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Can you feel the love tonight?

July 6, 2009

Watching the Lion King while in Africa is probably one of the best activities you can ever do. We visited with Pamella and Francis Bukachi, two LIA staff members this weekend. We were only a team of four as Daniel (after his bout with malaria) was having some stomach issues. Anyways- we’ll get to our awesome visit with the Bukachis in a moment. Since my last post about Makueni, we have been in Nairobi hanging out at the LIA office and then we traveled to Thika. On Monday (LIA’s prayer and fasting day), we traveled to the local Arboretum for a day of praying out in nature. I was needing some alone time, and while my time on Sunday was more than enough, God wanted some more time with me 🙂 Being surrounded by so many species of trees was the right prescription for my needs.

God took me on a journey back through one of my notebooks, and it was so humbling to read some of my prayer requests- and to realize that they had been answered! He also showed me how things I’ve read about in various devotional books (about Love, Grace, Simplicity, Forgiveness, etc) have been much more apparent in my life. It’s amazing that in just a few short months, the Lord can help you to better recognize your shortcomings and faults. And through recognizing that I am broken; it’s made me even more dependent on God- which is the ONLY way to live!

On Tuesday- we wrapped up some loose ends around the office- Courtney finished the new layout for the LIA Kenya quarterly newsletter, and I posted some videos up on Vimeo- check them out! You should play them in the following order: Ben, Lauren, Daniel, Holly, Courtney- hopefully you’ll see why after you view them! This was one of our video projects to send to The Post team from SECC coming to Kenya (in just a few weeks!) Enjoy them!

On Wednesday we traveled to Thika- northeast of Nairobi. LIA is partnered with 5 churches in Thika, and this past week we got to see how those churches are truly growing! On Wednesday we visited Christian Church International. There was a small tin church that had started it’s own Early Child Development Center. Volunteers from the church community teach two classes- the ‘baby class’ (basically a daycare with learning) and a ‘pre-unit’ class (preschool/kindergarden ages). The 30 children greeted us with porridge stained faces when we got there. For some, this may have been the first time they had seen a white person, a “muzungu”. We had a chance to sing songs with the kids. We performed “Jesus Loves Me” and tried to teach them “Mercy is falling”. They also sang back some English and Kiswahili songs- one of their favorites seems to be a song called “Ebenezer”. We had a fun time playing and singing with the kids- but it was difficult to look at the faces of the children of poverty that were dancing before our eyes.

Some of the kids were HIV+, some were orphans, and most were from very poor homes. About half of the children had shoes, most had holes in their worn clothing, and a few didn’t even have lunch. Their school benches were so full of children that not another one would fit on a bench. Yet without the Early Childhood Development program, some of the children may not be alive today due to lack of food (the porridge is a feeding program within the program). These kids are getting an opportunity to learn the basics- ABC’s, numbers and some words. These kids have hope because of what the church has done.

Somehow, in the dry, dusty land that is Thika- the members of Christian Church International have been able to provide for these kids. The volunteer teachers and porridge cook love these kids unconditionally. The most touching story, mentioned on our Team Blog, was of a little girl. We drove her home from school- it was a 10 minute van drive- which means a walk of an hour plus for her to get to and from school. When we were at the school- this little girl had such a lack of energy. She was all smiles, but you could tell her little body was just plain exhausted. Why does this girl have to walk so far? She lives right next to a government funded school- but the mandatory uniforms cost 50 schillings- about 70 cents. Her family can’t afford it, so she has to walk close to 4 kilometers to and from school. Wow. Just think about that. And so many other children are in a situation very similar to hers- lack of food, lack of money, yet a desire to learn and to be surrounded by people that give them love.

The next day we visited Redeemed Gospel Church. In January, the church started a chicken project (selling chickens and eggs) and a farming project. We visited the chickens, we looked over the 1.5 acres of farmed land in awe. Six months ago that same land was dust and grass, now it’s a place where locals can come to buy their vegetables! We also visited with the OVC (orphans and vulnerable children). Like Christian Church International- this program had a porridge feeding built into their system, as well as education from a volunteer teacher. The kids were awesome- we split our time between playing silly games with the children and helping to transplant some “Sukumu” plants into new holes. We had the chance to put in some labor into their project, and the pastors and teachers were so appreciative.

