Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hello America

I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly. I am excited to be home yet I know that my heart and the affect Africa had on me will hit me soon. Being that I have only been home two days I am still caught up in the excitement of family, coffee, internet, a car, hot showers, dishwashers, and laundry machines yet I know that I was not created for the comfortable lifestyle. As of right now it’s exactly what I need though and I am so thankful for America. I pray that I never take the freedoms I have in America, or all that I have, for granite again.

While I am here my main focus is getting in the secret place and making sure that I adjust well and allowing Jesus to tend to my heart. I plan on taking a season of rest and drawing near to the Fathers heart until He leads me elsewhere. I am content in whatever He has planned for me, for I know that He always has my best interest at heart. Although I have no idea what comes next, I am at peace knowing that Jesus is the one who leads my life. Jesus knows my desires for the nations and therefore I will sit in excited expectation for great things to come. The open doors, the initiations to partner with others laying down their lives in the nations, the connections that will come; my heart is excited. My heart is wide open, full of trust in God, and content in exactly where I am.

I probably will not be blogging as often but I will keep everyone updated on where and when I go back to the nations! Thank you for all of you who have kept me in your prayers, supported me, and followed my blogs. I am deeply thankful and honored. May God fill you to the brim with joy, peace, provision, and so so much more! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Five Men and Angels

Only one team left, time is going by so fast.  For the past few weeks we have had some amazing people come from different places all over the world to serve and hang out with us. I miss Joy Smith and Nancy, who were here on the last week of July spending endless hours pouring into us and loving on us well. I am so thankful for those beautiful women of God who were like mommas to me while they were here. 
I already miss the San Diego team and they just left yesterday! They were amazing men and women of God, full of fire, love and joy! It has been amazing just being able to see them all everyday and hanging out. We are definitely going to be friends for a long time, and I already want to plan a trip to go visit them!
I am so grateful to still have Iris, Harvest School, team here!  I am honored to serve with them and as I learn about them and hear some of the testimonies I am undone by the goodness of God. I was just hanging out with the team from Iris as they allowed me to sit with them as a couple team members shared their testimonies and the presence of God is so thick on me still, my heart is beating out of my chest with love for Jesus.
I just want to say thank you so much to all of you who put your lives on hold to come and serve Kenya! What you have done here has been awesome and the seeds you have sown will reap a bountiful harvest! I love you all!

Amazing Story
A few of days ago all of us sat in our prayer room located above the brothel, worshiping and praying and just drawing closer to Jesus. During this time one of the girls from Iris team saw what looked to be like a big bright, white light come into the room. She said that it came and sat right in the middle of the room and then it suddenly started flowing and going out of the open door in the room. After a couple hours Bre , another missionary here, walked into the room and began to share with us an amazing story.  She said that as she arrived five men were standing right underneath our door staring up in awe. She ended up talking with them and found out that they were pimps/ johns and that they were just walking by on their way home after their busy night of work.  They planned on just passing by but as they looked up at our open door and heard the music they saw what looked to be light flowing from the room. Mesmerized by the light they stayed watching until suddenly they watched as the light flowed down to them and suddenly became big spiritual beings glowing white, and these beings began to tell them about the love of God! The angels began to tell them about how much God loves them and that God wasn’t looking at all their sin but that He wants them just as they are! The men told Bre that they never knew all those things about God and they had no idea how much He loved them! Even as they finally began to walk away they continued to make comments like, “Did you see how big they were!” and “I had no idea God was so good!”

That’s one way to stop prostitution! Worship and let the angels do the ministering! Hahaha! I am so filled with joy and so in awe as I think about how much bigger God is than my own mind can conceive! God totally amazes me! Thank you Daddy God for sending your angels to minister your goodness to those men! Thank you Daddy God for their lives! I can only imagine the party in heaven that happened as those five pimps confessed the goodness of God! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Children of Africa

Radiant Joy
Yesterday as I walked hand and hand with a little girl I was amazed by her, simply by her positivity.  Even as we passed by her tiny home made of clay and tin she continued to shine with radiant joy. She was so full of life and personality, telling us that she is Christian and loves God. Even as she walked with tattered clothes, most likely starving, and with the stress of living a life in dire poverty  over her head she continued to almost yell out, “Oh how wonderful!,” or “Oh how great!”, at the end of each comment or sentence I said. She walked with a bounce and held my hand introducing me to her village. When I asked her name she said, “My name is Purity, and I am pure in heart!” I was encouraged just by her presence and I continue to wonder what life would be like if I chose to walk with radiant joy in all my sufferings, and in child-like faith no matter what I faced each day. Jesus help me be like a child.

