these children.
Just in case you didn’t receive our email newsletter a couple weeks ago, I am posting it here also for your convenience!
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NEW YEAR ~ NEW SEASON
Oh where to begin. There is so much news, and I am sure we will leave a few things out. It is little longer than normal, but filled with important information. With that said, here we go! Christmas has come and gone. We are so, so thankful for all who donated for the Christmas feast and also the gifts. It was such a blessing to be able to partner with you. The children enjoyed it so much. Every child received a new back pack, new outfit, UHI uniform, new toothbrush, toys, games, sweets, fruit, lotion, water bottle, and there is a good chance we left something out. The kids had a feast for Christmas/New Years. We slaughtered a goat and had many other good things to eat. It was a blast!
We also sent out a newsletter through regular mail recently. Inside was a Christmas Wishlist. We had great response. Thank you for all who donated. To view our Christmas Newsletter, in case you missed it, you can find it here (https://timandjennisjourney.com/newsletters/) If you would like to be apart of our newsletter through mail, email us your mailing address.
We had a very difficult month and a half, but that is what happens when you stand on the truth. It seems God is turning something that we may view as bad into something good (Romans 8:28). We believe we are heading into a new season of ministry. We give God all the glory and trust His guidance. One new thing happening at United Hope is a children’s ministry on Sundays. Sadly most churches in Kenya ignore the importance of teaching them the Word on a level they can understand. Most churches we have been to, the children are sleeping or even leaving the service to go play outside. Through prayer with Willis (founder of UHI), we felt God was leading us to start a ministry for not only the kids here at the orphanage but also the surrounding area. We have had two services so far, this past week, 11 outside children attended. We are excited to see where God leads from here. Please join us in prayer over this new ministry.
Another new/old ministry that will be underway soon is training others to disciple small groups of people. We were training four men for the past few months, but through some persecution and persuasion from influential men in the community they have not been committed to meeting the last few weeks. So we are planning to start fresh while praying for those facing pressure from community leaders. Our prayer is the original men will seek to please God rather than man. In the meantime, we feel led to move forward. Our plan is still the same, but we are going through a different process to finding the men for this particular ministry. Last time we asked someone to pray and see who God spoke to them about training. Unfortunately a few of the men had the wrong intentions, and others were feeling threatened so they have backed away. Our desire is to have men that are faithful and committed to the ministry. We are also targeting single men that do not have much commitment elsewhere. We are wanting to build the ministry around 2-4 Kenyan men. The nationals will be who have the most effect on their nation. We are simply just here to train them in the Word and encourage them with Godly advice. We are going to start an interview process to find the men to use. We are in prayer about who these men will be. Please also pray.
After we feel God has showed us who He wants to use, then we plan to put these men through rigorous training every day for around a month and a half depending on the progress of the trainees “disciples.” After the training, we will go show the Jesus Film in different markets around the area. Our prayer is that people will come to Christ at these meetings. After the film someone will give their testimony. If there are any professions of faith that night, we will send one of the men to start making new disciples. We will go with them and show them how to teach, then observe them teach, then leave them to teach just as Jesus did with his disciples. Jesus showed them how to minister, observed them minister, and then left them to minister. We will continue to meet with these men during this stage of the ministry, but most of their time will be discipling their people. Our prayer and goal is to have these men meeting with 5 groups. So if we have 4 men that’s 20 small groups being discipled. We hope to have this accomplished by August 2014. As these men meet with these groups of people, we will be praying for a leader to emerge. Once God shows who that is, after they have been trained we hope to send them to a new group. So, if 20 leaders emerge then there will be 40 groups of people being discipled. If the process continues there will be 80, 160, etc…
But, for all this to be possible, we need these 4 men fully committed to the ministry as Jenni and I are. We are still in prayer about this, but we are wanting to find some way to support these four men so they can be totally committed to the training and ministry. If you feel led to be a part of this ministry through donations or prayer please contact us. The average local Kenyan lives on around $110 a month if they have a steady job. Below average live on less than $50. We want to support them at the average amount at $110 per month. If this is something you would like to contribute to let us know. This would be a great Sunday School project, business project, or classroom project.
Other roles these men will fill are teaching on Sundays to different age groups in our new children’s ministry, encouraging the kids throughout the week, helping with school lessons, and widows’ outreach. These men will be very busy, but it is also needed. It’s impossible for Willis, Jenni, and I to handle all the duties of the ministry and also give the kids the love and attention they need. With the help of others, it will make the task a little easier. Again remember, the Kenyans will have a bigger impact than Jenni and I ever could.
