Kenya: Update Seven

We finished the last two days wrapping up our skills training. The girls are so quick and love learning. They have produced some beautiful items this week. Part of our day guard’s responsibilities is keeping the grounds. For the past several months, he’s been “chopping” the grass with a machete. We were able to purchase an inexpensive hand mower (Maureen is the ultimate bargainer!)

Even though we lost electricity for 18 hours, we continued to clean the house inside and out with flashlights and candles in preparation for our board meeting on Saturday morning.

We were up early to finish the cleaning and prepare “snacks” for our guests. Roasted peanuts, popcorn and sodas (traditional snacks)

This message board and missions statement are posted to view as you enter the home:

We had a great time of prayer, devotion and visited with the board members who were able to make it after we had a board meeting. We are so thankful for these women and man (not pictured) of God. They come from humble backgrounds-many from extreme poverty. They have risen to important positions in the community (many with Compassion International ties) and advise Maureen well.

Afterwards, we visit Kazuru, a glass bead factory that employs single mothers. We are hoping to form a future partnership. We then visited the Giraffe Center, a place that helps orphaned giraffes.

It was amazing:

We ended our evening making American pizza and spaghetti for the girls, staff. Our housemother, Annette, said it was a dream come true to have pizza and CHEESE for the first time in her life!

The last few days we have grown so close to the girls. They have really let their guard down and begun to open up. I don’t even want to think about leaving.

Internet will be sketchy the next two days as we’re heading about 6 hours to Mattaw Children’s Village, a ministry we support that is a home for street/orphaned or abandoned children.

Happy weekend from Africa!

The Real Africa

The power has been out for hours….cooking over a charcoal fire, cleaning by candlelight and going to bed early.

My kids think it’s a blast.

We are now getting a full taste of Africa.


(2 minutes of computer battery left)

Kenya: [Blessings] Update Six

Water is life in Africa.

It doesn’t take long to realize how crucial it is to have an abundance of clean water. Our family is drinking and brushing our teeth with bottled water. There is a water purifier for the residents and staff, but it has only been partially working, so they have also been using bottled water and used water for the garden.

Just a day before we arrived, the house hadn’t had water for 3 days-to drink or bathe, wash clothes and dishes, relying solely on bottled water. This week we discovered that the pump had gone out. The owner of the beautiful home we’re renting isn’t really interested in fixing the pump. (Such is the life of Kenyan landlords).

Learning to make greeting cards

Maureen has been negotiating with him to split the cost with us, but we had to make a decision soon.

The night we arrived in Nairobi, the staff was on their way to pick us up at the airport in the rain. Rain and dirt roads are a dangerous combination. They ended up sliding into a ditch and were stuck for hours and hours. A Compassion International driver picked us up and brought us to the home late that night.

The problem?

Our new van is beautiful and so nice, only the tires aren’t fit for Kenyan roads. It’s a supply and demand problem, so appropriate tires are nearly $800 U.S. dollars. Between that and a $400 water pump, I was worried.

It’s these unexpected expenses that give me ulcers.

It’s these unexpected expenses that make me rely on God.

Today after we worked on making paper mache bowls,

we went to the local store to see about purchasing a pump. My hubby is pretty handy and after helping our day guard with planting the garden, they thought it might be possible to fix it.

We sat in the van talking over the unexpected expenses, trying to decide if we should shop around prices (in hour long traffic lines) and dip into or emergency fund that also pays for baby deliveries. I have had very poor access to the Internet this week, but for some reason, I decided to check the gmail account linked to the Mercy House Paypal account.

I gasped.

Everyone in the van looked at me. I said, “We just got an anonymous donation that will pay for the tires and the water pump!”

Maureen and I grinned at each other. God is always on time.

I’m learning so much about faith here and how hard people work. Every employee of Mercy House Kenya uses the salaries to support a dozen relatives!

So many of you have sent donations, given money, prayed for this ministry. Please know that every dollar it is making a difference. And every penny is spent carefully.

We will have water tomorrow.



Want to give financially to Mercy House and be a part of the house God is building? click here.

Kenya: Update Five



If it weren’t for Maureen showing us the proper way to do laundry, we would be some pretty dirty people. By the time she was done with the sock, it was whiter than snow.

Turns out I don’t know much about manual labor.

I spent Wednesday morning at the local hospital with our girl who is due any day now. Her weekly appointment went well and these girls are gaining weight quickly with good nutrition. In just a few weeks, they have filled out so much.

Later in the day, Maureen, the driver and my hubby traveled to the open food and meat markets to buy vegetables, fruits and meats in bulk for the next two weeks. I was so impressed with how organized Maureen and her staff it, compiling reports for food consumption, food inventory and they also have a notebook for each girl, where they record weekly data about them.

While they shopped, the rest of us rolled paper for necklaces, varnished items and learned a couple of other skills.


They are producing some beautiful items! I’m hoping to take bag a lot of items to stock our new store that will be at Mercy

We are making paper mache bowls and greeting cards tomorrow!

Thanks so much for your prayers-we feel them. So far, my kids have fallen into a cactus, gotten stung by a nettle plant, fallen out of a tree, had an allergic reaction to mosquito netting…. but, thankfully the injuries have all been very minor…. but please don’t stop praying!

Kenya: Three Words

Laundry in Africa.



[My update for the day will have to wait. I’m doing laundry BY HAND for our family of five. Oy. Going to hug my 10 year old washing machine when I get home.]