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.
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.
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)
Everyone's hands got dirty building outhouses for the widows on Wednesday. This style of building outhouses is muddy work. Even the kids helped in this construction project that involved packing mud into the outhouse structure and even chucking mud at the walls. Despite a hard day of work, the team didn't miss the amazing sunrise.
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
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
What a great trip it has been so far! stay tuned for our next blog post!
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!!!!
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
The team helped lead the local church for the day and shared their stories of Jesus and strength, literally, with the community. The rest of Sunday was spent getting to know the children and staff at Shangilia. It seems Sunday was a day of rest, laughter and settling into life at Shangilia.
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
The team went to visit Pastor Timothy in Kibera Slums feeding food to the poorest of the poor and having fun with the school children. The pictures speak volumes to the conditions in the slums, but also to the resilience and joy of the community.
16 people will be serving at our Love for Kenya orphanage (Shangilia Children's Home) in Kenya, Africa. They will start out by going to the Kibera Slum in Nairobi and visiting the ministry of Pastor Timothy, then they will travel to Shangilia Children's Home on the western side of Kenya. Some of the ministry they will be doing is working with the widows, the outcasts of society, the orphans, the poorest of the poor. Continue to check out this blog and see what the team is up to and how God is leading them.
2018 LOVE FOR KENYA MISSIONS TEAM:
1. Randy Darling - Leader
2. Randy Stensgard - Leader
3. Christa Anderson
4. Molly Moore
5. Dawn Holmquist
6. Lou Ann Beal
7. Chad Burns
8. Dan Johnson
9. Cindy Johnson
10. Rolf Brombacher
11. Melody Brombacher
12. Isaac Brombacher
13. Josiah Brombacher
14. Anja Brombacher
15. Elias Brombacher
16. Pam Anderson
TOP 3 FOCUS AREAS:
1. Ministry to the Widows
2. Ministry in the Community
3. Ministry to the Orphans & Staff
5 MAIN OBJECTIVES:
1. Listening Prayer
2. Share our faith
3. Build meaningful relationships
4. Meet felt needs
5. Debrief and respond to what God is doing
My first trip to Kenya was with my husband Randy in 2006. It was on that trip I met Pastor Francis, his family, the children, and the widows “mamas.”
That was the beginning of an amazing journey and what is now officially known as “Love for Kenya.” It is a privilege serving on the board with members who are so generous with their time, gifted in their talents, and wise beyond their years.
I love hearing the stories and watching the videos of teams “dancing with the mamas” and giving them food each time they visit. Randy’s most recent team build outhouses for a few mamas. Hearing how grateful they were to be given the dignity to go to the bathroom in private brought tears to my eyes!
I first met Randy Stensgard and Francis Ranogwa at a Torchbearer Bible School in Germany. Francis and I served on a student team together while Randy and I got to know each other more after returning to Minnesota. Randy moved to Colorado and I lost touch with most of my Bible school friends. A number of years ago Randy and his family moved back to Minnesota and we reconnected. About 18 months ago he asked me to sit in on a board meeting for LFK and I was hooked. Serving on the board is great because I get to see some of the ways God is using a group of north american misfits to bring help, hope and healing to some of our downtrodden brothers and sisters on the other side of the globe.
Two projects in particular come to mind the new well and the new boys dorm. In north america we never worry about water but at the Shangilia children's school this had been a real concern, that is until the new well. Now they have more than enough clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Praise God! Also the new boys dorm; to see the look on the faces of the lads when they got to see their very own beds is just priceless.
I took my first trip to Kenya when I was 17 and it really changed my attitudes toward God and the world. I realized God is a lot bigger than I thought, and the world was a lot more than my, then, high school bubble of dance team and church youth group. I loved Kenya! When I was 23 I went back and loved it the same. We spent time understanding the needs of Shangilia and our partners by interviewing staff and children. When I was asked to be on the board, it was a natural yes.
