Friday, 27 December 2013

Just having some Christmas fun in Yogo

Let the race begin....

       Off and running.........
                         Just how much do you trust your friend?
                                 


Our blindfolded race.


Ok....now pull with everything you got.....            

Our mighty tug of war!
 Our water race...  the faster you go the wetter you get....
                    I don't know which is more fun, watching or playing?


Was it under the legs......



Or was it over the head?




Our balloon race.  No hands allowed!  Pass to each team member and back.




                        Christmas cuddles....
                          an important part of the day!


Taking stock of the scavenger hunt....


One of our worshipers, clapping along..



Naddy you rocked our party!


Thank you AMIC for your generosity and making our Christmas party a big success!
Thank you Jesus for giving us so much to celebrate each day!


Saturday, 7 December 2013

LIVING WATER






We are receiving testimonies of the life changing differences that are happening in Seje because of the clean water that has come to that village.  But they are not quite the testimonies I was expecting….

Not only did people face the disease effects of unclean drinking water, that is shared with animals bathing and defecating, but unknown to me, fetching water had become a life threatening endeavor to undertake.

Previously many community members were forced to travel great distances to fetch water from the River Yala.  These waters are invested with crocodiles, hippos and very large water snakes.

During the rainy season, when the region floods, the dangers spilled over into previously unreached areas, with unsuspecting trekkers becoming prey to snakes, emerging out of murky waters, wrapping around it’s victim, forcing it beneath the water or faced the perils of snakes, biting submerged legs with lethal poison.

We also received grievous reports of individuals who lost limbs to voracious crocodiles that had now moved perilously closer to people’s homes and habitat.  Fetching daily essential water was a risky life or death practice!

Today the people of Seje can safely access clean drinking water at four secure water points, making the distance more accessible to most residents.  Long-term wise, for this community, water borne diseases will be irradiated and previous dangers one had to face in securing water, will no longer be an issue!

Amazingly, these water points also serve as a bright beacon of light and hope, anchored within the Seje community that points towards the “LIVING WATER”.  The One who invites us saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7: 37b, 38)

One testimony of this beacon of hope and light occurred while Silas was giving a tour of the water infrastructure to our dear friend and pastor Hosea of Ahero church where Silas and I were married.

As they walked with Ochieng Odongo, who is the security guard there, he shared how life within this community was changing for the better.  He also pointed out that there was an apparent difference between the people who trusted in Jesus and those who didn’t.  Those that trusted in Christ, although they faced the same dangers, they were often spared the tragedies that the others were not.


As they continued to share and talk about the miracle of clean drinking water in Seje, it became obvious to Pastor Hosea, that Ocieng did not yet know Jesus.  As Ocieng marveled at what this God had done, Pastor Hosea, asked him if he would like to know this loving God that had done all this?  Pastor Hosea urged him, not to wait a minute longer, and right there at the water purification station, Ochieng met the Living Water, the life giving water that will never run dry!  

How glorious is our God!




Friday, 15 November 2013

YOUR PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE...













I am humbled and touched by the kindness and favor, I am receiving by a people, who are not my people.  I am remembering the vows I took on our wedding day on October 9, 2004.  The scripture verse that God had given me was right from the book of Ruth, found in Ruth 1:16.17 which says,

16
" Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people, 
And your God, my God.
17
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me."

In fact it was even inscribed in our wedding invitations.  For me it was a commitment to my husband, that even if God called us to Africa, I would go where my husband would go. 

Before we were married, he wanted the assurance that I would be ready to live in Kenya, if that is where God asked us to live.  He made it clear that he loved his country and had a heart for his people, so there would be a great probability that he would someday return.  Would I be willing to do that?  Would I be willing to go?  I weighed that decision carefully.  I knew that if I was to marry this man that could someday be a possibility. 

Although at that time, I couldn't picture myself living in Kenya, my heart was clear on one thing…..That I would go where Christ asked me to go.  If that was Kenya, so be it!  Truthfully I was certain that once my husband went to Canada, he would want to stay there.  I took the question seriously but in the back of my mind I didn't think it would be an issue.  Our plans at that time did not include that.


Now nine years later, here we are living in Kenya.  Kenya is now home.  In my heart I am a blessed woman because I have two homes, one in Canada and one in Kenya.  But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the love that God could put in hearts of the Kenyan people, for me and me for them!?  It has been humbling to receive.  Once again God has undone me with His love and kindness towards me.  

Tuesday, 22 October 2013







Just reminiscing….



A collage of favorite memories of CBC’s visit.  This was a real hands on team.  I love that they were always ready to jump right in and experience life in Kenya.  


Charlene & Ephraim waiting for the guests to arrive.




The quick way to make friends.  Spenser meets Ephraim.


First greetings in Seje.  The team has traveled far and long!


Ephraim receives greetings from Seje student.

Ready for the challenge! 



The long trek with water.  The average Kenyan's water jug would weigh 50lbs!

View from the top.  They made it!





A little prince in Seje.

Radiant smile!




Diggin in!



Filming Josh, filming.  Hard at work!



Exercising fun at Gracious Academy.







