"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt...and go out to dance with the joyful." - Jeremiah 31: 3-4

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hope Bright Future

Going to HBF every Saturday has become the highlight of my week. It's one thing to see children one or two times and maybe learn a few names and recognize some faces, but these children I know well and love.

Days spent there are always full of laughter and there's no way to escape the contagious smiles of these kids. This little girl is Lucy... and she is one happy kid! Beautiful, too. She will brighten up even the most miserable person's day! Of that, I am sure.

The kids all got new clothes because their old ones were getting pretty worn out. It was so nice to see all the girls in their new bright flowery dresses. You could tell that they felt pretty and lovely and wanted you to notice. Which we all did.

There's something so peaceful about HBF. Maybe it's the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. Maybe it's the quiet sounds of nature that are always playing in the background. But I think it's more because of the incredible joy that covers the home. God has touched this orphange and blessed it immensely. His love is pouring out on these kids and just by stepping foot on the soil surrounding the compound, you can feel it too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

hope to the hopeless and a change of plans...

izeHope to the hopeless --

On Monday, we packed up 16,000 lbs. of maize and 6,000 lbs. of beans for two food distributions in Mali Saba and Shimo. Along with the food distributions, we would also be doing a medical clinic in each place...

Tuesday was Mali Saba. When we drove up, with our two trucks full of sacks of maize and beans and three taxis, we were greeted by a large crowd of widows, grandmothers and children all excited to receive probably the only food they would have for weeks and get medical treatment that they otherwise would never receive. There was such an air of thankfulness and joy in the small plot of land overlooking a beautiful view of the Kenyan hills. I immediately knew that it was going to be a good day. And when a little boy named Jeff, who had the most beautiful smile I've ever seen, attached himself to me for the entire day... I was in heaven.
Once the medical clinic was set up inside, we began the food distribution. As each family got their food we prayed for them. At first I was nervous because I'm not usually fan of praying out loud, especially in front of and for people I don't know... but something came over me that day and I was able to pray for every woman with sincerity and clarity. It was an experience that I will always look back on and see the Holy Spirit moving in me.
Once the distribution was finished, the medical clinic began in full swing. I was at the front table registering people. Derick was translating for us as we asked them their name, age and what their problem was. The saddest and happiest thing for me that day was when a baby with clubbed feet was brought in.. sad for obvious reasons, but happy because the baby was only two days old and already he was given a chance to get his feet fixed. Without the clinic, the mother would not have had enough money to get the surgery required to correct them. It's small things like that that make everything worth while.
The building we were in was a simple rectangle of bricks with holes for doors and windows. The rooms were all empty, except for a covering of dust/dirt and some cow/goat/donkey poop... and yes, were doing a medical clinic is these conditions. What other choice do we have? This is Africa.
We were able to treat over 350 people during that clinic.

After that day, I was excited to see what the next day at Shimo would bring. I had heard that Shimo was a bit of a rougher area than Mali Saba and that we might run into some problems but I thought everyone was exaggerating and being paranoid. They weren't.
When we first stepped onto the school compound where we would be doing the distribution and clinic, I felt the oppression hit me like a brick wall. The Enemy was at work in this place and I could feel it weighing down on me. The distribution started easily enough, but I could tell that my prayers were not as sincere or heart-felt as they were at Mali Saba. And then, as real as if someone has punched me in the chest, I lost my breath and my train of thought. I was suddenly confused. But I didn't know what I was confused about. Everything seemed to be going fine. We were very organized, but all the sudden I had no idea what was going on. I started looking around and noticed that the rest of the interns were also looking a bit lost. It was then that Daniel came over to us and asked us if any of us had just felt a spirit of confusion. What had happened was three men entered the compound and began taking sacks of food off of our pile and started "helping" the widows to carry them. They were not part of our team and they weren't supposed to be there. They brought a major spirit of confusion to our distribution. We stopped everything, got the men to leave and gathered together to pray. The rest of the distribution went off without a hitch. The spiritual warfare was very evident in Shimo but thankfully we were able to rebuke it in the power of Jesus' name and continue doing what we were there to do. Provide hope to the hopeless. The medical clinic at Shimo ended up treating over 530 people. If that's not incredible, I don't know what is.

Those two days taught me a lot. Each place had a different lesson, but both were necessary.

Change of plans --

I've known for a long time that while I was here in Kenya, God would be healing me. Restoring me. Molding me into the best person I can be for his Kingdom. I knew that I would not be going home the same person I was when I left. I thought that I would be going home as that new person on November 30th.

