Hello Summer! The day after the kids got out of school we headed down to Orlando so that Dave could do his annual flight training and so we could have a family vacation. Dave’s parents came along – I’m so grateful that we get along so well.

pool-fun2 cypress-gardens pool-fun1 legoland IMG_0625blog palms2dave-kids-cypressgardens banyan-treedaveandI family-faces palms family mommas-boy disney As you can see, there were tons of good times…we had a lot of late nights, delicious dinners out, fun in the ocean and at theme parks, and swimming in the pool. We also had a few snags…both kids got stung by wasps on the playground (at different times) and I got barbed by a sting ray about an hour into our beach day one day (talk about intense pain). We love going on family trips but don’t get to go as much now that both kids are in school. We love making memories. They’re my favorite.

I can hardly believe it’s been over two weeks since our trip to Kenya. At times it feels like so long ago and at other times it feels like I was just there. At the end of our trip we were blessed to do a safari and if you ever go to Africa I highly recommend that you do one. There is just no way to really describe what you see on safari. It’s amazing to see the animals in the wild, some literally a foot from the van. We had a lioness walk right in front of our parked van with her baby cub. We got to see zebra and wildebeest on migration to Tanzania (thousands that should have already been gone and we got to see them). We saw about 30 hippo swimming to get away from the sun’s heat. We saw giraffe, cheetah, hyena, antelope and so many more in their native environment. It was a great ending to the trip. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

african tree

giraffe

lioness

hippopotomus

windmill

safari van

zebra

lion stretching

elephant

cheetah

Thank you for allowing me to share my Kenya trip with you all. I hope that it brought you encouragement and maybe a little nudge to consider a mission trip in your future. It’s a life-changing experience and I’m already looking forward to the next trip.

IMG_9273Our last day before we left for safari was my favorite. It was our last day of ministry and the one where I saw the most fruit. Earlier in the week we met with probably 1,000 kids but I didn’t know for sure the kind of impact that we made on their hearts. But this day, when we walked from village to village and told them about Jesus – that was a day that I can tangibly say that our trip made a difference.

IMG_9272 IMG_9298 IMG_9305As we walked to the first village I didn’t know what to expect. The people didn’t know that we were coming – how would they receive us? Thankfully they welcomed us into their village with huge smiles on their faces. Some of the kids cried because they had never seen a white person before but after giving them some sweets they warmed up to us. We passed toys around and sweets and then we all sat down to hear Trevor present the story of Jesus Christ to them. In that first village 3 women and 2 men accepted Christ as their Savior. We were able to take their confessions of faith and Bishop James (our translator and the bishop over all of the churches) took their names down so he could follow up later.

IMG_9294 IMG_9306 IMG_9301After that first village we drove down the street to one of the schools that we had visited. We walked to where the church would be built in the future and came upon a man in the field. Bishop James asked him where he lived and if we could come to his house. He got in the van and led us to his home. His daughters in law came out and his mother. After a brief visit we again sat down and one of our team members, Phil, started talking to them about Jesus. The daughters already went to church but the father did not. The man told us that as a Massai, he believed in God and prayed as he walked the fields. But he didn’t attend church with his children and had never asked Christ into his heart. As Phil was talking, the man’s son came over and his grandsons. We were able to share with the whole family that day and the man & his mother accepted Christ as well. Later on we found out that the boys remembered us from the school, which I thought was an amazing God-coincidence. I do think that God brought us to that man in the field and I pray that our visit made as much of an impact on them as it did on me.

IMG_9319 IMG_9322IMG_9321 IMG_9326It was an amazingly powerful day and the one that I most enjoyed.

While in Kenya, we were blessed to visit a village called Isinon. The “road” to Isinon was very different than what I’ve seen here in the US. It was rocky and dusty and Isinon was very remote. I don’t know how we didn’t blow a tire during our two (or was it three?) hour drive. We made it to the village and immediately people started coming from every direction to greet us.

isinonThe first thing that we did when we got there was walk a little way to their watering hole. The watering hole really is indescribable. As I’ve said, Kenya is in the dry season so this watering hole has about 2 weeks worth of water in it. This water is used for the livestock as well as the people. It was heartbreaking to see a little girl scoop up a jug of water to take back to the village and later drink. I saw another child with a sippy cup full of brown, dirty water.

IMG_9197 IMG_9211The encouraging part about our visit was that we got to see the spot that they will drill a well at very soon. All 100+ of us circled around the post in the ground at the location of the well and prayed to God for clean water to be found and also that the village would have the Living Water in their life. We all held hands and the language barrier no longer mattered, we all prayed with the same purpose and goal in mind.

