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



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.

Intro Days

(We’re having problems uploading photos to the blog at the moment. Sorry about that! This post will be text only for now, and we hope to add photos later. You can also watch Fox River Missions on Facebook for lots of photos!)

What a busy and fun couple of days!

Yesterday and today were all about introductions and building relationships. We had two similar days back to back, so this post will cover both days.

On Monday, we arrived at Crossroads Academy in Vipingo around 9am and were greeted by the whole school singing “Karibu Kenya” which means “Welcome to Kenya”.

Whenever we first come to one of our schools, we are treated to performances by the students and today was no exception. The school choir, which is preparing to compete in a national choir competition next month, presented some songs, and another group of kids presented a short drama. We were then introduced and welcomed by the Crossroads staff. Each of the staff personally presented us with a welcome gift of traditional Kenyan clothing items. Their generosity and hospitality is incredible.

After the presentations, Jenna Nyanje, our school administrator, and Pastor Jim Horne, our missionary partner, gave us a tour of the school grounds which included the church and feeeding center, the classrooms, staff administration area, Bible college, and Life Spring Rescue Center.

Our next stop was a tour inside Life Spring Rescue Center. Beginning four years ago, Life Spring takes in kids who have been abandoned or harmed and fosters them for a period of time, with the ultimate goal of reuniting with their families when that is possible and in the best interests of the child. When it opened, it was home for three kids. Today, we care for 17 kids, age five and younger. It’s truly amazing to see God at work in the lives of these most vulnerable kids.

The team then helped serve lunch to the primary school kids, and ate lunch with the teachers after the kids were finished. Rice and beans never tasted so good! We also had a little time to just connect and play with the school kids before and after lunch. Our team members jumped right in and played with those kiddos!

After lunch, we packed gift bags for the kids and presented them on behalf of the sponsors to each class. The gift bags included a bottle of cooking oil, bag of flour, package of salt, package of soap, box of cookies (or as they say “biscuits” because British English), a water bottle, a note pad and a multi-color pen (those clicker things that were big in the 90s - still popular here). The kids were thrilled - especially about the pen and cookies. These gifts were purchased using money given by sponsors specifically for special gifts, so ASANTE SANA (thank you very much).

After distributing the gift bags, we had time for team building with the school staff: teachers, maintenance staff, kitchen staff, and anyone else who works to help educate our kids. We played some Minute to Win It games, got to know our Kenyan partners, and generally had a lot of fun.

After the games, we got into groups - one American team member with 2-3 school staff - to get to know one another better. We walked through the school grounds, hearing about the staff members’ work, seeing their classrooms, hearing about their challenges, and exchanging prayer needs. It was a very effective way to build relationship in the short time we had remaining.

Today, we followed the same basic structure as we did at Crossroads Academy in Vipingo, but this time at New Life Academy in Bomani, and with a few twists.

Instead of beginning the day at our school, we first stopped at Kireme Primary School, the local public school in Bomani. This school is where our kids would be, were it not for the sacrificial giving that makes New Life Academy possible. Kireme does a great job with what they have, but what they have is a lot of kids. 1800 kids, to put it in the ballpark, from Pre-primary 1 (think pre-K) to 8th grade. Every year we offer the public school a gift to help them out, and most years it has been desks, since otherwise kids sit on a dirt floor. This year was no exception, and they were very grateful to receive the desks.

After leaving Kireme public school, we headed to New Life Academy in Bomani and received an excited and warm (if not rainy) welcome as we did on Monday. Each class presented a song, drama, or memory verse and welcomed us to the school. A group of students also demonstrated traditional Kenyan dance. It was so impressive!

As with Crossroads (Vipingo), at New Life (Bomani), we helped serve the kids lunch. The staff prepared an incredible buffet for us: rice, chapati (delicious flat bread), chicken, stewed beef, beans, cooked cabbage, mahamri (triangle donut), bananas, watermelon, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. It was absolutely delicious. Again, they don’t have to do this. They do this because they are generous, hospitable people who love and appreciate us.

After lunch, we again played games and formed groups to get to know the staff at this school, as we did yesterday at the other school. Getting to know the staff and pray with them is such an essential part of the work we do here; it cannot be overstated how crucial and impactful this is.

We ended the day with some time to play with the kids. Some of us got to visit old friends from previous trips. Some of us made new friends. All of us traveled back to the hotel smiling and blessed.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and please keep praying for us and for the people we serve here!

Smoothest. Travel. Ever.

The 2019 Kenya Missions Team has arrived! Almost a full 24 hours after we met in Waukesha, we landed in Mombasa. We left our second plane perhaps a little sleepy, perhaps a little stiff and creaky, but overall doing very well. The travel could not have gone more smoothly -- praise God!

