Saturday Update

Saturday – Being the weekend, most of the kids are home from school today which in turn fills the site with energy. Starting at 6:30 a.m., we could hear voices of the children. In the late morning, there are games of tag and hide & seek. There is a group of boys kicking a deflated soccer ball back and forth, and there are some of the older boys and girls helping with chores. A full-fledged soccer game will inevitably happen today. This place seems to change by the day, and it certainly changes between visits. There is a section of garden that now has drip irrigation, and from this test plot we will be able to determine its effectiveness for larger areas. There is plenty of work for us, but our best work comes in the form of encouragement, occasional advice, and walking alongside our leadership team here.  Lunch will soon be ready, and I have a couple of things that need to be done first.  David Maina, one of our 15 year old boys, is trying to find a way to irrigate an area of a garden that is a couple hundred feet from the closest water supply. He has been successful in stringing hoses of various sizes together, and he has nearly reached the dry Napier Grass. Blessings today....

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A Night in the Mara

A Night in the Mara

Night has descended upon the Masai Mara. Winds swirl around our luxury tent as I write this post. Something like a giant woodpecker is banging on one of the nearby trees. In many ways it feels like siting at a campsite on cool summer night back in the States. Yet, it is entirely different too. We are seven time zones away from our home. We are in a developing county that has many of the same struggles as our nation. Only they are poorer here, and they have less resources. They also have beautiful people and some of the most amazing animals on earth. Today we were within meters of elephants, zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, giraffes, and lions. All of them were free and without boarders to govern their movement. I love the exploration of a safari whether it a boat ride looking for hippos or a three day trek into the Masai Mara. The great Wildebeest Migration is currently taking place here, and it is absolutely spectacular. Yet, with every safari I am reminded how we in the West are people who have so much, and a good share of the world is left with the rest — so little. It’s particularly stark since each trip is intended to connect with our orphan friends and also includes a safari of sorts. Guilt may not be a helpful nor healthy way of dealing with the tension. Yet, not recognizing that we are the rich and most of the world is the poor is far from honest. To live with integrity and intentionality in following the ways of Jesus, it is imperative that we sense our place of power within this global world. Lives of justice and mercy are mandated by the prophet Micah. Generations later Jesus tells the story of a rich young ruler who wants to live into the kingdom of God. When asked how to live into this kingdom, Jesus simply tells the young man to go and take care of the poor. Both Micah and Jesus are so simple and direct. With each trip, I like to believe we can alleviate poverty and replace it with hope-filled lives. How do we help our Kenyan orphan friends live with hope and live with the perspective of global hope for all of this world? We have the ability to impact this planet when we are willing to recognize we hold much of the power to make it happen. To do so, we, like the rich young ruler, will need to sacrifice much. And in so doing, we will find joy in the eyes of a loving orphan children who will call us by...

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First full day on the ground…

With previous trips, we have learned to take day #1 of any trip easy. In other words, we try to sleep in a bit. We take walks and explore the compound and the community rather than start with physical work of any sort. A slow first day allows our bodies time to rest and recover from the 25 hours of travel time it requires to reach Kenya from the States.  It also allows us to converse with our staff and the orphans — spending time on the important work of building relationships with them. Several of us did not sleep long this morning though. Instead, we were wakened by the donkey’s crazy noise and the roosters around 5:00 a.m. We shared a cup of tea with the orphans as they were preparing for school, and then we accompanied them on their walk to school. The rest of the day consisted of introductions, checking out the handful of gardens we have growing on the grounds and in the community, and eating feasts for each meal of the day. We concluded the day with devotions as the children introduced themselves formally, shared some of their hopes for life, and then sang and led us through a Bible passage and prayer. It was a good first day for the team, and tomorrow morning the adventure of a three day safari to the Masai Mara awaits. Grace & Peace from Kenya.

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Day 1 – Arrival

Our two long days of travel have come to a good conclusion. Having left Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sunday just after noon, we arrived in Nairobi’s international airport at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday night. Two different groups departed Grand Rapids with an hour, and both landed safely within two hours of each other. The drive to Karia in the dark was uneventful with the exception of three random donkeys crossing the road. As always, Ben Wachira is a gifted driver on these roads, and we split the space between the last two donkeys. No animals were harmed and neither were we! We arrived in Karai just before 11 p.m., and we were greeted by some of our friends and a feast of food. It’s now well past midnight, and everyone is sleeping. I too need to shut off the last remaining light as my body needs rest. We will try to keep this site updated daily during this trip.   Peace, Randy

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Heading to Kenya!

Randy Buist, Alyssa Wozniak and a group from Spring Valley Church flew out today! We’ll post regular updates from Kenya over the next couple of weeks…

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