2015 - Kenya Trip

Safari

We have had an amazing opportunity the past 2 days (Sunday and Monday), to go on Safari.  It was such an incredible experience to see God's glory all over nature together as a team.  We saw 10 lions, and some even came within 10 feet of our Safari vans. We were told that is an incredibly rare opportunity! It was indescribable, to say the least! 

Abby B.  

Hey everybody! The past two days we were on Safari in Tsavo East National Park. It was pretty amazing. We were up before the sun on Sunday just so we could leave on time. During the first game drive we saw three lions, which I'm told is pretty uncommon. It was impossible not to see God in the beauty surrounding us. The mountains, rocks, trees, everything. Sunday night we had a mini worship session and bonfire. While we were singing I started crying just realizing how present God was in this place. It was nice to have a couple days of relaxing, but I kept wishing that I was back in the schools.  How anyone would ever want to leave this place I have no idea, but I can only pray that God allows me to come back.

 

Bill:  

“haiku wa safari”

 red soil on white skin

for Him, all was made by Him

praising with creation

 

Tomorrow we start our long trek home. We will start the day off with 2 more baptisms (buyah), and then we will be heading off to The Horne’s home (local missionaries here in Kenya), to debrief as a team and have pizza.

 Please pray for our team as we start the journey home, and try to acclimate to life back at home.

 Thank you so much for following our God adventure with us!

 We love you!

 Ashlyn 

 

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Youth Outreach

Jambo from Kenya! 

We had a great day here in Kenya! We started the day off with 4 sweet girls getting baptized in the Indian Ocean this morning. Abby W., Cameron, Charissa, and Alyssa proclaimed to the world that they were followers of Jesus Christ, and they wanted everyone to know. 

It was absolutely beautiful, and you can check out pictures of the baptisms on our Facebook page! 

After baptisms, we all got ready to head to Butterfly Park for a Youth Outreach with Crossroads Fellowship Church. They invited all the youth in the area to join us for a nature walk, that had challenges along the way.  They all divided into teams, and hit the trail. They were able to compete in challenges along the way, and they were scored based on their time. After that, Pastor Bill gave  a challenge to all the teens, and we ate pizza and talked with one another.  It is so great to get to see the team interacting with other people their age, from an entirely different culture. 

We had about 150 students join us, and after Bill gave a challenge, 6 gave their life to Christ. God was glorified in this event! Please be praying for the 6 students that gave their life to Christ, that the Holy Spirit would strengthen them, in the beginning of their walk. 

We leave for Safari at 6:30 AM tomorrow morning, so you won't hear from us tomorrow! Please be praying for safe travels!

Thanks for praying!

Ashlyn  

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Fort Jesus : Class 8 Field Trip

Today was a busy day, filled with relationship building! 

We started the day off at Fort Jesus with Class 8, from both Vipingo and Bomani schools. Fort Jesus is a Military Fort, turned prison, turned museum. We broke into groups, Americans and Kenyans and took tours together. It was fun to get to walk around with the students and learn more about their lives. It was also amazing to get to experience more of their culture with them, and learn alongside of them. It is a place filled with Kenyan history and culture. 

On the way home Pastor Guy brought us the most amazing homemade potato chips any of us have ever had. It was a wonderful treat! 

We then headed off to Crossroads Fellowship to help get ready for outreach night. We swept, set up chairs, hung lights and got the stage ready. We were so thankful  to work alongside their youth and team, to get the church ready for this event. 

We jetted off to the hotel for quick showers, and back to Crossroads Fellowship for Youth Outreach, Talent Night. There were many amazing Kenyan and American talents that we got to watch, and O'Neal gave an amazing challenge to the group that had gathered there. We had authentic  Swahili food for dinner, it was so delicious! 

Pray for our team as many are still feeling ill. 

Tomorrow we have another community outreach at Butterfly Park. Please pray that we can share the love of Jesus with the youth that God brings there with us! 

Thank you for praying! 

We love you! 

