19 March 2016

His Mercy

Currently hiding out in the floor of my kitchen as Dr. Pepper pulled pork is in the oven (pioneer woman recipe!), the laundry pile is starting to go down (is that even possible in this family?!) and the kids are distracted by playing card games with their Nene (husbands parents are here for a visit, hooray!). Just keepin it real here -- our life hasn't been all that glamorous of the late but more like doing the "mundane but steady" type of life. Unless of course you consider the glamorous life to involve inspecting praying mantis bugs as an activity for homeschool life with my kindergartener. Ha. It is always SO good to get another round of realizing our identity is not in what we do but whose we are. 

We are relearning eternal truths of marriage and family life as we have moved to a new place. As we continue to be students of this at the feet of Jesus, we have continued to give oversight to Mattaw Children's Village. Bud has also continued to take Turkana trips. Part of us giving oversight to Mattaw has been our monthly trips there, staying a week or longer at a time. We are so thankful for how God continues to grow the Mattaw family. Next week we will head back to our precious fam there. The updates to share with you are endless but I'll do my best to bring you a few. We've stepped away from Mattaw more this year in order for our rockin awesome leadership team runs with the vision. This year, we've watched God bring transition in many many areas. Not just personally but within Mattaw too. It's been incredible ---and it's been incredibly hard. If we are rooted in Jesus, then it's only natural, or supernatural, that we would be in a constant state of pruning and growth. It's Gods nature to grow and expand us in all areas of life.

I read a little blurb recently by Havilah Cunnington on this subject and she had a way of saying it so well...

"God was the very first gardener! In the beginning, we find that He loved to create and watch things grow. Gods nature is built around growth: He can't help Himself , it's just who He is!  As a creator, His purpose is to plant for the purpose of growth. Our ability to surrender to God as the Chief Gardener of our hearts and lives is vital to our personal development. Like the plants on the earth, our purpose is to grow, mature and produce fruit at the hands of the Master Gardener. He nurtures us with the light of knowledge and the water of love, giving us all we need if we want it. God is the gardener at the highest level. He is a master at what He does. The incredible thing is He doesn't just tend to the garden of our lives, He provides the environment and the elements that help us to be fruitful. He is not only the Gardener, but He is the Sun --- the power that gives us the energy to grow and mature."

Our girls home, Kimbilio House, has been in a place of learning, pruning and growing in the last 3 years.  Kimbilio means refuge in Swahili. 

It has been a refuge for over 20 girls so far, some having come for a short period of time and then transitioned into a school or back safely with their mom. Around 12 girls have been permanent residents for the last 3 years. All of them have been rescued out of places where the injustice is flat out unbelievable. And situations we couldnt turn away from. Abuse, hunger, prostitution and literally locked in chains for years -- to name a few of the injustices they've endured. We've sought God constantly for heavenly solutions and He's been faithful to answer, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.  This year we have been in a big transition with several of the girls. This house has been a refuge but we also realize this place for safety and protection is so they can be healed and restored and not a place of staying permanently... otherwise they're refugees for most of their life. Just as our vision at Mattaw is for orphans to find a place to be called sons and daughters and no longer an orphan --- we also have found we want our girls to no longer be refugees but to transition into places they can thrive as young woman with a hope and future.  We have also transitioned two girls from Kimbilio into Mattaw homes where they are now daughters in a family.  It has always been a cases by case on what the best place of transition is. (For security reasons, we can't share names or pictures). Our first girl to successfully transition back to her biological mom was two years ago. She was placed in our care by the court due to abuse by her father. The father was put in prison and his relatives were angry about that and wanted revenge. (This is a common story) Her mom fled for her life and they safely placed the girl in our care. A year later, the mom was able to restart her life with a small plot of farm land. After investigation, the mom was found to be in a safe place and she was stable enough to care for her daughter again. Her mom visited her daughter regularly at Kimbilio and we could see the intense love she had for her. We were able to place the girl in a boarding school and on her breaks, she is now home with her mom and siblings. It's been a beautiful reintegration. This year we had four more girls accepted into a great boarding school for girls. We are so thankful for how they are now thriving in a school that can provide activities such as sports, on a larger scale than we are unable to have at Kimbilio.

This year we also have our first girl, Mercy, to have graduated from Scondary school (high school). She graduated last year and spent a year living at Mattaw again and helping as an intern with the Sprouts babies. 

She spent a few years living at the Mattaw Children's Village when she was in middle school. When Mercy started high school, we had not built up the school at Mattaw yet to that level.  We were able to find her a boarding school instead and she has successfully completed her four years there. Her dream was to be in a field of work where she would be doing hair and beauty.  After several of our leaders spent time searching for the best place for her, they found a school in Eldoret. After waiting for all the right paper work and her I.D. card, she has now started school there. Pray for Mercy as she is in a big transition of life. We pray she would continue to not just learn how to make women beautiful on the outside but to teach them who they are in Christ as a beautiful creation from the inside out. 

These stories are shared with the opportunity on how you can not only pray for them but also sow financial seeds into their life. They are all in need of school fees. Mercy's school fees and personal needs are $1,000 per year. For the other girls, it is around $500 each for a year. Any amount is always a huge help. You can find how to donate on the Mattaw website: mattawchildren.com. You'll find a tab labeled "donate" and on that page is either the option for PayPal or mailing a check to the Mattaw U.S. Address. 

If you made it to this end of this post, oh how thankful I am that you stuck it out!  Thankful for your patience. We'll be sharing more soon about Tukana trips. Bud had some beautiful testimonies annnnnd our family gets to head there next month!  


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