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.

21 October 2015

Happy fall y'all!

Happy fall y'all!  I have about 172 posts I could of updated on here since the last time I wrote.  But before I get to some of those updates, I'll start with a fun light-hearted one about the physical season change.

Somehow this picture popped up on my iPad, so I just had to start this fall themed post with it!  That's our one and only girl at 2 years old in a pumpkin patch. It was a rare season of us being stateside for the fall.  Nowadays our children have no idea what a pumpkin patch is.  However, they do know it's harvest season in Kenya.

When I went to Congo, my missionary friends there taught me a new positive phrase for living in a culture you weren't raised in.  Rather than having "culture shock" (which is a real thing and I'm not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water) you can turn your perspective for good and they called it "culture appreciation".  So that is sort of what I'm doing here :).  We miss seasons in America.  I very much miss Friday night lights during this time of year. But there are definitely great things here in the season changes.  There are small ways that are actually similar.

All around Mattaw Children's Village, maize is being harvested.  80% of the countries' maize is grown in the region we live in.  Recently we took a road trip and on the way stopped to get some of the best roadside maize you can find this time of year.  After living here for so long, you learn little things like this.  When maize is freshly harvested and roasted the right way, it can be oh so sweet and tasty.

The above picture was snapped on the way to Naivasha.  On the way back from Nairobi, my husband fulfilled one of his goals he has kept on this on going list he has in the back of his head.  I love the motivation and passion he has to see things checked of this list.  So he finally bought turkeys.  And he bought them off the side of the road.  There was something more adventurous about roadside turkeys.  These turkeys should be advertised as miraculous little birds.  They survived being in a box in the back of our vehicle that went over MANY bumps and through massive pot holes.  They also had three curious children that kept trying to see what they are and what they'll do when poked.  We've named them Gululu (the word for Turkey in Swahili) and GobbleGobble.  So they'll be a fun new project around the Mattaw Farm.  The goal of this project is Thanksgiving dinner.  But we are not sure they will be invited to that dinner this year or not :).

This last weekend we celebrated our second oldest son's birthday.  Ian has been part of our family since 2007.  He has always been quiet but confident.  We've loved watching God grow him into a young man and bring out such strong leadership characteristics.  He is also a very opinionated young man.  He knows what he likes and doesn't like.  He does not like icing on cake, popcorn or cookies.  He does like salad, pumpkin bread and banana bread.  So for his birthday we had salad and pumpkin bread.

Making pumpkin bread was a nice taste of fall.  That and the combination of what they say is El Nino, has provided a sense of fall for us here.  At a time it would usually be getting hotter and dryer, it is now cooler with more rain. 

SO, when I went to search for my chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe, I noticed I had posted about it five years ago.  Since then, I've given this recipe out about a hundred times and figured I should share it again.  And side note: ignore the sugar content! I originally found this recipe in a runner's world magazine as a snack that was suggested to eat to help refuel after a run.  So SURELY it's good for you :).  I also found that it's less calories when shared with family and friends :).  And here's the link for the original post if you want to know how to easily turn pumpkins here into mush and use in recipes: http://huffmansinkenya.blogspot.co.ke/2010/10/happy-pumpkin-month.html

Pumpkin Bread with Mini Chocolate chips

Dry Ingredients
3½ cups flour
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1½ cups of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (or I chopped up a bar of baking chocolate for choco chunks)

Wet Ingredients
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned, plain pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine all dry ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, slightly beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the eggs and stir well. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir just until evenly mixed. Fold in chocolate chips.

Coat 2 bread pans evenly with cooking spray. Pour half of the mixture into each pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.

All this inspired me pulling out what fall decor I have here.  That involves a free printable off pinterest to go in a frame at our entry way.  And a squirrel out of the beanie babies left over from what teams brought.  Hey, it's the little things :).

More updates to come!

25 August 2015

Restoration in a Turkana Family.

Warning: this is a long story!  But I think it's worth your time :-). So grab some coffee... Or sweet tea (just don't tell me if its chickfila :-) )

Sometimes I have to pinch myself in moments like the one I'm going to share with you today. I ask Papa how is it I get to see these incredible stories of restoration. And he whispers back "Everyone has a chance at not only being part of people's stories but you yourself have a story of redemption in Me. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God".  Sometimes for us to be in awe of God and be so overwhlemed by other's stories of redemption, we must let him purify our hearts. And then we see Him, but not always like we think we will. He makes our hearts beat with His until we are walking to the beat of His heart and His ways. It has nothing to do with us. Nothing we can do in and of ourself. We simply say yes and have a willing heart. It's all for His glory. His goodness. His testimony. 

