Archive for May, 2009

From Geoffrey to you; I almost missed it

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Sunday May 31, 2009

I almost missed it

My body was pretty exhausted today. I was sick on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which always seems to take its toll on your body and I am still feeling it. I went to kasha Friday night, I left my house about six at night and got home just about six in the morning and for whatever reason I didn’t fall asleep until about eight. I woke up three hours later and didn’t fall asleep until late last night. I woke up around five this morning and was at church until four thirty or so. My body = zonked! I tell you all this because my dreary state almost caused me to miss something so crucial.

I am always bombarded with little kids. They used to fear my skin, now it seems to be a magnet and they gravitate around me. I can’t remember the last time I walked down the street without a child yelling out my name and running to me or having one of them run up, grab my hand and walk with me. These kids have grown to love me and I them. There are two boys that I see all the time, these two are instigators, which is probably why I like them so much, I used to be one, heck I still am one. I love messing with them, chasing them, tickling them, scaring them and just being around them. I don’t know if it is their gleeful joy or sinister grins, but not once have I stopped to think about their living conditions or the difficulties they face.

Today, though busy, was one of those extraordinary days, a day of reflection and thanksgiving. I reminisced the empowerment I felt from the kasha, the lessons I have learned this week (one of which being to be more careful with what I eat) and just soaking up what life has to offer. I walked through the day in this blissful state, counting each smile as a blessing and every warm Kenyan welcome as a gift from God. My cloud nine strut came to an abrupt halt when I was called over by one of the instigators.

The eyes that I had only seen filled with mischief were now focused on the ground and his head was held low. This boy who had been the culprit of so many shenanigans and blared witty remarks that only come out of the unfiltered mouths of little trouble-makers like me, now mumbled his shame. He didn’t need to say a word, I knew what his body language was saying, the fact that he was nearly in tears gave away the fact that something was wrong. He started to describe the type of hunger he had. He started telling me about how bad his stomach hurts because he hasn’t had anything to eat for a while. He kept at the pain in his stomach, simply from now eating.

How could I be so foolish? How could I just overlook this child and his cousin? I had seen these boys more times than I can count and interacted with him and his cousin on a regular basis, how could I be so blind as to not even think about how I can help or if there is even a problem to help with? I fell for the clever smile and the jovial laughs. I felt horrible, I still do, here two little innocent children, though not so innocent when it comes to mischief, that I have had the power to help and yet I haven’t.

I took these boys to the place where I normally eat (hopefully they wont get sick like I did, I’m sure they are used to the food in this area). They each got a soda, Fanta is a big hit with these kids especially when they don’t get to drink them often, and ate a feast. They ate more food than I normally do in a day; they plowed through it and hardly breathed between bites; the way any guy would eat. In between their huge gulps of food, I was able to hear more about their story and lives. Every word they said struck my heart… here they were suffering so much, under my watch, and I was completely oblivious… talk about feeling cruddy.

I don’t really know what I learned from this experience. I know I can’t read minds and I don’t know everyone’s situation, but I just can’t shake the fact that this hunger was advancing under my watch. Maybe I need to open my eyes a little wider. Perhaps I need to look past the smiles and grins and really dig deep. I should possibly stop assuming and find out for myself… I really don’t know. This is one of those times when I wished that I had a fat billfold and could write a check to feed these kids for their entire life…

I know there are going to be plenty of more incidences where these children go to bed hungry. I know that for such a long time they have been malnourished and have been deprived of good hearty meals, but I also know that today they feasted. I can’t write a check that will feed them for the rest of their lives, but I sure as heck hope that this small feast, this small act of kindness, will shine compassion in their heart for the rest of their days. I know I can’t meet all of the needs; I can only hope to plant seeds and touch hearts.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Janet’s eyes
Generator funds
Medical center (I attached a photo)

I took medicine that is made to force the farts out of you…. It works..
Tires are as big with these children as legos are with our kids… I ended up stacking about six tires on each other and putting a kid in the stack… Ill attach a picture
There is little boy that attaches himself to my hip every time he sees me… he is always holding my hand… I attached a picture of the two of us
I have big ear lobes and if I flick them they make a popping noise… I showed this to the kids and they went nuts. None of them can do it… woot woot
Kids go CRAZY for stickers
I also put some pictures of Carro and the back of her head… you can see the shunt put in her head….

Word of the day:
Una Miaka Ngapi
Una me-ah-cuh nnn-gap-pee

What grade are you in?

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From Geoffrey to you; Without a paddle

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Thursday May 28. 2009

Without a paddle

I am concerned for Mama Carro. She has three beautiful daughters, one of whom is Carro the girl with hydrocephalus. This woman has been tossed a few good times by life: being left by her husband, prostitution, alcoholism, judgment and condemnation from others. Despite these overwhelming obstacles, this family has been blessed beyond comprehension. They were over two months over due for rent and now, because of a generous friend, their rent is paid for an entire year. Benevolent members of the church have donated food and other goods to their home in times when they hadn’t eaten for a day or two. Carro, the charismatic and captivating young girl has lived life, without the use of her legs, by crawling and being carried everywhere and now because of a few compassionate people she has a wheelchair and can be taken anywhere she desires with ease. The dangerous build up of water in Carro’s head was drained because of generous and caring people. Friends and fellow churchgoers have been kind enough to pay Mama Carro for small tasks such as washing clothes or cooking. Whenever an obstacle has developed it seems as though God heard the prayers of this woman and delivered her and her children, another obstacle has arrived and I am hoping and praying that God will deliver this small family once again.

Mama Carro has been able to conceal this little secret for a long time but her protruding stomach has let the cat out of the bag; she is pregnant. I think she truly loves her children and does all that she can for them, but she seems to be stuck. As she walked away from prostitution and brewing alcohol her income ceased to exist. This mother is tenaciously trying to better the life for her children but by doing so it seems like she has become trapped. Jobs openings are far and few between, leaving this woman in a situation where affording food and providing for her children is incredibly difficult.

You see, this famine and drought seems to have condemned this place and these people to having few job opportunities and ever-increasing needs. The gap between the amount of job openings and people seeking work is immense; there is 60% unemployment here, which leaves struggles mothers like Mama Carro stuck between a rock and a hard place; stuck without a paddle. I can’t even tell you how many times hunger has forced her to come to William and I for help to buy food… it breaks my heart.

If times weren’t tough enough, even though this child is a blessing, the situation just got more difficult. Between hospital bills, infant necessities and having to constantly be with this child, life just got a little tougher. I am so concerned for this woman and these children, how will they eat and survive? Without a skill or a trade how is this mother going to find a good and constant source of income? We can give her some food and maybe pay for a medical bill or two, but what happens when the food runs out and another medical need arises? A few of us have been trying to come up with some sort of a plan to help this mother for the long run.

What I know is that God doesn’t pick us out of the dirt to throw us in the mud, I have faith and believe that God is going to do something in this family.

