Sending Out the Kenya Team

This past weekend, we as a church, prayed over and sent out the Kenya team to represent Fox River in our mission works in the villages of Bomani and Vipingo. 

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Will you join us in praying for this team? On Friday, four depart to prepare for the team's arrival. The main group departs on Sunday. Pray for safety and health as we seek to bless, encourage and serve all that God puts in our path!

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In Honor

You have followed along with us this last week as we sent off Mark to take on the Swim Extreme and as we eagerly awaited the arrival of baby Denise.

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Today with very heavy hearts we share with you that sweet baby Denise has passed away.

What we know is that she was born with complications.  Thursday we got word that Denise was here and weighed 9lbs, she seemed healthy, but as hours passed doctors realized her lungs were not expanding enough for her to breathe on her own.  They gave her oxygen at first and then put her on a breathing machine.  Saturday morning Pastor Denis was told by the doctor’s that it did not look hopeful and just a few hours later Denise passed away.  

Oh how we prayed for a different outcome for this family and we know you prayed right alongside us for that miracle.  We thank you for this!  Many of you haven't even met them personally and have been pouring prayers over them for the last few days.  We are so grateful for the Fox River family and the way you have shown love to these very important people!

Although this is not the outcome our hearts wanted we believe that God has better plans than us.  As We wept with our families here for our family there I asked God to make His presence known, to reveal a small piece of His plan so that peace can come.  

I was standing in church Saturday night and honestly there were moments when the words of the songs were too heavy, they meant something new in that moment than they have in the past.  We were singing 'Who You Say I Am' and God was reminding us, (all of us, even baby Denise) are His.  But, he was also telling me, He has her and has saved her from this world of pain and suffering... 

 "Who the Son sets free... Oh is free indeed... I'm a child of God...Yes I am... In my Father's house....There's a place for me... I'm a child of God...Yes I am"  

She is so free!  And she has a place!  Today as our hearts hurt because that place isn’t in the arms of Karen and Denis, we rest in knowing that our God is still good and He promises to never leave us.  I share this knowing that Pastor Denis and Karen believe the same.  We believe this, but this doesn't take away the pain they are feeling now for the loss of their child.  So I ask you to pray for them with me.  Pray that they feel God's presence, that they lean into His strength, that they have people surround them to show them God's love when it's hard to see for themselves.   

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As all of this was unfolding Mark was jumping into the water Saturday morning to make his swim around Key West, Florida.  A swim that is fueled with pure passion and Jesus!  Mark wasn't swimming for fun (I mean who swims 12 miles in open water for fun) or for himself, but for other people.  Some he knows personally and many he will never know.  The entire time he was swimming he was praying over Denise, Karen and baby Denise.

Mark was swimming to raise funds to help a local family in a trying time and for funding for improvements in the clinic in La Esmeralda.  

Two major areas the funds will go towards in the clinic. Improving the grounds surrounding the clinic to make for a more sterile and clean atmosphere for healthcare.  This will include paving around the entire facility.  And there is a desperate need for a birthing center in the clinic.  Right now, women have to give birth in a room which is not an optimal spot to be bringing new life into the world. 

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Oh, how a safe place for mothers to be cared for throughout their pregnancy, during birth, and for mom and baby after birth weighed heavily on him yesterday as he swam knowing Denise was fighting for her life.  

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He finished his swim in the top 10 and placed 2nd in his age group.  That is what swimming with a purpose looks like right there!  Way to go Mark!!!  

Even though his swim is over there is still time to join in on the the purpose behind it.   Today we ask that you pray about giving in honor of baby Denise.  Give knowing that your gift WILL make a difference for not just one life, but for many!  

To read more about the why and to give check out SwimExtreme.

Thank you for praying with us this week! 

 

Pastor Denis y Karen... Te Amamos!   Sé que nuestros corazones están ahí contigo

Bebé Fuentes

This week we welcome the newest Fuentes into the world and we couldn’t be more excited! 

Yesterday we got word that Pastor Denis and Karen headed to the hospital to make sure they were able to make it in safely for their c-section which was scheduled for today.  They made it safely and with lots of nerves for the coming hours, days, and weeks ahead. Because of some of Karen’s health concerns they had a very scary birth with their first baby and that was weighing heavy on them.  And if that was not enough the country being in the state of turmoil that it is, it makes bringing a baby into it scarier than usual. Not to mention the fact that this is not Karen’s normal hospital or doctor. 

Karen was in a lot of pain so the doctor decided he would go ahead and do the surgery right away.  Soon after, we got news that baby Denise was born and weighed in at 9lbs and that Mom (Karen) was doing well. 

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After a few hours we were getting updates that baby was taken to the NICU for oxygen and because her sugars had dropped. 

