Sunday, November 20, 2011

Joy-filled Air

Our family LOVES to visit Joyland Boarding School for Special Needs. We know this because Tavin and Taleah always ask when can we go there and after we leave, they always ask when we can go again. It might seem strange to enjoy a place that houses children whose crippled bodies just begin to tell their sad stories, but sadness is not where they live. Although violence, pain and rejection stole their innocence, the overwhelming power of God’s grace holds them. Even in the midst of a run-down facility that has no library, no playground, no games, crafts or activities, these kids find joy in simply being; that joy permeates the air. You can read about our last visit to Joyland and see some of our friends. They’ve been looking forward to you!

Dennis met us at the gate. Running along side the car, he showed us where to park. Dennis doesn’t put out his hand for us to shake because he has no arms. Instead, he bows his head for us to touch, and he responds with a sweet smile. Dennis is 9 years old. He writes and draws with ease. He’s also a mischievous clown. While Lisa was giving the kids balloons, so many little hands stretched out wanting one; all of a sudden a small foot reached in, bending it’s toes around a red balloon trying to lift it from the pile. “Dennis!” Lisa teased him, “If you do that again, I’m gonna tickle that foot!” He grinned, bumping his head against her arm.

Churchill doesn’t like to talk. Shyly, he sat by our feet always watching and listening. Hugging a two foot high walking stick, his face holds experiences far beyond his tender four years. We’re guessing he’s four because nobody knows how old Churchill is. He waddled over to receive a yellow balloon from Taleah. He waddled back and finds his spot on the ground, looking at his prize with wonder.

Mark’s new buddy is Benta. She took a shine to him after they sang together, and he handed her a balloon. Benta’s struggles to walk because her legs have no bones below the knee. She loved that Mark patiently helped her move outside where all the fun was happening. Throughout the afternoon she followed Mark, which according to the dorm mamma, was the most Benta’s ever moved around! Benta doesn't speak, but she's constantly humming the music Jesus placed in her heart.

After singing praise songs, bouncing balls and eating sweets, a bunch of us hung around sharing testimonies. Finally Alvin, a tiny guy who wants to be a doctor someday, asked us why we are white and our kids are not. We looked at him with wide-eyed shock. “What!” we exclaimed, “We’re white??? Oh my gosh, when did that happen?” Everyone laughed, and we all sat comfortably in each others' presence, breathing in the joy-filled African air.

Below are some more photos of our day at Joyland. Ask Tavin and David (Carolyne’s son) how the boys with significant physical challenges teamed up to play an exciting game of soccer, till the ball popped!

Please pray as we develop a culturally relevant character club to take into the children homes we visit. Also, for Mark as he meets with his "water team" next Sunday. Lisa starts handing out her "tract" this week and continues working with the widowed mommas to take their spiritual training into practical places. Tavin travels to Nairobi with his school to participate in a track meet at Nyanyo Stadium. Taleah is helping plan a birthday party for Carolyne (who's never celebrated her birthday before). Shhhh! The party is a surprise.

Asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement.

hugs from the haugers oooo

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ministry Happens

Ministry happens here in Kenya, even when we're not ministering. It's unavoidable. You might think it's because of the overwhelming needs we encounter on a daily basis. Yes, we face poverty, neglect and corruption all the time, but that's not it. We're constantly ministering because of who we are as a family - really. Picture this: Lisa using an electric wheelchair meandering into the market with our chocolate kids, Tavin and Taleah. Everyone stares, especially the men and children. They watch us with curiosity that begs for an explanation. See, there are not many white people here, even less with chocolate kids. There are NO people here with electric wheelchairs! Inevitably, Lisa pauses long enough to talk to those who are brave enough to ask about the chair. It always leads to sharing the gospel.

Now, Lisa's writing a tract that tells about our life in Kenya and how God provided the chair to help her overcome a weakness. She says the chair was a free gift and it provides opportunity to move into places no one imagined she could go. Then, the parallel is drawn; God provides us with a free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ to overcome our weaknesses to sin. He helps us move into places that hold our destinies. The tract shares that we must accept we've sinned and fallen short of God's grace, believe Jesus died and rose again to free us from the bondage of sin, and commit to living the life God intends. It also includes local church contact information. We'll print these tracts next week, complete with pictures and hand them out to our constant crowd of onlookers so we can minister even when we're not! Please pray for us. By the way, Lisa still "hates" the chair, but is glad God gets glory through it!

We're processing how to serve a couple ministries here. One is Joyland - a school for 276 children who come from various homes and orphanages to receive an education. This is a unique school because the kids are physically challenged, many living with significant birth defects that could be better managed if they were in a developed country. In the future, we will be sharing their stories and photos of fun times we spend with them. We’re doing this for a couple of reasons.

One, they asked us to post their pictures because they are proud of who they are and what they can do. Too many people look away when they see a small boy with no arms or a little girl with deformed legs and no hands. These children don’t want to be ignored, nor do they want to be stared at like a freak show. They simply want what other “normal” children get everyday – affirmation for their accomplishments, encouragement to continue working hard, concern for their problems, playfulness and hugs, yeah – plenty of hugs. The other reason we’ll share is because the kids a Joyland are part of our lives. We love them, and we hope they will find a warm place in your heart too.

That’s about all right now.

Below is a photo of our chickens and rooster who also makes ministry of intercession happen by waking us up at 4:30 am everyday to pray! (We’re praying we don’t kill him!)

Also, the lizard on our security wall stayed outside where he belonged. Thank God he didn't snuggle up next to us during the night.

In this photo is a small boy in a torn striped shirt… we’re praying for him… and we don’t now why… but we might have an idea…

Thanks so much for your prayers, support and encouragement.

hugs from the haugers oooo