19 January 2016

Love looks like something


Hey y'all, 

Greetings from across the big pond.  At the Mattaw Children's Village, our mission is to rescue children that really have no other option than to be brought into one of the Mattaw families.  We have social workers and a network of people to really investigate if there are safe parents or relatives to ensure that Mattaw is the best option for the child.  There's been a few times where God has brought us children then later the mom comes and is now able to be restored with their child.  It hasn't happened much but when it does, we rejoice as it is always beautiful to see a mom love her child and the child want to be back in her arms.  We have a few of these stories to share soon.  This story is one that we were able to help put the children in school and help encourage the mom to make choices that keep the family together.  This is one of those stories I've put off writing until I could articulate my heart well enough.  And well, that's not happening.  But I know several would love an update on Frankline.  He's the boy we shared about almost two years ago to date. 
You can read from two years ago here:
http://huffmansinkenya.blogspot.co.ke/2014/01/frankline.html?m=0

And here:
http://huffmansinkenya.blogspot.co.ke/2014/02/frankline-update.html?m=0

These were pictures from the first time we met him...


 He was living in a very dangerous and dark slum.  The first time we visited him, we saw hope break through the darkness.  We instantly fell in love with him and his mom and siblings.  It was just one of those rare families you come across that you know their hearts are good and genuinely hunger for Jesus and for help that only Heaven can bring.  His mom grew up most of her life an orphan.  She was forced to be a house girl and watched a lot of tragedy happen through tribal clashes up on Mt. Elgon.  Not ever wanting to get married because she had a bad view of men, she was then impregnated against her will several times while living in the slum.  But from day one, she's loved her children and done the best she can.  There's no doubt that she's so proud of her children and loves them deeply.  Thanks to many of you, we were able to put Frankline in high school.  He was one of those kids that just stood out.  Super sweet, smart and humble.  He never asked us for anything and has always been so grateful for every bit given him, even down to a pencil and eraser.  At first, you could see in his eyes the hopelessness when it came to his future.  We began to see God breathe life back into him as we were able to share the news that so many friends were going to pay for his first two years of high school.  There's really nothin like those moments and we are blessed to get to see God radically move in lives and alter the destiny of a child in need.  

Last month, we were in Kitale around Christmas time, rushing all over town to gather up goodies for our Mattaw's Christmas party.  It was when we had to fill up with fuel for the car that God stopped us in our tracks.  Frankline's mom found us as she had just been in a court case for her daughter.  No longer were "things" for Christmas as important as we heard her share what happened recently.  Her neighbour deceived her young teenage daughter into going to town to buy vegetables.  Instead, she quickly found out that the neighbour had arranged for her to go and be a customer to an older man in a bar in a nearby slum.  She was scared and felt she had no other choice.  The man did unspeakable things to her.  We could see the hurt and guilt in this moms eyes as she told the story.  Not only was she now having to fight for justice for her daughter but now people in the slum were threatening to kill the mom and her children if the mom presses charges.  You can bet that put a fire in our belly for justice.  So we prayed and asked God what to do and how.  I've faced SO many challenges lately where you REALLY have no other option than for God to bring a heavenly solution.  All of these situations REALLY make my heart long for Jesus to come back.  Like tomorrow would be a dream come true.  The injustices we hear and see are unbearable without knowing Jesus has an answer.  So we made sure she'd be safe overnight so that she could then come to the mattaw Christmas party with her kids and we could have more time to think of something.  There's so many hurting and dying in this world, so many needing help, but when God puts the one in front of you....  you might know who I'm talking about.  A situation where God says "THIS one.  This one I want you to fight for -- to stand for -- to push against the odds and see them walk in victory".  Just as Heidi Baker says "love looks like something".  So we asked God, how do you want us to love this mom and her children.  They came to the Christmas party and we all had such a good day celebrating.  I observed how they had genuine smiles on their face the whole time and weren't concerned that they were about to run for their lives.  There was no worry that they had no clue where they would go.  Long story short, within the following week, a place was found for them.  They are now tucked away safe.  For now.  This week we went to visit them and the mom was beyond happy to have us come in the little two rooms we're renting for her.  One room empty with firewood she had gathered and the other room with their beds.  Just enough to get by with filled a corner of the room.  She pulled out passport size picture of her children to show us and brag on them again as she's always eager to do.  She showed us the picture from Frankline's school when she visited him on parent's day.  The school had taken a picture of her and Frankline and printed it for them.  These little treasures she holds dear to her.  She then shared how people are telling her about evil people from the slum who are looking for them.  So we're asking God again, what now?  We're asking for your prayers in a situation that we believe that God will once again bring hope in dark times.  One way to also help is by donating funds to support them.  Frankline has finished his first two years of school and is now in need of this years school fees.  He has excelled in school and is in the top 15% of his entire grade.  He still dreams of being a surgeon one day and helping lives physically.  We also put his little brother in a school.  The daughter was placed temporarily in a rescue centre until the mom can secure a safe home but she's wanting her daughter back.  Any amount would help but our goal is $50 a month to cover rent and a few basic needs.  Frankline's school fees are $450 for this year.  The little brother's schooling, uniform and school supplies is $120.  Any amount is a huge help.  You can donate through paypal on the mattaw website:  mattawchildren.com.  And thank you for praying.  We believe precious ones like this will make an impact on the world.  An impact that helps to prepare the world for the return of Jesus.

