"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

Saturday, October 31, 2009


It's been a while. I'll take some responsibilty due to laziness but I must also blame the internet. We were without it for about a week and it's been in and out for a while. So I apologize for the lack of blogging :)

So much has happened... which is a big reason I hate to go this long without writing a blog. I don't know where to start.

I got up early one morning this week to watch the sunrise. I walked down to a spot where there's a perfect view of the sun coming up over the mountains. It was beautiful. I love when I see God and the majesty of His creation. Kenya is an incredible place and I doubt I'll ever experience the beauty this country has ever again in my life. It's real. It hasn't been taken over by high rises and concrete. It is exactly how God initially created it to be.

I have to cut this short because the internet is acting a little funky again. I'm leaving for Malindi tomorrow morning so I won't be writing another blog until at least the 12th. If you have a second, google Malindi! Be prepared to be jealous. Again, the beauty of Kenya is unbelievable.

I will write a longer, more detailed blog soon. I promise!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The God of all comfort...

I'm continually amazed by the sufferings of these people. The things that they have become used to are things that would completely disgust us in America. For example, after a boy is circumcised here which is usually around the young adolescent years, they believe that they have to "cleanse" themselves and in order to do that they must have sex with a young girl. More times than not, the boy will rape a child because he thinks he has to. Another thing that they believe here is that if you have sex with a virgin you can rid yourself of HIV. Just imagine how many young innocent girls are being forced into having sex because the boys and men believe these ridiculous things!

We were at the Shimo school on Friday hanging out with the kids for a while. I was speaking to a group of girls around the ages of 14, 15 and 16. I wear a purity ring on my left ring finger where my wedding ring will someday go. It's not uncommon for the girls to ask me if I am married because of it so I wasn't surprised to have my ring pointed at by one of the girls. "What do you wear that for? Are you married?" I looked up at the girl. She looked young and had kind eyes and was very beautiful. "No, I'm not married. This is a purity ring. It means that since I've gotten this ring I won't have sex until I get married." It was the first time I had explained my ring in the nature. Usually I just told the girls that it was a symbol of Jesus protecting my heart as I showed them the small silver cross covering an outline of a heart. But I felt compelled to share the truth this time. The response from the girl caught me slightly off guard. "What if you are raped?" My mouth opened to speak but I realized that I had no response to her question. I muttered something about it being a terrible thing that is out of our control but I knew that wasn't what I wanted to say. All of this was as we were getting ready to leave and walk back home so I looked her in the eye and told her that I would be back on Monday and I wanted to talk to her more when I came back. She nodded and walked away with her friends.

I often used to ask God why I had to go through all the things that I went through. Why didn't He reach down and lift me out of my suffering and pain? He's God, right? He's supposed to be able to do anything. Then I came across 2 Corinthians 1:3-5...
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so
that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have
received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our
lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
Because of my suffering, I can come alongside of these girls and help them through their pain. Maybe I haven't experienced the ultimate weight of their despair but I have definitely felt used, worthless and hopeless. I'll be the first to tell you that my life has not always been full of sunshine and happiness. But thanks to Jesus, I can now boldly say that my life is full of light! That is something that I pray for these girls... for them to experience the joy of Jesus Christ and the miraculous changes He can bring!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Quick update - Shimo girls

This week has been amazing. I think I may go out on a limb here and say that it's been my favorite week so far. Not only did we have incredible dinners every night but we also started a project with a group of six girls from the Shimo slums. Five out of the six girls, all between the ages of 14 and 18, have children. One girl has a six year old. We're going to have them make cards to sell back in the US and pay them for each card they finish so that they can have a small income. They all expressed sincere gratitude and said that God was working through us to help them. Truer words have rarely been spoken. God hand picked these girls for this project. He knew that these six girls needed some money but more so than the money, He knew that they needed love. Our primary purpose is not to provide them with a couple shillings per week, it's to provide them with our friendship. I'm excited to see these girls earn some money to have a way to feed their children but what I'm really looking forward to is getting to know them and seeing what God has in store for Caroline, Ester, Eunice, Moureen, Marcelle and Caroline M.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Light in the darkness.

"I want my parents to love me so much. What can I do? I don't want to be separate from them."
"I am pregnant. What do I do if my parents don't allow me to stay at home?"
"Why do adults rape small children?"

Is your heart breaking right now?

Those are just some of the questions we received when a group of us went down to the Shimo slums and talked to students ages 12 to 18. We asked them to write down any question they had on a note card. The questions ranged from American government and The Bible to rape, pregnancy, AIDS and sex. In Kenyan culture, things like AIDS, sex and relationships are not spoken about. Parents do not even talk to their children. It is a culture that strives to be stoic. The end result is that no one is educated on these topics. HIV/AIDS is a taboo subject and most people aren't even aware if they are carrying the disease because they are afraid to get tested. Boys rarely understand what it is to respect girls and girls don't even know that they deserve to be respected. Rape is a common occurrence. Teenage pregnancy is rampant and HIV is being spread like wildfire. They don't even know that there is another way of living, that there is hope, that there is a light in the darkness and that that light is Jesus.

It's hard to put yourself in the shoes of these teenagers. Especially the girls. Looking into their eyes, I could almost see the pain. When the word 'rape' was mentioned I noticed quite a few look down at the ground and begin fidgeting. I wanted to run over and hug them. Most of us will never understand the hurt that they have been through. As Americans we don't realize how lucky we are to have the laws and the government that we have. Maybe we don't agree with everything that our country says but we cannot deny the fact that they take care of us. There is justice. There is peace. There are laws that are enforced.

Last week a few of us watched Hotel Rwanda. After it was over and we were all in somber moods, Meredith began telling us some of what was going on during the post-election violence in Kenya two years ago. An estimated 10,000 people were killed when two opposing tribes began fighting. Can you imagine anything like that happening in America? Here in Kenya, the candidate that lost the election was actually encouraging it by suggesting people have "peace marches" to protest his loss. Well, his peace marches included quite a bit of violence! It would have gotten worse if the United Nations hadn't stepped in the moment "genocide" was mentioned. Due to the Rwanda genocide and the disaster that they made of it by not doing anything at all, they were a bit more conscious about not letting something of that magnitude happen again. In my opinion, they were still about 10,000 people too late. I mean, what do they consider a genocide... the entire country being murdered?

Keep Kenya in your prayers.