Monday, 21 October 2013

I HATE GOODBYES!
Written October 19th 2013

Well, it’s official, we bid goodbye to our guests.  Our morning started early at 5:30am so we could squeeze in one more adventure.  Last stop, the Equator, where we received both a lesson in geography and science.  (That’s what happens when you hang out with a microbiologist.)  

              



We decided to put things to the test.  Is it really true that water spins in different directions on either side of the equator?  I’ll let you be the judge after you have a look at our video footage. 


Here we have the Northern hemisphere.


Here we have the Southern hemisphere.


Here is the very center where the magnetic pull is centralized at zero/zero degrees North/South.



The verdict is still out as to whether Leah is any heavier in the Northern or Southern hemisphere!?

Silas & Leah testing the weight theory.


Just one more sleep! 

(Written Oct. 18/13)

Yesterday was quite the day.  Our guests headed back to Seje School to finish photos and begin digging the holes needed to secure the play structures.  Poor Judy managed to get bitten by two angry ants that pack a bit of a sting but are not poisonous. We did run in to a poisonous spider but Judy was quick to take care of it with a swift stomp.  The digging proved more strenuous than one would think so they rotated by pairs at each station, when one grew tired.  It worked well.  I can’t wait to see those joy filled faces when they get to try out their new playground. What a blessing!  The only play structure that would be similar can only be found in Kisumu which is about 95 km away.  No one has seen such a thing in the village.  I will be back to take some photos of that!


Jeff and his new friend in Seje.



After lunch the Seje community had a farewell service to bless our guests.  Our guests brought many thoughtful gifts that they were giving.  The Gracious Academy has been blessed with some great supplies and teaching aids.  From pencils to toothbrushes, crayons to world maps, it was there.  They had also prepared a card with a picture of the Sunday school class in CBC with their love and greetings.  Many of the sponsored children received a letter from their sponsors as well. Each were given a toothbrush and two suckers.

To the surprise of our guests, the Seje community gave them some beautiful hand carved African artifacts. Our guest were touched by their generosity, not expecting anything.  They were given in the Kenyan tradition through song and dance.  It was a bitter sweet time as we celebrated all that God has done and bless our guest as we bid them fare well.
Two of our teachers in Seje



Once again we marvel at all God has done.  The hearts He has knit together, the joy He has spread.  The incredible ways He provides and blesses beyond what we would dare to ask for or hope…  Our hearts are full!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Our day with the CBC team,




This morning I woke up at 5:30 am and I was too excited to go back to sleep.  God has been doing so many marvelous things around here.  It seems He is just lining up so many things for us.  Today I am happy to report that I will be able to start blogging more often!  I have learned how to tether my phone to my computer, so that may resolve my network issues even from home in the village.   I haven’t had a chance to try it there yet but I have tried it in more remote areas where modems don’t work but my phone does.  That is the same kind of set up as home, so I am confident that it should work there too.  Also I have just learned how to upload video footage.  Yeah!  Praise Jesus!  So, it’s like I can just bring you home with me.  How delightful! 

Today with our guests we have visited our school, Gracious Academy, in the village of Seje.  We were making frames for the students, for the pictures we took during the VBS.  They were so excited.  What a great keep sake!






We spent time visiting, taking pictures and more pictures and then some more pictures!  What beauties!



One of our many beauties of Seje!





Leah and Christine enjoying children taking Ugi. (Porridge)

Our guests also wanted to try working the land to see just how hard it must of been for the community members to dig the trenches 3km for the water pipe installation.  They marveled at the strength and tanacity of their Kenyan friends.  Add the hot African sun, thorns, rocks, hills and rough terrain and most of us would give up after just a few minutes.  What an incredible work the community of Seje has done.  Your fortitude is outstanding!

Annalise trying her hand at digging!  It requires full body effort!


 I am finishing with my first blog video.  Yeah!  It is the welcome our guest received as they entered our school in Yogo.  Here is our Yogo V.O.S.H. Academy greeting our friends from Canada.  Be blessed!




Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Enjoying our guests

Written on October 16, 2013

Just a bit of an update.  Our guest have all arrived safely last week but unfortunately most of their baggage didn't arrive with them as it went on to another destination.  We sweated that one out a bit as even the teams instruments were with the misdirected luggage.  It was touch and go as to whether or not, they would have their instruments in time to minister during the crusade, as they had planned.  It took a couple of days to sort out the issue but eventually all was accounted for, just in time.

The crusade went very well and we are already getting testimonies of people that were healed during the crusade.  God is so faithful.   The Kenyan’s enjoyed the different flavor of worship from our Canadian guests, so everyone was blessed!  
 

Yesterday was quite a remarkable day.  Our guests planed a VBS day for their children at Seje.  They were prepared to engage a group of about 124 students but they had a report from another team that did an event in that area, the day before.   That team was surprised to receive over 300 students at their event because word travels quickly in the village.  So the night before, our guests made adjustments to accommodate roughly 400 children, just in case.  