Ashlyn 

Mud Hut

Today we had the great opportunity to build a mud hut in Vipingo! We were able to bless and pray for the future family that will be living there! Please pray for Joseph and his future wife and family!  

We also had to say goodbye to the sweet friends we had made in Vipingo today. It was a very hard day for everyone on the team. Please pray for the friendships that have been made and that they would continue in the future. 

 Charissa:

Today we went to Vipingo and built a mud house. The frame and most of the roof was finished before we got there. As we were slapping the mud on, I met a girl named Louisa. When we were building the walls, Louisa was singing a gospel song. I though it was awesome that she was praising God, even in her situation. We were covered in mud as we walked back to the school. After I cleaned up, I had a chance to see my friend Zuena one last time. She had been by my side everyday that I was there. Saying goodbye was heart-wrenching. When I got on the bus I was tearing up and I figured since I was already emotional that I should open the letters I got from the kids. By the time I was done with the first letter I couldn't see the page because my eyes were filled with tears. Overall it was an emotional day. 

Miranda: 

 So today was really good, but really bad. We got to help a family by building their house for them. It was really fun and exciting. We got to stomp in the mud and then smash it on the walls it was a very good experience. The bad part of today was that we had to say goodbye to the kids in Vipingo, it was a very emotional time because both of my girls ran to me while I was on the bus and grabbed my hand and kissed it it was so sad. I will miss them forever.

 Brooke:

It was a happy/ sad day. This morning we went to Joseph Mallo's home and helped him build a mud hut. Which was a ton of fun by getting muddy, giving a family the blessing of praying for them. We finished the mud part but we didn't do the roof part. The second part of the day was sad because we had to say goodbye to our little friends at Vipingo.  Everyone on the bus was wiping their eyes because they were crying, so much. I am hoping to see those kids again. After we got back from the hotel we all relaxed, it was so nice because we have had crazy days so far. Most of us played volleyball, went swimming in the pool and swimming in the Indian Ocean. I hope tomorrow we will have a good day, and that God will teach us a lot tomorrow. 

 

Tomorrow we take Class 8 to Fort Jesus and participate in the Crossroads Fellowship Youth Outreach night! Please be praying that God be glorified!  

God is moving in big ways here in Kenya in our team, thank you for praying!  

The team members that hadn't been feeling well, are now much better!  

 

Ashlyn  

 

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Bomani VBS Day

Today we were able to do VBS in Bomani, with Class 7 as our helpers.  God is going to do big things through those students. Please be praying for them! After VBS we were able to help serve the kiddos their lunch, and hang out with them for a bit. The teachers and staff of the Bomani School presented us with beautiful gifts. They are so loving, and giving, their generosity continues to amaze us, all the time. We were then given the opportunity to visit some Class 7 student’s homes, in groups.  It was such a blessing for us to be able to pray with families in the villages, and hear about how our schools and feeding centers have changed their life paths forever. We then had to say goodbye to all of the friends that we have made in Bomani, and quite a few of us had a hard time with that.  Please be praying for the bonds that have been formed in the name of Jesus, and that we would continue to think and pray for them as we go about our lives.

 

Magen:

Today we had our last day in Bomlani. We did VBS today, Alyssa and I got to spend our day with the baby class. We had a lot of fun seeing the joy in the kid’s faces from the smallest things in life. I think it was impactful to see how carefree and happy children can be because they don't know any better, or see any bad in the world, they're simply carefree and happy. Along with VBS we got to visit homes in the surrounding villages. My group went through the village and handed out dresses to little girls as we visited. Multiple times while handing out dresses the children would look at us in awe, like they couldn't believe something this incredible was really being given to them. To me it didn't seem like it would be a big deal however I could clearly see in the little girls faces. This would change their view on life, and that the moment and the joy they felt would stay with them for a long time.

 

Elena:

My day was so amazing.  I loved being able to just teaching the kids about the bracelets we made. I love how the kids are so interested in my photo book and learning about my friends and family. I am so blessed that I have been able to see all three of my family’s sponsor children, and I have loved it! I am really excited about the work that God is doing in my life, here in Kenya.  I am having a blast!  