God had other plans.

I knew that I couldn't go home until complete healing had been accomplished in my life. As the days and weeks went by, I knew that three months would not be enough. I prayed about staying four months, but did not feel peace about it. "How long then, God?" I asked Him in confusion. I had already applied for the spring semester of college. I planned on being home for Christmas and New Years and attending Millersville in January. "Six months," was the answer.
"But God, I can't... I didn't plan for six months. I'm going to school. I'll miss Christmas with my family!"
"Six months."
"Are you sure? Can't I just do four? Then I can be home in time for Christmas and start school in January. Four months is longer than three, you must mean for me to just stay four months. Not six. That's way too long. That's half a year, God! What do you possibly need to fix in me that will take six months?"


"Okay, God. Six months. Gotcha. You were right... you always are."

And that's that. Six months in Kenya - orders of God himself.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The past two days...

The past two days have been, in one word, awesome!

On Thursday, some of us went to HBF to plant trees around the perimeter. Originally we were going to take a truck there because we had to pick up all the trees, but Daniel heard on the radio that morning that they were arresting anyone without a seat belt. This is Kenya and they can decide what rules to follow on whatever day they wish. Well, since there are no seat belts in a truck bed we had to go in a matatu. So around 9ish Scott, Nate, Mark, Jared, Julia, Steph (yes, there is another Stephanie in the internship program) and I left the compound to start the 25 minute walk into town to get a matatu. After spending a little while in town, Mark hired a matatu and we left for HBF. On the way we picked up almost 700 trees and stuffed them all in the matatu! Now keep in mind that these trees were just saplings so it's not like we had full grown redwoods hanging out in there, but still... 700 baby trees in a matatu full of people is a pretty funny sight. So once we arrived at HBF we unloaded all the trees and got situated. As we were loading some of the trees into the wheelbarrow (that ironically had no wheels) Mark told Nate and I to grab more of the green ones..... Nate and I looked at each other in confusion then looked at Mark. "Really, Mark? The green ones?" All the trees were green! Anyway, it was a good laugh. So then we started digging some holes! They don't use shovels. They use djembes. It's kind of like a hoe, except you use it differently... I'm not the best at explaining this kind of stuff but basically you just swing it down and make holes! Haha, use your imaginations because I can't do much better than that. It's hard work, but it's really fun and rewarding. I have four nice blisters on my hands and I love them because it's the result of a hard day's work.
After a couple hours, it hit me how much I was going against the culture. I asked if it was weird for Kenyans to see a woman doing this sort of work? In response, I was told, "yes, and you're white." The more I'm in this culture, the more I realize how much I love doing the men's work rather than the woman's work. Not that I don't enjoy cooking and cleaning, but it's just not as exciting or rewarding to me as working with my hands and doing manual labor. After planting almost all of the trees, it started to rain like it does every afternoon. This was the hardest rain I've seen yet here in Kenya. It was coming down sideways and the sound of it on the tin roof of HBF was almost deafening, but I never get tired of watching and listening to the rain.
The ride home was probably the funniest adventure I've had so far. We had to take piki piki's (motorcycles) part of the way and then get on a public matatu the rest of the way. We could only get three piki piki's. If you do the math, there was seven of us.. with only three motorcycles. So Nate, Mark and I squeezed onto one and everyone else had just two people on the back. So here we are, a Kenyan piki driver, Nate, me and Mark, holding on for dear life... well Mark was holding on for dear life, Nate and I were too squished in the middle to fall off... riding down a flooded mud road laughing hysterically because we know that we're a sight most Kenyans don't see everyday. Two white people in between two Kenyans. As Nate so perfectly said it, we were a double stuffed oreo. Then we get onto a public matatu and I'm sitting next to a older Kenyan woman who keeps looking at my legs because I was wearing capris that when sitting showed a bit of my knees, which is quite scandalous in this culture. So I was being judged very harshly, but what are you gonna do? The day ended successfully and it was definitely one of my favorites.

