07 May 2012


Didya think we fell off the planet?!  Once you see the pictures below, you might think so!  It's a region and tribe called Turkana.  A place I fell in love with the first year I lived in Kenya, back in 2005.  It's a dessert and the tribe is very nomadic, still dressing in traditional wear.  We've just been patient to wait on God's timing to expand to this area and it came at an unexpected time, in an unexpected way.

This is what the road looked like.  They drove about 5-6 hours to get there.  And that was only about halfway into Turkana.  

If you know us, you know we have three Kenyan "sons" that live with us and are very much part of our family. Caleb is 19, Ian is 14 and Daniel is 12.  You can back track to sometime in 2007 when we first rescued Ian and Dan from living off of the streets in Kitale.  They were considered "glue boys" but we saw them differently through the eyes of Jesus.  No longer victims of poverty, drugs, loneliness, and sickness but sons that would be set free by the name of Jesus.  We've seen them go over mountains and through valleys to get to the place they are now in life.  They are strong young men that love Jesus.  They are still teenagers though and like Lecrae, break dancing, watching action movies, and playing video games.  Boys are boys no matter what the culture.

About a year ago, Ian started mentioning how he wanted to go search out his family. He came into our home with a lot of stories.  We were first told he had no parents but have learned his mom is still alive and dad was killed not long before he ran away to Kitale around 7 years old.  Usually kids from the streets do have many stories.  Often they don't know their age, what day it is, or how long they've been on the streets.  Ian was never addicted to the glue though (the substance most kids on the street huff on to keep warm at night and make hunger pains go away).  Daniel was but we'll get to his story another day.  We feared what the outcome of searching for his siblings would be.  Last year a big drought ran across northern Kenya which caused a lot of hunger and death.  Ian began to really miss his family in Turkana this year and we knew it was approaching time that we needed to search them out.  Bud and I have both been several times to Turkana, its just been several years since our last trip.  We actually went once before we were married.  It was a good test on our friendship, being stuck on a bus for 24 hours with a bunch of Kenyans, crammed in.  A bridge had broke and unexpected rains came and flooded an area.  That's another story in itself though.

So several weeks ago, Holy Spirit really started moving in our family big time.  Let me back up.  A few years ago, God really moved in our hearts to make Ian more a part of our family (Daniel had ran away and was at a street kid rehabilitation center during this time)  So we got him into one of the best schools here in Kitale, which wasn't far from our house.  We got him a bike to ride to school everyday and moved him away from boarding school and into our home to make sure he knew we were serious about making him part of the family.  He hadn't been to much school and was 13 years old in the 4th grade.  It sure boosted his confidence to be number one in his class at the new school!  So this past year we were led to this homeschool/private school material that is now based out of Nairobi, Accelerated Christian Education.  We kept praying and being led that direction.  This week we are actually officially implementing it at Mattaw.  But when we found out about it last year, it was soon after Daniel came home.  We started seeking out the option of putting them both on this curriculum and keeping them home or at Mattaw.  We ultimately let them decide though.  We let them research it online and check out the material.  With this new schooling, they would be able to advance in certain subjects they are lacking in and to catch up with the subjects they are excelling in.  (i know, i need a grammar class, why I blog beats me, for all you english majors- don't hate :) )  The big plus is that they can do schooling on the road and we can take more trips, like to go camping and to Turkana.  They are such eager learners and are dedicated to their education though.  I can't believe how far they have come since 2007!  Glory to God.

So back to Holy Spirit moving in our family several weeks ago.  Its been rocking awesome.  We've always eaten our meals together and checked up on how everyone is doing, ensuring all needs are met and all is well.  But it was time to go deeper as family and grow spiritually together.  Jesus brought some sweet sweet healing and deliverance to all the boys from their past a few weeks ago.  We knew it was Jesus healing so that they could freely go back to Turkana with no fear or anger.  We also find out Ian has a mom, the reason he came to Kitale not so good but its his story so I'm leaving out details.  He was having dreams of her again but now they were sweet dreams of reuniting and God restoring.  He had always told us about him having a sister and brother.  Ian also started to be fired up about sharing the gospel of the Kingdom with his tribe.  He said people will hear about Jesus and say with their mouth they believe but in their hearts, they are far from Him.  We see God using Ian in BIG ways for the Kingdom.  I don't know why we didn't see this before.

Bud felt it was best he go with them first and then I'd get to go the next time.  I was ok with that but surely on edge of my seat to hear every detail, wishing I was there!  They first get there and within an hour find his older sister.  She's now 16 and hadn't seen Ian about 7 years.  Its not common for them to cry so she tried to hold back tears when she saw him.  She was in shock.  Ian soon found out that she was recently married.  It was an arrange marriage.  Something very common in their tribe.  Ian was very torn up about it and wanted to rescue her and bring her back.  Bud was sure to encourage him gently in that we can't do that.  Bud helped him look at the long term goal in going there to share Jesus and if we did that, their community would not like us.  They then found out that the mom had gone with his brother and a group into the reserve about 8 months ago.  So there are people living in little town centers, then there are those that are sent into the reserve to travel looking for water and fighting another tribe over goats and cows.  There's probably more to this but at this point, thats the main gist of it I got.  Before continuing on this part of the story, I'll share pictures of his beautiful sister and them reuniting.

