January Missions Trip Post #6

The team has really enjoyed spending time at Shangilia Children’s Home with all the children and staff. There was so much laughter and fun as they spent the day together! Everybody enjoyed encouraging each other and getting to know one another better. A group also went on an adventure by heading to the local village on the back of motorcycles - look below for the great pics!

January Missions Trip Post #5

The team had a work project blessing a local widow with a brand new home. They had fun toiling in the mud and bringing the gift of new walls and a new roof to this mama in need. Scroll through the pictures to see your loved ones getting dirty and working hard!

January Missions Trip Post #2

The team has officially arrived in Kenya! They are starting off quite sleepy, but everyone is excited for what God has for them on this adventure. The team is from all over the country and it is amazing how God has uniquely constructed this team for his purposes. On Saturday they will fly from Nairobi to Kisumu then bus to Shangilia Children’s Home and will be ministering to over 100 widows at their weekly meeting. The incredible team:

Randy Stensgard - Minnesota

Carson Green - Minnesota

Jonathan Weikel - Minnesota

Molly Moore - Minnesota

Brook Stensgard - Minnesota

Dick Pritchard - Minnesota

Deb Pritchard – Minnesota

Charles Daws – Minnesota

Cheri Daws – Minnesota

Lily Daws - Minnesota

Megan Lafferty – New York

Jennifer Maggi - California

Casey Franklin – Colorado

Krista Hines – Colorado

Thomas Anderson – Colorado

Kaitlyn Parks – Colorado

Craig Mieske – Colorado

Jeannie Ensmenger – Colorado

Susan Faust – Iowa

Nancy Cummins – Indiana

January Missions Trip Post #1

The team headed off to Kenya yesterday! They are excited to see all that God has in store for them after preparing for months learning more about the Kenyan culture and training together from around the US. They have hands that are ready to work and hearts ready to love. They will arrive Saturday morning and hit the ground running by getting to meet all the kids at Shangilia Children’s Home before beginning to minister to the widows community. Look for a new post and pictures on Sunday as they begin their adventure! Thank you to all the generous supporters that helped make this trip a reality and please pray for each individual on this team.

August Trip - Blog Post #5

Today I valued the time I got to connect with one young man, who I now consider a very good friend of mine. He is a very humble and kind individual and he spent a lot of time helping me learn some Swahili! I’m so thankful for the friendships I have been able to make during my time here and I am excited to continue these friendships! I’m very sad to be leaving tomorrow and I will miss this beautiful place and these joy filled people! 
(Kate)

Today we felt really moved by all of the staff here at Shangilia and all of the hard work they do here every day. The children are so well cared for and loved. The staff are so accommodating and wonderful to us as visitors. So we decided to take some time to love on them and to serve them. We came together as a team in such an amazing way. God was showing us how using our actions to serve people fully. (Steph)

I love how encouraging the children are with each other! Tonight we got to watch the Talent Show that the children put on; kids danced and sang and it was beautiful! Every child received such applause and cheer after their performance. It really feels like one big family. (Sandy)


When we did Listing Prayer my heart was very touched because all the visions I saw in my head I saw on the trail we where walking on so I was very struck because god was using me and it felt nice also Rose touched my heart because she was so nice and grateful just because we gave her little things. ({Lily)}

August Trip - Blog Post #4

Today I got to help out with taking vitals for the medical clinic here. It was really cool to get to meet all of the people who came in, and it made me happy to be able to get help for them. I had a lot of joy while participating in this, all thanks to Jesus!! It was amazing to see the joy these people have, even when they are feeling sick. They are so genuine and kind. I loved every second of this experience! -Kate Doyle 

I saw God show up at the Medical Cinic in the patients today. Even though so many were very ill, they still had smiles on their faces! They were very thankful for the care they received, even after waiting for up to 3 hours to be seen. 
I was so happy to participate in the clinic today, and to see how God used it in such a powerful way.  - Lisa