Asante Sana,


Mama Carro, her baby, the family and a job opportunity
Stacy’s wheelchair – it should be here tomorrow
The medical center
Funds for a generator
Janet and the continual progression of her eye sight
Esther, found out that she has pneumonia and malaria

I put my new sewing skills to the test today and ended up making a African dress thing… I was kind of shocked that I made it
I let two friends try oatmeal with honey and they both almost threw up
I was in the shop of a friend today, I pulled out an umbrella and started dancing… she just kind of stared
If you get fired and I guess they want everyone to know it for safety reasons and such they put your picture in the news paper and say this person is no longer affiliated with our organization
Matuko and Dorro (the two custodians of my hotel) come to my room almost everyday and tell me that they are in need of sweets… so awesome!

Mwende atta
m-wen-day ah-tah
how have you been since we last met?

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From Geoffrey to you; three seconds later

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Tuesday May 26, 2009

Three seconds later

A friend and I spent a good amount of time at Tumaini’s new medical center taking pictures. We were meandering on back, I say meandering because that is just what guys do, and talking about random, useless, and yet entertaining nothings. Instead of taking the short cut through the cow infested lot we decided to avoid their rancid smell and just walk up the main road. We turned the corner as the unexpected happened. A woman driving a small car sped through the corner and crashed into a wall. Anyone within the audible range of the crunch of this small car swarmed the area. My friend and I rushed to the scene to see if she was okay. Within moments a few men grabbed the driver and shoved her into a matatu (bus) and sped away to the hospital. I couldn’t believe it, only a few moments before my friend and I were standing where the car had crashed and it could have been us.

If we had left literally three seconds later than we did we would have been dead. Right about now my parents would be receiving a phone call about the accident and my death. Knowing my parents, they would pack thier bags and take the next flight to come get my body. Within a few days an email would be sent out to you all about the accident. Three seconds is all that it would have taken for me to be dead. Not by malaria, AIDS, a mob, but death as a car accidents collateral damage. I was a little shaken up because it happened right behind us, I kept on thinking that it could have been us and that all of my plans and ideas would be no more.

Most people, when having a near death experience, write about how we need to cherish each day and would probably quote scripture talking about how tomorrow isn’t promised. I do believe and understand that, but I have come to realize something else of great importance.

In the first chapter of Job the devil is talking to God about his servant Job and mentions that God has put a hedge of protection around Job. I realize that I need to cease the day and understand that tomorrow isn’t promised, but just as important is the idea of being in God’s will. Today’s incident opened my eyes to the fact that I am right where I am supposed to be. Three seconds is all that it would have taken for my body to be spread across the street, but I feel like God has put his hedge of protection around me. “Not quite yet Geoffrey, I have more work for you to do before you go.”

For most people they at this and see it as a coincidence, but not me. Whether I die later tonight, tomorrow or sixty years from today, I know that God’s hand is on my life, that he has a plan for me and that he is using me. There are people I will be used to speak to, lives I will be used to impact, the broken that I will be used to fix and those with despair that I will be used to bring encouragement and to restore. There are a few more chapters in my books of life that I still need to write.

I value each day, I know tomorrow isn’t promised, but I also understand that right here and right now is just where I am to be. Remember to cease the day, but also make sure that where you are right here and right now is where you are supposed to be.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
The woman Esther I wrote about who is very giving and benevolent. She got malaria a few days ago and got an allergic reaction to her medication. She has been in horrible shape and was taken to the hospital a few hours ago.
Janet’s eye sight continues to strengthen and improve, but that is keeps on.
The medical center

There is this little girl I pass by a few times each day. Each time she yells out to me and makes the home alone face, you know the one where his mouth is open really big
Drunks love me
I was watching Underworld with a friend today… she got SOOO scared of the vampires and were wolfs. A few times I jumped at her and screamed to freak her out
My hair is getting long… I feel like a beetle or a hippie
No one seems to know what Oat Meal is

Nime-nunua pajero
Ni-may new-new-uh puh-jer-oh
I drove a car
This is what you say when you get diarrhea… one of my very common expressions when I first got here, but it has been about two weeks since I drove a car : )

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From Geoffrey to you; Green Thumbs in Kosovo

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Wednesday May 27, 2009

Green Thumbs In Kosovo

One of my sisters and I were obsessed with gardening when we were younger. My parents used to manage apartments and would often make trips to Home Depot; each and every time I went along I ambushed the gardening section, particularly the wall covered with seeds. The idea that flowers, vegetables, fruits and shrugs simply blew my sisters and my mind. We both had a section in our yard for our gardens. We planted corn, tomatoes, carrots and anything else we could manage to get the seeds for. Our neighbor had a rabbit and used to feed it tomatoes, its waste was the PERFECT fertilizer and already had the seeds in it. A heap of rabbit waste seemed to produce the largest and most plump tomatoes in Bellflower. The whole idea that something so large and delicious came from such a small seed mystified me.

Today I spent the day with a few pastors making our rounds to different areas, praying for the sick and visiting with the destitute. We went to a place that I mentioned in an earlier blog called Kosovo, which is where they brew beer illegally. There are many alcoholics in Masii, people who feed into their addiction before nourishing their bodies or caring for their families. The regulars wake up early in the morning from a drunken slumber and instantly make their way to Kosovo. We were there at about nine this morning and there were already dozens of men and women too inebriated to stand.

This is one of those places that pastors seem to avoid. We were told that we would probably get beat up by the drunkards and were advised not to go, that didn’t stop us from coming before. The last time we went a few dozen intoxicated men and women warmly welcomed us. We stayed there for a few hours just bonding and getting to know the crowd. We got them all to gather around as we started telling them about the God of compassion and love, not judgment and condemnation. Most of them had been chased away from churches because of this addiction; we told them about how we would welcome them with arms wide open and that if M.C.C. was a perfect church that we would all get kicked out. We told them that they needed to cut the drinking though, not for church but for the sake of their families and their body’s health. We left that day knowing that we had done a good thing and that we had reached out to those that no one else wants, but we figured that God never gave up on us so who are we to give up on these fellas.

Today we ventured all around Kosovo. We visited nearly every home and ended up kicking back at Mecca of all of Kosovo, the part of Kosovo where being drunk was a given and life wasn’t being lived without a cup of the local brew clenched in your hand. We walked around and made friends with the locals and surprisingly MANY of them remembered us from a few weeks ago. The large amount of people seemed to engulf us and they all were asking for prayers and gratefully thanking us for being willing to come talk with them. The coolest part of today was when one of the guys staggered up to me and started reciting everything I had said on my last visit; he even remembered the scripture I had spoken to him (John 3:17). He and his friends started pleading with us to pray for them and this addiction and earnestly wanted to change.

