2017 - Kenya Mission Trip

Fun Day at Bomani

Today was our last day in the centers as we had our fun day with the kids in Bomani. Here are some pictures of today's events.

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Gifts from sponsors

Gifts from sponsors

Parent meeting to hand out solar lamps

Parent meeting to hand out solar lamps

Prayer over our Bomani partners before our final departure.

Prayer over our Bomani partners before our final departure.

We are deeply grateful for the prayer and support from all of you at home. It has been a fruitful and blessed trip. God has used this team to encourage and build the partnership between Fox River and these two communities in Kenya. Tomorrow morning the team will go on safari. This is a great way for each of us to begin processing through all that we have experienced and to begin to turn our thoughts toward home. 

Fun at Vipingo

Our day began today with a 10 year anniversary celebration at Crossroads Academy in Vipingo. The school choir sang for us. They were national champions in this year's music festival and they are amazing!

We had the traditional cake cutting ceremony.

We honored staff that have been at the school for 5 or more years and Pastor John who has served in this community for 30 years.

We took our team picture.

The rest of the morning was dedicated to loads of FUN with our kids! With class 7 as our helpers we set out to make sure every class had a Bible story, a craft and a fun outside activity. 

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Class 8 had a special morning planned with our MANNA Worldwide folks that traveled with our team. 

A special treat

A special treat

Boys discussion

Boys discussion

Girls discussion

Girls discussion

And some special fun!

And some special fun!

We always enjoy the delicious lunches we eat at the centers.

After lunch we had the privilege to give out gifts the sponsors sent with us for their children.

In the afternoon we walked into the village with our class 7 helpers to see where they live and to meet their family. We took a small gift for them and prayed with the family before we left.

It was hard saying good bye to our friends, old and new, in Vipingo. Tomorrow is our last day in Bomani and our last day serving in the centers. The team has served well and has been a joy to walk beside on this journey. Please pray for continued safety and good health as we finish strong tomorrow. Thank you!

Thank you for your prayer and support!!

Thank you for your prayer and support!!

Grade 7 & Special Needs School

Monkeys enjoying their breakfast which they got from the dining hall!

Monkeys enjoying their breakfast which they got from the dining hall!

Today was our leadership day with grade 7. On our last day in each school we will have loads of fun with our kids with grade 7 being our helpers. We divide into teams to prepare a Bible story, craft and an outside activity for 3 different grade levels. We will have 3-4 helpers from grade 7 in each group. This is the day we get to know them and teach them the activity we have planned. Our goal is to pour into them as they are about to be the oldest students in the school. 

BOMANI:

One of our boys was given some money to purchase something for the children in Kenya. He decided to bring them something that is very popular in America: a fidget spinner. The kids learned about the physics behind the spinners and what they are used for. He had the opportunity to give them to all 6 - 8 grade students. They loved it!

VIPINGO:

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We had some open time around lunch and the team just dove right in!

Games

Games

Dishes

Dishes

Serving food

Serving food

In the afternoon we visit the special needs school where Hanzi lives. Hanzi was in our school for many years as we prayed for direction to find a path for helping him. God lead us to this wonderful school with 800 special needs children and adults. Hanzi is fourishing!

Hanzi

Hanzi

Buying jewelry made by Hanzi and his classmates.

Buying jewelry made by Hanzi and his classmates.

Hanzi's teacher talking with a team member.

Hanzi's teacher talking with a team member.

Hanzi's row in their vegetable garden.

Hanzi's row in their vegetable garden.

Hanzi's room. Twenty children and two adults.

Hanzi's room. Twenty children and two adults.

A special friend of Barbara and Glenn.

A special friend of Barbara and Glenn.

We had an early end of the day today. Please pray for the team as they have two long days ahead of them before safari. Pray for continued health and safety. We are looking forward to having a fun and final day in Vipingo tomorrow.

Crossroads Fellowship & Bomani Outreach

Today we attended Sunday services at our sister church in Mombasa, Crossroads Fellowship. We always enjoy the time to worship and learn with our brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the planet.

Recognize those greeters?

Recognize those greeters?

One of our group members was able to join the worship team for this weekend.

One of our group members was able to join the worship team for this weekend.

Worship is always a special experience.

Worship is always a special experience.

From church we went back to the hotel to have a quick lunch, put on our team shirt and head to Bomani for our outreach afternoon in that community. Because Bomani is a smaller community we usually expect about 1000 people. We have all the fun events as yesterday: camel rides, face painting, bounce house and the main stage fun and artists. The only difference is the sporting events. The main sporting attraction in Bomani on this day is a volleyball tournament in which Fox River fields a team. This year's team won in the first round which is progress for us! We ran out of daylight before we could play the championship game, but our team admitted that the opposition was far better so it might have been a good thing. :)

Green team shirts on both sides? Yes, we were playing our partners in Bomani during this game.

Green team shirts on both sides? Yes, we were playing our partners in Bomani during this game.

The high school students that graduated from Bomani enjoy being able to come home for the fun day in the center. Guy and I had the joy of meeting with them for a bit before they returned to their school. What a blessing they are!

