Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bible Club

Yesterday we had a Bible Club at the church in Kibera and we had a HUGE turnout. I think about 250 kids. It was a blast and I was completely exhausted at the end of the day. All of the interns put on a skit about the Good Samaritan. I was the robber and had to pretend to get into a fight- I think the kids thought it was hilarious. Then we split the kids up into four groups according to their ages. I was in charge of crafts along with 2 other teachers. I had a coloring sheet for the younger kids, and with the older kids we glued different colored hearts together that tell the story of the gospel. I had 120 color sheets and it wasn’t even enough! The room we did crafts in was very tiny and at one point there were about 80 little kids packed in there. Kenyans don’t have a sense of personal space too much though so it wasn’t really a problem. It was so crowded that rather than handing out crayons and glue we just started throwing them around the room. The kids got quite a kick out of it. The other stations for the Bible Club were a station for games, one for singing and one for learning the memory verse. After all of the activities the kids had juice and sandwiches. It is amazing how the church cares for and ministers to the people in the community around the church. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel.
After we did the Bible Club with the younger kids we took the youth from the church (age 12 and up) and went to the park across the street from Kibera. There was a huge soccer game and then we split up the guys and girls and had some group discussion. One of the interns, Liz, shared her testimony with the girls and then we all talked about things that we struggle with. Some of the things these girls shared was heartbreaking. They shared everything from feeling pressured by friends to do things they shouldn’t, to being angry, to having alcoholic abusive fathers. I can’t even imagine some of the things these kids deal with. But they still want to come and learn about Jesus and learn what it means to love in spite of their hardships.
Today Brent, one of the interns, preached in church. It was nice to hear a sermon in English. He preached on Revelation 3 and not being lukewarm in our faith. Then I had a wonderful surprise at the end of the day! My friend Juli, who also happens to be Brent’s girlfriend and is here in Kenya, came to visit us for dinner. I had no clue she was coming and when she came into the room it was one of the greatest surprises ever. I love it here, but I do miss home and it was fun to have a friend from home here visiting.
Tomorrow I am giving my testimony at the women’s AIDS support group in Muthiga. Please pray that God would speak though me and that I would be able to be an encouragement to the women in the group.
I just want to you all to know I appreciate your prayers and your emails and comments on my blog. Know I am getting them all even if I can’t respond to everything. Your encouragement means so much to me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Long Way

