Thanksgiving on the Other Side of the Globe

Thanksgiving Menu:

Flour chapatis

Maize

Beans

Rice

Watermelon

 

Kenyan Pantry

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Meal Preparation is an all day affair:

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Everyone has a job:

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Family Devotion Time:

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Talking about dinner manners:

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A beautiful table setting:

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Full tummies:

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After-Dinner Naps:

(how many babies can you find?)

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Decorating for Christmas:

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It’s a lot like your day!

Thanksgiving.

Thanksliving.

Thank you God that it’s not about giving on one day. It’s about giving our lives away.

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For When You Wonder if You’re Valuable

Once there was a prince and he was looking for a wife. He searched the land and found a farmer with two daughters. When he asked about the dowry for the young maidens, the farmer explained that for the educated daughter, who was beautiful and smart, pure and above reproach, the dowry was ten cows, a small fortune. But for the second daughter who was uneducated and not as pretty and broken, the dowry was one cow. The prince left and said he would come back the next day with his decision.

And he did.

He presented the father with ten healthy cows and the farmer brought his firstborn daughter.

“No,” the prince replied. “It is the second daughter I want.”

“Oh, you have paid too much,” the father protested. But the prince gave the ten cows. Because he saw beyond her appearance or situation.

He saw her for who she would become. He knew what love could do. DSC_1717 He recognized her value.

This Kenyan Proverb was shared at our very first Mercy House Graduation today. The first four girls brought into the maternity home, almost three years ago now have completed Phase 1 of the Rehema House program. And now they move into Phase 2, a halfway house of sorts with more independence and outside education as they are slowly reintegrated back into their homes if it’s a viable option.

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They were rescued when they were most hopeless.

They were redeemed when they were destitute.

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They have beautifully transformed from broken, desperate girls into glowing new creations.

They have been given hope.

And a future. DSC_1593 Every resident has a unique situation and while some may stay three years, others may stay longer. But the ultimate goal is to make disciples and send them out into the world as a light, a new generation of Esthers.

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It was humbling beyond words–to be in this place for such a time as this.

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As I shared how all this began, one small yes, that’s grown into a God-sized dream, I could only give God the glory and thank Him for the good work He has done.

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For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:13-14

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As Terrell and I knelt on our knees before these beautiful new creations, robed in royalty, we washed their feet.

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And not for one minute did these girls wonder if they were valuable.

They knew they belonged to the Prince of Peace.

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That’s what love will do.


(in)Mercy LIVE from Africa

Teen-aged laughter and baby giggles.

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Heartfelt worship songs and dancing feet.

Red dirt and colorful laundry hanging on the line.

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I’m in Kenya this week with my family at Mercy House and this verse is alive in my heart:

“O, Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.’ -Psalm 33:9

Sometimes when we give money, we wonder if it really goes to what it’s asked for. I’m your eyewitness today, testifying of mercy.

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Maureen, Kenyan Director

We have a little more wiggle room for our 24 residents now and in our new-to-us van.

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Two new classrooms are already in use…

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As a skills room

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and a computer lab that will take our students to the next level of learning.

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Click to continue to read all God has done through (in)mercy at DaySpring….


Growing in Mercy

The funny thing about a house full of babies is they don’t stay babies long.

It’s a universal thing, huh?

Healthy babies grow. And it’s a poignant journey for all mommas across the globe.

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It’s a lifetime of firsts. It’s what God created all of us to do–grow up.

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Every time I visit Mercy House, it’s the first thing I notice. Chubby thighs, double chins, heavy babies who were bundled the last time I held them and are now peekaboo-playing toddlers running through the house.

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I’ve also noticed with each visit, there’s less for me to oversee and advise on, less dependence. It’s more of me watching like a proud parent.  The maternity home is growing and maturing and developing far past anything I could have hoped or dreamed.

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It’s a beautiful thing for a mother to witness, these first steps.

When my family said yes, nearly four years ago, to this baby of an idea, we had no idea what God would do. We simply offered our meager offering.  And I am the first to tell you, what I’m witnessing this week is Divine. Watching traumatized girls powerfully healed, holding babies who were botched abortions, watching God make something from nothing–this is holy ground. Listening to the girls worship this morning, brought such deep gratitude and reflection for the countless miracles.

I look at this big baby that’s a growing, changing ministry and I stand back–half excited, half terrified–of what’s coming next, more of the unknown, bigger dreams and scarier yes’.

And I sort of feel like just a little girl. And so, I look up to my Father. My big Daddy in Heaven who says, “I’m going to keep growing you, too, daughter. Hold my hand. I’ll lead you.”

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And He says it to each of us. You sitting there with a babe growing in your body or a grand baby growing in your grown baby. . .We all keep growing. Keep giving all you’ve got to those children in your life, those without, those who don’t have what you do.

It’s the best way to live Thanksgiving.

It’s the best way to grow.

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We keep adding to our family here in Kenya. It’s growing in size and grace and we want you to be a part of it. Help us help more girls, more babies, turn this heartbreakingly beautiful country upside down for Jesus? We are asking God for 100 new families to join this growing family in 2014.

2014 Family Picture

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Sweet [Exhausted] Mercy

We made it.

And I’m almost too tired to type another word.

30 hours and mostly still smiling (not one meltdown, so clearly miracles happen).

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We landed at 7am and hit the ground running. We arrived at the home and got reacquainted. Everyone is shy at first, babies tentative to white strangers.

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Well. Most.

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We shared gifts with all the residents and staff and took a tour of our new home and the recent additions.

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It’s surreal being in Kenya again. Loving mercy, being eyewitnesses to all God has done.

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Also: What happens in Kenya stays in Kenya

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One of my kids got stuck in a bathroom for half an hour and we had to break the door down. That was fun. You can take that family out of the USA, but you can take THAT family out of us. Apparently.

I’m so glad you’re here with us!

P.S. Don’t you love my Team Mercy shirt? Our new Team Mercy Advocacy Program starts in 2014. It’s the perfect way for families to join our team and help reach more girls in Kenya for Christ.