Saturday March 21, 2009

Habair Ya’asubuhi (Good morning)

It is about 6 AM here. I woke up around 4 or 5. It is amazing how early you wake up here. Everyone starts there day ridiculously early. Sleeping in till 7:30 is sleeping in very late. The nearest term to where I live would be an apartment. There are about 6 apartments within this building. Maybe 20 people live here and we all share bathrooms. There are two showers and two toilets. The showers consists of a small room with a hole in the ground where the water drains. You fill up a small container with water and give yourself a sponge bath. The toilet is basically a hole in the ground. You sit (can’t squat or hover, I tried and it didn’t work) on the hole and let it go. There is a pit beneath where all of the waste goes, so it doesn’t smell very pleasant. And yes I share this with about 20 other people and sometimes people are a little messy.

On my second day I tried really hard to hold in going to the bathroom because it was my understanding that the church had a toilet. I had peaked my head in the bathroom at the church and saw a sink, running water is pretty rare and assumed they had a toilet. So I had to go to the bathroom really bad and didn’t want to go at my home, I ran to the bathroom when I got to the church and I was a little disappointed. They had a flushing toilet BUT the toilet was still a hole in the ground. The only difference between this one and the one at my house was that this hole was a little bigger and you could fall into it.

Kwaheri (Bye) and mungu awarbariki (God Bless YOU!!)

Please pray for rain.


Tuesday March 21, 2009

Stacy’s mom has got it going on and what the heck am I doing here?

PRAISE GOD IT HAS BEGUN TO RAIN! God has heard our cries and prayers and this drought has ended! It started to trickle last night and the flood gates of heaven opened up this afternoon.

Yesterday I traveled to a place called Machakos, which is the largest city near Masii. There are all sorts of restaurants, hotels, and specialty stores here. Most of your needs can be met by traveling to Machakos; the only problem is getting there. Having a bicycle, a motorcycle or any real form of transportation, besides your feet, is a luxury. In order to get to Machakos you have to use the dreaded “public transportation,” and when I say public I mean public.

I walked, with about 30 pounds of belongings, about a mile to get to the edge of town. The phrase “hurry up and wait,” came to mind as we rushed to get to the “bus stop,” and waited for our chariot. As it pulled up and I climbed into my “chariot” I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and experiencing. Imagine sitting in a small van that can comfortably sit 8 people; now toss in a few more people so that you are slightly wedged in, now add a few more to the mix, and top it off with about another ten people. I was crammed in the back of this small rust covered, broken down, van and was becoming quite acquainted with 25 other people. My knees were jamming into the seat in front of me. There were five people on my seat. The windows were all rolled up. We were so closely packed together that the carbon dioxide being exhaled from the sickly woman next to me was my “fresh air.” For thirty minutes the pot-holes that were the foundation of this road, the extreme heat, and the winding roads made this jam-packed trip seem like an eternity and really tested ones resistance to motion sickness, profoundly I didn’t vomit. Using this form of transportation seemed more like a death than it did a blessing, but it was, in fact, a blessing. This adverse form of transportation is what Stacy (my paralyzed neighbor) and her mother, Joyce, are ill fated to use once a week to take Stacy to the hospital, this is their reality.

Imagine being a forty-something year old woman, using all of your strength in the extreme heat of the day in an attempt to sustain carrying your crippled daughter on your back. Stabilizing her, trying to keep her from falling because her weak and delicate structure can’t hold herself up. Transporting this child is strenuous and arduous for this woman. Think about having to carry her the mile to the “bus stop,” and stand there in the humid temperate weather for perhaps and hour or two. Then try finding a car that will accept your daughter in her condition, loading her and trying to find a place for both you and her to sit. This ride was bad enough with just one person; try to understand how difficult this is for Joyce. What about if Stacy gets sick? What if she has to use the bathroom? What if she vomits? What if she is in pain from being crammed in this car? After this trip she is forced to walk for another few miles with Stacy’s weight slung across her back, while trying to tend to her needs, until she reaches the hospital. Put yourself in Joyce’s shoes, how difficult is life with this child? How easy would it be to call this daughter of yours a burden? How tempting would it be to abandon this child, which is what this society would have you do with such a child?

In this culture, one of the worst things that can ever happen to you, up there with contracting AIDS, is being born with a disabled child. “Try to abort it,” or “leave it by the side of the road,” is what you are told to do. If, by chance, you disregard all commonsense and everything you know to be true and you decide to keep this child, most people keep it indoors. You don’t want anyone to know that you birthed this freak of nature, this worthless piece of garbage, this no one and this nothing. You keep your child confined within the darkest place in your home, where no light, no clear air and most importantly no person will be able to reach it, I say “it” because someone born out of the normal is anything but human. No one wants to be forced to lay his or her eyes on your lousy excuse for a human. Shame, ignominy and embarrassment are the connotative meanings of your name, with a child like that attached to it. Hazing, mocking, disassociation and teasing are imbedded in your everyday life if word gets out that you gave birth to a disabled child.

I was blessed with an opportunity to speak with Joyce today about Stacy. Despite the embarrassment, cruel words of others and the disassociation that Joyce has experienced, she is proud to mother Stacy and doesn’t care who knows it. She told me about how difficult it is caring for Stacy, the expenses for things are exuberant, and her morale fades and at times she feels like giving up. Regardless of the feelings of other people and the burdens Joyce faces tears build up in her eyes when she speaks about how proud and honored she feels to be Stacy’s mom. She said over and over again that God has big plans for her daughter, that she has dreams and ambitions, that Stacy has a heart and a soul. She wants to enroll Stacy in school, she wants Stacy to have friends. She wants Stacy to have a life and assures me that with God this is possible. Imagine that, I came here to preach and yet I am the one being preached to about faith. She says that she has no idea how it will happen, how Stacy will be able to go to school, how she will be able to transport her, and how she will be able to care for her as she gets bigger… but once again she assures me that God has a plan.

It was at this time that I told her about the plans for buying the wheelchair; I couldn’t contain this blessing any longer. You couldn’t believe the look she gave me. Her prayers. Her dreams. Her aspirations for this crippled child. Everything she ever hoped for was now attainable. A wheelchair doesn’t sound like much for us, but for Joyce and Stacy it is going to change their lives for the better. Tears built up. The obstacles Joyce has faced. The back pains and burdens related to transporting Stacy. The relationships and friendships that she has lost. The countless times that she has cried out to God. They all worked and integrated together for this one moment of fate. She said that God had sent me here for a reason, YOU, who are in American and yet are contributing towards this cause, are an answer to someone’s prayer, a Godsend, and a guardian angel. It may not seem like much on your end, writing a check or sending some money, but over here on the front lines…. you have changed a life and made the dreams of a small mother and child a reality.

Bwana asifiwe, praise God, for your hearts and willingness to contribute towards this. I said that it would cost about sixty dollars but I think it is going to be more, apparently Joyce had just tossed out a figure but wasn’t sure how much it would cost, she is going on Friday to get the measurements for Stacy and to find out how much it will cost and I will know exactly what the price is then. I have had a few people offer to put money towards it, is there anyone else? If the price is more than expected would any of you be willing to throw in a few dollars? PLEASE send me a message in response if you are willing to. Maybe you don’t have much money, that is okay I am in the same boat, together we might be able to make it work. Ask your friends and family if they are willing to contribute as well.

What the heck am I doing here?

I have had a few people ask me exactly what the heck am I doing here. A white guy in the middle of Africa alone, why am I here?

Masii Christian Chapel started about five months ago. There are a lot of politics and hierarchical issues in the churches in Kenya. Money isn’t accounted for, certain types of people aren’t allowed to come to church and many other problematic issues are found in these churches. MCC was started to change all of that, to not focus on a denomination and to reach out to people from all backgrounds. I am here to help with the bumpy start, there is a lot of disarray and disorganization, and a lack of knowledge for how to run things. I am here to help smoothen some of the bumps. I am the youth pastor, I preach on some Sundays to the congregation, I meet with the leadership, I run numerous small groups and help facilitate new ministries and outreaches. I also visit the homes of members who are sick and pray with them and for them.

I also work with Tumaini. I spend two days a week visiting the homes of AIDS orphans. I assess the needs. Deliver food. Pray for the families. I also evaluate how things are going and what their specific needs are. I will also be visiting schools to make the payments for the children. I will be visiting hospitals as well to take the children for regular check ups.

My schedule:

Sunday: church from 6 AM till 5
Monday: Sabbath
Tuesday: Tumaini
Wednesday: Home visitations, small groups
Thursday: Tumaini
Friday: Sermon planning and small group
Saturday: Cleaning my home, doing laundry, and helping at the church

Asante sana,


You can buy DVDS with over a hundred movies on them for less than three dollars
I road on a motorcycle for the first time today
I found a flea in my food last night.
I taught three people how to use floss last night, they were amazed!
A woman gave me a gift… it was a bag with two pancakes in it ha.
There are no eye glasses here.
I found out you CAN fart in public… awesome for me… not so good for everyone else.
Abortion is illegal here.

Prayer request:
The wheelchair for Stacy
The camp for the Tumaini children
For the prices for water and food to decrease
For the needs of Carro’s family

Sunday March 22, 2009

The commercials you see late at night and the images that pop into your head when you think of Africa are all true. Not every person is starving nor does everyone have AIDS, but this place is filled with disease and poverty. I have seen children with extremely swollen heads from malnutrition and swollen bellies from starvation. Some adults are merely skin and bones. I have heard countless stories of deceased family members from AIDS and other diseases. People can’t afford clean water so they must boil it. Many people don’t have electricity. Most spend about a dollar or two per day on food because money just isn’t there. Some children wear the same clothing day after day because they don’t have any other clothing. These clothes are often worn, torn and are grown out of. Some don’t have shoes others may have a pair of sandals, however, once the sandals have been grown out of they break the front strap (I am talking about thong sandals) so that their feet will fit. I met a young man yesterday who tried to kill himself because he was tired to being beaten by his father and brothers. Like I said, this place is filled with poverty and disease and depression, but there is an abundance of love and hospitality.

The people of Kenya have something that most people with money don’t have: genuine love. They aren’t rushed or in a hurry, so there is always time to talk and fellowship. If one person is in need others will go without so they can have or will share the little they do have. They are incredibly generous and are willing to give the little they do have to any guest of their home because they want you to feel welcomed. Since I have come here I have had every meal made for me and have dozens of people who have asked me to come to their home for dinner. I met a pastor yesterday and he asked me, to not just come to, but to play a part in his wedding. I guess that means I am going to be wearing Kenyan clothing, don’t worry I will take pictures.

My first night here I went to a small ground, they call them “Majestic Cell Groups.” It was in the home of a young woman named Sarah. Her home was just a room that was maybe 8 feet by 8 feet. We fit about 6 of us in there. It was one of the most incredible small groups I had ever been to. Worship was INCREDIBLE!! There was no guitar, no microphones, no radio just our voices. They truly cried out to God. Some fell to their knees others lifted their hands as they stood in awe. These people are incredible. I think we need to come take a few lessons from the people of Kenya on how to worship and how to pray. Speaking of prayer, this next Friday we are going to be staying up all night in prayer. Their faith is real, they truly love God with all that they have and all that they are.

I am in a dark place. A place filled with sickness, disease, poverty and depression. In this darkness, however, I have found a light. Through the storms that life throws at them. Through financial burdens and death these people hold onto God. They have hope and they have something worth fighting for. I hope one day I can cling onto God as much as these people do.

Asante Sana (thank you so much) and bwana asifiwe (Praise the Lord) for your time. Please continue to pray for rain and for me. I have a really bad cough and it hasn’t gone away and I am afraid to get these people sick.

In Him,

Mwendwa (Geoffrey)

Monday March 23, 2009

Habiri Machana (Good afternoon),

It is FLIPPING HOT HERE. My sweatstains have sweat stains.

Yesterday I had my first Kenyan church experience. All I can say is “WOW.” I think by the end of the day I had been at church for about 9 hours, maybe a little longer. We woke up about 5 (apparently that is what everyone does here, all the cool cats at least) and we at church by 6. We prayed for an hour. Then set up for an hour. Then worshipped for an hour before the church service started. We had church for a little over 2 hours, then we fellowshipped for a while. I got to the church around 6 and didn’t leave until about 2. I returned at about 3:15 for their youth and was there until about 5 or 6. Yesterday was VERY long, but empowering. We don’t even know what worship is in comparison to these people. They have few instruments but use whatever resources they have. They truly cry out to God with all of their heart and soul. They have no money, food, or monetary goods all they have is real; I think this is why their worship seems so genuine and pure. The sing, they dance, they cry, the fall to their knees, they lift their arms they truly and completely worship God. They are not ashamed of what they believe and aren’t afraid to let anyone know it. Though I was physically exhausted by the end of the day yesterday, I felt that my spirit was refreshed and recharged.

On another note, I saw the biggest spider I had ever seen in my entire life. It was almost the size of a tarantula. It was in my home, which is pretty comforting to know. I have my own entourage, about ten to fifteen children follow me around everywhere I go. I had a small boy named Ian who showed up and my house at 6:30 in the morning and followed me all day. Everywhere I go people stare at me because of my skin color. Some people are very nice and others wont speak to me. Some children come running to me and others run away because they have never seen a white person before. When I tell them that I am tan in comparison to other white people they laugh.

Kwahari (goodbye)

Mwendwa (loved one i.e. my new name)

Tuesday March 24, 2009


Habari Machana (Good afternoon),

Today I was finally able to personally meet a small child named Stacy that I had heard so much about and often seen but had yet to speak to. This girl is four years old and is crippled. She was born completely healthy and after six months she became very ill and has never recovered. A result from her illness is an inability to move any body parts or speak. Her family has made her a chair that she sits in each and every minute of each and every day. She isn’t able to see anything beyond a few feet of her home, transporting her is difficult due to her condition and wheelchairs are expensive and she is going to continue to grow, since she is only four, and the amount of replacement wheel chairs she needs are exuberant. This girl is imprisoned and confined within the walls of her home and a few feet in front of her door.

Stacy is not able to ask for things, nor can she pick up things on her own, she isn’t able to vocalize her needs or desires for even the simplest things. As we tried to communicate with her flies were incessantly landing on her face. These flies were crawling up her nose and around the rim of her eyes. There she sat… completely helpless. Without the ability to even lift an arm, she was defenseless. What is life like for someone like this? The struggles of everyday life for her family. The frustrations of have dreams, hopes, ideas, wants and desires but never being able to vocalize it. Having an entire world to see and yet not being able to leave a ten foot radius of her home. This has really moved me. My eyes have been opened to how easy life is for me and for how many things I take for granted. This really breaks my heart, but I know that God will provide because he is a God of provision. I know that through this He will be glorified. Though I feel sad and do not know what the reason is, I know that God is in control and my trust in this situation is in Him.

I ask that you pray for Stacy and her family. Pray for healing. Pray for resources, both financial and monetarily. Pray for the opportunity to purchase a wheel chair, a wheelchair would change this child’s life and enable her to see the world. Pray for strength for this family because something like this must take its toll on morale.

Asante (thank you) and Mungu Awarbariki

Mwendwa (Geoffrey)

P.S. Please pray for my hands. I have developed lots and lots of bumps. They don’t hurt or itch, and it is probably nothing, but just in case please toss up a prayer for that. And please continue to pray for Rain. The price for food has doubled and water is scarce.

Wednesday March 25, 2009


Yesterday I went to a house church prayer group-like thing. We went to the home of Mama Carro. This woman is very poor. She was married and had three children, they got divorced. Then she married again and had another three children, then she got divorced again. She is only taking care of three or her six children. She lives in a one roomed home. It is maybe 6 feet by 8 feet. The walls are covered in mold and dirt, which causes a pretty foul stench. There is one mattress, which is the size of a child’s mattress back in the U.S., and all four of them sleep there. She doesn’t have a job, so she does odd-jobs here and there. I think that she is a prostitute, and sells herself for a quarter or so per session. Her children are starving an don’t eat everyday. One of them has a condition where her head is swollen and filled with water, it was maybe two or three times the size it should be. She is eight years old, but she is the size of a for year old. She has lost her ability to walk, but can move her hands. She has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen! I think I was the first white person she had ever seen, she couldn’t take her eyes off of me. Each time that I made eye contact with her I smiled and she giggled, blushed and smiled back, you have no idea how powerful that was. As we worshipped God in that home, she clapped her clapped her hands, to the best of her ability, smiled and laughed. I saw God in her. Amongest the poorest of this world, ten-thousand miles from my home and everyone I love and know, I saw a glimpse of God. I didn’t see a child who was depressed because of her condition, I didn’t see a child who hated God for this condition, I didn’t see a child who had no hope or light at the end of the tunnel, I saw a child who truly comprehended that she was loved and special. With our eyes closed, our heads lowered, and under the cover of these people crying out to God, I cried. I didn’t cry because I was sad, I didn’t cry because I was mad, I cried because I was truly in awe of how God can take such a horrible situation and make is beautiful. Her clapping, trying to sing, and smiling reveals the beauty of God.