As futile as scattering seeds on the pavement, is visiting Kosovo and attempting to make a difference. It has been deemed as a worthless and useless place where nothing of worth will ever grow and any seed you sow will only wither and die. This is why pastors and Christians don’t dare step foot in Kosovo because it is fruitless.

Today I saw a seed that I planted a few weeks ago bear fruit. It amazes me how planting such a small seed, a friendly hello and God loves you, can turn into something so great and amazing. We shouldn’t cram these men and women into a box, assuming that they are only drunks and will never be anything but drunks, that doesn’t have to be their future. No one is doomed to live a life a certain way and certainly shouldn’t be deemed as fruitless or as a waste of time. With a little T.L.C. even the most barren of places can yield a crop.

I continue to be mystified by how planting a seed can yield something so beautiful

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Janet and the continual progression of her eyes
Funds for a Generator
The Medical Center
Stacy’s Wheelchair… we should get it in two days woot woot

When we had our gardens I used to put soap in my sisters garden whenever she got me mad…. Just to kill her plants
All Star United is pretty rad! Props to Brandi for hooking me up with some of their music
We need to take notes on how the hospitality of the Kenyans
When In Kosovo we stumbled on a few guys who were digging a well… it was sixty feet deep…. INSANE is all I have to say about the guys who dig wells
When we first got to Kosovo a lad offered to give us porridge. It was sour and I am pretty sure it is on my top worst foods list…. My friend found grass in hers… EWW. We couldn’t say “No thank you” or else they wouldn’t want to hear what we had to say
I am getting pretty talented on the foot-peddle-powered sewing machine
My bathroom floods about every three days

Nataka hospitali
Naw-tak-cuh haw-spit-olie


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From Geoffrey to you; I am a lousy poker player

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Monday May 25, 2009

I am a lousy poker player


A few friends and myself really like playing Texas hold em, not as some futile attempt to get rich quick we just like the game. We used to plop into a booth at our local Norms and play for pennies, dimes and nickels for hours. We got to the point when we used to play every hand (that is how you know we weren’t really serious) and just try to bluff out the other players. We would raise, re-raise and lastly, with a smug look, utter those sink or float words “all in.” I think that I was cursed, every time I actually had a good hand and went all in no one seemed to take the bate. Nine times out of ten I put all of my trust and hope in my bluffing skills and nine times out of ten my skills let me down and I lose the whopping seventy-five cent pot.

There is a woman here named Beth. She has a three beautiful young daughters, two of them being twins. She leads a small group and is very active in our church as well as in the community. She owns a small dress shop and is one of the very few people in Masii that actually owns a car. During my entire stay here in Masii I can only recall two times that Beth didn’t have a grin so big you could see her back teeth; when she was tending to a sick woman and had the “concerned mother” look that all moms seem to get when someone is ill and when her daughter was sick that she kept on passing out. This woman is always smiling, hugging, and greeting others. It is amazing how the masks that we wear can actually fool people into believing that all is well in your life when the crude reality is that you feel so suffocated and trapped by life that you can hardly breath and desperately want to give up. I even took the bait and feed into the lie that the front she put on was the real her… how I wish it were so.

She invited William and I into her home the other night for tea, which you would think meant a thirty minute stay when in actuality it means you are having dinner, tea and staying to talk after for three hours. We ate our supper and sipped our tea all the while Beth had one of the biggest smiles planted on her face. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but our conversation took a turn and Beth took off her mask and let us into the darkest and scariest chambers of her life and heart, the chambers that had been veiled and kept in secret for years.

She is married, but not happily. Her husband is an officer in the military, which isn’t an easy task in the slightest because even getting into the military requires leaps bounds and astronomical amounts of luck. To be an officer means that he is a someone in Kenya. His title may be her husband, but he is anything but. He makes his way home from Nairobi every few months just for sex. If Beth isn’t pretty enough or doesn’t satisfy this man then she is beaten severely, in fact abuse is the only thing she can count on him for and it comes regardless of if he is happy, satisfied or mad. Beth is left to pay for food, school fees and medical costs for her daughters as well as paying for rent and her other bills and this very well off husband is no where to be found. If she calls he ignores it. If she writes it gets thrown in the trash. If she visits he gets mad and beats her. He is incredibly jealous and often calls Beth accusing her of unfaithfulness with only fuels his abusive acts of rage. She can’t run because he will find her. The abuse is bad now but would only increase if she divorced him, which would only fuel his anger and fury. The mass difference between the exorbitant bills and the small profit or her business forces Beth and her daughters to reside in a tiny hole in the wall home that lacks electricity and running water but makes up for it with dirt, grim and deteriorating walls.

Throughout the entirety of her tragic story she just smiled. At the end of it all she said it is okay because my trust is in God. She says that it is a testing of her faith and that she is going to continue to praise and worship God through thick and thin and that he will deliver her from this ordeal. Lacking family to run, money to fund an escape and resources to provide for the children elsewhere, she stands firm and trusts in God. She smiles because she has hope.

Like a poor poker play, I tend to go “all in” on bluffs or ridiculous hands. Time and time again I have played the fool and trusted in some insubstantial and frivolous thing, my parents can tell you about the different ideas and schemes I have thought of and put everything I had into and failed. I need to be more like Beth. You see Beth understands 1 Peter 1:3 when they that Jesus is a living hope, something that doesn’t die or fade away. She realizes that it isn’t a bluff. Instead of chasing after the wind and putting everything she has on some insubstantial thing, she puts everything she has one something that wont let her down.

Trusting, knowing, believing Beth puts everything she has, she goes all in, on this living hope: God.

Asante Sana,


Janet’s eyes
Beth’s situation
Stacy’s wheel chair (it should be here Friday woot woot)
Funds for a few different Tumaini projects

I keep on listening to “Grace like rain” by Chris Tomlin
There are some pretty bad communication problems between myself and some of the locals, but talking on the phone only makes it worse. I got a call from my friend earlier today. She said “Geoffrey, my grandma is here I want you to come meet her.” I said Okay and that I would be there in thirty minutes. “You’ll be here in five mintues?” No I said thirty. “Oh ten minutes” No thirty. “Oh fifteen?” No thirty minutes” “OH ok. Twenty?” No T-H-I-R-T-Y minutes ha ha. “OH thirty minutes. Why didn’t you say so?”

