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Archive for the ‘Kenya Africa’ Category

We loaded up the vans and were on our way. Our day started very early, and me without coffee, and with the fear of motion sickness, took a Dramamine, and I fell asleep quickly enough.

My mind traveled back over a conversation that I had with my husband, expressing my fear of going on an African safari and the images I had of a lion jumping into our safari van. But I reasoned within myself that the driver, having done this so many times, knew what he was doing and we would be safe.

The long drive started from the little village of Kitengela, through the city of Nairobi, then through the beautiful, picturesque mountains, and finally onto the wildlife park where we would go on our Safari.

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We were divided up into three vans and our van held my church family and dear friends. I sat in the third row back, directly behind my dear friend Rhonda—who sat directly behind the driver—and beside me was my bestie Paula. Four of our youth girls sat behind me on the last row.

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The hotel had packed us each a sack lunch and to the best of my memory this is what I remember being in it; a sandwich, a boiled egg, chips, a slice of pound cake (which is the first dessert that we had been served other than fruit) and a juice box.

We were hours on the road, and between my napping and our stopping for breaks, I ate my lunch—every last morsel of it—and I might add, pretty much begged everyone else for their cake. Some of the others ate their lunch also, some saved some of their lunch, some saved all of it. It was totally up to us, however we would not eat dinner until late in the evening. I was so much an Esau, I could not wait.

The safari turned out to be pretty incredible, beautiful in all the sights! The animals in their natural habitat were strikingly beautiful, surrounded by the breath taking scenery with the contrast of the most vibrant, beautiful colors I had ever seen. The mountains, lakes and the trees were gorgeous and different from what we have here in the US. A truly remarkable trip and I am glad that I was able to experience this safari.

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Our last stop before leaving the park was at the top a mountain, overlooking a lot of the land we had just covered. By this time, we were all exhausted and extremely hungry. The rest stop was loaded with baboons. They were everywhere and we were warned not to mess with them or to try and touch them in any way, as they could be very dangerous.

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This is my memory of this account:

We pulled into the rest stop, I was quiet and my head was leaning against the van window, taking in the surrounding view. I happen to notice a very large baboon just moseying along toward our van as we slowly pulled in. As the van came to a stop the driver and the person in the left front got out of the van. The driver walked around to the left side of the van and opened the door—which was our only way out– and the person on the far left of Rhonda got out.

The person sitting right next to Rhonda jumped out quickly as the next few minutes turned into mass confusion and sheer terror.

I saw him coming! I was actually horrified to see my greatest fear come to life as this huge baboon, with big, pointy, yellow teeth grabbed the top of the van with one long arm and swiftly swung himself up and into the van, planting himself right next to Rhonda, leaning into her.

She was trapped, and so were the rest of us as he blocked the only way out of the van.

Rhonda’s head dropped down, her chin tucked tightly into her chest. She tucked her elbows and arms into her body . . . . and she froze.

She did not move a muscle. She was hunkered down.

The next few minutes turned into a hullabaloo and it felt like a    s l o w   motion horror film. There was so much going on, screaming, yelling, screaming, the flashing of cameras, screaming and yes, more screaming.

The baboon was not paying attention to us, but was busy going through our lunch sacks. From the outside of the van, you could not see Rhonda at all over the baboon that was sitting next to her. He was HUGE!

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The driver was at the door yelling at the baboon, and finally decided that since he was blocking the baboons way out went to the other side of the van and started yelling and beating on the window.

Finally, grabbing as many lunch sacks as he could, the baboon left the van and went to explore his treasured find.

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We were left shaken and hysterical but the laughter came as relief set in and we regained our since of safety. We could see people standing at the door of the van—our friends—laughing and taking pictures of our misfortune.

 

 

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When we finally loaded back up in the van and started out of the park, we could see our new found friend sitting off to himself, still going through the sacks and trying to figure out the juice box. Yes, he knew exactly what he was doing and I am pretty certain that this was not his first rodeo.

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Rhonda has been a great sport and continues to be as this has become one of my favorite stories to tell. The children that I teach often ask me to tell them the “baboon story”, and I take great delight in telling it. Poor Rhonda has had to relive this experience over and over as I tell it . . . .

Again and again.

Thank you Rhonda!

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Thank you to all my sweet friends who provided pictures for this story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O Lord, You preserve man and beast.            Psalm 36:6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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African Safari

In the summer of 2011 I made the long journey to Kenya Africa on a mission trip. Our team worked at a children’s home outside of Nairobi. 

