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-

Monday, May 6, 2013

Meet Joyce

On April 18th, the day before mine and Kylee's second yard sale we decided to wake up early and go for a morning walk to Starbucks. It was a beautiful morning warm, blue skies, and we were happy. As we walked we talked, but particularly on this morning our talked consisted of  details and preparation still needed to be done prior to running another successful yard sale. This weekends main concern was, our lack of stuff,  we just didn't have too much to offer after the last weekend. 
And that's when we met Joyce!
We ended up walking into a store called "The Clothing Exchange," I had seen this store before and had always wanted to check it out. This time mainly to see if we could sell our clothes and make some money for Kenya but little did I know, God had something totaling different in mind. As soon as we walked in this blonde, spunky, and full of life woman approached us. She asked us if we needed help with anything and we only replied with our question, wondering how the store worked. She explained it all and then continued to ask why we were wanting to sell our clothing, odd considering this is why people come to the store in the first place...right.? That is when Kylee started telling her all about our plans to go to Kenya. As we talked she became more and more intrigued, asking all sorts of questions, and wondering out loud ways to help us raise money. After probably 20 minutes of chatting and after we mentioned our yard sales she perked up and said, "Well I want to help you girls! Can I donate to your yard sale!?" "Of course, please do, we would be so grateful, " we quickly replied. After we exchanged phone numbers and contact information she let us know she would be calling after the store closed at 5:00 pm to bring over clothes, shoes, and some other items. "Thank you so much!" we said as we headed out the door completely filled with joy and so excited by what God had just done, not even realizing what was coming next. 
That evening, the night before our yard sale begins, Joyce called me. "I'm on my way over, are you there?" she asked. "Yes, go ahead and stop by!" When Joyce pulled up I was not expecting at all what she had brought with her! An expedition filled to the brim with clothing of all sizes, pictures, picture frames, name brand purses, belts, hats, scarfs, boxes and boxes of shoes, a printer, a microwave, Halloween costumes, and more! She brought her son with her to help unload all the boxes and after explained that she had more and would be right back! Soon there was a second load, again filled to the brim with clothes and more! My neighbors began to slow down as they drove by, some stopped and asked about it, those who were out walking actually stopped and asked if they could buy items right now!
 I hugged Joyce and thanked her over and over for what she had just done for us. I was blown away by God! He isn't kidding when we says He will bless you abundantly and your storehouse will overflow with good things! He cares about every detail of our lives and heard our prayers and knew our needs, these things we all know so well, but to experience His love in action is breathtaking! God is breathtaking and he is for us in all we endeavor to do! We are not walking this life alone, he hold our hands and we co-labor with Christ to fulfill all God's purposed us to do!
That night was filled with sorting mounds and mounds of clothing, and trying to make room for everything. There was so much I couldn't even come close to being able to display it all in one area and when we opened that early morning people rushed in. I had to open up the living room as well as the entire garage and pavement to display everything. Then Joyce showed up again, saving us once more with her kindness. She unloaded racks and racks for us to display everything on as well as giving us more stuff, and also letting us know if we get low on stuff to call her and she can be right over with the next load! She even mentioned that if we get overwhelmed to not worry and that when it ends she and her son will come by and pick it all up agian. This women so blessed our lives with her sacrfice and hard work, and she had only known us for a whole 20 minutes prior to giving all she had to see us succeed! This is the kind of women I want to be! Thank you Joyce, who will forever be in our hearts.
By the end of this crazy weekend we had made near $1,200.00, and rather than losing any of our own stuff we gained more than we can ever repay!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Crazy Faith

In December 2013 when  Kylee was asked if she would like to return to Kenya. She had only been in the states a few months but when she was asked to return her heart was filled with joy. She had previously been in Mozambique, Africa for 3 months attending "Harvest School of Ministry," but during the last portion of her schooling she spent 3 weeks living in Kenya, and it was there that she fell in love.

When Kylee mention Kenya and returning it was actually my mom who gave me the idea of the possibility of returning with her. My mom knew how deeply I had desired to do oversea work and thought it might be a good option. Sure enough that was all it took for me, my heart burst with excitement, wonder, and joy within me! Just to childhood dreams becoming a reality?  For months after, Kenya was all I could like about, it consumed me. Have you ever had a dream keep you up at night! The desire to go grew so fast, even at night I would wake up filled with excitement, dreaming about the people, the environment, praying, and wondering so many things. I spent much of my time with God in these couple of months just letting him search my heart and allowing him to show me, again, my desires and dreams. Dreams of being a missionary at the age of six, dreams of traveling, healing the sick, raising the dead! I literally went through years and years of my journals searching for prophetic words over my life and finding his voice and how he had been so faithfully leading me all of theses years, wondering if this might be what he had created me to do. I had to know for certain this sudden desire to jump in faith and off to Kenya was from him because to be in his will and purpose for my life is all I want! These times with Jesus were so much fun, I began to discoverer myself again, a girl, passionate about spreading the Word of God to the nations! In God's words, as he mentioned to me, so many times in my early years of salvation, "A light in the darkness that cannot be overcome." (John 1:5) "Or a ball of fire spreading wings and filling the most desolate and broken places of the earth." He spoke theses words over me and for as long as I can remember I know that I am his light that travels into the darkest of places of the earth where the people are the most hurting and broken, that is where I long to be. I am a light, radiating the ABUNDANT love of the Father!I believe that its in places such as these that the people will rejoice and become passionate fires burning for God, because a little to us is abundance to them! 

In February I was personally was able to connect with Brittanie Richarson whom Kylee already knew.  Brittanie is a young lady in Kenya working with a ministry called "Can't Be Bought." This ministry is a project in Kenya working in four parts; education, rescue/ rehab, outreach/feeding, and sponsorship. After we talked on the phone for about an hour my excitement for Kenya grew even greater. From this point, I was in waiting again. Waiting to hear from Cassandra Basnett, the founder of the Kenya project.

 I was so anxiously excited, and nervous, and all the emotion you could possibly have in the waiting. I knew this next step could change my life forever but giving my all, my everything, living fully in trust and faith is all I have ever wanted.To be a radical, a crazy as some might call it, but nothing less than totally sold out for Jesus! But man, the wait is rough. I think one of the hardest parts of this process so far. My days consisted of much praying, many breakdowns, many phone calls to my mom, struggle, but also many encounters, and the nearness to Jesus that I will never take for granite. I knew the Lord was saying yes, yet I knew nothing was for certain upon waiting to hear from Cassandra. Although I hadn't heard from Cassandra it was His voice I followed. I began to make the necessary steps to direct my life in believing that I was going to Kenya in May. This consisted of many conversations with friends and spiritual parents, leaving jobs, and turning down new job opportunities, talking with my landlord and having new roommates set up to come, and tons of fundraising.Walking in faith, with only his voice to rely on was so difficult, yet so strengthening.   

Finally in April, after our applications were in, Kylee and I were able to have our phone interview with Cassandra. And after an hour or so, Kylee and I we were welcomed to come to Kenya!!

And now the journey begins...