Beautiful views on our short flight from Ethiopia to Mombasa, Kenya

Beautiful views on our short flight from Ethiopia to Mombasa, Kenya

More good news to report: all of our luggage made the journey, seemingly as smoothly as we did. The twelve of us who landed today made it through immigration and customs without incident and were greeted by Denise, who traveled ahead of us by a few days, and by our partners in Kenya, Jenna & O'Neal Nyanje.

We made it thru customs!

We made it thru customs!

Getting on the bus

Getting on the bus

After loading up our bus with our luggage, we made the journey to our hotel and began to settle in. It's important to stay awake until evening upon arrival, lest the adjustment to the new time zone drag on longer than it should. Denise will be diligent in keeping us awake (if not alert) with activities to help us acclamate to our new environment and prepare for the next two weeks. We just finished our orientation meeting and will soon be sorting supplies, preparing activities for the school kids, and later going shopping for any essentials.

Orientation meeting at the hotel

Orientation meeting at the hotel

Sorting supplies in Denise’s room

Sorting supplies in Denise’s room

The next two days will be our first visit to each of our two schools, meeting the kids and staff, and building the relationships that will serve as the foundation of everything we do here these two weeks. Tomorrow will be spent at Crossroads Academy in Vipingo and Tueaday we'll be at New Life Academy in Bomani.

Be sure to watch the blog and the Facebook Page for updates on what we are - and more importantly what God is up to in Kenya!

One More Flight

We've arrived safely in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! One flight down, one to go!

The last blog post said that we'd arrive in Kenya around midnight Milwaukee time -- this was a mistake. (Chalk it up to an early morning with little sleep!) We actually landed in Ethiopia around 7am local time / 11pm Mikwaukee time. We now have a short layover and then a 2.5-hour flight to Mombasa, Kenya.

The flight from Chicago to Ethiopia was fairly uneventful. Seemed like most of the team was able to get at least a little shut eye.

If all goes according to plan, we will land in Mombasa at 11:30am Kenya time / 3:30am Milwaukee time. At that point, we'll have 12 people going thru customs, which can be an adventure. We'll then have some activities to get settled in and keep us awake until evening as napping just makes the time adjustment worse.

Please pray with us that our second flight and entry into Kenya is as easy as the start of our journey has been!

And away we go!

The travel to Kenya has officially begun!

The team met at the Fox River Waukesha Campus at 4am (Wisconsin time) to get our bags all set and packed up into a trailer for transport to Chicago O’Hare airport.

After spending some time going over final logistics and most importantly spending time in prayer, we loaded up into two vehicles on got on the road!

The first leg of our trip is a 14-hour flight from Chicago to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We then have a short layover, followed by a 2.5 hour flight to Mombasa, Kenya. We should arrive just around midnight tonight Wisconsin time, which will be about 8am Sunday morning Kenya time.


We are currently through security and have a couple hours until we board. Wheels up at 9:30am! Please pray that we have smooth, easy travels.

Keep watching this blog and follow Fox River Missions on Facebook to see additional posts, photos, and maybe even a live broadcast!

Stay tuned and keep praying!

2019 Kenya Team is Commissioned

Last weekend, the 2019 Kenya Team was commissioned to travel to Kenya, Africa to continue to grow the partnership between Fox River and our mission works in Bomani and Vipingo.



  • Sat., July 13: Depart early morning

  • Sun., July 14: Arrival, orientation, prep for the week

  • Mon., July 15: Crossroads Academy, Vipingo

  • Tues., July 16: New Life Academy, Bomani

  • Wed., July 17: Valerye McMillan High School

  • Thurs., July 18: Field trip - grade 8

  • Fri., July 19: Build mud hut for needy family

  • Sat., July 20: Community Outreach, Vipingo

  • Sun., July 21: Community Outreach, Bomani

  • Mon., July 22: Fun day with our kids at Crossroads Academy

  • Tues., July 23: Fun day with our kids at New Life Academy

  • Wed., July 24: Safari

  • Thurs., July 25: Packing & closing meeting

  • Fri., July 26: Departure

  • Sat., July 27: Early am arrival in America


Would you please pray for the team as they travel and minister to our 850 sponsored students, 80+ staff members and thousands of people from each of these communities?

Home is where the heart is

We made it home… but, not without some bumps and baggage checks.

We got a late start and flew out of Managua around 1pm on Tuesday after saying one last goodbye to one of our fantastic translators and friend.


