The Kenya Mission team left Durango on Tuesday morning to begin their Trip. This page will be updated with information as we get it from the team.

The Durango Herald wrote about their trip HERE!

 

1/14:
“There was a terrorist attack in Nairobi and team members are getting texts from family members asking if we are ok. The team is now in Switzerland and we are all great. Our guide, Thomas, takes all measures to make sure we are ok. Thought I would let the congregation know in case people ask. We will email you again when we arrive in Nairobi and are at Thomas’s house.”

1/15:
“Hope you are enjoying your snow day in Durango! We all arrived safe and sound in Nairobi and we’re currently stuffing our faces with chibata, rice, lentils, and cabbage. Thanks for checking in!”

1/17
“Today we visited Spring Valley and were able to spend some time with Pastor Stanley, his wife Alice and their son Jesse. It was awesome to see the people that we haven’t seen since last year again. The children are all growing up healthy and it was such a blessing to see the smiles on all the precious children. The first classroom we visited was the preschool room and the children were in nap time. Once we were done catching up with the tour we were able to deliver 10 food baskets to families in need. Pastor Stanley and Alice pick the families that are most in need. We broke into two groups and into the Spring Valley slum we went. We were able to meet each family, hear their story and pray for them. It is always very humbling to us to visit the homes in Spring Valley and although they are facing such hopeless situations their faith in God doesn’t waver and are so thankful for everything they have and are given. There was one family that really went deep into my heart. A young woman with two small children and had no means to support them left her abusive husband just the week prior. This brave young woman’s prayer request was for a job so she can support her children and also for her husband’s heart to be healed. My heart was simultaneously breaking for her and it was also inspired by her courage, strength and her faith in God. Each food basket will provide food for the family for about two weeks, depending on the size of the family. I wanted to thank all of you for helping make this happen through your tithes.”

Jennifer interview in Kenya from FUMC Durango on Vimeo.

1/18
“Today we spent time with Jennifer and Johnny who are the founders of ITHM. They are a non profit organization that helps people in need and so much more. Please click on the video above to hear Jennifer talk about what they’re doing.
We spent the day touring the grounds, which is named the Acacia Ranch. I couldn’t believe all that they have done to provide a safe place to live for so many. As Jennifer and Johnny were telling us some of the stories of these precious children one struck me to the core of my being. A beautiful little baby girl who was left in an abandoned house.  When she was found she was severely malnourished and now she has some of the most beautiful chubby cheeks I have ever seen.  Because of all the trauma that this precious baby has suffered at such a young age she has not smiled yet but I’m sure with all the love an care she is receiving now, I’m praying that a smile will soon come.
Of course we couldn’t leave without having some kid time with the little ones.  it was such a treasure to see the smiles on the little kiddos.  The babies were very popular being held and loved on and a little girl had her eyes on Milly and the both of them had a game of catch.

If you would like to find out more about Jennifer and Johnny and what they do please click on the link below:
https://ithministries.org/
Tomorrow we have a very long drive from Nairobi to the village of Obaga where we will be putting on a two day medical clinic, helping the Jewels of Obaga build two mud houses, some minor repairs, games with the kids, and time with the people in the community.

1/20
“Today we went to one of the local churches in Obaga. it was so close to Thomas’ home we decided to walk back and it was such a peaceful walk indeed… anyways… the church now has two services, one in English, which is more contemporary, and one in Luo, which is more traditional and in the native the language of the Luo tribe. We decided to go to the English one. Since it is a newer service it was pretty sparse of people but it will continue to grow and in time be filled with the younger generation.
The service was all about blessing, being a blessing to others and receiving blessings. While the service was going on I was thinking about blessings and about the first mission trip I took to Kenya back in November 2009. I was writing in my journal at the end of the day and i looked at my prayer bracelet where it said “Be there, Be hope. Being Jesus Christ to the World, FUMC missions” and I couldn’t help to think that I wasn’t doing any of that. Yes I was on a mission trip helping to build a swing set, hauling rocks in a wheel barrow, learning how to dig a hole the Kenyan way and learning to make cement and yet I felt like I was doing nothing at all. Instead I was the one having all the blessings pouring down on me by all the children and workers at HOREC, Thomas, Phillip and Marcus. They were all being a blessing to others by their open hearts they don’t hold back their natural love for others. To this day I truly believe that God sends me on mission trips so He can continue to slowly open my eyes and my heart in His direction while He is slowly closing my eyes and my heart in the direction of the world.
And of course there was music, beautiful music. Although they had no musical instruments the singing was pure joy to listen to. They sing from deep in their hearts, that place where so many people find hard to enter and don’t allow others to see. God knows it there but maybe some of us don’t or its to painful for some of us to enter.
After the service Thomas took us to the pond, which was their only water source before the well went in. If someone can’t afford to buy the water from the well they still need to use the pond water for drinking. While we were their we saw a child come and get some water and then go home. Then cows came, walked into the pond, got their fill of water, and went back home. When I look at the pond, I can’t believe how people can survive after drinking this water.
We were also able to go to the Jewel’s garden. It has grown so much since the last time I was there. The Jewels now have two green houses full of tomatoes, each in different stages of growth and a lot of other veggies. One of the big challenges is water and having enough water to water all of their crops. Mary said because of the natural water flow, the tank they have now needs to be raised off the ground and put on a platform, so it can reach the parts of the garden where the ground is slightly higher. They also need another tank put on a platform since their garden has increased in size. The Jewels have so many plans for the garden in the future, and their garden helps to feed the Jewels and their children, the Obaga School, and the surrounding community.
When I saw the garden I was so thankful to God for all that He has done by guiding the Jewels and opening doors so the Jewels could have the land in their name, which is unheard of within their culture.
Mary then gave us a very detailed account of the garden, where it is now and what they see in the future.
Just before we left we were able to witness a “handing forward of a goat”, which Lilly and Gracie initiated. What happens is when one of the Jewels has a goat and it has a baby, when the baby is ready to leave the mother the baby is given to another Jewel that doesn’t have one. The ceremony only took a few minutes, but it really showed me how much the Jewels rely on each other for the most basic needs to survive.
Unfortunately the day crept up so fast on us and we were only able to say a quick hi to some of the Jewels before we left. I’m looking so forward to helping build the mud houses with the Jewels, time to catch up and see some of the women that i haven’t seen in such a long time.
Tomorrow we start the first day of the two day medical clinic. We will all be very busy.”

