Monday, March 28, 2011


Let there be light! Last week we received all of our funding to buy a generator from some VERY generous friends (you know who you are, and we are SO SO grateful for your obedient, sacrificial hearts). 

It took a few days to actually buy it and get it installed because our electrician wasn't free. However, today was the day!  The ironic part of this story is that at the precise moment that Howie was downtown buying the generator, a crazy storm blew through falling two trees just outside our property, and knocking out all of the power lines that run parallel to our compound.  As the electricians were fixing the lines outside, our electrician was installing our generator. We started dinner by candlelight, and finished with the lights on and the gentle hum of our generator in the background. Music to our ears. 

Our night watchman, Cleophas, was SO happy to see it.  He said it will make his job so much easier when the power is off, and was praising God for the "generous people in America".  

Having a generator seems a bit like a luxury around here. While everyone around us is in total darkness, we have power. We have light. We have wi-fi. But, when you're multi-tasking everyday, trying to cook for 14 people (soon to be 25+ this summer), doing "ministry", planning bible studies, etc., it feels important.

Thank you again to those who donated, and to those who prayed. This is a huge blessing for all 14 of us here, and we are grateful. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Health update

Today little Howie tested negative for malaria. We're very thankful, but he still seems to have all the symptoms, so we're keeping a close eye on him. It could be that he does have malaria but it's in the incubation period and won't show up on the test for another week or so. Please keep praying for him.

One of the other Americans who lives here, Jenny, went to the clinic this morning with Little Howie because she wasn't feeling well either. Come to find out she has pneumonia and typhoid. She is spending the night at Sister Frieda's clinic tonight so she can get her IV meds, and will be home tomorrow. A few of us spent most of the afternoon with her. She is already feeling better and was in good spirits.

Thank you for praying for both Howie and Jenny. We would love continued prayer for the health of all of us. It's very tough to do ministry here and to love on the people of this town and community when we're not feeling well.  Thank you!!

Peter and Me

Saturday, March 26, 2011

So much to type, so little time

Everyday I want to update you all about different things that are happening . . . people we encounter, jobs we do, funny things that happen. It's too much!  Here's a nutshell of what I want to tell you:

Update on Dorcas: She did not show up to Oasis on Wed, so Jade & Laila and I went to look for her on the streets downtown. After a few minutes of walking around, we asked a street kid who said he knew where she might be, and sure enough, through the city and across the train tracks, there she was . . . walking towards us. Long story, but in the end, she decided she wanted to stay there. Hard for me to understand, but she has a whole life that I know very little about. I was disappointed, but decided to be glad that at least she knew that we had come to specifically look for her, and she knows where we are if she ever wants to come back. This story has a happy ending.  

As we were walking away, a little boy came up and said "hi", and then wouldn't let go of me. We asked him if he wanted to come to Oasis with us, and he agreed, and got his friend to come too, who immediately latched on to Jade.  These boys were so precious. They walked the 20 minutes up the railroad tracks to Oasis with us; Samuel clinging to Jade's hand, and Peter clinging to mine. He never let go. Our hands were sweaty, but he never let go. They said they had never been to Oasis before, and were excited to get there.  I knew that God had sent me to look for Dorcas, only to find precious Peter.  Their torn jeans were filthy, and their white shirts were brown. At Oasis, they got to play, ate lunch, and were able to wash their shirts. Laila translated for me and I found out that Peter's father is in prison for attempted murder three times, and his mother has no money and beats him, so he ran away and now lives on the streets, at only 11 years old. He looks more like he's 8, but he may just be small because of being malnourished, so I'll take his word for it. 

There was no school at Oasis on Thurs or Fri, so on Friday, Jade and I knew we had to go back downtown to find the boys, so they wouldn't think we had abandoned them. No sooner did we turn the corner to the store where they hang out, than I saw Peter running down the street toward our van. We barely had time to pull over, I opened the van door, and Peter jumped up, hugged me, and ripped me out of the van. I'll never forget that moment. It's like he had been waiting for me, and I felt desperate to find him. His head had been cut because he got into a fight and another boy threw him to the ground. I was able to re-bandage his cut and talk to him for a while. Leaving him behind was heart-wrenching, but he said he would come back to Oasis on Monday. I've never felt this way about a child that isn't mine. Leaving him downtown left me sobbing, and I can't stop thinking about him. Please pray for his safety, and that God's hand would be upon his life. He used to go to school, but can't afford the fees anymore so he just lives on the street. The day before we found him he said all he had to eat that day was a mango. God has laid Peter heavy on my heart, and I can't do nothing. More to come . . . in the meantime, here is a picture I took of us together . . . .

On Thursday we did another mobile medical clinic with Sister Frieda. This was tough. We were in a small slum, not many people, but very extreme poverty. Here is a picture that Howie took of what all of their houses look like: 

We were there to assist in any way possible, but most of the problems were jiggers. Jiggers are sand fleas that get into open wounds, mostly on the feet, and are usually a result of unclean conditions and no shoes. We took a lot of pictures during the day, mostly hoping to send them to the right people and get the attention of Toms Shoes. Their organization is in Africa, but not Kenya. Already God has opened the doors to get that ball rolling.  