First things first… Security in Managua. All you need to know about this stop is that it’s really important to make sure certain sharp items are in your checked luggage and not your carry on. That was check number one for the day. After getting to our gate we hear… “Stephen Nennig please come to the desk at gate 7.” Bag check number 2… this one was because they found a can of bug spray that they didn’t like. Boarding time… we were in the clear, or so we thought… bag check number three. Pastor Rob got pulled to the side as we were getting on the plane for a quick check. But, that’s not the last check for Pastor Rob… he gets to have another going back through security in Miami. One word for you… COFFEE! After they made sure his coffee was indeed just coffee he was on his way. 4 bag checks later we were on our way to Chicago… or so we thought!

As we were nearing Chicago so was some nasty weather. We were diverted to come in from the north instead of the south. That was diversion one, they kept pushing us further north… then we were running low on fuel. So, guess what… we got to land in MKE to refuel to then fly to Chicago. As we were sitting in MKE I told our guys (who had to work today) to go ahead and get off and go home and I would fly into Chicago to collect our bags. Stephen and Pastor Rob hopped off and headed home from Milwaukee and Kerri and I flew on to Chicago. We should have landed in Chicago at 10:53pm and didn’t end up landing until 1:30am. Then the wait for our bags took almost an hour. We finally got all our luggage and got to our ride (which had been waiting for us since 11:30pm) and headed back towards Waukesha. We made it home around 4am!

Travel complete!

Travel may have been bumpy, but that didn’t stop us from reflecting on our trip and the time we got to spend with some of our favorite people!

I asked the team to share something about the trip…

“I was standing in church Sunday night ready to record as Kerri joined Norvin in leading worship (these two sing great together!!). My heart was so overwhelmed listening to the voices in the room. Kerri and Norvin can sing, but man the voices that filled this space brought me to tears. It never ceases to amaze me when standing in a room full of people that I don’t speak the same language with that in these moments, the worship that fills the room is completely understood! This is home! This place reminds me of how BIG our Creator is!” ~Abbey

“Together we go further than we could ever go alone.  I saw that in action over and over again this past week.  I can’t speak Spanish so my communication and ministry in Nicaragua was very limited but I was able to support, encourage, and pray for those who faithfully share God’s Word and God’s love day in and day out.  That is what Fox River does as we invest in missions.  Building and financially supporting the medical clinic in La Esmeralda, Nicaragua allows the church to flourish and the Gospel of Christ to be spread further than we will fully know.  Together, we are making a difference.” ~Rob

“For me it is always hard to choose just one moment or one memory because I am in another home. The moments that stick out the most to me are when we are sitting eating together. I wish I could explain what it was like the first night when we were all together again..it was like no time had passed (even though it had been years for some). The language doesn’t matter, all of the barriers that seem like they will keep you from getting to know each other just melts away and you become a family. On the last night we just sat together and played games and I looked around and just sat in awe of how God continues to bring our family closer with each team. Even the girls who are normally really shy and sit only with the same group had spread out and we got to build some of those relationships. I miss my family already. Something they all said in different moments was this “we know that even when you can’t be here physically we are in your hearts. We know you are praying for us and loving us from afar and that is what gives us the strength to go on.” This couldn’t be more true. I miss my family...but I know they are with me and I am with them no matter where I go.“ ~Kerri

“I continue to be reminded of the power in submission to Jesus by my trips to Nicaragua and the people of La Esmeralda. When they are ‘in’, they’re IN!

A Gospel message shared in every service is followed up, one-on-one, with those who respond. This is the beginning of several weeks of discipleship, similar to a focused Starting Point class. At the end, the new believer is asked again, now that they have the big picture of God’s Word and what it means to be a believer, do you believe and accept Jesus as your Savior. A ‘yes’ is celebrated (!!!) and means you are a part of the church, given a place to serve, and honored to do so. In obedience they also, both, go out into the community blessing people home by home, and organize events they draw many people from the surrounding communities to them. In everything, Christ is the focus, the reason, and the passion!

I was able to say a few words on Saturday night, their youth night. I tried to make a message come together that would impact the youth, motivate them to take a step forward in their faith, and inspire them to believe their next step would change lives! But that message wouldn’t and couldn’t come together. God left me with nothing but my own story: my current struggles in following Jesus and how God’s working in it. It was frustrating and was feeling like a ‘3000 miles away from home’ waste of time (<- pride). I wanted to turn the spot over to someone else, but instead I submitted. I later heard there were teens in attendance struggling with the same heart issues that I was and am.

The truth is we have no idea the ways God will work through our obedience until we are! Life seems simpler in La Esmeralda, but simpler certainly doesn’t, by any means, equal easier, so I won’t attribute their faith to that. It isn’t their circumstances, but their attitude: they’re all-in. I can only imagine what works we could accomplish for God’s Kingdom if we were as dependent on Jesus as they are - if we stopped looking to... anything else.. for our fulfillment. After all, Peter only began to sink through the waves when his heart clung to the boat more than it did to Jesus.