 

Please be praying for us as we have some teammates that are battling illness, pray for a safe and speedy recovery.  Also please pray that everyone else is able to escape any illness.  

Tomorrow our team gets the opportunity to build a mud hut in the community of Vipingo.  Please be praying for the family that will make their residence there.  Please also be praying for the team as we have to say goodbye to the people that we have come to know and love at the Vipingo School.

 

Ashlyn

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Vipingo VBS Day

We were able to have another great day in Vipingo today with the students.  We started the day off bright and early, meeting with all of the students and getting them name visors. They looked very smart in those visors, I will tell you! We then dispersed into our groups and had fun doing VBS with all the different classes.  It was fun for me to get to watch the students interact with the children, and have fun while sharing the love of Christ. We were able to partner with the class 7 students, and really get to know them.  It was awesome getting to watch them take over leadership roles in the group, and see where their gifts really shine. We then were able to serve our classes lunch, and play with the kids.  It was a little bittersweet, because besides saying goodbye to them on Thursday, this is the last time we will get to play with the students. Please pray for our team, as we process those emotions! 

Jacob:

Today was an amazing and spiritually impactful day. We had a VBS day in  Vipingo school. The games were exhausting, and the lunch was AMAZING. Beans and rice are way better than I ever would have thought. After lunch, we went into one of the small villages. We prayed with an old woman that didn't even remember how old she was. She had lived so many years and said she had never received Jesus. So we prayed with her and we brought her to Christ. It was so powerful and moving, and totally a God moment. We kept walking and met some other families and prayed with them. We brought a husband and a wife to Christ. He was laughing and making lots of jokes and was so funny, even though I didn't understand exactly what he was saying, because I don't speak Swahili. It was very powerful and moving. Today was great.

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Alyssa:

Today was our Vacation Bible School day at the Vipingo School. It was so awesome to see how happy the kids were when they were singing songs, making bracelets, and playing games.  I was in the games group and some of the games we played were follow the leader, throwing balls through a hula hoop, and jump rope and the kids loved it so much. Each group had some helpers from class 7 and so after we were done with all our activities we got to visit some of our helper's homes. We walked through the village of Vipingo seeing the small shops, mud huts, and small children running around. The students house that we went to was nicer than most and his family was very welcoming. They even climbed a tree to offer us coconuts. We then got a tour of his home and prayed for the family. I really enjoyed visiting the home and seeing the village because I can understand the culture more and where these kids came from.

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Prep Day

We had a good mix of fun and work today in Kenya! We started the day off snorkeling as a team.  For a lot of people, it was their first time snorkeling, and they really had a great time! We had some experienced people with us, which really helped some people have a good time! 

After snorkeling, we showered and headed off to Bomani, for a special lunch. The cook Ann at the school, made us an amazing lunch that can be compared to none. We were all amazed, especially Caleb, he LOVES the food here! 

We were also able to visit the government school in Bomani.  It was an eye opening experience for many on the team, to say the least. We were able, as a church, to present the school with new desks for their teachers.  Many of these classes have over 100 children in them, and some meet in rooms with concrete floors and nothing else. This is a community that obviously, and deeply loves their children.  Please be praying for their efforts, as they continue to try give hope for these children's futures. 

We then met with our Class 7 friends, to prepare for VBS.  You can pray for us as we have VBS tomorrow in Vipingo, and the following day in Bomani. God is going to do great things. 