Today we mudded a hut at HBF. If you've never mudded a hut before you're missing out! First we had to get in a huge pit of mud and stomp around to make the mud the right consistency. After a couple face plants (accidentally and on purpose) and quite a few mud balls thrown around, we got out and started putting balls of mud about 6 inches across around a hut constructed of sticks. A lot of mud was thrown around and we were all sufficiently covered head to toe by the time we were finished. I could do that every day and be totally happy with my life! It was a lot of fun and seriously rewarding work. We basically built a house. Mud huts are the main living unit of families here in Kenya.
But now, onto the most important part of the day... the eating contest. The other day Andrew saw me finish a whole dish on food at lunch. The food here is very filling and they give you huge portions, so me finishing a whole plate was a pretty big deal. He decides to challenge me to an eating contest next time we were at HBF. So today at lunch, after hours of taunting each other and psyching ourselves up, it was finally time. Lunch today was a mixture of potatoes, greens, beans and maize. Basically, a huge pile of extremely filling carbs and starches. We made sure our portions were even and started to eat. The first plate went down pretty easy, I finished before him but this was a contest of quantity not speed so we got a second plate. I was showing no signs of weakness but Andrew was beginning to struggle. At first I thought he was faking and just trying to get me to let my guard down... but then I realized that he was actually getting full. Surprisingly, I was not. I always knew I could eat a lot, but two plates of Kenyan food seemed like an impossible task even for me. But two plates went down and neither of us were ready to call it quits just yet. So a third plate was started. Still not showing or feeling any signs of weakness, I finished the third plate strong and ready to keep going! Andrew on the other hand... was not looking so good. Haha, so to wrap up this wonderful story... I won. I even finished another half of a plate while Andrew watched in amazement. I don't think he understands how I could possibly have eaten that much food, but my level of food consumption is a mystery no one will ever solve. Mom and Dad, these are the times you should be proud to call me your daughter :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


My thoughts are sort of scattered right now but I wanted to write a blog so here goes nothing...

I stayed at the compound today instead of going out to the Neema project because I knew that I needed a day to rest. I haven't been getting much sleep lately and I've been waking up in the middle of the night almost every night. I took a long nap and I'm still tired but I feel a little better. I'm also trying to ward off some sickness that I feel creeping in so I'm glad I stayed back today, even if it did mean missing a day with the girls.

On Friday we're helping to mud a hut at HBF. I'm actually really excited. I have a secret love of playing in the mud so constructing a house out of it should be pretty awesome.

We went to In Step yesterday. That place never stops amazing me. The children are beautiful and so happy. There have a baby girl there who I would swear is the most gorgeous baby I've ever seen. I didn't get a picture of her this time, but next week I'll be sure to upload one to my blog. The craziest thing about being there and looking at all the little faces is that every single one of them was not wanted by their mothers. Most were abandoned in the hospital soon after being born, some left on the streets, in fields, trash cans and toilets. Without In Step, 68 children would most likely be dead right now. Praise God for this ministry.

I wish I could write more but truly my mind is just not functioning properly. I can't seem to narrow down my thoughts well enough to write them out. I think it's going to be an early night for me tonight. I definitely need to get some more sleep.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Purpose, proposals & poaring rain.

There's been one question bouncing around in my head for the past week.

"What is my purpose?"

Why am I here? What can I do to help these people? How can I be a blessing to my fellow interns? Who I am in Christ? What should I be doing right now?

I want to find my niche here. I want to discover what impact I can make during this season of my life. I've always said, even before coming to Kenya, that my only goal in life is to know that I have changed one person's life for the better. Just one person and that is enough for me. I don't care who and I don't care how. I want God to work through me and for Him to get all the glory.

On Saturday morning I was sitting outside in the beautiful yard at the TI compound reading Scripture and I came across two verses in Ephesians that answered every question I had been wondering about.

"In Him, we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will." - Ephesians 1:11

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10


How comforting it is to know that even when we have no clue what we are doing, God knows! He's had it planned out since before we were born and it will all happen in His perfect timing. All we need to do is commit it to prayer and listen for His voice. When it's time, I know that I'll understand clearly what I am to do to benefit the people of Kenya, Transformed International, and myself.

So now for some of what's been going on in this adventure...

The other day we walked into town to get some clothes for the HBF children. It was a really crowded day in town and the harassment we received was more than I've ever experienced. It's tough being white, it's tough being a woman, and it's really tough being a white woman. You get a lot of marriage proposals from random men on the side of the road. It can get pretty frustrating. It's not easy being a freak. There's times I find myself thinking "I really wish I was a Kenyan right now so people would leave me alone and let me shop." But it's all a part of the experience and you just need to know how to respond (which is usually to just ignore it).