Asante Sana (thank you) Tuonane Kesho (until we meet tomorrow)

Mwendwa (Geoffrey)

These bumps of my hand seem to have spread, they still don’t hurt, but I am little curious as to what it is. A good friend probably has AIDS but hasn’t gotten tested yet, her name is E-von (totally don’t know how to spell that, but I wrote it how it sounds). Esther, she has malaria and pneumonia, she has become a mother to me. For rain, as I mentioned this place has no water and food prices have doubled, which means more people are starving. For my morale, I really miss you all and the familiarity and comfort of the U.S. We also need bibles, maybe you can send some, these people have no bibles but desperately want them, in English or Swahili.

Thursday March 26, 2009

Habari Zenu (hello to everyone)

First of all ASANTE SANA (thank you so much) for your messages. All of your words have really encouraged me. It is pretty difficult living here and it does get lonely, but reading your messages REALLY helps me. So thank you and please keep it up.

This experience has really opened my eyes to the how easy daily tasks are for us and what we take for granted in the U.S. It seems as though everything here requires so much preparation and work, whereas, back at home things are already done and are easily attainable. Take cooking for instance.

Think way back to when you were a small child and your family would go camping. Remember cooking over a small camping stove or over a fire, remember how fun and exciting it was? This is the reality here when it comes to preparing meals. There are no ovens, no microwaves, no refrigerators, no blenders, no sinks, no running water, no lighters, no stoves… nothing that falls into those categories. This lack of appliances and tools means that food preparation is very long. Minute rice for us is 45 minute rice for the people of Kenya. Preparing a meal takes a few hours. Keep in mind that there is no way to keeping your food cold, for each meal you have to go to the market place and buy the things you need. Then you have to cut up the food. You must boil water normally, meaning you have to walk to the water basin outside and haul your water into your home. Some food you can serve raw like fruits, but you must wash them, so after you cook the food you have to boil more water to wash the fruits. It may take you and hour or two to make dinner, then you have to wash dishes which will take another hour: hauling water, boiling enough water to wash and then enough water to rinse dishes (remember that most pots are VERY small so it may take a few pots of water to prepare something or wash dishes). Then if you want to drink water and aren’t able to afford bottled water you have to boil it. Imagine how much water you drink in a day, now think that every time you are thirsty you have to spend about ten or fifteen minutes boiling your drinking water and then allowing enough time for it to cool. These people easily spend about 6 hours a day just with food preparation.

Other things are pretty intense and difficult as well. I washed a weeks worth of my clothes yesterday, it took about two hours. You have a few small containers, two to rinse and one to wash. You can only fit a few clothing items in each container and they must soak. Most of the time is spent bent over. They air dry. In the end your clothes are somewhat clean, depending on the degree and intensity that you scrub, and incredible stale. Taking a shower requires carrying a few gallons of water to the shower room. Washing your hair isn’t an easy task, you have to bend over and try to dip your head into water, which is difficult because the ground is really slippery. And you don’t want to touch the ground because about 25 other people use it once or twice each day. Cleaning requires you getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing the floor. Going to the bathroom is pretty interesting as well, you have to try to ease yourself onto the ground very carefully so you don’t sit in someone else’s mess… which hasn’t happened to me yet lol. I cover it with plenty of toliet paper lol.
Things are SO difficult here. Be thankful for what you have, I know I am.

A few random things:

I have eaten meat once in the past two or three days. It was chicken and only about two ounces or so. I am not sure if I should eat meat or not, it isn’t kept in a very sanitary condition and the animals look diseased. The cows are starved and you can see their rib cages. I have eaten expired food.

I met a lady named Betty who is paralyzed, but she runs the only farm in Masii that produces vegetables, no one else even attempts to because it is so hot and dry.
We prayed for a woman who had pneumonia and malaria and she was healed when she woke up the next morning.

It is really interesting sitting in a room when people speak a completely different language and you have no idea what they are saying.

I am called Mwendwa (loved one) and also Mzungu (White person)

I am going to start visiting some of the AIDS orphans next week, I get to learn how to drive a motorcycle.

I have also learned about 70 Swahili common words, greetings, and phrases.

Peace and blessings in Him, Mungu Awarbariki,

Geoffrey, Mwendwa

Prayer requests:

Rain… it is still really hot and more and more people are going without food and water because of it. We have a youth camp in a month for about 800 children, please pray for that. I still have a pretty bad cough and the rash on my hands. Pray for my assimilation to this place and culture, the sooner the better, it ain’t easy being the only white person within thousands and thousands of people. Pray for this church, it is new and there are MANY obstacles.

Saturday March 28, 2009



I hope this email finds you all in good health and doing well. I am exhausted! I figured that I had been sending some pretty overwhelming emails and I wanted to shed a little light into our communication and want to tell you about something that will hopefully put a smile on your face.

Two things that the Kenyan’s know how to do is worship and pray. In America we normally toss up a “God bless you,” or a “Thanks for the food God,” and leave it at that. Whether it is a blessing over a meal, a cry out for help or a prayer of thanksgiving, the prayers last anywhere from five to thirty minutes and are filled with passion.

Once a month, members of the church gather on a Friday night for Kesha (meaning throughout the night). Kesha is an all-night prayer and worship service. We arrived at the church around 8:30 last night and we prayed, sang and danced ourselves silly until about 5:30 this morning. Do the math, nine hours! Nine hours of some of the most beautiful sounding worship songs you can imagine. About fifty people showed up, old and the young. There were some as young as three there and stayed up all night.

Periodically, the children went up on stage and danced for about a half hour or forty-five minutes. White folks like us ain’t got no moves like them kids! HA HA. I am working on making a video of the children dancing, which is a must see. I am not sure if I will be able to put it online, but if I am able to then I will send a link tomorrow or the next day so you can see it.

We had a few speakers and I was one of them. I preached on the Hebrews and their crying out to God. For four-hundred years they were beaten, persecuted, killed and oppressed. They had doubts, pains, exhaustion and I am sure often asked, “God where are you?” I tried to communicate how sometimes we are like the Hebrews. Sometimes we go through a season where we can’t get ahead, sometimes we feel as though we have been enslaved for four-hundred years, we feel oppressed, persecuted and we ask, “God where are you?” In the end, God hears the cries of his people.

Exodus 3:1-9 “the Lord Said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land and into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hitties, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them”

The Israelites cry out to God and he hears them. He sees the tears, he sees the pains, he sees the suffering and he sees the loss of hope. When we cry out to God he responds. It is a crazy idea, but when we pray… God listens. I also spoke on Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn form me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” God says that he will give rest to those who are weary. These people are tired, these people are in pain, these people are starved, hurt, demoralized, cut down and oppressed. If ever a group of people existed that were weary and burdened it is the people of Kenya. If ever there was a time to cry out to God it was then and there.

Testimonies were shared. Tears poured down the faces of these broken people. Cries and pleas to God were shouted with tenacity. Last night wasn’t in vain. Our words don’t fall onto empty ears or an empty heart. For those who gathered last night, it had been four hundred years of oppression, it had been so long without hope and with an overwhelming amount of pain and suffering. The tears as well as the shouts of joy have reached God; God has heard the cries of His people. God is going to move throughout Kenya like an uncontrollable fire, spreading, igniting and bringing hope to those with none.

Asante Sana,



Rain, it sprinkled yesterday! I know that soon there will be an incredible downpour and this record-breaking heat wave will be no more. M.C.C. leadership. Hundreds of children are being cared for through Tumaini but hundreds upon hundreds are still on the waiting list, pray that hearts are touched and that people begin to donate and sponsor children. My bumps are almost completely gone (bwana asifiwe [praise God]) please continue to pray for that as well as my health in general (I’m still not a hundred percent I have a few issues). Resources for Tuamini and the Masii Christian Church.

I have eater cow kidney and liver… I don’t recommend it.

I saw the killing a chicken for the first time yesterday… I never want to eat chicken again. I don’t think you would either if you were me.

I have learned about a hundred Swahili words now.

I have a gnarly farmers tan.

You can pick your nose in public and burp… everyone does it and no one even flinches or thinks it is wrong (a perk of living Kenya)

Sunday March 29, 2009

Most of you know about Stacy. She is the crippled girl who spends all day… each day in her chair. I found out today that a wheelchair can be purchased for about 60 or 70 dollars. Which doesn’t sound like much for us, but is a fortune for them. Look back at your emails and read about Stacy. I basically only have enough money for food and water or else I would buy it for her. If anyone is willing to buy her the wheel chair or if God has touched any of your hearts by the words I wrote about her PLEASE let me know. Remember that this child has spent her ENTIRE life within just a few feet of her home.

Zits, Farts and shoeless adventures!

We are entering monsoon season, minus the rain. The house I live in doesn’t seem the strongest, especially with its very thin, hole-filled and rust-covered tin roof. These winds are VERY powerful! Speaking of the weather.. it hasn’t rained in a year and we are having record-breaking heat waves.

As I was recuperating from the Kesha, a mob of children came to me. They dragged Mzungu with them for a day jucheza (playing). Tumaini owns a lot that is about 4 acres in size (I don’t even know how big an acre is but that sounds about right). The nicest buildings in all of Masii can be found in this lot and the rest is open space. There are no parks, no fields, no schools yards with big toys in Masii… this empty lot is all these children have. They claim it as theirs on Saturday’s and any other day that there isn’t school. As we approached the guarded gates of the facilities our walk turned into a light jog, which soon became a run. This group of children running towards this field soon were transformed into a herd of fanatical animals gallivanting towards this empty lot. With excitement bleeding from every pore and knowing the freedom there are oh so familiar with, the biggest smiles you can imagine blossomed on every face. The shoes came off and these magnificent smiles came on. Holes, broken slabs of cement, large tree roots and rusted pieces of metal became their playground. Rocks, rusted nails, glass, scorpions and snakes were no match for their well callused feet and fearless hearts. As unsatisfied hunger arises, hurts overwhelm their beings, and the pains of this world emerge, they come to this field. It is their safe refuge. It is a place to call their own. It is their escape from reality. It is a place where abuse, poverty, and disease have no hold on them.… it is their sanctuary.

We played games for hours. A favorite is volleyball. They worked as a team to carry the burnt remains and ash from garbage that had been burnt and tried to make the lines for a volleyball court with it in the dirt between the rocks and debris. A few children were able to play volleyball, with a partially deflated ancient volleyball. Others played dodge ball with a homemade ball, old food (from what I could tell) wrapped in grocery bags. Old bicycle tires made for a lot of fun, you use a stick and push it or you can push old car tires. We played hide and seek, which was fun because they all just followed me instead of hiding individually. It seemed more like try to hide behind the mzungu (white guy).

These children have nothing. Their clothes are often too small, too big or for the wrong gender (they may share their clothes with their brothers or sisters who may be too big or too small), shirts, pants and sweaters are covered with holes, torn collars and are falling apart at the seems. For those who are fortunate enough to have shoes, they are normally too small, broken or worn to the point of exhaustion to the extent of being covered in holes. Toys are unavailable. There are no swings. There are no baseball diamonds. There are no parks to play in. These children may not have any of these things, but they have a sanctuary, a place to feel safe, and to forget about the worries of life. Through the dirt, grime, lack of shoes, sickness, and worn and torn clothing, the joy in their hearts, displayed by their smiles, defeats the sting of oppression from living in this place. The smiles on their faces says it all… God is here.

To put a smile on your face. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to fart in front of people here. I haven’t heard one person fart, not even my roommate, since my arrival. It is really rude and frowned down upon Just say no to farts. Keeping this in mind, one of the children, the oldest one present, farted (I guess he couldn’t keep it in anymore). The children all started laughed, cause that is what kids do when people fart. It was SO loud. The kids were laughing so hard that their eyes were either squinted or buried in their laps. Right afterwards I decided to fart really loud, no one was looking and everyone thought it was the kid who had just farted and that it was an aftershock. I totally let him take the blame and actually instigated him being to blame for it.

The bug repellent and sun block has a lot of oil in it. It has really made me break out with zits… which apparently most people don’t have here. A small boy looked at me and pointed to my face and said, in a very concerned voice, “mosquito bites.” Then he popped all of my zits, looked all over my arms and back of my neck and part of my scalp. Classic!

Today was a good day.


Feel free to send any coloring books. Crayons. Hackey sacks. and other childrens items to:

Att. Geoffrey Nighswonger
Tumaini International Organization
PO Box 59-90101,
Masii, Machakos


I am not too fond of kale… but I eat it at almost every meal.

If you don’t wear bug repellant DOZENS of flies will go all over you.

No one here has ever seen a camel-back before and have no idea what I am wearing or why I have a tube going to my mouth.

Kenyan music videos and movies are HILARIOUS… youtube them.

I now call my room 110… because night or day it is about 110 degrees…. There are no fans or A.C.

Praise report: it seems like all three of my illnesses have just about gone away. Thank you for your prayers.

Prayer request:

Rain. It has drizzled twice so far.
The camp for the Tumaini Children.
A wheelchair for Stacy.
My assimilation to this place and culture.

Monday April 1, 2009


Sorry for not posting any pictures in this one. The internet isn’t working very well. Ill have been trying for about twenty minutes. So ill send more next email.

Habari Zenu (hello everyone)

Today I went to a place of prayer and fasting, it was, in fact, called “The Immanuel Center of Prayer and Fasting.” It was a commune of sorts. Pastors, reverends, priests, church elders and church members voyage to this place for days upon days at a time to draw near to God. Gates surrounded aged and tattered buildings. A few buildings were dedicated just for prayer. Others were for small groups. Grassy areas surrounded by trees, flowers and Kenya’s beautiful wildlife were numerous, many could be found laying in the grass, doused in the shadow of the trees, praying and crying out to God. I found a small chapel-like setting to spend the next few hours.

Above me a cold front of air collided with a warm front and created a blissful breeze, which cascaded downward and gushed into this small building. With my back against the wall, just beneath a broken window, this gift from God came rushing through my hair. Mold scaled the walls of this deteriorating building. Broken glass and rusted metal fashioned the windows. A simple wooden pew is where I rooted myself for the next few hours. With a gentle breeze caressing me and with a silence that was deafening, I sought out God. I Prayed. Rested. Read my bible. Asked God “why,” and “how.” I reflected upon my day and all that I had seen in the two weeks since I left home. The starvation. The malnutrition. The faces of the oppressed. The hurts, pains and anguishes I had witnessed.

As I reflect on my days walking the streets of Masii I can’t help but distinguish values, morals and the culture of this place. I see men well into their eighties working twelve or fourteen hours for a dollar or two per day. They spend their existence pushing and pulling carts, loaded with hundreds of liters of water, and refilling the basins of the community. I look at their torn clothing, their broken spirits, the negligible skin and bone that makes up their bodies and the pain in their eyes as they take no notice of what their muscles are telling them and push their feeble bodies to their limit. I stand in awe and admiration of their work ethic, of their ability and willingness to wake up each and every morning only to return to this back-breaking career choice. The hours are long, the harvest they reap is small, the pain is immense but their willingness to live out each day their best is robust, much more than mine has ever been.

I see children at the age of seven waking up at five in the morning to walk four miles to get to school because they realize that having an education isn’t a right, but a privilege, and without it they are ill-fated of a future of many struggles, poverty, suffering and starvation. Children who are six who are already working more hours a week then most Americans do, carrying five gallon containers of water to the homes of the people of Masii, giving it everything they have just to make a few pennies to contribute for food for their families, because without their few pennies surely they all would die.

As I dived into my memory bank I reflected upon many things. I remember the life that a crippled lives, the inability to move from their home because of the exorbitant value of a wheelchair. The work and labor required to bath. The hours it spends to wash dishes or prepare a meal. The lack of sanitation; refrigeration, napkins, soap, clean water and fresh food. I remember what their vegetables look like, the lack of water leaving them shriveled and a fourth of the size of what we feast on in our country. The images of elderly women carrying bags weighing more then they do miles to their homes. The disease that is so prevalent. The names of all of the friends I have that are dying of AIDS flash through my memory. Carro, and her swollen head. Mothers who prostitute their bodies for pennies, in an attempt to put food into their starving children’s bodies, because their husbands left them. I realize how much I truly take for granted, how rich I am, and I realize the selfish ambition that constantly plays a role in my life.

I feel greedy and selfish coming to this country with a weeks worth of clothing. I see children wearing the same clothing day in and day out. Each Sunday people put on the best they have in their closets, often it is a mix-matched outfit that is outgrown or has been worn to the point of exhaustion, and yet they continue to wear it. Children wear shoes that are too small, if any at all. Clothing is torn, dirty, the wrong size and yet they continue to wear it. The focus here isn’t on appearance; it isn’t on your dress or your body shape and size, the focus for these people are on serving God and surviving until the next day. They don’t care what they look like doing it, the only thing they are concerned with is if they have made God proud and will they be able to eat. They don’t wear makeup, they don’t have deodorant, they don’t brush teeth, they don’t exercise, they don’t buy a new pair of shoes each week, they don’t do their hair (I found out that they only wash it once a month for the ladies)… how much time have I dedicated towards my appearance. How many hours, how many days, how much of my time has been spent on me, myself and I?

