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November 2007
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January 2008

Entries from December 2007

Goodbye 2007

2007 was a momentous year for the Brooks Family. Overwhelmingly, it was a good year. Sure, there were some rough spots, but I would not trade what I learned from them for anything. I thank God for 2007. It was a pleasure to serve Him, and I look forward to another year with Him.

Some highlights from 2007:

January

  • Emma Caite Brooks was born.
  • The same day she was born we bought a car, ending two years without our own vehicle.

February

  • I had much fun adjusting to driving here in Kenya. You know, they drive on the opposite side of the road from what I was accustomed to. Also, there is no defensive driving; instead, there is only offensive driving. The more offensive the better.
  • Our ministry shifted from being predominately about teaching people to help each other, to providing emergency food relief to families.

March

  • Kate and I committed to each other to open the orphanage before 2007 was finished. In fact, November was our target.
  • Andrew celebrated his 9th birthday.

April

  • Emma was declared a U.S. citizen.
  • Kate suffered through malaria. 
  • We continued to assist families with food, healthcare, and school fees.
  • Kate celebrated her birthday.

May

  • Some family offered to pay our airfare to the U.S., and so we began to plan a visit.
  • My car was "clamped" by the Municipal Council of Nakuru. This injustice went unnoticed by most of the world.

June

  • I stepped down as senior pastor of a church here in Nakuru in order to focus our resources on A Future and a Hope. 
  • We discovered the joy of introducing Kenyans to the idea of mixing Coke with ice cream. We continue to deliver this tasty concoctions to as many folks as possible.
  • Butterfly celebrated her 4th birthday.

July

  • Visited the U.S.

August

  • Still in the U.S. We visited many friends,family,and new friends while there.

September

  • Back in Kenya, our home. We came back with 16 pieces of luggage! Yes 16.
  • Located a house to start the orphanage in.
  • Leased land to start a farm on.
  • Grenade came into my life, and quickly out of mine and into Andrew's.
  • Bought a modem from Safaricom and for the first time in two and a half years had an Internet connection at home.
  • We expanded the voices on our blog.

October

  • Moved to the new house.
  • Invited Ben and Pauline to move in with us and help with the orphanage.
  • Edith and Grace, were the first orphans to move into our home.

November

  • Partnered with another ministry to help facilitate visiting the sick and dying.
  • Makena and I celebrated birthdays.
  • I learned how useful 33 U.S. dollars could be. Part 2 is here.
  • My mom got an email address.
  • We mixed up the dates for Thanksgiving Day and missed it.

December

  • Added Beatrice, Sarah, Mercy, and Sarah 2 to our home.
  • Tried to find the forgotten.
  • All our girls are HIV free!
  • Found schools for the girls to go to, some for the first time in a few years.

So there you have it.

 

Johnny Brooks

Missionary to Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for orphaned girls.


Congratulations

I am breaking our blog fast to congratulate His Excellency Mwai Kibaki on his reelection as the president of the Republic of Kenya. I pray that his second five year term in office will see more prosperity, peace, and improved quality of life for all Kenyans.

Congrats and well wishes to all the other victors in this general election. I pray that you will work tirelessly for a better Kenya.

This electoral process has not been all smooth. Hundreds have lost their lives leading up to the general election. Just today less than one hour after the announcement, fourteen people had already lost their lives. I pray that those who have lost will realize that destroying their own cities, towns, and homes will not change the outcome. Please use the legal system to fight, not our streets.

I understand that the vast majority of Kenyans have been watching and waiting quietly and peacefully in their homes. I pray for you. I pray that a few angry sore losers will not destroy all that you have worked for in the past five years. I pray that you will continue to prosper and will be able to give your children better lives. Kenya is divided, but I pray that cool heads will prevail. It is now time to join hands together and work towards a better Kenya.

God bless Kenya.

 

 

Johnny Brooks

Missionary to Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for orphaned girls.


Quote of the Week

“When you hear an opinion and believe it, you make an agreement and it becomes part of your belief system. The only thing that can break this agreement is to make a new one based on the truth. Only the truth has the power to set you free.”

Accredited to Miguel Angel Ruiz


Only in my dreams...

It's so neat! Just a few months ago, I was dreaming of how things might be around Christmas. I was dreaming of my house full of Kenyan girls who need help, celebrating Christmas together with our family. I was trying my hardest to imagine the various faces of girls yet to be in my home. It was all just a dream, but now...

That day is here. The stockings are hung on the chimney with care...All eleven of them! (We grownups aren't hanging ours.)002

It's lovely to share my Christmas with these beautiful children. Makena, Butterfly, and Andrew love having a big family, too. Emma, of course, does as well, but she's happy with whatever.

Happy Holidays, everyone!!

We may not post any articles for the next days between now and the new year. We'll pick back up in January with our annual reflections of the year.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

 

From:  Johnny, Kate, Ben, Pauline, Grace, Sarah A., Andrew, Sarah M., Mercy A., Beatrice, Makena, Edith, Butterfly, Mercy O., and Emma.


House Calls

We had our own little 'clinic' here at the house thanks to a friend of mine named Miriam. She brought HIV tests, de-wormer, anti-fungal cream, and malaria tests to the house so I wouldn't have to find a way to bring ALL of the girls to the office in town.

006We tested each of the children for HIV, though I must say, we told them it was a malaria test because we didn't want anyone to be offended, HIV has a stigma.

Makena loves showing her bravery, so she was the first one to get her finger poked for the HIV test.

Despite the fact that some of these girls lost their parents to AIDS, we are proud to announce that every one is healthy and all the tests came out negative.

Below is a picture of Grace getting her test done. It works just like a home pregnancy test only with blood instead 013of urine.

Thanks for making these things possible!


A chance to get an education...

026Today we took our girls to get their school uniforms. After we got home I was in my bedroom/office working. I didn't notice that the girls were so excited that they all decided to put on their PE uniforms! They asked me to take a photo of them. I don't think I've ever seen them smile so much!

Thank you for helping us give these girls a good education.

We still need to pay school fees, buy text books, school supplies, and buy specific shoes for their uniforms.

Since education is not free in Kenya it is difficult for an orphan to get educated at all. Most of these girls are very bright, but they are not in the grades they should be do to gaps in their education. For example, when Grace, the oldest, age 14 was living at the previous orphanage, she was removed from school and was forced to be a slave (i.e. living in someone's home as their personal servant working day and night for no pay). When we took her for assessment at St. Ninians School, she couldn't pass 2nd grade. She was so humiliated at the thought of going to 2nd grade when her age-mates are in 9th grade.  We decided that if I could catch her up, she'd be more comfortable in 5th grade. She's very bright, and she is really doing well in our tutoring sessions. I'm completely confident that she'll do well in 5th grade next year.

030

 

From left to right top row: Mercy A., Sarah A., Grace M.,

Bottom row left to right: Edith A., Beatrice N., Sarah M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some girls who are really excited about going to school!!

~Kate


Jiggers and ring worm

Most people know what ring worm is, Mercy has ringworm on her head, but do you know what a Jigger is?004

Mercy has jiggers in her feet. She never wore shoes and now a flea type insect has buried itself in her big toe, laid an egg inside under her skin, and the larvae is 011living in there. We have to remove it, and it's going to hurt. Well, actually it already hurts, but getting that little guy out won't be easy. There is no medicine for Jiggers. You just have to dig out the critter and treat the wound.

Today I have a Chemist friend coming to the house to give all of us de-wormer, test us all for HIV, and treat Mercy and Edith's ring worm.