On Thursday we took another way into Kibera that we have never travelled before. Normally where we enter is at the bottom of the slum and it is only about a 10 minute walk to the church. The way we went on Thursday however was about a 45 minute walk to the church starting at the top of Kibera and working our way down. Taking the long way was so different from the way we usually go. There were many shops and businesses. The streets were crowded with people and there was a lot going on. At the bottom where we usually enter we pretty much only walk by houses and maybe a couple people selling things on the street. Usually we say hello to everyone as we walk in, however in this area we had to stay very close together leaving no gaps. I was right behind Caroline, who was leading the group, and it was really neat to have her explaining things to me as we walked. She pointed out where she used to live and the school she went to. She pointed out Teacher Abigail’s house to me. We passed by a big bus at one point (which I have absolutely no clue how they got it into Kibera because the streets are so narrow and overcrowded) and Caroline told me it was there because someone just died and they were all packing up to go home (in another part of Kenya) to properly bury the body. There is a lot of disease in Kibera and 1 in 3 people has HIV. We crossed only one bridge, but it was surprisingly very sturdy, which I was thankful for because it was over about a 10 foot drop into the sewage. On our normal path in we go over 3 bridges, all of which seem to be missing more planks every time we cross them. I am sure that before I leave I will fall off the bridge closest to the church, if you could even call it a bridge. One of the corners of it isn’t even on solid ground. The way these people survive is incredible. They know what it means to work hard to eat. The average pay for the people in Kibera is equivalent to $1 a day. Pastor Imbumi told me that they have to really budget to be able to pay their rent and have just enough money for other basic necessities. Many of them eat only one meal per day. The smell of sewage flowing in the streets surprisingly doesn’t bother me. The smell that is difficult for me to deal with is the piles of burning trash everywhere. On this long walk we passed many piles burning and it is pretty awful. They just burn everything, paper, plastic, whatever. The part of the slum closest to the church is the poorest part of the slum, as it is at the bottom of the hill where everything flows down to. However, I really like walking that way because I love seeing all of the kids and shaking all of their hands, and I walk by the homes of many of the students from the school and I love hearing them call out my name. They continuously break my heart.
Julius came to the church on Thursday also to have his leg cleaned and re-bandaged. It still looks pretty bad and is very swollen so please pray that God will place a healing hand on him. Please also pray for Maureen, Sharon and Jacob in Abigail’s class. They are all 3 very behind the other students. Jacob just started going to school and has great potential. Maureen and Sharon both seem to have learning disabilities and I am hoping they can at least catch up a little bit before the end of the year. And finally please pray for Kibera. Pray that God would be present there. There is a lot of brokenness in this place and my prayer is that God would bring restoration into the lives of these people.
Tomorrow we are doing a Bible club in Kibera for about 200 kids! I will let you know how it goes. I am very excited/nervous about it. We are doing the story of The Good Samaritan.
Miss and love you all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So many things have been happening here since I last wrote. We have been so busy and having a wonderful time. The kids in Abigail’s kindergarten class are really getting to know me and feel much more comfortable with me. When I arrive in the morning they all yell out my name and run to me and nothing in the world could make me happier than to see the smiles on all of their faces.
This past Sunday I taught the children’s Sunday school class. I taught about Moses and the plagues. Then we learned Proverbs 3:5-6 together and the kids had it down no problem by the time I left. These kids pay attention so well and love to learn. They know the importance of education as well as studying the word of God and it is awesome to see.
There medical team that has been here for the past two weeks had their last clinic today. I am sure they saw several hundred patients, although I don’t know the exact number. One day last week I was able to assist Ellen, one of the nurses, for a while. We saw a patient named Julius who has some really awful wounds on both of his legs. Well Ellen did the best she could to clean the wounds and wrap them and then gave Julius Keflex to get kid of any infection. Today as I was outside the church getting the “mud” off of my shoes Julius came back to see the doctor again and I was so thrilled to see him. I was able to assist Ellen again, and while the wounds sill look pretty bad, there was definitely improvement in how they looked last week. Ellen redressed the wounds and showed me exactly what to do and now every Tuesday and Thursday for the next 5 weeks that my team is here Julius is going to come to the church to have the wounds cleaned and looked at. Peggy, my team leader, is a nurse, so hopefully we can continue to get the wound cleaned and see it heal before we leave. Please keep Julius in your prayers.
Another fun thing that we have been doing is going to a slum called Muthiga in the country on Monday afternoons. I think I have talked about Muthiga before. We do VBS type activities with the kids there. It is fun to go every week and see the same kids. And every time we go they are more excited to see us than the week before. Yesterday we told them the story of Noah’s ark and then made boats together. We really had no clue if they would even know what a boat was, but they listened to the story and really seemed to catch on. When we were singing with them yesterday they started doing all the hand motions with us and laughing and trying to sing along. We have come quite a ways from 3 weeks ago when they sat and stared at us wondering what these crazy white people were up to. It will be amazing to see what God will do over the next 5 weeks.
There are many more stories I want to share and I will soon. For now I am headed off to dinner. I am sure there will be rice! As always!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day


Today we went to the girls' shelter and played and helped with homework. I have been getting to know a little girl named Trufenna. We did math and science together which are my two worst subjects. She is in fourth grade and I am pretty sure she taught me more than I taught her :) I love going there though and hanging out with the girls- they are totally refreshing to be around.

Yesterday we went to an elephant orphanage and the giraffe center. I had a complete blast! We played with the baby elephants and kissed the giraffes and we even got to pet a rhino. It had been released from the orphanage but keeps returning and it was hanging out in the parking lot! I was a little nervous about petting a "wild" rhino, but we all did anyways! We also saw lots of warthogs running around. For lunch we went to Java House and I had a burger and chips (french fries really) and a chocolate milkshake. I was in heaven!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Today in Kibera I got to help in teacher Abigail’s Kindergarten classroom. As soon as I came in she introduced me to the children, handed me a piece of chalk and told me to do the math lesson. So I did it (good think it was just kindergarten math) and the kids were so great! And very smart too. I was impressed with their cooperation and diligence. Children here are very well behaved. I also helped with the reading lesson. It was hilarious because they pronounce English words with a British accent and I obviously do with an American one. So reading words like can, fan, ran, etc was so funny. I think I confused them. But Abigail instructed me to speak as I normally do. After the kids went to lunch I got to chat with Abigail for a little while and she told me about the kids in her class. It was the first time I have really felt sad while in Kibera (the poverty is overwhelming but the people are so happy and kind). There are 16 children in this particular class and many of them are HIV positive. A lot of them don’t have their parents and a couple of them even have learning disabilities. I tried to help a little girl write today and she just couldn’t do it. She has a growth on the back of her head causing this problem, but I don’t know what it is. Abigail is amazing working with them in spite of all of this though. The kids are on medication and the church feeds them a BIG lunch (for some of them this is their only meal of the day) so they are really quite healthy. It is remarkable to me how loving and sweet the kids are even though they have nothing. They have Jesus and a school and church that cares for them and it is incredible to see. I feel so blessed to be able to work with this church this summer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Today we went to a slum we have not been to before called Kawangware. We were working with Pastor Chaconday from Covenant Presbyterian Church. I believe it is a church plant of Kibera Reformed Presbyterian Church. We divided up into three teams and went around visiting people in their homes, inviting people to church, sharing the Gospel, and praying for them. The team I was with consisted of myself, and one of the other interns Adam, and Kikoyo, Rose and Frederick-our interpreters. I have never really done anything like we did today, just walking around and knocking on peoples doors, but it was awesome. I wish our churches at home did this in the neighbourhoods around our churches. It can be uncomfortable, but what really matters is that people hear the good news of the Gospel. I was able to go into 6 homes and talk to a few people on the street. We would read some verses and share our testimony and then ask them what they needed prayer for and we would pray. One man named Johnson said he wanted to know Jesus and overcome alcoholism. He also said he wanted to start coming to the church. Another man we met said he wanted to be closer to God and would visit the church. Peggy’s team met a woman who had Malaria and so did her baby-please pray for them if you think of it. Some people we talked to were Christians and we would just encourage them and a few people were not Christians, so we would invite them to church and they would still let us pray for them. It was awesome! We are going to Kawangware every Wednesday so I hope we will be able to revisit people, especially the ones who said they wanted to “think about Jesus” a little more before making a decision. Also everyone was so welcoming, they all wanted to serve us tea or soda.
I am feeling so much better today! Praise God. One of the other interns, Liz, was sick today though so please pray for her.
Tomorrow we will be back in Kibera working with the teachers in the school. Friday we are off and I think we are going to go to the Baby Elephant Farm which I am so excited about! Thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement. You are all wonderful!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Catching Up

