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August 2005
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October 2005

Entries from September 2005

A Trip to the Market

“Let’s go to town to get veggies, guys!” I shout to my kids across the house.

“Yeah!” they squeal as they come running to the kitchen to put on their shoes. I’ve packed a backpack with my cell phone, baby carrier, several plastic bags for carrying the vegetables, EXACT change for the public van (they try to overcharge me because they think I’m a tourist), water bottles for the kids, and the money I need for the market.

We padlock the doors, let the dog off the porch, and off we go. My children ages 2, 4, and 7 are good at walking fairly long distances without complaining now. We start on our hike through our neighbor’s garden to find a small, wooden, broken down gate that leads to her yard.

“I want to see the cows, Mommy!” Butterfly cries.

“Me, too! Me, too!” the others chime in. Each child gets lifted up to see the cows chewing on the corn stalks cut from the garden. One cow sticks her nose up to Makena and gives her a good sniff. Then she backs off as if she’s afraid to be touched by her.

“Honk! Honk!” Seven geese come chasing after us as we trespass through their yard. Andrew grabs a stick and swings it madly to keep them away from his sisters. If you turn your back to them, they’ll give you a good nip on the leg. Our neighbor says they are better than having a guard dog because they are so noisy and vicious!

We pass the skinny dog chained up in a little dog house, and a couple of chickens try running after us as we go through another gate. Then we walk down a tiny path that goes through the grass being grown for the cows. The grass is over six feet tall, and the kids love hiding in it despite my efforts to stop them. We reach the end of our ‘garden short-cut’. Each child hops over the small barbed wire fence, and we are on someone’s dirt driveway.

As we get on a bigger dirt road, we are only ten to fifteen minutes away from our destination, the matatu stop. Butterfly and Makena love looking for newborn sheep and goats on the way. This morning there is a brand-new baby sheep that can’t even stand up yet. We pause to watch him try his first attempts at nursing. Pretty soon he gets the hang of it as his tail wags in delight so we move on. It’s dusty, hot, and dry, but we are almost there.

Finally after crossing a busy road, we get on a matatu. Makena, Andrew, Butterfly, backpack and I all squeeze into one seat as we ride about 15 minutes to town. We stop every five minutes or so to let on more passengers. The people in front of us turn and stare at the children because they’ve never seen ‘white’ children before. They watch and stare as if they are thinking, “I wonder if they really behave like children?” Sometimes I think ‘if you’re going to stare, at least SMILE!’ So I always give them a big grin. Usually they smile back, but sometimes they just turn around and don’t look back anymore. Since I’ve never met a stranger in my life, I strike up a conversation with the person riding next to me. This lady is very friendly, and we talk all the way to town about breastfeeding of all things. I have lots of ‘15 minute friends’.

We arrive at the busy part of town, the matatu stage. The lady I befriended next to me helps me get the children and my bag off the van, and we are off to the market!

As we walk through the masses of people, a street boy starts following us saying, “Mazungu, buy me bread!”

He follows me for about 5 minutes pointing to each shop that sells bread, but I keep telling him, “If I buy you bread, you’ll sell it and buy glue to get high.” He gets angry with my persistent ‘No’s’ and finally stops following us. I turn around to see if I’d done the right thing, and there he is sniffing his bottle of glue just 2 feet behind me. My heart just breaks! I wanted to feed him so badly! It was so hard for me to say no. But I learned my lesson about the glue the hard way.

So we continue towards the market. We see a friend selling cabbages and buy an enormous cabbage from her. After we buy all the things we need, we get a phone call—Daddy’s in town and has a taxi waiting for us! So we walk as fast as we can. I’m carrying heavy bags on one arm and holding Butterfly’s hand with the other. Andrew is holding Makena’s hand and wearing the huge backpack that goes down past his thighs. Finally we make it! We see Johnny in the taxi. We load up, and go home!

~Kate

There are over 800,000 orphans in Kenya according to the UN. We are trying to do our part by being a catalyst in the local churches in Kenya encouraging them to reach out.


Can God Speak Through Joyce Myers?