Karen is struggling with pain.  We aren’t sure what all is going on, but we know that in order to enjoy her baby she needs some relief.  

This morning we got news that baby Denise is not breathing on her own because her lungs are not expanding enough.  Even though she was a good weight her organs are still developing. This calls for prayer!

 Would you pray for baby Denise as she still has some developing to do? Pray that she would become strong enough to start breathing on her own. Pray for Karen and Denis as they watch their baby fight. For them to have an overwhelming sense of Gods peace and love around them. For Karen to have continued healing. And would you also pray for their son Jonathan as he is with his Grandma in La Esmeralda?  

 

 

Not there, but here

Here I am.  My plan was to be standing with my team in Nicaragua right now, getting ready to see my friends, my family.  My heart has gone and yet I am still here.  As much as I want to be there I know that God is at work and has asked us to stay instead of go this time. 

You know those moments, the ones you realize after the fact that God was using it to prepare you for another?  Yeah?  If not, I pray for a moment like that for you because as the next unfolds you are amazed at the way God works.  It leaves me in awe every time.  Only a God who loves and cares about you works in one day to prepare you for another.

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Last year in Nicaragua on our last full evening in La Esmeralda I was standing out in the front of the church watching the team take in the last moments of being there.  Tears were streaming down my face (which just doesn't happen often for me) as I stood in a place that brings so much peace and joy.  A friend asked me what I was thinking about, and I told them the future of this place and the fact that I wasn't ready to leave.  In that moment I had no idea that I wouldn't get to go back this summer, in that moment I could only walk away thinking I would be back.  And today I know that God was using that moment to prepare me for this year.  He was whispering so softly that evening... "Abbey, I hold this place!  I have BIG plans!  I am building here!  Watch Me!  Go and Be Still!"  The tears have returned today, and the promises He has made are still true and I am watching them unfold everyday!

Have you heard the song 'Yes and Amen'?  This song is on repeat in my heart in these moments.  It goes like this...

"Faithful, You are.  Faithful, forever You will be.  Faithful, You are.  All Your promises are Yes and Amen....

I will rest in Your promises.  My Confidence is Your faithfulness..."

As I stay this year I have decided to spend the 10 days praying very specific things over Nicaragua.  

The place we love, the place our friends call home is still being destroyed by darkness.  Things have continued to get worse and people are hurting all across Nicaragua.   My heart is broken for this place and people that hold so much of my heart.

 This is my prayer list for 10 days... 

  1. The churches as they pour into their communities
  2. Our Missionaries and partners
  3. Heart change
  4. The violence to stop
  5. The hurting families
  6. Protection
  7. Provision
  8. Hope
  9. The future of Nicaragua
  10. Pastor Denis and Karen are about to welcome their baby girl.   
  • That they can travel safely to and from the hospital

  • That Karen and baby are healthy for the remainder of the pregnancy and things go smoothly for the c-section  

  • Healthy Baby

  • Recovery for Karen

  • For Pastor Denis for wisdom and strength as he makes decisions for his family

  • For Jonathan (big brother) that he adapts well to the changes that baby will bring

(Be watching because we will celebrate with them when baby arrives!!!)

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God hears our cries and as I wait for the next time we will get to go and be in this place again I will cry out for hope, change, growth, forgiveness, love, peace, Jesus!   Join me?

Rest in His promises!  He is faithful! 

 

Music For Change

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Coming up in June and July we have a very important festival happening at Crossroads Academy- Reginal Schools Music Feativals.

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In the past, our student choir has made it all the way to nationals and brought back trophies as well as MUCH honor to the school and the educators that have poured a into them.

 

 The lead : Anacletus Mallombe, we call him teacher Daniel.

The lead : Anacletus Mallombe, we call him teacher Daniel.

Teacher Daniel grew up in a family of 11 and found ways outside of school to be taught how to sing. Now he takes that same passion for singing and makes sure it’s found in school and the efforts are obvious.

 Practice in session

Practice in session

Going the extra mile - Teacher Daniel watches the grades of the students in his hand picked choir. He often takes children who may be struggling academically and then mentors them in singing until they are strong enough to lead practice while he is working with individuals. He has tackled a concept that we hope spreads like wildfire, for it has given confidence to students who don’t always find it through academics.

 

 At a past competition   

At a past competition   

Our school has become known for our choir and beautiful harmonies with songs ranging from old hymns to traditional African music.

 At the national Level in Nairobi. 

At the national Level in Nairobi. 

It is beautiful and the festival has begun this week starting with sub-county level competitions. Which we are fortunate to be hosting at our school!