We did, however, take a day during that time to go on an African safari. Here are a few pictures taken from that safari. The pictures were taken by a few different people that so sweetly allowed me to use their pictures.   

The vans open up on the top so we could stand up to take pictures.Image

 

After a few hours on the road we finally made it to the safari park and this was the first rest stop.

The water coming out of the waterfall looked like mud. ImageImage

 

I love how you can see the roots of this tree growing down the mountain.  Image  

Another stop was this beautiful lake abounding with birds of all sorts. An absolutely amazing sight!

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There were so many different kinds of deer.

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Monkeys and Baboons were everywhere along this trip.

 

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The giraffes were so beautiful and graceful and they seemed to be in no hurry.

 

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The zebras were everywhere. We even saw them at the children’s home. Often we saw the zebras and the giraffes together.

 

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They lions were actually quite a distance away from us. There were three of them sleeping up in a tree.

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And at the end of the day, this lookout point was our last stop. Breathtaking!

 

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Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and the beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.                    Genesis 1:24

Photos taken by: Michelle Levy, Stephanie Groves, Hannah Tillison

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The Knitted Hats

she visited our church a few years back for the first time. She told the story of how her and her husband had visited Nairobi Kenya and fell in love with the ‘Chokoros’–the children of the dirt—the homeless in Kenya Africa. How they couldn’t stop thinking about them and set in motion a ministry to reach out to these helpless victims.   ImageImageImage

 

 

 

 

 During the process, the Lord called her beloved husband home and she was left here, alone, holding the fragments of their dream. But her Lord took those bits and pieces, as only as He could possibly do, and made that dream into a reality.

Sitting on a piece of land in Kitengela, Kenya is a children’s home. Jesus. Hobbs House of Hope. The residents of that home are children that had been scattered throughout Nairobi and the surrounding areas, neglected, abused, starving and broken. Many of them Chokoros. Image

 

 

As she told us the story we watched a slide show, a visual of the haunted faces and she told of the needs that still needed to be met and expressed thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness for the answered prayer that had already taken shape and form.   

And within my chest my heart ached and a desire to help began to grow. But how? The financial needs were so great and I could not possibly help in that area.

But then . . . I saw the pictures! Children on the streets of Nairobi wearing ragged, torn coats and tattered hats covered with debris. It never occurred to me that it might get cold enough in Africa for coats and hats, and I thought, “That is something I could do, I could knits hats!”  Image

 

After discussing it with Andrea we began to knit hats. Wherever we went, we were knitting hats. I carried my knitting with me everywhere and often told the story of the orphans in Africa who needed the hats to stay warm. And as I knitted I prayed for the child that would wear the covering, both over their head and as a prayer covering.  Image

The next time she came we presented her a basket full of hats, and we just kept knitting. A couple of our youth girls joined in the efforts and started knitting hats also.

She brought us pictures from Kenya with the children wearing the hats and a video of them expressing their thanks. And still, we kept knitting and praying. And the prayers that I prayed for these children knitted my heart to theirs and I ached to see them, to touch them and to embrace these precious creations.

And our Lord, in His amazing goodness and His unfailing faithfulness allowed me to journey from my own front door to the door of that children’s home. And in the summer of 2011 I made the trip to Kitengela, Kenya and I carried with me the third batch of knitted hats. She gathered the children together and with overwhelming emotions and an amazing joy oozing out of my heart, I place the hats upon their beautiful little heads.  ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.  Psalm 21:3

 

 

 

 

 

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Washing Clothes in Africa

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At the children’s home in Kenya, Carol is the one that washes all the clothes . . . by hand . . . . every single day.

 

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We helped her out some while we were there and it was hard work. The trough was just at the height that you had to stoop over it and it didn’t take long for your back to get stiff and sore.

The water was cold and the soap was so strong it dried your hands out after just a little while of washing. We would wash the clothes in a bowl inside the trough and scrub the clothes together until they were clean (or clean enough), then put them in a new bowl of clean water to rinse.  Water is precious and we used the same rinse water until we could not possibly use it any more. We would wring the clothes out by twisting them, then they were ready to hang on the clothes line.

This took most of the day.

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This is also the perfect place for a snake to keep cool or to get a drink. Although we did not see one while we were there, it is normal and expected to find one in the troughs.

Although I love simplicity, and sometimes yearn for times of old, I am so thankful for my washer and dryer and my modern day appliances.

