After retiring from safari we did a little shopping on the way home at the wood carver. We spent the evening packing and preparing for the journey home. We had lunch with our missionaries and had a time of reflection on our trip. Being able to hear how God is working in the life of our team members was such a bonding experience. As we leave to come home we face the challenge of expressing the life changing experience God has done in us with others. We were challenged as we go back to our lives to ask God what now? What does God want us to do now? We have been through a lot and have a lot of stories but sorting through all the experiences is the next step in the journey.As the team starts their journey home please pray for grace for them. They are leaving part of their heart here and feeling a little nervous about how long this journey will take them.
What an eventful day! We left for safari this morning at 6am and have been out on different game drives all day. We have been blessed with seeing a lot of animals but even bigger than that, we have had the privilege to have some of our Kenya partners with us. The opportunity to ask them questions about everything we just experienced helps us all process through it so much better. Getting to know the back story and see their dreams for what God has for His schools has helped us grow in our understanding of what we just experienced and the lives we impacted.Please join me in praying for the team to understand Gods plan for them because of the things we have experienced as well as Grace for getting ready to leave.
Yesterday was our last day working in the schools with the kids. We went to Vipingo to do our activity day with the kids just like what we did at Bomani. The team did an outstanding job once again improvising a few things they needed for their activities that never arrived. We had such an amazing time with the kids and I think having the simple play time with the kids really bonded all of us. Before we leave for Kenya we spend time talking with the team about asking God to prepare you for the life change He is going to do in your life: the relationships he is going to form, the kids He is going to burden your heart with and the overwhelming needs you will see here. Now the time has come that the team is feeling these things and has to ask God what He is calling the team to do about it.
We had to say our goodbyes to both schools and all our new friends which made for a really hard end to our day. It was the first time ever leaving one of the schools that you could hear a pin drop because it was that silent on the bus. Like with any ending starts a new beginning! God took each one of us to Kenya for His purpose - for some this will be their only time and others will be back again. Some will go back home with a passion for the ministry and inspire others to support a child or go to Kenya. Others will be inspired to do bigger things God has been preparing them for. Whatever it is please join in praying for the team with me that they will have a tender heart for how God wants to use this trip in their life.
Sorry no pic I am working on 2g Internet - pic still to come!
To day we are having a guest blogger - Erica is going to share the day from her perspective. We have completed another eventful, spiritual, and amazingly wonderful day. It is so hard to believe that we only have one more day left at our schools! It feels like we just got here. For some of us we are already planning how we will fundraise to come back next year, but for some, this may be the last time we see the wonderful children and staff.
We started our day by making foam visors with stickers and the kids' names on so we could call them by name. One student even brought Jason a visor that he made for him last year and ran to him when he saw Jason! How amazing is that!!!!
After we finished all the activities and the students ate lunch, the team was treated to THE BEST MEAL you will ever get in Africa. Chef Anne at Bomani school has to be the most amazing chef ever! She treated the team with what seemed like a 12 course meal! Lets just say chicken tastes WAY BETTER fresh, and by fresh I mean the chicken was walking around about 3 hours before we ate it!
After lunch some of the staff presented the team with gifts. We were all overwhelmed. These people have so little, yet they love to give gifts to those that have made an impact on them.
The team learned a whole lot more about working as a team while building the mud hut and what a thrill you can get out of working together, especially if it is to help someone in need.
Please continue to pray for the team as we still have not received all of our luggage and as we get ready to prepare ourselves for saying goodbye to our schools tomorrow. We will need God's strength to get through it.
We started off the day by going to church at Crossroads Fellowship where they were having their 10th anniversary service, Pastor Guy did the message. The church did cardboard testimonies that some of you might remember back when we did them. If you haven't seen it before google it - its really good. One of my good Kenyan friends gave her cardboard testimony and it was surprising to me at what she had on her board. (see pic below) It was amazing to see how God has used her to do so many great things for Him and never complain about her hardship because of life's circumstance. To see her faith and how she trusts in God everyday that His plan seems like the perfect challenge to me. Are we all living in search of Gods plan and trusting in Him that His plan is perfect? In the afternoon we spent time at Bomani reaching out to the community and sewing seeds of hope in their life. We spent time with the kids and people from the community just enjoying the afternoon together. We played in the volleyball tournament and won! It was so close that it came down to last game and wining by 1 point! At the end of the day Pastor Guy shared about a free gift that God has for each one of us just like the free gift of flour and beans we were giving to the people of Bomani and all they have to do is take it. What would your friends say if you passed up free food supplies? Just like passing up the food we need to make sure we are taking Gods free gift.
We have reached the halfway point of this amazing mission trip but our work is not even half way done. Please continue to pray for our team as we still run into new trials and triumphs every day. We know God has a reason behind all of the obstacles that have come in our way but we serve an almighty and powerful God! All of us can't WAIT to get back to Bomani to do activities with the children tomorrow but this feeling will be bittersweet as most of us will be saying goodbye to many children and teachers that we have connected with.