This day was very fulfilling for me. Helping with a medical clinic was something I’d never done before. I loved learning from our team nurses, Rose and Barb, and from to local nurses, Nancy, Lillian, and Elizabeth. They ran the clinic so smoothly, and Praise God, we had enough medicine for every patient who came through. I also loved helping teach the girls at Shangilia more about their own reproductive system and how it works. We talked a lot about how valuable and strong each girl and woman is, and I hope it felt the girls feel empowered. Steph taught a mini self defense class, and the girls loved it! They broke into pairs and practiced three different defensive maneuvers. I’m so thankful for this team. I know that the Lord called each of us here for a purpose, and it is incredible to see those purposes come to fruition. -Lauren

August Trip - Blog Post #3

What an awesome first day at Shangilia! It was so amazing driving in today and seeing all the children sing and dance for us! We are so thankful to be here, and we thank God for bringing us here safely! (Lisa)

Being back at Shangilia is the most wonderful feeling. Everyone is incredibly welcoming and kind, it feels like home. (Lauren)

Today I saw Jesus through doing the puppet show. Because we were telling them the word of our Lord and that really touched my heart. (Lily)

 I have had an amazing time connecting with the teens my age, hearing testimonies and how their love for God carries them through life. It is very refreshing. (Parker)

 We see Jesus here every day! Today the Bible camp kids had a blast. They are so loving and sweet and smart! They learned that we all have the same heavenly father and that he loves us so much, he called us his children! They had fun playing the game and craft and love the puppet show! The windows in the area came to Shango you on Saturday! We loved reading them and listening to them sing! They are filled with the joy of the Lord! Their joy is contagious and they pulled us in the dance with them! Enjoyed some tea and mendazi (doughnuts)   And then received a weeks supply of food. They saying through that too. We look forward to seeing them again on Friday morning!  (Sandy)

 We’ve had some wonderful experiences these past few days. We had the opportunity to go to church at Oasis of Joy in Lusiola  and join in a small group Fellowship. It was very special to learn and study from the book of Romans  with our Kenyan sisters. Kenyans sure know how to worship!  Pastor Francis took us on a tour of Shangilia Children’s Home,  and told us the story of how it came to be. What a work of God!  Today we started a Bible camp with the kids, we did a puppet show, play games, and reminded the children of God‘s love. The kids loved it! I love being back with them, since the first time I came here for years ago, the children have grown so much. It brings me so much joy to be back with them. The kids loved it! I love being back with them, since the first time I came here for years ago, the children have grown so much. It brings me so much joy to be back with them. 
(Lauren)
 

August Trip - Blog Post #2

The team has safely arrived in Kenya and wanted to share the following stores with you!

The welcome to the orphanage was amazing and being how excited the kids were to see if that something I won’t forget! (Barb)

 God has challenged me on the journey here, but also rewarded me with joy from the love and welcome experience from the people of Shangilia. (Rose)

The team has  been so full of good spirits,  enthusiasm and positivity. Although the journey here was stressful I think it showed us early on  that we have a wonderful team and we can depend on each other to step up and help each other every step of the way.  When we arrived in  Shangilia we found ourselves surrounded by more positivity and smiles from everyone here. The journey has brought us to a great place. (Steph)

I have never  traveled out of my country and I am glad I did. Are the kids are so helpful and nice. all have so much joy and compassion for us and I am so glad to see what is coming. (Lily)

 It is so wonderful to finally be here! The children singing when we arrived was beautiful and joy-filled!  I loved the fellowship and worship led by the older children tonight too! Our team has been welcomed with open arms and humble hearts.  Such kind people in this place! I’m excited to see all God will do here  and I’m looking forward to getting to know all the children.  (Sandy)

 It’s so exciting to be here in Shangilia with such a great team!  These children and adults here are so full of joy and I am already in love with them!  It was so cool to be welcomed with song and dance from the kids and their house mother. I can’t wait to see what else is to come this week! (Kate)

Jambo!  It’s so good to be back at Shangilia with the children and staff.  They are so welcoming,  Full of joy, and ready to play. And I enjoyed worshiping with the group and playing with the kids after words. (Lori)

 I’m so glad to be in Kenya! I have connected with so many kids my age, and their stories are so inspiring. I can see God busy at work! (Parker)

