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November 2007

Entries from October 2007

Amazing Grace

We located Grace, and she is now safely in our home. It has been a crazy few days searching, praying, agonizing, and planning for worst case scenarios. Sunday, we could not locate her, but by Monday afternoon we knew she was safe.

I will try to say what happened in as few words as possible, but if you have ever heard me preaching or teaching you will know that it is hard for me to speak with few words.

Sunday, we went to bed not knowing where Grace was. It was unknown if she ran away. We knew she had a distant relative in Nakuru, and we had a roundabout idea of where that relative lived, but we did not know her name. We also did not know how well Grace knew this relative and vice versa. It was hard to sleep. Thinking of this young 13 year old girl on her own in Nakuru. Not a pretty thought.

Monday morning we gathered myself (Johnny), Ben, and another friend named James to formulate a plan. Grace had been staying in a home for orphans which sold her into slavery. There was a certain woman working there who was willing to help us out. Now James, Ben, and I had already made several visits to the home. The woman running the home, Cecilia, was not willing to give up Grace to us. You see, she was making money by sending Grace out to work as a maid. The employers would pay Cecilia instead of Grace. She just was not going to let us take away her source like that.

Seeing as to how we were all three preachers (myself, Ben, and James,) craftiness was in abundance in our little meeting. We found another guy, Shadrack, who had not been seen there (at the Cecilian Orphanage) and convinced him to help us. Really, we did not have to convince him. Once he heard part of Grace's story, he was eager to jump on board. Now our car was in the shop (o.k. not really a shop just the side of the road. Not many mechanics here actually have shops. They just chain up their tool boxes on the side of the road and work from there) so we had to do some serious walking.

I walked, walked, and walked some more. Amazing how quickly I had become used to the car. Anyway we walked to a place nearby the home where Grace had been living and sent Shadrack to find the woman who was willing to help us. He went 'undercover' with some insane story about being a college student writing a report on orphans. He talked and talked until he identified the one willing to help us. He gave her the message to meet us around the corner.

She came and much to our relief knew where Grace was. In fact Grace was aware of our plan to bring her to our home and so we knew she would have hope for tomorrow. We talked and ate chips (french fries.) The plan was for Grace to go to her relatives place and then come with that relative to James' office the next day.

Amazingly enough, the plan worked. Today, Tuesday, around 2 p.m. we met Grace, Naomi (her relative I am still not sure how they are related), the employee who helped us, and some few other people. A short while later, Grace was touring the house we are using.

Father I thank you. You brought Grace safely to our arms, and I pray that she will see that it is possible to have

A Future and a Hope.

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Our first day with Edith

016 She came with only a small plastic bag containing all her belongings, a few shirts and dresses of which were completely worn out. She didn't even have a toothbrush.

Edith is a jovial, strong, four year old girl. She hasn't made a complaint all day. She has played joyfully with Butterfly, Andrew, Makena, Emma and Mercy, our friends' daughter, from the moment she arrived until now, bed time.

I think the highlight of her day was a warm bath in a real bath tub! She was smiling from ear to ear!

She is very outgoing, and she fits right in with our family. Butterfly is sleeping with her to help her adjust to being in a new place, but she seems unconcerned about it all, really.

There are many 'firsts' for Edith today. She rode in a Tuk Tuk to our house. She sat on a toilet for the first time, and ate using a fork! She also sat at a dining table for the first time and played with white people. She petted a dog, played with dolls, cars, and trains,  ate pancakes, and she even ate more than once in the day. She bathed with warm water in a bath tub instead of a plastic bucket and the biggest change of all... She slept in a bed.

I told her that she was going to sleep with Butterfly, but when Johnny came upstairs, he found Edith curled up in the small sofa chair. She had no idea that she would sleep in the bed, since where she came from, she didn't even have one. They pushed two chairs together to sleep, and her late mother slept on the floor.

~Kate

PS

I must say that Andrew, Makena, and Butterfly have really done a great job to make Edith feel welcome and loved. They are a big part of our ministry, and I couldn't have done it without their help.

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First Girl

I couldn't sleep last night. This morning we are picking up little four year old Edith.

Her story is quite amazing.

God's timing is PERFECT.

Our friend Ben visits 'untouchables'. He visits those that noone else is brave enough to visit.