Always Thankful
A couple days ago Kylee and I sat with four beautiful children having a picnic in the dirt. It all started when we went to their house to hang out and ended up walking in on pain, as expected. The baby sat crying, sweating, sick, and completely neglected for hours in his own poop. Instantly we bathed him, changed him, and comforted him as the other two children, and a friend ran home hearing our voices. After a while of watching the kids play and taking care of the baby the little boy shyly, with his hands covering his face asked us for food having learned that we usually feed them when we come. I don’t feed every child that asks for food but this was a different case. I knew him and his living conditions.  I knew the neglect, and the pain. I knew that they often don’t eat at all, and they never have asked for food themselves, apart from mom. So we took the baby and went out to fetch some lunch. When we returned the children were filled with joy, so excited to eat. They ran to grab plates and we quickly poured out the beans and ugali on two plates seeing how frantic they were to eat.  But this was the part I was overcome by, the three children sat there and each said a prayer before any of them ate a bite. These are children! They know without a doubt that God is the one that provides all they receive, and there is no way they will not thank Him! As soon as the last one said their prayer they dug in, fisting handfuls of beans and ugali into their mouths. They ate so much and so fast I was amazed and filled with compassion.

I walk with children and learn how to be joyful in suffering.  I sit and learn from babies how to be grateful! I am overcome by the goodness of God for his children and I am so thankful for His hand on their lives!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

King Of Justice

For years I have asked Jesus two questions- “What are you thinking about?” and “What are you doing?” without ever truly getting an answer.  I’m now beginning to believe it’s because I honestly wasn't ready to know the answers to those very intimate questions. These questions, that I felt to be simple, were questions that would reveal the depth and core of Jesus’ heart, and although I thought my heart was pure in seeking the answers I understand now that all I was looking for was self gain. I truly just wanted to know what He was thinking about in terms of me and what he was doing in terms of me.

Jesus stirred those questions in my heart years ago as he began to take me on a journey of truly knowing his heart. Little did I know what I was really asking for and little did I know the cost it would take to know the most vulnerable places of his heart. If you ask anything in His name He will give it to you. Jesus was serious when he said this and even though the answer may not come immediately that doesn't means it’s not still coming. Jesus had heard my cry to know him more intimately, but going deeper and into that very real and vulnerable place with Jesus would cost me something.  To ask Jesus the deep things on his heart, I had to be willing to take my focus off of myself and take time to choose to see what He sees. I had to be willing to receive His answers even if it’s not what I had expected.

 ‘What is Jesus thinking about?’ I found this answer as I began to walk with open eyes, choosing to go to those places with Him and not only seeing the pain and suffering but allowing my heart to feel the pain also.  ‘What is Jesus doing?’ He is standing by the starving boy sent out to beg in the streets. He is holding the mamma as she weeps with bitter tears at her lack to care for her family. He is carrying the cripple man crawling in the dirt, and wiping away the tears of the orphans unable to sleep at night. I have learned that Jesus is found in the mists of pain eagerly waiting for US to choose to be His hands and feet. Jesus is standing close by those who are brokenhearted, suffering, mourning, and hurting and He is saying, I love all of my sheep but I will go searching even if one of them is lost. The question I must ask myself; am I willing to live among pain in order to know Jesus more? Am I willing to be that intimate as to share in the sufferings of His children and feel what His heart feels every day? Am I willing to be a friend to Jesus and stand by Him no matter what situation I face, even if it’s death? Will I deny Jesus to His people or will I speak on His behalf? I have never really thought deeply about what Jesus called me into on that day I chose Him, until now.

 Living here in Africa I have been submerged into what I now believe to be the core of Jesus’ heart. I believe it’s a Holy invitation to be invited to walk among the poor; an invitation that Jesus does not take lightly. I believe to share in the sufferings of God’s children is not something to be overlooked but in fact the center of Jesus’ heart. When you move into a place where you’re laying your own life down for another person that is when you know what Jesus is truly thinking about. I’m ashamed to have lived so long for myself and seeking my own purposes, I honestly didn’t even realize I was until I began serving the least of these and sitting in the dirt among the pain and suffering. If I want to know Jesus more I have to be willing to be a part of what He is doing and choose to follow Him even if that means not living comfortably. I must choose to be the salt and the light to the world and realize that my life isn’t my own anymore. Knowing Jesus and living intimately with Him is going to cost me EVERYTHING, but I will to choose everyday to lay it down! It’s no longer my will, my agenda, my needs, my concerns, my dreams, my struggles but it’s all about Jesus and serving Him.

 “King of Justice(Hebrews 7:2) this is who Jesus is! Jesus was a man born in a village, a carpenter’s son; choosing to live among the people rather than in the riches of a palace. He was a man who came not to be served but to serve and lay down his life for his friends. The one who, “In all their sufferings he also suffered, and personally rescued them.”(Isaiah 63:9) The one God anointed, just as it says “In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds! Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of Justice. You love justice and hate evil.  Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else. “(Psalm 45:4, 6-7) And again God said, “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” (Matthew 12:18) This is who Jesus is and the core of his heart; “He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighted down.”(Psalm 146:7-8) Jesus proclaimed, “For, I the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoings. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. “(Isaiah 61:8) Jesus was the one who said “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “ (Isaiah 1:17) and again He said “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27)

“His rule is built on justice!” (Proverbs 16:12) and If I want to know Him more I must stand up for the injustices of this world and fight for what he is already fighting for!

