Here are some more photos Ali took with his phone out at The Shire. We have had a few busy days and so have not spent much time at The Shire, but heading out there today. So hopefully more photos on the way soon.
December, that time of the year when we like to look back and reflect, or try to find a moment of peace to attempt reflection anyway. Some of the trends in our life this year are easy to spot, like the shift that has taken place in our ministry/work.
Our focus has shifted from simply caring for orphaned children to creating a sustainable system for orphan-care. A system that incorporates our philosophy of providing family, opportunities for a good child hood, education, and creating caring members of society. We have gone through many ideas on how to generate income so as to reduce our dependence on the need for donations from abroad, and there really is only one way for us. Agriculture.
Farming will not only help us feed the children but generate income as well. We will be growing vegetables, fruits, and raising animals for milk, eggs, and meat. A major shift from dispensing aid to those in need. Now we will grow some of that food we give away.
This farming project will also teach vital skills to the children, and hopefully inspire them to help change a little part of the world's food supply.
A shift. A shift in a more sustaniable direction. We will still need finiacial help, but instead of spending that money on food we can spend it on other things like school.
A shift to a permanent location. The Shire is not moving.
A shift from only consuming food to producing food.
A shift from town to a rural farming community.
A shift to more space.
A shift that will help enable us to impact even more children.
Apparently yesterday was Giving Tuesday. Missed it. Guess that is why the money did not come pouring in. We also missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Actually now that I am thinking about it I have never shopped on Black Friday. Not that that is a good thing, just me avoiding crowds.
Gimmicks are fine for the moment, but we cannot survive on them. We need folks to give even if it is not Giving Tuesday.
If you would like to help us out here is how:
Check made payable to A Future and a Hope and mailed to:
A Future and a Hope c/o Bob Humphrey 7909 Walerga Rd STE 112-141 Antelope, CA 95843
Or you can use paypal, link on the side bar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A few days back I had my fortieth birthday. I am a few days into my new decade, and I have to say so far it is not so much different than the last decade.
Aging has never been a fear of mine. Instead of worrying about the decay of my virility I worry more about missing opportunities to accomplish something grand and meaningful with my life. Personally I do not measure success using a bottom line, the amount of goods acquired or consumed, or the number of people following me. I do not have a problem with those as measures of success, because frankly I need people who are successful in those areas to help me be successful. I try to measure success in my life by the people I encounter. If both of us can walk away from that meeting different, better, and just a bit closer to Jesus, then I count that as successful.
Am I there? Nope. Still working on it. Which is why I do worry about it from time to time. There is a passage in the Bible that comes to mind, and after a quick search on Bible Gateway, I can actually quote it:
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9
That is me today. Trying to not grow weary while doing good. That is where I find myself at forty.
It is Thanksgiving Day, though of course not a holiday here in Kenya, but nonetheless we have marked it as a family.
We awoke to Thanksgiving Day on The Shire, having camped out the evening before. The barn is coming along nicely, and the fence as well. In fact another missionary and his boys came along and helped with putting up barbed wire. We are looking forward to the fence being finished so we can focus on planting trees and bushes without worrying too much about them being eating by the neighbor’s cows and/or goats.
The local elders pointed out a flaw in our plan and are insisting we correct it. We have to build a toilet to be used during construction. Ali is getting quotes now to have a pit latrine dug as quickly as possible. Hopefully it will get done speedily and the elders will be appeased.
No turkey for us this year, they are a bit expensive here in Nakuru. Perhaps next Thanksgiving Day we will have grown our own turkey. Instead of fowl we will dine on beef today.
Rain equals mud in Kasambara, where The Shire is located. Mud equals difficulty in driving. A sacrifice we are willing to make to bring A Future and a Hope to more children here in Kenya. Thankfully we have a four wheel drive vehicle, unfortunately that is not always true for the delivery trucks. Finally after days of struggling the building materials are delivered. Now let the building commence.
Kate has a million hobbies. She loves doing and trying out just about anything. Tap dancing, cooking, crafting, and now videos. She has started filming snippets of her daily life and uploading them to her YouTube channel. If you haven't done so already you should subscribe to her channel and watch some of her fun clips. Here's one:
We have 10 Teenage children. TEN. Two of whom are 19, one is 18, and a third is 17.
I was busy making things for the craft fair, so I thought, let me just ask my grownup children to be creative and make supper.
I ran the idea by them, and their eyes lite up. I told them they could use any food items they could find. Just make supper. Now keep in mind these girls have cooked Kenyan meals all their lives. This should be no big deal, I thought.
Giggles, laughter, a few crashing noises resonated from the kitchen. I decided to take a peak. On one counter, two girls were shredding cabbage and carrots for cole slaw, then on the stove top I saw our oldest pressing something in a pan. They decided to make cole slaw and pancakes... Interesting. Which the pancakes would have been fine except they didn't put any raising agent in the flour, no eggs, but they DID add chocolate chunks. I will give them that! As our oldest orphan-no-more pressed each pancake as FLAT as she could in a puddle of oil, I just had to bite my tongue and not say a word.
Each pancake was dripping with oil and had the texture of rubber. I nearly choked on my first bite because it just wouldn't go down! I tried to hide my struggle with a grin. The syrup they made was overly thick and too sweet, but it was a great supper because I didn't make it.
Love is one of those things that religion, philosophy, and music have tangled and complicated almost beyond recognition.
I learned that the Bible has several different words for love:
Agape - love in a spiritual sense
Eros - physical love
philia - mental love
There could be more, but that alone is enough to make muddy what should be crystal clear. I know if I love you or if I don't love you. Greek words are not needed, nor is a classification of that love. All love is the same. Love is love. Love is sacrifice. If I love you I will give up a part of myself for you. Simple.
The hard part is learning to love someone who does not love you back, or whom it is not natural for you to love.
When the girls first moved into our home it was simple enough to love them. I mean they were cute little kids who needed us, easy receptacles for love. It became more difficult when the love was not reciprocated. Downright near impossible when they started demanded our self sacrifice. That was a game changer. I had to learn to grow in love towards the children, who because of the trauma they had experienced, found it hard to love in return.
I do not have any big fancy Greek words to describe what happened. The love was strong enough to weather that storm. In fact I grew to love them more, because they were pushing so hard against us. In my mind it was the same sacrifice that Jesus made for me. He loved me before I knew him, before I could reciprocate that love. He sacrificed himself so that I could know love. That is how I have grown in love. We sacrifice now for these children, so that one day they can love as well.
Not that I have learned all there is to know about love, but for sure I know that I love these children.