Something we also have to consider is transportation for these men to get to their groups. They can pay for public transportation, but through the month it will eat up most of their support. We are praying for God to supply a few motor bikes so they can use them for the ministry. It will be cheaper for them to fuel them than pay to ride them each day. A motor bike will cost around $1500 each. Through their support they will be able to maintain the motorbike, buy food for themselves, and possibly rent a place to stay if they choose to. We are planning on giving them a place to stay on the compound, but they may choose to rent nearby if they desire. We are excited what God is going to do through this ministry. We are praying fervently for the needs to be met and the right men will be sent.
Some more changes are likely to happen soon. Jenni and I love the children here at United Hope. Also, we love living on the compound, but we are learning when you live exactly where you minister, you don’t have much of a break or privacy. Don’t take this the wrong way. We love, Love, LOVE the kids and the people we live with, but Jenni and I are seeking to find a place of our own to go and rest at the end of the day. While living here, our day doesn’t end until everyone is asleep. That is most of the time very late. After talking to many of the missionaries here and others around the world, everyone tells us we need our own place to go to get away from the stress. We are seeing this more and more as time goes on. We are wanting a place where we can be a family at the end of the day. Think of it this way; if you were a teacher at a school, but you never left the sight of your students, even though you love them, you would still want a break. We are just looking for that place of rest. We think we may have found a place, but a few things need to fall into place before it happens. We are still waiting on our work permit. Our visas run out on February 14 which means we have to leave the country if we don’t receive our permit. If we do move, that means there will be another need for a vehicle. UHI already has one that a generous donor gave for last year. Jenni and I have been able to use it some to go and get groceries, take kids to the doctor and town, and also going with Willis where we do Bible training. We would need a vehicle at our house, so the other vehicle can remain at UHI for emergencies. The new vehicle would be used for Jenni and me to travel back and forth to UHI to minister to the kids, do Bible training, continue medical care with the children, and for personal uses as well. We will also use both vehicles to transport teams when they come in. Anyways, nothing really changes since we may be moving other than we will have our own place to be a family and relax, which is much needed in the ministry. Vehicles in Kenya are very expensive. We are looking for something similar to the vehicle we already have, maybe a SUV or Van with four wheel drive. The price range is $6,000-$10,000. Our rent is looking to be around $150 per month. If you feel led to help in either of these areas let us know. If we had some of our other items sponsored such as medical expenses, other staff salaries (caregivers, teachers, etc) then it would also free up money that could be put towards rent.
1 John 5:14-15 says ” And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
So we are asking for these needs to be met according to God’s will. So it may be His will for these needs be met, or it may not be the right time. Please join us in prayer for the Lord’s will to be done.
1. 2-4 Men for ministry
2. $110/month support for men in the ministry
3. $1500 per motor bike
4. $150 for Jarvis’ family rent Received Donor 🙂
5. $6,000-$10,000 For vehicle
Any amount is appreciated.
|If you would like to donate here is the link to give http://worldim.com/give/Our branch number is #266 for ministry support and #5266 for the building fund for the orphanage. More info on our blog on the building plans and also other things needing support.|
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!
…Here it is. The pictures are missing from the original email but I added some at the end of this update!
We made it back to Kenya finally!!! We are so excited to be back. We’ve been busy since we stepped off the plane. We spent around a week in Nairobi, with some Kenyan friends, trying to get all our papers in order to apply for a work-permit. We are praying that it will go through without any trouble. Please join us in prayer also. We arrived in Kisumu on 28th of August. So we have been at United Hope International at the children’s home for a week now. We were so happy to see the kids, mamas, and Willis. Maureen (Willis’ wife) and Britt (Willis’ son) are in Nairobi while Maureen is taking some classes. Below you will see photos and small tidbits of what we have done and plan to do since we have arrived.
Since we have been in Kisumu so far, we have spent much of our days moving in, unpacking and organizing. We have finally finished and feel right at home. We have had a lot of fun hanging out with the kids! I’m sure many of you are wondering how Keelyn is adjusting. He is having so much fun with all his new friends. The children and mamas love him. And he loves them right back. Some of the local widows came and prayed over us and also Keelyn. It was a special moment. Then they all wanted their photo taken holding Keelyn. He’s the first white baby many people have seen in our area, so he opens a lot of doors to talk to others. But Keelyn is doing great with the adjustments!
When we were in Nairobi, we went to a church in one of the local slums to visit a branch from one of our friends church, Pastor Fred Afwai. We had trouble finding the church at first. The road we were supposed to take was blocked by a big bulldozer, so we had to park the car at a nearby compound and walk. Then we walked in circles and still had trouble finding the church. Finally the pastor of that church came and found us. And itt was okay that we were late, because thats just how Kenyan time is! Tim preached at the church. And It was so refreshing to worship with these people. Then this past Sunday, Tim preached at Pastor Joshua’s (Willis’ Father) church. It was also nice to be there and worship and fellowship. We were able to see some familiar faces that we’ve missed. Pastor Joshua wanted to pray over Keelyn and chuckled saying it was the first time for him to pray over a white baby.