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lords favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.” Isaiah 61:1-2

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Joyful Noise

Saturday was such a beautiful day spent with New Life Academy! Esther (founder) and Mr. Ashton (head master) had everything so organized and put together that when we showed up that early morning all we really had to do was help decorate and wait for the festivities to begin.

All the children sat in one room waiting eagerly as the workers arrived. To stay distracted and occupied they led each other in worship filling the school with a joyful noise unto Jesus.

As the kids were singing songs and playing different areas were set up to host different activities that would be taking place during the day. One area of was set up for braiding, one room was set up for shaving, and another room was for shoes.




And then we ATE!

During all these events we couldn't help but notices all the little faces watching, and peering through the windows outside and our hearts broke for them.

So simply we just asked Jesus to multiply the food and HE DID! What was to have only fed near 200 people fed near 400!!! Yay Jesus....I LOVE YOU! 

The End!

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Reality

I wish I could sit here and write about all the amazing and wonderful things that I’m feeling and experiencing here in Africa but honestly, I’m breaking. My heart is breaking and I have been prolonging this blog praying for all the right answers so that I could sit here and tell you that I have it all together, but in reality I don’t. In reality rather than gaining all the answers for world hunger or how to save girls from prostitution I feel like I’m in over my head every day. Honestly I have no idea what I’m doing and the more I live in this reality the more desperate I am becoming for God’s  strength to carry me through each day.

I feel like I was born and grew up in a bubble and now my eyes are finally being opened to the reality of this world and I don’t know if my heart can handle it. Living in America made it easy to close my eyes, to choose not to see, to wear a mask and act as if the broken, starving and struggling people around me weren’t there. But here in the reality of where I am it’s impossible, completely impossible to miss the hurt and pain of the world around you. My heart is crumbling and I’m not sure if I can bear it any longer. To face the starving children playing in the dirt with their toys made out of trash right outside my front door. To face another mamma’s tears begging for food to feed her children at home, or for money to put her kids in school. My eyes are open, my heart has been exposed, and now I’m trying to process the affect it’s taken on me. Like I said, I wish that I could sit here and tell you that I’m the best missionary in the world and that every day is like candy and rainbows but really it’s the opposite.  I’m here just trying to figure out how to change one life at a time in the mists of not knowing what to do or having all the answers.

Everything began changing for me one day as I walked hand and hand with a eight year old girl who wants to grow up to become a preacher someday. As we walked she suddenly became very sad and I stopped to look at her. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I feel something for you” she said as she looked into my eyes. Suddenly I was nervous and anxiously smiled, “What do you feel?” I asked. “Sadness, your heart is sad and I can feel it.” I instantly tried to defend myself almost ashamed that she could see into me so deeply, “What do you mean? We have played hop scotch, danced in the rain, ate rice and beans. How can I be sad?” “You’re different than last time, you’re sad” she said. I was blown away by this point because I knew that she had just heard from Jesus and I was shocked that she had just called me out with a word of knowledge! I laughed inside but I also knew that it was to be taken seriously. Jesus was speaking to me through the mouth of a child and I knew I needed to run to him.

I have never had to process grief and I’ve never lived in a world where trauma is around every corner.  How on earth do I survive in this reality? How do I not become depressed and feel defeated every day? How do I keep my heart open rather than building up the walls of protection? How do I continue to love when anger begins to build inside? I began journaling, praying, worshipping, and doing whatever I could to fix this problem growing inside of me. Fear and lies began filling me telling me that if I didn’t learn how to get past this than I wasn’t cut out for this job. If I couldn’t get better soon that the four walls of my house were about to become my jail cell, and if I can’t handle today’s events filled with pain and hurt, how can I live tomorrows, and then the next? These lies messed with me until finally GOD SPOKE one morning as I just sat with him drinking a cup of coffee.

Journal Entry 7/14/13
                 You are mine and you are not alone. Right now I am holding you so closely that my mouth is almost kissing your heart as I speak to it. I am tenderly nurturing your beautifully broken heart that I am so passionately in love with. I am wiping away anger, wiping away fear, wiping away grief and deep sorrow for my people that you have been trying to carry on your own. I am bandaging the wounds and dressing them in truth. I’m holding you so closely whispering directly to your frail heart. Beloved I am here, my beautiful sweet girl. You heart has been crying for some time now, but I am here rocking you, and speaking my love into you. I’m sorry you are hurting and I’m so sorry because I know that you will hurt again. People will hurt you, experiences and the things you see will hurt deeply but I am so proud of you!  Only hearts that are wide open can feel pain, hearts that have allowed people to come in, hearts that aren’t afraid of being damaged. You are hurting because your walls are down and you love wholeheartedly with nothing in return. That is great love, a love that has no conditions attached. My child I am so proud of you, and not only do I want you to love fully but I want you to come to me each day to talk through your hurt and allow me to take the burden from you and tenderly nurture your heart. If you don’t come to me, you continue to carry your wounds and wounds unaddressed can become infection and that infection can spread to the whole heart and make your heart sick. You will know when your heart is sick when hope disappears and fear replaces it. A sick heart builds walls and turns away from people in need for healing. This is not the case for you my love, because I am here and my tears fall like healing rain upon your heart as I weep of the pain your heart has endured and the pain that your eyes have seen. I’m taking your hurt onto myself and your tears are now mine to cry. Freedom and peace are filling your heart and joy is being restored. I love you so much. Please know that my love is NEVER far from you. I am so passionately in love with you and there is no way for you to even try to comprehend how great my love is for you but I will prove my love to you each day and that you never have to doubt.
                                                                                                                 The One who first loved you,