This is only my second time to Nicaragua, but I’m beginning to understand (only beginning to understand) the heart of a missionary. The church in Nicaragua, or in Kenya for that matter, cannot be viewed as another campus of our multi-site church. But visiting is much like visiting a Fox River campus other than your home-campus. It still feels like the same home you are in week after week. You see people you love that you don’t see on the same regular basis. It may have been weeks, months, or years, but when you are together again it’s like no time has passed at all. You are excited to hear how God is working in the life and their campus - the same God in both places working simultaneously for our good and His glory. Different small groups, different serve teams, different pastors, different meeting spaces, different services, environments, and cultures. But, “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” Ephesians 4:4-6.

That’s missions.” ~Stephen


We love the time we get to spend with our family in Nicaragua!

I would like to give a quick shout out to our fantastic translators! Thank you for giving us your time and love this past week! Until next time!

Thanks for following along this week! We appreciate each of you who have prayed and continue to pray for the ministries Fox River Missions is a part of!

Until next tIme

“The last year in Nicaragua has been difficult.”  Those are the words that we have heard many times on this trip, From an outside observer, you wouldn’t be able to tell it as our Nicaraguan friends have trusted God throughout the hardships and have seen Him grow their faith in the midst of it.  We were able to see firsthand, the great partnership that the clinic staff have with the nearby health department.  We also had the privilege of meeting a mother and daughter who both recently received Christ while visiting the clinic.  It is awesome to see God meet both the physical needs and the spiritual needs at the same time.  There are great things taking place in Nicaragua.  You know how amazing it is when you go to a place with the intention of encouraging someone else and you end up being encouraged just as much if not more than they are?  Well, that is what has happened.  Don’t get me wrong, the Nicaraguans need our encouragement and prayers, but seeing their love for God and hearing how He sustains them is exciting.  


It is always difficult to say goodbye but that is what we had to do today.  Even with the language barriers, working side by side with our friends creates a strong connection.  Knowing that we serve the same God just in different parts of the world  fuels that connection.  We are grateful for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Nicaragua.


Sunday Funday!

Sunday funday!! Today we started with breakfast and headed off to church.

Our missionary partner with us this week, Wade Cooperrider gave the message at service this morning.

We were able to see the new children’s facility in action! Oh what a joy it is to see it full of little faces that represent the next generation! So much hope and life in this space! We cannot wait to share more with you through stories from the team here.


After church we sat down with Pastor Denis and Karen to capture their story and let them share what God is doing here in La Esmeralda! God has provided us with perfect moments to bring home to share with you!


This afternoon we had a soccer tournament (the Fox River team opted to be the cheering squad instead of being on the field). It is so awesome to watch the youth engage in something they love in an environment full of Jesus! You guys God has BIG plans for this ministry!!


Tonight Pastor Rob is teaching at service and Kerri will be singing with Norvin. After dinner we plan to play Wii with the church staff (this will be the first time for many of them)!

Tonight is our last night here in La Esmeralda. Will you pray for the goodbyes that come tomorrow? This place makes sure we feel at home while we are here and it just gets harder and harder to leave. Pray for our hearts as well as the community here.


It was another beautiful day in “The Emerald”! The weather has been considerably ‘cold’, for the region, and the rain has been minimal. As I type, the men are preparing a bonfire... to cook s’mores... but most of us are excited for the warmth, too! 

This morning, our team and the Nicas split into two groups. We went walking through the communities doing visitations. Visitations, as the church calls them, are our chance to put a touch of love on the individual families in La Esmeralda. It consists of 2-3 of us asking permission to come up to a home, hand the residents a hygiene pack, and, if they will allow, praying for them. 

The hygiene pack, which is just a bag of basic supplies, does allow us to shows Christ’s love in a tangible way, but the beautiful thing is the Gospel being shared! The Nicaraguans that are with us have Gospel tracks prepared with Bible verses, local ministries, and an invitation for Salvation! It was wonderful watching their joy for sharing Jesus with their neighbors! About 70 packs were handed out today and many people heard about Jesus and were prayed for! 


After a short break, we were invited to Pastor Denis and Karen’s coffee farm. We got to hear a little of how the farm runs, like how the banana trees will provide shade for the coffee plants and when beans are ready to pick. 


Fox River, this farm is immensely important to the church and the people here! 


With all the trouble over the last year, the sustainability of the ministries in this community came into question. It was a sinking feeling for them, wondering whether they would even be able to receive our support, then or in the future. 

We will continue to support them in every way we can!! 

But, having this field of coffee plants helps to ensure their ability to survive on their own. It’s something they never expected to have and know only God could have made it happen! 

Thank you for being obedient to God’s calling, Fox River!