We are so blessed that Jenni is a nurse. Since we work with 38 children; there is always someone sick with something, usually malaria. Since we have arrived here at United Hope Jenni has been busy with the children and the mamas. We bought more malaria test kits in town this week, and Jenni tested some of the children that were not feeling well. Four have had malaria since we arrived. The good news is they are all doing well now. One of the mamas is complaining of eye problems. She also is waking up with her heart fluttering. We plan to take her to the doctor tomorrow. Above is a photo of Jenni testing Miriam. She is one of the children that has malaria this week, but she seems to be doing well.
The children were so excited about all the new gifts that were donated. The children received watches, flashlights, two new indestructible soccer balls, sweets, and much more to come. Above you see Bryan and Wycliffe picking out their watch. The children love the new flashlights. When it gets dark, a lot of times you see little lights running across the compound. They also enjoy playing with the new balls that we were able to purchase through donations. Thank You!
We are so thankful for all those that have joined in the ministry through prayer and support. Many of you have given to this ministry. We now have sponsors for fruit and bread, beef, small fish, toilet paper and toothpaste, soap, widows gift baskets, medical, and monthly food support. This wouldn’t be possible without those who give through the love of Christ and these children. Thank you! Above you see Gladdis brushing her teeth, thanks to someone who donated toward the project. Now the children can brush their teeth twice a day. They were so excited. Also, we are now able to buy toilet paper for the kids. In times past, the children would use whatever they could find, school books, mosquito net, paper, etc… Now they can be more sanitary. The kids have much more to eat than before through these sponsored programs. They now get fish, beef, and fruit once a week. They also get bread in the morning with their porridge. Someone has committed to donating towards soap, which is a huge expense. The soap is used for washing all the clothes, dishes, hands, bodies, and everything else you would need to wash. The mamas go through a lot. Previously the soap money came out of food money. Now the children get a little more food. We are so thankful for the support. The children are so happy now with all the food and hygiene products they are receiving.
Willis currently has some other commitments with fund raising to help rebuild the collapsing church. He says he will be finished after September 20th. So then we will be able to work together to start the Pastor training, discipleship, widow’s ministry and further community outreach such as showing the Jesus Film and showing some hygiene, medical and livestock care videos. So until then we are just focusing on the children and getting supplies and materials together. We have ordered a new hand washing stand, as the old one spoiled. And also ordered some screen or “mesh wire” to put on the house and dorms for better protection from mosquitoes! Hoping to pick these in town today or tomorrow!!
Please join us in prayer for the following.
– Widows ministry as we visit them
– Pastors training
– Children’s Discipleship
– Community outreach
– Wisdom for Jenni in nursing
– Housing project
This is actually an email we just sent to someone. Thought it was easiest to just copy and paste it here for anyone else that would like a quick update also.
Just wanted to give you a little update. We are still in Nairobi dealing with work permit stuff. We have now completed the paper work and gathered all the documents and we have a friend of a friend that is going to turn them in and try to push them through. He will submit them on Monday. And then we head to Kisumu on Wednesday to join Willis.
We are very thankful that we made it safely here and Keelyn has done so good adjusting so far. He does have a snotty nose but hopefully it’s just adjusting to the weather changes or dusty roads. No fever or anything else.
It is rare to see white people, but most people have never seen a white baby, so they are so fascinated with Keelyn.
We had a great service this morning at one of Pastor Freds sister churches in a near by slum. Tim preached and we enjoyed the awesome worship and fellowship. God is so good.
We miss you guys a ton. We can’t tell you thank you enough for all you do and all the support and encouragement.
We love ya.
Tim Jenni and Keelyn
There are currently 38 children at the United Hope children’s home. But that number changes frequently. About 6 or 7 of the children have a living parent, usually the mother, who is widowed. I’ve heard it many times. The story of a mother who lost her husband to illness, violence, tragedy, and she is left alone to care for her children. She used to manage the home while the husband was working. She would take care of the children, spend her day bent over a bucket or bent over the muddy creek, washing laundry by hand, hunched over sweeping the dirt floors with a short band of sticks tied together, she would trek through the fields and hills gathering fire wood to cook dinner on, and more. And then they are left widowed. And there is no one bringing in money for food, for school fees, for anything. So then, these mommas go and try to find work in the local rice fields or tries to sell some items by the side of the road, and they don’t make much. They make enough to eat maybe one meal a day, sometimes one meal every few days. And that also means the children have no school fees, so they are the ones at home doing the washing and cleaning and gathering. So these 6 or 7 children at United Hope are a result of the moms desperately asking United Hope to care for their children while they try to get on their feet. But then the large majority of these children are total orphans. 31 total orphans. Meaning that they have no living parents. Many of them lost their parents during the post-election violence and riots, many of their parents died, while other children don’t know what happened to their parents, they never found them, rather they died in the violence, or ran and later weren’t able to find their children in the mess. Other times they left town searching for work and never returned. Other children are orphaned due to things mentioned above, illness, violence, and tragedy. Commonly they die after being sick and not affording medical care, most commonly malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and HIV/aids. Often we hear that the father was abusive or didn’t want the burden of providing for the family.There is such a variety of stories. But the result is that there are now 38 children living at United Hope.