My heart has been calloused by the world that we live in. I have been submerged in a culture that inculcates greed, selfish ambition, pride, glory, and the furthering of oneself instead of mutual edification. I feel as though I have grown all too familiar with our lifestyle and have submitted myself to it and embraced it. When I look in the mirror I see someone who seeks glory, who is prideful, who lies and is deceiving, who judges, who sometimes hates, who is beyond greedy, who seeks his kingdom first and foremost, who always asks what is in it for himself… I see anything but a servant of Christ, I see someone of this world. My heart has grown cold, hard, calloused and accustomed to the ways in which our society act, and I have, regrettably, embraced our culture and the American way of thinking. My heart has grown numb to those things that break the heart of God. I don’t stand up for what I believe in. I often “go with the flow.” I feel like God’s heart and mine aren’t in sync… that what I value and treasure aren’t what He does. I am of this world and didn’t even realize it. For years I thought of how I “lived above reproach,” only to come to the realization within a shabby, mildew infested, broken building how greedy and self absorbent I truly am.

I look at simplicity of life these people embrace and have become conscious of how complicated I have made it and how much focus I have put on myself and my kingdom. Luke 9:23-25 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self.” When have I denied myself? When have I lost my life for Christ, meaning giving up my will for His? Waking up and asking myself what I can do to further God’s kingdom instead of what I can do to further myself. In my workplace, in my home, in church, in personal relationships and friendships I have put the focus on myself. What good is it if I spend my life attaining wealth and material goods, being promoted, being the center of attention and yet losing my soul! My heart has become calloused, hard, and cold. Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you: I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” My prayer and aspiration is that God will use each and every minute of this trip to remove from me this hard, cold stone of a heart and give me a heart of flesh. My prayer is that those things that break his heart will break mine. I pray that as my heart has become calloused and hard, it will become flesh, vulnerable, sensitive, hurting and in pain for what pains God’s heart. I don’t want to live a life for myself anymore. I want the spot light off of myself and on God. Let me seek out God’s kingdom not mine. Let me ask myself what I can do for God, instead of what can I do for myself.

Mungu Awarbariki (God bless all of you)


Prayer Request:
Rain, the youth camp coming up ahead, my heart, leadership of Masii Christian Church. That people begin to sponsor more children through Tumaini.


Oranges green…. I don’t understand why they still call them oranges
Bananas are green and black
You can buy an iphone for 150 dollars here
EVERYONE has a cell phone. Kind of amazing how they have no money and yet buy cell phones, but then again you can buy one for less than ten dollars and it is their only form of communication

Wednesday April 3, 2009

To those of you who want to contribute towards the wheelchair I will be emailing you on Friday or Saturday with more details about it. THANK YOU for being willing to help out… you truly are going to be changing someone’s life! Also, I tried sending pictures but because of the wind the internet has been REALLY slow and I can’t load pictures. Ill send more when I can

Blessed to bless!

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to take part in a bible study with about twenty people including Mama Carro, Carro’s mother. It was incredible! We worshipped, prayed, cried out to God, we sharpened one another like iron does to iron. We ended a little abruptly by a sudden downpour. Just before we left Mama Carro asked for prayer for some personal things, but wouldn’t go into detail. We prayed, said our good-byes and went our separate ways. It rained pretty intensely yesterday, even though it wasn’t my plan to get caught in it, it was an answered prayer.

My good friend Sarah came over last night to make William and I dinner. We had ugali (kind of like corn bread), a little beef, tomatoes, avocado, carrots, and a few other unknown veggies and fruits topped off this feast. We had an overabundance of food last night and we kept on making jokes about finishing it, we were trying to force each other to take more food so that there wouldn’t be anymore leftovers. Unquestionably we brought up the fact that there are starving there area starving children just down the street so we should be thankful and not waste anything. The laughter and jokes ceased and we began to discuss the issue of starvation in our community. The numbers of children in this city going to bed hungry, especially during this drought, are immense. It turns out that Mama Carro and her three children haven’t eaten for two days. This woman who welcomend me into her home, these children who have smiles that can bright the darkest of hearts, these beautiful creations of God were starving. You know, it is pretty easy to make the comment, “there are starving children in Africa who would kill for our leftovers,” when you live in America, I have done that countless times, but that just became my reality. As I glance to my left and right I see that disease and starvation are so prevalent. My friends are dying. This woman and these three precious children haven’t eaten in two days, and here we were stuffing our faces.

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “love your neighbor as yourself.”

I always thought the overall meaning of this scripture was simply to love God and to love people, but I was wrong. I have always felt I did a good job at this, but I got a rude awakening. It means that I need to love God and love people as much as I love myself.

How do I know that someone loves me? How do I know that my family and my friends truly love me? I know not because of their words but because of their actions. Encouraging emails that I have received. Donations and prayers in support for this mission I ventured on. Loving embraces and the ever-so cherished “I love you.” These all show me that I am loved. 1 John 3:18 “dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” Words may reflect a concept or may allow you to make a point, but your actions echo the deepest part of your soul, your feelings, your emotions. I can say I love people, but what do my actions say? I see someone who is homeless and hungry and I have a pocket full of cash. I walk up to him and say “God bless you,” and walk away, my words reflected the idea of love but my actions didn’t say that. I feel like my words have done just this, that my words have expressed the idea and concept of love but my actions hardly whisper the faintest reality of “loving your neighbor.”

What I am writing today has been waging war inside of me. I can’t stop thinking about this. So I am going to preach to myself for a bit, because I know I need to take notice of what is being said. If you catch on and you can relate wonderful, if not that is perfectly okay.

Geoffrey how much do you love yourself? I love myself enough to make sure I eat everyday, to buy new clothing, to make sure I have clean clothing, nice shoes, to go to school, to have shelter. I love myself enough to save pennies and dimes to afford some luxurious want of mine. I love myself enough to go to the movies, sport games, to buy CDs. I love myself a lot. My words may not say that, but my actions sure as heck do. My bank statement truly expresses how much of a priority I am in my life, God is in my life and how much of a priority others are in my life.

Geoffrey how much do you love others? I love others to meet their needs when I can afford it. I am willing to pray for them when I have time. I am willing to spend time with them. I’ll devote time for one on one’s and personal discipleship. Sometimes I buy gifts for them, if it isn’t expensive. I tell them I love them.

When I read this scripture I think about how much I truly love myself in relation to how much I care for others. I am sitting here asking myself if I love others as much as I love myself, unfortunately, I don’t. It is easy for me to love people, but to love them as much as I love myself is where it gets hard for me. Have I ever saved and saved and saved to try to meet the need of someone else? When was the last time I sacrificed something for someone else? Have I ever given my first fruits, the best I have to offer, and lived off of the leftovers? Have I ever been willing to go without so that others can have? The answer too all of these is a resounding “NO.” Never have I followed this commandment, but today I want to change. I am willing to give, but I only give the left overs. I am willing to give but only until it affects me. If I has a surplus I am willing to share, but it I just have enough for me then that is for me and no one else. Today I want to take the focus off of myself, off of my wants and my desires and put others first. I want to breakaway from this self-absorbed way of thinking I have adopted. I want to learn how to love others not just as much, but more than I love myself.

Today I am putting myself in Mama Carro’s shoes and I want to feel what she has been feeling for the last two days. Today I am giving up all of my food and I am spending the money that I would have spent on myself on this mother, crippled daughter, and two other children that haven’t eaten for two days. For once I want to love someone as much as I love myself. I want to put their needs before mine. Today is the day that I start to think of others. I am dedicating this day to Mama Carro and their family instead of on me, myself and I. I have come to the conclusion that I have been blessed to bless others.

My challenge for you is to do the same. Try going without food for one day and use the money that you would have spent on yourself to better the life of someone else. Maybe buying food for a homeless person on the street. Maybe sending money out here to buy another weeks worth of food for Carro and her family (it will cost about $10 for a weeks worth of food). Or you can use the money to pay for Carro’s rent, she is two months behind ($10 dollars will catch her up on rent) or you can pay for the rent for her and her family for the whole year for $60. Or donate money towards Stacy’s wheel chair. Join me today in going without so that others can have.

If you want to get money to me you can do it one of two ways:
Paypal. Send the money to
Or contact my mom at 562. 867. 1815 and she can deposit the money into my account.
Every few weeks I’ll be traveling to the city to take out money for these people.

William and I both put in six dollars and we were able to buy with the twelve dollars:
½ liter of milk
1 ½ watermelons
6 eggs
2 apples
3 fruits that I had never seen before
10 small tomatoes
10 large tomatoes
2 loafs of bread
laundry detergent
1 liter of vegetable oil
4 Kg of corn meal
4 bunches of spinach
3 ears of corn
5 cups of beans
2 bags of kale
1 onion
2 bellpeppers
1 egg plant
over 30 potatoes
2 Cascuas (some kind of root)
2 avocados
1 live chicken.
Enough food for at least a week for this family!

We just got back from delivering the food. This family lacked words to express them. Mama Carro has given up prostituting her body. She has walked away from that job choice because she doesn’t want to live that way anymore. She has been going door-to-door begging people to wash their clothes for a few pennies. She has put all of her trust in God’s hands, hoping and believing that by walking away from that lifestyle that he will provide for her. When we walked up she had a log in her hands, you can see it in the picture. It was a root… that was their only hope. That was the only food they were able to get in two days, and a stranger gave that to them as an act of kindness. The food we brought them was an answered prayer. She had been weeping and crying out to God and I feel so honored and so blessed to be used to touch their lives. They devoured a loaf of bread before our eyes. We gave Carro, the girl with the swollen head, a piece of bubblegum and she broke it into about five pieces to share it. As I seek out God and am trying to become a man of integrity, I find instances like these breaking my heart and molding it into something I will one day be proud to wear on my sleeve.

Asante Sana,

Prayer Request:
I have a bad cough
The youth camp in a few weeks
The wheel chair for Stacy
Rent and food for Carro’s family

I had to go to the bathroom really bad last night…. But there was no electricity and it was pitch black.
I did see, however, a GIANT cockroach climbing out of the toilet.
I had to carry a living chicken about a mile today… I never want to do that again.
I think there is a hole in our tin roof just above my bed
I think I ate bad food yesterday… BLAH



Five hours of my day were spent traveling on the back of a motorcycle
today. Five hours of clinging for dear life as we hurdled over small
grottos. Five hours of fighting our way through brush and Kenyan
wildlife. Five hours of the worst roads, if you can call them that,
which I had seen in my entire life. Each and every bump, rock, and
jump I felt painfully echo through my body. We traveled this bizarre
distance trying to find the whereabouts of one of the AIDS orphans
that Tumaini takes care of. It was hot, uncomfortable, the amount of
times that I nearly fell off our uncountable, but it was worth it
because I was able to help. When you write a check to serve, you had
better realize that one day that check it going to be cashed. You had
better hope it’s a check your butt can cash ha. Today my butt felt

Today was a good day. Yeah I am sore, stiff, beat up and tired, but I
know that each and every ache I feel is my payment towards something
bigger than myself. With each ounce of pain that I have felt since I
left home I realize that I am helping to save lives and am bringing
hope to a place where none can be found. I met so many people today.
I saw so many faces. Words cannot capture the truly angelic exquisite
beauty that these aged buildings, wildlife and the faces of Kenya.
Something I saw made me think about dihydrogenoxide. Let me tell you
about this substance.

This substance has the potential to be very dangerous. The amount of
people that have been killed because of this substance is in the
millions. If inhaled it is deadly. If it is found in your homes, it
causes decay. Overtime it destroys and breaks down stones, metals and
even your flesh. Overexposure causes vegetation and plant life to
die. Bacteria, germs, mosquitoes and insects THRIVE off of this
substance. Dihydrogenoxide, simply put, is water. H2O. In Kenya, we
don’t have to worry too much about too much of it, if anything, we
worry about there not being enough of it.

In a temperate area like this, water is precious. It is desired more
than fame, wealth and even food. It is more sought after than oil and
more valued than gold. Your odds of finding a diamond when digging in
the dirt are better then finding water. It cost more than your food
and rent combined. Can you fathom that? Do the math, add up how much
you pay for food and rent in a month and imagine paying that much for
water. I paid twenty dollars the other day for five gallons of water.

Today, as our bike soared down these damaged, rugged and appalling
roads, I saw something that struck me deeper, harder and more painful
than I could manage.

We were driving through a dried riverbank. A year ago this river was
maybe fifteen feet deep and fifty feet across, but has since, become a
valley of sand, dirt and dried clay. The bright vibrant and deep red
shade, that most people recognize as the color of African dirt, that
once characterized the bottom of this river had faded, lost its glow;
it had become dark, colorless and morbid looking. This river that
once abundantly provided for women, children, men, companies, farms,
and animals and has now become a destitute breeding ground for
dejection. I was able to see that down the river children were
searching for water. You could see dozens of holes that had been dug.
Dozens of ambitious hunts for water that had regrettably failed.
They had spent hours clawing, scraping and digging beneath this hard
dried surface. Using every muscle and ounce of strength they could
muster up, their fingers thrusting into this dirt trusting and praying
that this treasure hunt wouldn’t be in vain. These children abused
their tiny fragile hands for hours and hours, all, of which, was for
the unlikely chance of discovering a few cups of polluted, dirty and
muddy water, water that we would never consider drinking.

Water is the most precious commodity in these parts. People are
killed for it. People die for it. Women prostitute their bodies for
it. Children slave for hours a day hoping that, just maybe, they will
be fortunate enough to find a few ounces. People go days without it.
Every ounce and every drop is accounted for, you don’t waste and you
don’t over-consume. As I remembered the miles that people walk each
day to claim a few liters of water. As I pay these exorbitant prices
for water. As I watch small children and dying old men pulling
hundreds of pounds of water to the homes of families. As I watched
these children fight this constant life or death battle of finding
water, my heart broke and my eyes were opened. How long have I simply
turned on my faucet and taken this resource for granted? How many
gallons do I use as I shower? How many times did I wash my, already
clean, car? How much of this gold, this oil, this commodity that so
many lives had died over have I allowed to slide through my fingers
and down the drain?

Water isn’t a right it is a privilege. It took me riding on the back
of a motor cycle for five hours to realize that.

For one day put on the shoes of a Kenyan. We will say that you are
rich and give you an allowance of seven gallons of water for a day,
that is all that you are allowed to use. You have to cook, do your
dishes, bath, do your laundry with just seven gallons of water. If
you want to use any amount imagine having to walk to a basin or river
bank, so take your gallon or jug and walk around the block. Give it a
try, try it for just one day, your eyes will be opened to what life is
like out here. I really hope you guys give this a try, but I’m not
going to hold my breath. If you don’t do this, PLEASE, try to
understand how blessed you are to have this resource at your disposal.

Ansante Sana,


My roommate saw my leg hair today and offered to pay for me to get
them shaved…apparently black people aren’t used to leg hair.
I have been drinking Kenyan Coffee each day and it taste completely
different from going to It’s A Grind and Starbucks and buying the
Kenyan blend. They call coffee Chai and it taste more like Chai than
I spent a while trying to convince a few little kids that Americans
consider dog and cow poop a delicacy.

Friday April 3, 2009

We all need someone to wipe away our tears

I have spent the entire day in bed. I either ate bad food or drank bad water. The bathroom has been my best friend today. To make you smile: the bathroom is a little distance from where I stay and I nearly messed my pants a few times today. I always think it is funny when someone messes their pants, and I am okay with laughing at myself. I am going to tell you about last night because today was pretty uneventful.

There is a girl who we will call Evelyn. Evelyn is in eighth grade. She loves going to church, youth group and spending time with her friends; like any eighth grade girl would. These past two months or so she has become a hermit. She goes only to school and comes straight home; neglecting friendships, church, work and her family. She is under the care of her aunt Esther. Esther came to the pastor and myself in hopes that we can talk to her and find out what is wrong with her. Last night we went to visit Evelyn. She made us an incredible meal, possibly the reason why I am sick today. After we ate we got down to business.

Evelyn acted as if nothing was wrong at first and then began to whimper her story. After each sentence tears flooded down her face and sniffles transitioned the next point. Her mother died less than a year ago of AIDS. Evelyn spent every moment of the last few months of her mother’s life by her side. She tended to her mothers every need and plea as this disease proliferated throughout her body. Her immune system began to fail, infections spread, and Evelyn watched, at such a young age, her mother gasp for her last breath and pass away, leaving Evelyn as orphan and in the care of her aunt.

Her mother meant the world to her, like any mother would especially at such a difficult age for a young woman. Evelyn’s mother saw her through every hurt, pain, struggle, obstacle and battle that life dished out for Evelyn. Evelyn was left with this void in her heart from the death of her mother; an emptiness that she longed so desperately to fill. She wanted something to comfort her and love and care for her, something to soothe and pacify her in these hard times. Her world just stopped, and the rest of the world, life and people kept on going. She needed someone to stop with her, to ease this pain for her and fill this hole in her heart. Like so many young adults, Evelyn turned to a relationship.

At this point in her life, Evelyn is in eighth grade and is dating a senior. Struggling to mollify this constant pain in her heart, she lost her virginity to her boyfriend. She had lost her way, in search for something to make it all better. This broken, hurt, and vulnerable eight-grade girl who has so much pain and angst stored up in her heart, became pregnant. This was about four months ago and the father of the child has since graduated and Evelyn has no way of contacting him. She has no mother, no father, no money, no job, she is under the guardianship of her aunt who will probably kick her out once she discovers what is going on, it seems as though she is caught between a hard place covered in nails and broken glass and an unmovable boulder, not just a hard place and a rock. She turned to something she thought would silence the agonizing cries of the pains she felt, but all she found was more hurt, pain and despair.