31 December 2015

Changes and Cheers (to a NEW year!)

Hello from 2016!  It's looking OH SO great from this side.  While most of you are still in 2015, I thought I'd finally write a blog that has been lingering in my heart for.... I dont know... like ....months.  It's been one that words on a page just wasn't happening.  I mentioned in the recent WOW post that we too have some personal WOWS that God has done in our little Huffman tribe.  And well, it's time to go public with some of them.  And they're good, no worries :).  

This past year has by far been one of the BEST and at the same time, one of the most challenging years ever.  There was a new depth of challenges that I had no idea we'd face when celebrating New Years last year.  And thank goodness that our good Father doesn't show us more than we can handle, he knows our hearts too much to know that we might ruuuuunnnn far away if we only knew what lies ahead.  OH but how much greater the victory when the battle is greater.  He is incredibly faithful to be with us always and Jesus' power, that resurrection power that He puts within us, well... the gates of hell can not prevail against His church and those called according to His purposes.  So we've learned, again, that if we would just trust --- sit still  --- abide --- and believe God and His promises in His Word -- then all will be just right.  So where am I going with this.... I've tried many times to sit and write this blog.  But I was advised by one phenomenal God-fearing bestie of mine to copy and paste what we just sent out to our sponsors.  Normally, all our sponsors get a personal note from us and we don't share with anyone else.  This year, you get to get in on it.  And I hope it'll also encourage you to sign up to sponsor one of our Mattaw Children!  Because the need for more sponsors is still a great big one.  So as you start out your New Year in 2016, would you consider sponsorship?  It's the biggest need we have to be able to care for Mattaw Children's Village.  

A letter to our sponsors:

Hi Friends and Family! True to Kenyan culture, we greet you the Kenyan way: Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We hope this finds you doing well this holiday season. Wow, what a year it has been within Mattaw Ministries. We have been blessed beyond our imagination. The Lord continues to lead, guide, protect and provide for those once forgotten. We are incredibly grateful for any small or big way you’ve been a part of seeing the gospel of the Kingdom expand and go forth here in Kenya. There have been SO many ways people have heard the call from our good Father to respond to the needs of the orphaned and widowed. We’ve had teenagers put on a 5k in their neighborhood to raise thousands of dollars for these children. Two children put up a lemonade stand to collect funds. That is such a classic fundraiser, but what beauty is shown of kids helping kids across the world. We can learn so much from children! We’ve also had those that want to be anonymous give in BIG ways that blow our minds on what big hearts of compassion the Lord forms in His church. Then there’s been people that also quietly give what they can which is sometimes a few dollars and lots of prayers. Oh how God loves a happy heart that gives out of love and obedience. And our sweet sponsors! What an answer to prayer EVERY -- SINGLE -- ONE of you is. It is through monthly sponsorship that we provide for our children. I could write a novel on the most creative ways God has brought in funds but I’ll just say this to all of you who know who you are --- whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done unto Jesus. And for that, we say THANK YOU. Our hearts are so full of gratitude. This year, we’ve been through many great and hard times. We’ve watched our oldest children grow into young men and women. It has brought good and hard times. We’ve really pressed in to seek God’s wisdom for how to raise these chlidren into leaders, which is the heart and vision of Mattaw Children’s Village. As we continue to raise them, pray with us that they would make choices to seek God first and HIS Kingdom and then everything else will come into place. One huge answer to prayer was an organization called Joshua Blueprint. Ray and S’ambrosia are the founders and directors. They sat with us a little over a year ago and shared their heart and vision and asked if Mattaw could be their pilot project. They’re our age mates and we absolutely loved what big dreams and hearts they have. We could see that God could really use this to reach our older children in big ways. Their main mission is through the arts. They taught dance, vocals, instruments and drama. We can’t express our thanks enough for how God moved mightily in our children though the arts. Healing, hope, dreams and talents came alive in our children in the most creative ways! A year ago, the Huffman family moved on site to Mattaw Children’s Village and we also moved the Sprouts Babies to Mattaw. We had planned to do this for a year and then had hoped we would buy more land and the baby home and Huffman’s home would be built there. As we continued to pray and seek our good Shepherd’s leading, He said once again that it isn’t the right time. So we laid those plans at His feet and let the dreams not die but know they will continue to grow until it is the right season to birth them. Our hope is to build a Sprouts baby home and Kimbilio girls home on new land and ask you pray with us for the right timing, right funds and the right laborers to come alongside! It’s always such a journey to plow through uncharted territory and see a God-given vision come to be in the physical. No doubt, heartache and stretching comes with it, but God is faithful and what He ordains will come to pass. We wil keep believing Him for all He says He will do. The Huffman family also spent more time in Turkana this past year. You can find detailed updates on the Huffman’s blog. We saw many hearts turn to Jesus for the first time and so many healed and delivered. We love to see Jesus remove anything that hinders His perfect love from crashing in and transforming lives. He is such a good good Father in all His ways! We look forward to continuing this next year in Turkana and seeing the Kingdom of God expand whether it’s through medical trips, digging water wells, planting churches, equipping believers, hosting children’s camps or simply loving each life God puts in front of us. We have been incredibly blessed with our long-term friend and volunteer, Rebecca. She’s been with us for around two years now. The timing of her coming was absolutely perfect in His will. She loved the Mattaw children oh so well. She especially did phenomenal with overseeing our Sprouts babies and helping set up the future for more sweet little treasures that will come to Mattaw. We are sad as her time on the ground volunteering is coming to an end but we rejoice looking back at all God has done through our time ministering together. We are also excited to see the next season of life God has for her as she will return stateside to pediatric nursing. We will deeply miss Rebecca but look forward to her trips back to visit! This past year we also saw our Mizizi Women’s Ministry take off more. We’ve been supporting widows and single moms by sitting with them, hearing their stories, encouraging them with the Father’s love and provide basic needs like food and school fees for the grandchidren they’re left to care for. We have expanded to a new region called Pokot. There are some of the sweetest widows and teenage moms that we have fallen in love with. What a gorgeous place it is but the poverty runs deep. We’ve already seen many healed, saved, delivered and hope restored just through the simplicity of LOVE. His love never fails yall! Looking forward to this next year as we continue to love on the widows, single moms and teenage moms that God leads us to. As we have shared, the Huffmans moved on-site of Mattaw Children’s Village a little over a year ago. The leading there was to spend one year empowering the leadership and knowing better how to help. It can sometimes be a challenge in this culture to know how to really help and sometimes it takes living day to day in the midst of the vision God gave us. At the beginning of this year, Bud and I felt such a stirring to start praying where God would have us live next. It seemed so obvious we would move onto new land and start the baby and girls home. But God had other plans. As we said, we laid those plans at His feet and knew now was not the time. However, we knew we were called to live there a year and then our little family would move. Part of the need to move was out of the expansion to Turkana. We saw we needed a quiet place to be refreshed before we went out. We absolutely love and adore our Mattaw family and have seen SO much growth in our leaders and children from the time we spent living there. But the reality is, we are the Directors and living on site was becoming a challenge to truly rest as a family. It has also always been the vision of Mattaw to empower and equip local Kenyan leaders to run with the vision of Mattaw without us there all of the time. With all that said, the short version is that the Huffman family has recently moved off site and to a town called Naivasha. Our role at Mattaw hasn’t changed at all. We will still travel to Mattaw once a month to stay on site and help give oversight. Bud will start flying up to Turkana once a month to do ministry there. The whole Huffman family will continue to go at least three times a year for a month at a time. We also plan to be in Pokot throughout the year. It has been transitions full of so much peace; and at the same time a very hard one. We are so thankful that the leaders and children at Mattaw handled the news well. Of course they were sad and some tears shed, but overall, there was so much peace in sharing the news with them. As I am typing this, I have my parents and oldest son Caleb here in our new home with us. What a big surprise God has blessed us with this year! This is my parents first time to visit Kenya and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We had NO idea we’d get ALL our children home for Christmas this year but some super dear friends of ours made it possible for Caleb to travel here for Christmas. I can’t go without saying something about our three littlest children. Elisha, Claire and Ezra have always been such a gift to us. As parents, we are all tempted with the thought of "are we doing what is best for our children?!" The enemy is sneaky but not new at trying to make us feel like we are making a mess of our children. I’ve had to constantly lay the burden down at His feet. He is oh so faithful every time to show us the best way to go in raising God fearing and God honoring children. They have great friends at Mattaw but have also had so much peace in transitioning to a new home. It’s not always easy to travel down the right way that Jesus leads us, but He does promise us shalom, peace down to our core and for that we are grateful to see and feel in our family. This season, we pray and hope you too will find His peace in the midst of what looks like chaos in this world. One of His greatest promises is also not to ever leave or abandon us. He indeed is with us until the end of times. Jesus coming to this earth was the greatest gift the Father could give us. It meant He loved us, had good plans for His church and His bride, it meant Emmanuel: God with us. He is with us! So just as each child at Mattaw has been rescued from loneliness, abandonment, abuse, trauma, heartache and hunger, we too have been rescued and brought into the family of God. Just as our Mattaw children didn’t have to be convinced to receive food, love, comfort and shelter, we too are to be like children and just receive what God has for us. Because of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, there’s no more loneliness, just a good, good Father who cares for his children. We love you BIG! Kimberly (and Bud) and our whole Huffman tribe (Caleb, Ian, Dan, Joseph, Elisha, Claire and Ezra)

Happy New Years from our family to you.   Our prayer is that you would embrace all that God has for you this year.  It's going to be quite the ride if you would just say yes to Him.  He is trustworthy!  