 So glad to be back at Shangilia  and see the smiling faces. The people here are so welcoming and friendly.  (Rick)

Pastor Timothy - August 2018 Newsletter

Kibera...The most densely populated slum in Africa

Depending on whose numbers you accept, there are between 175,000 and 800,000 living in an area that is just over 1.2 square miles. That gives Kibera the dubious honor of being the largest slum in Nairobi and the largest urban slum in Africa. Also, because there is almost no multi-story construction in the slum, it means population density feels extream. Living conditions are atrocious by any standard. Unemployment is way into the double digits, with those working earning on average less than a dollar a day. Essential services such as electricity, running water, and medical care are rare. There are few schools, and most residents do not have the money to send their children. Crime is rampant with assault and rape commonplace. Open sewers are everywhere, with a local phenomenon known as flying toilets (human excrement in a plastic bag tossed out a window or door into the street) something for which you have to keep an eye out as you walk. Clean water is scarce, so it is no surprise that poor hygiene and communicable diseases are all too prevalent, among them HIV and AIDS. 

Kibera is four miles from the center of Nairobi, which sports glass and concrete skyscrapers that would be at home in any western city.  It is separated from the Royal Nairobi Golf Club - annual membership $5,000 - only by a chain link fence. Imagine the hopelessness of living in abject poverty while staring through a fence at someone playing golf; knowing that if you were doing well compared to your neighbors, it would take you more than 20 years of work to be able to afford a one-year membership.

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I visited Kibera in January of 2017. I was not looking forward to my visit, feeling pretty sure I may be overcome by the utter hopelessness of the peoples' situation there. I can tell you it really did break my heart to see children, who by the seeming twist of fate, were born here instead of in my family in Buffalo, MN. Why do I  have such a comfortable life while these people walk ground that is literally composed of refuse and rubbish? Walking into Calvary Evangelistic Church from the police station on the edge of the slum, the “streets” narrowed while the heat, dust, stench, and stagnation mounted. Thankfully the day we were there it was dry, so the open sewers stayed contained in the ditches that ran alongside and among the “streets.” The sewage was contained, but the stench was not - everywhere smelled like an outhouse, an overused, never-cleaned outhouse. Everywhere that is, except Pastor Timothy’s compound. I know it sounds hyperbolic, but inside his ministry area the air was lighter and smelled sweet.

When you meet Pastor Timothy, he will tell you he is the happiest man in the slum, and if you are privileged to spend some time with him, you will come to believe it. It is not just him who is happy and full of the hope of Christ, it is all those in his ministry: the staff, the children and even parishioners in his church. We met the head cook who calls herself the Prime Minister of Nutrition and has a smile that held more joy than I see in a week of encounters back here in the states. I also met a man, whose name I am ashamed to say I don’t remember, who moved his family into Kibera so that he can minister to the many Muslims who live there. And get this - they are gaining converts who return to their homelands as missionaries for Christ! A slum in Africa with an average wage of less than one dollar a day is sending out missionaries to the lost souls of the Muslim world. Hearing this humbled me, causing me to ask why we, the western church is not doing more.

The Prime Minister of Nutrition herself!

The Prime Minister of Nutrition herself!

My heart broke and breaks for our brothers and sisters who live in Kibera because of their destitution, but it broke again for joy at experiencing the hope and joy they have in Christ.

When I asked Timothy what the goal of his ministry is he did not say, to provide a safe place for some of Kibera’s homeless boys to sleep, although he does that.  He did not say to provide at least one meal a day to over 200 children, although he does that.  He did not say to have a school that will teach children the skills they need to perhaps one day live outside the slum, although he does that.  He said it was to reach the people of Kibera for Christ so that they can all go to heaven. Amazing how he is able to see and fulfill the real mission of the Church, that is to make disciples, and in the process, God is adding “all these things” aka ministry success to him.

After meeting Timothy and seeing his ministry, as a board member, I am very pleased that we are partnering with him. My only wish is that we would have more resources that we could send his way.

Thanks for your time. God bless and Godspeed!