This culture is very judgmental and isn’t accepting. This scenario has been played out too many times to count and the reaction of the community is always the same: scornful looks and disassociation develop an “unclean” thinking mentality towards any young single parent. The words, looks and thoughts of others are so threatening for Evelyn and are something she truly fears. She shouldn’t even bother stepping in church, going to the market, or visiting a friend because her guilt, shame and this mistake is in plain view for everyone to see as it protrudes from under her shirt. The words people will say and looks they will give her are unbearable. Distinctions like being a whore, prostitute, slut and having a bastard son, are going to be ubiquitous and are going to become her identity and follow her child for his entire life.

With abortion illegal, without money or access to money, knowing what her aunt’s response is going to be, Evelyn has been rationalizing the gleaming sparkle of suicide. It would take away all of her hurts and pains and worries. It would disentangle this complication. It would be an answer to prayer. Evelyn feels like no one cares, no one is listening, like she has no hope, like no one will accept her, like no one will love her, that she will be unclean and completely alone. She fears what this incident is going to earn her in the community and in the eyes of the people she loves. She thinks that above all God doesn’t want her, that she is trash, garbage and worthless. She thinks that God hates her and that the last place she would be allowed would be church. The thoughts going through her head are, “Does anyone love me? Does anyone care? I am so alone!” She has lost all hope and feels that suicide can be her savior to take this all away.

As I glanced down at a rag that she had drenched in tears, I began to speak

Know that every tear you shed, every plead you cry out, every appeal for forgiveness, every ounce of guilt and shame, know that they don’t fall on deaf ears or an empty heart. You have messed up, but you need to understand that we have all done things that we are ashamed of. I have a memory bank crammed with shameful and regrettable acts. People are going to look down on you, judge you and not want to associate with you. They may say things or do things to try to make you believe you are worthless, but you are of value. You are a precious and beautiful child of God. This mistake doesn’t mean that your life is over. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean you can’t go to church. It doesn’t mean you can’t be used. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t of value. Your actions are going to have consequences, there are going to be a lot of obstacles and bumps in the road, but understand that as you meet these hardships and impediments in your life, though some may walk away from you, this church, the pastor, its members, the board, myself and, most importantly, God will stand by your side. I know you have lost all hope, I know that this is your darkest hour, I know that suicide looks so appealing, but know that no matter how dark it gets there is always hope. You aren’t alone right now, God has GIVEN and BLESSED you with brothers and sisters in Christ. 2009 years ago he knew that there was going to be you and that you will have lost all hope, have more hurts, pains, sorrows, discomfort, regret that you could handle, he knew this and he sent His son for you and he gave you brothers and sisters in Christ. Christ erases this guilt, and your brothers and sisters in Christ help to lift this burden. In times when you don’t believe in yourself, in times when you feel as though you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and in times when you are ready to give up, realize that you have people who believe in you, who are willing to share in lifting this weight and are willing to do anything to keep you from giving up. In times when I feel as though there is no hope or when I have too much hurt and pain to handle I have a couple of scriptures that I turn to.
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Know that nothing you can do will ever make God love you less. Nothing you say will make you lose value in His sight. Disregard what people say, do or think about you, because their opinion don’t matter, the one who’s opinion does matter has already given you your identity as a precious, beautiful, valued and glorious child of God. I know right now you hurt and it seems as though your future only holds more pain and suffering, but focus on what is to come. Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” There is going to be a day when this hurt, this pain, those tears are going to be no more. A day when you aren’t judged, looked down upon or thought of as unworthy and of no value. Hold onto this and know that you are loved, cared for and valued. You have hope and there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you. Evelyn… mungu anakupenda (God loves you).

As I heard the pain and desolation in Evelyn’s voice and spoke these words, I realized how easy it is to want to give up and throw in the towel. I realized pain; depression, trials and storms are in all of our lives. I just wanted to say that if you are in one of those storms and you have more problems than solutions, remember and hold onto the idea that we believe in a “living” hope. We believe in something that doesn’t fade away or die, it stands forever. Stand firm and know that this situation that is bigger than you will wither away because what we believe in outshines and overpowers any difficulty, obstacle, pain, sorry, or hurt we will ever face.

As I wrote this blog/journal I have been listening to the song “Lovely,” by Shawn Mc Donald off of his Ripen CD. I put it on repeat and have been listening to the lyrics. I HIGHLY recommend you youtubing it and giving it a listen. It isn’t much of a toe-taper, but the words are so powerful and are really relevant to this story. Look it up and let me know what you think of it. Shawn Mc Donald is my favorite Christian musician, if you didn’t know already.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Request:
– Evelyn
– My stomach… not sure what I ate or drank but it isn’t too much fun.
– The wheelchair for Stacy, there may be a way that we get one donated from the U.S. which would mean you guys could keep your money and put it towards something else.
-The youth camp in a few weeks… they are discussing what we are talking about… I may get to be the one to talk about sex… to a group of people who have never heard it mentioned in public before… so it should be interested
– Our leadership for MCC
– Children to be sponsored
– That God uses me here

This is going to be a paragraph because it is a few things put together.

My bed is TINY, probably the same size I had when I was five, and my feet hang off the edge. I sleep with a mosquito net, have you ever had to do that? I feel like I am a premature baby in the Intensive Care Unit. Each night I have to curl up in a ball to sleep in this womb-like bed. Throughout the night I kick and turn and each morning I feel like a fish caught in a net because I am so caught and tangled in this stupid mosquito net.
I have eaten a lot of nasty things but I put my foot down the other day. My roommate tried to make me soup with sardines.
My roommate makes honey and avocado sandwiches
REALLY REALLY spicy for Kenyans is less than the mild sauce at Taco Bell. When I eat food I pour on their wannabe Hot Sauce and they are amazed that I can take so much heat… it taste like ketchup and pepper ha ha.

Saturday April 4th


I spent the ENTIRE day at a wedding today. I left the house over 12 hours ago and I just got home. Our weddings take about an hour or two… Kenyan weddings take a day or two…. can you say exhausted! I will write about it tomorrow. As for right now I am going to bed.

Asante Sana,


Sunday April 5, 2009

Wheelchair for Stacy: I am waiting on two things for the wheelchair. It is difficult to bring anything into this country, in about two weeks a few Americans are going to try to bring a wheelchair for another little girl through Tumaini. If they are successful we are going to try to bring in another wheelchair for Stacy from the U.S. in about a month, a friend may be able to get a doctor to donate one. The other thing we are waiting for is the measurements for Stacy. A nurse is coming to the house and is going to measure her and discuss the prices for wheelchairs. If it is only $60, which is what we originally thought, then I am going to go a head and buy it here in Kenya. I will be sure to keep you all posted with. Please toss up a prayer about it.

The Kenyan Shuffle

Yesterday I partook in my first Kenyan wedding. It was for a pastor that I had met literally three weeks ago, which sounds strange, but apparently Kenyans invited anyone and everyone to their wedding. I learned a thing or two about the differences between Kenyan weddings and ours, the biggest being the over-all concern with the event as a whole and not even the slightest concern for time. They don’t really care about what time it starts or doesn’t start, when you have a wedding in this place you just sort of meander your way through it.

The wedding was supposed to start at 10AM, we got there about 9:30 AM, we had to take the much dreaded and VERY public “public transportation,” which took a little longer than expected. William and I hurried, William is just about the only Kenyan I have met who actually takes notice of time, our way to John Sila’s home only to find the entire wedding party relaxing and far from ready for the wedding. Thirty minutes to go until the BIG moment and the bride and groom weren’t the slightest bit close to being ready… I was a little thrown off. Any bride that I had known would have KILLED her husband-to-be if he was late to their wedding.

After another crowded, long, bumpy and, did I mention, CROWDED ride to Machakos, I didn’t mind slumping down on the couch with the rest of the gang. Two ladies, appearing to be in their mid-forties, we wearing a black satin attire with matching huge authentic Kenyan headdresses. Were these two were in mourning over the whole ordeal or was black was the color to wear? I found out that they were in mourning and didn’t want this wedding to take place… just yanking your chain! Apparently, black is what all the cool cats wear at weddings. The groom points to these two ladies, fashioned in their sleek black ensemble, and asked me which one I thought was his bride, take in consideration they both looked old enough to be my mother, I pointed to the younger one and he started rolling in laughter. He was messing with me, he wasn’t marrying either of them, I think they were his grandmother’s or maybe aunts, not too sure.

The groom tossed me my Ketanga, which is a Kenyan dress shirt that looked like something they took right off of an old Partridge Family episode, and said this was what I was wearing. I had previously had my entire upper body measured for this Ketanga meant just for me, but I guess the seamstress threw my measurements out the window. In high school they used to make the girls lift their arms to see if their shirts were too small, if their midriffs showed it was too small of a shirt, I am almost positive that I would have failed that test. I sucked, tucked and squeezed in every muscle and the full on wrestled my way into this Ketanga. A hot, sweaty, painfully tight and tiring five minutes later I swaggered out of the room, trying to pull of this hideous ketanga. As I glanced at the other groomsmen I realized that I was the only one who looked like I had beaten up a third grader and stolen his ketanga, I could already tell that this was going to be a long day.

FINALLY, we rolled up to the church; about two hours after the wedding was supposed to have started, we had our own entourage. The family got the best transportation they could for this happy couple, so we crammed the wedding party into five old- junky cars, I got to ride with the groom in one that was only about seven or eight years old. We road with enthusiasm; we were honking, whistling, yelling and flashing our lights all the way to the church. As we climbed our way out of our trendy rides, I caught a glimpse of the bridesmaids, our classic repugnant bridesmaid dresses are gorgeous next to these. Go to your Disney memory bank and try to think of the outfit princess Jasmine wore in Aladdin, now imagine someone making that into a dress, fasten on a few ugly bows, use a very loud and vivid baby blue silk and that is your dress. I would never think about telling this to anyone here, but those dresses were absolutely revolting.

Another hour later, three hours after it was supposed to start, the guest made their way into the chapel and we were ready to get down to business. This wasn’t like a U.S. wedding, us Kenyan’s have style and class; our entrance was big and exciting, we danced our way in. We did what I call the Kenyan shuttle, kind of like a strut, but with a little more pizzazz and umph! The entire wedding party, which was around fifty people, frolicked, strutted, sashayed, leapt and danced their way into the chapel. This took, not even kidding, about thirty minutes to get everyone into the church.

People were shouting, bubbles were being blown, everyone seemed to be singing, people were jeteing (is that a word) for joy and our hands were clapping like there was no tomorrow. With baby blue, small Ketanga’s, and bubbles flying in the air it looked like a scene from the Lion King. The colors, the music, the intricate dance moves from each group, I felt like I was in the Lion King musical.

After another thirty minutes of singing and dancing we all took our seats, by this time I was ready for this thing to be finished, I had spent the last about four hours waiting for it to start and had woken up about ten hours earlier. The MC stood up and the vows were about to be exchanged, just kidding, we are in Kenya this isn’t any two hour shebang. About fifteen different choirs, singers, performers, dancers and vocalist took turns singing a few songs, they were all incredible and VERY talented but… it took HOURS. At last the bishop rose, they were finally going to say their “I do’s.” They did, right after his hour sermon, in Swahili. I am not even going to lie I started to fall asleep. I had woken up such a long time ago, the whole day had its toll on me, also I had taken a large dose of nausea medicine for the bus which has a side effect of making you sleepy. I felt horrible as my head bobbed and eyelids became heavy, but you try being exhausted and sitting for a hour listening to someone preach in a different language. The funny thing was that I wasn’t the only one falling asleep, the entire bridal party and groomsmen were nodding off. FINALLY they said I do and were married! About five or six hours after they were supposed to. We then ventured off to take pictures, as I looked around at the wedding party, I realized, big surprise, that I was the only white chocolate in this bunch BUT on our way to the photo session I saw about three mzungu’s, AT LAST I wasn’t the only white person in all of Kenya!

The photographer was really bad. He kept on trying to sell me really bad pictures, had this guy ever used a camera before? He would hand me a photo of the back of my head or with his finger in the picture and say “forty shillings.” No way, I brought my own camera. In fact, I gave it to a friend to take pictures of me so that you guys can see, unfortunately not all Kenyan’s are camera-ready. This friend of mine did just as good of a job as the photographer, but I have a few that I’ll send so you can see me in my tiny Ketanga.

One last thing, we did get to eat a Kenyan wedding cake. But the cake was really small so they cut everyone a single bit-sized piece. It didn’t really taste like any cake I had eaten. It was sort of like coffee-cake and cornbread mixed so I didn’t complain about only having one bite.

We finally ventured home. I left my hose around 8:30 that morning and got home about 8:30 at night. I was exhausted! Our one-hour weddings are equal to a twelve hour Kenyan wedding. Time doesn’t matter, the event does. Hakuna Matata! (the phrase from the Lion King, the song that Timone and Pumba sing) It really does mean no worries and it is their problem free philosophy that everyone lives by.
We still need rain. It has only rained twice.
That girl who I wrote about who is pregnant just got kicked out. She is now staying with family that has a history of sexually abusing her… remember that she is only in 8th grade.
The youth camp
Stacy’s wheel chair

Reggae music seems to be pretty popular in weddings
It is against the law to walk in Masii at 6AM and 6PM, that is when the flag is being raised and lowered, you will be beaten and thrown in jail.
Apparently, it is also against the law to walk around town after it is dark, you will be beaten and thrown in jail (seems to be their answer for everything).
Even though they cram 25 people in a 8 person van, it is against the law for anyone to be in a car without a seat belt. The are LEGALLY supposed to only allow 8 people in there. But they bribe the police at each check point.
Yeah! Anytime I travel I get to be stopped by police with guns at different check points.
Kenyans get cold very easily. If I open the door my roommate shuts it… even though it is 95 degrees.
I feel bad because sometimes I sleep in… until 6:30… everyone wakes up between 4:30 and 5 in the morning… I am still trying to adjust
Kenyan phone calls last less than a minute, they are expensive so they just say what they need to say and then hang up.

Monday April 6, 2009

Yesterday it was about 95 degrees with 4,000% humidity. As I write you this entry it is POURING rain. I have a very thin tin roof, the winds are slamming into it and trying to pry it off, which it sounds like it is going to do pretty soon. The rain is banging, crashing and smashing into it. The winds are intense. We lost our electricity, which happens during monsoon season. This weather is making me doubt if I will be able to write to you each day, I wont have electricity or phone lines, but I will write each day that I am able to. I just finished writing this entry, now it is hot and humid. Consistent rain would be nice.
Also, my computer wont let me attach any pictures

When in Kenya do as the Macedonians do

The church in Jerusalem had been hit with a severe famine. This epidemic caused disease, poverty and starvation to spread throughout the population of Jerusalem, but no one was hit harder than the Jews and Christians in Jerusalem. Jews were treated as lower class citizens and Christians were thought of as a smaller sect within the Jewish community, which caused them to suffer persecution, ill-treatment and abuse that was even more severe than what the Jews were experiencing. In response to the impoverished state of the Christians in Jerusalem, the apostle Paul traveled to different churches and pleaded for their help in this situation. He was a little disturbed by the lack of enthusiasm that the church in Corinth had towards contributing this cause, so he told them about the reaction of the churches in Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.”

These churches in Macedonia weren’t rich, they didn’t have a surplus of material goods, they themselves were hard pressed for finances. They were enduring severe trials and extreme poverty and were in no position to contribute any monetary goods. These people had absolutely nothing by the world’s standard. They had no money, they had no food, they had no clothing and yet when they heard that there were others in need they reacted. It says that they gave as much as they were able to, I imagine that they scraped together all of the pennies, nickels, and dimes that they had in their savings and gave all that they could manage to afford. After they gave all they could afford they then “gave beyond their ability.” They impoverished themselves to help others in need; meaning that they went without so that others could have. They were eager, happy, and willing to take on this burden of starvation and poverty to ease the suffering of these people. Jerusalem was literally 1,000 miles away from some of these churches in Macedonia, they had never laid eyes on these people, but the story of them starving and dying dug into the deepest parts of their hearts and souls and prodded them to help. What amazes me is that if any group of people could be justified to not give it would be the churches in Macedonia. If they said they couldn’t afford to help no one would have question or hazed them for it. They had absolutely nothing and yet they gave.

Instead of being hounded and nagged to give, out of their own accord, out of their own will, not being asked of forced to do it, they selflessly gave. They had heard of the situation that their brothers in Christ were facing and their hearts, because they belonged to God, hurt for them. They felt their pain and wanted to help. When they gave they didn’t drag their feet and pout… they said this is from me to you and I love you because God first loved me. Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.” The churches in Macedonia did just that.