Seeing most of the children get sponsored this year was a huge blessing. It happened gradually, but after a year of sponsorship partners signing up bit by bit, here we are, a little over a year from our kick off party, and many of the k-12 students are sponsored, and we have some new students being sponsored for college as well. It’s also fun to see how people engage with the newsletter. I've learned a lot about Kenya through putting the newsletter together. It’s been fun to share stories of our children and the needs in Kenya by helping with the email creation.
As a young christian, from about age 10 thru high school and beyond, I had the feeling in the back of my mind that someday God would have me involved in Africa in some way. Fast forward thru college, marriage, starting a career and starting a family to the early 2000's when Randy Stensgard became the youth pastor at our church and introduced our congregation to Shangilia Children's Home through his friendship with Pastor Francis and short-term missions trips with our church. I was always drawn to the things that Randy and other trip participants shared about their experiences in Kenya, but I was never able to go along on any of the trips. Fortunately God had plans for me and Kenya and he let me know this in early 2013 after Randy, who had moved back to MN, sent out a newsletter about a Kenya trip he had planned for the summer of 2013 with folks from his new church. As soon as I read it, I knew that God wanted me to go on that trip despite the fact that going to Kenya with a group of people I didn't know at all is completely outside my comfort zone. My husband wasn't sure, my family and friends were surprised and no one was entirely convinced this was a good idea, except for me. That was my first trip to Kenya in June 2013 and surprisingly God sent me again in January 2014. They were both awesome experiences that have changed my life in both dramatic and run-of-the-mill ways, one of which was Randy inviting me to join the board of Love for Kenya in late 2013 as we began the process of filing to become an official 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization. I was originally given the role of secretary, but fortunately God provided me with the opportunity to become treasurer which is a much better fit for my skills and interests.
My favorite thing about Love for Kenya is the fact that I've had the opportunity to witness a ministry that is totally and completely God driven. It is amazing to me to see how God has pulled together a group of people that are scattered around the globe simply through their willingness to say yes to God and participate. God has built a children's home, blessed widows, provided for financial and physical needs and strengthened the Christian walk and relationships of so many people by letting them participate in this ministry and all of it was accomplished without some big, organized, human plan. Love for Kenya is just one more example of God making a ministry happen and it has been amazing to watch us go from a brand new 501(c)3 with barely enough money to pay for stamps and insurance to an organization with 64 of the 69 children at Shangilia sponsored and countless projects in Kenya that have been funded through God's grace and people's willing hearts. It's a great reminder that God knows and will meet needs, whether in Kenya or in my everyday life!
Lee Robinson, along with Tim Read, participated in the Engineering Ministries International trip to Shangilia in September, 2006 to design the spring fed water system. Both Lee and Tim then assisted on the trip to build the system in January, 2017.
· Lee has been to Shangilia ten times since that first trip in 2006.
· When it became apparent that the spring fed water system was no longer adequate, Lee incorporated the drilling of deep water wells at Shangilia and Ideleri School into the drilling program at Covenant churches in Kenya. These two wells were drilled through solid granite into water bearing fractured granite early in 2016, and both produce large quantities of high quality water.
· Lee has always had a passion to support short term volunteers going to Shangilia, and will be deeply involved in this effort going forward.
Nic took hugely influential trips to Kenya in 2008 and again with his family in 2010. A core part of his testimony is getting to share the Gospel message after the Jesus film was played and having to depend on God 100% to get over his fears of public speaking. He loves the mission of Shangilia and partnering with great leaders to transform the children’s lives. His favorite project has been seeing the video of the new boy’s dorm being constructed and the sheer joy on the children’s faces as they walked into their new home. He can’t wait to go back and experience the wonderful Kenyan people and culture!
I got involved with Love For Kenya after the first time I went on a mission trip there in 2005, God laid it on my heart to start to partner with Pastor Francis, he and I were roommates 29 years ago. I love serving with some of the most amazing and gifted people on the planet that are on the Love For Kenya Board. God uses this godly team to impact hundreds of lives in Kenya!