August Trip - Blog Post #1

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress.” James 1:27

We have been blessed beyond measure. We live in a country where everything we need to survive is easily accessible. In our bubble of normalcy it becomes easy to forget about the needs of our brothers and sisters in places like Kenya. Plymouth Covenant Church partners with Love for Kenya in order to go and serve in the Kibera Slums in Nairobi, and at Shangilia Children’s Home in Luciola. The needs in this world are great, and we don’t want to forget.

Pastor Timothy has built his own school in the Kibera Slum in order to combat the high percentage of youth who become involved in gang related violence in order to survive.

Shangilia Children’s Home was founded out of the love and faith of Pastor Francis Ranagwa and his wife, Florence. In 2000, they took twenty orphaned children into their own home and since that time, God has blessed their ministry and it has grown to house over 80 of Kenya’s orphaned children. While we are visiting Shangilia our mission is to:

  • Love on the kids! Many of the children at Shangilia have heartbreaking stories of loss and abandonment; we want them to know that there are people in the world that love them, but more importantly, that their Father in Heaven loves them.

  • Minister to and experience fellowship for the hardworking staff at Shangilia.

  • Join in fellowship and worship with the widows of the surrounding area. Plymouth Covenant Church partners with the widows in the Luciola area by providing micro loans to start their own businesses so they can provide for themselves and their families.

  • Set up a medical clinic in Luciola in order to provide some basic medical needs.

  • Share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For those of you have sponsered team members or children living at Shangilia, we thank you. It is only through your support that we are able to go. We are so grateful that God calls goers AND senders. You are making a difference in the lives of children and widows in Kenya.

The team going from Plymouth Covenant Church is: Stephanie Carpentier, Barb Nicollich, Rick and Lori Berning, Sandy and Kate Doyle, Lily, Parker, and Rose Cary. It is led by Lisa Bennett and Lauren McGrath. The team leaves on August 8th and returns on August 20th.

Day 9 - Fellowship with the Widows

Recap of amazing things the past few days…

Wednesday… Help build a widows house out of mud

Thursday… Visiting the widow down in the valley and started building a new house for her, Listening Prayer and allowing God to guide and direct us, super cool stories of how God spoke to us and lead us… especially ask Christa about it! Celebration of Chad’s birthday

Friday… Last day with the widows, providing food for their families, singing and dancing with them, sharing the love of Christ with the poorest of the poor. Visiting the 3 widows that we had outhouses built for and 1 or the 2 homes that we had built for two of the widows. God is moving is powerful ways!

 

Well it’s friday and our time here is almost at an end. This has been an unbelievable experience. Looking back, its hard to believe all of the different areas we have seen God move. Being able to bless needy widows’ families with proper shelter and utilities was great to see. This also provided much needed jobs for men and women in the community. The Kenyan people have such a love for life and love for one another. Those of them who have come to know the Lord have such an amazing and humble spirit about them. They just want to bless everyone they come in contact with. I would recommend anyone who is looking to serve and grow spiritually to consider partnering with Love for Kenya and coming on a future trip. I personally can’t wait to come back. - Chad

 

The time here has felt like months and at the same time, mere minutes. We have had the privilege to meet so many amazing people, experience so many things and feel so loved and welcomed by our Kenyan friends. I’d love for you to hear some highlights from our (Brombacher) kids:

This has been an exciting trip. I’ve had so much fun playing soccer with the kids. It’s been great to build relationships with people, especially the kids. The trip’s almost over and I have had so much fun. -Isaac

 

This trip has been great. Some of my favorite things we did were playing soccer with the kids, riding the piki pikies, and mudding the house. I’ve made a lot of great friends and done a lot of things. Overall this has been an amazing experience. - Josiah

 

Yesterday was Chad’s Birthday!! I made him a card and had everyone sign it with one word that describes Chad. We stuck heart stickers on him all day and the kids at Shangilia surprised him by throwing water on him. Anja Brombacher

 

I like piki piki’s (motorcycles). - Elias

 