On this journey we walk, one step at a time, every beat in tune with God, you suddenly find yourself asking questions like this one:  How do I get to see these incredible stories of redemption?  Because then you see people's stories from His perspective. They're beautiful. 

"...for they will see God" 

Sometimes on this earth, the way we see God is through other peoples stories.  He manifest His presence through people that are restored. This story I share is one of lives being resued, restored, healed, delivered and then this beautiful time of restoration with the family we originally rescued them from.  So may you be blessed and encouraged with us too!

It has been our mission and mandate since establishing Mattaw Children's Village in 2007. 

RESCUE a life
REDEEM a soul. 
RELEASE the Kingdom. 

He just keeps bringing it to new depths. 

If you haven't yet met two of our girls, let me introduce you.  They are our oldest set of twin girls, Mercy and Jennifer. Since we have many Mercy's, she goes by Ebei (pronounced: EBay), her Turkana name. Yes, these girls are originally from Turkana.  When their mom passed away when they were young, the girls were separated. Jenifer went to live with an aunt who is about 10 minutes from Mattaw. The aunt was the only option for Jenifer at the time and when we met them, it was a very difficult situation that Jenifer was living in. Ebei was sent back up to Turkana to a remote village. She took care of her grandmother, cleaned house and looked after animals. When our social worker, Humphrey, introduced us to Jenifer in 2009, we found out about her twin. They started to call the relatives in the village where Ebei was, to tell them the opportunity was there for Ebei to be back with her sister and they would be able to go to school. The grandmother wasn't too trustworthy of us. Which is understandable and we were glad she cared for Ebei enough to want to know who we are. So the uncle visited and saw what a great opportunity it was. Thankful God brought justice for Ebei. Soon the girls were reunited at 8 years old in 2010 and we welcomed them into Raha (Joy) house. At the time, it was the second house to open at Mattaw Children's Village.  When Ebei came to Mattaw, she told us that she was never go back to Turkana. The living conditions were harsh, especially for a 9 year old girl.  Since coming into a family at Mattaw, we've seen both girls radically changed by God's love. They've been raised up in a godly family. They both have also become leaders. They're now 14 and full of life, love and pursuing talents. Jenifer loves to lead worship and Ebei loves to dance. We are so thankful for this past year of having the organization Joshua Blueprint come in and train up our teenagers in their talents such as dance, drama, singing and instruments. (That was a nice little side note of testimony)

Last year we took a group of Mattaw children and a few house parents to Turkana for our first mission trip with Mattaw Family. It was the first time we felt our older kids and house parents were well equipped to now be the missionaries. So much fire and power in this mission of raising missionaries from within this country! Ebei was at the point in her life where she was ready to go. We didn't feel this was the trip to see family yet. And we also weren't sure where their village was or if we were even welcomed to come. 

This year, when talking to the kids about coming for another mission, this time being a different place and doing the M4 Kids Camp, Jenifer and Ebei were more than excited to come. One call after another and we had the invite from their family to visit. Turns out, it's about an hour and a half drive from where we now base out of in Turkana. We weren't really sure what to expect but we showed up and saw God beautifully restore the family and these girls. 

This is the grandmother. We gathered in a circle under a big tree and the uncle gave introductions. They shared many stories and went through who each family member was. It was so healing for our girls. The grandmother gave a speech and had us all laughing. She's a funny lady!  And no language barrier could keep us from knowing that. They were translating from the turkana language to swahili and then swahili to English. At one point, one of our Mattaw house moms that was with us suggested to me to have the girls present the grandmother with their lesso. A lesso is a piece of cloth used for MANY purposes. It can be a skirt, an apron when cleaning or cooking, it can tie up a baby on your back, it can be a blanket to sit on the ground on, you can carry stuff like firewood in it like a sack or it can cover your items you are storing in your house. I'm sure the uses are endless. Kenyans can be so resourceful, I love to learn. So I whisper to Jenifer to go grab her lesso from the vehicle. She does and the family proceeds to finish speeches. Everyone finishes and it's the girl's turn to talk last. They bring the lesso to the grandmother. The relatives are explaining to grandma that the girls are gifting her with a lesso. The girls helped grandma stand up and we all were in tears as we watched grandma cry because of the love the girls showed her. 