09 December 2015

Daka, Dandelions and a rainy day in Paris



The title of this post might make absolutely no sense at all but by the end of this, it'll all tie in together :). 

Perspective is everything right?  I've had this whole lesson of learning about perspective (again) rolling around in my brain.  It has now become a giant snowball that needs to be thrown into words before it gets too heavy :-). So I will attempt to peck away at my phone in attempts to share my heart and snowball of emotions. Could get messy, I warned ya. And it'll be long. So grab a warm drink. 

"Discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes." Marcel Proust 

We can so easily paint in our head what life will be like. Or what the next event will turn out being. Or how good something will taste. How a friendship will be. What a picture taken will turn out like. Have you seen those pictures that are "Pinterest fails"?  They CRACK. Me. Up. Because so often we can dream up some magnificent idea and it plops out on us. OOooorrr -- it can turn out perfect. Just as planned. I like those-- they give me warm fuzzies. Then there's also the "imperfect perfect" outcome. Which is where I often land. You know, where its a beautiful mess. Things don't end up like you expected, your perspective is shaken up like a snow globe -- but in the end ---Daddy God gives a new perspective that makes it even better than you could of imagined. 

Last month we took the kids camping on this gorgeous lake. I went on a run and saw several dandelions. I hadn't seen any in a long time and thought how fun it'd be to pick them with the kids and take these stunning pictures of them blowing them with the lake in the background. It was a "Pinterest perfect" set up. But you know where this is going. It was not at all perfect. Elisha tried racing and competing with Claire and made her cry. Ezra fell in a hole and was bent out of shape. Claire blew most of the dandelions before we could get to the dock on the lake. Everyone was a little frazzled!  However -- I did manage to snap a few. (Ignore the dirty fingernails)




Not at all perfect like I envisioned. But once I put the phone away, all was well. Of course it was :). It was a beautiful mess. We sat and watched the sky light up with color and enjoyed a lovely sunset. 

I've had this idea in my head for quite awhile now that I wanted to touch the Eiffel tower. Like literally walk up and touch it and it'd be this glorious moment of pure bliss. After 10 years of praying, my mom is getting to fulfill her dream of visiting us in Kenya and loving on our Mattaw babies. My dad booked the tickets and discovered they could stop over in Paris on the way. So we planned that I would meet them there and travel into Kenya with them. And I would get to touch the tower ;-). Weeks in advance, I booked us tickets to the tower. I was ready. Did you know --- the Eiffel Tower is MASSIVE?!


I had no idea. But it was better than I expected. We had already been in Paris several days and every day was beautiful sunny weather. But of course, not the Eiffel tower day.  Come rain or shine, we were going though. But upon arriving to the tower, I realized I wasn't just going
to walk up and touch it. Ha.  Once we got up to the second floor, I found a place where I could actually touch the steel beams. Did I mention the clouds were dumping buckets of cold water on Paris that day?  And the wind was a bit wild. I get cold so easy so my lips were purple and my fingers numb --- but I touched  it. 

And it was not at all a "Pinterest perfect" picture. My phone died right after this picture (another incident that appeared to be a fail) so when I charged my phone and turned it on that night, I couldn't help but laugh at myself for the terrified look I have on my face in a moment that I was really happy but outwardly I was FREEEEZING. But perspective is everything :-). We looked out over the city and I found beauty through the rain.  I decided that my perspective is that the best way to see Paris from the Eiffel Tower was in the rain. Perspective y'all!  Having new eyes to see is definitely a choice.  It was absolutely gorgeous to see the lights come on in the city and there be a tad bit of fog settling in. We then went up to summit at the very top. And the tower is so tall that we were pretty much in a cloud. Ha!  We couldn't see anything. Nothing. No whimsical city. Nothin. So we stood in another line, in the cold, and down we went back to the second balcony. We found a place to have warm drinks and laugh about our experience. We then had to wait in another line to leave the second balcony -- we were in the cold rain again -- and decided to pretend to be Mary Poppins with our umbrella and we spent time telling God all the things we were thankful for. Because a heart of thankfulness will sure change your perspective!  But we gave people a good laugh (and made the grumpy people even grumpier, lol). 