Just the other day, Ben came home (he and his family live with us) and he told us how he went to feed a woman so weak that she couldn't even get out of bed. He made her porridge and he was touched at how grateful the woman was. While feeding her, her four-year-old daughter was running and playing outside pouring dirt in and out of a small tin can. She was unaware of what was making her mother so ill.

Ben told us this story and he made plans to go back to her home with some 'Home care workers'. These are people who specialize in helping people with AIDS.

As they went back to the one room home in a slum in Nakuru, the frail, skinny woman reached out her hand to greet the Home care workers. Here's the sad part...

NONE of them would greet her. Not one, except...

Ben.

The woman was so upset, and rightfully so. She complained to Ben that no one will eat with her any more. "Am I THAT skinny that no one can greet me?" She asked.

Ben spent time sitting with her, eating with her, and just pouring God's love into her, when she asked him to make sure that 'Little Mamma' got a Christmas dress. She said, please take care of 'Little Mamma" if I die, she continued.

Ben promised her that we would take care of her. Then two days later, Joyce, the frail young woman, died on a bus traveling to her village to see her father.

We sent Ben to the village where he could see the remaining relatives of Joyce. Joyce was one of 11 children. SIX of them have all died leaving orphans behind. The remaining five have all taken in more children than they can afford to feed. The Grandfather is a drunkard and very old.

After talking with the family there, they happily agreed to give us custody of Edith, Little Mamma. It makes us angry that no one there wanted her, and yet we are so happy to take her in and help her have a chance at having a good life.

Keep her in your prayer since it will be a difficult transition for such a young girl.

We will update things soon. She is coming to our home today.

 

 

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Going on 16

Yesterday, on the way to the store, Butterfly said, "How many days until I can drive?"

My reply was, "Thousands, honey." And Johnny said, "A loooong time."

Then she retorted, "But guys, I am FOUR!!"

~Kate

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Big sister Butterfly with Emma and Johnny.


Where Is Grace?

Sorry that I failed to update last night, but I just needed some time to unwind after Chasing Grace. We have not yet located her, it is Sunday morning, but we are not giving up.

Because of all the people that were around when we visited, folks generally flock around a white person so speaking privately is difficult, she was not able to freely communicate with us about her plans. We had to piece together afterwards and with another person's help the fact that she wanted to run away.

We hope she ran to her former guardian here in Nakuru and that we will be able to trace that person.

Father I pray that wherever Grace might be that you keep her safe. I also pray that she finds family and therefore a Future and a Hope.

I sincerely hope we find her and she is able to come stay with us.

In the meantime Ben is back from Siaya where we had gone to find little Edith, the girl of this weeks Quote of the Week and the subject of the article Potential Girl. We will have an update up on her soon.

Thanks for all your prayers and comments they are really needed right now.

 

 

 

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Chasing Grace

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day chasing Grace. She is a young girl, around 13, who is in need of a home. Both of her parents are deceased, and none of her relatives will take her in.

She thought she had found a home at the Cecilian Orphan's Home, but alas not all do gooders are actually 024 good. Grace was sold off to the highest bidder and forced to be a maid. She was abused at the home she was working at and ran to the only place she new, back to the woman who sold her.

It just so happened that Ben and I were there at the same time as her. We had heard that the place was crowded and thought we could relieve the pressure by bringing some of the girls to our home. Cecilia did not speak of Grace and Grace did not speak up for herself. I snapped a few photos, greeted the kids, and gave them some bread and jam.

When we were leaving, after having spoken with Cecilia and offering to help, we were told that one of the children really wanted to come with us. It was not really possible at the moment, and there was a lot of confusion with the kids trying to talk with us and wanting to play. It wasn't till later that we realized she was somewhat desperate to come with us.

Later that evening one of the women who works in that home called up a guy who was there with us and told him that Grace really was disappointed that we did not take her with us. He told me about it and we asked ourselves why did she want to come with us so badly?

So we paid a surprise visit to the home, with the intention of bringing Grace back to our home, A Future and a Hope. Cecilia was not there and so we decided to check on things. So we heard the sad tale of Grace's life from her and the two women who work there.

I really wanted to bring Grace, but Cecilia was not there to give permission. We have to have the legal guardian give us the right to take the child. Cecilia was at a church function and I was all for busting in the place and demanding that she release this child that she has been abusing. I was just about to start in that direction when we learned that Cecilia did not have legal custody of Grace. There was a distant relative who was still her official guardian and this person could give us permission to take Grace.