My favorite project was the construction and completion of the the new boys dorm. The boys were living in very humble conditions and then to have them move into a new place that they could call their own was truly amazing. I remember one of the boys and seeing the look on their face as they walked into there room for the first time, with great awe and amazement. Then to see them lay on their new beds and not want to leave their new rooms! I praise God for the way that he provided the funding for this project! God continues to surprise me in amazing ways with the Love For Kenya ministry.
I originally got involved with the Kenya ministry over 11 years ago when I traveled to Shangilia for the first time. I have been back three times since and have also enjoyed serving on this (relatively new) Love For Kenya board helping to equip, enable, and improve the lives of these friends that I have come to love over the last 11 years.
My favorite story from my involvement with the LFK ministry is back in 2007 when we installed the original water system on the property. To gloss over a TON of details that make the full story so interesting...suffice it to say that God knew every bump, hurdle, problem, and issue that we would run into. We thought that the $16,000 dollars that had been raised for the project would be way more than enough to complete everything, and then some. When Kefa and I added up all the receipts and costs at the end of the construction we came up with something like $15,980. Same thing with the number of special-order pipe fittings. We planned on having extra fittings - just in case - and ended up needing every single one. The point I took home from all of this is that God gave us exactly what we needed - and He even accounted for every single miscommunication, mistake, and error that His lowly servants would make and gave us enough grace to cover it all and complete the project that would advance His Kingdom.
The Love For Kenya team from Plymouth Covenant Church is officially on their way home. God moved in so many ways! Here is a small summary of their amazing mission trip.
1) Ministry to children and staff at Shangilia Orphanage.
2) Ministry to the widows.
3) Feeding 90 plus widows by providing each widow with a few days' worth of food.
4) Built 2 outhouses, plus more will be built in the weeks to come.
5) Ministry in the Kibera slum with pastor Timothy at his school.
6) Ministry to the children at the orphanage kindergarten.
7) Two men who came to know Christ during the medical clinic, as Randy Darling shared the good news of salvation with people in the community.
8) For another man who came to know Christ as Bob did listening prayer and was lead to a specific man.
9) Ministry at the public school.
The list goes on and on. Please ask some of the team members specifics of what God did on this amazing mission trip!
Yesterday was the Plymouth Covenant Church team's LAST day serving the orphans and widows in Kenya! Below are photos of the kindergarten at Shangilia Orphanage, as well as the mission team spending time with over 90 widows and providing them with food for their families!
Thank you for all the donations!
Hello, friends of Love for Kenya! We received another big set of photos from the Plymouth Covenant Church mission team that's serving in Kenya from January 3-15, 2017. These photos are from yesterday, January 11. We don't have much written detail as far as how the team spent their day yesterday, but based on the photos we received, it appears the team ministered to children at the school and Shangilia Orphanage! Enjoy the photos. We will continue to share updates as we receive them from the team.
Yesterday, the Plymouth Covenant Church team on mission with Love For Kenya ran a medical clinic, continued construction on outhouses for the widows, and spent time with the children at Shangilia Orphanage. It looks like it was a very BUSY and EXCITING day for the team!
Randy with widow, Agness, who is also getting a new outhouse this week!
Yesterday, the Plymouth Covenant Church team on mission with Love for Kenya spent time ministering at the school, and began construction on outhouses for the widows!
It was another great day in Kenya!
1. Conor is feeling better.
2. Great church service at Oasis of Joy church. Bob and Randy Darling shared their story of how Jesus has changed their lives. Randy Stensgard preached.
3. Spent time with the children at the orphanage today.
4. Getting ready for construction on the outhouses for the widows homes tomorrow, and medical clinic for the community which will start on Tuesday.
Meet Lonika, one of the widows served by Love for Kenya. The team from Plymouth Covenant Church will be building outhouses for 5 different widows while they're on mission in Kenya. Some of the widows' outhouses are unsafe; some widows do not have an outhouse and just go in the weeds. Widows are considered outcasts of society in Kenya, so this project will meet real, felt needs. Please pray for Lonika and the other 4 widows who will be blessed by new/upgraded outhouses this week. Construction BEGAN today. We will continue to share updates as we receive them from the team.
