01 August 2015
25 April 2015
For almost 3 weeks now, our family has been in Turkana. Next week we head back home to Kitale.
When coming here, we loaded up in our land cruiser, and I mean LOADED up.
But I was thankful for a stronger working vehicle (insert heart of thanks to those that have given to vehicle funds so far). In Turkana, the people are mostly nomadic. When water dries up or there's no where left for goats and camels to eat from, they move. They have these woven baskets and stretcher like things that go on donkeys and camels to carry everything. Including the sticks for their houses. And they will walk for days. So you could say I was thankful to have an upgraded version with suitcases, a land cruiser and tents bolted on top.
Every mission up here usually looks different but always has the same purpose of continuing to build relationships and share Jesus wherever we go. Last trip that meant giving out food. This trip has been a lot of going low and slow (as Mama Heidi would say). Praying, listening and learning. We are basing out of the main town in Turkana and travel into the reserve for some days. Last week we went for a three day outreach. We loaded up the whole fam and ventured into the middle of the desert where we make our own roads and it feels like the end of the earth.
We are very much about missions as a family. Sure there are times just Bud or just myself goes to do ministry when its best we go without kids.But we realize that doing missions and ministry as a family adds something to it that opens doors and brings the Kingdom like nothing else. But it's messy. And it's hard. And it takes more time. It takes pulling over on the side of the road several times because your five year old daughter has a small bladder. It takes several packs of wet wipes because your two year old keeps eating sand which causes poop to flow all down his legs. Often. It takes staying up at 4am praying over your kid with a fever because the devil isn't happy with what we are doing. But Jesus heals. And we see him heal our kids over and over again. It takes time to pull your seven year old to the side to talk again about how to respond best when kids crowd around him to touch his hair and pull on his shirt. It takes time at night to talk with our teenage boys about what's going on in their lives.
But what comes of this family on a mission is only God. It means when we go into a village, there's no warming up to us, our kids break the silence and bring smiles and laughter to us all. It builds trust for people to see us come in with the whole family. One of the best examples is when one day we went around a village prayer walking. We went into one home to talk to a young man and walls went up. He said he was fine and didn't want prayer. We kept walking and our son Ian stayed behind. Eventually this young man opened up and shared a lot with Ian and Ian was able to encourage the guy and share Jesus. So powerful! Then there are many times Bud comes in and is able to talk as a father to many. Im SO thankful for the way he takes care of our family. He has become quite the handy man and i continually see some Mcgever characteristics come out of him. Especially in the middle of the desert. There was a day one of our boys birth mom was very sick. Turns out she had just had a baby the week before. I got to pray and love the sweet little newborn while the mama rested. I knew from experience exactly what the mama was going through. Well I say exactly. Ha. I can't even imagine birthing a baby on dirt floors and recovering in such hard conditions. So scratch that, i had no idea. But I could come in as a mama to help with the sweet little. I mean, he was definitely one of the sweetest squishy newborns ever so it didn't take much to love him!
Because it takes more time and effort as a family, there are definitely times we wonder what on earth are we doing. And times when our children act crazy and disciplining them becomes tiresome. But that's when you have to stay the course and keep the focus. Trusting. Just when we were having one of these low moments, our sons speaks out a prophetic word and says "hey I have a verse I can't stop thinking about". We were driving through crazy roads and barely making it through dry river beds when he speaks this out from the back seat. We were hot, tired and hungry. And our vehicle was making a bit of a strange noise and my husband was starting to wonder if it could be something serious. But we all tune in to hear what he was saying. "Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight". It was a verse I've grown up hearing but wow was it ever a timely word and took on a whole new meaning for this season.
The first day we set out to travel up here, I pulled up Facebook to find an article that spoke volumes. It talks of a movement. A movement of families on a mission. Through the crazy bumps, I managed to read it out loud to Bud. And bam, spot on. Because sometimes people can put words to what we feel. Here it is: http://www.burn24-7.com/articles/the-pursuit-of-family-traveling-europe#.VTspCX8ayK0
And i cant figure out how to move pics to flow in with what i shared above. Power out (again) and on an app on phone...
10 April 2015
I've been eager to share about our recent race though! So here it is...
A few weeks ago, our first running team here at Mattaw Children's Village went and ran our first half marathon. We started with a large group but eventually narrowed it down to a smaller team of 10. Everyone is considered on the team still, they just run shorter distances. We are looking for some cross country meets to be a part of. We found a Kenyan coach who has ran several half and full marathons and because of the crazy intense competition in this country, he hasn't made it big. But his times are unbelievable. So we were thankful to bring in a well trained coach. Bud and I also ran it. It was an incredibly hard course. I realized how nuts we were once I hit mile 6. And I began to wonder why I chose to run on the training ground of olympic athletes. Then we spent several miles going up hill on what felt like a mountain. Several parts of it felt like I was climbing, not running.