The high school students that graduated from Bomani enjoy being able to come home for the fun day in the center. Guy and I had the joy of meeting with them for a bit before they returned to their school. What a blessing they are!

On this 10th anniversary, we honored our staff at the school and especially those who have been at the school for 5 and 10 years. They are a very special group!

On this 10th anniversary, we honored our staff at the school and especially those who have been at the school for 5 and 10 years. They are a very special group!

A view of the crowd around the stage.

A view of the crowd around the stage.

More people enjoying the entertainment.

More people enjoying the entertainment.

Guy gave a brief history of the ministry and then presented the gospel. Many responded that they were receiving Christ for the first time today. What a joy!! After that, he explained the gift for each family. Instead of feeding the community at the event, we decided a few years ago to distribute food because of the great need in this area. Each family received some basic staples as they were leaving for the evening.

One section of the many bags of food to be distributed.

One section of the many bags of food to be distributed.

The mammas lined up and waiting.

The mammas lined up and waiting.

They were happy and grateful.

They were happy and grateful.

Every other night we finish our day with a team meeting to prepare for the following days, share what we are experiencing and pray together. 

Every other night we finish our day with a team meeting to prepare for the following days, share what we are experiencing and pray together. 

It was another good day and a great weekend. Tomorrow we meet with our class 7 helpers who will assist us when we have our final fun days with our kids in the schools. Afterward we will visit one of our kids who is in a special needs school.

As we move into our final days here, please continue to pray for safety and health. One of our group is a diabetic and had a rough day today. The group is tired which is normal after the big weekend. Tomorrow should be a light day to recover a bit before the last 2 really busy days in the schools. This group has been a wonderful representative of God and Fox River. They are hard workers and have invested themselves in the work God called them to do in these communities. 

Thank you for your prayer and support!

Vipingo Big Day

Saturday was our annual Big Day at Vipingo. We often refer to this day like bringing Disney Land to Kenya. We invite all the surrounding community and have about 5,000 people attend. Some of the fun activities include:

Soccer tournament. Competitive teams play in qualifying rounds for a month to achieve a spot in this day's tournament. The play is high level and fun to watch.

Soccer tournament. Competitive teams play in qualifying rounds for a month to achieve a spot in this day's tournament. The play is high level and fun to watch.

A competitive volleyball tournament.

A competitive volleyball tournament.

A school choir competition. They are so good!

A school choir competition. They are so good!

Face painting.

Face painting.

A bounce house

A bounce house

Camel rides

Camel rides

Acrobats

Acrobats

And lots of activities with the kids by the team.

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Everyone was served a delicious Kenyan meal.

Mounds of food served on platters that will feed several children at once. Feeding 5000 is a LOT of food!

Mounds of food served on platters that will feed several children at once. Feeding 5000 is a LOT of food!

And mounds of dishes!!

And mounds of dishes!!

The main stage provides great entertainment with games and nationally known artists.

A view of the crowd

A view of the crowd

O'Neal (green shirt) is the organizer of the main stage events. He takes care of everything from arranging, setting up and running the stage and sound to lining up and caring for the talent who come to perform. We are so grateful for all he does for this event!

O'Neal (green shirt) is the organizer of the main stage events. He takes care of everything from arranging, setting up and running the stage and sound to lining up and caring for the talent who come to perform. We are so grateful for all he does for this event!

Guy had the opportunity to speak to the crowd and give the gospel with O'Neal translating. Just before the last performer and gospel presentation, the amplifier caught on fire resulting in the loss of sound. With some quick thinking, the team was able to find a replacement quickly so they could proceed. After Guy spoke and prayed with the crowd, many raised their hands professing Christ as their savior. We are grateful that the devil didn't win that round!

In closing, the awards were presented.

As darkness began to ascend the team departed tired, but filled with all that God had accomplished today. Thank you for your prayer and support for us on this journey. We are so grateful to be a part of all that God is doing here!

Tomorrow/Sunday we will be at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Mombasa in the morning. Our missionary, Jim Horne, is the pastor. It is much like Fox River and always a joy to be there. After a quick lunch we will head to Bomani for a smaller scale celebration like today. Bomani is a much smaller community and we expect a crowd of about 1000. Please pray that God will go before us to prepare the hearts of those who will hear the gospel in Bomani.

Haller Park

On Friday afternoon we took the grade 8 class from both schools to Haller Park - their zoo. Most of the students have never been to the park so it was quite a treat! The students and team members were set in groups to get to know each other a bit better and everyone greatly enjoyed the time. Here are some of the highlights.

We began with a guided tour. It was very educational.

We began with a guided tour. It was very educational.

Giant tortoise!

Giant tortoise!

Feeding the giraffe was great fun!

Feeding the giraffe was great fun!

Up close and personal when they fed the hippos. Take a look at that tusk!

Up close and personal when they fed the hippos. Take a look at that tusk!

Budding photographers getting some instruction.

Budding photographers getting some instruction.

Crocodiles vie for a spot to try to capture the meat.

Crocodiles vie for a spot to try to capture the meat.

Will this one be the victor?

Will this one be the victor?

