03 October 2008

Many MANY updates to catch you up on....

I have so many updates to catch you up on so kick back and get ready to read. I know I like to read books with more pictures than words so I'll try that out with this blog!

Well it's 12:14 am here in Kitale right now. Thanks to some fabulous starbucks coffee that Hollie made me, I am wide awake and ready to run a 1/2 marathon. Not really but seriously Bud and I are training to run a 1/2 marathon in Austin in February while we're in the States for a bit. It's a great goal and experience for Bud and I to have together. We're working out details to make it a fundraiser for Mattaw. Something like having people donate a few dollars or more for each mile we run. More details to come.

I think the last blog was the day before our visitors arrived. Lindsay, her husband TJ and their friend Katie arrived a few weeks ago on a Sunday. Wow, just thinking about everything we've done makes me realize this will be a record long blog. Its been amazing and we really hit it off with these Minisota Jesus lovin folks. We started out by going out to Mattaw Children's Village and giving them the grand tour and vision from being on the property. We enjoyed playing with the children then had spaghetti with the kids for dinner and had prayers and worship all together. The few days after that we spent going through the container and getting it organized. We sorted through many many many clothes and were able to give our children a few outfits and a pair of shoes each.

One of the days we taught the children how to play leap frog. Oh my goodness, I wish I could download the video of this to show you how hilarious this was. Especially when is was Geoffrey's turn. That boy has such a funny character. Everytime he went to jump over the children he'd run fast and smash their heads and tumble over them. They would all just giggle.

The day before we left for the conference the visitors gave the kids new pajamas. We gave them strict rules of only wearing them at night and not going outside with them. When we came back from the conference they proudly went and put their clean pretty jammies on with their new socks so that we could get a snap of them.

Katie is a teacher back in the states. One of the mornings she got to sit in on our children's schooling. While she did that, TJ, Lindsay, Bud and I organized MORE clothes and toys. (oh and played missionary dress up, hehe)

Last Wednesday we left for Kampala, Uganda to attend the Watoto conference. It was one of the best experiences I've had in my entire life! I don't even know how to put it into words but I'll try to sum it up best I can. I think the website talks about it as well.... http://www.watoto.com/. Darlene Chzeck (spelling?) from Hillsong was there the first few days to lead worship. INCREDIBLE! Brian and Bobby (last name?) the pastor from Hillsong in Australia were there to speak at different times. The cry for justice rang throughout the conference. Watoto has over 1500 children in their homes around Kampala. They are now moving north to Gulu where there are many children forced to be soldiers. We heard many testimonies that blew our socks off and made us cry. Gary and Marilyn Skinner are the founders and pastor of Kampala Pentecostal Church. Watoto was started by them through the church. Their vision is to see "the church" (that would be all of us christians) rise up and somehow play a part in ending extreme poverty. (rather than a government or celebrities) It was incredible to hear the testimony and see a church take action and be the hands and feet of Jesus. At night we had worship. Wow, it was the closest thing to heaven on earth as far as worshiping with a mass group of people. There were over 25 countries represented and we were all there with the same heart just worshiping our Jesus. I really can't put into words the worship. It wasn't a production or concert but really just all of us getting before the Lord asking for more of what hurts his heart and crying out for more of Him. It was vibrant, if that makes sense. I could feel it in my skin, in my entire being. We were so encouraged. Although it was a bit overwhelming with all the information and how big and amazing their ministry is (as far as comparing it to ours) we of course realize that everyone is different and we're just starting out. You can grow a squash in 6 months, but it takes many years to grow an oak tree! We were motivated, empowered and feel more equipped to continue doing what we're doing. The first day we got to go and tour the baby watoto called bullrushes (spelling?) wich is where Moses was kept and found in the bible. WOW. I was so blessed to see it again. I desire so badly to have a baby house with our ministry one day. Ohhhhh its such a dream! But we feel for us personally that we have to build a strong foundation with the homes before having a baby home. There's SO much that goes into a baby home but I wont get into that now. We want to also model after their baby home one day. They have, I think, 83 babies now.