Truly...our time here has flown by so quickly. Today we met with the widows for a second time and it was so great to see their faces and worship with them again. These women have so very little. They are outcasts in this culture, but the joy that eminates from them is so contagious, inspiring and beautiful. Being here has reminded me that so often we focus on so many things that are not important. While most of the people we have met here own less than what most of us have in one room of our homes, they exude a joy in the Lord that most Americans do not. It’s been very convicting and inspiring. There have also been those we have met who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are destitute and you can see the hardship in their eyes. We have been able to bless with the smallest of things...granola bars, underwear, bags of local food, some sodas and with something better than worldly possessions…prayer and the message of Hope in Jesus. The outhouses we were able to help finance for the widows are a beacon of hope to these dear women and their neighbors. Each time we visited a construction site, we prayed and shared that these outhouses were being built because God loves them. Our family feels so blessed to have been given this opportunity. Thank you all for your support and prayers. - Rolf and Melody Brombacher

 

I can’t believe today is our last full day at Shangilia! The trip started out moving fairly slowly but the second half has flown by! It has been so fun venturing out into the community visiting the widows and families where new houses and outhouses are being built. Or stopping by the soda shop (a dusty room on the side of the road) to pick up sodas for the construction teams and finding a poster of my favorite Kenyan-American Mr. Obama! Totally got a pic of the two of us! Or walking by a primary school and seeing little children pop their heads out from behind a rock and with big eyes say Muzungu!! White person! They are not use to seeing us in these parts. This trip has brought me so much pleasure; just being in the moment and experience the little things. I can do without the task of smooshing a Brown Recluse spider at 1AM. I did not have my husband or dad to do it for me! I saved my hut mates!! Molly Moore

 

Today we saw all the work that had been done while we where here. We helped build two homes and two outhouses. We were blessed to have raised money above our need to get here and could help support the Kenyan’s by having them do the work. We are soon on our way to a talent show done by the children at Shangilia orphanage and our team. This could be interesting because they have some awesome talent. We are all tired but it has been quite an experience.

Louann Beal

 

Yesterday we spent time in listening prayer. I had a clear vision of walking down a hill behind a woman wearing a very specific geometric pattern woven into the fabric of her skirt. She balanced a bag on her head. There was also a man with a 2x4 over his shoulder. Each were walking down a steep dirt road.. Others in our group also felt we were supposed to walk down a hill, down into the valley. As we walked I looked for someone who fit the description I saw. There was no one else on the road. Then we traveled down the valley, we came to the house of one of the widows. When she greeted us, I saw that she had a long shirt covering part of her skirt. That shirt had the exact pattern I saw in my prayer. Just a little confirmation that we were in the right place. We were able to chat with her for awhile and pray for her. She was thrilled the Love For Kenya was building her a new home. She told that every day she gathers fruit, carries them in a bag on her head and sells them in the village. As we started out on the road back to Shangalia, men were cutting down trees for the walls of her home. One turned his back to me had two trees the size of a 2x4 slung over his back.

Christa Anderson

 

BLOG DARLING - This is my first blog ‘cuz I keep forgetting my glasses!

This has been the best week with my marafiki (friends). Singing, praying and eating with what has become family for me. I thank Mungu (God) and those praying for me for keeping me healthy while here. I have had to kill 2 brown recluse spiders and 1 big ugly something spider. God has let me be a part of His plan blessing these beautiful people with new outhouses, homes and clothing that you all have provided. We also had finances to help individuals with difficult life issues including medical. My time with the child I sponsor, Shakeel, was the best. He is a fantastic dancer with many athletic moves. Christa our dance queen taught him some more cool stuff. Shakeel and I also played catch with baseball gloves that some of you helped me bring. The pressure on the children to get good grades is very high so the singing, dancing and sports, I think, helps relieve that intensity.

Also I can now say I have helped build a wall for a mud house! The mud sticks to your shoes so much you feel like you’re 3 inches taller.

Some of you know that I try to learn to say a bible verse in Swahili to the children, the, widows we spend time with and those we see along our hikes. I now can share the Gospel with anyone here in their language. Very fun for me even though they sometimes have to correct me. That might even be better because then I know the message got through.