It is great to be back in Kenya, Africa, and at Shangilia! I have hugged everyone here. No one was left out. Even the African widows from age 38 to 99 love to be loved on. One special time for me was quoting John 3:16 in my Swahili and they actually cheered for God (Mungu) as I finished. I also shed a few tears….OK a lot of tears as I got to renew my love and friendship with the children I have been playing with and sponsoring. Thank you for your prayers as I am healthy and recharged in the ministry here.
Asante Sana, Randy Darling
My heart is twice broken!
First my heart is broken by the pain of broken families, abandon children, the poverty and squalor. It can feel nearly overwhelming. Our first day we visited the Kibera slum, where one million people live in one square mile. There is nearly no electricity and no plumbing. The stench hits you like a wall. From there we came to the Shangilia Children’s home. While the conditions are MUCH better it is still hard to know that these beautiful children have been abandon by those who should care for them most. The next day we met with the widows, who in Kenyan culture are nearly outcasts from society. Why should it be that these women who have already experienced the pain of losing a husband now in addition to caring for their family have to take on the financial burden of providing for themselves and their family? And on top of this to be cast out from your society…it is not fair, it is not right. My heart is broken.
Now my heart breaks again as I get to know these people. Instead of finding despair and hopelessness there is JOY, HOPE, LOVE, GENEROSITY. How can this be explained? There is only one answer. It can sound like the pat Sunday school answer “Jesus," but it is really true. Only our Lord can take this much pain, this much loss, this much suffering and from it bring this much JOY.
When I asked Pastor Timothy in Kibera what the goal of his ministry is or what it is that he is trying to accomplish he did not say I would like to feed these children, he did not say I would like to educate these children, he did not say he wanted to eliminate the poverty, he said without hesitation that it is his life’s work to bring people to Jesus! I am weeping as I type this. Did you read it? Read it again! His life’s work it to bring people to Jesus! Only Jesus can meet needs and hurts this deep.
The night we arrived at Shangilia the children danced and sang, they greeted us and hugged us. They had so much respect and love. My heart again broke with joy.
Seeing the widows as they came together forming a sisterhood, showing kindness, gentleness and love for one another. When they sang and danced; there can be no place closer to heaven on earth than that. Again my heart broke with joy.
Everyone I have met that was a part of the ministry of Love for Kenya was FULL of joy. It beams out of their faces. We are brothers and sisters even though we live on different continents. My heart breaks with joy. I know that this is not the last time we will meet, my Kenyan family and me. Whether, if the Lord grants, I am able to come back to Kenya or if not when we meet in the sweet by and by I will get to see my brothers and sisters again.
Are any of you wondering if there truly is joy in the Lord? I challenge you, exhort you, I beg you come to Kenya and have your heart twice broken as well.
Feeling Blessed, honored, and amazed to be in Kenya at Shangilia Orphanage. Amanda and I are settled into our new hut home for the next week and thankful to be part of this amazing Love for Kenya Team. There have been two amazing God connections. First, with the widows who came on Friday to the Orphanage. We talked with them, gave hugs, and worked on a bracelet project together, then we danced (they taught us how to dance with God’s Energy). The kids are in need of lots of hugs and we are so happy to provide those. We are staying active with the kids and we had an awesome soccer game which was chance to get to know boys more. Most amazing moments have been kids just coming to sit with us and want to be held. We are telling them Jesus loves them. Pastor Francis and whole staff here are amazing. Thanks for the prayers and support. Love to All!
Jambo from Africa,
We are into our second day at Shangilia Orphanage. We started the day going into the village and visiting four widows’ houses. These are the houses we are going to work on this next week, repairing their roofs and building new choo or toilets. I have enjoyed spending time with the children. I have been surprised how young they are at the orphanage. I am excited to serve with Bob.