We did not want to be accused of kidnapping Grace(in Kenya you are guilty till proven innocent) so we asked that she be taken to this guardian. Our plan is to go today (Saturday) and pick her from that person and have them write us a letter saying she can stay with us. We will then go to the chief or whomever and make it all legal, after Grace is safe at our place.

Tough day. Grace was crying as she told us of the abuse. My friend, James, was crying as he listened, and I was crying, after translating some of the conversation in my head.

Hopefully this evening I will be able to post an update on Grace. Till then pray that she finds safety, comfort, and a Future and a Hope.

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Grace is in the back row standing in the middle wearing the blue shirt, attempting to smile at my urging.


Potential girl

041Ben took this picture yesterday of this young girl in Nakuru whom we have promised to 'take' when her mother, sitting on the left, dies. (She was the quote of the week.)She has AIDS. We do not know the status of the girl yet. In fact, we don't even know her name because the mother calls her 'little mama.' She doesn't call her by name. Anyway. She and her daughter were trying to go to their rural village so the mother could die there and be buried there, Luo custom. Then we will pick the girl after she's seen her mother's passing because she wouldn't understand if we took her now. Also, all this girl wants (if you ask her) is a Christmas dress. She currently lives in a slum here in Nakuru. 

  UPDATE:  Before I could post this article, the mother passed away en route to her rural village. Johnny will be traveling with Ben to this village to participate in the funeral and assist the little girl.

 

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Benard (Ben)

After I complained about the insatiable lust for money that the bishops and pastors here in Nakuru have, I thought it would be a good idea to spotlight a few guys who are not in the ministry to make money.

Unfortunately they are not easy to find. This series could take me sometime to complete as most ministers I know think of money, money, money, and if they think of the poor it is only to exploit them. I do know a couple though.

Let's start with a good friend of mine, Ben. We first met because I needed an interpreter, and he is a very gifted one. Over time we got to know each other and I came to appreciate the work that Jesus is doing in him and through him.

He has no outside support for what he does, except for the $75.75 (U.S. dollars) that I give him every month.

So what does he do? He does many things, including working with us on A Future and a Hope, but there is one thing that really impresses me. He ministers to the dying.

AIDS claims many lives here in Nakuru, and it is a lonely way to die. Most times when you are sick with AIDS your family rejects you. They will not eat with you. They will not shake your hand. They do not want to sit in the same room with you. You are condemned to die alone.

Ben tries to prevent that. What he does is simple. He accepts you. He eats with you. He shakes your hand. He sits with you. He tries to make sure you do not have to die alone.

I like that and admire it.

He does many other things like feeding the hungry, taking people to the hospital, trying to make sure orphans are taken care of. I just appreciate the fact that his ministry deals with the least, and I know that God appreciates that as well.

Ben is not helping the needy as a way to get money, instead he is following Jesus. Jesus is leading him to the poor, sick, lonely, and dying.

 

 

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wish list

Ok, I know, it is selfish for me to do this, but some of you out there aren't as creative as others and need lists to help you prepare care packages for our family. ;)

Here's a list of some things we need and some things we just want. I'm sure you can decipher which is which! :)

  • 9 or more sets of TWIN size sheets for the girls' beds. (Here in Kenya we can't find fitted sheets, only flat ones).
  • Cake mixes, lots and lots of 'em (Johnny is asking for this for his birthday Nov. 29th)
  • icing for those mixes! ;)
  • cookie mixes
  • tortillas (both kinds, corn and flour)
  • Oh, we need king size sheets and queen ones, too, but not as badly as we need twin
  • Large bags of splenda
  • Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Microwavable Popcorn (various flavors)
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Velveeta & Rotel
  • refried beans
  • any canned goods or preserved foods
  • sprinkles or other cake decor
  • beef stew mixes
  • ziploc bags

Ok, well, I'm sure I can think of other things, but I don't want to ask for too much-- ha! Thank you to all of you who send us goodies. We are so appreciative. It is always a blessing to get things from the States.

PLEASE NOTE:  We will have a total of 11 children living with us (our 4 kids, 6 orphans, and our friends' daughter) so please do not send things specifically for Andrew, Makena, Butterfly, and Emma because we are living as a community with everyone and don't want anyone to feel left out.

Johnny has a wish list on Amazon for books, check out the link which is in the right hand column on this blog.

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