I think that this account of the churches in Macedonia and these instructions from book of Philippians perfectly describe the attributes the people Kenya have. There is a young man that we will call Charles. He was raised on the streets and he watched as his mother died of AIDS. He never had the opportunity to go to school, to bath each day, to have new clothing, to eat regularly or to drink clean water each day. They were very poor and insolvent was a quality they were accustomed to. When his mother died he was left even worse off than before and began to live his on the streets; associating with the wrong types of people who tainted his innocence and introduced him to a world of violence, drugs, stealing, abusing alcohol and sex. He came to church for the first time in his life about four months ago and dedicated his life to Christ. After hearing his story, the members of this congregation, those that don’t eat on a regular basis, the ones who can’t afford water to drink, the ones who live in shacks, and the ones who make less money in a year than we do in a day, these people decided that they wanted to help Charles out. He had made such incredible strides to walk away from his life of crime and they wanted to assist in his rehabilitation back into society. They put together the little food they grew and the small amount that they could buy and gave it to Charles. These people have put together all of their coins and hard earned money to try to buy Charles a new pair of clothes, he has but one shirt and one pair jeans. A woman named Esther is giving him a place to live for free. Kenyans know how to love, not just with words, with their actions. Just like the churches in Macedonia, these people gave all that they could afford, to the extent of just having enough money to survive themselves, and then went above and beyond their ability to give. 1 John 3:16-18 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no piety on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

I think about what Christ laid down for me. He lived a life of pain and suffering. Instead of seeking to gain material goods, instead of giving into temptation and gaining control of this world, instead of having he went without. He spent his days being cursed, hated, mocked, ridiculed, and spat at. Everywhere he went crowds wanted him dead. He was homeless, “for the son of man has no place to lay his head and rest,” he gave up any worldly ambition he had for me. Ultimately, he laid down his life for me. In 1 John it says that in the same way that he laid down his life for us, we ought to do the same for our brothers. I don’t think that taking a bullet is exactly what it is talking about here. I think that instead of seeking my kingdom first, instead of focusing on me, myself and I, instead of thinking of me and my wants and my desires, that I lay those down when I see someone in need. When I hear a story of someone suffering, even if I am in Macedonia and they are in Jerusalem 1,000 miles away, that I react. When I see or hear of someone in need my response should be that I give what I am able and then I give beyond my ability, as the churches in Macedonia did and the people of Kenya do. When I hear of someone who is living on the streets and gave up a life of impish pursuits to follow Christ I should scrap together my pennies and help.

As I watch my neighbors and friends here giving the only pennies they have for someone else in need I am touched. I see these people starving, hurting, and hardly surviving and yet they still manage to give. I feel like the American thing to do is walk in the opposite direction when you see someone asking for money. If there is a bum begging for some change we tend to go to the other side of the street, or we try our best to not make eye contact, Lord forbid someone approach us and make us feel uncomfortable. There have been numerous times when I have gone to the grocery store and I make my exit through a particular door because I know that there is someone asking for money, yet again, for another cause and I don’t want to be hassled with it. Whenever I am unfortunate enough to have someone cross my path who needs money I will say something like, “I already contribute to a charity,” or “I can’t afford it.,” or I keep on walking and don’t even respond. At times I have embraced the heartless materialistic attitude towards giving. Am I the only one who has ever done that? Or maybe I am the only one who has idolized money and material goods. Is it that I can’t afford to give or that I am only willing to part with a specific small amount of my material wealth? It is such a humbling experience to see people going without food, laying down their health and going to be hungry because someone else is in need. As I watching people give even though they can’t afford it I am humbled. Here I sit with my computer, nice clean clothing, food in my stomach, water at my side to quench any thirst that may arise and debating how much I can afford to give towards this young man. As each day passes I hope that the materialism, greed and selfish ambition of my life break away and I become more like the churches in Macedonia and my Kenyans neighbors. Luke 12:15 “Watch out! Be on you guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” As much as I would like to think that I am different and that I don’t focus on money and material goods I know that I do. My hopes are that when I return to America I will be a new man, a man who is no longer enslaved to money, wealth and things of this world.

2 Corinthians 8:7 “But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving. At times I tend to forget about this. I have grown in so many areas but my heart towards giving, going without for us, laying down my life, and benevolence are all in dire need of help. I aspire to give like the Macedonians and care for others with more than words, in actions and deeds, like the Kenyans do.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Request:
Youth camp is only a few weeks away
We keep on losing electricity, having a consistent electrical source would make our church services a lot easier.
I am going out on the motorcycle again tomorrow, that I wont crash a die : )
Stacy’s wheelchair situation

I had spaghetti for lunch… apparently the Kenyans make spaghetti with rice and noodles and potatoes and top it off with wannabe ketchup
I have about 6 children that are my neighbors, they are all about 4 or younger. One of them is a jerk and picks on the other ones. I really don’t like him and don’t really show him any attention. I know it’s wrong, but he is a punk. What can I say?
They don’t really tell jokes here… I say a sarcastic remark and everyone thinks it is the funniest thing they have ever heard. Why can’t you guys laugh at my jokes like that?
We don’t have any spices… just salt… and lots of it
I bought a few DVDs to show to the youth… I spent like five bucks and now own about 50 movies. Including DEFIANCE… one of the best movies EVER!
I want a motorcycle… anyone want to donate one to me?
I eat a lot of bread… at least a half a loaf a day
We have a bunch of eggs… but they aren’t refrigerated, should I not eat them?
My neighbors take their baths outside (the little kids not adults) and like to run around naked and scream afterwards… it is hilarious

Tuesday April 7, 2009

The pictures still don’t attach… anyone wanna explain to me how to create and send a zip file? I heard that was faster and easier.. but I have no idea what that is or how to do it

The tables have turned

My family struggled financially for most of my childhood. We were the epitome of gaining an inch and losing a mile. My parents worked hard and tried with everything they had to get us financially stable, but we never seemed to be able to come on top. I imagine it as if we were trapped in a hole. As we claw and struggle to climb our way out more and more dirt pours in and the situation gets worse and worse. Pretty soon reaching for the stars, our dreams, seem unattainable; after being beaten and broken by the world your strides, dreams and hopes begin to simply be to get out of this hole, to be average, to get to the poverty line. My mom made our clothes or we wore second hand clothing, we would cut and clip out any couple we could get our hands on, a tall glass of powdered milk is what we used to quench our thirst, we have never purchased a new car, we managed apartments to lower the cost of rent, we bought in bulk to save money, simply put, we didn’t have much. My parents weren’t alcoholics or drug addicts, they didn’t gamble away our money, they weren’t uneducated we just hit a few unexpected bumps in the road that hit us pretty fiercely. One of those bumps being that my mother was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer when I was a small boy. She had just finished getting certified as a nurse and we were coasting down the worry free road of life, it seemed like our penury was in the past, and then we were smacked in the face with this diagnoses.

She lost her job and we were then dependent solely my fathers income. One income to feed a lot of mouths, to put clothing on quite a few backs, to shelter a several people and to shed out more money for bills then you posses. We were in a situation where our mother who was hospitalized, bills piled up, mouths needed to be fed and children needed to be provided for and yet when we looked at the amount of money we had and the amount of money we needed… the two didn’t match.

Have you ever been stuck in a black hole? A situation where no matter how hard you try, no matter what attempt you make to get yourself out, and no matter how much effort you put forth you are sucked back in? Imagine what it is like to be a parent and fearing that if you will be able to provide for your child. Imagine the worries, the sleepless nights, the qualms of if you are going to have a place to live next month, and the responsibility of having to provide for your children hanging over your head and you not being able to. Have you ever been in a situation where you have no way out, no one to turn to and no hope? Can you relate to the situation that my family faced? Your story may be different, but haven’t we all been in a situation where we couldn’t get out?

With no light at the end of the tunnel, without a get of jail free card, without knowing what we were going to do… God and people came to our need. When my mom lost her job all of her coworkers donated their sick leave and vacation hours, in an attempt to allow her to have medical coverage and a paycheck. As our money supply plummeted and bill payments were nearing, the community, the church, family and friends raised $30,000 for our food, rent and medical supplies, which kept us alive. We were trapped in this dark, deep and hopeless pit, with no way out, as we became aware of the fact that our attempts were futile, we were thrown a rope. Have you ever been on the receiving end of charity? Have you ever had someone help you? Have you ever been in a dark, deep and hopeless pit and as the situation progressively exacerbated been thrown a rope? Do you know what it feels like to have a burden that had been beating, thrusting and jostling your heart, soul and life to be lifted off?

Throughout my life, my family and I have been the recipient of charitable giving time and time again. There are been needs met, wishes granted and unachievable dreams made into a reality due to cheerful givers.

Through the darkness of starvation, malnutrition, disease, extreme poverty, hopelessness and depression I have providentially seen a small flickering light of giving, hospitality and genuine love for others through the acts of Kenyans. As my biblical studies increase, and I meditate on Acts 20:35 “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” and my eyes continually catch glimpses of selfless giving, my heart has become softened towards God’s desire for giving and I have attempted to relay the learned message to you. It seems as though these blogs haven’t fallen on deaf ears. People have been contributing, eyes have been opened, hearts have been softened and reactions have begun. I have received emails asking how to help and plead for ways to contribute.

One girl read about Carro and her family. To refresh your memory, Carro is diseased and has an irregularly large head. She has lost her ability to walk. She is eight years old and yet her body is the size of a four year old. Her mother used to prostitute her body to make ends meet, and yet this family constantly went days without food and fell two months behind rent, which cost about five bucks a month. Instead of reading this story, shedding a tear, and continuing with her life, my friend, just like many of you, reacted. She sent me enough money to pay for Carro’s rent for twelve months. Today I was blessed by being able to give this family the news.

As people heard about my families situation, our needs, our suffering and our neediness, they gave. Their giving completely changed our lives. Because people heard our story and reacted, my mother didn’t die. We had food to eat. We had a roof over our head. Because of the giving and selflessness of our friends, family, the community, and the church, we were lowered a rope and we were presented with an opportunity at life. As those who contributed watched our dreams come true, my mother be nursed back to health, and us being provided for, I was never able to imagine the abundant joy they had in their hearts. I was never able to imagine how good it must have felt to actually save a life. I was never able to realize what it must be like to make a difference in life of another, to see a need and meet it, or to give to those who had none. I was never truly able to see how they felt until today.

We told Mama Carro the news about her not having to worry about rent for a long time. With a tear gently descending down her face that years of prostitution, poverty, disease and unfortunate circumstances wore down and dirtied, as a inconceivable grin of sheer bliss appeared from ear to ear, I knew that this woman had been set free from the shackles of the worries and burdens that amplified daily. The joy, peace and abundance of elation that filled my heart are unfathomable.

I spent a good part of my life going without and being on the receiving end of situations like these. Today the tables have turned. I experienced what it is like to give, to see a need a meet it, to be a part of something bigger than myself. I only acted as the messenger, and yet I have this overflow of exhilaration, peace, love, joy and happiness.

We are presented with opportunities like this everyday, whether you live in America or in Kenya. In our community in California, mothers are behind on rent, children don’t have food, running water isn’t available and people are burrowing deeper and deeper into holes while dreams are becoming less and less attainable. Drug addicts are getting loaded because they have nothing to live for. Alcoholics are drowning their pains and sorrows. Parents are dealing with their hurts and pains through abuse or molestation. Homeless are holding up signs in a desperate plea to appease the hunger pain they have had for days. There are opportunities to lower a rope to someone in a hole everyday, but either we don’t want to, are blind to these opportunities or are too fixated on ourselves to react.

Sometimes you find yourself stuck in a hole. You are so far down, deep and submerged in darkness that you don’t even bother reaching for the stars anymore because you have forgotten what they look like and what it is like to dream big. You find yourself trapped and you can’t get out. Can you imagine what our world would look like if when we became aware of these situations we react? Dream with me for a second… Imagine the dreams made real, the burdens that would be lifted, and the ability to sleep at night for parents, the thirsts that would be quenched, and the lives that would be changed.

When you see someone in a hole lower a rope… it could be me down there.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Request:
Church service for easter
Youth camp in a few weeks
MCC leadership
Stacy’s wheelchair

A lot of people don’t wear underwear… it is a luxury
I convinced a bunch of people that American’s eat dog
In Swahili, bellpepper is pilapilaohhoe
I was on the back of a motorcycle for a few hours today and drove for the first time ever for about an hour
Children always touch my hair and pinch my skin to see if it is real
I wore shorts tonight…. A bunch of kids kept of rubbing my legs because apparently black people don’t have leg hair
The water is so scarce that the fruits and veggies are malnourished. Bell peppers are the size of mushrooms… oranges are green and REALLY dry… have you ever bitten into a orange and had absolutely no juice? It is weird… and kind of nasty

Stupid pictures still dont work… it will load until it is just about completely loaded and then it will say Attachment failed… any ideas? I tried the zip files.

Wednesday April 8, 2009

The city I live in ran out of water today.. I am going on the waterfree diet I guess…

Have you ever worried about running out of water? Have you ever thought about what you would do if it wasn’t there one day? What would you do if it seemed nearly impossible to get? Not being able to bath. Not being able to cook. Not being able to clean. Not being able to drink… how many days can you go without water? We have one main resource for water in Masii, to make a long story short…last night a few things went wrong and structural damage was done and, simply put, we lost our main water resource and we’ve already had a couple of people pleading with us to have some of our water… I don’t know if you can comprehend what it is like being in this position. I just ask that you would keep Masii in prayer. So many families couldn’t afford water already, I just paid $4 a gallon the last time I bought some, how on earth are these people going to be able to deal with the dramatic escalating price of water now that the little water we had is nearly unattainable? How many children are going to die or be hospitalized in the next few days? How many mothers are going to prostitute their bodies in some pity attempt to try to get water for their children? I repeat: Have you ever worried about running out of water? That just became my reality… the fear of not having water or those things accompanied by it. We hear about these things and we see commercials late at night and all I can say is that the things you have heard and those commercials you change the channel from.. they aren’t lying… this is real. Please pray for rain, a few insignificant short showers poured a few times this week but nothing substantial. In all seriousness DON’T worry about me, I know I’ll be fine and will gain access to water… I’m sure it will be $20 a gallon… but I will have access. Pray, then pray, and follow it up with prayer… I feel like God is going to do something tonight!

I know some of you may read this and freak out… please don’t… I will be fine

Asante Sana,


… more Rain
The youth camp
MCC leadership
… and Rain one more time

Most people have their houses decorated with calendars that they got for free.. no joke EVERY house is filled with random calendars
Most businesses have signs and posters advertising things they don’t have
I put a little kid in a empty water basin today
A lot of children are afraid of me…. So I LOVE chasing them and scaring them… after a little while they are stuck to my side and I can’t get rid of them
I watched part of Kung Fu Panda today and am going to finish it after I send this…that movie cracks me up
My towels got washed today… they were as stiff and as hard as cardboard…
I found a melted kitkat bar in my jacket pocket… sheer bliss is all I can say about that

Wednesday April 8, 2009

When a shack becomes a home

I spent a few hours yesterday visiting the homes of the sick, poor and a few of the different members of our church. One of the first homes didn’t seem like much of a home. A 23-year-old woman that we shall call Mary lived there with her precious daughter that we will call Mercy. This facility was slightly larger than the closet in my bedroom. Mildew and decay plastered the primeval-like walls. One of the smallest beds I have ever seen is where Mary and Mercy escape the sting of this world and dream big dreams, a torn and soiled sheet, hanging from a rope that had been hung across the room, draped over their scoured bed in an effort to give an illusion of having a distinguished sleeping quarter and living space. A broken chair, a small cracked table and a rusted kerosene fueled camping stove completed made up the rest of her house, if you want to call it that. She is living in a claustrophobics worse nightmare, she has no electricity, no running water, no window, and by all means no visible space, but somehow she turned this nightmarish shack into a home for her and her child. After she revealed her heart and story it became evident that what these two lacked in tangible and mundane affluence they made up for with an abundance of hope, perseverance, affection and genuine love.

She became broken, transparent and open with who she was and where she came from. She wasn’t the typical uneducated girl submerged in the “party scene” who slept around and eventually became pregnant. She completed college and had been dating her prince in shining armor for a few years and had fallen in love and they were ready to get married. In Africa, you don’t tell a soul that you are getting married or that you are engaged, you break the news just before the wedding, not even your parents know until a few weeks before the nuptial. It sounds pretty bizarre but that is their culture, my roommate is engaged and no one else knows besides me. One with our story, as the wedding date neared, they informed the parents, and the mother of the husband-to-be was outraged and wouldn’t have it. Mary was from a different tribe and the mother wouldn’t allow her son to wed with someone from an inferior tribe, Mary was beneath garbage, a no one and a nothing in her eyes and she would do anything in her power to keep her son from ruining his life by wedding Mary. They tried and pleaded, but the mother wouldn’t budge, her foot was slammed down and nothing could move it. Unlike in America, children actually obey their parents no matter what the end result may look like, so he followed his mothers’ orders and walked away from the relationship. Mary was pregnant as they went their separate ways.

This young woman didn’t give up and become the typical struggling single mother; she used her education and started a successful business. She put everything she had towards it, every dime, every ounce of energy, and every resource she had to make ends meet and to launch her business. Every ounce of sweat and every minute she invested in her business paid off, it was a success. Instead of becoming dependent on family and living in a hole-in-the-wall apartment she was actually making something of herself. It was smooth sailing ahead for Mary and Mercy, she had overcome the overwhelming odds that were stacked up against her and she had paved a beautiful future for her and her daughter. Unfortunately, sometimes we get smacked in the face by life and hit a few bumps along the road. Mary did more than hit a few bumps in the road… she totaled her car in life.