It was t-o-u-g-h.
But the best part of the whole thing was having trained with our children for several months and then getting to get out there and run with them and see them finish something they started. It reminded me of a part in the bible that says:
"I have no greater joy than to see my children walking in truth" 3John 4:3.
It's like that parent/father/mother heart bursting with joy to see their children doing right, thriving and in this case; finishing what they start. God always brings so much symbolism to each run I train and do. And this one, the focus was our children. Seeing them accomplish this race was like in their spiritual walk how we see them lay hold of truth and run with it and endure through the hard times. The times they feel they're climbing a mountain but hang on to the truths of God's word to push them through.
One of our girls, Mary, was one I have to highlight. They all did amazing but this girl. She rocked it. She wasn't the fastest, and we knew that from training. But the best part is, she finished and she did her best. Even when she didn't feel like it, she would get out and run during training. She was one of my biggest motivations in this race. There's a part at mile 9 on the race course where you have to turn down a road and run to the end of it for a few miles, then people write down your race number confirming you made it to that point. Then you turn around and run back down that road and turn down another path and run like 1/2 a mile to the finish line. So back to that mountain we climbed at mile 6.... I walked. And everyone that was behind me on our mattaw team passed me. You bet I was cheering them on in between gasping for air and then eating their dust. But I kept my eye on several of our girls and would manage to slowly start running again each time I felt I would stop seeing them up ahead. Mary was one of them. So when I got to the point of turning down the road and passing a lot of our team that had already turned around to run up to the finish line, I was able to high five them and keep cheering. And I realized at that point that I really wanted to finish with them. By the time we were 1/2 a mile from the finish line, I made it back up to Mary. It was some crazy endurance that came out of nowhere that got me back to her.
And together.... we finished.
Rebecca was there to help with our kids and cheer on the team. She also has taken on photography so was able to snap some shots at the finish for us. She snapped a picture of Mary and I and it speaks volumes to my heart. It also made me super hesitant to post it because I'm looking ROUGH in this picture. It slightly shows how I was feelin, ha. But we are keepin it real here. To me it symbolizes how the ministry we do here isn't always easy and attractive when you are in it for the long run. Like when we are enduring the parts that feel like we're climbing a mountain :). On the inside though, I was full of great joy as we joined the rest of the team that had finished and enjoyed talking of how tough it was but we all finished. Mary, of course, is glowing and beautiful as always.
Completing the race.
It's all mentioned in the bible and refers to this life we are on.
So since I've brought up Mary, I want to also share that we have our full length documentary completed! It has three kid's stories featured in it and one of them is Mary. We didn't prepare her for what to say, but she spoke her heart. She gave her testimony and was very real in it. When we watched it with our Mattaw Leaders, we were all left speachless. In a good way. Her story is one that comes from much brokenness. But how God picked up all the pieces and has made her whole. She knows she's a daughter. And knows what it means to endure and finish well. Our prayer is that every child that comes into Mattaw would grasp this revelation. We are full of joy to know she will be an example and leader for years to come.
Bud is hoping to travel back to the states the end of May for his sisters wedding. During that time he will go around speaking in places and sharing this documentary. If you would like to have him come speak to a church, business, sunday school class, or any group interested in hearing more about Mattaw, please let us know! Email: email@example.com. We also have some short films about Mattaw and some of its branches that we will be posting OH SO SOON!
We are also SUUUUPER excited to share that the Race2Rescue is also officially launched!
You can click on this link below for more information and how to sign up!!! More to come on this but just wanted to get it out to those that don't know yet! Maybe you aren't a runner, but you could walk. Either way, these children can also be your motivation!
28 March 2015
The week before last we ventured back up to northern Kenya to a region called Turkana. This is where the Turkana tribe lives. It's always quite the journey every time God sends us there. For those that don't know, we have quite the history of working up there and is it ever increasing as we just keep praying and going when lead to. Here's the short of it. (Which probably won't seem short but there's so much to it.)
We went up to Lodwar (the capital of Turkana) which took 10 hours. We camped two nights there then on a Monday, spent 5 hours to get to a very remote village with a little church. It was one of the most precious times I've ever spent worshipping Jesus with a group of believers. And all they had was a church made of sticks, brush and leaves on the roof, big rocks to sit on, a simple drum and their voices to exalt King Jesus!
We then moved on for around 3 more hours to another remote village where people were dying last year in a drought. It started out a bit chaotic but thankfully we had some amazing people who are experienced in aid work, to help organize people into groups in order to distribute the food. Otherwise, well, not sure what could of happen. But Papa always knows our needs and provides the laborers!
(The food bought by those of you that gave to feed the hungry in Turkana. Massive thank you for every dollar given!!)
One of Claire's little friends at a school we distributed food. She kept making sure her dress was pulled up :).