Two of our guests from VBS


It turns out that we had over 750 students show up from schools in the region, with a total crowd of over 1,000!  Praise God there was enough for everyone.  Even unexpected help arrived, as the other team decide to pop in for one last visit.  Everyone ate and participated in the activities.  Photos were taken, bracelets were made and the Word of God was shared, as excitement filled the air.  It was incredible!  The whole village was blessed!!

Our other big news around here, was that last week, Ephraim lost his first tooth.  It turns out the tooth fairy does frequent Kenya.  Ephraim was surprised to find his blessing in Kenya shillings. LOL!

First tooth!


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Well we are feeling more at home and settled in.  I have to say that I am not feeling as isolated as I was previously.  There are more people at home that speak English and the leadership team at Christ Glory Centre all speak English well.  I am picking up more Luo in the process and I just really feel at home, like I am in the “right place” doing the “right thing”.  There is such a sense of peace and purpose.  I am so grateful!  God has a perfect timing for everything.

Just yesterday we invited our leadership team over for lunch, to appreciate them for all their hard work and commitment.  We were humbled by the way they have served so diligently both in our presence and our long absence.  I can’t imagine any lead Pastor that would dream of being away from his congregation for 6 months?!  Pastor Joseph worked so hard in our absence overseeing the YFT projects and managing the church.
                                                    


                                     
                                       
We were struck by people’s commitment within such a young church, after all Christ Glory Centre was just launched in May of 2012.   God has done remarkable things!  We have a very dedicated team and we thank God for His grace and goodness! 

Our hearts have also been stirred with excitement.  We recognize that so often before God moves in extraordinary ways, it is proceeded by the unity of His people, coming together in the purposes of God.  I am reminded of the book of Acts 2: 1,2  “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.”  We later find, that the apostles went out in the power of God which became evident by the mighty miracles that took place by the Spirit of God.  So we are excited about what will do with such unity and hearts that are rendered His!


My second Sunday back, I had the privilege of leading a person to Christ and I have witnessed two healings.  One of a child that was healed of malaria and also a youth that was healed of some severe abdominal pain.  God is so faithful and mighty!  He has a name that is above every name!  Above every sickness and disease!  We anticipate His continued goodness and faithfulness.  Praise Jesus!
We thank God who has carried us through another week.  Last week we had a memorable visit.  We went to the homestead of Silas’s grandmother who had passed away.   She passed away when we were all still in Canada, so sadly, we were not able to attend her funeral.  Now we were returning to pay our respects and condolences to the family.

I was surprised to find that it wasn't a tearful visit but rather was filled with laughter and joy as people reminisced about the life and joy of grandma.  She was loved by many.    I always enjoyed her playfulness.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and she was always so welcoming with Ephraim and I.  She seemed to love us deeply even though she didn't know us very well.  I am told she often spoke of us with such fondness.



                                                               





During a Kenyan funeral people will come to visit, grieve and rejoice with the grieving family, worshiping through the entire night, if the deceased was a Christian.  Although there are some tears shed a better part of the time is spent filled with the hope and assurance that the diseased has gone on to a much better place in Heaven, and in that we rejoice and celebrate, counting Jesus faithful.  There is no sense of hopelessness and permanency that is marked with the very great sense of loss for someone who didn't know Christ.

We were so grateful to hear how many friends and family came together to honor the life of our beloved Grandma.  Worship teams came from all over.  People brought food and came and labored together to make this a memorable time for all.  The casket had been skillfully made, and was beautiful. 


We were told that when things first started being put together, there wasn't enough or very much for preparations but then people came, pooling their substance together and God moved and brought so much honor to grandma and our family.  He is so gracious.  The word of God was preached and lives were saved.  It was evident that death did not have the final say, but Christ was glorified and His life reigned in that place!  How glorious!


                                                              

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Well, we have arrived safe and sound in Kenya.  All of us are once again on the same continent at the same time!  Praise God!  Ephraim and I are settling in well.  God was gracious and during our second last flight there was even plenty of room for both of us to stretch out and get some much needed sleep.  It really helped prepare us for the last leg of the journey.  After a few days, I am not feeling so jet legged and I am slowly getting unpacked and putting our house in order.  The heat has been quite an adjustment this time around.  Ephraim seems untouched by any of it?  Children are so resilient!  He is still full speed ahead...into life....into Kenya.  He is like the king of the castle now with all the attention from the other children.  We have received such a warm welcome.  I believe we were truly missed!  I can't get over the growth and development since our last trip.  God is so faithful!  Wait till you see what He has done!  I will be sending some pics and some updates soon to keep you posted.  I also just want to thank everyone again for their generous hearts, prayers, support and love.  We are so grateful!  We have lots to celebrate together!  Until the next time...may God bless you and keep you!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Well it's official.  We are getting ready to head back to Kenya.  This Thursday August 22, 2013 Silas will fly back to Kenya with Ephraim and I getting ready to follow in a few weeks.  God has been so faithful and we see His hand a work in the little and much bigger details.  Ephraim appears to be ready and eagerly looking forward to seeing his family and friends.  There has been no hesitation in his heart when we talk about it.  It is a beautiful work with God's fingerprints all over it.  Before he was fearful and didn't want to go back after being so sick but God has grown him and prepared him bringing peace where fear once lurked.