Most of our "patients" were children, which was very hard. It's so hard to listen to a child scream in pain while you try to do something that will ultimately help them. It's painful to have them removed, but worse if they stay in the foot. 

Wanted to share a few pictures, but please be warned, they're not pretty. This is a picture of Jenny removing jiggers from a young man's foot, and what it looked like close up. Don't scroll down if you have a weak stomach. This was our medical clinic: in the dirt. Clean needles, but everything else was a bit dirty.

To remove jiggers, we use a sterile needle and have to dig under the skin to remove the egg sacks. Hoping they don't come back, but without shoes, they most likely will.

Someone ended up donating a small box of shoes that didn't go very far, so when we were done with the clinic, Howie went to town to get shoes for the rest of the village that had none. Below is me in the middle of the mob trying to get shoes from the box next to me. They started fighting a bit. They are desperate for a pair of plastic sandals that cost less than $1. 

 This was a traumatic day for many of them, having jiggers removed or getting shots. We also handed out water, biscuits, suckers for the screaming children, and shoes. They were grateful, but I know it was traumatic too. We ended with some encouragement from Scripture, and some singing. I have a beautiful video of the singing but it won't upload right now, so I'll try to put it up later.

Little Howie got sick yesterday, and was worse today, so we're taking him to get tested for malaria in the morning. We will keep you updated on how he's doing. 
Thanks for reading, and thanks for praying!! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Leaf

Today I went back to Oasis to see Dorcas (the name of the girl I talked about in my last post).  

We started the morning with 12 girls, all between the ages of 13-16, ready to take pregnancy tests.  Thankfully, all the tests came back negative. They were all a bit worried, but before we told them their test results we took a moment to sit them down and talk to them while we had a captive audience.  We talked about the importance of abstinence, and what they would all do if they contracted HIV, another disease, or ended up with a baby. The culture is very different here in terms of sex and abstinence, and so it's a difficult talk to have with these girls, but one that I wanted to have anyway. 

After the talk I took Dorcas back to the clinic room to change her bandages, which desperately needed changing after only 24 hours. She cried a little because she thought it was going to hurt like yesterday, but I finally convinced her that I was only going to re-bandage and that I wouldn't hurt her. 

When we were done (here's the miracle), she hugged me! She was so stiff and unresponsive and sad yesterday, and today she was laying her head on me, holding my hand, and then started asking me if I had money to take her to America. She was checking my pockets for money, rubbing my skin and saying that she wanted to be white, and begging to go to America. When I told her that I was going to come back tomorrow, and stay in Kitale for a while with her instead of taking her to America, it just wasn't good enough . . . so she asked for chocolate. Apparently women's needs are universal. 

Please pray for Dorcas, and for me as I begin this relationship with her, and continue to try to love her in a way that she has never been loved before . . . without abuse attached. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


I need to write about what happened today. Writing is cathartic. It brings me to contemplation, prayer, and ultimately a deep dependence on God. Yet no matter how much I've tried to articulate my emotions about today, I can't seem to muster anything. I feel numb. 

How do I relay my experience today caring for a 14-year-old girl who has been beaten & whipped so badly that we had to offer 1st aid on lashes that she received a week ago? 

I can't sit here in my living room and offer a well-packaged story. 

I can tell you that as she laid face down on the bed and I, with gloved hands, picked apart her dirty, infected wounds to clean and re-bandage them, that I felt her cries settle like a pit in my stomach. Her ache made me ache. Her tears brought my tears. Her childhood has been stolen from her, and has been replaced with a shadow of a life wrought by emotional, physical and psychological abuse. She is not a teenage girl; she has been robbed of that. She does not feel safe; she has been robbed of that. She is not innocent; she has been robbed of that. She is not happy; she has been robbed of that too. 

The only thing she cannot be robbed of is God's love. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39. 

That verse is the ultimate comfort after what I witnessed today. She may have been beaten and abused, but God's love can transcend anything. I tried to hug her and she was stiff, but God's love can penetrate even the most hardened hearts.  

I will go back there tomorrow morning to see her, give her a pregnancy test (along with 15 other girls who will get tested tomorrow), and later, an HIV test. I will check on her wounds, and be available to help. But ultimately, I'm just a vessel. I pray that Jesus would shine through me, and that she would experience a Love that is unfounded on this earth; a Love that transcends space, time, circumstance, and evil. I pray that this sweet little girl, who has been forced to grow up way too fast, would come to know the Savior who can heal, restore, and LOVE. 

-Written by Amy-

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 
Psalm 90:1-2

Everyday I just need a reminder that God is . . . God. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Now we're cookin'. . .