We, as God’s children, were told to love fully and love well but never to be the gardener of our own hearts. He never put us in charge of our own lives; instead he said to give our lives to him and to be filled daily. God comes in when we call on him and he is so faithful to keep us healthy bearing only good fruit. He tenderly trims off all the dead branches, waters the soil, and gently pulls out the weeds. He is slow to anger and FULL of compassion. He waits for us to call on him so that he can take our burdens again and again each day, carrying them upon himself just as he did that day on the cross when he died to save our lives once and for all! That is who God is, faithful, good all the time and full of abundant love and mercy. We must, MUST make time for God to come in and heal us each and every day.

I will no longer try to carry pain alone, and I will no longer try to carry God’s people as if they were my own. Instead I will give God my burdens and allow him to fill me up afresh with his great love for me each and every day!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Coming Event

Our big event for the children of New Life Academy is coming quickly! I can’t wait to share in the joy of God’s blessing over his children this Saturday! All the finances, details, and shopping is being worked through this week and every step is making me even more excited. We have called in three professional cooks to cook up one of Kenya’s favored dishes called pilau, we've hired three barbers along with all their equipment, ten women to braid the girls’ hair, and we will be passing out shoes for each and every child! Afterwards will include singing, dancing and loving on Jesus!

Next week I will be posting about the event, pictures and hopefully videos also.

If anyone feels led to help fund this event please donate on this page by clicking the donate button and giving a gift. Every penny will be used strictly for these children and you will be able to see the fruits of your sowing as I continue to post. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New Life Academy

New Life, these are powerful words especially to a lady named Easter. These are not just any words to Easter; these are the words she chose to hang above her school.  Words she prayed and cried over, words that weren't just to be spoken and thought about, but words to be taken and received. Words in which would be the foundation of her school, and the very essence of her love for children.
Easter is the founder of a small village school called New Life Academy, and a new life is exactly what she gives her students. Her school consists of 150, poorest of the poor, children in the village; multiple whom are orphaned living with other family members or neighbors. Some if not many of these families are living on a dollar a day and come to school most days with empty bellies. Most all of these children cannot pay the school fees nor can they pay for uniforms, shoes, or keep their hair up whether braided or shaved as required by the public schools. But these things don’t stop them from coming and learning at New Life Academy and it’s all because of this women named Easter! She has stood in the gap for these children and said, “Poverty will not keep you from education and hope for the future!” If you have no food I will feed you, if you have no hope I will show you who to put your hope in, if you have no shoes come anyways, if you’re sad I will teach you how to stand and sing despite the circumstances around you; give your old life to God and receive a new life in Christ! Easter is a passion lover of Jesus and she knows the power she beholds as his daughter! She teaches the word of God to these kids and knows that He is the best thing that she can give them! She has spent many long nights in prayer on her face crying out to God to provide for the children and many days dancing and singing alongside them!
God is so strategic in his ways and how we met Easter was no coincidence.  Breanne, another missionary here, had been helping and ministering in the village to a lady named Gladys. One day when she was there she met Easter, Gladys’s sister. Breanne knew when she saw Easter that there was something special about her and they ended up exchanging phone numbers. From that point Easter became persistent in her calls asking Breanne to come see her school; this would consist of one to three calls a day. Finally Breanne and I took a trip to her school and that is when we saw how beautiful this school really was and how much this school meant to Jesus. He had been hearing her prayers and it was Him who was insistent upon us meeting.

Delivering the answered prayer, that is what I get to do! I have to best job in the world!
Breanne, Kylee and I will be leading an event where we will be handing out shoes, providing haircuts or braids, cooking up a ton of rice and beans, singing and dancing, and speaking to the beautiful children of New Life Academy! We originally had planned on doing this event within and out of our home church but there just hasn’t been the opportunity, but when we found this school we also found out that Easter is our home church pastor’s spiritual daughter! It’s just so crazy how God connects all the dots.

If anyone is interested in being a part of this event and providing in anyway please let us know!

