Kenya Reflection…

A refreshed and revitalized mind is able to sort out what is important in life and what is not. A trip to Karai, Kenya can do this. It is an opportunity to unplug, if you are willing, from the world as we know it. On my return trip to Kenya I promised myself to do exactly this, to unplug, to only focus on what God wanted of me, to not allow the outside world to crowd my mind and heart. The people of who make up the Safe Home are in the business to change the lives of the children and community, but one who visits cannot help but be changed. It is up to us, however, how long we allow that change to impact our lives back home. The rooster crows and the donkey brays early every morning reminding you of where you are. “I´m in Kenya.” A walk over to spend a little time with the children before they are off to school, you would find they have all been up for quite some time, cleaning, praying, and prepping for school. The children begin singing, worshiping God, signaling it is time to eat. With their piece of bread and cup of chai tea in hand they stand to have their breakfast. Don´t be surprised to be handed the same provisions to share in their breakfast. It is a short walk to school where with a hug, we send them off for a full day of school starting at 7am. They skip off, excited to be at school. These same children will work in the shamba or shuck peas singing to our same God, ending their day with devotions and prayer. If you are still, you can see and feel God at work all around and in you. Through Dorcas and Margaret when they greet you every time you walk through their door, you feel you are finally home. From Elihjah´s wise words to Ben and Milka´s warm smiles and kind words, you feel as if you have arrived in a place where God is painting the very scene before you and working in and through His people. One can only hope to be as humble in appreciating what God is doing in our own lives. It is evident they all wait on God´s timing and His will. I bring home with me the same sense of wanting His will be done in my life, not my own. It was on the last day that God seemed to speak the loudest to me through Elihjah´s vision he shared for the Safe House to the verses I came across during church. In Habakkuk 1:5, The Lord´s Answer after hearing Habakkuk´s complaint: “Look at all the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” One can struggle not knowing why God has brought you to this place and what you could possibly do to serve His people. Do you need to travel all the way to Kenya to serve and be changed? I left with this verse to share with others at home: Ephesians 4:1-2, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” I feel I know more clearly what God is calling me to do, but what is he calling you to do and what will you do about it? Kenya Matters has created an opportunity for all of us to help those in need, those whose hope is in God for their next drink of clean water, food in their hand, and a safe home in Kenya. Are you willing to be still, be patient, be humble, listen, and serve who is most important in life? Teresa...

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August – September 2012 Report

The provision of water has seen our lives get enriched in many aspects and we thank God. Not only has the water quenched our thirst and that of the surrounding community but has also enabled us to enlarge and diversify our farming. We are currently in the process of growing different crops and the good news is we now do not have to wait for the rains to cultivate!               The installation of irrigation drips was done in august and we already have crops on the farm, the children will now be able to enjoy a variety of vegetables; cabbages, beetroots, carrots, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, lettuce and in addition, we can take the surplus to the market and thus generate some income to offset the intensive labor and farm inputs. We hope that this pilot irrigation project will be successful. In august, our family enlarged again, Simon Wanyoike who is eight years old comes from Munyu, about 30 kilometers away from the safe house. His mother had been chronically ill for a long time and when her condition worsened; his father abandoned them forcing them to seek help from the maternal grandparents. Simon´s mother succumbed to death and this seemed to have hit Simon very hard. His grandmother reports of him having strange behavior and mannerisms ; withdrawal, running away from school, signs of depression, and prolonged mourning his mother(spending hours by her grave). She felt the need to have him get away from home and integrate him with the kids at the safe house to hopefully bring him out of this condition. He has a very big challenge academically. In spite of him having been in third grade at his home, his level was very low and he was taken to grade one which still is a challenge for him. However, extra work is being done with him to ensure he gets a good foundation. We thank God for everyone that makes this work a success! God bless, Ben...

