Received a text that the conference is going well, and all the people they have met are amazing!
Please view more info posted here.
We received word Carlos, Bobby, Amber, and Lindsay arrived safely and have headed off to Illmamen. They have no internet service there so information will be brief.
Here is our last update for the blog before we head into an area of no internet service.
Only a week left here in the beautiful country of Kenya. The past couple days have been spent in rest. Everything from washing muddy clothes from brick making to going to local open air markets to bargain our way to some great souvenirs. On Friday we even had time to visit a women's refuge working center. It was a originally a prayer group of about 15 women mainly from Rwanda, and they have now moved onto sewing purses to support themselves. We got to share stories and tea with them, and really had a wonderful time seeing the organization that ALARM is associated with. The three of us have now had time to reflect on the past six weeks and have really been able to see the many ways God has been working through us. Tonight, as many of you know, the new team of Carlos, Bobby, Amber, and Lindsay arrive! We will be heading to the airport around nine to pick up the extremely tired and excited group. This coming week we will not have internet service, so we will have a few things we wish you to pray for us.
Once again sorry for the delayed blog. This past week we have been in Illmamen (with no internet service). We made mud bricks with the Maasai women for a children's literacy center. Let me start by saying making bricks is HARD! I have all the respect in the world for these hard working ladies. We would walk to the mud pit around nine every morning and would not stop until four in the evening. The Lord worked in so many ways, but the most miraculous was the weather. We were a bit nervous about being in hot sun all day. When we pulled in on Monday, the sun was extremely bright and was painful on our sensitive skin. When we woke up on Tuesday ready for work we realized it was cloudy and there was a nice breeze. It was truly a God send. The weather literally stayed perfect until we headed out today. Even the locals were talking about how nice and how rare it was this time of year to have a breeze and shade in that part of Kenya. As soon as we arrived at the mud pit we were put straight to work. Karen and I learned how to carry 20 liters of water on our heads. After one trip to the watering hole we were tired. Then we had the task of stomping on the mud to mix and create the prime soil for the bricks. It might sound simple, but once you sink into mud knee high it's rather hard to pull your leg out again. That was definitely a challenge to do it for hours at a time.
Sorry for the delayed blogs, things have been busy! Today we held a youth leadership conference in a slum region of Kenya about an hour outside of Nairobi. I don't know how to begin to describe the emotions I felt as we experienced the ways of life for the people there. There was trash everywhere, and their sources of shelter consisted of sheets of tin tied to pieces of wood. I feel like those were the lucky ones too. For the first time in my life I was completely speechless. The children immediately ran up to us and repeated the question "hello, how are you?" I am pretty sure they didn't understand the meaning because they didn't wait for a response. In that moment I felt a little guilty for having the lifestyle that I am so privileged to have. I looked down and saw the children's feet were muddy and covered with blisters from walking around barefoot probably their whole life.
It was just a complete culture shock that I was not prepared for. We went into the church to find a good thirty Ngomongo youth waiting on us. So far our trainings have been for youth leaders in the church.
Therefore, when we learned that half of the youth waiting on us were non-Christians we changed up our lessons to fit their needs. I started by discussing a Bible sharing from 1 Timothy. Sam proceeded to talk about Christian discipline and then we finished the day by an economic empowerment session. Overall I feel like our conference was a success.
Today was our last school visit! They have made up some of the best parts of our journey so far, so we made the best of our trip to Tebesonik Secondary School. It had about 180 students and 10 teachers. We were welcomed and had the opportunity to have a tour of their campus. It didn?t take us long to realize that the school lacked funding. It was located in a remote area about an hour outside of central Kericho. Due to those circumstances the school didn?t have running water, a dining hall, or a single computer. It was hard for us to experience the situations that they face from day-to-day. One of those is the students are required to go retrieve water from the river everyday for their water supply. It was such an eye-opener to see how thankful the students were for the little that they had. We took turns sharing our testimonies. Then we proceeded to challenge the students academically and spiritually. At the end of our discussion we had a time of invitation for the students to have a chance to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I was overwhelmed when about half of the students stood and took that step of faith. After a time of fellowship we said our good-byes and left with a word of prayer. It was truly inspiring to see how much faith the students have in God and trust that he will provide for them. I want to pray for these new believers as they start their new life with Christ, and for the schools resources.
Today was a day with the school we love going to so much! This is the first day Carol and Rose, two women who work for ALARM, were with us.
The office heard Laura and I's cry for women and so here they are until Sunday!! First we headed to a Primary School about 20 minutes outside of town. Even as we drove in the car the kids saw our white faces and began to chase after the car as to greet us once we exited the van. Once we appeared laughter spread like wild fire, and those children far away began running towards us. As to not get trampled we immediately headed into the principles office to sign the visitors book. First we were introduced to the entire school, nursery through 8th, giving our names and why we were there. Next, due to a secondary school that we were not expecting to visit, our team split into two.
I am not quite sure where to begin, so I will start with what God has been teaching me. Today we had our first day of our two day seminar with the Youth Leaders in Bomet. Our audience was not the expected youth leaders but mostly church officials’ children educators and some youth leaders. They interpreted youth leaders as officials over the youth not actual leaders within the youth group. As we went on with our lessons we had to adjust our teaching methods to accommodate the older non youth audience. The topic I facilitated was on Christian Leadership and The Role of Youth in the Church. My first session was very interesting because I was teaching Christian leadership to Christian leaders. After I finished my session I began to be convicted by the spirit. I found that I did not even do half the things I was teaching. The leaders we were teaching were telling me of how much they learned and how much they appreciated me coming and challenging them.
Today we have the opportunity to spend time with the youth of Emanuel African Gospel Church. We started the day by having a picnic with about twenty-five youth ranging from ages twelve to twenty. They were so friendly and polite we felt welcomed from the start. We played games, danced, and simply enjoyed having a time of fellowship with each other. When it came to eat, monkeys started popping up everywhere! I was so excited at first because it was my first encounter with a wild monkey. I couldn?t understand why the locals shooed them away. I quickly learned the answer to that when I was alone getting something out of our van. I turned around to find three fairly large monkeys charging for my food! I wasn?t sure what to do because monkeys can tell your gender and are not afraid of girls- for some reason. So my solution was to scream and wait for someone to come help. The youth got a good laugh out of that. While eating we had the chance to discuss the role of the youth in the church. The students were lively and eager to listen. We had so much fun spending time with these precious people. Unfortunately it started to rain on us, so we had to leave around two. Not too long later we met back up at the church to get to spend time with the young professionals. They were having a retreat so we got to spend the rest of the day with about thirty students about our ages. It was so much fun playing games and getting to know them. We ate dinner there and had the opportunity to talk about the future. Once again, the students were friendly and
Today we went to a small village called Awasi to visit the Bondo Youth Group. At first we thought that the Bondo youth group was similar to our youth group but when we got there we realized that it was something totally different. The Bondo youth group is a group of youth (young adult) who work together to support themselves using various income generating projects. There are fifteen members of the group and most of them are newly married and are looking to have home and start a family. They have a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer; they also work with local official to help them with their projects.
Alarm started working with them about two years ago and has been encouraging them and supporting them in their endeavors. They currently have two IGP’s (Income generating Projects). They have a rapidly growing Poultry project which provides their main income.