That happens like three times a day. Another person called me about some food I ordered at a restaurant and they couldn’t understand if I was going to go pick it up, if they should drop it off at my room, or if I didn’t want it anymore. I talked to them for what felt like three hours, but that whole communication thing still didn’t work out.
Does anyone have the Chronicles of Narnia movies?
My toilet does half flushes…. Maybe to conserve water… I dunno.
My shower is raised above my floor…. A few times a week it floods my bedroom floor… kind sucks… and to fix it Mutuko gets a plunger and goes at the drain like me on cake.
I really think that staying in this hotel is for the best, not just because of the safety issue but eating beans and rice twice a day everyday…. Means I shouldn’t have a roommate
Kids think it is so cool when they get a soda or some juice so sometimes they get a plastic bottle and pour it into it and only take small sips so it will last a long time.
Nothing is worse then when you go to make a PB and J and the bread is moldy
Have you ever noticed that when you eat healthy food you don’t get as full as junk food makes you? Rice and beans leaves me hungry even though I am full, but pizza, hamburgers and ice cream fill me up
Black outs happen all of the time. They wrote in the newspapers about how we were going to not have electricity today… but we did. I think they just like the feeling of taking us by surprise

Maji – ma-ge

Chris Tomlin – Grace like rain

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From Geoffrey to you; When the odds are stacked up and it looks like there is no way out

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Sunday May 24, 2009

When the odds are stacked up and it looks as though there is no way out

When I was about seven years old my mother was diagnosed with Leukemia, which, for those of you who don’t know, is cancer of the bone marrow. It made her bones very frail and they turned into mush. She was incredibly weak and found it difficult to keep down food. Her eyes were blood red from vomiting so much from the medications and chemotherapy. The disease greatly weakened her bones and even the simplest of tasks seemed impossible for her: walking, bending over, carrying things or even standing for long periods of time. Another side effect was developing numerous cataracts on her eyes, leaving her practically blind. On a side note, we used to play the “slug bug” game with her and always used to win because she couldn’t see them, what a horrible family I know ha ha. She took enough pills and syrups to appease an appetite and if she ever missed a dose her body paid the toll the following day. She was constantly sick, couldn’t walk, couldn’t see and her body was constantly in pain.

A story is told in Judges chapter six and seven reminds me that even in the worst situations there is hope. Israel was going through extremely difficult times during this recount. A group of people called the Midianites constantly abused the Israelites; beating them, stealing from them, ransacking their towns, burning down their homes and killing them. Gideon is unfortunate enough to be the leader of the Israelites at this time. These people had no hope and as a leader he had no faith that they would overcome or prevail. It seemed as though all of these people had lost their faith in God and believed that they had been abandoned; their souls were downcast within them and life had no point. What is the point in growing crops if someone will steal them? What is the point in building homes if someone will burn them down? What is the point in having children if they will be slaughtered? In the midst of this bleak and unpromising situation, an angel appeared to Gideon and told him that he would defeat the Midianites, but Gideon still had many reservations and fears. The fact that he was out numbered and out powered made him doubt that this angel was real. He asked God for a sign, to renew his faith and prove that he would really defeat the Midianites in battle. He laid a cloth on the ground and told God that if he would truly defeat the Midianites to prove it by soaking it with water while leaving the ground beneath it dry as he slept that night. When he awoke it was as he had asked; the ground was dry but he squeezed a bowlful of water out of the cloth. He made another request just to make sure, this time he asked for God to make the ground beneath this cloth soaking wet but keep the cloth dry. When he awoke the next day it was as he had asked; the ground was sopping wet at the cloth was dry. His faith was restored, the doubts were gone, and he knew that even though the situation was bad that God had not abandoned him and that there would be rejoicing the next day.

I can’t explain to you what it is like being so young and thinking my mother was going to die. The pain and sickness throughout her body was so fierce and scary, while she was in the hospital I was afraid that my germs would kill her so I would talk to her using a wakie-talkie and look at her through the window. I can’t explain to you what it is like growing up with a mother who can hardly move and having your older siblings and family friends tend and care for your needs because your mother was physically unable. I can’t tell you what it is like imagining the rest of your life without your mother. Seeing the condition she was in, I never expected her to survive and yet she did. I never through she would walk, bend over or even see, but my faith was renewed. It began with one operation, and then another and then another. She was able to walk after having a double hip replacement and was able to see after having cataract surgery. She is able to walk, bend, push and lift things that we never thought she would be able to. She isn’t taking pounds of medications every hour, her dosages have been reduced, her life has been rejuvenated and I am able to see my mother living and breathing a life I never though she would. God is good.

At times we find ourselves in situations like my mothers, Gideons and mine where we feel as though there is no hope. At times we find ourselves in a situation in which we are out numbered and out powered. But through the darkest hours of our life God shines a little glimmer of light and hope. It is times like these in which God reveals himself, just a little bit, to help us to keep on keeping on and to continue to trust and believe that there will come a day when there is no more pain, suffering, death and our tears will be wiped away. To renew our faith he does what he did for Gideon, he will give us a sign and shine a little light to let us to that things will be okay and that we will overcome and defeat the Midianites in our life.

With that being said I want to tell you more about Janet, the young woman who is blind. The doctors told her that she would NEVER see again, her optic nerves are dead and there is physically no possible way for her to see even the slightest bits of light. However, yesterday she saw. She wasn’t able to see everything, but as I was visiting with her a woman walked up wearing a red and black shirt. She saw the different colors of the shirt and then told me she can see the light outside as well. The world says no, you can’t, you will never be able to… but God says you can. At times the odds are stacked up against us, we are the Israelites outnumbered and out powered by the Midianites, we assured that our mother will never survive cancer, we think we will never overcome a situation or be brought out of the darkness… but the truth is that we can and we will. Today it may be pouring rain, but tomorrow is a new day and the sun can come out.

God reveals himself to us. He tells us that it will be okay. He tells us that our mourning will be turned into joy. Janet may be healed or she may not, what I do know is that God has revealed himself to her. By giving her even the slightest ability to see even for a moment, he told her that he was with her and that she would overcome. Even though the she has been ransacked by the Midianites, is depressed, hurt and feels as though she will never overcome he told her yesterday that she can and she will triumph over her enemy.

If you find yourself with the odds stacked up against you, where there is no way out and where you will never overcome, know that you can and will.

Asante Sana,

Prayer Requests:
Carro’s Recovery
Janet’s vision
Medical facility
Funds for a generator

A woman asked me what the English word is for “poop” it was the woman named Esther who I see everyday that makes me laugh. So I told her we call it poop, poopie, poo-poo, doo-doo, number two… I named all of the ones I could… HILARIOUS
You may have the swine flu… we have the Kenyan flu… everyone seems to be getting sick
Kids made an obstacle course out of tires
All of the little five year olds kept on smacking my butt today… they were chasing me all around…. AAAAYYYYYYEEEE! Was my response…. Kenyans say AYE when they get surprise… its really funny.
Nothing here is really planned thoroughly they just kind of go with the flow…. Which is all fine and dandy except that things that are supposed to go from 7-8 go from 7-9:30… so I made it my mission to make as many schedules and help organize and plan out as many things as I can. It will take a while for people to catch onto this whole “on time” thing but I think after a while they will get the hang of it…. Hakuna matata Kenya is what most people think, but all of the leaders want me to help them implement organization woot woot… these people are so much better than us in certain areas but time management isn’t one of them, they had to bring in the mazungu to help : )

Temechelewa (spelling?)

