Heading Home

The team is in the airport and ready to board our first flight home.

The 2019 Kenya Missions team with our missionary partners, Jenna & O’Neal

The goodbyes (or “see you next times”) are always hard, but knowing our partners are in good Hands makes the parting a bit easier.

As I write this, 12 of us are in line to board our first flight, a 2.5-hour trip to Ethiopia. After a short layover, we’ll have a 17-hour flight to Chicago with a brief refueling stop in Dublin.

Please pray with us for smooth and uneventful travel!

The team about to board at Moi International Airport in Mombasa

The team about to board at Moi International Airport in Mombasa

Safari and Closing Meeting

After all the events are done we conclude our trip by going on safari. It gives us the opportunity to experience this great land and begin to turn our thoughts toward home. As each one continues to process what we have witnessed and experienced, we know there are challenges ahead as we prepare for re-entry to our own culture.

Here are a few pictures from safari.

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After our return today, we ended the final day of the trip with a closing meeting with our missionaries at Jim and Susie Horne’s home. Each team member shares a meaningful experience from the trip and we seek to bless our missionary friends. It is a special way to say our final goodbyes.

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The team begins their journey home tomorrow. Please pray for safe, smooth travels.

Special outfits given to us from our partners and friends at New Life Academy.

Special outfits given to us from our partners and friends at New Life Academy.

Fun Day with Our Kids in Bomani

Today we focused on loving our kids and staff at New Life Academy. We began with our school picture. Don't you just love those smiles!

2019 New Life Academy, Bomani, Kenya

2019 New Life Academy, Bomani, Kenya

We spent the rest of the morning just as we did yesterday where each class had a Bible lesson, a creative center and outside games. Here are a few pictures of the fun.

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Lunch was delicious!

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We shared toasting marshmallows and making s’mores with the staff.

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The team was able to visit some of the homes of our students and then came the time for the mattress distribution. Pastor Abraham invited needy families to join us for a meeting during which he gave a Gospel presentation. Several indicated that they were choosing to receive God’s gift of eternal life. Oh the joy!

Grateful mamas!

Grateful mamas!

Over 100 mattresses given out to families today. This young lady received a mattress in January and couldn't stop talking to us about the difference it has made in her life!

Over 100 mattresses given out to families today. This young lady received a mattress in January and couldn't stop talking to us about the difference it has made in her life!

Saying goodbye to people we have grown to love is always difficult. As we wrap up the ministry portion of this trip, we are so thankful for all God has allowed us to be a part of in the last 10 days.

Tomorrow we head out on safari. This is a great opportunity for us to experience this great country and begin to process what God is doing in us as we turn our thoughts toward home.

Final good byes

Final good byes

Fun Day with Kids in Vipingo

What a beautiful day to share our final day with our staff and kids in Vipingo! We began the day by taking our school picture.

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We then spent the rest of the morning investing in our kiddos. Each class enjoyed a creative Bible lesson, a fun craft and some out door games.

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While grade 7 helped our team members, grade 8 was able to spend the whole morning with Pastor Mark and Bev. They had some fun games, a challenge, small group discussion and a special treat from Wisconsin, s’mores!

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A final lunch with the teachers and then we shared roasting marshmallows and making s’mores with them. What fun!

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In the afternoon, we were able to walk into the village to visit the homes of some of our 7th grade helpers. We were humbled and blessed to see where they lived and be welcomed into their homes!

At the end of the day, we were so blessed to give 80 needy families a mattress so their children won't have to sleep on the dirt floor. They were so grateful! Thank you to all who donated to make this possible!

Mark presented the mattresses and talked about the rest we can have in Jesus. It was perfect.

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Happy smiles!

Happy smiles!

The final goodbyes are always hard! As we leave Crossroads Academy, we are filled with joy to be a part of this partnership through which God is rewriting the story of hundreds of children!

Sunday in Kenya

Our day began at Crossroads Fellowship Church. Our missionary, Jim Horne, is the senior pastor and Gideon Banda, who spent 6 months at Fox River last year, is the executive pastor. Jason and Maddie joined the worship team and we enjoyed the service worshiping with these believers.

Maddie

Maddie

Maddie and Jason with worship team

Maddie and Jason with worship team

After a quick bite of lunch we drove to Bomani for the community outreach event. The weather was beautiful and the crowd was large. Like yesterday, we had camel rides, face painting, balloon animals, acrobats, plus all the fun things the Fox River team did with the kids.

Pastor Mark had the privilege of baptizing some of the New Life students to begin the afternoon. Our team fielded a volleyball team to play in a tournament. O'Neal organized some great fun and musical talent for the main stage entertainment. Our local pastor gave the gospel and many received Christ as their personal savior!

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After the events were concluded, each family left with a bag of food.