Here  is some of what their houses look like

 There's a few mud huts, but mostly stick houses

 Bud entering in to meet Ian'a sister in her house

 Ian seeing her for the first time in 7 years

 When she smiles, she looks JUST like him


So Ian was determined to go and find his mom and brother.  Bud was worried they could get lost or run out of fuel.  They decided to sleep on it and then decide the next morning if they would go to look for them.  They later found out that one of the elders of the village is related to Ian's mom.  He called everyone together to introduce Bud and the boys.  He said that if he is related to Ian and we have taken him in and cared for him as our son, then we are welcome there as family.  Whether that was said because we are white or because they meant it, we took it as God giving us an open door into this village.  Many of them came to Bud to know more about Jesus and asked for healing.  One little boy was obviously being tormented by demons and Bud just continued to pray and love on him until he was at peace and would sit calmly by Bud.  They were constantly surrounded by people and didn't have a chance to breathe or use the bathroom.  Oh, and no toilets there.  You just use a bush, or squat in the open.  We decided we'd build toilets as a priority one day soon.  Anywho.  So the village came together that night and gave them a goat to roast.  

They do not waste one single part of the goat...

They all wanted their picture taken, which is quite the opposite of the more northern areas we've been to in Turkana.  The women wear beads around their neck.  Each strand represents something.  Sometimes it'll mean if they're married, or they're ready to be married.  Sometimes how many they wear is a sign of wealth.  There's no handbook that I'm aware of that teaches you this stuff.  They do not want to be exploited and are not as open to people knowing about their tribe as others in Kenya, such as the Masai.  They're such a beautiful people group though.

The next morning Ian and Dan were up at 5am, eager to start the day and go look for their moms.  Some people just happened to recognize Daniel the day before and said they knew where his mom was.   The boys were throwing dirt at the tents of Caleb and Bud so that they'd get up and they could get going.  Bud was then eager to find both moms.  There was a woman willing to go and sort of show them the way.  They were then told they would cross a dry river bed but in case unexpected rains came, they might not be able to pass back.  Bud finally decided to just go.  So they went off the dirt road and began out into the dessert.  It looked something like this...

They ended up randomly coming upon the group Ian's mom was in.  Bud said it was literally the middle of nowhere.  They drove over an hour with no roads or signs or anything for that matter.  Maybe occasional trees or shrubs.  But they made it to the group and were welcomed.  They searched though and sure enough, there she was, Ian's stunningly beautiful mom...

She was shocked to see Ian and even more shocked that he is alive.  She said she gave up five years ago, thinking all that time he was dead.  Ian found that she is now remarried and has had three children since he last saw her.  He held no bitterness at all though and greeted them all as his new siblings...

 Ian was really struggling to see how they live.  Bud was trying to encourage him that they are all ok and this is the life they choose, not to get caught up in how different it is from how he lives now.  Ian was wanting them all to come back to Kitale.  Bud kept encouraging him and about that time, his mom walks up and in Turkana language basically tells Ian the same thing Bud was.  How he shouldn't look around and feel sorry for them, this is their way of life.  She encouraged him to go back to his new home and keep on in school and do well.  Ian was then told his younger brother (same mom and dad), was out looking after the goats and wouldn't be back until dark.  Ian was determined to see him too but Bud was hesitant to stay that far out for several reasons.  By the grace of God, while they were waiting around deciding what to do, Ian's brother shows up earlier than usual.  His brother barely remembered him but was happy.  Ian wanted to bring him back but the mom and new dad said he goes to school, watching after goats is his school and if he leaves then there's no one to care for the goats.  Out of respect they left and the mom and dad welcomed us all back and said they would consider eventually letting his brother come to school.  We're in no hurry here.  There is no such thing as time and dates in this tribe.

 Caleb hiding behind a termite mound.  There's a lot of these out there.

So then they had to go and look for Dan's mom.  They were able to pass through another route and make it to the center where they said they could find her.  When they arrived they joined everyone together to greet Bud and the boys.  

Its unbelievable how much Ian and Dan both look like their moms.  I used to think they all look alike but look at the serious resemblance!

 While there, Dan met the other wives to his moms husband.  There's a lot of polygamy.  He also was able to see his grandmother.  They were all happy to see him but they show little emotion.  It was a bit discouraging to Dan and Ian to see lack of emotion since they are used to the culture of love they are constantly in around our home.  But they ultimately understood it to be ok.  The grandmother gave Bud a sheep.  That was a good sign!

So now we have a sheep that roams around our yard during the day and stinks up our garage at night.  Not the typical souvenir ones husband would bring home after being gone.  The boys want to eat it before going back to Turkana on Wednesday.  So yes, on Wednesday we will go back and I'm beyond thrilled to go too!

Here's a few more pics of Bud "becoming all things to all people".  Ha, love it.  

Who'd a thunk, the boys we've poured into and raised for the last 5 years would be the ones to take us back to Turkana and their families would be the ones to welcome us.  God's ways are mysterious and better than any plan I could come up with!  

Our response to Jesus is "here am I, send me". 

Let justice reign and LOVE win.  Love always wins.  


Teri said...

Kim - This is just beautiful. I am in tears hearing the story of their reunion with their families. God's timing is perfect. Love to all of you!

Sharon said...

Praise God!

Sharon said...

Praise God!

Michelle said...

Amazing! Chill bumps. God is so good. Thanks for sharing on your blog!!!

Michelle said...

Amazing! Chill bumps. God is so good. Thanks for sharing on your blog!!!

Lynn said...

Just awesome, God!! He is so good and so perfect in His way of timing things!! This is one of the most beautiful stories I've read--and right before Mothers Day here in Texas! Thanks, Kim and Happy Mother's Day loving on ALL of your children!!

NeNe said...

I'm speechless.

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