WE’RE LATE…. The Kenyan way lol

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From Geoffrey to you; I may be blind but I can see

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Saturday May 23, 2009

I may be blind but I can see…

This past Tuesday was intense. I woke up at 3:15 in the morning in order to leave with a small group of sponsored Tumaini children and a woman from our church to an eye clinic light-years away. At 4 AM we ventured out to Kikoyu (spelling?.. ki-coo-you) and without traffic we arrived at 6:30 and didn’t get home until 8 PM. Every child and person had some sort of eye sight problem, some couldn’t see the board in class, others couldn’t read small print, one little boy said that there were little things in his eyes and kept on rubbing them (allergies) and the woman from our church, Janet, was completely blind.

I met Janet soon after my arrival here. She is a young mother of a B-E-A-UTIFUL baby girl named Annett. Being only 23, she was abandoned by her baby’s father and was left alone to provide for Annett. For a skilled dressmaker like Janet, this wasn’t much of a problem until she became blind six months ago. She went to the best eye clinics and hospitals she was able to but either got ineffective medication or was told that they weren’t capable of fixing the problem for her.

The eye clinic we went to is one of, if not the, best eye clinics in Kenya. After waterfalls of eye drops, multiple “hurry up and sit down” moments, thousands of prods, pokes and glimpses, and what seemed like never-ending list questions the doctors were able to give Janet a diagnosis that none of the other clinics nor hospitals were able to give her. Janet had glaucoma and had three times the normal amount of pressure hellishly built up in her eyes.

With inquisitiveness, eagerness, and suspense Janet asked the question any of us would likely ask, “Can you fix it?” Holding her hand and in the most sincere tone, the doctor said, “You will never be able to see again.” My heart broke. Tears filled her sick eyes, then they began to cascade down her cheeks, and soon they began to flood off the end of her nose and within seconds buried her face in her lap and wept.

The doctor informed us that if she had come this facility at the beginning they could have healed her. Even though she had gone to every doctor and eye clinic in the facility, even though she poured her money, time and resources into this problem none of it mattered because unaware she went to the wrong place. Can you imagine? You lose your eye sight and pour every resource you have into going anywhere you can for help and yet it was all futile; when you finally go to the right place your optic nerves are dead and you are told that you will never see again…. Can you imagine?

Just a year or two ahead of me, Janet had her whole life ahead of her and now spends the majority of her time in her home that is in shambles all because of this miserable disease. Never again will she be able to see the smile of her child. Never again will she gaze into the skies at night and admire the galaxies, planets, and stars above. Never again will she peer into the distance looking at everything and yet nothing, simply taking in all that is around. Never again will she be able to glance down at her daughter and give the grin of a mother that says I am proud and love you and stare into the eyes of her daughter to the point of getting lost in them. Never again will she be able to witness the vibrant and lively colors painted on the Kenya canvass.

If there were ever a situation in which I wished I could empty my pockets to take the pain away from a situation it was here and now. How much will it costs? No amount of money that I can pour into this situation will ever allow Janet to see again. I am seeing one of the most dreadful things, I want to use anything and everything I have to help, but any attempt is pointless and useless. The fear and sorrow of knowing you would never see again, the fact that she will need to be cared for and provided for, the fact that she will never be able to enjoy the things in life that we all take for granted all tore my apart tear me up inside. I can’t even begin to imagine what thoughts, uncertainties, doubts, pains, and distrust must be going through her mind. Being held captive in your home because you have no guide and lack the ability to travel throughout Masii and spending your days sleeping and listening to the radio because as of right now that is all you are able to do make up Janet’s daily life. Since that day she is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I toss, I turn, and I stir throughout the night thinking and pondering what I can do… and there is nothing except pray.

This is one person that I so earnestly want with all of my being desire to help. If you could have been there this past Tuesday to hear those life crushing words, “you will never be able to see again,” and known how hard she tried to get healed you would understand the tears that I have shed for this woman. I know that life in Masii requires long hours and time-consuming tasks, for this reason I understand that though many people would like to spend their days with Janet they are unable to because of work and life. Because of this each day I have been going to her home. I sit with her and her daughter. Knowing that she used to love to read, I read for her (Chronicles of Narnia right now). I sit and talk with her, listen to her words, hear about her day, and pray with her. Maybe I can’t return her lost eyesight, but I can give her companionship for the next few months and try to show her the love and support I have been blessed with. Sometimes it seems like she is helping me more than I am helping her though.

Have you ever met someone and stood with your jaw hanging to the ground in amazement of their response to their situation? Have you ever been baffled by the amount of faith and hope that someone has had despite their current circumstances? I have. Despite what the doctors have said, the test claim and the build up pressure in her eyes profess, Janet proclaims that God is bigger than this situation and has plans for her life. Of course she desperately wants her eyesight again, but whether she is able to see or remains blind until the day she dies she knows that she can be used and that God is bigger than eyesight.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14
For I know the plans I have for you,” declarers the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

If you have ever visited a church you have probably heard Jeremiah 29:11, it is a pretty popular verses just like John 3:16. The only problem that I have is that most people don’t write down the rest of it. Yes God has plans for our lives but there is so much more to it then that. There are going to be times when we struggle, times when we want to give up, times when we hurt and are suffering and are in pain there are going to be times in life when we go through a storm when we need more than a promise to keep us going. That is where the next part comes in. “Pray to me and I will listen to you,” the crazy thing is that when you are hurting and when you have pain the tears you shed and cries you wail don’t land on deaf ears. When you cry unto him and search with everything you have… you find him, and when you find him he brings you “back from captivity.” Captivity meaning a place in life when you are forced to constantly endure torment and anguish…. You find him and that pain and torment is gone. Not only does Janet realize that God has plans for her, but in this horrendous storm she has cried out to him and he heard her, she was held captive and was being tormented by her fears, doubts, pains, sorrows from the news the doctor gave her, but that pain is gone. She isn’t worried. She knows that God is going to get her through it. Why can’t I be like this?

Janet is blind but sees more than we do.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Janet and her vision
Tumaini Medical center
Funds for different projects for Tumaini

I am sure I mentioned it before… in Kenya if you want to meet someone at one o’clock you have to tell them 11 o’clock.
My water is kept in big ten liter bottles and once I use up the water I have no need for the bottles and EVERYONE wants me bottles… kind of funny.
I have been eating the exact same thing for breakfast lunch and dinner each day… I have tried pretty much everything and found what I like…. Its basically rice and beans and maybe an orange… its good though
A good friend and his wife had a son about two months or so before I came here. I have been able to watch him grow and develop… It is so cool seeing him having more strength and being able to do more than he was able to before. Last night I was with them and thought that it was the coolest thing when he was able to touch his face…
I am going to miss my entourage of kids when I leave

Tuanane Kesho (spelling?)
Two-oh-naw-nay kay-show
I will see you tomorrow

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From Geoffrey to you: Not in Vain

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Friday May 22, 2009

Not in vain

Does the AIDS epidemic ever seem like a black hole to you? It kind of seems like one of those issues that will never change. We feel empathy and pity for the children we know are suffering but so many fail to feel enough compassion for them to actually do something in response because any contribution seems futile. So many people see it as a lost cause and would rather put their money and resources towards a cause where there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t hopeless like the AIDS epidemic.