Thank you, Fox River, for loving these communities well by investing in their future through educating their children and introducing them to eternal life through Jesus.

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Vipingo big day

Today’s blog comes to us from Abbey.

Jambo! This has been my first time to Kenya and I have been blown away by the work that Fox River has done here. Saturday was our first community outreach day at Vipingo and it couldn’t have gone better. We had so many people come and the weather was perfect! It was a very independent day and was full of stickers, bubbles, tattoos, and face paint. We were able to interact with the kids, and everyone ended up with their own group of kids following them. 

One thing that I experienced for the first time was riding a camel. All of the children would push us to the front so they could ride with us over and over! 

For the entire trip I have been so shocked by how much the students want to help and that especially showed today. All of the older kids took charge and made sure the young ones where taking turns, forming lines when needed, and always offered to carry stuff for me. I’m so thankful for all that they have done.

Quick update

The team had a full day today!

Today was the BIG outreach day at our school in Vipingo! Thousands of people come out to enjoy a day of activities… soccer and volleyball tournaments, bounce house, games, and camel rides! Something for everyone!

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These days give this ministry an opportunity to show the community who and why we do what we do! Jesus! Everyone gets to have fun and experience the love of Christ in one way or another!

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The team is wiped today so make sure you check back tomorrow for some stories straight from the team!!

Tomorrow is the BIG day in Bomani!

If you are on Facebook follow Fox River Missions, they have been doing live videos for us all week!

7th Graders, Graduation and A mud Hut

Our day began with a change in plans. Heavy rains once again drenched the coastline during the time we were scheduled to work on mudding the walls of a hut for a family in Bomani. We flipped the day and started by spending time with the 7th graders in our primary schools. They will be our helpers next week during the Fun Days with our primary school kids so we get to know them and teach them what we will do together.

Jenni is teaching her group how to do the craft at their center.

Jenni is teaching her group how to do the craft at their center.

Gina and her crew will act out the story of Esther.

Gina and her crew will act out the story of Esther.

Kathy’s group will decorate little bags with the preschool kids.

Kathy’s group will decorate little bags with the preschool kids.

Pastor Mark had the joy of representing Fox River at the Bible Institute graduation. Fox River sponsors this ministry where rural pastors can receive excellent Bible training. Mark told us that the youngest person to receive this certificate was a high school student who wants to become a pastor and the oldest one was a church bishop who wanted more Bible training. What a blessing to consider all who will follow Jesus because of this investment!

Pastor Mark, the teachers and the graduates.

Pastor Mark, the teachers and the graduates.

After a wonderful lunch at New Life in Bomani, we set off with Pastor Abraham, Pastor Francis and the entire 7th grade class to mud the walls of a hut. The structure is built and the roof attached before the mud is applied.

Early in the process.

Early in the process.

Abby was rocking that back wall with her expert crew of helpers.

Abby was rocking that back wall with her expert crew of helpers.

Russ dove in and worked hard for this family.

Russ dove in and worked hard for this family.

Working on the back from the inside out.

Working on the back from the inside out.

Two hours later this amazing group of hard working people finished mudding this two room hut.

Two hours later this amazing group of hard working people finished mudding this two room hut.

The Fox River team with the owners of this hut.

The Fox River team with the owners of this hut.

The team was blessed with thank you gifts of coconuts and mangos that were given by the couple who owned the hut. The lady is in our adult literacy class at New Life and is so grateful for the opportunity to learn to read, write and do simple math.

As the team gathered this evening, they expressed how much they were blessed by getting to know the 7th graders and building the mud hut. Over and over they remarked about the gratitude of the people they sought to bless. It is humbling and deeply rewarding.

Tomorrow and Sunday are our big community out reach days. Please pray for clear skies and hearts open to Jesus.

Thank you all for allowing us to represent Fox River. It is our joy!

We were able to bless some little girls in the village with some dresses made by Pastor Mark’s mom and one of the small groups at Fox River. They loved it!

We were able to bless some little girls in the village with some dresses made by Pastor Mark’s mom and one of the small groups at Fox River. They loved it!

The hole left behind after the dirt was hauled away to be turned into mud. They will use the hole as a compost pile or pit latrine.

The hole left behind after the dirt was hauled away to be turned into mud. They will use the hole as a compost pile or pit latrine.

Jenni entertained the little girls with pictures from Haller Park.

Jenni entertained the little girls with pictures from Haller Park.

Maddie’s helpers are all ready to play out door games during the Fun Days.

Maddie’s helpers are all ready to play out door games during the Fun Days.

Jason is actually doing a Facebook live video while his crew is practicing to do a rhythm band with grades 4 - 6.

Jason is actually doing a Facebook live video while his crew is practicing to do a rhythm band with grades 4 - 6.

Investing in our Kids!