 A visit to the National Stadium in Nairobi 

A visit to the National Stadium in Nairobi 

There’s so much more gained than just learning music. There’s team work, mentorship and the chance to travel to areas of the country that they otherwise would not be able to see. This exposure is a gift and it’s conduit is music.

Keep praying for the team as they Prepare for great opportunities to learn new songs and be good competitors.

-O’Neal Nyanje  

Hearts Broken

You pray and give so our teams can go to far away places to share the love of God with people in need.  You follow along as we do through this blog.  You are important to us and we want to share some important information with you.  Today, with heavy hearts, we share with you, our supporters and partners, that we have had to cancel our 2018 Nicaragua Summer Mission Trip.  Fox River leadership made this decision after much prayer and many conversations with our partners in Nicaragua.  This decision was made for the safety of our Fox River team as well as our Nicaragua team.

The why behind our decision... Nicaragua is in a scary state of turmoil and destruction.

In April, a new law was issued that caused concern with the Nicaraguan population. What began with peaceful protests and marches, has escalated to violence, causing the destruction of property, personal injury and death. Over 100 lives have been lost and 1000's of people injured.  

Things are worsening in Nicaragua.  There are road blockades causing transportation of food and fuel to be nearly impossible.  For small communities this has quickly become a problem because supplies were already limited. Prices have skyrocketed for the little they have left on shelves.  This leaves many in dire circumstances.

This country is near and dear to our hearts and we hate seeing the destruction happening, the darkness winning, and the people hurting. Our hearts are broken for this country we love.

We do, however, know and believe that God is working in the midst of this chaos.  Many people have come to know who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for them.  Churches are standing strong and making Jesus known in this darkness.  

As much as we are disappointed about not being able to go and join our partners this summer, we are even more heart broken about the devastation that is happening to their home.  Because of this, we ask that you join us in praying for them and for Fox River as we seek to support and help where we can.

Here are some specifics we are praying...

  • Wisdom for our missionaries in the decisions they have to make daily for their ministries, friends, family and personal safety
  • Safety and provision for our partners in La Esmeralda, as well as their families across the country
  • Change of heart for this country and their leaders
  • For the families of those who have lost their lives
  • For God to be known and felt in mighty ways
  • For the church to be ready and equipped to welcome in those who are hurting and searching

Our partners in Nicaragua are praying at three specific times each day and we want to join them as they do. For our time zone it will be...

  1. 9am
  2. 3pm
  3. 9pm

We know that this may bring up some questions and we are ready to answer them.  Please ask! Here is one we want to answer right away. 

What happens to the funds raised to be used during this trip?

We know many of you have given and supported us through the Run for Love and the hygiene packs.  We want to share with you that the money raised has been sent over to help stock the Medical Clinic for the weeks and months to come as they prepare for the worst.  This will be such a blessing.  Thank you for joining us in this way!

If you would like to contribute to the aid we are sending to Nicaragua during this crisis, please do! You can click here and give toward the hygiene packs. Any funds given through this link will be sent for relief aid connected to the clinic in La Esmeralda. 

Thank you for showing God's love and making a difference in the lives of thousands of people! 

When One Wins We All Win

 The school for primary school teachers in Mombasa 

The school for primary school teachers in Mombasa 

In today’s society, education is the key to a better life. Here in Kenya, education is the only way out of poverty and other social ills. I write this with a great deal of pride for we have a graduate in our midst!

 The lady of the day, Nicole Opiyo

The lady of the day, Nicole Opiyo

This is Nicole Opiyo, one of our grade 1 teachers, who graduated after further studies  in Early Child Development. This means she adds another accolade to her industrious and selfless love for the Children.

 A smile of great achievement  

A smile of great achievement  

A graduation is a pivotal point in anyone’s life and for us, this is our success for when one wins we all win.  

Teacher Nicole was the first teacher that Crossroads Academy hired. She walked with the administration into the community we serve to find the first class of students. 

 Head Teacher, James, and Jenna were present to celebrate Nikole’s success

Head Teacher, James, and Jenna were present to celebrate Nikole’s success

She is dedicated to the school’s success and the students who have graduated from our school have come back whith joy to sit and talk with her. She is a mother to all and a teacher to those fortunate to land in her class. 

 Nicole’s family and colleagues 

Nicole’s family and colleagues 

We thank you for your servants heart, Nicole - and once again, congratulations! 

The ‘Love’ part of the Run

Here we are just a few days before the Run for Love!  As we are knee deep in preparation and prayer (rain, rain go away🤦🏻‍♀️) we are getting excited for this day!  

For those of you who haven’t heard... it’s not to late!!  Invite someone to join you!