“We can do no great things, just small things with great love. It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into it.”
– Mother Theresa

The truth is that I am only going to be able to touch the lives of a few people and the same is true for you. Sure maybe you are going to take a trip to a third world country at some point and even if you stay for six months like myself, but the truth is that you are only going to be able to reach a few people, perhaps a dozen or a few hundred, but in comparison to the millions suffering that dozen or few hundred people are insignificant. An aphorism I have tried to intertwine into my daily life is “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do I ought to do. And what I ought to do by the grace of God I will do.” I know and understand that I wont be able to help each and every starving child in the world and organizations like Tumaini, World Vision, Feed the Children and World Hope all realize that as well, but is that any reason to not try? Though there are millions and millions in need, we need to remember that each one of those numbers represents a person and if I have the ability and resources to help even just one you can believe that I am going to do it. You never know the potential of the people you help and you never know in what ways your actions or words can act as a catalyst to empower them to impact their community, country, or world. I bet those who spoke into my life six years ago never imagined that their encouragement would empower me to start a homeless ministry and work as a missionary in Kenya, but they realized that even though I was just another statistic that I was a person and that I had potential. That is why you all volunteer, contribute and work towards those issues most dear to your heart, because you believe that somehow the pennies you contribute and the hours you put in will in one way or another touch someone’s life. I know that we are united in this heart.

Adoniram Judson was the first Western Mission in Myanmar (Burma) about two hundred years ago. He went to Myanmar to translate the bible and hoped that somehow he would be able to touch the lives of the citizens of Burma and share the gospel with them. There were no Christians at this point and time; Buddhism and Animism were the only known religions. He translated the bible into their language and tried to introduce as many as he could to the Christian faith. It took two years before he even had an opportunity to witness to someone, then it took six years before he saw his first convert. He had buried two of his sons. During the civil war he was taken prisoner and hung by his feet ever night. Later on two more of his children died. His wife got sick and died. He was clinically depressed after the death of his loved ones. He eventually remarried and then tragically buried two more children followed by the burial of his second wife. When he reached the mid-fifties he developed tuberculosis and died. At the time of his death there were less than a dozen converts.

I would consider this situation a black hole wouldn’t you? It seemed more like a failed attempt than a success. Was it really worth it? If he could do it all over again do you think he would do it again? If you were in his shoes would you have left or stayed? I wonder what all of his friends and family back at home were saying and how insane they reckoned he was to continue his work with so few results.

I think that he continued to press on and work towards what he believed in because he realized that whether he was able to help a dozen or a million that it was worth it. Those dozen that he helped were just as important as any other amount of people. He realized that those dozen weren’t just statistics, but that they were breathing and living people. He had no idea what the potential of each of those people possessed, but figured they deserved a fair chance like us all. I don’t feel that those hours he spent slaving away towards translating bibles and preaching were in vain. Today over six million Christians reside in Myanmar and each one of them can trace their faith back to Judson.

My reason for telling you this story is to give you encouragement. I know most of you do philanthropic work and have dreams of helping others. Whether your front is the AIDS epidemic, homelessness, underprivileged children, at risk youth, orphans in Mexico or whatever field your interests may lay know that they aren’t black holes and that in every dark tunnel there is a light at the end of it. The hours you have spent slaving away towards your goals, dreams and areas of need, they aren’t in vain. Whether you reach a dozen people or six million, you have touched lives, made a difference, and you never know the potential of those people.

Though many believe that we have poured millions and billions of dollars into the black hole of AIDS and have seen little to no effect I would have to beg to disagree.

Like the story of the Good Samaritan, many people have seen this epidemic and walked past, but a plethora of people have taken a stand and decided to contribute. Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs) are the drugs that extend the lives of those with AIDS. In 2002 a year’s supply could cost as much as ten thousands dollars. In 2003 a coalition of activists persuaded four manufacturers to make them available to developing countries for under a hundred and fifty dollars each year. In 2002 only one perfect of those who needed ARVs had them, today over twenty-eight-percent of those in need are getting them. The infection rate in Uganda has reduced from thirty percent to ten percent. Two-thirds has cut the AIDS prevalence among pregnant mothers visiting Uganda’s prenatal clinics. In Rwanda the percentage of its population infected with AIDS have been reduced from twenty one percent to three percent, unfortunately that was partially due to the genocide. There have been immense reductions in the spreading of AIDS and the provisions for those living with the disease. Programs through our government have been developed and put into place. Companies have taken a stand and made a coalition for the RED campaign. Celebrities and Americans have joined forces in the One Campaign. Churches have rallies and take special offerings. People put on benefit concerts, shows, and campaigns. The hearts of so many have been touched by this cause and have decided to take a stand to work towards the end of AIDS. The dollars you have contributed and hours you have spent volunteering weren’t for nothing they are making a difference and lives have been changed and saved through your efforts. Even though we have seen a light at the end of the tunnel that doesn’t mean that our fight is over.

To this day many people are still suffering and onlookers continue to walk past without hesitation. Malaria still kills over 3,000 children each day and remains to be the number one killer of children under the age of five in Africa. Two million children die each year because of lack of access to vaccines. Ninety-percent of the Lords Resistance Army is made of young children that have been abducted from their homes. In Zambia the life expectancy is thirty-eight. Malnutrition causes more than fifty five percent of child deaths in our world and yet the earth can produce enough food for every person to take in two thousand seven hundred and twenty calories per day. Thirty percent of the world lacks clean water. Twenty percent of the world lives off of one percent of the world’s total income. Twenty-percent of Rwandan children die before the age of five and over seventy percent of the country is illiterate. AIDS has orphaned Fifteen million children. Twenty eight million people have died from AIDS and forty-two million people are living with AIDS right now.