Enjoying the beautiful 85 degree weather, the African sunrises and the starry, starry night skies.

La La Salama – Randy Darling, alias Mosee (Mozay)  

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Day 6 - Dining Hall Dedication

Today we unleashed HOPE by dedicating the new DINING HALL which funds were donated from Plymouth Covenant Church in Minnesota and Centennial Covenant Church in Colorado. Thank you for your generocity! This will have been the first time these children at Shangilia Orphanage (Love for Kenya) have ever sat at a table for a meal and use silverware, place, bowl, cup, etc. This dining hall will be used for all meals, worship and devotional time every evening, a place to do home work, and a place to do there weekly Friday night talent show. The uses for this dinning hall are endless and has created a new chapter in everyone’s life. For the cooks, a huge new kitchen is such a blessing for them, no more smokey little kitchen by using fire wood in the old kitchen. Thank you again, Plymouth Covenant and Centennial Covenant Church for Unleashing Hope at Love for Kenya, you have made a huge impact! - Randy Stensgard

I’m truly not even sure what day it is. What a glorious feeling to let go of time. Here there is only prayer, fellowship, service, and worship . . . and endless puns from Randy. I’ve had the opportunity to teach the boys hip hop and traditional African dance. Today I taught the girls ballet. We have all noticed that the boys seem to have less inhibitions than the girls. They are fearless. The girls hang back and wait for the leaders to join before they try new things. They are fearful of judgment from their peers. Today the girls and I talked about Zephaniah 3:17 … the Lord rejoices over you with singing. The word rejoice can mean to leap and spin. Since we know we are created in God’s image we should feel free to leap and spin with him. This helped some of them take the risk to improvise. They all began to laugh and cheer one another on. 
As the class ended, I asked them what they hoped for. They all agreed, an education, and a future. They also agreed that they hoped for more dance. I think I will be coming back to Kenya. Who is coming with me? Christa Anderson

Today I had a lesson on how to clean a KOO KOO (chicken):) This was a total first for me. Chicken was on the menu for dinner, and at lunch the chickens were butchered, cleaned and cooked! Now that’s what I call a truly organic chicken!! Dawn Holmquist

Hello everyone,

Today I had an opportunity to minister to a kindergarten class in the school on the mission. The Brombacher’s helped me. All those sweet, smiling, happy faces just melt your heart. We sang several songs. Even if they didn’t know them, they joined right in with their unbelievable rhythm. I shared the story about Gideon. I taught them a new song about marching in the Lord’s army. The teachers and the children really got into it and explained the story in Swahili. Thank you for your prayers. God in answering and moving. Pam Anderson.

Greeting from Kenya! We had another full day at Shangilia. Cindy, Randy, Pastor Francis, Alex and I went and picked up some soda and bread to deliver a treat to the workers who are working on our building projects in the community. We first stopped off at a widows house where a new outhouse is being constructed then we were off to the new house being built for a family of 6. The guys were very appreciative of the not so cold refreshment. It was fun to watch the expressions on the faces of the towns people as Randy drove by them in the truck. They are not use to seeing westerners driving. Molly Moore 

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What a great trip it has been so far! stay tuned for our next blog post!

Day 4 & 5 Updates

TRIP TIMELINE

Friday - Visiting and doing ministry in the Kibira slum in Nairobi, partnering with Pastor Timothy. Serving food to some of the poorest kids in the slum.

Saturday - Ministry to the widows in the community. Singing, dancing, sharing and showing the love of Jesus to the outcasts of society.

Sunday - Sunday church and spending time the the children at the orphanage.

Monday - Visiting 5 widows as we started building outhouses, replacing new roofs on some home and building a new home for one of the poorest widows.  Our goal was to show God's love and proclaim that Jesus is the reason why we are doing this for the outcasts in the community. Amazing women that we are serving. Then visiting the local public school playing with over 500 kids. 