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Tasted and Savored

On this Friday night there are many thoughts as we move towards the end of our time here in Kenya. The team has been a masterful group of various sorts coming together with countless gifts for our staff and children. The team has also been generous recipients of the most incredible hospitality to be found anywhere on this planet. These brief fourteen days on the soil of this continent have again changed lives – specifically the seven of us who are visiting, whether it is for the first time or the seventh time. Our American mindset tells us that we have much to give peoples of other places. And while this may be our financial reality, we have so very much to learn. There is a saying here in Kenya that says, “Haraka, haraka, haina baraka.” It means “Hurry hurry has no blessing.” These people work from sunrise to sunset. Yet, in the midst of the hand tilling of gardens, the washing of clothing, and the hours that go into preparing each and every meal, they find time. There is time for tea. There is time for the neighbor who stops over just to say hello. There is time to take the sick to the hospital simply because you own a car. There is time to be more hospitable to the strangers and aliens within their literal gates than we even begin to imagine. Life is simply different here. It is meant to be tasted and savored

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Surreal Moments

Surreal moments are the theme of this trip. It would take pages of writing beyond my abilities to describe all of the details and nuances that gave color to this day, but here are a few glimmering stars. We visited a couple of the local boarding schools where Kenya Matters children are attending. At the first school we met Margo; she is 74 and from California. After her husband died, she wondered what was next in life. In 2005 she came to Kenya and started a Girls Catholic School. Today nearly three hundred girls attend this school. As we climbed into our cars to leave, Margo accepted our invitation to visit our project. She arrived around 2 p.m. in the midst of a downpour. We invited her into the house, and as we sat on the porch talking and sipping tea, she told us her story. At 74, she is filled with more hope for life than most of us at 20. Her organization can be found at KenyaHope.us An hour after Margo left, we welcomed Stephan Lutz to the site. He works for the CRWRC as a project manager. His specialty is agriculture, and we happen to be designing an irrigation project for a third of an acre. Thus, crop rotation, fertilizers, pest control, among other things were discussed. Additionally, he gave us official channels by which Kenya Matters could work more directly with the CRWRC. The opportunities for partnerships are plentiful here. Tonight we found ourselves helping oversee the homework of the children, share devotional time, and then direct them toward bed. Our housemother for the children, Jane, is ill. So the team of us filled in the gap. While Alyssa was tucking in the girls, Kathy was talking with a few of the older boys. Those of us who remained stood in the courtyard encouraging the kids to use the bathrooms before they climbed into their bunks for the night. Who in America wakes up in the morning and imagines tucking Kenyan children into bed at night? Before I hit ten years of age, missionaries and the mission board in the church basement were a curiosity. Yet, never did I imagine that helping thirty-two orphan children in Kenya would be a slice of life. Nor did I imagine lives of Americans and Kenyans intersecting in surreal ways that would bring so much goodness, kindness, justice, and mercy to a very small speck of the world. Yet, it is still a speck. And on this speck there are children thriving who would have otherwise been thrown away as orphans. Instead, hopes and dreams are growing into realities. As I am about to slide into my Kenyan bed, I wonder what tomorrow brings, and I trust we at Kenya Matters have only begun this journey here in...

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Monday morning update

Family, The roosters are going crazy still at 9:28 a.m. They started their noise about 4 or 5 a.m., and it continues. This place is quiet (except for the roosters) now with the kids and our team helping in the classrooms at school. Breakfast was amazing as usual. The mangos are in season, and they taste like the sweetest candy when ripe. I think they are actually sweeter than pure sugar. Within an hour or two Elijah and Ben and I are heading to another town a few hours away to buy some parts for the next stage in the irrigation project. It continues to be a work in progress around here, and progress is happening daily. I can’t express how much things change in half a years time between visits. With this visit, the kids are all in good health and growing. Some of the older ones look more like young adults than children, but the addition of two young kids a few months ago still helps us keep a feel of young children around here. I hope everyone is doing well; my stomach is almost always full as food and chi is set before us every couple of hours. The weather is great with nights in the low 60’s and days between 70-90 degrees without humidity. The mosquitoes are nearly absent which is also nice. With the trip at its midpoint, I have to say that the team is doing exceptionally well. Most fears that I had about them have been relieved, and they are doing very well interacting with the children. They are learning Kenyan culture, and I continue to encourage them to embrace the pace and ways of life here. Lots of Love,...

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