Shoes- all paid for
80 boys’ heads shaved- 50 cents a head- total needed $40.00
70 girls’ hair braided- 80 cents a head- total needed $56.00
Food- whatever you can

Something to honor the hard working teachers- whatever you can

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Child Within

The night was young as we opened up the doors to the Nevaeh prayer room. Our dream is too weekly open up the prayer room in order to offer a place of refuge and comfort to the women working in prostitution right outside our doors. As we sat there setting up the noise from the streets filled the room, people hollering and laughing, matatu, piki piki drivers honking and calling out to people as they drive quickly down the crowed street. Loud music and lights flashed all down the streets as bars filled with dancing and chaos. The parties were starting early and the night began to unfold. Kylee and I stood outside the room looking over the balcony at the women below, praying silently to ourselves before heading down to greet them. They were ready to work and came with a smile masked on their faces. As we began meeting the girls and talking with them my heart was filled with pain for them. Looking into their eyes I began to see how broken and shameful they truly were, and how desperate they could become. One of the women, probably around forty years old, even with a knife wounded hand all wrapped up in cloth, sat there waiting to be picked up on. The extent that these women go too in order to make a little bit of money is heartbreaking. After we had made our rounds and offered up the invitation to come and have hot tea with us we headed back upstairs to the prayer room and within about fifteen minutes women began to come. As they came we poured them a hot drink and sat with them talking and laughing. God is so faithful; we had exactly the amount of tea for the number of women that came!

Shakira (prostitute name, not real name) was one of the last women to come in. She walked in smiling and proud chewing on her drugs to keep her awake and high all night. She was so beautiful, literately looking like a Barbie doll all dolled up for the night. She seemed confident, and then… she began to talk. As Kylee and I sat close to her she began to pour out her heart and tell us her story. This woman is actually a seventeen year old girl who moved by herself from Uganda three months prior in order to make money for her five year old daughter at home. She told us how alone and shameful she feels all the time and how she doesn’t want to be a prostitute but because she doesn’t have an ID she has no other choice.  She was so full of hopelessness.  That is when we introduced her to Jesus! (Because of translation, I’m not sure if this was her first time or what she believed prior) As we laid hands on her and she closed her eyes Jesus came and began to lavish her in His love. We spoke many things over her and by the end an intense peace sat upon her and within her. It was like He came in, spoke to the storm in her life, and we watched it calm. When she opened her eyes and brushed the tears away, she hugged us and thanked us.  God began to speak to me Jeremiah 29:11 over her life and I told her. “For I know the plans I have for you,” say’s the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” She felt encouraged and happy when we finally finished talking and we asked her if she wanted to play Jenga with us. She was super excited and jumped down off the seat and onto the floor ready to play. We grabbed the game, pulled it out, set it up, and began to play. Suddenly all the lights went out, a blackout; which is a regular occurrence in Kenya. We just laughed and grabbed a candle to continue our game out in the dark. Shakira was so happy and for the first time since she walked in that room I saw the seventeen year old girl that she truly was.

God please restore a child-like heart within the girls and women whose childhoods have been stolen from them!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Made for Love

God cares so greatly about each and every one of us and He desires for his children to be taken care of.  I’m constantly dwelling on this thought while also battling with feeling completely inadequate. I am overwhelmed by the cry in my heart to give all that I have to these families and children while trying to only do what I see that Father doing. I am sure every missionary struggles with these feelings, but the poverty and need just seems so big, and I feel so small. Does anything matter? Will I really make any kind of lasting impact or change? Can I really truly help anyone? These thoughts swirl around in my mind and Jesus constantly has to remind me; HE is bigger than poverty, HE is bigger than prostitution, and HE lives in me! And if He lives in me, then I have the most important thing in the world to give to these people and that is Jesus Himself!

Yesterday Kylee and I visited a woman in the village whom was sobbing when we found her. She sat in her small dirt hut crying as her ten month old baby lay on the bed and her two little ones play in the dirt at her feet. We sat and held her until she was able to talk to us and tell us what was wrong. After about twenty minutes we found out that she is a prostitute who is unable to make much money because she is getting older and growing too skinny. No longer wanted by men she is watching her family starve as well as herself. She is also HIV positive as well as her infant.  She talked with us about her alcoholism being her only escape and her continual attempts and thoughts towards suicide. Kylee and I sat and held her as we prayed over her and her children.  We were able to walk her thought repentance and re-dedication her life to God.  We continued to pray until she became peaceful. I then asked her if she saw or heard anything Jesus was saying or doing and she looked up and said, “Jesus looked at me and told me loved me.”  She was so tired from crying and now finally at rest we told her to lay down with her now sleeping baby and that we would return with groceries. When we arrived back at the hut we gave her the food and watched as joy filled her. She was overwhelmed and saturated in love, her only words were, “I wish I could show you in some way how thankful I am. If I could bundle it up and give it to you as a gift I would!” We loved on her and agree to meet with her weekly.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Reason to Smile

