24 July 2008

Imagine Team

Well a week has flown by SO fast. We had a team of 18 arrive last Friday and they just left this morning. You wouldnt believe all the things that happend, it was amazing, we're so blessed. They really helped out a lot with Mattaw and also got to be a part of many other things. I believe God was glorified through it all and the Kingdom of God has advanced in more ways than we know. I should of been updating everyday with all that happend so warning this will be super long...
Friday morning the team arrived on a plane around 8am. The same day a film crew from Watoto ministries in Uganda was on their way to visit Mattaw. They arrived around 3 or so and we all headed out to the property. The film crew was three people, headed by a woman from Canada (originally from South Africa). They filmed all around the property, the first house, interviewed Bud and I and David Chan (head of Imagine). Watoto is the ministry that we are modeling after. They've been around over 10 yrs and had their first conference last year where they broke down their vision for people to be able to understand and model after them. We'll be one of the ministries they use as an example at their conference. After God had given us a vision for a new children's home and we got connected with David Chan (Imagine), shortly after we all got connected to Watoto. They are located around Kampala, Uganda. You can check out their website- http://www.watoto.com/. They have over 1500 children, all of them in small homes. They have 8 children in each home with a house mom. The difference between Mattaw and Watoto is that we'll have up to 12 in a home with a married couple. But basically its the same concept. They've really helped to mentor us along the way. We pretty much adapted their policies and procedures as our own but made them applicable to our vision and being in Kenya rather than Uganda. One of their quotes is: rescue a child, raise a leader, rebuild a nation. We have this strongly in our heart with Mattaw as well. Picture of me, Bud and David out at Mattaw the day Watoto came.

It was great to have the team here to restate why we're here and what we're doing. Its always good to reflect on that. Of course the main thing, is the main thing and thats Jesus Christ. I love the example that was brought up a few times this week about oak trees. Our main verse is from Isaiah 61:3 saying that we are discipling these children to be oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of His spendor. It was brought up the difference between an oak tree and squash. An oak tree takes many many years to grow up and mature and become strong where as a squash takes about 3-6 months to grow but then dies quickly. It was a good reminder not to despise small beginnings. Although its taking and will take a long time to establish and grow Mattaw children's home, it'll become strong and the result is raising the future generation of Kenya into oaks of righteousness, a plating of the Lord, for the display of His splendor. Also this week more of the vision of Mattaw children's village came together and continues to grow. Its really exciting and we just praise the Lord for giving us dreams and desire in our hearts that he fulfills and will complete.

Saturday half of us went to Lemoru, where i used to live in an orphanage. It was just refreshing to go and hug on my kids. The team raised money for this trip and used some of it to bring all of the children school shoes. We played with the children, ate lunch, they sang songs and poems for us, then we gave out the shoes and left. It was an all day event. I miss them soooo much. Sometimes the longer I visit them, the more painful it is to leave. Before giving the shoes they sang some beautiful songs. I stood there watching and remembering when I lived there. I wouldn't change one thing about where I am today, but looking back, it was worth the trials and heart ache to be able to live amongst the children and let God teach me how to be a mother. I know those that were able to go were greatly blessed. Its pretty difficult to be around those children and not be! Picture of the children singing to us in the home. Second picture of some of the shoes we handed out.

Sunday morning we had our first church service in Isaac and Vivians home at Mattaw. It was incredible. The house parents that were able to come each shared a testimony. I know this really spoke powerfully to the team. Bud shared a great word of encouragement about faith and getting in the boat with Jesus. Jesus told the disciples 'lets get in the boat and go to the other side'. There was a great storm but the point Bud made was that Jesus said 'lets go to the other side', that He said where they were going, and not to give up that you'd get there. He related it to Mattaw and how Jesus gave us the vision to start a children's village and will finish it. Then Benson, who is the Imagine country cordinator and a pastor in Nairobi, shared a word with the team as well. Somewhere in the midst of it, I felt the leading to declare Isaiah 61 over the house and compound. Job 22:28 says 'decree a thing and it shall be established'. Isaiah 61 is the center of Mattaw. Its where our mission comes from. We've spoken this scripture so many times, and talked about the future of the home over and over again, so to sit inside the first home and read this chapter was so fulfilling. After church we all split up into small groups, took a translator and went into the village to invite people for the bible teachings during the week. Also it gave us an idea of who didnt go to church and invited them to come to the first of a cell group church starting in Isaac's house. Picture is of us inside Penda home for church.