IMG_9222After we prayed over the spot for the well we walked back and were honored to have singing and dancing by the village school children and also the ladies at the church. Their singing and dancing is so sweet to watch and listen to. I love hearing the jingle of their accessories and the bright colors of their village dress. Every place we went the singing was my favorite part.

IMG_9231 IMG_9233The few hours that we were at Isinon were so incredibly full. Full of seeing new things, praying, singing, dancing, going into a home (like the one below), hearing Bishop James preach, passing out jump ropes & jerseys to the kids.

IMG_9190 IMG_9251One of my favorite memories of Isinon was when we left the spot for the well and we all scattered to walk back up to sit under a shade tree for the performances. I was walking by myself (without another team member) and a little girl came up and grabbed my hand. I couldn’t speak to her, but I could hold her hand and smile at her. A moment later another girl came up and grabbed my other hand and we walked to the tree. It was a sweet moment that I’ll never forget. Remembering those children and the joy on their faces is priceless.

isinon2How Can I Help?
A huge, tangible need for villages like Isinon is prayer for water. Being in the dry season water is scarce and they walk for miles and miles to find a dirty watering hole. The day after we left Isinon we saw a rainbow in the direction of the village and we spent time praying and thanking God that somewhere in the vicinity there was rain. We found out yesterday that there wasn’t significant rainfall in Isinon, but we were still encouraged by the promise that we saw through the rainbow that day. Please pray that the well would be dug soon so that Isinon can have clean, fresh water for their village. Then, if you feel so inclined to do more and raise funds to buy a well in another village please let me know and I’ll connect you to the appropriate organization to do so.

IMG_8991The main reasons our team was in Kenya was threefold: teacher training, pastor conference and school evangelism. I was on the school team & had a great time interacting with the kids in the village schools. Some of the kids walk for an hour each way in the heat to get to school. It’s so amazingly different from the world that we live in.

1382017_588607804653_61657813_n The first day at the schools was as to be expected – full of uncertainty: of how we’d be received, of what we’d do with the kids all day, of what the language barrier would be, etc. Thankfully, the kids were excited to see us come and some of the kids spoke English. English is taught and spoken in the schools, but we could tell that not everyone understood when we spoke, especially the younger kids. The kids were constantly touching my hair and skin, it was so different for them. I eventually just took my hair out of the ponytail and let them touch it. They thought it was so funny to see the veins on the inside of my arms because of my light skin – something I would have never thought about before our visit.

airplanesIMG_9025We did so many fun things with the kids at the schools – at some we made necklaces, taught them how to make paper airplanes, gave them coloring sheets and acted out Bible stories. Needless to say, the kids loved getting things that they don’t normally have like crayons, beads & balls. I loved doing sidewalk chalk with this sweet little girl. I’d draw something and then she’d color it in. An older girl would follow behind and spell out what it was in English – she was quite good at spelling in English!

1392072_588614700833_1972682957_n 9263_588615219793_1060372860_nThe kids also loved when we sang to them – Father Abraham was a favorite and they just laughed & laughed at us singing and doing the hand motions. My favorite parts of the days at the school was when they sang to us. Their voices are so sweet and pure and even though I didn’t know what they were saying because it was in another language, I could tell they were singing about God because of the joy in their faces.

IMG_9093 IMG_9067 1381582_588613627983_1094521753_n The last school we visited we taught them all about water balloons. I was hesitant at first because Kenya is in the dry season right now and I didn’t want to be disrespectful “wasting” water. But Bishop James told us that the kids would love it so we filled up the balloons at the compound where we stayed and walked across the street to the school. We did our normal schedule of singing, telling them about Jesus and passing out games, balls, & jump ropes.

IMG_8997 IMG_9066 Then we took them all outside and put them in a line. We explained water balloons to the teachers, who had never heard about them either, and they jumped right in to help us launch the balloons to the kids. I loved seeing the joy on the teachers faces as they launched the balloons and how one male teacher broke a balloon all over himself and laughed more than I’ve ever seen. It was such a great end to our time at the schools. The Head Master (Principal) even got in on the action (below right) and he didn’t want to give up the catapult to anyone else. He was having so much fun launching balloons. It’s the little things.

balloonsBeing with the kids was so fun. The first day was tiring being there for the entire school day, but oh so rewarding being paid with smiles and laughs.

How Can I Help?
There are so many children that need to go to school but haven’t yet been sponsored. Help them get a hot meal in their belly and an education. There are also children who are on the list but the school’s don’t have room for them. Your sponsorship will also help build more rooms at the schools. Change a life! (dreaming bigger? what about raising funds to build a school? CMF can help with that too and direct you to where you need to go!)