At the end of grade 8, every student takes a national exam called the KCPE. So much of their future depends on how they do on that exam (if they can go to high school and what level of high school they can attend) that there is a lot of pressure. This day together at Haller Park is a great break for them as we pour into this generation of young people. What a joy!

Intro to Bomani & Government School

Day 2 began with our first visit to New Life Academy in Bomani. This school is right in the middle of a tribal village. As we enter the compound, the children are singing a "Welcome Fox River" song. They usher us into the church building and bless us with songs, poems and Bible verses from each of the 12 classes (baby class through grade 8). 

The entire school waiting for us to arrive.

The entire school waiting for us to arrive.

A recitation about the history of the school

A recitation about the history of the school

The baby class (3 year olds) singing for us.

The baby class (3 year olds) singing for us.

Class 7 during their recitation.

Class 7 during their recitation.

The Adult Literacy Class joined us to sing a traditional song.

The Adult Literacy Class joined us to sing a traditional song.

We gave out team shirts to all the staff to signify the partnership between Fox River and the school.

We gave out team shirts to all the staff to signify the partnership between Fox River and the school.

Pastor Allan shared the story of how God made a way for the center to be in Bomani.

Pastor Allan shared the story of how God made a way for the center to be in Bomani.

Then it was time to leave our school to visit the government school just down the road. Over the years we have built a good relationship with this school. We appreciate how hard they work for the best opportunities for their children. Here are a few things we learned:

  • The government supplies teachers and a few supplies to the schools, but does not provide buildings, books, desks, teaching materials or other school supplies. The community must raise the funds for these things.
  • There are 1200 students in the school with class sizes around 80 student per class.

The children had a few presentations for us and then, as we do each year, we presented the school with a gift of desks for one classroom. 

The assembly of younger students.

The assembly of younger students.

Our team sitting outside one of the classroom buildings during the assembly.

Our team sitting outside one of the classroom buildings during the assembly.

One of the upper primary classes.

One of the upper primary classes.

It was time to return to our school and the team jumped right in!

Making Chapati

Making Chapati

Stirring rice in the HUGE cookers!

Stirring rice in the HUGE cookers!

Cleaning up in the kitchen

Cleaning up in the kitchen

Serving food

Serving food

Doing mounds and mounds of dishes!

Doing mounds and mounds of dishes!

After a delicious lunch and a tour of the facilities, we enjoyed some time getting to know our partners at New Life Academy.

On Sunday afternoon at the big outreach day in Bomani, we will enter a team in the volleyball tournament. We got a little practice in this afternoon before we had to say good bye to all of our new friends. We ended the day with a team meeting and a walk down the beach for ice cream. 

It was a full and wonderful day jump starting relationships that will cross an ocean and last a life time. The team is healthy and doing well. 

Tomorrow we head back to Vipingo to build a mud hut for the family in the community and before we leave in the afternoon, we will meet with the parents of the upper primary students. At that time we will present the gifts of the solar lamps that Fox River and many sponsors donated so the students can study after dark (6:30pm every night) without having to breathe in the fumes from burning lamps.

Thank you for your love, prayer and support!

Arrival Day - Intro to Vipingo

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The team arrived safe and sound at 4am on Tuesday morning with all bags in tow. After taking the morning to sleep and settle in, we had a brief orientation and lunch before heading to Vipingo to meet our partners and sponsored children. 

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They greated us with songs and a dramatized news show that detailed the ten year history of our partnership.

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They gave us gifts of traditional dress and a winnowing basket.  

They gave us gifts of traditional dress and a winnowing basket.  

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Pastor Guy challenged us to be great by serving.  

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Missionary Jim Horne lead us on a tour of the facility and told the story of how God began this ministry in Vipingo.  

We finished up our time getting to know our staff partners with a game and an opportunity to hear about what these amazing servants of God do at the school.  

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Tonight the team will sleep well. Tomorrow we travel to Bomani to meet our partners and sponsored kids there. Thank you for praying for us!  

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Arrival Day for Early 8

Early on Saturday morning, the first small group of 8 from the Kenya team arrived in Kenya with gratitude for uneventful flights. After a few hours of sleep we had the afternoon hours to reconnect with some very special ministries that touch ours.

LIFE SPRING RESCUE CENTER

The rescue center in Vipingo takes in children who have been abandoned or rescued from unsafe situations. This center was born out of the heart of our Medical Missions Director to care for these children. That desire brought together several organizations to make this important ministry become a reality. To date, 26 children have been rescued with 14 currently placed in this wonderful home.

SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL

Many years ago a Fox River Kenya team member saw a boy with Downs Syndrome wandering the streets of Vipingo and asked if we could help him. He attended the school for several years before we knew we had to find a place that was designed to care for him. God lead us to just the right place and in February of 2016 we were able to get him in the school. When we visit him, we also visit some of the 800 children in the special needs school. This school is an amazing ministry with some incredible kids!

It was early night for the 8 weary travelers. Tomorrow we will represent Fox River in 3 different churches connected with our ministries. Guy will be speaking at our sister church, Crossroads Fellowship. Team members will be in Vipingo and Pastor Allan's church in Majioni. 

Thank you for praying for us and for the rest of the team that will be departing on Sunday to join us!