I hung around the house with Elisha and some others. While one group was out they came across a house with Mary. Mary is such a sweet girl that is now part of our life. Benson was leading the group. When they came to this house, they met the parents and talked some with them. They noticed Mary sitting against one of the mud huts, sick as can be. After talking with the parents they discovered that Mary was very sick and they didnt know what the problem was. Her skin was all scaly, she constantly had diarreha, couldnt walk, could hardly eat, and was in a lot of pain. They didnt know what it was, thought it was a disease so basically they left her there to die and wouldnt touch her. They prayed healing for her and left. The next day, Bud and I went back with some of the people that were in that group. Cheryl from FBC Keller, who is a nurse, was strongly led to voice out to do something. Before going out there we stopped and I took Cheryl to buy blankets and basic food that a typical Kenyan family would like (maize flour, tea, sugar, cooking fat, bread, butter, cabbage, tomatoes, onions). We went to visit and surprisingly Mary greeted us by walking up to us. After a few minutes though she knelt down because she was too weak. We took Dr. Havener, who came on the team from the US, with us. He checked her out and decided she needed to go to the hospital. While there, everyone was standing around talking to the parents. I went and sat on the step with Mary and just held her hand. She wasnt used to someone touching her or even seeing a white person, so she didnt have much expression and was probably a bit shocked but i just sat and loved on her and prayed. With my chopped up swahili i found out she doesnt know Jesus. I know God will draw her to himself through this. Bud, me, Hollie, Cheryl, Mary and Mary's father all loaded up and we went to Sister Freda's hospital. The doctors took her in and started to evaluate. They immediately knew a lot of it was malnutrition because of the skin and hair. We admited her and left. She asked for bread so the next day we were sure to bring that. The next day we came back after she had some treatment and an iv and wow she was a different girl. Oh did i mention she's 12 years old? She was really happy to get bread, ripped open the package and ate faster than i've ever seen a little girl eat. I asked her in swahili if she liked it and her reply was 'yes, but just bring me tea'. She was making us smile and laugh by how much she enjoyed that bread. Such a normal food for us but luxury for her. When we left we asked her what we could bring her the next day. She told the doctor bread. We asked what else, she said bread! So today before the team left we went by and took those that hadn't been and brought more bread. Once again she broke into it immediately and chomped away. Each time we've had to have someone give her a certain amount and save till later otherwise she'd eat the entire loaf and it'd make her sick. Today when leaving she asked for bread again and actually asked for a soda with it this time. We brought her an outfit, shoes, and some books to look at as well. She was extremely happy and a completely different girl from three days ago. Continue to pray for Mary, especially for her salvation. Picture of Mary the first day some of the team met her. She couldnt move hardly at all and wouldnt talk. The next picture is the second day when Cheryl gave her a blanket. This is the first time we saw her smile. I'll post later this week an updated picture of how great she's doing now.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the afternoons they invited all the children in the village to come for a vacation bible school. About 150 children on average came everyday. While some of the team taught and sang with the children, another group spoke to the adults. Dr. Havener did some basic health and hygiene teachings. Jim and Cheryl taught some on the family. Bud and I had the chance to share a bit about why we're there and what we're doing. In the mornings we did different things. A group was at the home cleaning and painting every morning. There's a few small mud wall/tin roof structures that were already on the compound that will be classrooms for the children that come into Mattaw. Eventually we'll build a school, but for now this will due. We'd divide up and do other things as well. One morning half the team went with us to visit Jeff and Carla. They're a missionary couple that started a baby resue center. There's 38 chilren from birth to 3 yrs. old. Such a cool story... a woman from Calvary has 8 yr old triplet boys. She still was hanging on to some of their premie clothes but decided to send them with Krista this time. I called Carla a few days before coming and told her we had some premie clothes. She said praise the Lord, we have three new babies that need premie clothes and I cant find any. I said no way, there's three of each outfit. She said thats wild, what gender by chance are they. I said boys, she said its three boys that we have! So cool, no coincidence. So we went out with the team, stuck Elisha in the middle of them, and played with a lot of babies. Wednesday mornign those that didnt go to the baby house, went to the Kipsondo slum womens group. We went to a group of women where they make and sell beads for a living. These women have been beaten, abandoned and edured a lot of hardship. A lot of them struggle with alcoholism. We brought them chai and bread, sang songs and some people on the team shared a word of encouragement. Towards the end it became chaos and we had to leave. The women got jealous about who was buying what beads and started to fight each other. I mean fight each other. One of the women that helps lead it, Sylvia, explained that there is hunger in the slums because of the violence and so the women were so desperate. She apologized and said for me to understand since they are Turkanas. (very aggresive people group) The team really got to see the face of poverty and the effects the political unrest had on people. The cost of food has gone up and really affecting the poorest of the poor. Picture of half of the group for VBS. Second picture is of the temporary school.

Well now that I've written a novel I should stop for now. There's SO much more I could write about what all happend this week. We were so blessed by the team and hope to see everyone again. I wish i could of had more time to get to know everyone. They were the best team I've hosted! There was no complaining and they really helped us out. They brought me goodies as well. (like baby formula, bottles, crafts to use at the home, AND seattle cinnabon coffee!) The last night Maribel taught me how to make flour tortillas so that was really special as well. Its strange to have our house back to normal and not have every second planned out. I love to host people so we look forward to our next team. (not sure when or who that'll be yet) More to come.

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CJRH said...

Wow! I had know idea where my boys preemie clothes would end up when I gave them to Krista. It was a great reminder that God knows the end result when we can't see what's ahead of us. Thanks for sharing that story and picuture. Christie

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