A very close relative died. She needed to return home and help the family. While she was away someone broke into her shop and stole everything she had worked so hard for. Every dream, every ounce of sweat, all that she had poured into this shop over the last few years of her life, every penny that she had invested, the dreams for her child, the good life she thought she was going to be able to provide her child with… everything was gone. She lost it all. There was no plan B, there was nowhere to go and no one to run to, no insurance, no idea who took it… it was all just gone. There she stood, a single mother with no support from her child’s father and without a penny to her name. I can’t even begin to comprehend what that must be like. The pain, anguish, anger, disappointment, fear, sorrow, depression and emotions that must have been overwhelming every cell in her body. What is a mother to do when you have lost absolutely everything? Imagine what it is like to not be able to dream big dreams, to feel as if you will never amount to anything, or to want to give up altogether because you fear you wont be able to take another beating from life…She had to mourn two deaths that day… the death of her uncle and her the death of her dreams.

As her words, tears and sobs unveiled this story and I looked into her eyes all I could see was emptiness, someone who had lost her will fight, lost her ability to dream big dreams, and lost any ambition she had left to try to make something of herself. She hit more than a bump in the road, this car wreck of a situation crippled her hope. What would you do if you couldn’t even provide for your child? What would you do if, in a instant, your whole world was taken away? That was her reality.

Her father helps her afford this pathetic excuse for a home. I am pretty sure that the money for the little food they have comes from prostitution. Knowing how much she was willing to do to provide for this child I felt as if I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. Her words were embedded in my heart and compelled me to react. I started to ask her if she ever wanted to start up her business again… she sighed. She would never come up with that much money. FORTUNATELY, a friend of mine had sent me money and told me to use it as I felt led. I am going to use it to help her start her business again she said it would need about $25. Can you believe that? $25 to start a business, $25 to change the lives of these two forever, $25 to keep a mother from prostituting her body …$25 to make a difference. It is amazing what a few dollars can do.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. $25 taught this woman to fish, and it is going to ensure her and Mercy eat everyday for the rest of her life. There are so many needs and so many hurts in this place. Each dime that you all have given is changing a life. I hope this email helped you realize how big of a difference your contributions are making. I am so thankful for the financial and spiritual support you all have given me.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Request:
The youth camp and my speaking at it… in front of hundreds of AIDS orphans.. kind of nervous to be honest.
Stacy’s wheelchair
Mary and Mercy’s situation and for her business
Mama Carro and for her to find more work, we started giving her our business
My stomach is starting to feel bad… pray I don’t get sick again.

I haven’t bathed in two days… I really want to
I am thought of as a computer GENIUS in this place
I have been eating mini bananas… a third of the size of normal ones… today my neighbor gave me two of the biggest and fattest banana’s I have ever seen
Goats, chickens and donkeys roam the streets
During the bible study tonight my roommate had a small boy sitting on his lap… he peed on him
My roommate has broken every cup except about one…
I found and bought peanut butter today… it looks like vomit
Someone borrowed water last night… they just returned it. Has anyone ever borrowed water from you? Ha ha

Friday April 10, 2009

Into Samaria We Go…
*If this email was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the email list just send me an email to and I will add you to the list so you can receive the emails straight from me. I try to send one out each day; sometimes the Internet is down though.

As William and I made home visitations on Tuesday a large group of children aggressively dragged us through a small rusted door, we found ourselves being herded into a small group of homes, these children didn’t give us much say in the matter of going or not. I have met two kinds of children: some that seem to be deathly allergic to white people that scamper off and wail whenever they see me and there are overzealous type, the ones who gaze upon me in astonishment and act like you are their favorite superhero. These children definitely fit in with the second group, the beaming grin painted on each of their faces told me so. It didn’t take long for my recollection to catch up with what I was seeing, I recognized these children, I had seen them multiple times in passing. They are the ones who nearly break their arm off from waving so aggressively each time they see me. Whenever they catch a glimpse of the Muzungu passing, they yell, whistle and do just about everything they are able to in an attempt to get me to notice them and pay them some acknowledgment. I also knew exactly where I was. Misery Street, this street and this residence was known for its prostitution. I didn’t ask, but you can infer that their mothers were common hookers.

It doesn’t take long to realize that these children are neglected and are attention deprived. The lack of shoes, the weeks worth of dirt that has collected on their legs and face, their untreated wounds, the fact that they have to wear their paints unzipped in order for them to fit due to them being outgrown, the tears and holes that developed from the years upon years of use their clothing has endured, the rotting teeth and the desperate pleas for the slightest bit of attention opened my eyes to the negligence these children face. Their swollen stomachs and frail body structures painted a picture of how much food these children were receiving, my guess was that they didn’t eat each day and couldn’t afford food. Lamentably, a lack of resources for food, water, school, medical care and disinterested parents, I discovered, was their reality. It is so disheartening to see these innocent children being unethically thrashed by the world all of which is due to mistakes and decisions their mothers continue to make.

These children don’t seem to have much of a future. This culture and society often overlooks children in their situation because these circumstances have been replayed over and over again. They probably aren’t going to get lucky and catch any breaks in life. They will most likely end up following in their parents footsteps and put their children in this position, children tend to pick up their parents traits: both good and bad. These kids don’t have much hope. I would say they should throw in the towel now and give up. What is the point of them even attempting to become anything of value or anything that they can be proud of, they are destined to be no ones and nothings. No one wants them or cares about them or their needs. Their mother should have done us all a favor and gotten an abortion or fallen down some stairs, better that then these lousy excuses for humans polluting this city with their existence. They should commit suicide right? I mean if this was your fate, wouldn’t you? If the entire world looked down on you… wouldn’t you want to give up? If you knew that as you grew older people would want to disassociate themselves with you, why would you continue living? If people called you names and mocked you because of your mothers’ profession how would you feel? If you were treated as if you were an untouchable how would you feel? These children had taken some hard blows from this culture at such a young age… it is pretty difficult to see anything of worth for them in their future. Though at the time they had smiles and giggles we know their zeal and passion for life is only going to grow fainter and fainter until it completely fades away.

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories from the bible… It is from John 4:1-39…
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.a)
Why the heck is this so interesting Geoffrey? This sounds REALLY boring and what does it have to do with those children? Let me break it down for you… I want you to understand this story the way that I do.
Samaritans were a mixed race: part Assyrian and part Jewish. Hundreds of years prior to this the Assyrians had enslaved, persecuted and displaced thousands upon thousands of Jews, interbreeding occurred with the Samaritan race being the outcome. Samaritans were thought of as the untouchables and worthless, especially if you are a Jew or Assyrian. Judea and Galilee are about 70 miles apart with Samaria in between. If you were a Jew, like Jesus, you wouldn’t take the 70-mile route, instead of going straight from Judea to Galilee you would go from Judea to Jerusalem to Jericho and up the Jordan Valley. Instead of taking two or three days your trip now takes over a week. You would travel 140 miles of some of the toughest and most exhausting terrain you can imagine, instead of the simple 70-mile route because you don’t associate with Samaritans.
This takes place during the sixth hour. Twice a day, the woman of a town would draw water, once in the morning and once in the evening. The sixth hour was about noon, the time when the untouchables, worst sinners, whores and prostitutes drew their water. This well was located in Sychar and was Joseph’s well, it was on the outskirts of the city, about a half-mile from the town, and keep on the back burner that there are wells throughout the city.
Jesus, being a Jew, travels into Samaria. He not only steps foot, but he associates, with people who are half-breeds, worthless, unclean, and pathetic excuses for humans. There are plenty of wells where he is and yet he goes to the well on the outskirts, the one that he knew would have the worst of the worst. He goes there during the sixth hour, fully aware of the type of people he would encounter. When he sees this woman, based on her clothing, body language and the time of day, he instantly knows what type of woman she is… a whore. Christ came to the worst of the worst, he was picking from the bottom of the barrel, he found the lowest person imaginable and he decided to reveal His identity to her. This woman ends up getting a little overwhelmed by Jesus revealing who he is and she takes off to the town, but the end result is mentioned in verse 39.
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
This woman had no future. This woman was trash and garbage. This woman was worthless and was the worst of the worst. She was thought of the exact same way that these children are looked upon. Whenever she went she was scorned and mocked. People wouldn’t associate with her, can you imagine life completely alone. People wanted her dead, they didn’t see her as a person. Think about how many times she probably thought about killing herself, what was there to live for, if this was your life would you think it a life worth living? Probably not. She had no light at the end of the tunnel, she had no hope, and there was nothing good in store for this woman… and yet God was able to use her. This woman, this whore, this person that no one else wanted… because of this “whore” and entire city was saved.
It had been a while since these children had eaten and they had nothing in store for lunch or dinner. The world says that they are a waste. The world says that I shouldn’t even fritter away my money on such a worthless cause. The world says that these children will continue in their family’s footsteps and defile this society. That isn’t how I see them and that isn’t what I think. When I look at this children who have no hope. As I see their grubby appearance, I see the torn clothing, I see the rotting teeth, I see the poorest of Masii… but I also see something great. I went to the market and emptied my pockets to buy as many fruits and vegetables I could afford. I gave some of the food to their parents and then gave each child a banana, by the look on their faces you would have thought I was dealing out hundred dollar bills. As I passed out this food I told myself that Christ has just stepped foot into Samaria, walked to the furthest away well, arrived during the sixth hour, found the lowest of the low… that Christ did this for these children. That in this world these children have no hope and have no chance, but through Christ all things are possible. When I look at them I don’t see worthlessness I see incredible instruments that God will be able to impact the world with.
Asante Sana,

P.S. The pictures I am sending are of some of the kids. The one on my left-hand side ALWAYS has a smile on his face and I think he is the posterchild for “Adorable” really funny too!
Prayer Request:
My stomach
The youth camp
MCC leadership
Stacy’s wheelchair

My roommate, William, he often talks to people using Swahili for about thirty minutes and then turns to me, even though I didn’t understand a word of the conversation and don’t know anything that they were talking about, and ALWAYS asks me if I want to add anything or say anything in closing… kind of funny
Two people gave their lives to Christ today in one of our bible studies
The youth camp is going to have over 500 AIDS orphans, varying in ages, the talk I get to give is on SEX for about two hours. I am stoked! They never learn about it in school and never discuss it at home, I know that my words are going to be used. I’m sure this subject will keep them on the edge of their seats.
The neighborhood kids run around naked…. Today one of them walked up to my door naked and the guardian started yelling at her… VERY funny
I am watching Defiance… if you haven’t seen this movie you should put it on your priority list
Some people think I am Indian

It had been a while since they last eat. Then didn’t have anything to eat. Pass out bananas like hundred dollar bills

In picture he is the cutest I have ever seen

Saturday April 11, 2009

*If this email was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the email list just send an email to and I will add you to the list so you can receive the emails straight from me. I try to send one out each day; sometimes the Internet is down though.


Have you ever been so hungry that you would do just about anything to get food? Have you ever gone for such a long period of time without food that you would be willing to hump over any hurdle, overcome any obstacle or perform any task to get fed? Or maybe the things that you have been eating have little to no nutritional value, what would you be willing to do to gain something of substance? This seems to be the case here, but I’m not talking about hamburgers and hot dogs or any of the physical stuff, I am talking about a spiritual hunger.

Have you ever found yourself missing something in life? Have you ever had a hole in you heart that you continually tried to fill, but you just couldn’t. That seems to be the case in Kenya. These people have an emptiness in the pit of their soul and they have tried just about everything to appease it. Some turned to drugs, others sexual escapades, some to alcohol, others to materialism, everyone seems to have turned to something to gratify this ever-enduring appetite for something of value. These attempts seem to have just worsened their situations; this empty cavity in their hearts soon becomes a crater of misery and dejection. Turning to addictions like these only caused them more pain and more suffering, and gave them that much more of an appetite for something of worth and of value.

It seems like in America, some, Christians can be categorized as pew warmers. I say a pew warmer because that is just about all they do, take up space and warm a pew for someone else. They wear their faith proudly whenever it is convenient, perhaps during their occasional visit to church or when they find themselves bumping elbows with other believers. When given a survey form the government they just about always fill in “CHRISTIAN” for their religious beliefs, but that is about as far as their beliefs take them. We don’t seem hungry, and how can you be hungry with so much to eat?

We have sex and pornography at the end of our fingertips to satisfy any sexual appetite. It seems easier and like less of a hassle to get an illegal drug then a prescription drug. We have alcohol at just about a five-minute walk from any home. We have beautiful homes, fancy cars, fast boda bodas (motorcycles), fashionable attire, fun gizmos and intricate gadgets, we have so much stuff. And if you find yourself without things and want them no worries because we have credit cards and loans that can negate that problem, we got your back. How can we be hungry when we have so much stuff crammed down our throats?

Instead of warming a pew or being used as another statistic for “church growth,” when someone here finds God they submerge themselves with their faith. When they find something real, something substantial, something of value they will do just about anything they can to get it and keep it. They have gone their entire lives stretching and tearing this immense void in their hearts by coercing all of these things that promise satisfaction but only leave you empty with this void increasing. They have been searching for something nourishing their entire lives, once they taste of it they do just about anything to get more. Instead of simply jotting a check next to “CHRISTIAN” or warming a pew their entire lives revolve around their faith and they are hungry and eager for more.

Luke 5 gives an account of a situation that I feel like I can relate to. Jesus is teaching in a small home, I imagine it is pretty similar to the ones we have in Masii and can only hold a few people, a large crowd gathers. There are so many people that you can’t even come close to going inside this home. There is a crippled man who truly believes that Jesus can heal him, so his friends carry him onto the roof and lower him into the room so that he can have his hunger satisfied.

Every small group I have led or colead seems to follow a pattern. We go to a home that can comfortably fit about four people; we end up cramming about twenty inside. People are climbing on top of people, people are sitting on each other, on boxes, on water jugs and don’t care about how comfortable they are. By the time we end the group about another ten people have made their way to our group, we squeeze a few more in the room and the rest pile around the door. They are so hungry and have such a want to hear what William and I have to say, such an appetite that they are willing to do just about anything to hear what we have to say. Have you ever had a hunger like this? Do you have a hunger for God that you would pile yourself into a tiny crammed room or would you climb onto a roof and be lowered into the room? I can’t say I do.

The people here don’t just go through the motions of their faith like I find myself doing, they live out their faith and each and every aspect of their lives revolves around it. I wish I had an appetite like theirs.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Request:
Rain (It drizzled again last night)
Youth Camp and my speaking at it
MCC Leadership
Stacy’s Wheelchair

Kenya doesn’t really care about the environment, trash is EVERYWHERE… it seems like throwing your trash on the ground is actually beneficial, or you would think that was true by the looks of things here. Oh and we burn our trash… good bye ozone layer.
You can always tell whenever a car or truck is coming because you can see the dark black cloud that trails it… it sucks being stuck behind it
They don’t refrigerate their milk… I looked at a small thing of milk… it doesn’t expire for a year… I don’t think I am going to be drinking that anytime soon!
Lots and lots of boobs. Everyone seems to have a baby and breastfeeding is apparently the cool thing to do. There is in shame in their game, boobs seem to be flopping out everywhere you go lol… It is normal for them… I always seem to laugh and get people to give me the awkward look ha ha.

EASTER Sunday April 12, 2009

Where are you?

There are so many times in my life when I feel like God and I are bumping elbows like good ole’ chums. Days and weeks go by where it is as if Him and I are in sync, connected and are one. Times when I know, without a doubt in my mind, that he is with me…. not a single doubt in my mind. In times like these I am rest assured of His presence, hand and guidance on my life. There so many times when living life for me is the like walking on clouds, I haven’t a worry, nothing but smooth sailing ahead and it is the definition of sheer bliss. The different pieces of this puzzle called life seem to be matching, intertwining, and working out flawlessly. On the flip side, there have been numerous times when life is anything but blissful, I feel as though God has abandoned me and I cry out to God and say “WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!”

The loss of a loved one, the abrupt ending of a friendship, being ridiculed or mocked, not having a job, falling for the same temptation repeatedly, fights with the family or with friends, as hurts, pains, doubts, worries, and concerns develop and distress gradually rises, I find that I cry out to God and ask “where are you?” I don’t have a doubt in my mind when I am blessed and times are good, but the second I come along a bump in the road I need confirmation that He is still there. I feel like I have been abandoned. I completely forget about the “good ole’ days” with God, I forget the different ways He revealed himself to me, I forget about everything… apparently I’m not the only one who is guilty of this.

God took care of every need of the Israelites; pillars of smoke were driving their direction by the day and pillars of fire were guiding them by night; when there was no water in sight it would gush out of stones; food descended from the sky and their clothing would grow as they grew. They amount years and times when God revealed Himself to them was myriad, they knew he was there, they felt his presence, they saw his hand on their life and they were, without a doubt, bumping elbows with God. God had revealed Himself to these people, and they, of all people, would never turn away from Him, right? Think again! Exodus 32 recounts a time when Moses had gone up a mountain to be alone with God and apparently he had been gone for some time. It seemed like the Israelites forgot about everything they had seen and everything they had experienced, they had forgotten that they had bumped elbows with God. They were at this point in their lives when they hadn’t seen God for some time, they hadn’t been blessed, He hadn’t revealed himself to them for a while and their doubts began to pile on. They ended up making a golden statue of a calf and worshipping it because they figured God had either deserted them or He was no more. They had cried out to God, “Where are you?” and hadn’t gotten the reply they were looking for. How could these people do this? How could people who God had blessed and truly revealed Himself to walk away so easily? How could they have turned to a statue of a calf? I just can’t fathom how they could do that, but then again I find myself doing the same thing. I get to this point where I have been strolling through life with God and as soon as I get to this point when God is silent I walk away, I fasten a calf out of Gold and figure He has deserted me.