Last week as Kylee, Bre, and I walked down that busy, busy streets of Kenya further into town and that is where we found her. A little old woman on the side of the road sitting in the dirt singing her heart out as she held up her little cup for coins. She was blind, deaf, and crippled. She was skinny as can be and she sat in the filth with her little tambourine playing her heart out for anything she could get. We went to her and knelt down to pray as a man came over, he must have been a relative, and he told us that she was deaf and spoke no English at all. We asked him if we could pray for her and he said yes, and continued to interpret to her what was going on. We laid our hands on her and just loved on her as we prayed fervently for healing and blessing. She sat still holding our hands until her body jolted back just a bit, and I saw God touch her body. I recognized what had happened and when we were finished she said in perfect English, “Thank you,” as if that was all she needed and continued to sing as if she was perfectly content. We still planned on feeding her though and as we stood I finally realized the massive crowd that had drawn around us. Probably thirty people stood around just watching us as we loved on this old beggar who was probably despised by her community. I smiled as we made our way through and went quickly to the closest stand and bought her some fruit. We gave it to her and then went on our way, but the joy that grew inside of me that day was so real and alive, I will never forget it. This Friday we will again be walking down that street to see if that woman is still there and if so we will be giving her some food and praying for her again. She is so worth all the love and affection we can give her!
A couple days ago a little girl ran to me and told me who she was, a girl Kylee and I had bought cookies for at the grocery store the week before. She is nine and her name is Winnie. She looked at me with these big, brown, wondering eyes and said, “You told me to come tell you who I was and that you would give me a huge hug when I did.” I smiled and said come here then and opened my arms wide. She grabbed tightly holding my waist and I thought she honestly would never let go. She stayed with me for a long time and we walked together down the dirt road.  She kept her arms around my waist and when we stopped so that I could talk to the other girls around us she just held me and I keep her in my arms. We continued to walk for about twenty minutes and in this time all she could say was, “Nakupenda Sana,” over and over which means, “I love you very much.” She would repeat it in Swahili and in English so that I knew. When time came for us to depart she struggled to let go saying, “I love you, I love you, please tell me where you live so that if you don’t come back I can find you.” She broke me today and as she held me and looked up, I looked down into her beautiful eyes and promised to her that I would be back again tomorrow to teach another grade at her school. She struggled to believe me and I had to repeat it a few times. When she let go and we began to walk away she stood there with about five of the other school girls staring towards us. We got a ways up before I turned around to find her chasing after me. Again I gathered her into my arms and she whispered in my ear, “Please tomorrow will you come back and come see my mama and where I live?” “Yes,” I replied I can do that. She smiled from ear to ear and was able to let me go. I am so moved. To receive all that love when all I did was buy her and her sister some cookies at that store? It really is the little things at matter!

The following day Kylee and I went to her home along with her other siblings! This was so much fun! We were there for two hours and in this time we danced and sang about in their little home. Seeing Winnie and her friends dance was so amazing, these girls can dance like I have never seen children dance before! They honored us so much, filling our bellies and hearts to the brim! I love them and I can’t wait to go back!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Glimpse of His Love

God knows our hearts, our desires, our passions and He is so faithful to come and bring life in those moments we feel quite defeated. Kylee, Bre and I arrived at the school we would be teaching at and soon found out that our two older classes would be combined into one, on the account of one of the classrooms randomly turning into a storage room. Now we would somehow have to teach a group of around 500 girls; without microphones might I add! A bit of panic hit my stomach as I watched hundreds of girls flood into this room, packing it to the brim.  As everyone was getting settled in, pushing and shoving to find seats suddenly a little girl, probably around the age of nine or ten fought through the crowd, in the mists of chaos to reach out to Kylee. “I have a surprise for you!” she said excitedly as she handed Kylee and little folded up note she had personally written for her.

 “Oh I can’t wait to read it, thank you so much!” Kylee responded as bend down to pull her up into her arms.  As the crowd continued to pour in we soon realized there weren’t enough seats and girls would be sitting all over the floor. As I stood there, doing my best to keep smiling, while my nerves continued to get the best of me I suddenly realized, no matter what happens in this classroom today God is here! He is with us and we are not alone! In that moment my nerves ceased and nothing was going to stop us from having the best time even in all of the craziness! To sit back and laugh, giving it all to God, felt so good.  To smile and respond with love towards each child, knowing only God can do this was exciting, and I began to truly laugh.

Respect was the core of this lesson; basically if I’m valuable and cannot be bought or sold neither can my friends therefore I should not be trying to sell my friends. Overall after much shouting just to be heard, class was finally coming to an end. Today was one of the rough days, but after listening to them sing about respect and hearing them respond with some knowledge into what we had been trying to teach was a success. God is so faithful to bring encouragement in those perfect moments and at the end Kylee was again approached with another little note, crinkled up in the hands of a child!

 This little girl was around the age of 11 and she was so precious. She handed over the note, smiled and ran off quickly. Kylee and I were overjoyed in realizing that what we were doing was creating an impact and children were recognizing it!

Every Moment Counts

Last week as we walked arm and arm alongside our beautiful children in the dirt, dodging the mud holes and the cattle, we talked and laughed. Deep joy filled me as these girls laughed and giggled holding me like I would fade away and all I wanted was to be able to give them EVERYTHING! If only I could give them the world! But honestly my heart breaks as I battle within myself with my own weaknesses. I often wonder; God will Kylee and I even have enough money make it through next month?  Is there enough for us and all of these girls, Daddy? I laugh at my own inadequacy as I am reminded even now about God’s faithfulness and His promises. “Don’t worry about these things, saying what will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6: 31-33) It’s still a fight, a constant battle, but the Father is saying, “The victory has already been won, so do not be afraid!”