But through life experiences, I learn (again) about letting God give me new eyes to see thing. We can't change what happens to us, but we can lean into what God is teaching us and HE can give us a whole new perspective. A heavenly one. Now --- if I had my preachy pants on -- I could get deep with that spiritual lesson. But I'll save that for a rainy day. Ha. That's not today though :). 

Where I'm trying to get to and end this post is about my friend and such a dear partner in missions, Daka. 

My eyes become watery and nose burning as I look back at the last couple of years and think of the journey I've had with Daka. 

Sometimes you have this perspective. Her and I both did. That we'd be walking together in the same country for life.  No doubt, we always kept the future open to whatever God wanted. And no doubt, we have a friendship for life. But our sweet Father is changing the path for this next season. OH MY heart, how hard it is. But we know -- to our core -- it's right. And it's what the Lord has. Rebecca will be headed back stateside in January to go back to nursing. She loves children with a fierce kind of love that has no limits. We are thankful for how she loved big and well as part of Mattaw. I know she will bless and love many more children stateside too.  There's a field to harvest in America too so I guess you can have her America ;-).  The season here was God ordained and a HUGE help to oversee the sprout babies we have and to help prepare for the Sprout babies we will have in future. And I just decided my snowball of emotions are now puddles from my eyes so I can't see to type well. I'll close with some pictures, sweet memories. 

Just know this Daka, you are so loved. You're in the hearts of your Mattaw family forever.  You'll always be auntie Rebecca to my wazungu children. You will always have a place in Kenya to call home. And Maria will always have a chapter in her life where you were "her person" --- aka Daka --- aka mama. 





Because in the end, we really are nut heads and goofy as ever. So after we get through the tears, we will laugh at the good and crazy times. Love you dearly my friend. 

02 December 2015

It is like wow.

Hi y'all,

It's been awhile and do we ever have a load of updates. They are like --- wow. Ha.

Recently there was a Kenyan man talking to us about the high price of something and he said "The price --- It is like --- WOW" so that's where I'm getting  that expression :).  We tend to find good expressions in other cultures that make us smile :-).

Before I get to the personal wow update, this post is to share about a recent "Red Carpet" awards ceremony that our Mattaw Children had

Joshua Bluprint is the organization that has been training our oldest children for the past year in dance, drama, instruments and vocals. And lemme tell you. It is -- in the best way possible --- WOW. The talent that they've pulled out of our children is absolutely beautiful. It has helped restore souls and give hope. They would not at all take any credit for it, giving God the honor HE deserves, but we are sure thankful for their obedience to the call and mandate God has given them for Joshua blueprint.

The event took place last week on Friday afternoon. They had a red "tarpet" (tarp instead of carpet because sometimes you just improvise with what you can find here :).  The "stars" of each video took pictures and everyone else joined in too. They were all dolled up and looking oh so smart (saying you look smart is like us saying beautiful or handsome). They gave out awards, certificates and even cute little trophys to the top performers that excelled not just in talent but in character too.










They showed us videos and below I'm sharing a few. It might be the mama in me but I think these videos should go worldwide!  This first one is Mary. She wrote this song herself which just says WOW in a million ways. So if you're led to, please share on any social media!








16 November 2015

Mamas on the Mountain



What do you do when faced with so much heartache --- many will write and ask me how do we handle it. Well, I don't.  I hear the Father whisper "I gave you a heart that would hurt for those hurting but not a heart to carry the hurt. Lay it down daughter and I exchange it for my words that breath out life and healing in the midst of hurt."  Sometimes my flesh screams that it's too much to bear. Sure, there are times I want to run and hide and protect my little flock. But I'm reminded they really aren't mine but His kids that HE has entrusted us with. It takes this brave courage--- one that has no earthly explanation. When you rip lives out of the pit of hell, they don't want another mission strategy or elegant 5 point sermon. They need straight up Jesus. We need Jesus. It takes this brave faith to truly believe He really is enough. His love is enough. Just believe. This faith He gives --- it isn't just pretty word on a coffee mug or a sign hung in a house. It is radical and it takes you places you have no explanation of how you got there except you said yes and truly believed it can only be Jesus. The world is shaking but we can't lose sight of HIM. 

So this past Saturday. There were all these details. Details that our good good Daddy God so intricately weaved together to form for His glory and goodness. I have this husband of mine, a man I'm so gifted with. He saw to it that the loose ends of my brain were tied up... all things needing to be in order logistically to be able to go. The vehicle... driver... fuel... spare tire... shoes bought for widows... all the right sizes... picked up, paid for and loaded... AND... he stayed home with the kids. It's just like Jesus and how He cares for His church, full of grace. So we set out down a road. A road less travelled. The road took us through rolling hills and up into these epic mountains.  You drive up and around then down and through river beds. Unlike Turkana, these river beds had water.  The land is green and I saw some of the most gorgeous, big trees I've ever seen. Like Turkana, there were camels along the way :). 