I have been neglecting to update you all! The internet her is very slow and freezes a lot, so I hope this works!
Today had to be one of my favorite days so far since I have been here. We went to a slum called Muthigae. Getting there was the hard part. We took a Matatu over the bumpiest roads I have ever been on. We went around curves up over big hills and we were much too close to the edge for my comfort. I prayed the whole way there. Once we were there it was wonderful. It was an absolutely beautiful place. It is up above a quarry. It is a farming community and the flowers and vegetation are just gorgeous. We had a VBS type day with about 75 kids. We sang and then acted out a skit. We did the parable of the seeds sewn and the ones in the good soil took root and grew. Then we passed out paper and crayons for the kids and they had a blast. We played a ton of games with them…red rover, red light green light, duck duck goose and some others. I held one little boy for a long time and he laid his head against me and tucked his arms against me and I just rubbed his back. I didn’t ever want to put him down he was just so precious. The kids are so funny. They all want to hold our hands and at some points there may be 3 kids holding each hand. We were playing on a grassy/dirt hill. I have never been so dirty in my life I don’t think. Between sitting in the dirt, having kids hang all over me and sitting by the open window on the way home I am a mess. Good thing I don’t mind getting messy!
This past Saturday was a wonderful day too. We went to the girls’ shelter that Martha (Our pastor Imbumi’s wife) started. There are 2 house mothers age 22 and 23 and they take care of 21 kids. We went and played with the kids for a few hours. They were also a complete joy. They played with my hair for about an hour taking turns braiding it and unbraiding it (I didn’t mind one bit!) We also sand together and a bunch of the kids played soccer with the other interns. I learned how to say all the different animals in Swahili. We even saw a monkey in the field we were playing in behind the shelter.
Tomorrow we will be back at Kibera for the AIDS support group that meets on Tuesdays and we will be helping out the teachers too. The teachers love our help because it is rare that they ever get a break and Kibera can be a tiring place to be. Please pray that we would be bold in sharing our faith and also please pray for our health. The two girls got really sick one night last week and I got sick one day in Kibera. The day I was sick I went and sat outside the church on the ground where it was nice and cool. A little girl named Sylvia came and sat next to me and we talked a little and just enjoyed sitting together. I love moments like those. I think we have all recovered from upset stomachs. However I am still fighting this cold that is now a cough. It sure doesn’t help my already poor singing voice that I am expected to use so much.
I am truly loving being here. I feel so loved by all of the Kenyan people and being with them is a blessing. Hanging out with the kids is my favourite thing to do. They are great kids. Very well behaved. They just crave attention and I enjoy giving them as much as they want. It is as good for me as it is for them. We are all stating to settle in here. I miss friends and family, but I know I will learn so much from being here and I can’t wait to see what else God will continue to do. I already feel so blessed by the experiences I have been able to have.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Today we went to Kibera for the AIDS support group and to learn more about what we will be doing in the church. The people that came to the Support group were awesome. They really love God and depend on Him for everything. I have a lot to learn from them. We met all of the staff. Including all of the teachers. They have 3 grades before K and then grades K-4. I talked to the teachers and I am hoping to be able to help in the classrooms. The kids were so welcoming to us. They taught me a hand game where you sing and count and they all wanted to play it with me. They got in a line and all took turn playing it with me. Imbumi drove me to Kibera this morning, but to come home I went with the rest of the team on a Matatu, which is a 14 passenger van that is like a taxi. Now really this van should fit about 9 or at most 10 people in it, but we had at one point 21 people in it. I was thankful that Imbumi took my backpack home in his car because I would have been nervous to have it with me. I was also thankful that God provided me a seat by the window, because boy was it crowded. The matatus drive very fast and go around as many cars as possible in order to get as many passengers as they can. It was unlike anything I have done, but it was a great way to experience the culture. Then we walked about 3 miles home from the Matatu stop. I am really enjoying getting to know the Kenyans. They are extremely welcoming and very friendly. Pastor Imbumi puts us on the spot a lot. He will introduce several people to us and then ask us to repeat all of their names. So I have to really stay on my toes and pay attention. Thanks for the encouragement. Love hearing from you all. Please pray that the team would be able to remember the names of all of the people we meet, and be able to learn some Swahili quickly. Also I have a cold, so please pray that I would get well fast. Miss you all.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kenya Take A Hike?

