Monthly Archives: June 2016

Crossing the finish line

“I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”  John 17:4 NLT

Somewhere around 11 PM Monday night the final member of our team arrived safe and sound at their home, some 36 hours after we headed to Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi.  Nothing can prepare you for that kind of travel, you just have to endure it.  We had several obstacles on our way home including weather delays, sick passengers (not one of our team thankfully), and missed connections.  On Saturday, Mike Deiter and I had talked about that feeling you get the first time you finish a half marathon.  The last few miles can be painful and grueling, but the feeling when you cross the finish line is hard to put into words.  The feeling of accomplishment of completing something you’ve prepared so hard for and worked to accomplish is unlike any other experience.  That’s kind of how I feel now.  We crossed the finish line for this particular trip.  We accomplished our goal.  We ‘finished empty’.

 

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Front L-R:  Michael Ingram, Autumn Ingram, Allison Little, Laura Barnett, Elizabeth Simmons, Jeff Moser, Frankie Taylor   Back L-R: Susan Shelton, Phyllis Lea, Brandon Lea, Karen Bobbitt, Susan Moser, Katie Moser, Samuel Moser, Darla McFall, Mark Croom, Rachel Smith, Rebekah Otey, Shari Ramoly, Mike Deiter

This was a special trip.  We had a great group that came together as a team as well as any I’ve seen.  The mix of skillsets matched well and we had several people step up and lead different aspects of the trip.  Everyone contributed.  No one had any egos to be stroked.  As a mission trip leader you want people who will not only lead in an area of their strength but be servants when others lead.  That’s how this team functioned.  Because of their willingness to be used for God we were able to conduct three small business conferences, conduct 4 discipleship/bible study sessions, visit three schools, two orphanages, and one home for older widows, conduct one marriage seminar, speak in six different churches and conduct a medical clinic specifically designed to treat children with an infestation of an insect called a jigger.  We put shoes on the feet of 150 children and left shoes and medical supplies to treat 150 more.  God accomplished much through this team because they allowed themselves to be used by Him.

After a little down time, we’ll start planning the next trip.  The tentative date is late January, 2018.  With many of this year’s team already saying things like “next time we’ll…” you better start planning now

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Long Necks and Long Noses

DSC01505‘Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened.  God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.’  Genesis 1:24-25 NLT

The creativity of our God continues to amaze me.  Today our team went on Safari to Nairobi DSC01537National Park.  While NNP is smaller than other game preserves we have visited on some of our previous trips to Kenya, it still provided us an opportunity to witness plenty of God’s creatures.  Some of the animals we saw included impalas, waterbucks, giraffes, zebras, cape buffalo, ostriches, monkeys, guinea fowl, hippos, rhinos and even three lions.  We also visited an elephant sanctuary where over 20 elephants have been rescued DSC01541from various calamities.

Each species has its own unique characteristics, from the long necks of the giraffe and ostrich, to the distinct prominent horn on the rhino to the long noses of the elephants.  God must have really had a good time that day when he created the animals because honestly some of the animals are just funny to look at!  Maybe they think we look funny too?

Tonight we sat at dinner and reflected on the week.  While we have one more day of DSC01613ministry tomorrow before we go home, we all agreed this has been a great team.  God brought together a diverse set of personalities and skill sets and molded us into a cohesive team.  I know God has something special in store for each of the team members as they begin to process what they’ve seen and heard this week.  I look forward to hearing how God uses this experience in their lives.

Church tomorrow and then we begin the long journey home!  Don’t stop praying yet!

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JEHOVAH-SABAOTH – The Lord of Hosts, our Protector.

