Families are valuable. Poverty should not rip them apart. You can help vulnerable children stay with their moms by connecting with COMMON BECOMES HOLY. Together let's express God's love to those victimized so they may be "taken away from common usage, designed for higher purposes, complete"- HOLY.
Our days have been full - ministry with the children from Joyland and Covenant Home, hosting missionary friends from Mbita for a few days, teaching Bible studies, meeting with pastors, finishing up the first training with the widowed moms, our kids running track at Moi Stadium, an afternoon swimming at Kiboko Bay on Lake Victoria. So many stories to share… hmmm… where to start?
We’ve settled in at a Kenyan church in Mambo Leo where we worship in a tin-sided building with about 40 believers who know how to rock that place! Last Sunday we met with the leaders to discuss organizing outreach by building bio-sand water filters in villages where widowed moms and orphaned children live in desperate situations. With this evangelism plan, both clean water and the Living Water – Jesus, are offered to those who thirst. Mark will train a team to construct water filters and develop teachings starting the last Sunday of October. He’s also been teaching a bible study following afternoon prayers at Covenant of Peace Church where we had the discipleship empowerment training for the widowed moms.
Will you pray for Mark as he moves into this new area of ministry?
Speaking of the training, we enjoyed lots of laughter during our object lessons! Imagine never having made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, putting directions to make one in order, and then explain the directions to another person who has to make the PBJ when she’s never made a PBJ either! Now, imagine it’s a competition, which, by the way, Kenyans love. The lessons learned dealt with communication, prioritizing, approaching new ideas with confidence, giving and following specific directions. After that we examined scripture’s on vision, planning, finances and wise counsel. The moms worked hard creating their goals, objectives and details concerning ideas for the future.
After 3 weeks (27 hours) of intense training we had the honor of presenting certificates of completion. Prayer, where Holy Spirit gave words of knowledge, culminated the ceremony. We celebrated by enjoying ripe mango, biscuits, juice and sweet fellowship. It’s so comforting to know these widowed moms are moving in a direction that will help them raise their children and not have to place them in orphanages because of poverty.
Can you pray for Anne, Mildred, Benta,
Beatrice and Lillian as they begin their new lives as employed moms
who will share their testimonies through their businesses?
Saturday is Family Day when we usually catch up on chores neglected during the week, but this past Saturday found us enjoying the pool at Kiboko Bay on Lake Victoria. For a few dollars we played in the water all afternoon, ate tilapia stuffed with mint and coriander, drank cold soda and relaxed under a beautiful sunset sky. Praise God for His creation and the opportunity to appreciate it!
Tavin and Taleah regularly run in track meets (since track and swimming are BIG sports here). Both placed in a meet at Moi Stadium. They have been invited to compete in a meet in Nairobi at the end of October. Their school absorbs the cost of travel and they stay in dorms at an international academy. So, with much prayer and reminders to be polite, pack toothbrushes, wash hands, this mama is sending her kids to the big city 10 hours from home.
With this last week being mid-term break, we had the pleasure of hosting our missionary friends from Mbita! We met them in 2006 and they visited us in Pagosa in 2007. CARE actually helped them with the adoption of their daughter. Refreshing conversation, pillow fights and warm chapatis highlighted the visit. Next time, we’re heading to see them in their rural home on a peninsula in Lake Victoria. Maybe we’ll plan a baptism for the kids!
Now, for the orphaned children… It’s difficult to write; probably hard to read, but I know that God does not want us to forget them. Most people do you know - forget about these kids because it’s hurts too much remembering. I can’t forget their fragile smiles and eyes that hold a world of sorrow. I must do something because faith without works is dead. I’ve embraced abandoned children in my own arms and now, I am responsible. I see their pain and it moves me, their courage to wait and watch for someone to notice them, to look at them and truly see…
What must it be like…
to be three years old and not eat for two days…
to drink dirty water… to scramble for whatever is offered –
a balloon, a cookie from a white lady…
a song sung about Jesus… a story from the bible…
a prayer for tomorrow… please God - let a new tomorrow come…
The orphan crisis is so complex. I want to take all those little ones, like a hen gathers her chicks, but that’s not to happen now; so we carry them to Jesus in prayer. Below are some photos of children who must be remembered. We can’t legally share their names or their stories, but you can see their faces.