The disciples had a similar experience. They had spent a few years walking through life with Christ, performing miracles as well as witnessing them. They saw Christ perform the ultimate sacrifice, this astonishing act of benevolence. With this unforgettable and indescribable incident engraved in their hearts they set out for action, they started witnessing to thousands and baptizing tens of thousands, this act was the catalyst they needed to become engulfed with a passion for spreading the gospel… just kidding, they actually packed their bags and went home. These people who were the most intimate relationship to Christ had forgotten all they had seen and all that they had experienced and hit the road. John 21 tells the account of a few of the disciples that had returned to their fishing career. They had walked with Christ, they bumped elbows with Him, saw people healed miraculously, the dead return to life, water turned into wine, and one even got to walk on water… and yet as soon as they felt God was gone they walked away and went back to their old way of life. Just like the Israelites and just like I find myself doing. It seems pretty selfish, God we will associate with you as long as you give us stuff or make life easy, but as soon as the blessings stop I am out of this relationship.

If I lived here in Kenya I am pretty sure I would be howling “God where are you?” The disease, poverty, destitution, darkness, pain and struggles that each passing day brings would have me doubting if there was a God or if He had forsaken me. I would probably be like the Israelites or like the disciples and go to something else, something that I feel is more realistic. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. In a situation where most of us would be trailing away from our faith, spiritual growth and maturity is emergent.

As I interact with these people I am left baffled. Instead of crying out and screaming, “where are You?” they are thankful and show immense gratitude for what they have. Instead of complaining and walking away, their faith is continually growing stronger and increasing. They look at their situation as a perfect opportunity to put their faith into action. Instead of complaining about what they don’t have or how difficult it is, they fill their lives with thanksgiving and gratitude. I find it so easy to start walking away when times get tough and it looks so attractive to hit the road sometimes, but in Kenya they rejoice and are thankful to show God how much they believe and how strong their faith truly is. Each person I talk to begins to thank God for all that they have and they recognize that they are truly blessed because there are people who have less than they do… talk about humbling. I cry out to God when I scrape my knee… these people are missing limbs in comparison to what we “endure” and yet they are thanking God… I think I’ve missed something. Part of me feels as though I am missing out on something incredible, I feel like I am missing what they seem to have an abundance of. Instead of taking a hike I need to stand firm and pull a Kenyan, I can only hope that this kind of faith is contagious!

Asante Sana,


Prayer Request:
Medical building, we are almost done building a medical facility that will cut down cost for the orphans a great deal. Pray for finances to finish it
We are also trying to get a generator for the church and the medical building so that we have electricity, but they can get up to about a thousands dollars, pray for resources to make that happen
Youth Camp

It rained like no other yesterday afternoon. Rain was coming from above, behind, frontwards, from my left and my right and it rained so much I thought it was coming from beneath. We drove to a home that was in the middle of NO WHERE… we got stuck in the mud… You now how in movies people get stuck in the mud and someone goes out to help get the car out of the mud and they tires start turning and they get covered in mud from head to toe… well that happens in real life… not just in the movies
After a REALLY long day yesterday my roommate lost our keys
Most of you have been on the receiving end of my scare tactics… hiding behind a corner and jumping out at you and other similar tricks… well I just started doing that in Kenya… they don’t tell jokes, do pranks, or scare each other so it is REALLY funny
No one has tattoos except for killers and drug dealers… so if my white skin didn’t attract enough stares my tattoo certainly does

Monday April 13, 2009

Starfish and Swimming Pools

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I like to swim. I spent six months swimming laps at six in the morning, five days a week at my college. By the time I got to school the sun hadn’t risen and the brisk air sent goose bumps down my arms. I remember the walk of death I had to take each morning, walking to the edge of the pool hoping that the water would be decent, maybe even a little warm, and then dousing the end of my foot into the water to test it. This was the indicator as to if I was going to enjoy the next hour and a half or abhor each moment of it Either way, after testing the waters I jumped in. Like clock work, I would test the water before jumping in each day. I’m not sure exactly why I do this; maybe I thought it would prepare my mind for what it to come and it wouldn’t sting as bad. A few times the water was warm and soothing and I would willingly dive in. The other ninety-sever percent of the time it felt as if I was plunging myself into a pool of ice and a thousands needles were stabbing my body.

Very few children have ever seen a white person before. They initially gawk or stare in disbelief, “what happened to his skin?” When they first meet me, they are never too sure if I am a threat or not. Like me with the pool, they normally dip the end of the foot into the water and approach me, sometimes it takes a little while but each child eventually advances towards me. They may inch towards me to see if I am going to bite them or if my skin condition is contagious. They poke my skin, run their calloused hands through my hair, and they rub my face to gain more of an understanding of me. As they draw near I normally capture one and tickle him until he can’t take it anymore, apparently tickle fights, friendly smiles, a drolly mzungu humorously attempting to speak in Swahili or even a wave of the hands tells them that the water is fine and to jump right in, because it is like opening up Pandora’s box; once they get the green light they don’t hold back.

We have about sixty or seventy children that attend our church. Like clock work at 10:30 AM, normally when they are released from the adult service, I get pounced, tickled followed (more like stalked) and coerced into playing a Kenyan game by sixty or seventy children ranging in age from three to thirteen. Have you ever tried to entertain sixty children by yourself for two hours? Its tough and exhausting, but I love every minute of it. I teach them games and am taught games, I have them recite what they learn in Sunday School, I chase them and I get chased, Sundays is, by far, the highlight of my week.

Our children’s ministry meets twice on Sundays, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, normally in the afternoon they try to have an activity instead of having to sit through a lesson. Sometimes they read them a book, other times they learn dances and songs, yesterday they got to watch a movie. We pulled out a small television and a DVD player and captured their attention for an hour and a half with Mr. Bean. As Mr. Bean’s crazy antics won over these children’s hearts I found myself smothered with children, I could hardly breath, but I loved it. I walked in late and found a seat; children stacked their chair next to, in front of, behind and near mine. I was walled in by six year olds. They started climbing on me, leaning on me, laying their heads on me and sitting on my lap. It seems like these children have completely jumped into my pool, they completely love me and they have utterly captured my heart. I love these children.

One of the children’s ministry leaders was talking to me after a lesson I gave. He was pointing out how much these children have taken a liking towards me. He said it was because I give them attention. He started to tell me about the realty that these children face… you might want to cover your eyes because this is the part that gets messy.

Most of these children have no parents and are caring for themselves. There is no one to kiss their boo-boos, no one to comfort them when they have a nightmare, no one to sing them to sleep, no one to care for them when they are sick, no one to run their fingers through their hair, no one to put a band aide on their skinned knee, no one to ease the sting of being mocked or ridiculed, these children have no one there. Their parents have grown tired of having to be parents, and tired of having to care for their kids, they wanted more money and ended up skipping town. These children have been completely abandoned, left to care for themselves. No one takes the time to play with them, talk with them or even notice them. Absolutely no one cares about these children. Some of them are so young and are at the age of going to preschool or kindergarten, but instead of learning and growing they are trying to support themselves. They look like they are hardly old enough to tie their shoes, if they had any, and yet they have been forced into this forsaken situation. They have to steal or beg to survive. Dreams of becoming a doctor or even going to school aren’t what’s going through their minds, screw the distant future their biggest worry and dream is surviving till their next birthday, getting food or water. What does the future of these children look like if they start life off with the world against them? What does life look like for someone that no one loves enough to nurse, love and care for? It is like they have lost at life before they even started.

These words that I am typing aren’t doing justice what I am trying to express and get across. I wish you could interact with these children. If you could see the depth of their eyes or the vibrant glow of their smiles or experience what it feels like to have their joyful laughs gently tug on your heart, but my words I’m typing are getting in the way. I wish you could see the look on their faces or the grin that permanently fixated on their faces when I show them even the slightest bit of attention, I wish you could see their reaction when someone, anyone, takes a moment out of their day to just smile at them, but no amount of words my hands can type will ever be able to describe how captivating these children are. And I can’t express what I feels like to spend time and play with these incredible children and to know that most of them will die in the next few years from starvation or disease and that the rest will end up enduring the worst pains life has to offer.

I have gone over the numbers in my head and I can’t do it. I can’t afford to feed them, I can’t afford to pay for their schooling, I can’t afford to provide for them… as I look at how much money I have and how much money I need to survive for the next five months, I know that there isn’t much I can do for them. It is gut wrenching how this culture has given up on them. There are too many orphans and homeless children to make a difference. Why should I waste my time on them, never will I be able to make a even the slightest dent in these numbers. No matter what you do or what you say these children are either going to die at a young age, turn to drugs, prostitution or a life of crime so why would you even waste your time?

One of my old pastors told me a story that love telling and that I have tried to live out:

One day thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of starfish were washed up on the shore of a beach. A little girl was at the beach and sees all of these starfish and knows that they are going to dry out and die if they aren’t returned to the water. She’s off! She starts picking up starfish left and right and throwing them back into the water as far as she can into the ocean. She is there for hours and hours and doesn’t even make a dent. An older gentleman was sitting on the beach and was watching her picking up another and then another, by this time she had learned how to pick up three at a time, but her attempts we still futile and this man knew it. He decided to tell her to so and to have her stop wasting her time. He walks up and says, “Little girl just stop. I know you want to help these starfish but you are never ever going to be able to save them all, there are just too many and you are just too small. Give up and go play.” The girl keeps on picking up starfish and throwing them into the water. She looks this man in the eyes and says, “You’re right I can’t save them all. But this one (she picks up a starfish) I can save (she throws it into the ocean), and this one (she picks up another) I can make a difference in the life of (she throws it in the water), and this one (she picks on up) doesn’t have to die today (she throws it in the water)!”

The reality is that I can’t help them all. The truth is that I will never be able to feed all of the children in Africa let alone the children in Masii. The fact of the matter is that millions are going to starve this year, millions are going to be abandoned by their parents, millions are going to turn to prostitution and a life of crime and there is NOTHING I can do about it. But here, in Masii, I can touch their lives. In these ones I am going to make a difference. These ones aren’t going to die today! These ones I can inspire and help and encourage. These ones aren’t going dry up on my watch.

My tattoo says “Isaiah 2:4 They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will no longer fight against nation nor train for war anymore.” I don’t think my attempts are inane, because my hope and my trust is that this day will come, in this life or the next. I am putting my faith in God, knowing and trusting that there will be a day when we will no longer worry about killing, stealing, lying or cheating, and that there will be a day when instead of focusing everything I have on benefiting solely me I will think about others. I believe that as Revelations 21:4 says, there will be a day where there will be “no more death or crying or mourning or pain.” Maybe I wont be able to make a difference in every child in Kenya, but I can make a difference in the lives of the children here.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Youth Camp
Medical building
Stacy’s wheelchair

The children seem to freak out each times it rains. They run around screaming like chickens with their heads cut off… you can see a chicken get its head cut off if you want
My roommate didn’t like the way I cooked some beans and I had mixed them with the food, so he spit out each one and threw them away… what a waste
My friends celebrated their one year wedding anniversary last night… they had my roommate and me over. We drank a glass of soda and ate cornbread-tasting cake… it was rad
I washed my underwear today, about ten pairs, and I strung them outside to dry. Apparently I am the only one in Kenya who hands his underwear outside, it is culturally unacceptable.
I think my roommate only has one pair of underwear, I haven’t seen him wash them.
When my underwear was drying it started to rain…
I am talking about underwear a lot today, so I might as well toss in there that I rain out of clean undies three days ago and haven’t been wearing any since because I wasn’t able to wash them until now.
I watched Slumdog Millionair and think it is INCREDIBLE!
I miss you guys

Tuesday April 14, 2009

Stumbling in the dark

“Pitch Black” is the closest I can come to describe the stiffening darkness here. Your eyesight never adjusts and is completely ineffective. Clouds, we pray are carrying rain, impede the placid glow of the evening stars and moon, which leaves us overwhelmed with this darkness. You aren’t able to see within an inch of your face and this blackness only seems to swell through the night. After a long day of work I normally sit down before bed and pound on the computer keyboard for an hour or two, writing blogs, editing photographs, or preparing a lesson. By the time I take my eyes off of the computer screen the darkness has already set it. Walking is impossible, so I inch towards my bed. In this darkness I have to set up my mosquito net, which is not a quick or fun task. Whether being fixated on my computer work has kept my focus until after the sunset or if I wake up from my snooze to get a glass of water, stumbling along in this darkness is something I dread.

There is a neighborhood that is known for its violence, prostitution, drugs, and its hard-hitting setting has earned it quite the reputation and a suitable name, “Dark Estates.” To give you a better idea think of the South Central of Masii. Instead of guns they have knives, instead of dealing drugs they are illegally brewing boos and dealing hallucinogenic materials, and instead of concealing their prostitution they are proudly flaunting their merchandize in front of their homes for the potential customers. There is no electricity, no running water, and a scarcity of hope in this troubled neighborhood.

Every Thursday night from seven till nine I can be found leading a bible study in the middle of the “dark estates.” This last Thursday was profound. Imagine being overwhelmed by this darkness, your nostrils being saturated with an abundantly pervasive odor of decay, the faint sounds of screams and cries reaching your ears and situating yourself in a six by six room with ten other people for two hours. By the radiant glow of a small kerosene lantern we worshipped, became broken and transparent, and sharpened one another as iron sharpens iron.

One person broke down the walls, did away with the front and became real with us; this paved a way for everyone else to be broken and honest with the hurts and pains. The sorrowful accounts of our obstacles in life began to come to light. The tragic death of parents, abuse, neglect, children being responsible to raise their siblings, poverty, starvation, enduring public ridicule and persecution were a few of what was shared.

There we stood, in a tiny room laden with vulnerable and broken people, tears streaming down faces, with the flickering luminosity of a small kerosene lantern illuminating hands lifted and knees bent as we worshipped God that night. It was majestic. It was touching. It was profound. It was amazing. It left me standing in “awe.”

Judges 7 recounts the story of Gideon as he and his army of three hundred defeated an army of thousands upon thousands. I find comfort when I read this story of hoe the weak defeated the strong. Imagine the fears and trepidation filling the hearts of Gideon’s army as they were told they were going to fight an army that was bigger, stronger, and more powerful than theirs. As they neared the enemies’ camp I would think despair and despondency overwhelmed them. I wonder if any tried to run and give up. What amazes me is that this small group of people, this insignificant quantity was able to defeat the undefeatable. Against all odds, against all logic, against everything the world told them… with their intelligence and God they were able to triumph.

We call this small group, “Glory Estate.” We are small, we are three hundred against millions, we are drowning in a torrential darkness, the odds are stacked up against us, and yet we stand firm. Knowing the drugs, violence, crime, prostitution and peril, we firmly root ourselves here. The glow of this lantern was able to bring forth our buried hurts and pains from the darkness. This small flickering light is immeasurably more powerful than the overwhelming darkness in this place. Our prayers and worship will silence the peccadillo and crude acts in this place, mourning and sorrow will be no more. These wounds, pains and hurts from this world will fade. Isaiah 60:20 “Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.” For this reason, hope in something more, we will persist on shining a light in this darkness. We will continue to flicker the truth. We will continue to worship, praise and pray. We will continue to stand firm.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Medical building
Stacy’s Wheelchair
Youth Camp
My stomach… I ate more bad food.

Apparently they don’t know what dessert is.
We drink LOTS of tea… it taste like warm milk with a ton of sugar
You can buy a guitar here for twenty bucks
Lizards run around inside of your house
I am going to be going to a animal sanctuary in a few weeks, I get to hold cheetahs
They call corn maze… don’t the Indians and Mexicans do that too? Why don’t Americans?
I used a girls bathroom on Sunday
They don’t hide eggs on Easter here because there aren’t any bunnies to lay them
You can buy a motorcycle for a thousands bucks brand new
I have to cut my nails every other day

Friday April 17, 2009

Cruising for a bruising

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I apologize for not sending anything out these last few days. On Wednesday we had one of our church members get very sick and we had to take her to the hospital, I didn’t get home until about 3 or 4 Thursday morning. Thursday I spent about 14 hours traveling to and from Nairobi. Today I was attending a youth conference; I am completely exhausted but wanted to share a little something with all of you. I wont be ranting on or writing any novels today.

I came to Kenya to make a difference and to love on the hopeless and unlovable. My motives were and are pure, genuine and sincere. I spend my days trying to encourage and inspire some of the least of this planet. I visit many homes, praying for the sick and bringing food for those who have none. Countless stories of people in dire need of assistance have struck my heart to the core.

I feel like a success when I look back on what my goals were for this trip. I have been able to help organize this newly begun church. I have preached, led small bible studies, prayed and then prayed some more. I have been able to spend time with children that no one cares for. I have been able to break bread and take tea with those that have been deemed untouchable by society. Through your contributions, the needs of countless people have been met. This last month has been incredible; I feel like I am walking on air and as if God is using my efforts to make a difference. Like anything worth having and worth experiencing, there is a price to pay and I feel like I am coming along a bumpy patch of road on this journey.