Today we began the first leg of our journey back home.  We drove back to Eldoret and flew to Nairobi. Driving in the bigger towns in Kenya is quite a challenge.  I mean, come on people!  Put up a stop sign!  A car ran in front of one of our vans and the van ran right into

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Much better than driving for hours!

it in the middle of the intersection in Eldoret.  We’re an hour away from flight time in the middle of Eldoret with five hundred cars around us.  That was not the dream scenario we hoped for.  But just like when they tried to capture Jesus and He simply walked through the crowd, the other car drove away and we were able to travel on to the airport.  God made a way where there seemed to be no way.

The provision of available air flights is not something to take for granted.  Not too many

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Kenya roads can be treacherous!

years ago the return from Kitale would have been a long hard 8-hour ride.  We have known God’s protection all throughout this trip.  First, aside from a few upset stomachs here and there and one bad head bump from hitting the top of the van going over a speed bump, we have all remained healthy.  Some sinus trouble caused by the dust for sure, but nothing unmanageable.  Second, Kenyans have been protesting for months to remove the election officials.  It seems they believe the last set of elections were tampered with and they been working to have a new set of officials installed.  There have been small demonstrations in Nairobi and Kisumu where some shops have been set on fire.  However, the day we landed they called a 10-day halt in activity.  Coincidence?  I think not.

We are here at the end of the first rainy season.  It rained a good bit last week.  The rut-filled road up Mt. Elgon is barely passable on a dry day.  On a wet day?  Get out your hiking shoes!  But we had a perfect day weather wise and I attribute a lot of that to your prayers.  What I know is that God has protected us every step of the way on our journey.  He has made our paths straight!

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Frankie holding court

We conducted another business conference this afternoon with the staffs from the two churches we will minister in on Sunday.  The afternoon was rich with business teaching woven with Christian principles.  We had a great time with Pastor Harrison and Pastor Amos and their church members.  They are reaching people here in the tough areas of Nairobi.  I’ll send more on them Sunday.

Tomorrow is our rest and ‘tourist’ day.  We’ll go on a game drive in the Nairobi National Park, then visit the Elephant Sanctuary and the Giraffe Center.  Bwana asifiwe – Praise the Lord!

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Different cultures, Same God!

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Water for the soul

Water, it’s the bloodline of life.  We can survive much longer without food than we can without water.  Good water cleanses the soul but bad water can just as easily kill.  Water borne diseases are one of the most common preventable killers in the third world.

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“This valve is for the water coming in…”

Diseases like Typhoid and Dysentery are nearly 100% preventable if water is purified before drinking.  For this trip, God provided 105 bucket type filters and three complete building filtration systems made by the Sawyer Co.  We have been distributing the bucket filters at each stop and we have delivered the three larger systems to the plumbers at the Seeds orphanage, the Seeds high school and today at the Bread of Life school in Khayega.  Mark met with each of the plumbers and described to them how to install the filters and how to clean them.  Because of these

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What if this was your only source of water?

filters none of the recipients should have to suffer from a water borne disease for years to come.  While part of the team went to Khayega to teach a business conference, the rest of the team headed for the Light Feeding Program/School.

Light School is one of the first schools we came in contact with several years ago.  It is small and contained but very well run.  The team spent a delightful morning listening to the children present a program and then just spent time playing with them.  One of the reasons Vacation Bible School is so effective in the US is that children get

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Me next!

extended time learning about the gospel.  At Light, one of their goals is to continuously share the gospel.  They are also working hard to help meet the physical needs of the children.  Our job today was to love on the children and help them remember, even for a little bit, that God loves them.  Unless a child understands love on earth, they will never understand how their Father could love them.

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See Saw fun

Our time in Kitale/Kakamega has come to an end.  Tomorrow we fly back to Nairobi and conduct another business conference.  Then Saturday we Safari!  Thank you for your prayers.  They are surely being felt.

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Rocket Stoves and Egg Farming

Education.  It’s the key to alleviating poverty.  Give someone a handout and they might be grateful for a day.  Teach them how to start and run their own business and they’ll be grateful for a lifetime.  Today we got a chance to do just that.