 

Once we found ourselves at the end of the road, we cut through someone's "yard" and drove on a foot path for about 30 more minutes up and around the mountain a bit more until we came to where cars can no longer go. From there, we hiked up to sweet Mary's place where the view is stunning and it looks like you're literally are at the end of the world.  We were greeted by some of the loveliest people.  Then they sat us in the middle of Mary's homestead where we overlooked the edge of the world. 

And you know--- When all is stripped away --- And you sit.  When the glamor of missions is stripped away. When a person isn't seen as a project but this beautiful soul that God formed for Himself. When you just sit --- and the labels fall off. And you really just sit. Sit and listen to these LIVES. When they aren't a good picture for a website or a story to fit your mission statement. But they're people that simply love Jesus. It's so real and well, hard to fit into words. These women that we had the privilege of sitting and listening to --- we heard them sing of Gods glory and they gave Him praise for the life Jesus gave them. There was something so raw and beautiful about seeing these women for who they are and whose they are.  But oh my, the brokenness and poverty they've come from is unreal. Only God could redeem such lives. 

For all that have asked --- I did manage to snap a few pics, realizing that all of you that have intently prayed and gave to these women should get a little glimpse of what happened.  

                                

I went with Dorcas (our head teacher in Mattaw Academy and she also oversees Mizizi women's ministry) and we also took three older mattaw girls.  Dorcas comes alive when she loves on these women.  The girls loved on everyone big and served well. The most precious and powerful part of the day, I didn't get any pictures. No way was I pulling out a camera or even thinking about it in such a heaven-invading-earth-moment. But I know one day in heaven, it'll be a good show to watch and remember with Jesus :). That moment was one where people gave their lives to Jesus, some delivered from witchcraft, healing from sickness and so many wrecked by the Fathers love. There was A LOT that Jesus did, but some moments are just too deep for words.

We gave out the shoes that so many of you gave funds for. We also handed out food and supplies. That was better than Christmas for me to sit back and watch. I snuck around to the back of the crowd and attempted to hide and watch. The children sniffed me out :-) -- but man, was I ever glad. Because I stood there watching them laugh and beat a drum...


...but I could see in their eyes sickness and hurt. And then Holy Spirit highlighted again, just like he did with the widows back in July, that the children need shoes. So you bet we will give ways to give and we will get those sweet little wounded feet covered. 



I watched around 45 women put on brand new shoes and instantly become like little girls getting their first pair of ballet shoes. God is so brilliant in how He can show His love through new shoes. These women danced, ran around and were sure to give thanks where thanks was due-- to our sweet Daddy God. But it was made possible by many of you saying yes to God and being a huge part in this. So from the bottom of our heart --- THANK YOU.  



One of the main widows, Sophia, got up at the end to say a word of thanks and a lot of other meaningful words that I wish I had recorded. But the thing that stood out the most is she said "we've walked on many stones and thorns for much of our life and we thank God for feet to walk. But now we have shoes we can go further in and spread the gospel". 

Yep, I was done for life. Take me home Jesus! :-)  ----------------------------------------

-------------------------------  But not really!  Because there really is SO much left to do.  

Well, you know me, I could go on and on but I'll let a few more pics tell the rest....













And here's our beautiful new logo.  Mizizi is the swahili word for "root".  Our heart is for these precious women to be rooted in Christ and that we could come alongside and help remove the oh so many burdens they selflessly carry. And when you see those gorgeous wrinkles in the widows face, you just know there's a depth and roots to their story and we love to sit and hear those stories.  And we'll keep sitting ---  Listening ---  And learning.  

26 October 2015

Mama Agnes


YALL!  I HAVE to share this incredible testimony of God's great goodness.  Our kids at Mattaw sing a song that says "we serve a miracle working God, we serve a miracle working God.... He's the alpha and omega, we serve a miracle working God.  You are my Papa, hey, yeah, yeah.  You are my Papa, hey, God of miracles".  OH how true that IS!  From the mouth of babes.  He is a God full of miracles.  This is a story to give God all glory and credit.  He has blown our minds with His goodness, power and mercy.  This is a long story but hang in there until the end!  The best part is at the end. 