Amber: 

Jambo!! This morning our team started off with going on the beach, glass bottom boat riding, and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean! It was such an awesome experience to be swimming out in the ocean and seeing all the different fish just swimming inches away from us and the coral too! We actually got stuck out there for a while on the boat, but it was so beautiful having the time to really just look out to the world and see what God has created all around us After snorkeling we were off to Bomani to be with Class 7 Students today, we were teaching them the bible stories, drama, games, and crafts so they can help us with the little ones tomorrow! I was part of the craft crew and loved having the students explain back to me the meaning of the bracelets we were making. That on one side it shows the love of America and then the other side the love of Kenya and then God uniting us together as one love, <3 so cute. Before we went to Vipingo to teach those Class 7 Students, we had the chance to stop at the government school. It was very sad seeing children behind a gate wanting to come to school, but just the fact that we were there put smiles on their faces. I also loved that even though we weren't in one of our Bomani or Vipingo schools, we all went out to those kids with the love of Jesus and put so many smiles on their faces as well! We jumped right in with, taking photos, videos, and hearing them sing! It's crazy to learn that only half of the students academically will be able to go to high school and only 15% of those kids will be able to afford it. I just loved being able to make a difference in all of their lives and watch them perform. They even had this Chinese jump rope thing they did and I think quite a few of us were amazed at how good they did it, and how we wouldn't be able to be that good. Afterwards, we went to Vipingo and taught Class 7, it was right about the time they were going to be let out of school so we got to be with all the children in the end before we left which was super fun! I learned today that they start school at 6:30 and don't get out until 5:00, that's almost 11 hours! Crazy! Well today was definitely life changing and I loved everything about it, can't wait for tomorrow! 

 

Thank you for following along this God adventure with us, and praying for us along the way! 

 

Ashlyn 

 

Snorkeling in the ocean!        

Snorkeling in the ocean!  

 

 

Prayer of blessing  

Prayer of blessing  

Caleb with his new BFF!  

Caleb with his new BFF!  

They are so happy we are here!  

They are so happy we are here!  

A delicious meal at Bomani!  

A delicious meal at Bomani!  

Community Day : Bomani

Hello from Kenya! We have had a great day with the people, in the village of Bomani.  We are so blessed to be able to be a part of reaching their community, in the name of Jesus. 

Maggie

Jambo! We started off the day at Crossroads Fellowship Church. It was such a great experience to be worshiping with fellow Christians here in Kenya. Pastor Guy gave a great message from the series "Lies We Believe" (it was even better the second time!). The worship in Kenya was amazing! The second service we got to go to youth group with Kenyan youth. It was great to meet youths my age and hear about their lives. Pastor Bill had a great message and we learned some things about him that none of us at Fox River knew before! After church we headed back to the hotel and ate a quick lunch and some of us jumped in the pool! To close the day we headed to Bomani. The kids in Bomani are very different from the children in Vipingo. It took a little while to make some friends. But with time we made some great relationships. I love all the children in Bomani.

 

Abbey W. : 

Today we went Crossroads Fellowship Church in the morning! We drove in seeing a small shack thinking that was the church (still with smiles though) but we continued driving and saw this gorgeous building. I was blown away by how big and beautiful the church was. Running in with excitement, we heard the sound of many voices rehearsing for worship for the service. The auditorium was big and beautiful just like Fox River and it was fun because it reminded us all of home. We met a lot of new friends before and after the service and during the youth group time. I also met some friendly faces from the U.S.. Both the service and youth group time were such an incredible experience and we all loved it! After the service we went back to Neptune and ate our lunch but shortly after went to Bomani. While at Bomani we had the opportunity to play volleyball and hang out with the kids for a while! We saw faces we had seen from church so it was a lot of fun. Over all today was an awesome day and everyday I become more and more grateful for everything thing that I am blessed with.  And my heart is more and more humbled as I encounter the kids. All they need is the love of God to put a smile on their face!  

 

Tomorrow we have a fun day together as a team, and then we are going to both schools to prepare for our VBS days. Thank you for praying with, and for us. 

 

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We made it to the volleyball finals. But we lost. : (  

We made it to the volleyball finals. But we lost. : (  

The volleyball tournament

The volleyball tournament

Loving on some amazing kids!  

Loving on some amazing kids!  

The people of Bomani enjoying the celebration day!&nbsp; 

The people of Bomani enjoying the celebration day!  