As I mentioned, I visit homes quite often. I don’t always give money or monetary goods, but I do always pray and invite the residents to come to church. Jealousy, greed, envy and resentment have all been emerging within this community. When I visit one home all of the neighbors become envious and assume I have given that specific family money, money that they want a piece of. When I give a starving family food or water, their neighbors become very jealous and want water and food as well. When I buy food from one vendor all of the neighboring vendors grow aggressive towards whomever I purchased my goods from. Numerous groups of people are becoming very heated because they feel like I am giving to everyone but them, which isn’t true; I have given to only VERY severe cases and only when they don’t ask me for anything. If I bless or visit with a family the neighbors start to call them names and make threats towards them. If I walk down the street with one of my friends, the entire neighborhood starts to talk badly about them and saying that I must be bribing them and paying them lots of money. The rumors and buzz about me is ridiculous.

I have had a few friends approach my roommate and myself and apparently a few of these covetous onlookers are plotting on beating me up. They are extremely jealous and extremely bitter that I haven’t given them any money or gifts. Their greed + their envy + their aggression = Geoffrey getting jumped. This is a little discouraging and a little intimidating. I am out here trying to help and make a difference in the lives here. It is really disheartening to hear about how envious some of these people are getting and the assumptions that are being made. It is really bothersome hearing some of the derision and foul comments being made towards people I visit, interact with, or make purchases from. I was getting really frustrated with this situation and then I thought about Christ.

Did you ever notice what Jesus would say to people after he healed them and performed miracles? He would tell them not to tell anyone. I think I understand why he did that now. The ramifications of envy and jealousy are mind-boggling. The reactions I am receiving for blessing one person instead of another is probably a little like what Jesus received. I have friends that I love and that love me, just like disciples. I have people that I randomly bless and they love me as well. Then there are those judgmental and envious people, just like the Pharisee’s, that are the poster child of selfish ambition and vain conceit. Jesus came to this earth to toss us a bone; he came to help. Instead of getting a warm welcome people hated him and wanted him dead. He was taunted; mocked and persecuted everywhere he went. For once I feel as though I am getting to share in Christ’s sufferings (I realize mine are NOTHNIG in comparison to His, but I feel a little comfort knowing that I get the opportunity to suffer a little for my faith).

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Whenever I want to do something of value for another or for my faith I find that is when I am overloaded with obstacles and discouragement. Whenever I am really making a difference is when it gets tough. I know that I am here for a reason and that God has used each ounce of effort that I have put forth to make a difference. Anything worth having is worth fighting for… bringing a little bit of light into this dark place, in my opinion, is worth fighting for. I am hoping that I don’t get jumped or stabbed, and I am taking every precaution possible to keep safe, but I plan on continuing with my journey and not giving up. These people are worth fighting for.

Asante Sana,


Phrase of the day: (I am going to start teaching you some Swahili each day)
Rafiki – friend

Prayer Requests:
My safety
Stacy’s Wheelchair
Youth camp
Medical Building’s completion of construction
Generator for our church and medical building
I am really thankful that I’m not a black preacher, cause I don’t think I could cut it. Apparently if you are a pastor here you have to be able to sing, dance, scream, yell, repeat the same phrase fifty times, and get everyone else to dance too. I dance like a white guy
I ate ice cream twice yesterday… it was incredible
You can buy Nike shoes for twenty bucks or less
A small container of dental floss cost about $4
“Communicating for Change” is an INCREDIBLE book I highly recommend it to any speaker
I went to pick up two people from the airport yesterday… one of them was a white guy…. he was instantly my bestfriend. It is nice to see another white chocolate man ha ha ha

Sunday April 19, 2009

When life throws you a curveball you need a catcher…

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and catches you off guard, knocking you on your butt; jobs are lost, relatives die, car accidents occur, illness develop, some are abused, molestation unfortunately arises, some are impoverished, starvation and malnutrition are prevalent; at times life is a let-down. When curveballs are being heaved and pitched at you from every direction it is easy to curl up in a ball and give up.

A young woman knocked on our door early in the morning earlier this week; let’s call her Joyce. She had been thrown a curved ball by life that knocked on her flat on her butt. Apparently having a bad economy is a pretty popular trend for countries these days because Kenya joined in the fun and is rocking the insubstantial economy like us. This downtrodden economy causes millions to be laid off including this young woman. Poor economies take no prisoners; Joyce was no exception to this even with her success in her career and more than adequate education. She hasn’t been able to find any type of employment and the mountain of bills is only piling higher and higher. No matter how hard she tries she hasn’t been able to overcome yet, and Joyce finds herself in a situation where she can’t afford food, rent or water. She tried going to her parents for some support and help, but that seemed to be a waste of energy. The only response her family is giving her is trying to force her to get married; “If you got married your husband would be taking care of you.” Her options have run out, she has no one to turn to and no place to hide. Her family wouldn’t help her, she had nothing by the worlds standards, her friends had abandoned her and wouldn’t help or support her, hunger pains were agonizing, dodging her manager and avoiding rent was becoming tiresome, her will to fight ran out and the alluring glimmer of suicide caught her eye. She gave in and tried to take her own life the day before she came to our home, but she was unsuccessful.

Christ was beaten and left a bloody mess; He was forced to carry his Cross from Golgotha to Calvary as a public spectacle. When Jesus was carrying the cross to the place of his crucifixion, at one point the weight of the cross was excessive and the Roman authorities grabbed a man from the crowd who was passing by and had him to carry this cross for the remainder of the way to Calvary, the mans name was Simon. This weight of this cross was well over a hundred pounds, imagine that weight being forcefully hoisted onto your back, this was an incredible burden to carry for someone you didn’t even know, this man Simon was just passing through and there is no scripture recognizing him as a associate of Christ. Matthew and Mark say that Simon was forced to carry it, and Luke says that Simon was seized and the cross was put on his back. This situation was forced onto Simon, he didn’t know Jesus and he didn’t volunteer to carry it, he was forced into it. He had no say in the matter, the same way that sometimes we are forced into situations that we didn’t volunteer for.

Bad things happen to good people, the bible is full of situations when people are persecuted, harmed, killed, mocked and suffer unjustly. Life throws you a curveball, like Joyce had experienced. No matter how loudly you wail or protest there is nothing you can do or say about it, you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your response and how you react to it. Simon could have given up, he could have fallen and said that he can’t do it anymore, he could have faked not being capable of moving any further and the authorities wouldn’t have thought twice about it; they would have made someone else carry it the rest of the distance. There came a point when Simon turned from being a victim to a volunteer; no longer was something happening to him, now he was doing something for himself; he chose to follow Christ. In times of struggle and pain Christ meets us there. When we are overwhelmed with life and find ourselves in a painful situation, we have control over what we respond.

When we find ourselves knocked on our butt by life, in situations that we didn’t ask to be in, and when the pains of life are overwhelming we need to respond like Simon; no longer think of carrying this cross as a burden but a blessing and a privilege. God is more concerned with your response than He is your circumstance; He is more concerned about your heart and soul than He is your body. Perseverance and genuine faith develop from times of trial and pain, Paul says to rejoice in our sufferings because it is an opportunity to put our faith into action. We did our best to encourage Joyce and to shine a little light in her darkness. We told her about how God can use this situation and that she is never without hope and should always continue to fight.

I need to look at my sufferings as opportunities instead of condemnations and I need to look at the weight of the cross that has been forcefully hoisted on my back as a blessing instead of a curse.



Prayer Requests:
My safety
MCC medical building completion
Funds for a generator
Stacy’s wheelchair situation

There is a woman living here named Dorcus… I wonder if her last name is Malorcus
I try watching the movies with my Kenyan friends… they can’t understand the concepts or language. We watched transformers today… by the end of the movie there were 3 left out of about 10… they walked out ha ha
A friend named Mike Carmen from Knott Avenue Church preached on Simon today and gave me the idea from it… he is the only other Mzungu in this area.
“Saving God” is a cool movie with a Christian underlying truth
Everywhere I go there are posters and pictures of Obama
They dig Arnold SchwartzenegeredaeedaaaahhAAhhAhh

Saturday April 18, 2009

Let me pry my foot out of my mouth..

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I have few friends with physical challenges and it is so encouraging to hear about how they have become successful despite their differences. I try not to take pity on them because I have friends that are living examples that they are perfectly capable of everything I am, but I found myself developing a sympathetic preconceived notion about a woman named Betty.

One of the first homes that I visited was Betty’s home. We walked up to her house and it took her well over thirty minutes to make her way outside after we informed her about our arrival. She had a stroke when she was younger and is almost completely paralyzed. Her attendants wheeled her outside in a very aged and rusted wheelchair that was held together mostly by duct tape. I stood there and gazed upon this elderly woman, a woman who could hardly lift her arms, who needed assistance in doing the most simple tasks; her leg slumped off of the foot rest and she couldn’t even lift it; her hands could hardly grasp her cup or cell phone. I hate to say it, but I instantly felt pity for her and, to an extent, looked down upon her as if she was missing out on life. I later found out that Betty is the quintessence of prevailing and that I couldn’t be more wrong.

It is nearly impossible to farm in Masii due to the constant lack of water and extreme temperatures. There is one farm, however, and a very successful one at that. It is located on the edge of town and has every crop imaginable in Kenya. Its fields seem to go on for days and the soil is rich in nutrients. There is a divine home situated near the entrance of the field that is completely delimited with the most beautiful flowers that Kenya has to offer, this home is blissful and harmonic. The owner of this rich plot of land is one of the most successful people of Masii and happens to be Betty, the old crippled woman who can hardly lift her arm. The only shamba (“farm” in Swahili) in Masii belongs to Betty. One of the few people in Masii that doesn’t have to worry about money, food, or water is Betty. The norm of this culture is to look down upon, disassociate and cut off from society all of those who are disabled. According to this culture, Betty should be spending her days begging for money or sitting alone in the dark where no one can see her. Despite all of that, she has overcome. Have you guys ever said something or assumed something only to discover that you were wrong, forcing you to pry your foot out of your mouth? That was how I was feeling once I heard about Betty’s success.

After living in Kenya you become pretty familiar with the different aspects, jobs and the culture of rural living. One of the most prevalent professions is shepherding. Under the close eye of our shepherds goats, donkeys, cows and chickens meander down our garbage filled streets looking for food and water. A shepherd’s job description seems to just lead the animals to food and water and make sure they don’t get hurt, pretty simple if you ask me, in fact, this is a job that anyone can do. Purchase a baby goat and spend a few months raising it and sell it for the price of two baby goats, raise those and sell them and buy four baby goats etc. It seems like one of the most boring and undesired jobs around and if you find yourself shepherding you know that you are near the bottom of the barrel. These are the uneducated; the ones who couldn’t get a real job and are the ones who are constantly frowned down upon by society.

There was a small boy from the bible named David who was a shepherd. You can assume that he wasn’t the smartest, the fastest, the strongest or most talented, because he was a shepherd. He wasn’t rich, famous or anything great, he spent his days kicking it with the animals. He was underestimated and overlooked because of his age and profession and yet this boy was able to overcome, defeat a giant in battle and become king. This insignificant speck on the plant became one of the richest, most powerful and successful kings. He was the only person known for being a man after God’s own heart. Pretty amazing outcome for a nobody huh?

As I look upon the lives of both David and Betty, the fact that these two were some of the lowest of the lows and yet they became larger than life, and embrace the truth of Matthew 19:26, “With God all things are possible.”



Prayer Requests:
My Safety
Youth camp
Completion of Medical Building

So I am sitting here in our living room (if you want to call it that) with my shoes off while I work on this blog and a baby scorpion (the most poisonous) was walking around my feet… one thing I’m not too fond of in Kenya
Apparently travelers checks are useless when you travel to Kenya
I purified water using a water purifier (imagine that) today… there is no way to truly tell if it worked expect to drink the water and wait.. I just drank the water and figure I will find out it this device works in a few hours.
I spent $10 on DVDs and bought HUNDREDS of movies!!!
I think I am going to get a weave just because the picture will be hilarious

Tuesday April 21, 2009

V for Value

There have been numerous times in my life when I wanted to quit, give up and throw in the towel. Obstacles and difficulties begin to accumulate; guilt and shame from past begin to weigh heavy on a heart; confidence and self value go out the window and insecurities flood into your life. The amounts of times when I felt like I can’t go another step are countless. The amounts of times when I wanted to curl up into a ball and never see the light of day again are myriad. The amounts of times when I could hardly look myself in the mirror are more than I can bear to count. Days drag by with this boundless battle of me against the world, always with this world being the victor.

Some of you may recall me writing about a young girl named Evelyn. Her mother died last year, she went to a guy for comfort and is now four months pregnant. She was suicidal the last time that I wrote about her. I would like to give you all an update on her.

Evelyn had been staying with her aunt since the tragic death of her mother. Her aunt was paying for her schooling as well as paying for her basic necessities in life; water, food, and clothing. This aunt found out about the pregnancy two days after I wrote about Evelyn. She was outraged and completely disgusted with the girl and kicked her out of the home; Evelyn has been disowned. It turns out that Evelyn has another aunt, Praise God right? I was at ease when I found out that her other aunt was willing to take her in, this meant that she would have financial support, a safe home, a positive role model and the much needed dose of love. I was wrong. It turns out that her aunt is an alcoholic and drinks away all of her earnings from her bartending job. Evelyn is crammed into a tiny room, maybe eight feet by eight feet, surrounded by drunks and poor excuses for adults. Her days are spent being the parent for her young nephew instead of going to school or taking care of the future needs of her baby. There is a precious child within Evelyn, a child that needs nourishment and care, but it isn’t getting proper treatment. Evelyn has been going days without food and isn’t taking care of herself. School fees haven’t been paid, so her educated has come to an abrupt halt.

If suicide didn’t look appealing before I am pretty sure it does now. This child is beginning to protrude and show more and more each day, meaning that the insults and diatribes are incessant, as well as the shame becoming more and more unbearable. Her family has disowned her, can any of us even fathom what that must be like? Imagine what life is like for this orphan, being the unwanted extra mouth to feed or the daughter of a common whore. What would life be like if the last bit of respectable family threw you out and said you were dead to them? What must life be like for this young girl who isn’t valued enough to feed? When alcohol is of more worth than you are?

Right now it seems like the world is against Evelyn. What do you say to someone like this? How do you tell someone that they are of value while the world barks that they are worthless and a whore? She is following in her mothers footsteps, how do you convince her that there is more to life than this and that she has hope? How do you tell someone that they are loved when every minute, moment and instance in life is telling them that they are hated and not wanted? How do I show this girl the love of God?

William and I did our best to help engrave the word “VALUE” on Evelyn’s heart. We did our best to remove the depiction of her being “nothing more than a common whore,” that had been etched into her identity and tried to crown her with the notion of being valued. We HEAVED value at her and when she couldn’t take it any longer we attempted to weave self worth, substance, significance and worth into her moral fiber.

When it is me against the world I am going to lose time and time again. When it is my best against the entire world I will fall again and again. There is no way that I will ever be able to win this fight, I am just a weak, feeble and insignificant speck on this world. Conversely, when it is me, my friends, my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and mostly importantly GOD against the world I am going to win every time.

One of the most beautiful things about my faith in God is that I know I am not alone. This “me against the world,” mentality is no more. Society and this world have been feeding me, telling me and throwing my way, the idea that I am nothing and that I will never overcome, that I can never amount to anything and that I will never make it. It is easy to feed into these lies and to see yourself as a no one and a nothing, I have been there and I have done that. The beauty of Christianity is that during those days when we don’t want to wake up, when this world has gotten the best of me, and when I can hardly bear to look myself in the mirror, and when I can’t hold myself up I have people to hold me up. The weight of this world is unbearable for me and I simply can’t lift it by myself, but with these people that God has BLESSED me with I am able to overcome. When the world is speaking lies, I have others speaking truths. When the world is cutting me down I have others ready and willing to build me up.

We did our best open Evelyn’s eyes to her value and worth. We did our best to negate the glimmer of suicide. We did our best to show her that this life was worth living. We did our best to take on some of her weight and guilt. My hope is that these words were embedded in her heart and that she would know how much she is loved and cared for. My hope is that she knows that suicide isn’t the answer and that she can make it through this storm. My hope was that our words didn’t fall onto deaf ears and that she hadn’t already made up her mind to kill herself.

Towards the end of our discussion, while using a rag to wipe her tear-filled eyes, Evelyn said, “I know God has a plan for me!” My hope, desire, and that thing I had been yearning so badly for her life came true… She saw herself with value

Prayer Requests:
Stacy’s Wheelchair
The financial needs for Tumaini and MCC
My speaking to the youth next week
My preaching about Money to these people who don’t have any
Carro, the swollen head girl, she needs to have an operation on her head and it is a lot of money for Mama Carro.

I tried to make porridge this morning. I bought a mix that I was just supposed to add water to and cook… well apparently the like their porridge sour. This mixture tasted like sour milk. I thought it had expired… no people just like it that way.
I started the P90X workout a few days ago…. It kicks your butt!
EVERY night I sleep with a stuffed monkey that my amazing friend Tiffany made me
They sell the movie “The God’s must be crazy” here and most of the people that have seen a movie before have seen it. It is basically a really funny spoof on Africa.. . VERY funny I would highly recommend it!
The movie “Safariana” with whoopie is a pretty big hit here.

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