This story is about one of the strongest mamas in the world.  She's quite the example of a life full of strength and determination.  Towards the end of July, we got a phone call letting us know one of our mamas at the Kimbilio Girls Home was in a motorcycle accident.  Her son was driving her to work that morning and another motorcycle collided into them.  The other driver knocked heads with Mama Agnes and she fell to the ground with a leg and arm injury.  They rushed her to the hospital and she stood in line from 9am up until 2pm when she fainted and went into a coma.  We kept getting updates for a few hours after that until it reached the point of urgency.  It felt like if we didn't show up, she would be neglected in the hospital.  Rebecca and I went, not knowing any idea what we could do and knew there was nothing financially we had ourself to give at the time... But God said go.  Sometimes, you just gotta show up. So we did.  Praise the Lord for those nudges He gives us to go.  I was shocked when we got to the hospital.  She was on a stretcher in the entry way to a ward.  In a coma.  With oxygen on.  Which we later found out that the oxygen was basically just for show.  She was also laying flat and her head turned to the side.  Which also could have made the brain bleed spread to other parts of her brain.  Nurse Rebecca got on the phone with Dr's and ICU nurses from the states and they started coaching her through some tests in order to give us some sort of a clue as to how serious this was.  Oh and the ward she was in the entry way to was for burn victims that needed surgery.  There was at least 200 people in this room with maybe 50 beds.  And I think we counted 3 nurses on duty.  None of which were tending to Mama Agnes.  So Rebecca starts doing some general tests to see how bad of a coma she is in.  And almost all of those 200 patience were watching us.  We at least made some sweet little kids smile that looked like they were in a lot of pain.  So Rebecca went at it, things like pressing a pen on places on her toes and fingernail beds.  (excuse my lack of medical terms here!)  There was no response.  And then we sent the brain scan that they had taken earlier in the day and we found it wasn't looking good.  Around 7pm, we figured out she wasn't going to be given any attention and she needed to be transferred to an ICU in another region.  We went to the hospital admin room and they started making calls to hospitals to see if anyone would take her.  We called around 4 major cities and all ICU rooms were full.  They didn't have numbers to some hospitals so we were on the hunt down.  Eventually we got through to a private hospital in a town 1 1/2 hours away and they accepted her.  Miracle.  We put out word on social media of the urgent need, the hospital required a pretty big deposit up front.  SO many people responded!  Miracle.  We then were able to find an ambulance.  Miracle.  Ha.  We then got her loaded up after waiting for 30 plus minutes.  


They loaded her up.  And all the medical people left in a scramble to go get stuff.  Not sure what stuff.  But there we were, just us and Mama Agnes.  Then we find out the ambulance needs fuel so we have to run to Rebecca's house to grab money and meet the ambulance at the gas station.  At this point, Rebecca and I are like "what is going on?!".  They fill up and drive off to Eldoret.  Upon arrival, they pay the deposit and realize she needs emergency brain surgery.  It "just so happens" that the ONLY brain surgeon that serve three regions and usually is on rotation, well he was THERE.  And within 10 minutes of arrival, they started brain surgery.  Miracle.  They felt it was successful and admit her into the ICU.  Praise the Lord!   A few days later, we went to visit and were so heartbroken to see her still in a coma.  We could hardly recognize her because of the swelling from surgery.  Oh but then we felt the tangible presence of Jesus.  The nurses were SO kind and attentive to Mama Agnes.  They told us she hadn't opened her eyes yet but encouraged us to talk to her because she could hear us.  So I was believing in faith that she was going to open her eyes.  We talked with her and she would struggle hard to respond with movement.  We held her hands, prayed over her and kept speaking LIFE.  I kept telling her how much time we had left with her until they kicked us out so we REALLY wanted our Mama to open her eyes.  We would ask her to squeeze our hand and she did a few times.  Then when we had just a few minutes left, Mama Agnes opened her eyes for us!  Oh what a boost of faith it gave us.  Over the next couple of weeks, she fought hard and God was healing her.  Eventually she woke up and the whole Mattaw family rejoiced.  We went to visit her a few weeks later with Brandy and Lauren, from our home church that flew in for a week.  They prayed and wow, was the presence of the Lord SO thick.  Brandy heard the Father say "it's because of her great love for me that she is healed" and she kept speaking that over Agnes.  I asked Agnes if she really knows Jesus and tears began to roll down her cheek as she said in swahili how much she loves Jesus.  At this point, she was in a wheel chair, couldn't walk yet, couldn't see much, had slurred speech and was in a lot of pain.  Not to mention half her head shaved with a wound and stitches from surgery. Her arm was also severely broken in two places.  We SAW the X-ray of it.  They couldn't operate until her hospital bill was cleared and she could pay for the surgery.  They said it was VERY urgent to get surgery though, otherwise it would have to be amputated.  Miracle after miracle as individuals gave to cover costs.  Oh how Papa God LOVES His children.  We then leave, trusting she will be healed.  Over the next week the bills were paid and she was transferred to a hospital next door so that she could have a surgery on her arm for a bit cheaper.  They then needed more blood for her so her family beautifully offered and gave.  We kept seeing moments like this through the whole journey where her family would do anything they could.  Before we knew people would give to her hospital bill, the family was preparing to sell off their farm land to cover expenses.  SO... about that arm.  She finally was able to go into surgery.  They had her in line to be next and the Dr wanted one more X-ray before operating.  