Community Outreach: Vipingo

Today we had an incredible opportunity to reach the village of Vipingo.  The staff at Crossroads Academy in Vipingo, have worked tirelessly for months getting everything ready for "The Big Day".  All of their efforts came to fruition today, and we got to be a small part of that. 

As a team we were able to do lots of things to help with community day, today. Some of us played bubbles, painted nails, got our hair braided (OUCH! : ) ), watched futbol, rode camels, served food,  and sat and talked with the kids.  We saw Jesus in each and everyone one of these children, and feel so blessed to be able to be a part of their lives. We made best friends, that I am sure we will remember for the rest of our lives. 

A lot of our team saw God in a really cool and new way in the communities today. 

Caleb

Today started out basically perfect with sleeping until 9:30 then awoke to an amazing breakfast. After breakfast Cam, Jake and I thought it would be fun to take a dip in the pool. The temperature was perfect and the sky was clear with a huge mango tree overshadowing the poolside. From there we sprinted to the shower and the bus all within a 45 minute time span. We made our way to the first school, Vipingo, where there were over 3,000 people waiting for our arrival off the bus. The tournaments had already started with soccer and volleyball. But the non-competitive activities included camel riding, bouncy house, face paint, and a amazing lunch for everyone prepared by our amazing cooks at the school.

The children that came took hold of all of us students almost instantly. They hung on with us all day while playing futbol  (soccer) and bubble blowing and crafts. We did this basically all day long untill the DJ came on and acrobats flew off the stage and trophies were handed out for the winners in the tournaments. As soon as that was over we left for the bus where so many stories and pictures of life changing memories were told. We arrived back at the hotel and ate a beautiful dinner and went to bed. Second day setting us off to a great start in a great place. #GodIsGood #AllTheTime 

Cameron

Hey guys this is Cam and today we went to Vipingo for a celebration where the whole community was invited to visit the school and enjoy food and fellowship. Before we went we had an amazing breakfast and came together as a team. When we got to the school, we all were in awe at how many people where at the school all ready! When I got there kids where immediately grabbing my hands and I couldn't wait to hangout with all the kids I had met on the first day and also meet new people! Throughout the day I painted nails, got my hair braided (which kinda hurt), and taught them American dances, games, and how to blow kisses.

When I look back at my day I am so filled with joy by the people and how much they care about us even though they don't even really know us and when I was at  the school I felt so loved and I was so happy to put smiles on the kids faces at the outreach day. To end the day we all ate dinner as a team and shared some stories from our day. Then we all went to sleep ready for what ever God has in store for us tomorrow.   

Tomorrow we will head off to church, and then to Community Day in Bomani.  Please be praying for the lives that are changed on this day! Also please be praying for the lives touched today in Vipingo, and that God would continue to stir in their souls. 

School Visits

The team has had a great day! It is so exciting to already see God moving in their hearts, and toward their Kenyan brothers and sisters. 

We had a very full day today, filled with visiting both schools in Vipingo and Bomani.  We were greeted right outside our bus, by hundreds of singing children.  Our students have worked so hard, and poured so much into being here, that the emotions were overwhelming. 

We were treated to programs that the students of Bomani and Vipingo, have spent months preparing for us. They had songs, dances, drama skits, choir performances, and Bible stories to share with us.  Getting just a little glimpse into their heart and culture today, was such a blessing to us. 

The students and team were given many opportunites to interact with the students and staff of both schools.  In Vipingo, we got to serve the kiddos their lunch and play with them in the courtyard of their school.  The students did an amazing job jumping right in with the Kenyan students, and showing them the love of Christ. In Bomani, we were given the opportunity to play their favorite game with them, volleyball.  Our team won 1 game, while the Kenya's won 2! The Kenyans take volleyball very seriously, and it was very fun to get to share in that with them! 

Please pray for us tomorrow, as we have Community Outreach Day, in Vipingo.  We are partnering with the staff of Vipingo, to reach over 3,000 people in the name of Jesus. Pray that lives are changed, and our team would continue to glorify God with all that we do! 

Thank you all so much for your support and prayers, we are so thankful for you!