This past Friday I was feeling frustrated with myself and the path my faith has taken me on. When I share my faith with the people I know, it usually ends up that they want to show me the error of my ways and reacquaint me with the “true” faith. It can be a very frustrating situation; mostly because those are the people God has called me to reach. Friday I was feeling particularly discouraged because of some emails I had received attempting to correct my wayward ideas. I was questioning whether the path I was on was the right one or not. While I was polishing up my Sunday sermon, I really felt God visit me. It is hard to explain how that feels, but all of a sudden I knew that something good was going to happen to me in the near future. That evening when the local news came on I switched the channel over to TBN’s affiliate channel here in Kenya. To be honest with you, I do not enjoy watching TBN most of the time, but anything is better then local Kenyan news. (Without cable or satellite service, our choices are very limited.) Joyce Myers was on, and I decided to see what she had to say. Well to make a long story short, she spoke on just being yourself and receiving your confidence from God. I was stunned. Could God speak to me through Joyce Myers? I had read one of her books before and just did not like it at all, so I did not have much expectation that God could or would speak through her. However, he did and I was very encouraged to be myself. God wants me to be Johnny and not worry about what people think about me. Please do not take this as an endorsement for Joyce Myers or TBN, I just want you to be alert. For God can come through the strangest and most unexpected places.


Childhood Stories

I hope that you don’t get tired of hearing tales about our children. Having 3 young ones gives me plenty of things to talk about! Our youngest daughter gives us the most interesting ‘blog material’ mostly because of her age and also because of her character. Butterfly really enjoys making people laugh. At the ripe old age of 27 months, she is always cracking us up with her profound humor and wit. This morning Butterfly picked out a pretty pink gingham dress to wear to church. I approved her choice, got her dress on, and braided her baby fine hair. I sat her in her high chair and began putting on her pretty pink socks with the white lacey ruffle to match her pink dress. As I proceed to slip the first sock on her foot she looks at me and says with complete sincerity, “These pink socks make my toes tasty.” I said to her, “They make your toes tasty?” “Yep!” Then with the limberness that all 2 year olds seem to have, she put her toes in her mouth and ate them with a yum yum yum sound like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street! I thought her little mind and attitude was absolutely hilarious, but just minutes later she gave us another joyful moment. As we walk out the back door to head off for church, we find Butterfly already outside. Her pint size 2 year old body, baby fat, and little braids would make you think she is too young to know how to even say a few words, but there she is in her cute pink dress and tiny kitty shoes pointing her finger at the dog giving him a serious lecture. “Now, Bilbo,” she says firmly, “I told you, I don’t want you jumping on Gladys, ok? Now be a good boy.” For a moment she reminds me of Shirley Temple-- so mature for her age. She really brings joy to those around her. ~Kate


Mission Update

We wanted to bring you a brief update on the Back2Kenya mission project. Something you must understand about Africa is that things go much slower here then in the States. We Americans are used to a fast paced lifestyle. We have fast food, microwaves, instant everything, but in Kenya almost nothing happens quickly. We knew from the start that we would spend the first year building contacts and relationships. That is what we are doing. Every week we meet pastors and leaders and teach/inspire them to reach out to those who need help. Look for us on Sundays and you will find us preaching about the first church and how they meet each other’s needs. We also have other projects in the works. We would like to use chickens to help feed the hungry. A small chicken farm is a renewable resource that a church could use to help feed hungry kids. We are still working out the management issues and we need about $500.00 to start the project. We plan on visiting a local orphanage to see if there is some way we can encourage or otherwise love the kids there. Transportation continues to be an issue for us as we do not have our own vehicle to use. Right now we are using public means without much problem. The times we have problems with the public means is when we want to reach rural or out of the way areas. For around $10,000 we can buy a good used 4-wheel drive vehicle. God continues to open doors for us in all kinds of churches, and we are even seeing responses to our message. Several churches have implemented the message of meeting each others needs. It is exciting to see what is happening. We have a major project in the works for the future that we are planning now. Please pray for God to continue to give us guidance.

If you would like to know more email us or write to us at: Johnny and Kate Brooks P.O. Box 1113 Groves, TX 77619-1113 Also if you would like to send money you can send it to Johnny and Kate Brooks at the above address. A friend on States side banks all the money for us, so 100% goes to the project. Any gift you give is tax deductible. If you would like to send a care package you can send it to: Johnny Brooks P.O. Box 15260 Nakuru 20100 Kenya. Remember we have a seven year old boy, four year old girl, and a two year old girl.