We split into two teams this morning and made the hour and 15-minute drive to the Turbo and Juacali regions of Kakamega county Kenya.  Half the team went to visit the orphanage

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Katie sponsors Thomas at the Juacali orphanage.  Look how he’s grown!

in Juacali where one our drivers, Joseph Simuyu and his wife are house parents.  Today was Mandaraka day in Kenya, the day they celebrate their independence from England.  (Yep, lots of countries celebrate their independence from England, but Kenya kept their silly way of driving on the wrong side of the road!).  Since it was a holiday most of the kids were home and it made for a very fun day of loving on kids!  And, as a special treat, the orphanage made a delicious lunch for the team to enjoy.  There were lots of smiles and hugs shared!

The other team traveled to Turbo to conduct a small business conference.  We started with a role play showing how each person is dependent on the other.

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What does your customer want?

The premise was that one of the ladies wanted to start a business selling eggs.  We taught about how they can band together and form a co-operative to which they can contribute so the first person can start their business.  We showed how a schilling travels from the banker to the café to the egg producer to the chick farmer to the feed store to the hardware store to the electric company and so on.  Then Mike gave a great presentation on how to build a business plan for that egg business.  He talked about identifying your customer, determining what products they need, figuring out how to make or procure that product, how to price the product and how to place the product.  Lastly, Mark showed how to get your creative juices flowing by showing dozens of different products that can be made from PVC pipe.

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Wednesday afternoon men’s club!

In the afternoon, Brandon showed the men how to build a rocket stove for cooking and the rest of us talked about different irrigation techniques for their crops.  While that was going on Shari, Allison and Frankie taught the ladies the word of God.  We had a great time of teaching and learning.

Tomorrow we will travel 2 hours to the town of Kakamega to conduct another business conference at Pastor Elkanah’s ministry while the other half of our group visits a school and a group of widows.  That ministry is run by a feisty lady named Rebekah.  She is recovering from open heart surgery so we want to visit her.  Keep your prayers coming.  We have definitely felt and benefitted from them!

Hide n seek

Who’s it for hide ‘n seek?

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Bare feet and wounded hearts

Tuesday was intense.

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Preach!

Once again we started the day early at the Nakumatt where Mike was able to speak about how to live as a new Christian.  Discipleship is something Pastor Richard is working hard to model this and we were able to come alongside his ministry today.

In Kenya one of the biggest perils children face is from a tiny flea-sized insect called a jigger.  This insect burrows under the skin on

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Darla & Sam working intensely

the feet, on the knees and elbows, and pretty much any exposed area of skin.  These insects then lay eggs which hatch and grow under the skin.  When the eggs hatch the larvae feed on their host.  I’ll spare you any more details, but the results can be devastating for those infected.  Today we travelled up Mt. Elgon to treat as many children as we could and then provide them with shoes.

We implemented a setup of multiple stations that each child travelled through.  First, the

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New Shoes!

children’s feet were washed and scrubbed with a disinfecting solution and inspected for the presence of jiggers.  If there was evidence of infestation the children moved into a treatment room.  Our medically trained team members (and some who just learned fast!) then scraped away dead skin and removed any larvae that were present.  Some of the children were so badly infested that it took almost 45 minutes to remove all the larvae.  One child was so badly infected it took an hour and a half to clean both feet.

Once a child was either determined not to have an infestation during washing or once a child had been treated, they moved to the bandaging and socks station.  All feet were

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Brandon the shoe-fitter!

treated with a Neosporin type dressing and socks put on their feet.  Those who had jiggers removed had bandages placed on the debridement sites on their feet and then socks.  Then they moved to the shoe station where they were fitted with shoes that were donated by many of you!  Today we treated and put shoes on the feet of over 150 children!  And we left medical supplies and at least another 200 pair of shoes for our Kenyan friends who will repeat this process in the near future.  The children left knowing they were loved by God and loved by you!

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Frankie shared the Word to the parents while the children were being attended to!

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