Here's is the middle of the home. They had all of these things donated from the states and sent on a container.

Here is one of the bedrooms. Love the interior design!
In one of the rooms, getting to love on one of these future leaders!
The is to the side where they take the babies/toddlers outside to play
The last day of the conference we went to visit two of their biggest children villages, Subi and Birra. We then had lunch in one of the homes. It was so sweet and incredible to get to sit with one of the moms and her children and hear their stories. The house we ate in was actually a bit different than most of them. Since Subi is the only location with a high school, they had to move children from Birra there when they are to the high school age. Currently they are building another high school in Birra. This home was a house of 8 teenage boys. What a job! But we were overly impressed with the neatness and politeness that they had. The boys all shared their dreams of becoming pastors, teachers, doctors, etc. Excellence and integrity was exhibited in EVERYTHING which is part of the vision we have caught for Mattaw.

This is at Birra Village. Some of the older girls walked with us and passed Elisha around the whole time. He loved it!

This is one of the classrooms. I think it was 1st grade.

They had one of their children go with each group of 6 around the village to give a tour. This is us with our guide.This is a picture of part of one of the many "clusters". A cluster is a circle of, I believe 8 homes.

They had us split into a group of four to eat in a home at Subi Village. We were with TJ and Lindsay. This is the home of teenage boys.
They also had their choir's present songs. African children can sing and dance like you wouldn't believe. I took some tips to teach our children. (we'll see how well that goes, me teaching them! ha!)

This is the worship team and church choir in the back

This is one of their choirs. All of them are children they have rescued from the LRA in Gulu. (they were abducted and forced to be child soldiers)
A few days after we got back from Uganda we got to take our visitors out to see our friends, Jeff and Carla's baby house. We love babies! It's amazing what they are doing and you can check them out. Well, not sure the website but you can google In Step ministries in Kitale, Kenya.

Lindsay and I happy as can be lovin on rescued babies that are recovering from severe malnurishment. I would adopt Sarah, the little girl I'm holding, in a heartbeat if it was meant to be. She was abandoned in a pit latrine (out house with a huge hole under). A neighbor heard her crying, they tore the structure down, and a man went down by rope to rescue her.

Priceless (to me)
We stayed there a long time, which was so sweet of our husbands to let us do. By the end of it Bud just cuddled a kid and fell asleep with him. Precious.
Wednesday we took the visitors to Nairobi to fly out that night. Bud and I left Elisha with Hollie and a few other friends in our home. It was the first night away from him. So hard, but good. Bud and I stayed one night in Nairobi and really enjoyed ourselves. We went for a double date with our friends Daniel and Marleis at a cuban resteraunt and saw a movie. Then came back the next day. Thank you TJ, Lindsay, and Katie for coming to visit us!!! We were blessed to get to know you and are thankful for your encouragement and heart for the same things our heart beats for. We know that because of the passion we all have for the same things, that this new frienship will last a long time! Yall ROCK!! Thanks also for taking great pictures and letting me copy them. Some of the pictures above were from these guys. Love yall!

We've had a lot of birthdays to celebrate lately. Hollie turned 25 last week. This is the cake I made her with the box mix that her mom sent her. We all went to dinner and then came back to our house for games, coffee and cake.

This was tonight. Our friend, Linda, came to visit from Eldoret. Her birthday was the same day as Hollie's but she wasn't able to visit till today so we celebrated. She turned 23.
Bud is in Uganda again, helping friends of our move there. He will be traveling back tomorrow so please pray for him. He was so sweet and has such a servants heart to be doing this. Especially after all the traveling we've already done. I'm now done with this rediculously long blog. More to come.
Truely made for this!


vickypad said...

oh i want to be there. wait did i just write that? oh oh. missing you guys and thank you sooooo much for keeping us posted. vicky

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