May God bless you for the hearts of compassion you have for those suffering throughout the world. I encourage you to keep on keeping on in whatever front you have decided to fight. If you have yet to find something worth fighting for or a cause near and dear to your heart, join Tumaini and change a life.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Carro’s Recovery
Janet, the blind girl, that the medication will work and help her to see again
The Medical Clinic
Funds for the different projects for Tumaini

Carro had a tube implanted into her head that goes down to her stomach. It drains any fluids into her stomach. I think they call it a shunt or something like that. Well my dad helped work on that device with the doctor that invented it many years ago. His name is listed in the books for helping to make it.
It looks like I am going to be able to make a trip to Mombassa before it leave. From what I hear, it is a tropical paradise. I have a few friends I am hopefully going to go there with and there are a few different relatives they have that live there… so it will be an almost free trip… woot woot
I bought a jar of mayonnaise… it doesn’t say to refrigerate after opening, but I seem to recall that you are supposed to. So I am waiting for a special occasion to crack open that bad boy and to make as many things as I can with it because I don’t have a fridge to put it in.
Each time I flush the toilet I notice there is a bunch of oil in there… I dunno if I have been eating too much oil or it there is something in the water
Last night I put on my mosquito net and apparently I trapped a mosquito in there with me.. not a smart thing to do
Apparently mosquitoes with malaria only bite about thirty minutes before dusk… random
Everyone is amazed by my ipod, my friends tell me that I have the funniest devices that they have ever seen
The way they pronounce words and spell words seem completely different

Omena (not sure if that is how you spell it)
It is this nasty type of food made from little fish that look like sardines

They should call it omana (oh man uh) because whenever I hear that people are eating that I normally say OH MAN!

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From Genesis – Please help me understand

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Hi Everyone!
I wanted to bring something up that has come to my mind and I can’t stop thinking about. This weekend at HANDS for Hope we had a couple attend that have been coming for several sundays now. They eat and stay for the service and really seem to take in everything that is said during my sermon. This Sunday they asked if they could talk to me after the service. When talking to them by the car that they currently call thier “home” they started spilling out thier story and needs to me. This husband and wife had a home and jobs. They were evicted from thier house when the bank forclosed and he lost his job. They are in thier car and doing the best they can. They always have smiles on thier faces and great personalities. I noticed the back window of thier car was broken out and asked what happened. The other night someone came up to the car screamed some racial slurs at them and threw a brick through the window. They are just trying to survive right now but can not seem to stop the attacks against thier lives. They want to get into a shelter, living in the car is very hard on them and they need somewhere to sleep. They have tried several shelters and everyone is either full or they don’t take “couples” I don’t get it!!!! These two are married, they are a family! God talks about how important families are and we are a nation of “family values” right? Not from where I am sitting!!! In a city with a slogan like “Times change, values don’t” I see this as just a set of words for a few hard hearted and detached polititions to hide behind. I feel like the city council all the way up to the presidency stand behind half hearted slogans and sayings that have been adapted yet do nothing to make these words reality. If we are a nation that wants to strengther families why don’t we offer housing and shelter for a husband and wife that want to stay together and help them get back on thier feet? No instead we tell them that if they will seperate we can get them into shelters seperatly, in other words “as long as you let us tear your family apart we will help you, otherwise your on your own, sorry about that” YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!! ARGH I am frustrated with the answers I am gitting while making phone calls and trying to place this couple. Our money says “one nation under God” and look who wrote the Declartation of Independance yet our President says the United States is not a Christian Country? I don’t understand….. Lakewood says “cities change values don’t” yet make it very clear that religious organizations, homeless shelters and basically any public assistance programs are not welcome in “thier” city, after all they don’t have a homeless problem. (I think the 70-100 homeless people we feed every sunday morning could argue with that). And back to the shelters, what does a man and women or a singe women with no children and also no drug or alcohol addiction do? Where do they go when they end up on the street? I cant get them into a shelter unless they are addicted to something, completly crazy or willing to seperate and go without each other (and become addicted to something). My prayer; God help me be the change that this city needs, help me bring hope to those that have none and help them find that hope in you. Help HANDS build shelters for all types of people. Bring the volunteers with the hearts, move the city coucils to action, bring us the land and bring us the funds, guide us, bless us and help us be your hands and your feet in our city. Help our country go back to the basics, the values it was founded on and seek you again. Change me and bring me to action so that I can, in turn change those around me.

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From Geoffrey to you: Let me take my foot out of my mouth! Aids the gay mans curse part II

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Thursday may 21, 2009

Let me take my foot out of my mouth… AIDS: The Gay Mans Curse Part II

I got a few interesting responses to yesterday’s posting. One of them really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to apologize to you guys. The response read: “I am tired of hearing Americans don’t do enough. I guess I am just tired of getting slammed by both Christians and non-Christians to the point that I want to label myself “other” so I am not condemned by both sides.” This person gives their time and resources to worthy causes. I know your hearts and I know the support you have show for me as I have ventured not only to Africa, but through my journeys and works throughout America for the past few years of my life. I have served hand in hand and bumped elbows on the front lines with most of you at one point or another. I have also witnessed the overwhelming generosity and compassion that you feel towards others not only in your charitable giving but in your day to day lives. I do, in fact, realize that in one way or another I am preaching to the choir and asking people to take a stand who have not only taken a stand prior to my trip but have taken prisoners and covered ground. I apologize if that was how you felt after reading my last message.

I realize that many of you spend your time, money, and talents giving back to those who have nothing. In writing these messages my intention isn’t to keep on sucking dry the generous wells that have already given above and beyond. My intention is to prod those sitting in the pews on Sunday morning that are merely taking up space and warming a pew into putting their faith into action. Based on what I have read in the bible and learned in my short life, I believe that God doesn’t need complacent follows who’s world revolves around them, I believe God has called us to get out of the pews and to reach out to the have-nots and nothings. I couldn’t agree more with that response.

I did really well in school. Not to toot my own horn, toot toot, but I graduated high school with above a 4.0 grade point average. I may have excelled in my studies but I can almost assure you that most of my instructors would have preferred to not have me in their class. The instructor would take a topic and explain it for an hour even though I got it after the first five minutes. It was torture for me to hear someone rant on about something I already know. I am sure that those of you who tithe know what I am talking about whenever your church does a sermon on money.

I have met some of the most incredible and outstanding givers in my life. I have met people who have dedicated their lives towards a good cause. I have met people that have invested everything they had into a cause they believed in. I have served with people who were financially burdened but were still willing to contribute towards a cause. I have met people who have served food to the homeless even though that required them to wake up before the butt crack of dawn and drive over an hour every Sunday morning in order to be on time. I have met people who spend their Friday nights working with drug addicts. I have met people who literally got a credit card just to help others financially. I have met people who have taken their shoes off and given them to homeless people. God has blessed me with relationships with people who are the definition of benevolence, people who inspire me and open my eyes to areas in my life that need changing. The sad thing is that they are the few.

If you are reading my words and find yourself saying, “I am tired of hearing Americans don’t do enough. I guess I am just tired of getting slammed by both Christians and non-Christians to the point that I want to label myself “other” so I am not condemned by both sides.” That is because you have given and given and given and get tired of people telling you to give. It is because you consider others better than yourself and are moved enough to give. May God bless you. Based on my experience in the six different churches I have spent time serving in, 5% of the people always seem to do 95% of the work. The church is supported through volunteer work, finances, and resources by a very low percentage of the congregation. I have surrounded myself by benevolent givers and people that I strive to be like, so I realize that you excel in giving and caring for other people. The reason I wrote my last message was because only 3% of Evangelical Christians are willing to contribute anything towards children orphaned by AIDS.