Today was the big celebration day at Vipingo. We had a football tournament (American soccer), volleyball, a bouncy house, a choir competition, acrobatics, and more. Even though it was raining off and on, the turnout was good. The team was able to help serve the community lunch and help throughout the rest of the other activities. Each team member was surrounded by both Vipingo and non-Vipingo students proving that even though we don't have our toys and gadgets we can still provide a fun, entertaining, and exciting day showing God's love to everyone. On the way home, we took a few minutes and talked about our experiences from today. It was really cool to hear how the day impacted us all differently. Pam talked about how she had a group of three girls that she hung out with all day and when one of them got a small peace of corn she broke small parts off for all of them. She was only given a little, but she wanted to share what she was given with her friends and even her new friend Pam. To see a kid that has nothing be given a small amount of food, and see her willingness to share is so humbling to me. I think about how much I am given and my first reaction is not to give some to everyone around me. Luanne shared how she loved being able to serve in different areas, but still be apart of the big team. It takes all of us - Kenyan and Fox River teams - coming together as one big team to make an eternal impact!
At the end of the day, the team was worn out and ready for showers, dinner, and some much needed rest. I returned to the airport today to pick up one bag. They have found one more bag in Paris so now we are down to 15 bags still needed. It has been cool to see how God has provided just what we need in His time - like the bags I picked up the last two nights have had shirts in it. Our shirts are used on our big outreach days to help us spot each other and to show that we are one big team working together. Tonight the bag I picked up had the shirts to wear at Bomani, which is where we're going tomorrow. God's timing really is perfect!
Today we spent the day in the village of Vipingo hanging mosquito nets, inviting the community to the big celebration day on Saturday, handed out shoes, and we were able to be a voice of hope to the people we spoke with in the village. We were able to share about the free gift God has given each one of them and how to receive it just like the nets we were giving out. We had 6 accept Christ as their savior and hundreds of seeds planted. We will continue to pray for God's working in their lives. Installing the mosquito nets was very humbling as we entered people's houses and got to see first hand their living conditions. Many sleep on the wood slots on a bed frame; there is no mattress. Other's had thin pads which were thinner than a throw pillow and some of them don't have anything to sleep on but the dirt floor. It quickly changes your view on what you sleep on and your living conditions. It was a lot to take in for the team and people are still processing through what they have experienced today.
For lunch time we were able to return to our school and serve lunch to the Kids and had some play time. After our time with the kids we went back to hang the remaining mosquito nets and speaking about the hope God offers.
On a fun side note - our Vipingo girls choir went to a companion today and took first in 3 out of 4 areas.
This evening I went to the airport to pick up and check on bags. It was a good trip we got 7 more but we are still missing 17 bags. While it's hard to think about all the fun stuff we packed that we are missing out on, the team has done a great job of being the entertainment them self! =) I learned that we probably will not be getting the 17 bags anytime soon leaving us disappointed but still trusting in God. This is His trip and we will serve how ever He sees fit. Tomorrow is the Big Soccer day that we spend the whole day with kids from around the area. We planed to have lots of fun stuff to do with them now its just us! If any of you guys have ideas of games or fun things to do with the kids please write us and let us know!
Please pray for good weather and that people will be open to the message of hope we will be giving. God is doing big things here - I know He is because the devil is trying every way he can to bring us down such as lost bags, travel advisories and health and weather. We serve a bigger God and know that He has His hand on us. Thank you for your prayers.
Today we spent the day at Vipingo. The kids were lined up sing to us as we got off the bus. They had a presentation prepared for us that was really cool then we sang for them (they got a kick out of that!). The video from us singing at Vipingo can be seen on the Fox River Facebook page. The teachers gave the team Kenyan shirts that were really cool. It is amazing to me how we go to serve and bless them and they give it back to us ten times more. They collect their own money to have something they can give us to show how much they appreciate Fox River and all that we do for them. After the kids presentation we spent time with the staff at Vipingo like yesterday, we did some team building activities. The afternoon was spent walking in the community inviting people out to the big soccer day on Saturday and playing with our school kids. I know I have said this before but I will say it again this team has done amazing work with all the changes that have been going on. Normally at this point we would have lots of fun toys and things to play with the kids but because we don't have any of our bags all we have is us. It has been cool to see that it is not about what we bring or what new toys we have for them - it's really just about spending time with us. Everything that we packed to do with them is not why they love us so much; it truly is for us and who we are. It's a good reminder not to get caught up in all the stuff, even here in Kenya. God's love is so much bigger then that.
We had a few people not feeling well today, but God has been working to heal them. Please continue to pray for them to get the rest that they need to do the work God has brought them to do. On the baggage note I have good news and ok news...We got two bags today but the other 9 bags they found are coming in on a late flight tonight. That leaves 11 bags that we don't know where they are. Because of that we are having to change up our plans with the kids a little bit. Tomorrow we are going to be working in Vipingo hanging mosquito nets and giving out shoes. Feel free to ask questions in the comment if there is something you would like to know more about = )