God's heart is all about family and restoration. We could feel His tangible presence in that open desert field.  The girls talked and testified of God's goodness. They shared how they've been raised in a good and loving place. How they get to go to school and want to study hard so they can come back to this village and help them.  Bud and I look at each other wide eyed and almost in tears again as we were just so proud of them and their hearts. I could cry again just typing this!  

We prayed for the family and shared Jesus.  

Then we left and started dreaming up how we will come back next time with the projector, the Jesus film and a lot of love. Because any sort of true restoration you see on earth is just an overflow from what Jesus did on the cross. May we never forget that!  

It was a heaven invading earth kind of day. 

22 August 2015

M4 Turkana Kids Camp: Day 5

Our last day!  What an ending to one wild and crazy week. It was the last day I strummed this baby taylor (guitar) for these precious treasures hidden in the desert. I will for sure miss tiny feet crowded below the guitar. It was a bittersweet day as we physically were ready to rest but at the same time our hearts wanted to keep lovin the children. What huge breakthrough happened in such a small time. We believe though that Holy Spiit continues to work in little hearts after we leave. 

"He will teach you all things and bring to your rememberance all things I have said to you" John 14:26

Lucy spoke in the morning to all the children. (Lucy, former mom at Kimbilio girls house and huge heart and calling to Turkana people). It was powerful and exactly how Holy Spirit wanted to finish off the week spiritually. Many were healed and delivered as she led them through prayers to pray through on major issues the kids face. One of the biggest one being alcohol. They all laughed when she asked who has been drunk. Then most of them proceeded to raise their hand. It was amazing though to see them repent from it and ask God to help them overcome and break the cycle of drunkeness in their family. 

Afterwards, Mercy Ebei from Mattaw, stood to share a quick testimony. She finished with talking about how God has given her a talent of dancing and how she's been taught how to use her talents for Jesus.  Everyone wanted to see her dance, so we put some dance tunes on and she confidently busted a move. It rocked!  

From the combination of children being set free after Lucy talking to them and then dance music blaring, it was only right that we have a dance party. So we did!  The joy of the Lord is so much fun to see in children. Eventually though, it was time to break into tribes for the last time and go to their classes. Our teachers; Bud, Edwin, Dorcas and Rebecca really gave it their all this week. They finished the week strong. Here's a picture of my attempt to get all the tribes in one picture. 

We fed at least 1,000 children on Friday. That's a lot of beans and rice!  Praise God that we had enough down to the last child on the last day.

It was a miracle that Rebecca and I got a thing done with so many sweet littles that wanted to snuggle. A baby with Down's syndrome and a super malnourished baby took everything in us not to quit camp and not just play with these two. 

Speaking of the little malnourished babe. We had the opportunity to go talk to the mom in her home. Heaven invaded and the mom made the decision to give her life to Jesus. We asked what she wanted and she said "to be free from benign an alcoholic". It was a beautiful decision to see made!  Nothin like seeing Jesus rescue another soul from the pit of hell. Her hope was restored and her name written in heaven. We saw her smile as we left and that was huge.  Please pray with us as we take steps to help. 

It was a wonderful week to say the least. We are excited this is the first to many.  We are so thankful Papa God loves all his children so much to have provided every single need this week.  As we jumped in the car, the crowded around to say bye, thank you and that we should greet all our american friends that helped make this possible. Sweetest little treasures hidden in the desert....

Day 6 for our team of volunteers involved a day of rest and play. We went to lake turkana today. So thankful we could relax and soak in the water with the sand and sun. 

To top off the whole week, Elisha was baptized today!  He's been asking for around 2 years now. This week he sat in Buds class everyday and intently listened as his dad taught the teenage boys.  It was clear that his heart was in the right place and he has understanding of what it means to give your life to Jesus and be born again by Holy Spirit. I just kept hearing Jesus say "do not hinder the little ones from coming to me". So it was a joyful time in the lake as Bud and I had the honor of baptizing our first born. 