Yesterday we went to HBF. It's always a good day at that place. I'm in love with every single child in that home and nothing makes me happier than to see them smile and laugh. But yesterday was especially awesome. It poured down rain! There is nothing as amazing as dancing and playing in the rain. We all got soaked to the bone and so muddy! But even afterwards when the rain stopped and we were all wet, dirty and shivering, I knew that if I had to do it all over again I would in a heartbeat. It was the most joy I've experienced yet here in Kenya. Sometimes I think we worry to much about our clothes, hair, makeup, etc. and don't realize how much fun could be had by jumping in a huge puddle of mud that may or may not include some cow poop...
Cow poop puddles aside, having a puddle splash fight with the kids during a true African rainstorm will forever be one of my favorite memories.

In the aftermath of our day at HBF, a lot of us realized that we REALLY need to do some laundry. Now laundry isn't as easy here as we're all used to... it's all by hand. If doing my own laundry doesn't give me a huge respect for the Kenyans then I don't know what will because it is NOT simple. I'm never complaining about doing laundry with a machine ever again. But although it was hard work, it's also very rewarding. There's something special about seeing your own hands produce something, whether it's farming, cleaning, washing dishes or doing laundry. It's just that sense of accomplishment that most of us don't get a chance to experience because of all the technology and machinery that does so much work for us these days.

Well, I'm going to go eat some grilled cheese now but I'll leave you with yet another verse from Ephesians that may very well be one of my new favorites...


In Him,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random thoughts...

-It's really strange being a rarity. Not even a minority. A rarity! There are VERY FEW white people here in Kitale. It's interesting to be stared at as if you're some sort of celebrity.

-All kids are the same! No matter what country they were born in or what culture/religion/socioeconomic status they will grow up in, children are children and they love to be held and play and run around and laugh! I think that's awesome.

-Being a woman in this culture is tough. Especially being a white woman. It restricts a lot of what is safe for us to do and that can be very frustrating.

-It's hard to see the street kids in town. I want to help them but they don't want to help themselves so there's not much I can do. There's a lot of programs where they can get food and a place to sleep but they would rather live on the streets, beg for money and sniff their glue. Go to to learn more about these kids. Glue Boys is a documentary that was filmed right here in Kitale. Some of the boys in the video I have seen and spoken to. My heart breaks for them.

-As an intern, my experience has been very different than as just a visitor. As great as it was to come with a group for a short period of time, I'm liking the internship a lot more. I like that we're not rushed to fit everything into only 10 days. We have three whole months to see and experience everything.

-Adoption is still very heavy on my heart and I know that someday I will adopt a baby from Africa.

-Living in Kenya is easier for me than living in America. I don't know what that means and to be completely honest it scares me a little bit. I love my home and my family but I'd be lying if I said it won't be near impossible to leave here when that time comes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A miracle.

This is Martin. The last time I was in Kenya he was not supposed to survive through the night. Martin was in the hospital with chicken pox, pneumonia and TB all while being HIV positive. He had just lost his older sister Veronica about a week earlier and it seemed as if everything was going against this little boy. We prayed for a miracle for Martin.
And a miracle is exactly what Martin got.
Yesterday Martin was running, playing and dancing with his friends at HBF. He ran up to me and wanted me to spin him around as I had with some of the other children. His smiles and laughter was enough to make this entire trip worth while. I got a chance to hold a truly miraculous child. As I carried Martin around for a while, I was in awe of just how powerful and amazing God really is. This precious boy was going to die. The only hope he had was a miracle from Jesus. Seeing him yesterday, I would never have guessed he was the same boy we spent hours desperately praying for to keep him alive for just one more night. Except for the scars left by his chicken pox, it was as if he was a whole new child.
My belief in God's power to heal had increased immensely because of Martin's miracle.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back in Kenya!

Okay, I want to write a crazy long blog. I really, really do! But it's almost time for dinner and I just got my computer up and running so there's not much time to write all that I want to write.

Just a quick update. We got into Kitale yesterday and it is soooo great to be back. I was surprised at how much I remembered from a month ago. We went into town today to just walk around and exchange some money and I was reminded of how much I love this place! I feel so comfortable here. Which is weird because it's a totally different culture from our own but I can't even explain it.. I just feel like it fits with me.

Really though, I can smell the beef stew cooking in the kitchen and it's almost ready so I have to stop there! We're going to the orphanage tomorrow though so I will have a full update for you within the next couple of days.

Keep the team, the Kenyans, and TI in your prayers!