We truly have an amazing team! - Randy Stensgard

Having never done anything like this in my life, naturally I came into this trip a little apprehensive. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the country, the culture, and most certainly the people. To take such a great leap of faith and go on a journey across the world required a great stretching of my faith. From financial issues at home to passport problems, there were no shortages of roadblocks along the way. So far, I can tell you all that it has been more than worth everything that I had to go through and sacrifice to be here. I came with the intention to minister and bless the Kenyan people and I feel like instead I have been ministered to and blessed abundantly more by them. Their love for life and for one another has shown me what is truly important. The gratefulness that everyone here has for us and for one another has been humbling and awe-inspiring. Each new experience has been better than the last, and in the middle of it all God’s Holy Spirit has been guiding and directing the entire team to new relationships and new realizations. I cant wait to see what God is going to do in and through us in the rest of out time here. - Chad Burns

Hello there my dear friends,

It is so wonderful to be here. These people are so full of the love of Jesus and joy. We have so much to learn from them. They may not have much in worldly stuff, they have found riches in the Love of God.

They sing and worship with such enthusiasm. Wish you could be here. I know you are covering us with your prayers. Thank you so much. God is working here. Love you all. - Pam Anderson

Jambo from Kenya!

We are so very thankful for all of your love and support. Our children have been amazing on this trip...even with the time changes, the many hours of travel, the people who LOVE to touch, hug, and hold hands, the visit to the Kibira slums, and so many other new things...they have been truly amazing!

Today was a truly special day for me. God started bringing feminine hygiene issues to my heart a few months ago and through a series of, what can only be explained as, Holy Spirit directed moments, a plan came together. With the wonderful support from so many of you at home, our team was able to provide training and bring along 150 kits to give to the girls here. We were uncertain about how many girls would show up and were beginning to wonder if we needed to go other places to deliver these kits. Around 1:30pm today, the daughters and granddaughters of the widows began coming...a few at a time, and by the time we started, there were 71 girls, ages 8 – 20 and 4 older women ready to listen, learn and receive. After the training, Rachael, my new Kenyan sister here who helps run the ministry to the widows and their children here, said she really thought it would be best to give each girl 2 kits. So...if you are following that math...we had EXACTLY enough kits for each person who came!! Our God is so good! A huge thank you to Kathy in Colorado and Days for Girls New Hope, MN for your loving preparation of each kit for each of these precious girls. As the girls were receiving the kits, they were commenting on what a huge help this is going to be for them. We feel so grateful for God’s guidance, your support and how this whole thing came together. I have a feeling you have not heard the last from me on this issue...there are many, many girls who need this help...and the girls in Kibira are on my heart!! - Melody

Last night is a night that had a huge impact on me. In the boys’ dorm every night, the kids sing, praise God and share devotions. The voices, enthusiasm, and focus on God from these kids brought me to tears. Last night, the devotion was on being appreciative for everything. In the eyes of an American, it would seem that these were kids that do not have a lot. They do not have families, material possessions. It was so apparent to me that what they do have, love, connection with each other, an awareness of the preciousness for others, far outweighs the things as an American we place high value on. I was further blown away after the singing and devotions were over. All the children walked down to the hut of one of our teammates who wasn’t feeling well. It was dark, they gathered outside her hut and sang songs asking God for healing and praying for her. I walked through the dark with the kids and Douglas, a 13 year old boy walked with me, offered to carry my water bottle, and explained how God is able to heal illness. This whole thing me to tears. Needless to say, I woke up with puffy eyes!! Everyday seems to be filled with new adventures. I’m excited to see what tomorrow will bring :) - Dawn Holmquist
We go on mission trips to bless others, show them the love we have been showed from our loving Father. I was the one that was blessed last night, I was not feeling well and was prayed over by our team. Which was overwhelming and wonderful. A big part of the orphanage is a nightly worship service, it is what helps hold the children together . I experienced this the night before ,the love for Jesus and each other that night was so powerful. It was the children from the orphanage that came the night I wasn’t feeling well to pray for me!! I still don’t have words to explain the love I felt, it was far beyond what I would have thought I would experience. I have been blessed beyond something measurable in words, but we know our God is big!!!!

