July 19, 2001
Thank you so much for praying for us and encouraging us on this journey! We have had an incredible day! This morning started off for Crew by sleeping in way longer than normal and struggling to wake up. For me, my morning started with Maury at 6:30am by heading to the dining hall to sit in on the dining hall morning devotional with the school-aged children. They are memorizing and studying 1 John 4:7-8. Tomorrow morning Maury and I will be further teaching on that same passage!
We quickly left then with our friend Josiah. We had a lot of work to be done. We thought our first stop was going to be to the Kijabe AIC CURE hospital to drop off two of the children at Naomi’s Village for their HIV checkup. We quickly drove to the end of the road and to our surprise they had arranged a ride for Eunice and little Joe to be waiting for us at the end of our dirt road! We started yelling and cheering and welcomed them in our vehicle. Little Joe was finally going to get help for his face and his mother was glowing in thankfulness. Again we were reminded as a team of how thankful we are to our supporters. Joe was diagnosed with a bacterial infection that turned into impetigo that had also turned into staff. He was able to get his wounds totally cleaned and washed out, an oral antibiotic and a topical antibiotic. Praise the LORD. Eunice, his mother, was so worried because she knew she could not even afford the hospital card that you have to have in order to even be able to be seen at the hospital. That card cost 1 US dollar. So thankful that we were able to give out of the funds we raised and got him all the care he needed. The two Naomi’s Village children’s HIV reports came back awesome as well.
We then went to visit a dream of a church planter here in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. He is building a three story house that will host missionaries and short term teams who want to do a work here in this city. Isaac and Ester, the church planters, want to name this house the Bridge. They long to bridge the way for people who never thought they could serve in a place such as this, make it here and have a safe place to stay. It was in the final stages of being built and was beautiful. Esther also cooked a traditional Kenyan breakfast item for us called Mandazi's. We ate them with Chai Tea and it was delicious. She was such a sweet hostess.
We toured much of Kinjabe, where the founders of Naomi’s Village live, and had lunch in a city nearby. This place had American food so all the kids were really excited!
We then had noodles for dinner, which Crew loved and then we went to the nightly devotional. All 30 something children here at Naomi’s Village attend this devotional and usually the pastor onsite or one of the missionaries leads a bed time bible devotional with the children. Tonight Crew decided to be in charge of the bible study. He stood and told the story of Noah’s Ark, while Auntie Ruth translated in Swahili for him. I’m not sure if you have ever spoken with a translator, but this is very difficult! He struggled in a few parts of it and at one point while Ruth was translating he leaned over and whispered with a giggle, “I’m awful at this!” We both laughed and I just encouraged him quickly that it was great and he continued on with the story. My favorite part was at the end where all the people populated the earth again, yet they returned to their disobedience and disregard for God. Crew was so excited to tell the children, “Yet this time God didn’t wipe them out for these things. He died on the cross for those very things to offer them life with him.” It was truly a sweet time for the children and they loved hearing a peer teach them about God. At the end Crew said he wanted to teach the children the song, Never Once by Matt Redman. It goes like this:
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
They quickly sang along and I couldn’t help but think about how these words meant so much more to these children after all the terror they have faced, than they ever have to me. I was thankful for the depth this brought to those words. I will never be the same when I worship the LORD through this song for his faithfulness.
We closed our night with prayer for the children, the house moms and the missionary girls here. Again praying over every single boy was an incredible opportunity. Crew prayed strongly for salvation for each and that they would grow to be strong men in the LORD. A funny thing that happened during this time was when one of the boys was praying and crew and I were kneeling beside his bed. Crew tapped me on the shoulder and when I looked at him he whispered, “Mom, could you believe how good I sang that song tonight?” I punched him in the arm and we both quietly laughed and finished praying with this boy.
The last story I will tell is about this boy who we got to hear his story today. The boy is barely seven years old and lived in a mud hut with an alcoholic mother and a few siblings. The chief of their city decided to send these boys to Naomi’s Village at the request of the people there who saw the children both had one potato a day or no food and were never bathed. The children ended up at Naomi’s Village, however this one seven year old boy caused such a problem that every other child here cried about him every day. After exhausting every idea they decided to return to the chief with the boy to ask him for help. The chief came up with the plan to return him home for two weeks as punishment so he could see what he was missing at Naomi’s Village and then they would discuss if he should return. Legally I believe this was what they were forced to do, yet they soon found out that the chief had dropped the ball and had not enforced anything for this boy or even checked on him. Naomi’s Village Staff would go back and check on him and quickly found he was living on the streets alone and was still pretty hostile. He continued to say he did not want to return and that he was having fun. Finally after almost two months the boy was starving and tired and hurt and began approaching Naomi’s Village staff as he would see them in town and mentioning he might return. He also started regularly visiting his chief to tell him of his desire to return. Finally, by God’s grace Naomi’s Village accepted him back in. The boy made sincere apologies on his own and confessed he was wrong and made a horrible decision. The part that hit me tonight was that we saw him crying at the end of devotional so I went over to ask him what was wrong. He said that he and some classmates had gotten in trouble so they had to do the dishes and that he was so sad because he missed hearing the story about God and singing the worship song to God. Crew and I quickly wrapped him in our arms together and Crew said, “Go brush your teeth and get in bed and I’ll come tell you the whole story again and sing you the song!” We did just that and he worshiped every second with us. This was the same boy who just returned six weeks ago to Naomi’s Village. I cannot comprehend a child living homeless on the streets, and much less in the city that he was in. I have seen this small city. It is one long truck stop and is known to have around 600 prostitutes here. To think six weeks ago his heart was hard and he was running on the streets and now he is crying because he missed out on God’s word and worship is just incredible.
I am so thankful for the work the Lord is doing here. We have big plans tomorrow and I don’t want to spoil any of the things we are doing for you so I will write about them tomorrow night. Please continue to pray that we can selflessly pour out. We are so thankful.