 

1/21-22
“We just finished up a two-day medical clinic and it was very busy both days. To see all those people coming and waiting so patiently for the medical care blows my mind. Today the last number handed out was 924 and that doesn’t include the people that were seen without a number and the families that were given one number for all of them. I’m sure the medical clinic saw over one-thousand people within the two-day medical clinic. Since there were so many people the first day and the second day we always see even more, I was praying that the medicines wouldn’t run out. Thankfully God made sure the pharmacist had enough medications, which I’m very grateful for.
The people from the villages come from all around to see the doctors. They do have free medical care, since they are at the dispensary level, but the problem is once the patient is diagnosed, the doctor doesn’t have medications so the patient can get better. One time a big truck came to the dispensary and opened the back end. It was full of boxes and the doctor was so happy thinking that he was going to get some medications, syringes, bandages, etc. so he could properly treat his patients. Unfortunately all the doctor was given was one box of gloves, not one case but one box and then the truck closed the back end and drove away. This is what the doctors face in the village dispensaries on a daily basis. I can’t even imagine to be given the gift of helping people heal and not even have bandages to clean and cover a wound.
We were all very busy helping wherever we could. Robb, Brad and Milly were working triage, getting all the patients information, blood pressure, pulse, and a description of where they are sick. Janelle was at the reader station making sure the patient was given the correct strength of readers, Gracie was helping out Pauline, the pharmacist, along with Merob. Eric was seeing the patients that needed eye care. Lilly was bouncing between helping the pharmacist also and helping in triage and I was helping the dentist. We also had 16+ local people helping direct people, interpreting (especially in the triage station,) and filling in wherever they could help to keep the flow of patients going.
On the first day, when I followed the dentist into the building that we were working in we found out that it had no electricity. We rounded up as many flashlights that the team had but it wasn’t enough to pull teeth and make sure that all of the tooth was removed from the patient. So off to the market in Bondo to buy a rechargeable light. That became my job: the light holder for the dentist. I was very grateful that the dentist allowed me witness what she does at medical clinics. The patients are given a shot to numb the mouth then one patient after another the bad teeth come out. The dentist was very caring and had a lot of compassion for every single patient no matter how busy she was.
Eric and a Kenyan doctor removed a small piece of metal from someones eye, which they didn’t have the correct instrument for, so Eric and the other doctor became very creative and removed it with a needle. Improvisation is key here…
While we ate dinner, some of the team members shared what we saw at the medical clinic and this one situation, a mother her 17 year old girl marinated in my heart. Her mother needed to carry her 17 year old daughter everywhere and the daughter was so skinny you could see her bones. The mother was so depressed because she was powerless to help her daughter as every parent would be. You want the best for your children, to be healthy, have a good education, keep them safe, and so on. This loving mother was watching her daughter deteriorate before her eyes little by little. I don’t know what was wrong with the girl nor if the doctors were able to help. I was told that the mother was given some adult diapers for the daughter to help out and that brought hope to the mother. I was reminded by someone that when you’re facing stuff like this you need to look and focus on the glimmers of hope, which the people I see here are so good at doing. I think that is why their faith runs so deep and their relationship with God can handle the biggest tidal waves. The Jewels have built their house on a strong foundation and I hope one day as God continues to “prune my branches” while He is shaping and molding me, my faith and trust in God will run deep also.
I can’t thank all of you enough, this is your tithes in action reaching God’s children. As Merob said this morning at breakfast “For those who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord.” Thank you so very much for helping countless people in the village of Obaga and the surrounding villages.
Tomorrow we have fun time with the kids in the Obaga school and in the afternoon we will build the first of two mud houses. It’s going to be a great day!”