Jambo!  This is Kathy. It’s my 2nd time to Kenya and I am so excited to share with you our experience today here on the beautiful coast of Kenya!   Today some of the team started the day with a visit to Shanzu Transitional Workshop.  This is a girl guided project working with young disabled girls and young women in Kenya.  The workshop teaches the women to sew.  They go through a two year training program before they are moved into the production line.   There is a gift shop there where we shop to help support the program.  By us buying their project, we are directly helping a disabled girl in Kenya.   And their products are beautiful, useful items such as purses, makeup bags, hooded baby towels, and they even take special orders for shirts, shorts and pajama pants.  Some of our team had measurements taken and will be back in a few days to pick up their items!   Ask us about our purchases when we get back! 

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After our visit, we returned to the hotel to pick up the rest of the team for a quick stop at the mall for an American lunch!  Yes, we stopped for our own special order Dominos pizza and a Coke!  Nothing like a little taste of home while in Kenya.

And we finished our day getting some special time with our 8th graders from New Life, Bomani at Haller Park Game Sanctuary. We had 27 Students plus some teachers join us for the day. This allowed us to break up into small groups of 4 students and 2 team members.

Kathy, Abbey and their group of kids.

Kathy, Abbey and their group of kids.

When we have such a small group, this allows us to really get to know our students, their stories, and their dreams for their futures. For me, I personally enjoy this time so much. To know we as a church are giving these children opportunities to be the future surgeons, teachers, pastors and accountants of Kenya, brings me such joy!

While we walked and talked our students saw a few awesome exhibits. They saw some crocodiles and hippos be fed which was pretty entertaining. They had the opportunity to feed the giraffes which some took to right away and some were very apprehensive, but with the coaching of their friends, they finally gave it a try. They also saw some snakes and fish and along the way they were educated on all the exhibits, the plant life and the food chains. All of this is important as our 8th graders prepare to take their Certificate of Primary Education Examination. Would you pray with me for our students as they prepare for this very important exam?

Very educational

Very educational

Feeding giraffes

Feeding giraffes

Hippos and water buffalo

Hippos and water buffalo

Feeding the crocodiles

Feeding the crocodiles

River birds and their nests

River birds and their nests

High School

Good evening everyone, Nikki here! Just past 9 pm here in Kenya, mid afternoon back home in Wisconsin. We just finished up dinner and a meeting with the group + Jenna and O’Neal. Everyone is heading to bed and I’m right behind them after I write this.

Can I just say WOW, God is good! Today was incredible, just like the beginning of the week. Less emotional than yesterday but just as fun and rewarding. We woke up this morning and had breakfast, got on the bus around 8:45am and headed over to Valerye McMillan high school. This is a private high school that most students from primary schools go to after 8th grade.

When we arrived we were greeted with rain, and lots of it, pretty much all day. But we did not let that get in the way!

We met the principal, Eve, and some of the amazing teachers, helped put together bags of corn starch for one of the activities and hung around for a bit while it rained. We eventually were introduced to 6 beautiful young ladies that split us into 2 groups and gave us a tour of the school. They took us to every classroom to meet all the students, showed us the computer lab, science lab and the dorms where the majority of the students are housed. I was blown away at the cleanliness and good quality of the school. We wrapped the tour up with morning tea and bread.

Next was the assembly the school had for us, which was nothing short of amazing. We worshipped together, had introductions from the staff and ourselves, heard from great student singers and then they put on a traditional dance that lasted forever! I cannot imagine the energy these kids have to be moving for as long as they did and with such passion.

After that was the best part, lunch! Prepared by a talented group of woman was a buffet lunch which we enjoyed intertwined with the teachers. We got to know each other over a delicious meal. 

We had to eat sort of quickly in order to prepare for the afternoon activities. We had 4 stations that all the students rotated through. We had a tic tac toe relay race that I personally helped with (along with Abby and Gina). Then there was Oobleck, an equal mix of corn starch/water where it’s liquid when left at rest and solid when you play with it, that was paired with a Bible verse. Another one was the Minute to Win It games that we used the last 2 days with the staff members. And lastly, student were given masking tape, popsicle sticks and cotton balls to build a bridge that had to withstand weight. The students had a BLAST. It may have gotten a little bit competitive at times but that’s okay!

It was overall a great day. We got to see the Lord work in every single one of us and I’m personally humbled by everyone I’ve met here thus far. It’s time to head to bed, thanks for reading! God Bless!

Fox River sponsored high school students

Fox River sponsored high school students

Oobleck

Oobleck

Tea and bread with butter. A special treat for these teens.

Tea and bread with butter. A special treat for these teens.

Traditional dance

Traditional dance

Nikki giving out a new pair of socks.

Nikki giving out a new pair of socks.

The architects are building a bridge.

The architects are building a bridge.