Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Children, children and more children!

Last week I had a very special opportunity to travel to a small town called Boito to visit the Dow Family Children's Home. I travelled there with a friend from Nairobi and we set out via bus on Monday morning. Overall it wasn't a bad bus ride minus the last hour and a half of bad, dusty roads. On top of the rough road the urge to go to the bathroom was fairly strong for myself. No one likes travelling and having to use the bathroom, but travelling on bumpy roads and having to use the bathroom at the same time is just plain cruel. Thankfully we made it to the bus stop in Kericho before anything embarrassing took place. Greg, who along with his wife Mary Rose run the home, picked us up at the bus stop and we made the 45 minute drive to the home. Upon arriving we were greeted by all 40 some children that they take care of there. Some of the children were shy and some ran to us immediately and wanted to be held. We spent the evening getting to know the place, children, and experiencing what life is like there.

We ended up spending the week there and returning to Nairobi on Friday. The week was spent playing with the kids, chatting with Greg and Mary Rose, and enjoying the beauty of the area. That area truly is one of the prettiest areas in all of Kenya. There are many rolling hills dotted with farms and mud huts. It is also an area where a lot of tea is grown. There were miles and miles of lush, green tea fields stretched out across the countryside.

I was extremely blessed by our time there. I have met very few people who would do what Greg and Mary Rose are doing. They believed that God was calling them to Kenya to start a children's home so they sold everything and made the move. That was four years ago and God has sustained them and provided for them each step of the way. They are doing such a good job of raising the children and teaching them about God and how to work, play, and how to live a responsible life.

The children were so much fun! They were so cute and I may have had some favorites. To hear the stories of where the children came from and their living conditions prior to coming to the children's home were gut wrenching. They've experienced more hardship in just a few years than I probably will in my entire life. Despite the difficulties they've all experienced, the children had such a joy and happiness about them. They had such beautiful smiles and seemed to be truly thankful for what they had. Spending time with them reminded me of the value of family and how many children don't get to experience what it means to have solid family. Through Greg and Mary Rose those children though are having the opportunity to experience what it means to have parents who love them and want what is best for them. If you get a chance check out there website www.dowfamilychildrenshome.org. They have pictures of the children and explain more about what they do. I've also posted some pictures below for your enjoyment.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March already?

Clearly the month of February was a busy month and as a result the blog has suffered. I can't believe how fast the month went by and quite a bit happened during the past month. I will give a brief recap of what happened in Eastleigh, at Rosslyn, my travels, and whatever else I can remember that seems pertinent.

Sports: Clearly what has happened in the sports world over the last month is extremely pertinent so I'll start with that. Last blog post I predicted that the Giants would win the Super Bowl and of course I was right. How could I be wrong? I was wearing my lucky shirt. I'm super excited to see baseball's Spring Training get underway and I can't wait to see how the 2012 Phillies fair this year. It was very disappointing to see Bucknell fall short in the Patriot League Championship. It is very rare to see them lose a big game like that, especially at home. Last night as I was watching some of the Big East Tournament at a friend's house it hit me that I won't be able to watch March Madness this year and I'm not going to lie, I got a little sad. That is probably really lame, but oh well.

Eastleigh: Things in Eastleigh haven't changed much over the last month. My work with the basketball program there has been limited, but I'm hopeful that it will pick up. I'm still really enjoying the relationships that I have been building with my students. I don't know what will come of my work at the Center or what God will do with the seeds that I've been trying to plant, but I trust in His perfect plan.

Rosslyn: Yesterday my team wrapped up their season. If I was going strictly off of wins and losses I would say that it wasn't an extremely successful season, but I'm not looking at it that way. We finished our season with a record of 2-5 and a combined tournament record of 4-4-2. The improvement that I saw however, from the beginning of the season until the end was very exciting and encouraging. We became a very competitive team and I saw the confidence of the boys grow each and every game. I'm going to miss the boys and the way they make me laugh and joke around with each other.

Travels: I had the opportunity to visit a Mennonite school (pictures above) in a part of Mathare, which if you remember, is one of the largest slums in Africa. I went with a group from Canada who were staying at the Guest House. They came to the Center and then on to the school. I love seeing the kids and seeing the smiles on their faces. This past weekend I travelled to Western Kenya near the Ugandan border to visit a new church plant. I went with another EMM couple, Rod and Lucy, and the pastor of the church who was in Nairobi for a conference. It was about a 9 hour drive through beautiful rolling hills and farmland. At one point we were approaching 10,000 feet in elevation and I once again got to cross over the Equator. Crossing over it the second time really wasn't that exciting, I guess it is one of those things that once you do it one time it kind of loses its luster. After stopping for lunch in Eldoret we stopped in a local village to visit the ailing aunt of the pastor. When you visit villages in rural Kenya it is just like you are stepping back in time and you almost have to pinch yourself to make sure what you are seeing is actually real. From the mud huts, to the barefooted children, to the very simplistic style of life, all of this adds up to a truly unique experience. After visiting the aunt we travelled on to the town of Webuye where we spent two nights with an MCC couple. On Sunday morning we attended the church which was located at the base of Mt. Elgon. The last couple of kilometers of "road" would not have been possible to get through if it wouldn't have been for 4-wheel drive. I personally enjoyed being able to do some 4-wheeling. We went as far as we could and ended up having to walk the last 10 minutes to the church. The congregation was extremely excited to have us there and we were the first white people to ever visit. I had an opportunity to share a brief testimony and greeting as did Lucy before Rod brought the message. After the service we ate lunch in the home of one of the members of the church and then we were taken on a hike to a waterfall. The experience of visiting that church and being in such a rural, pristine setting is one that I will never forget. Monday morning we took off for Kisumu which is on Lake Victoria. We visited with some more churches and leaders throughout the day on Monday. I had to get back to Nairobi, so I took the overnight bus back on Monday night and arrived home around five o'clock on Tuesday morning.

So that is a brief recap of what has been happening here. I can't believe that I'm only eight weeks away from going home and the way my schedule looks for the last couple of months I know that the time will fly by. Thanks again for reading and for all of your prayers and support. God bless!