“Today a house was built for a widow with four kids. Her old house was 10’x10’ with a thatched roof. Tomorrow we’re going to help build another one.” – From Brad’s facebook. Pictures in the gallery below.

 

1/23
“Today we had fun time with the kids at the Obaga School. It was such an awesome way to start the day. One of the most precious sounds in the world… the sound of children giggling and laughing.
We started out with the “wicki wicki” song that Grace and Lilly know from Sonlight Camp. Lilly, Milly and Robb led all the kids in the song. At first the kids were just looking but pretty quickly some of the less shy kids started to follow along and some of the kids seemed to enjoy watching the “Muzugoe”s, the Kenyan word for white people, do the dancing.
Like with all kids, you can make plans for the day and it changes. The games morphed into the way the kids saw them and we watched their imaginations unfold in front of us.
The kids loved the parachute game and of course all the bubbles. There was dancing, picture and video taking, which the kids love to see their images in, singing songs, relay races, fishy faces, lots of touching of our hair and skin, all around lots of fun. We were very grateful to the teachers and the principal of the school for allowing us to spend some time with the kids since the children were taken out of class for the time we were playing games with them.
Before we left, all the kids went back inside of their classrooms and we gave them all a lollipop (here they call them sweets.) We didn’t have enough for the 6th, 7th and 8th grades but thankfully tomorrow morning we meet with those grades and talk to them so we will pick up more candy on the way home in Bondo and they will have their sweets tomorrow.
This school has grown so much since the last time I was here. In the last two years the student count has gone from 300ish to 500 students. One of the reasons is the Obaga School now has a feeding program and a big part of that is due to the Jewels garden. They supply all the veggies for the school to feed the kids. The big problem they are facing now is spacing because the Obaga School needs a new classroom to hold more kids.
In the afternoon we helped build the first of two mud homes. This mud home went to Judith, a mother of four children. The Jewels of Obaga choose who’s home is in the worst condition and that widow and her children will receive the new mud home. Its hard to describe in words the beauty of joining the Jewels in the mudding of the home. When we arrived the Jewels were already singing praises to God for the home. I could hear the love for God radiating from their hearts as I was approaching them. I could see the structure of the mud home behind them and hear the construction workers working away finishing the metal roof and the last touches on the frame. Even though there was pounding going on in the background it seemed to add to the overall beauty of the of the music that I was listening to. I couldn’t help but think how God was smiling down on them at this moment and enjoying depth of the praising going on.
Judith (or the person receiving the mud home) puts the first mud brick on the structure then we all go to work.
The local people along with some of the Jewels are making the mud and delivering it to different sections of the home so we can mud the home. On this particular mud home, donkeys hauled the water in from the closest water source and the water was poured on the dirt so the workers could start mixing it up. Once the mud was ready it was hauled to various parts of the structure, whichever area needed the mud, and we all kept mudding until the home was complete.
We gather in groups all helping each other so each wall has people mudding at the same time, and before you know it, the home is done. This home took one hour and twenty minutes to mud… that has to be one of the quickest times yet…The Jewels are so quick at this as they are helping and teaching us as they go.
Once the mud home is done we pray over the home and the family receiving the home, a ribbon is cut, the door is opened, the Jewels start singing while the family walks inside followed by as many people that can fit in the new home.
Once we are inside with the gifts for the family words are spoken from several people. Then the family speaks telling their story or what ever God puts on their hearts. The gifts are given to the family which are a mosquito net, a mattress, a blanket, a smokeless cooker, a small portable solar light, a curtain, a bible written in Luo, and a cross. Next year we will add a food basket to the list also.
Building the mud homes with the Jewels is one of my favorite things to do. There is so much love and community among them and they welcome us into their family as if they have known us all our lives. When you’re pretty tired, guzzling a lot of water so you don’t dehydrate, the sun is beating down on you, and you have mud all over you, the Jewels are singing and dancing while they are working and you find the energy to keep going no matter how hot you are. They blossom with gratitude, praise, and love to God from beginning to end.
Tomorrow we start out our day with talking to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in the morning. The men will be talking to the boys and the women will be talking to the girls. In the afternoon we will be helping build the second mud home. This mud home will be going to Beatrice, a mother of four.
I can’t thank all of you enough for all your support through your prayers. This is an amazing trip we have seen so much and God has been working in all of us helping us to grow deeper in ourselves, each other and the people in the village of Obaga.”

 

Obaga Mission Trip Needs from FUMC Durango on Vimeo.

mud hut interview from FUMC Durango on Vimeo.

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