Louann Beal


Today we all experienced a new adventure...the piki piki ride! They are motorcycle taxis and a common way folks get around. Most of the team hopped on the back of our own piki piki to head out to visit a few sights where we are having work done for a few families in great need. What a wild ride it was!! The roads here are horrible! To say they are bumpy is an understatement; all dirt and rocks. There is no real rhyme nor reason to the traffic flow and helmets are used to decorate your motorcycle not to be worn on your head. We looked like a renegade band of bikers for Jesus! These piki piki’s drove us to the home of a family that is having a new home being build by Love for Kenya. These folks have 4 children and live in a small dirt hut that they share with their goats and chickens. The roof is so bad that it had to be replaced but the structure was so week it would crumble under a new roof. So, we have hired local laborers to build the new, larger and safer home. The next homes we visited are having new outhouses built by Love for Kenya again by local folks. The hole in the ground is 30 feet deep and is hand dug by a smaller man sitting 30 feet down chiseling away at the dirt. When he is done for the day they pull him up by a rope! The widows are so appreciative and it is just so wonderful to see their faces light up as we pray for them and share that Jesus loves them and is making this all happen! - Molly Moore

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Day 2 - Visiting the Widows

Amazing day singing, dancing and caring for the "outcasts of society", the widows. What a great joy it was to encourage and meet the deed of food for over 87 widows. So amazing what God is doing on this trip. Our team is really gelling, and engaging in ministry to the poorest of the poor. What a joy it is to serve with this team. - Randy Stensgard

Today we met with the widows.  They greeted us with strong hand shakes and side to side hugs.  Even the quiet women were assertive with their greeting.  This was surprising.  I was expecting to meet with a group of women who had were weary and broken.  This group found strength in one another, in their song, and in their dance.  I’ve trained in dance for so many years, but recently I’ve noticed that my body doesn’t respond to movement the way it used to.  I’ve found myself feeling apprehensive about joining, about sharing my movement.  These women, however, made it so easy.  Their joy, their song, their encouragement invited us all to dance.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to direct, I didn’t have to perform, I let go and worshiped with these women.  Thank you Jesus. ~ Christa Anderson

WOW!  What an experience so far and its only been 3 days!  I have seen things I will never forget and have meet people who will forever live in my heart.  Kenya and Shangilia have already left an imprint.  Starting our adventures in Kenya visiting Kibira Slums and Pastor Timothy’s school was quite the eye opener.  To actually see such poverty; I could never have imagined it in my wildest dreams or should I say nightmares.  But, there is something that is universal, kindergarten children are silly, bouncy and so smiley no matter their circumstances.  After a scramble to the airport, we made our flight by the skin of our teeth to Kisumu.  After a short but bumpy ride we made it to Shangilia where we were greeted by all the children and staff singing our welcome.  What a gift!  Lots and smiles and tears from our team.  We had the pleasure of hosting around 87 widows this late morning were we made merry singing and dancing.  There are no language barriers with those two things!  Thanks to the donation from friends, I was able to bring over Polaroid cameras with film to photograph every kid in Kenya!!  Needless to say I was pretty popular today photographing all the kids at Shangilia.  I am so happy to have given them photos of themselves and their friends to hang in their rooms.  So much has happened in such a short amount of time!  I can not wait to see what God has planned for us tomorrow and all the following days!  Boy!  Has God been good!!!  Molly Moore  

Words cannot express what an incredible experience this has been so far.   I will never forget the trip we had to the slums of Kibira on our first day here in Kenya.  To experience the extreme poverty, living conditions, smells, people and sights in person does not hold a candle to anything I have ever experienced.  We had the priviledge to meet Pastor Timothy who runs a Christian school in the middle of the slums.  All I can say is that the love of Christ in Pastor Timothy and at the school is present and palpable.  We fed the children their lunch.  Knowing these children may only get this one meal per day, I was struck with how no one complained, asked for more food, and were content with anything they were offered.  Spending the morning today with the widows in the community, singing, dancing, smiling, laughing was a treat.  Experiencing the joy of the women was awesome.  God has been so faithful and present.  I’m expecting God to continue to do amazing things with our remaining days here in Kenya.  Thank you again to all who are supporting me on this trip!     Love you!  Dawn Holmquist

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