The cooking situation has been interesting since we moved here. We had an oven, but only 2 burners worked on top . . . not the oven. We also had 2 outdoor burners, but if you want to use them you have to move the propane tank from the inside burners. And no microwave. This has made it a bit of a challenge to cook for 14 people.  Yes, our safari of six added a few people when we got here. We joined 8 people when we moved onto the compound here. Emmanuel, Juliet & Hannah are from Rwanda and live here permanently, and Jade, Michelle, Jenny, Cody & Jason are college students from the States who are here until August.  We love that our family has more than doubled, and we love cooking and eating together every night, but as I said, it's a bit of a challenge with only 2 burners. 

So today, my sweet husband went downtown and bought us a new oven!!  We were cookin' up a storm tonight, using 5 burners at once! We feel so fortunate to have been able to afford this oven, with the help from a few extra one-time gifts. It was fairly costly (no, they're not cheaper in Africa!), but God has and will continue to provide. 

Another interesting living condition here is the fact that on most days, and usually for no reason, we lose power.  A lot of times it has to do with the rain, and our rainy season is just getting started, so we anticipate it happening a lot more. Having no electricity has been a big challenge, especially with kids, and 14 people in the house at any given moment. When the electricity goes out, we're usually in the middle of trying to fix dinner, or emailing or Skyping with family, or something else for which electricity would be an asset. And now with an electric oven, we're starting to think that randomly losing power at any given moment is not conducive to living here. SO, we've been prayerfully considering buying a generator for our house, which has the only kitchen. We are also hosting a group of 20 college students this summer, as well as a few other families, so we'll be supporting close to 40 people here on the compound.

Would you please pray with us that God would provide the necessary funds for the generator?  We would love to buy it soon because, as I said, rainy season is heavy upon us and we would love to get it installed soon. The generator and installation will be roughly $1,000.00.  If you or someone you know would like to give toward this project, you can use the "Donate" button to the right. All donations are tax-deductible.  

I'm just happy I finished this blog before we lose power again! ;-) 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This is Peter standing next to Mya. 
He is a child who lives in the slums not far from our house. We met him at church on Sunday morning at Oasis of Hope. Peter's father is gone, and his mother is an alcoholic. He is around 4 years old, although no one knows his actual birthday. Mya is 3 1/2. 

Peter was a little shy, but he let me hold him. Then he peed his pants (no diapers in the slums!) so I put him down. He continued to hold my hand for a long time, and then became enamored with my bracelet. It was hard to walk away from him, but I'll see him again soon. Please pray for Peter and his sisters. Everyday they live in such extreme poverty that 5 minutes there would make you beg for mercy.


Our first 4 days here have been a whirlwind of excitement, jet lag, tears, joy, beauty, shock, exhaustion, homesickness, and major adjustment.

I feel like I’m the embodiment of the verse, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I’ve been a bit disappointed in myself since we got here. I thought I could handle this better. I thought I would be a “trooper”. I thought I would be brave. I had hoped that when something happened like two nights ago—the electricity went out and I heard mosquitoes buzzing around my face and I was hot and tired and couldn’t sleep—that I wouldn’t break down in tears and long for the comforts and convenience of home: electricity, air conditioning, the ability to open a window for fresh air without wondering if it would result in malaria. 

God has allowed me to see so much weakness, pride, and entitlement in my flesh. He has opened my eyes to how much I’ve really taken for granted, and to how much I’m truly desperate for Him every moment of the day and night.

I’m not miserable. I’m actually happy to be here because I know that it’s where God wants me.  It’s so beautiful here, and my kids love it. Today Mya told me that she wants to live in Africa forever. In the midst of the adjustments and homesickness, I’ve had moments of joy and peace, and I’ve felt God’s presence every step of the way. 

This is a picture of Howie and the kids at the great Rift Valley lookout. This was a little stop we made on our way to Kitale from Nairobi. This is also where little Howie bought his first machete. I'm so proud. -Amy

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We're out!

I'm sitting in our hotel room late on Tues. night. All the kids are in bed and we have to be up in 6 hours to head for the airport.

Can't believe we're out of our house for good. Wasn't expecting to sob, but walking out of that house for the last time got me very emotional. It wasn't because of the house; just because of the memories. They're tangible, and I will cherish them forever.

Thank you for your prayers as we embark on the next 36 hours of travel (minus a sleep at a hotel).

Some of you have asked for an itinerary to be able to pray specifically. Here it is:

Phoenix to Minneapolis, arriving 2:30 pm local time, March 2.
Minn. to Amsterdam, arriving 6:40 a.m. local time, March 3.
Amsterdam to Nairobi, arriving 8:30 p.m. local time, March 3.
Overnight in Nairobi hotel.
Nairobi to Kitale by car, arriving whenever we get there in the evening, March 4.

We'll keep you posted when we arrive.  Please pray that flights are on time, for no cancellations, and for content, peaceful children. God is good, and we definitely feel protected and cared for.