Sounds like derogatory words, huh? That’s only because you don’t know what we’ve been up to in Kenya! Our definition of "Women’s Work" brings hope to women who live as victims of poverty, abuse and neglect. We’ve been working with women by helping widowed moms lay a biblical foundation that blends income-generating, raising healthy children and sharing the gospel in meaningful ways. We’ve started training at Covenant of Peace Church with 5 beautiful widowed mommas, the pastors, and our multi-talented trainee, Carolyne. These few participants lend toward better interaction, easier facilitator training, and more depth of understanding. None of these women can fade into the background, something they do so easily.
We open the class with sweet acapella praise to God and prayers for each other. Then we move into an object lesson, like balancing an egg on its tip. They each have one minute to try.
“What?” the Pastor (of a faith church) shakes his head.
“It can’t be done.”
The women giggle in anticipation. Mark hands him the egg. He fumbles with it on the small table. It wobbles a few times and then, stands. His quizzical face breaks into laughter. The women also balance the egg. Smiling at the success of a seemingly impossible task, they are ready to learn.
Mark made the chalkboard that diagrams the lesson – Who Is Christ In You? The women pair off and examine scriptures that tell them that Jesus is their
SAVIOR, DELIVERER, HEALER, FRIEND, SUSTAINER,
PROVIDER, FATHER, COUNSELOR …
We discuss the difference between “knowing about God” vs “knowing God.”
They share stories about how God has carried each of them in times of hardship. Stoically they expose their woundedness, and I want to weep. How hard it is for a young widowed mom in Kenya who has nothing and needs to feed her children. We move into a time of forgiveness. The women confess their offenses on paper, and we burn them in a hole Mark dug around the back of the church. The pastor takes the shovel and buries the ashes. He shows them he’s there to support their freedom.
Back to the chalkboard and more diagrams of the next lesson – Who are You In Christ? Again the women look up scriptures and read aloud that they are
More than conquerors, Servants, Ambassadors,
Adopted Children, Christ’s bride, Dearly loved,
Citizens of God’s Kingdom, Fruit-bearers,
New Creations, Joint Heirs in Jesus...
We distribute small balls of clay and talk about modeling a Godly life by staying soft and pliable in the Master’s hands. They are thinking, squeezing the clay into bowls and flowers. Next we hand out fruit and discuss what could prevent them from producing fruit of the Spirit. We share about service to God from the heart; that being a servant is who they are, not just what they do. We encourage them to beware of the enemy’s schemes, how he whispers lies that they are not appreciated or have nothing to offer. They are rulers in the Kingdom, practicing self-discipline and overcoming evil with good.
We end out time together with role-playing. The women act out real life situations that will try their faith, that will test their fruit. They practice responding in the spirit, instead of reacting in the flesh. The egg comes back out and we remind each other that when things look impossible – God will do a miracle.
The spiritual base for practical training is being set. We rejoice at the women’s progress, their questions and comments, their willingness to move on regardless of tremendous obstacles. Women’s work. It’s part of what carries the next generation. It’s valuable in God’s kingdom.
Mark making chalk boards.
Carolyne, learning to be a facilitator.
Sharing with the women.
The women symbolically bury their offenses.
Balancing an egg - it's possible!
Please pray as this training expands outward to other widowed moms. We have many more small group trainings scheduled in various churches that will be facilitated by Kenyans. This coming week we visit Joyland ( a school for physically challanged children) and back to Covenant Home to play and pray with orphans. God's heart is for the fatherless and our desire is for Him.