As we come to a stop at the end of the road all the girls stand silent around me, staring, hoping that we aren’t going to leave, and usually at this point we stay for at least ten minutes continuing to love on each of them. Today one of the little girls, probably around 8 or 9, seemed oddly sad. I knelt down to look her in the eyes and she lowered her eyes even further. “What is wrong? Are you ok?” I asked but she didn’t reply. I turned to one of the older girls and asked her if she knew what was wrong with her. The older girl said, “The teacher shaved a chuck of her hair off today because her mother couldn’t pay for her head to be shaved and that is a rule!” Immediately I turned to her and saw the chuck of hair missing. My heart broke! What shame to put on a child that she has to publically walk around with a chuck of her hair shaved in representation of the poverty at home! I was so upset and even after I went home that night I could not get her off my mind. I laid in bed thinking and praying for this child and by the time I fell asleep I had decided that if I saw her next week I would take her to get her haircut.

For a week I thought about her, waiting with anticipation for our next class together. Finally the day arrived and about mid-way into class I caught eyes with her! There she was! My heart leapt and I smiled at her. After class Kylee and I, with interpretation from our Kenyan leaders, asked her if we could take her to get her a haircut. She nodded and smiled as her eyes lit up.
When we finally arrived at the barber shop we ended up having three little girls with us, in whom all got their haircuts! We had so much fun and seeing how happy and excited these children were to receive haircuts filled us with joy! After haircuts we said goodbye too two of the girl and then bought the little one a pair of flip flops as we had noticed she was barefoot. By the time this little one got home she was all smiles and hugged us tightly as she whispered, “I love you,” in our ears.

After struggling all week with the lie of not having enough and continuing to long to give, finally my love for these precious girls won out over the worry for my own life and we gave! God does not ask us to worry, instead he asks us to trust him in everything and give even if we have nothing. Even if all I have is the change in my wallet I will continue to obey and give, and my heart will rejoice and be glad!

Haircuts are vital for the children of Kenya for two reasons:
#1 - Prevention from lice
#2-  Keeps them out of trouble

And the good news is…..

It only cost 36 CENTS (U.S)!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Can't Be Bought

Voices of little ones fill the air, excitement and chaos all at once; this is our classrooms each day. Such beauty is found in this wonderful chaos. Little hands reach out grabbing, clinging, searching to be noticed, to be loved, to be found by someone who cares. In the beginning and end of every class ten to fifteen minutes is just spend on allowing each child to greet us, which often is being swarmed by every child all at once giggling, laughing, and jumping about all around us. I have only been here a sort time and my love for these beautiful girls is ever increasing! You can’t see them and not love them! They are so beautiful and I literately feel God’s heart for his daughters.
It can be very hard though, each day I am learning to cope with the pain as God allows my heart to enlarge and become vulnerable to these girls. I am trying hard to learn how to keep my heart open and raw, while also keeping my arms open. How do I listen to their stories, horrific stories, and not grow numb in protection of my own heart? How do I allow myself to break over and over again, while not carrying the burden? God keeps reassuring me that He alone is the Savior and I’ll we can do is what he asks, even if it is just to love endlessly and wholeheartedly.
This week we are teaching our girls what valuable means. What that practically looks like here, is telling them that a cost cannot be put on their bodies and speaking daily that they are priceless and cannot be bought or sold. We play different games with them to get our point across and as comical as this game may be to an American teenager, it truly hits home here. One of the games is called, “Auction.” We bring in different items such as sunglasses, a DVD, a t-shirt, a cell phone and we ask them what they would pay for these items. The classroom is filled with shouting, laughing, yelling out random amounts of money “5 bob, 20 bob, 50 bob” until they come to an agreement on what they think the items value is worth. Then Kylee begins to pump up the last item, “Ok, now this item is very valuable. It can cook you anything you want, it can dance and play games, it can do anything you want it too! Are you ready to see it?” All the children are excited, “Yes, Yes!” Finally Kylee grabs my hand and shows me off to the children.  The children look around at each other awkwardly but quickly begin to yell out prices, sadly pretty low prices too.  Then I put on the sunglasses and begin parading myself around blowing kisses and doing twirls, this gets the girls going and my price goes up. But always by the end of the game I end up being marked with a price tag, sell-able in their eyes. This is when I am able to explain to them that human do not have price tags and that in fact we are all priceless. In another game we play I hold up 1,000 shillings roughly 12 dollars and ask who would want this, as the children all scream for it I destroy the money one step and a time and even spit on it until it looks all gross and unwanted. I ask one last time who still wants this money and as expected they all still want it. "So you are telling me that no matter what happens to this money the value does not decrease?" All the girls say,"Yes," and after this I begin to ask them some serious questions. “Has anyone in here ever been called bad names? Has anyone ever been beat up, or spit on? Has anyone ever been hurt at all by someone else?” Almost all the children’s hands are raised and I ask them, “Does this make your value go down? Does this make you any less special and important?” By this time the message has hit home, and I can see it in their little faces. At the end of class we all stand and sing loudly our “Can’t Be Bought,” song.


Watching them do all the actions and get all into it makes me heart so happy! This song literately is being heard and sung all throughout the village!