 

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And now why are you waiting?  Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.  Acts 22:16

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Jesus. Hobbs House of Hope Children’s Home in Kitengela,  Kenya, AfricaImage

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.  James 1:27

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Peter

They lined both sides of the long drive as our bus pulled into the Children’s Home in Kitengela,  Kenya.

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They held up signs that they had prepared for our arrival. Each one with the name of one of the missionaries that occupied the bus.

 

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After all the praying and preparations, the months that turned into years, being able to finally lay hold of these precious children caused the overwhelming fountain of tears to flow down the faces of the ones who had traveled the long distance to see them.

 

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The greeting was like none I have ever seen before. Gifts from these who have nothing were prepared and presented to us as we found the child with our name.

 

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Peter was the one who held my name with his hands. A ten year old orphan who lost his mother at the age of five from AIDS.  

 

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Peter was found living among other street boys in the garbage site scavenging for his food. 

 

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But here, tucked safely within the confines of Jesus. Hobbs House of Hope, Peter is just a little boy . . . one that has food, clothing, shelter and attends school everyday.

 

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 His days are not filled with wondering how he will fill his tummy or where he will sleep anymore.

 

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The sweet spirit of one who has lost so much and has known so much pain, lovingly clings to the open arms of the American missionaries.

 

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 Peter’s playful personality has not been defeated or overcome.

 

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 His face always maintains a smile that blesses the heart of the one that looks upon him

 

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 And didn’t we come to bless them?   

 

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 Didn’t we come to minister to them?

 

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And still . . . just over a year later, my heart bursts with joy and tenderness at the thought of him.

 

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I continue to be blessed each time I look upon the gifts that was so graciously bestowed upon me.

 

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 Each time my eyes rest on the photos of the sweet face of Peter my heart is full. 

 

I will make you a great nation;  I will bless you and make your name great;  And you shall be a blessing.   Genesis 12:2

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Wanja

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They are called Chokoros. Children of the dirt, the homeless in Nairobi Kenya. The ones who don’t have a place to lay their heads, but just stretch out on the streets in the slums of Nairobi and close their eyes.

I have seen them and it was frighting. Laying there on the side of the street, almost close enough to touch and I wondered if they really were sleeping or just left there lifeless, their dead cold bodies, unwanted and unnoticed, feet just stepping over them as if they were not even there.

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Children of the dirt is an appropriate description. There is no prejudice against age or gender there in the dirt. Babies are carried in their mother’s arms, toddlers and the young children, dirty and smelling of the earth and rot, with their hollow, haunting eyes, wander around behind them.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

I first saw her in a make shift church in Nairobi. Behind a housing building with a curtain stretched behind the altar to separate the sanctuary from the rubble and trash on the other side. There were no walls on one side or in the back, only the backdrop of evidence of the very poor.

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She walked in, along with several children, and sat down in front of me. At first I thought she was a young boy. Her hair was cut close to her head and grass and dirt clung to the tight coils. 

She wore a black coat that gave way to puffs of dust when she moved. She smiled as she looked around the room at all the white skinned visitors and her eyes jerked back and forth, back and forth, continuously, they could not focus. Chances were it was caused from the glue she had been known to sniff.  

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 They had said that even the children sniff the glue. It just makes it so much more bearable to deal with the hunger pains.

 She got up and staggered up to the front, bumping into people and steadying herself on the backs of the chairs as she went. And she sang to us.Image

 The Pastor had called a few of the American women missionaries to come pray over her. And we sat quietly, heads low, praying. . . praying.Image

 Each side, the American missionary team and the Chokoros, took turns singing for each other, singing for the Lord, and we worshiped. There, in those beautiful moments we were the same. We were one voice singing and praising our Lord.ImageImage

 We fed them and my heart crumbled into a million pieces. I thought of my own children and my beloved granddaughter and I remember having the frighting thought~~What if this were them? What if they didn’t have enough to eat? Or a place to sleep, or shelter?

A thousand times my eyes have looked upon these pictures, weeping and broken.

“Have I not wept for him who was in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?” Job 30:25

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 As our bus drove through the slums of Nairobi, back to our temporary dwelling, we saw Wanja.

She was standing on the sidewalk outside of a bar. Someone had said that sidewalk was her home, where she would lay her head and close her eyes. Each day just like the one before.

I kept my eyes fixed on her as our bus passed her by and I never saw her again.

 

 Six months home from Africa, she was found dead on the streets of Nairobi Kenya. The cause of death was unknown but was believed to be a drug overdose. She was 21.

 

“They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will Shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17

 

 

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