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