It breaks my heart to have to stand in front of our 100 or so fourth graders and tell them nobody can sell them, understanding that it’s all they have known and seen. Prostitution is just culture here, another job occupation. I am still learning a lot each day but I do know that around the age of 11 and 12, when their little bodies begin forming, are when girls really start being harassed and begin choosing to sell their bodies for as little as 20 cents just so they can eat. BUT God is good, and things are changing, there is no way they can’t change! I believe this strongly because God keeps telling me that His word does not return void, and when he sends it out, it will produce good fruit! Every day as we teach these precious girls their worth, their value, and how important their lives really are and things are breaking off of them! Generational curses are breaking! Chains are loosening! Blind eyes are seeing and believing! Come on Jesus! His truth sets us free and no weapon formed against these children will prosper!!!! I stand in this; I believe this, and it's God’s promises that keep me alive! His promises keep my heart from grief because we ALREADY have the VICTORY!

 1,000 precious girls, 4 young missionaries, and 1 God= anything is possible!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Experiencing Kenya

We arrived in Mtwapa, Kenya, around 6am on Tuesday the 14th, relief flooded in when we saw our luggage slowing circling at the baggage claim. We had been on 3 planes and traveling for 2 days straight within 3 airports by this time and we were so excited to finally be here! Two of the girls on our team welcomed us home and we headed out into the streets of Africa. I have been in foreign countries before but it was that first taxi ride that became my definite reminder, we are no longer in America. No lanes, no speed limits, no stop signs, no street lights, no walk ways for pedestrians, nothing, the vehicles don’t even have to stay on the streets if they don’t want too. I smiled, choosing in that moment to trust the cab driver but mostly to trust God with this new beginning. The smell of rain and humidity, sweating already, noise everywhere, the streets filled with honking and yelling, this is Kenya and I LOVE it!
Our first day consisted of unpacking, meeting new people, riding my first piki (dirt bike driven by a man, one of Kenyans main ways of transportation), grocery shopping, walking through the village, a “Can’t Be Bought” meeting, and a dip in the pool to cool off before bed. Defiantly a full day but honestly it seemed easy, little to no jet lag, Praise God! We fell asleep at 6pm and slept like babies awaking at sunrise fully charged and excited for the new day to begin.
On our second day we walked to the school in which we would be teaching our first classes. As we arrived all the children starred and peaked around other children to see us, yelling “Jambo, jambo!,” which means “Hello, hello.” Soon we were ushered into the principal’s office, here called the head mistress, and welcomed to take a seat. She then began discussing with us our classes and class sizes. This is when we found out that there are 200 girls in classes 4-5 and 400 girls in classes 6-7! Our faces looked shocked and we laughed nervously realizing our own personal class sizes. Kylee and I will be teaching 100 girls in class 4 on Wednesdays and 200 girls in class 6 on Fridays! Granite this is only one school! We also will be teaching Mondays, and Tuesdays at another school and again on Saturday at another school! This all seemed so overwhelming and impossible but oddly I was so calm and super excited!  All I could think about was Katie, a missionary living in Uganda, who taught a class of 130 young children or more and how God helped her and brought her so much joy through it. She was able to touch and affect so many lives and inwardly I had been jealous, and could only dream of that opportunity.  When the head mistress said this, inwardly I bursted with joy!  Now is my chance and I know with God nothing is impossible!
On our third day Kylee and I ventured out into the village to walk the streets and meet some of the locals. Honestly I think I understand how a famous person feels living here in Kenya;  95% of the people’s heads turn as we walk by, children run to us wanting to say hi or touch us, piki drivers and matatu drivers fight over us, people stand so we can sit, and people say, “Karibou Kenya,” everywhere we go which means “Welcome to Kenya.” At times it can be overwhelming, especially when in a crowd of people or its night time, but my favorite is being at the schools when all the children each want individual hugs and kisses from us. Being in the mists of these little children is my favorite part of Kenya! They fill me with such love and I only hope I can love them each in return as much as they love me.
 As Kylee and I walked the village we met a family in particular who welcomed us into their home and offered us chi and potatoes. We sat and talked with them finding out that they had 8 children, 2 girls in whom we met, and 6 boys. Their youngest daughter is unable to attend school because the small tuition fee is too much for the family to pay and she stays home cooking, cleaning, and doing regular house work. Her name is Joyce, she is eleven and her eyes can light up a room. She smiled the whole time we were there and peaked at us, often, from around the corner where she was washing clothes. She is beautiful and Kylee and I are so excited to get to know her and her family.
Kylee and I love it here so far. It feels like we have been here a couple weeks and it’s only been 6 days! Each day is full of new surprises and just leaving the house is an adventure every time!

Amazing things we have seen so far: a group of babies ages 1-3 making a small fire using only sticks and stones, monkeys, cattle being herded down the street, women carrying large amounts of different items on their heads for miles, and lizards everywhere with green heads and blue bodies or orange heads and green bodies,
A few amazing things I could defiantly live WITHOUT: Seeing the spider the size of my fist, a big yellow gecko that fell from my closet and onto my arm, centipedes the size of baby snakes, and a slimy poisons worm that moves very fast.

Check out Katie and her ministry in Uganda-