What an amazing time we are having in Kenya thus far! Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
We started in Pehucci Children’s Home on Wednesday morning and boy were they happy to see us. It was so special because each couple had BFR Kids at this location so that made the welcome even that much more exciting. As the van pulled in the kids ran to put on their best to greet the team! I love to see the pride that they have in themselves and how they look. They may not have much but they want to put on their best when visitors are coming to show honor to us. That is humbling.
We spent the day connecting and reconnecting with the kids and Mama Lucy. Because this is the holiday time here in Kenya all of the school kids are away from Pehucci and only BFR Kids and some of the other destitute cases remain so we were able to have so much one on one time with the kids. We spent time dancing and playing, doing team games and obstacle courses, doing magic tricks and coloring with the younger ones. We also prepared for the next day which would be very special-we would be sharing a feast together to ring in the new year. So we made our list with Mama Lucy and Janet of all the foods we would need: meat (which is a HUGE luxury and very rare) vegetables, juice, rice and ingredients for chapatti and mandazis-another kids favorite and luxury.
One thing that I will say about Wednesday that stood out to me and the guys was the excitement around the team games. Michael set up an obstacle course for the kids, we split them into teams and explained the rules and these kids were seriously pumped! They were jumping and squealing trying to contain their excitement. It was precious! Many of the girls that were dressed in their best dresses ran quickly to change so they could be full ready to participate. Once we called “GO” I have never seen such excitement and such determination. They were running and ducking and tagging and cheating like crazy! Oh yeah…cheating! These rascals were cutting corners, going before they were tagged-the whole bit-just like kids at home. HAHA! So it goes to show-kids are kids everywhere. They love to play and they want their team to win.
We finished the day and returned to the guest house with a gloriously exhausted team! They had worked so well with the kids and gave everything they had.
Thursday we arrived to Pehucci early to start cooking. It was such a great day! You know on Thanksgiving Day when family is all gathered together and there is hustle and bustle in the kitchen, kids are playing outside, the men are out by the grill or now-a-days by the turkey fryer bantering and just talking? That is what Thursday felt like. The team was in and out of the kitchen helping, outside playing with kids, bantering with the guys, painting nails with the girls-it was all so great and such a special time with all of them.
Once the food was ready it was incredible to watch these kids. They were in hog heaven-literally stuffing themselves beyond full. These tiny little kids were shoving food in their mouths and eating platefuls of food. I felt as though I was watching an eating competition. They were stuffing their pockets full of meat and mandazis and chapattis because they knew that a meal like this is a very rare occasion. They wanted to try and savor it for as long as they could. They were licking the bones dry and even eating the marrow from the bones. It was definitely humbling to not only be able to provide that meal but see how thankful they were to have it. Once lunch was finished We all headed over to the hall with the kids to dance and praise God for what he provided. Little did the kids know, but we had a Christmas gift for each one of them. These gifts were given by sponsors, donors, friends of BFR and our team members. The gifts varied in things like flashlights to flip flops, to soaps and toothbrushes to Barbie dolls to dresses handmade by one of our BFR Kids Sponsor’s Quilt Guild and boy were these kids thrilled. They were beaming! But the most amazing thing, is that before any of the receiving started thanksgiving and appreciation proceeded. We sang and worshiped to thank God for all the blessing that had come, we thanked God that he brought us through 2015 and prayed for 2016 and how he could use us. It was again humbling.
We finished out the time at Pehucci talking to the older Form 4 boys about their futures and their plans now that they have finished out their secondary school. They are in a time of waiting until February when their test scores come in but we talked about what they could be doing with their time, how they could be setting themselves up well and how we would join them in prayer and also petition for them for additional schooling, be that University, college or a trade program. There are so many promising boys that deserve a chance. They are so sharp.
After leaving Pehucci we stopped to visit Pastor Sam and his family and it was wonderful to see them. His girls Glad and Victory were there on holiday from school so we were able to see them and for past team members, that was a true pleasure these girls have served alongside our teams and we see so much potential in them.
We were able to hear about the leadership and discipleship that is taking place under Pastor Sam and we got to encourage one another. He is making such a huge difference in 18-30 year old Kenyans and for that I am so thankful. He challenges them to be Godly men and women and to strive for excellence in their lives, jobs and families. Please continue to pray for his family and his ministry, God is using him in such big ways. I asked him what his biggest needs were and he responded with “materials for leadership and discipleship”. He is growing men and women and just needs additional materials to do so. I love it!
Friday we set off for our safari/marriage retreat. We went to Amboselli near Mount Kilimanjaro which is known for elephants and boy did it live up to its reputation. On the way there we saw giraffes and zebras and elephants from the road and that got everyone excited but then Saturday on the actual safari we were up-close and personal to hundreds and hundreds of elephants. It was incredible and breath taking! To see how God had created them and to see how they worked together as a family. It was incredible. We made our way to a look out point, got out of the van and began the hike up the hill……mountain in American terms. As we walked up we took breaks to catch our breath and to take in the amazing beauty that surrounded us. Once we got to the top we were blown away by the vastness. You could see for miles and miles, the wind on our faces was so refreshing and such a reminder of God’s grace. We gathered together and we prayed over our marriages and thanked God for the valleys and the mountaintops within our lives and our marriage. It was such a breathtaking experience.
As we drove back in to the lodge the sun was setting and I promise you I am so taken a back at how creative and artistic our God is. How the sky was painted the most beautiful colors. I was stunned. It was the perfect segway into the remainder of the night. Tonight was all about the couples. They were greeted in their rooms with a Date Night Guide with all types of fun things to do, conversation starters and a letter from one of our marriage and family pastor Andy Savage. We were able to take that much needed time, away from the hectic lives we all lead to just be with our spouse in a beautiful place. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the stars in the sky and that stillness with our spouses.
Then Sunday we drove back into Nairobi and headed back to Pehucci. We played with them and were able to get the shoe sizes for EVERY destitute kid there for them to get a pair of school shoes and a uniform for all the kids that are lacking. This is possible through BFR Kids and through the generosity of so many with the Alternative Christmas Gifts.
We ended the night sharing a meal and meeting with our precious friends Jael and Maurice which is always a great time. Baby Amazing Grace is so big and walking so well. Our teams love and appreciate them so much.
The team is turning in early tonight to rest up for more big days ahead. Thank you for continuing to pray.