3% are doing the work that the entire church should be doing. 3% are giving their time, resources, and money towards this cause. 3% are carrying the burden that every member of every church in America should be carrying. It reminds me of when I was in high school working on a group project. Many people slacked off and didn’t fulfill their duties and I ended up picking up the slack. Likewise, 3% of those proudly professing to be followers of Christ are picking up the slack and putting in the extra hours.

I know most of you are tired of hearing people talk about starving children in Africa. Tired of feeling immense guilt to the point of giving more money in addition to your generous donations. I know so many of you are tired of seeing the commercials late at night and the pictures at the check out stand in the super market, because you already give and contribute. All I have to say is God bless you and your willingness to give to a cause like this, people like you are truly making a difference and I am sorry that you have to hear the lecture from the teacher for an hour even though you got it after the first five minutes. I understand your annoyance with people like me constantly talking about how Christians and people aren’t doing enough, but I hope you understand why philanthropic workers throughout the world are incessantly asking for help.

Do any of you love someone? Is there anyone that you would give anything to protect? A child? Parent? Or Friend? Is there anyone that you would, without hesitation, lay down your life in order to save? Now imagine that your child, parent, friend and loved one are suffering. Imagine that they are deprived of food, education, medical treatment. Imagine that they are kidnapped, raped by an HIV positive man. Imagine they are forced into sexual slavery. Imagine they are beaten and forced to kill innocent children. What would you say if that were your loved one? If you watched your love one suffer, be beaten, abused, molested, taken advantage of and wither away day by day. What if there was nothing you could about it, what if you have given every penny and ounce of time you had left but you could do nothing about it. What if your neighbor had more than enough to end the suffering and to give your loved one the tools to resources to get out of the situation? Would you ask them for help? What if they ignored you? Would you ask them again? How many times would you ask? How much would you try to open their eyes to the fact that your loved one is dying a slow and painful death and they can help?

Over the past three months these people have touched my heart and I can honestly say that I love them. As I see some of the hardships that my new friends are facing, I try with everything I have to help end their suffering. I have only been here for three months and yet I have this overwhelming amount of love and compassion and immeasurable amounts of aspiration to help. I can now understand why the men and women who have dedicated their entire lives to helping AIDS orphans in Kenya, or children warriors in Uganda, or rape victims in Rwanda use everything they have to try to help them; they love them. The reason they run the late night commercials, the reason they have jars at the end of the check out stand in grocery stores, the reason that I rant on about how we need to help is because the people they love and I love are unjustly suffering and we hold in our hands the power to end it and to make a difference. What measures would you take in order to help the person you love the most? Now you understand why people talk so much about giving towards the AIDS epidemic, because the people they love most in life are suffering and, alone, there is nothing they can do about it.

The reason that I wrote my last message was because the people I love are suffering unjustly and alone I can do nothing and without resources Tumaini can do nothing about it but in the hands of my home land lay the tools and resources to touch change the gloomy future of them. I want to tell you about some of the responses I have gotten when trying to attain the resources to make this trip.

I had people tell me I shouldn’t go because it is pointless. Some people said that AIDS is God’s wrath on homosexuals. Others said that Africa has nothing to do with me and it is their problem not mine. Many people didn’t see the point in my coming here. The response I received in coming to Africa is very similar to the response of many people in regards to my running a homeless ministry. It is their fault that they are in that situation. I am wasting my time. There are too many people to make a difference. They want to be homeless. They are lazy. There is a stigma and negative connotation when AIDS or homelessness is mentioned in a conversation. The reason why this stigma occurs and why I received such “encouraging” responses, is because many Americans have calloused and numb hearts.

We have seen so many photos to half clothes starving children that they have lost their impact. We have heard so many statistics that we have forgotten that behind each number is a living breathing person. We have seen so many Oprah specials that we figure someone else is fixing the problem. Our hearts have grown cold, hardened, calloused and numb towards this epidemic. I will continue to write and push people to take action, not to guilt the benevolent into giving more, but to somehow break past the cold heart that has become hard, calloused and numb over time and reveal the heart of compassion we were born with. I am going to continue to push forward because in our hands are the tools and resources to ease the unjust suffering of those whom I love and care for.

We are always more than willing to point the finger and blame someone else for suffering and refuse to help. Not once can I ever recall Jesus asking someone how they became ill, blind, crippled or mute he simply used the power he had been entrusted with and healed them. If children are suffering because of a corrupt government, homosexuality, drug addiction or if it was from their own doing does it really even matter? I would think that what matters more is the fact that we can help but don’t. Remember the story of Lazarus from the bible? We know what happened to the rich man who had the power and resources to help but refused. Instead of making an excuse, those who can help and have refused to so far should step up.

I heard in a sermon by Mike Erie that we can potentially end world poverty. The U.N. estimates that about 86 billion U.S. dollars would provide water, medical attention, food and sanitation to the poorest of the poor in our world. If every Christian in the U.S. tithed ten percent (the amount the bible commands us to give) there would be an extra 87 billion U.S. dollars working towards the kingdom of God. The reason I wrote my last message and will continue to urge Christians to give isn’t to further burden the 3%, but is to be a catalyst to the remaining 97%… not to be cliché, but if everyone did their part this world would literally be a better place.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Carro’s recovery, she seems to be doing well
A good friend named Janet is blind, but there is a tiny chance that she may get some of her eye sight back
Medical Clinic, getting the word out and doing the last finishing touches
Funds for a generator
One more week until Stacy gets her wheelchair, pray it all goes well

I have two friends that love to argue about nothing. Today the girl was asking the guy for ten shillings which is like fifteen cents. He had already given her twenty five shillings and said he wouldn’t give her anymore. She started yelling at him and told him that Satan would burn him in hell. She said God would ask him why he didn’t give her ten shillings and then send him to hell. Then they both started trying to persuade me about how they were right and the other was wrong… I almost peed my pants from laughing so much
I ran today for the first time since I came here… I think I ran for about ten minutes up this hill and then I got the worst shin splints ever… they are still throbbing… I did feel like Forest Gump though
I set up my laptop to play a movie for my friend and left for a while… when I was gone he had hit a button and closed it on accident…. He just looked at me and told me he didn’t know what he had done
Apparently there are bull fights in Kenya.
My friend told me that when he was a kid him and his friends used to run up and smack the bull on the butt for fun… he did it one time and got rammed by the bull
Sometimes this whole not being able to speak Swahili thing gets old… everyday there is some sort of communication error somewhere
I went to a mansion yesterday…. You could fit five of my houses in it
You know how gasoline looks? How it has really crazy looking colors that change. I saw birds that have those colors…
There is a crazy woman in town that comes up to me everyday asking for money. Everyday she says something different…it cracks me up
Today was a sad day… ran out of M&Ms

Bottle cap… the kids here try to get me to say it cause I say it funny

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