They bring it back and her ARM IS HEALED!  MIRACLE.  

Like, seriously!  Glory to GOD!  The Dr informs the family that he is unable to operate on her arm because there's no problem!  So she was able to be discharged and sent home.  Over the past two months, she's been home and healing.  We went to visit her today and I was COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED by the LOVE of God displayed in this woman's life.  She walked out of her home to greet us, there's the first sign of a miracle.  



She was able to have full conversations with us in swahili AND english.  We talked about what she remembers before going into a coma and also she remembered Brandy and Lauren praying with her.  We were able to share testimony with her and how many people across the sea were praying and loving her big.  Oh my heart.  My heart literally exploded with thankfulness.  I could hardly believe what a sign and wonder her life is.  She couldn't stop praising God and telling me to tell everyone thank you.  So I am.  From Mama Agnes to all those that gave and prayed: THANK YOU!  



Today, my perspective on life was flipped upside down... again.  There's a fight in this woman to live that is so contagious.  And a deep gratitude that she carries for every big and small thing in life.  Keep on keepin on regardless the battle you face. 


25 October 2015

Our Watoto




Hey y'all, it's been awhile since I've written about our precious Mattaw watoto (children in Swahili).  Our current focus and need at Mattaw is within the school.  I wanted to share a little bit about some of the testimonies of our children in case you're new this year to Mattaw Children's Village.  We are blessed to have some of the most brilliant children on the planet.  They've pressed against all odds to defeat labels society put on them.  In order to protect the children's privacy, I won't be using names or pictures of them.  So join us as we continue to walk with these children through life and see them raised up as leaders.



Some of our children started out school for the first time at 12 years old.  Some sat in crowded classrooms, being pushed along through each grade and going unnoticed.  They weren't actually learning and often had to miss school due to school fees, lack of food or because those in charge of them would make them work instead of go to school.  This has been a common story for our children.  One girl in particular, also faced abuse everyday on her way home from school.  By the time she was rescued, we found she hardly knew her abc's at 10 years old yet had been attending school since she was 4.  Abuse and neglect has a huge negative affect when it comes to school.  But what a beautiful transformation takes place when a child is placed in an environment where they're safe and loved.  When they are accepted into a family and called sons and daughters.  When they are given an opportunity to thrive and let go of the past.  It's a work only God can do in someone.  We've seen God breath new dreams into children and they have a determination in them that no one can stop.  One dream belongs to a girl who almost died at a young age due to aids.  Her mom died of it then she herself became hospitalized.  God miraculously restored her and she's been thriving and healthy since we brought her into a home at Mattaw 7 years ago.  She now dreams of being a nurse and helping children that are like she once was.  Education is of huge value in this culture.  It gives children hope in their future.  It helps them see that they can overcome poverty and be a leader in the area of influence God has called them to.  A lot of times, when we first rescue children, we ask what they want to be when they grow up and they can't answer us.  This is often because they've come from such a fight in life that the option to even dream was taken from them at a young age.  Once we see just a glimpse of God's healing at work in them, we start to hear them begin to dream.


Several weeks ago, we took our oldest children to Nairobi for the first time.  This was called a field trip but it was more of a vision trip to help expand their dreams for their future and inspire them in their school work.  We visited the school that we get our school material from.  We have our children on the A.C.E (accelerated christian education) curriculum.  It's not common in our region for children to have this type of schooling so it was helpful for them to see so many students in Nairobi doing what they are.  This school was incredibly kind to host our students for two nights.  Our students were paired with host families who have children in this school.  It was huge for our children to see how much we value their education, to the point of pay a higher price for their schooling.  They saw many well known people who have placed their children in this school and on the same curriculum as them.  It build up their confidence and most importantly let them know they're loved BIG.  We also took them to a university so they could see where a lot of students that go through this curriculum go and where they too could go.  It was this huge beautiful campus full of opportunities.  It was all a good type of overwhelming to them.  So they were very quiet most of the trip as they just soaked it all in.  It spurred on some great conversations though.  The mission of the trip was accomplished and they went back home to Mattaw full of hope.  


So here's where we are asking for your help!  We need so much prayer over all of our students and our school.  Please pray for their minds to continue to heal from their past so they can continue to thrive in school.  Pray that they would be able to dream God given dreams and fulfill them.  Pray for their teachers who are also key in helping raise our leaders.  Another way to get involved is financially.  For our next order of books for all of Mattaw students, we need $3,000.  Any amount helps!  You can donate on the website:  www.mattawchildren.com and go to the donate tab.

To all of those that have been walking this journey with us for a long time, we can't say thank you enough.  And for those new to walking with us, we are so thankful God has led you to us!  Our mission is to Rescue a Life, Redeem a Soul and Release the Kingdom of God.  We can't do it alone so THANK you for hearing from God to walk the walk and not just talk about it.
 

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