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WHEN

Saturday, May 19th, 2018 at 9am

WHERE

Fox River Christian Church, Waukesha CampusS46W24130 Lawnsdale Rd, Waukesha, WI 53189

COST

Standard: $40
Family: $75*

*Family pricing is for parents and children under 18 living in the same home.

REGISTER HERE 

 

 Now let me share with you the ‘love’ part of this run...

We here at Fox River have listened to God’s call and have partnered internationally to share the Hope of Jesus Christ in both Kenya and Nicaragua!  This run raises funds to help us do just that.   

The Run for Love funds Hygiene Packs and helps a team go to distribute them in Nicaragua.  

What’s a hygiene pack you ask??   LOVE in a drawstring bag!

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We build up these ‘hygiene packs’ with very basic (to us) things... bars of soap, shampoo, wash clothes, band aids, fingernail clippers, combs, water bottle, neosporin, razors, tooth brushes and paste, laundry detergent, sewing kit, deodorant, etc... things that we can pick up at any corner store at any moment!  Things we so easily have at our finger tips and take for granted every day.  Things as simple as a bar of soap give us (the team) an opportunity to share about what Christ has done for us!  Through the free gift (because of your participation) we offer them, we share about the free gift Christ has offered us!  A toothbrush gets to be a life changing opportunity!  

This might seem silly to think about, but these packs are changing lives. These teams get to see some of that!

You as runners, walkers, cheerers, crawlers...  are making this possible!  Thank you!

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 Pictures of teams in the community handing out the packs.

Pictures of teams in the community handing out the packs.

Life Change

We would love for you to hear from our mission partner, Jenna Nyanje- administrator of Crossroads Academy:

Not all the students we have at Crossroads Academy start with us in preschool. 

Some students enter our school with a story or circumstance that we fully recognize as God being up to something bigger than policies and procedures.

That means that, on occasion, we don’t meet a student until later in their schooling: grade 4, 5 or even 6.

I wrote about ‘Sam’ a while ago, because we knew when we met him and his Grandmother that we were going to be responsible for more than just praying for them in the moment and wishing them provision as they went out.

The truth is, it’s sometimes a risk to take older kids into the school. As best as we try to assess where they are academically we can never really know how well they will adjust and fit into a new school.

Sam began the school year and struggled slightly just like we expected him to do. He was trying his best to fit into a new school as well as catching up on the school work he had missed. We watched this young man work hard. He never quit. This was the beginning of 2017. 

When we ended the first term this year, two teachers came and asked me if they could share some news with me that they knew would make my day. 

Where typically we would see students raise their scores 30 to 50 points, Sam had raised his by 125!!! In one of his math exams, he missed only 3 questions! I don’t know how to say this, but statistically this does not happen. Sam has risen above the statistics and we are COMPLETELY overjoyed.

The teachers were so excited because this is one of THEIR boys. They didn’t give up on him either. We all feel like there is something special in store for this boy.

This school is making a difference and allowing students to meet their highest potential!

Below is a picture of Sam and one of the many teachers who has invested in him, Teacher Margaret.

This teacher has been an absolute blessing to our school. She, like many of the other teachers, go above and beyond classroom work. She deeply cares for these students as if they were her own.

We love you, Teacher Margaret!

 - Jenna 

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Life change is constantly happening in Kenya and Nicaragua. Without your generous donations, these stories would not be possible. We serve a good God and look forward to His working in the future.  

When it Rains, it Pours

 Flooded road side Bomani.

Flooded road side Bomani.

Today we’ll hear from O’Neal- our boots on the ground in Kenya!

 

It’s that time of the year (May-July) here in Kenya when we have cool and wet weather. It’s much waited for as we leave the hot season. The students dress warmly with sweaters as they try to keep warm and dry. The rains that come can sometimes cause flooding!

 It’s raining! Let’s make a run for the dinning hall. 

It’s raining! Let’s make a run for the dinning hall. 

The schools opened Wednesday. It was a sweet and sour kind of day for the weather was pretty wet, something the students don’t enjoy much. However, being reunited with their friends after 4 weeks of April break made it a bit easier and their spirits were lifted. 

 Bomani and Vipingo girls being girls

Bomani and Vipingo girls being girls

The warm cup of tea and the lunch provided each day at school makes a huge difference in these children’s lives. This enables them concentrate on creating a future for themselves and their communities both in Vipingo and Bomani.

 Vipingo and Bomani meal time 

Vipingo and Bomani meal time 

Please pray for good health as we start the term. This drastic weather ends up effecting our students physically a bit. Lots of colds and some flu. Our second term is also full of activities and events as we look forward to the Fox River team coming in July! 

 Sharing is caring - our students have got me covered from the rain.

Sharing is caring - our students have got me covered from the rain.