Today was another adventure to go into town for groceries. We walked about 5 miles to the grocery store and I got some cold milk and peanut butter and 2 candy bars. The milk they give us here is fresh from the cow (it is boiled so it is safe to drink), but I wanted some cold milk for my cereal milk that wasn’t so rich! I got 3% milk (they don’t have 2%). The food here is very good. It is made from scratch for us. There are cows and chickens and sheep and goats on the compound where we live. Last night they served lamb, or goat. I don’t know…I chose not to eat it :). We have breakfast, lunch and dinner here at the compound. Except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, then we will eat at the church. I haven’t been sick so far. Praise the Lord. Today Pastor Imbumi is bringing several people from the church to talk to us about their ministries and let us know what all we will be helping with this summer. I’ll keep you all posted. Love hearing from you all.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Have Arrived!

I am finally here in Kenya! We arrived last night after LONG flights. I have never had to sit for so long in my life I don’t think (about 18 hours flying).
My African adventure began the moment we arrived on the continent. We had to change planes in Lagos, Nigeria…which was quite an experience. We originally were going to have 80 minutes to change planes, which included going through immigration, picking up our luggage, going to check in and getting to our gate…all in a foreign country. Well when the plane took off 50 minutes late we were obviously concerned. We arrived in Lagos with about 25 minutes to make our next flight. Sounds impossible right? Well we went to immigration and the directed us to leave all of our passports with them and go get our bags. My response was “I don’t think so,” so while the rest of the team went to get our 7 bags I stayed with the passports and watched as more and more passports were being stacked on top of ours. I kept telling the immigration officer we only had about 15 minutes until our flight left. SO finally the team came back (without our bags because they couldn’t find them) and we got through immigration and needed to go check in at the Kenya Air counter. We found a man who worked for Kenya Air and asked him where to go. He said “follow me,” so we followed him outside where we were being watched very closely them back into the airport, up a very sketchy flight of stairs, through some more doors and to the Kenya Air counter. While we were checking in the printer that would print our boarding passes broke. We kept asking “will we make the flight” and they kept saying “oh yeah.” Finally the passes were printed. At this point is was much later than the departure time, but you pretty much just go with the flow. So at the counter they say, “where are your bags, you have to go get your bags and bring them straight back here and we will check them.” So we all RUN back through the doorways, down the sketchy stairs and we run into security who obviously won’t let us back through to get our bags. We said “we are in transit” and they let us all straight through security. We find our 7 bags and lug them back UP the stairs, outside, etc, etc. Then the Kenya Air counter is closed. The signs are down, the people are gone and there we are like an hour after the flight time with our bags. So were are told to go to the Kenya Air office. We go down a long hall and find some guy who tells us to just take our bags to the gate. Well keep in mind that we have bags with just about everything you can’t take through security…liquids, sharp things, etc. They are obviously confused when we get to security, but miraculously some guy comes up and explains our situation and they let us through! We RUN to our gate and find out the plane is still there because it arrived late. Praise God! What a faithful Lord we have. I had a lot of doubt through the whole thing, but the Lord showed me that He was in control the whole time.
We made it to Nairobi, Kenya. Even all of our bags made it. Peggy, Pastor Imbumi, and several other men from the church met us and took us to Subiaco where we are living. It is nice here. Very clean with running water and electricity (Mom, Dad, Michael and Becca- It is similar to Miners Bay- not quite as plush though, seriously.) But it is clean anyways. We went to the church this morning and I will write about that another time because this is a long post. But I will say I LOVE the people here. They are incredible and they sure do know how to pray and worship God. The kids are precious and EVERYONE shakes your hand as you walk through the slum (I have plenty of Purell :)).
Miss you all and will write more soon!