Those two visits in Thika were enough to convince me of LIA’s wholistic ministry. The churches are supporting these children, the churches are providing incomes for themselves, people from the church community are getting involved- and others are being reached via the small businesses that these churches are initiating. The body, mind, soul and most important- spirit are being ministered to!

This has been such a packed week- I apologize for the length of this post, but I want to make sure I include everything! On Friday we attended a commissioning ceremony for Joseph and Alice Muulas (and their two children). Joseph and Alice are LIA volunteers- and they are headed to Jamacia in a few weeks as missionaries. We had the opportunity to have dinner with them the night before their commissioning ceremony, and again we were shown such hospitality and love from people we just met. At the ceremony, there was a lot of praying for the Muulas family, as well as a time for them to share how God has worked in their lives to lead them to Jamacia. They have been missionaries in several countries in Africa- and now the Lord is leading them to new territory- Jamaica. Joseph and Alice are so smiley, so in love with God, and so in love with one another and with their children. What an awesome picture of a family!

Then we attended a pre-wedding party for Gus and Rose (LIA staff) who are getting married one day after we leave 😦 The party was put together by the “wedding committee”. The purpose of the gathering was to fund-raise for the wedding. Each guest wrote their name and the amount they were donating to the couple on the list, and the MC of the event read off the names, AND the amount donated! How cool?! There was no shame from anyone, and at the end everyone gave whatever extra they had!

On Saturday we headed to the Bukachi’s house (mentioned above) and had delicious home-cooked food and fellowship. And yes, we watched The Lion King and it was amazing- we pointed out sights and animals we had seen, it was the greatest Lion King experience I’ve ever had. Courtney spent the night in a tent with the 2 Bukachi girls- Joann and Emma, and Ben (without his partner in crime, Daniel) slept with the two twin boys- Abraham and Michael. Lauren and I had an adventure– we slept on the concrete “patio” of the water tank under the stars in the Bukachi’s back yard (Bukachi is fun to say, by the way).

The temperature dropped throughout the night- to probably 40 degrees or so, and a rude awakening by a bathroom call sent me inside to the warmth of the home- to stay. I didn’t find the idea of coming back to chilly blankets too appealing. We attended the Milimani Community Church with the Bukachi’s this morning, where we sang the one Kiswahili song we know in front of the congregation of about 15. After the inspiring church service (where Lauren was fighting the Benadryl doze in attempt to clear some strange face rash), we headed to a Masai Ostrich farm.

We ate some ostrich (very tasty) and then we rode an ostrich. We rode an ostrich while having ostrich in our stomachs. Is that wrong? Riding an ostrich is awesome, it was only a 30second ride, but for sure a once in a lifetime experience! I have plenty of pictures and video!

So, after a busy week of seeing lots of new sights and meeting new people- we’re headed back to Thika this week (Monday-Friday). Keep us in your prayers as we visit more churches- protect us from sickness- the kids in the schools often have nasty colds. Our Poland counterparts are busy with their camps, and it sounds like they may not be getting enough sleep or alone time as they would like- Pray that God gives them enough to get through each day- enough patience, enough graciousness, enough love! Also keep Daniel (my dear boyfriend) in your prayers. He had an awesome opportunity to have some one-on-one time with the Lord these past few days- I can’t wait to hear all about what our Father has shown him! Keep up with his BLOG as well! I love you all, thanks for keeping up with my summer!

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One comment

  1. Holly-your faith in the Lord Jesus makes me stronger everyday. I love reading your blog. So you’re coming to UK next year? That’s so exciting maybe you can join our campus bible study. What made you consider the transfer?
    Hope to hear from you soon! God is good all the time, all the time God is good.



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