21 August 2015

M4 Turkana Camp: Day 4


This life we live. It's full of joy and full of sorrow. It's full of so much love.  I can't imagine doing life without the comfort of Holy Spirit, without the love of Jesus and without wisdom and guidance from God.  I'll share the joy part of yesterday first....

We had a beautiful day once again. We started out again with our team to sort beans. Everyday more children from the camp join in to help. It's super sweet! 

Then the sweetest little hungry bellies were full of porrige. Their smiles speak loudly. 

We started the morning singing and dancing again. The numbers grew the first couple of days and now it's a consistent number around 800 children. This morning, Vane, one of our teenage girls from Mattaw, led our time of praise and worship. Her voice shakes nations. 

Then we had our son Dan stand up and share his testimony. Another voice that was once not heard and now is.

 He now has a powerful testimony of what love and adoption looks like. This is a young man that once slept on the streets of Lodwar town (capital of Turkana). Back in April when we were here, Dan walked to town with me and showed me the area he used to beg for food and what cement slab he used to sleep on. He was seven. SEVEN years old. He remembers a shop owner giving him fish to deliver to the shop owners son and Dan ate it instead. And because of that, he sneaked into a bus and ran away to Kitale streets. And because of that, we found him on the streets of Kitale around age 8 or 9. He shared how adoption into our family changed his life but what changed him even more was adoption into God's family. Proud mama moment to see him confidently stand and testify of God's goodness and grace. 

Pastor Wilson then came and shared with the children. He has such an anointing and calling to the Turkana people. Amazing to see how the children respond to his fatherly love. It's an honor to partner with him and his family to see the Kingdom advance in this region. 

His children and ours are good buddies now and love to play the piano with the lead musician John from pastor Wilson's church.  

We then broke into tribes again. Our oldest group of young men are with our other son, Ian.  They are the tribe of Judah and the only group without a solid team color. They are the camo team. It is pretty fitting as we see these young men give their life's to be in Gods army. That the only fighting is spiritually, against the devil and his bad guys. It's beautiful to see Ian take a place of leadership and minister to these guys. They eat up every word of encouragement he has to give.  He's in the middle of this picture with a black and red hat on. (Where's Waldo!)

While everyone was in class and playing games, Claire, Mama Lucy and I found baby Lucy to feed and love on. 

I am completely smitten over this little. And here's a funny part. Here name isn't Lucy!  It's Ruthie. Either the sisters name is Lucy or we heard wrong and the sister just let us call her what we heard. After camp yesterday, our Rebecca found the mom. And for sure we found out the mom's name is Rebecca!  Ha. Of course it is. So nurse Rebecca, Pastor Paul (pastors the church in IDP camp who is part of Pastor Wilson's church), Mama Lucy and I sat and talked to baby Ruthie's mom. She was a bit drunk but not to the point of not being able to talk clearly with us. She has seven children. All the children have the same dad. After baby Ruthie was born, the man ran off and remarried. So when Mama Lucy ministered to her and told her it's not ok to drink, she admitted its wrong and that she does it because she's stressed out trying to feed and school her children. It was completely heartbreaking. But as we shared about Jesus, her heart opened. We are king to her house today and look forward to what God is doing in her life.  Our nurse Rebecca's heart is exploding to get this babe rehabilitated physically. Updates to come. 

We ended the day with beans and rice and seeing more happy faces. 

After camp we had one of the most amazing time of reuniting two of our Mattaw girls with their family. It was one of those moments of wanting to pinch myself to make sure it was real. I could make a movie out of it. These girls are twins living in house two at Mattaw. And I'll have to write a completely separate post here on the blog to share the full story. I promise I'll share soon!  

Now for the sorrow part of our day. I share this to ask for your prayers. Especially for the mattaw children. Our teacher Dorcas who is here with us received a phone call this morning to let us know teacher Winner passed away last night. She's been a teacher at Mattaw since 2008. We aren't sharing with the Mattaw youth here with us until after the camp. We are now starting our last day and want to finish strong. We were told that Teacher Winnie became sick last week with an illness unknown. They rushed her to the hospital last night then she passed away. We believe she is with Jesus now and take great comfort in that. She was a great teacher and we are thankful for the years she served our littles. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. 

Off to start our last day. As always, expectant for great things to happen with these crazy beautiful children!  


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