Since becoming a mom myself, I have gained a new perspective on these children. I have loved these children, but now I love them more. I want to love them more. I want to love them and treat them as if they were my own. As Keelyn’s parents, we will provide for Keelyn whatever he needs. He will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks or juice in between. He will go to school and get an education. I will sit down and help him with his homework and make sure he understands it. He will go to the doctor when he is sick. And when he gets home from the doctor, his mommy will love on him and cuddle him to make him feel better. If he falls and gets hurt, I will scoop him up and kiss his boo boo and make it all better. If his feelings get hurt, I will comfort him and encourage him. If his mosquito net is torn, he will get a new one because I don’t want him to get malaria. I will lather him down with bug spray in the evenings. If he’s out grown his shoes and his heels hang off the back of his sandals, I will buy him some new shoes. I will make sure that the water he drinks is clean and that he eats healthy nutritious meals. I will buy him little toys and games and suckers and popcorn for a couple extra smiles a day. Daddy will get out and play soccer and whiffle ball with him. And most importantly, we will teach him about God, about Jesus, about becoming a follower of Christ, and I will always pray for him, every day. And daddy and I will pray aloud over him and teach him how to pray, too. And we shed tears for him. Why? Because I am his mommy. And Tim is his daddy. Isn’t that what we do for our children?
What about these children that have no mommy or daddy? Yeah, I know the Bible says that God is the father to the fatherless. But as Christians, aren’t we the body of Christ? Doesn’t God use us to be his hands and feet to be the father to the fatherless? The Bible lists many times about caring for the orphans, providing justice for the orphans, taking up their cause, etc. (James 1:27, Isaiah 1:17, Hosea 14:3, Psalm 10:18, Psalm 82:3, Jeremiah 22:3) These children don’t have a mom or a dad there to care for them and provide for them, not the way that we care for Keelyn. Not the way that you care for and provide for your children. And I want them to have that, and they deserve that. Gosh, they deserve it! Don’t you think so?
So apart from other parts of our ministry, this has become one of my biggest missions. To be an advocate for these kids. To be sure that they are loved, to be sure that they are provided for, to be sure that they are taught about the love of Jesus Christ pray for them to become followers, just like I do for my own child. They are our children, too. They are your children, too.
I am very thankful that we had enough donations a few weeks ago to buy the kids all new mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets. We also have a monthy sponsor who provides fish once a week, and newly a sponsor for toilet paper and toothpaste!!! I am excited about this. Our kids ate all their toothpaste the first day we gave it to them back in august last year. So when we bought it for them again, we made sure they knew how to use it, and not eat it. But often now, the kids do without toothpaste, simply because food is more important, and money is prioritized to the bigger needs. Same for the toilet paper. The kids usually use old notebook pages from school for toilet paper. But now they will have soft toilet paper for their tooshies. And they will have toothpaste to put on their toothbrushes! But there is still a long list of things. The kids only have hot tea for breakfast. And thankful to have the small portioned meals for lunch and dinner. But we would love to add meat to their diet. As of now, the only meat they get is the small fish once a week. But we would love to give them some beef or chicken at least once a week, too. Also give them some bread and fruit for breakfast. Well I won’t list everything, but if you are interested, please please, check out the tab up top that says “Support” and then click on “Sponsor a project, item, or staff” for a list of things and estimated amount.
And for those that don’t know! We are going to build housing for the kids! Eventually, anyways. We still need your help. It is estimated to cost between $50,000-70,000 dollars. We are very thankful for support from our home church of over $11,000! God is so awesome and I am thankful he is using the people at New Hope to provide for His children. But we still have quite a long ways to go! Tim and I were feeling overwhelmed there for a while, and we said, well we know if this happens, it’s only God’s doing!! Because there is no way we could ever do it! But that’s the way it’s supposed to be because he is the one that will receive all the glory for it!! But please don’t forget that these are your kids. Think of it this way…. If you and your spouse were to pass away, wouldn’t you want someone to love your kids like they are their own? Providing for your children everything they need?
We love you all and are grateful for your love and support and prayers. Always.
Tim and Jenni