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Entries from October 2010

Quote of the Week

  So rather than look at parables straight on we sometimes only discover the meaning they contain for us by closing one eye and tilting our heads and looking at them sideways.  So while it's tempting to look straight on and see the story of the persistent widow as a self-help technique by which we can get all the cash and prizes we want out of God's divine vending machine if we just kind of bug God to death through ceaseless prayer, when it comes down to it, we know better. And when we find ourselves saying something is a “answer to our prayer” we might do well to ask what exactly, is an answered prayer? Do we only think God answers by giving us what we ask for?  We know that just praying hard enough or righteously enough doesn't get us what we want. We know better because even in the midst of prayer we have seen cancer be defeated and we have seen cancer win. We've seen the powerful exploit the weak and we've seen the weak rise up. We've seen teenagers who flourish and we've seen the sullen reality of depression steal the joy of youth.

 

From the blog Sarcastic Lutheran

http://sarcasticlutheran.typepad.com/sarcastic_lutheran/2010/10/sermon-on-prayer-and-the-persistant-widow.html


Miracles of Provision

I was thinking of the economy and how messed up it is, when it occurred to me that this could be a good time to testify of how God has provided for us each and every day. Let’s go back in time a bit….

Picture 009-1 We arrived in Kenya in January 2005 with $600.00 in our pocket. Nothing in the bank, and no promise of a paycheck. We had no home, no furniture, no money for the ministry, we had $600.00.

Right away we had to spend about a $100.00 or so to travel from Nairobi to Nakuru. I was stressed. In the beginning I had a hard time trusting God. I had learned to trust my job, family, and my own giving. Now here I was thousands of miles away from home without any ability to earn money.

Despite my unbelief God provided. Of course through individuals and churches, but that is how he provides 99.99% of the time. Soon we had a house and at least some furniture. (We wore out the little portable DVD player the first few months here. No t.v. and no regular DVD player. We watched the Lord of the Rings over and over in those months. I even managed to get through all the commentaries. We soon wore out the DVD drive on the laptop as well.)

That first year was really tough for me. There were actual days when I had no idea how we were going to buy food to eat for the next day. Without fail, and without advertising the fact that we didn’t have any money, food, money, and whatever we needed would become available. Sometimes at the very last minute. Like the time we were sitting around wondering what to feed the kids when there was a knock on the gate. A group of about 15 people from a church I had preached at came pouring in. They brought food, cups, bowls, and tools to help cut the grass. No one told them we needed help, they just came trying to live out what I had taught at their meeting.

God was teaching us to trust him.

480px-HurricaneRita21Sept05a Hurricane Rita managed to disrupt the majority of our donors, and prevented us from receiving donations through the mail for several months. By the end of October of that year we were out of money, and had no hope of being able to receive any.

Just when things were bleakest we received a donation that provided for us till January 2006. God provided at just the right moment and through just the right channels.

I could go on and on. There are many more tales of God’s provision, hopefully I can sort them out in my mind and share them.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to trust Him, but that is exactly what we need to do. I keep falling off that horse, thankfully and mostly because of my wife’s faith, and our friends, I am able to get back on and continue the ride.


Round Up (Not the Weed Killer)

DSCF0063 Some of you noticed that Ben had posted on his wall about a young man named Walter, who was being held prisoner in a hospital over an unpaid bill. Thanks to several folk’s generosity he is now free and home!

 

 

 

DSCF0065 He has a nasty scar, but the problem is fixed. Plus he’s alive, which is better than being dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also today I will pay the last 3 school fees of the year. Yay! Thanks again to those who made it possible. We are also buying shoes for 4 of the boys today. According to Ali, they were desperate for shoes. Sure wish someone would tell me these things before the situation is desperate.

Sometimes I really like being part of the expression of God’s love.


Pictures of the week

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I saw Makena wearing the wings yesterday and took a quick snap.

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‘The guys’ are testing out the volleyball area they worked so hard to prepare this week. It took two days of shoveling dirt and leveling the back yard, but now it’s level, and we can play! Thanks goes out to our boys’ home’s dad, Ali, and a few of his friends who did all of the manual labor!

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Here’s the skyline view of my front yard taken from our porch.

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Our street. The girls, Makena, Grace, Sarah, and Mildred are walking home.


His part, Her part

It’s EARLY in the morning this Thursday, October 21, 2010. I am up with my mind already planning the day.

Johnny and I are opposites, as you may be aware. Thus, our project runs pretty smoothly. My mind right now is on our huge family. I’m thinking about meals, school, and of course, how I’m going to make this new house a home. (One doesn’t have to be pregnant to try to nest.)

Progress has been made at our new headquarters. Plumbing issues are being resolved. (Only a few more to go). We put up most of the playground, but it still needs some painting. I put up some curtains in the girls’ rooms yesterday, hung some things on the walls…. I was IMG_0048busy. I still want to paint the various rooms. One of today’s goals is to get part of the backyard leveled so we can put up a volleyball area. It won’t be standard size, but it’ll be big enough. Ali is bringing some of his friends to help with that. I also must contact the local chief to do something about the huge number of stray dogs coming in our compound. That’s another issue. I’m getting a table made where our family can eat together, and my mind is constantly occupied with ‘what color shall I theme in this room?’ I know, it’s all unimportant stuff, but I’m happy to be making things homey on a budget.

Now Johnny, on the other hand, has his mind on the important stuff such as feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, etc… He’s going to buy food for the month for the boy’s home today, and he has some people who need surgeries and hospital fees paid… that’s the amazing stuff he has to tackle today. I even think he’ll work more on Eowyn’s birth certificate, too. Not sure. However, we all play our parts. His part, her part, and your part. Thank you for helping make all of this possible.

Ah, after typing this, it’s finally 5:01 am. Gotta start cookin’ so the girls will have breakfast before heading off to school… that is part of MY part.

~Kate


Yesterday, I’m Glad You’re Finished

Yesterday was one of those days where nothing really goes right. If it could be screwed up, it was.

Car broke. Not sure what it is, but it is for sure not right. The loud clicking sound it is now making confirms that to me.

The photocopiers did not copy Kate’s documents correctly. Not sure what she was expecting. We pay 2 Kenyan shillings per copy, which is approximately 0.025 dollars. I think we shouldn’t really expect much.

I’m not going to go through all the little things that irritated me yesterday. Suffice it to say that on their own none of them were serious, but compiled into one day….

We did manage to get some paperwork done relating to `Eowyn’s birth certificate. I still need to go to the records office, but we managed to have two, count em two, chiefs sign and stamp our paperwork.

I hope today is smoother, and if not I’m hoping I’m smoother.


Putting it out there

As I sit here in my bedroom, there is a baby asleep on my bed. The teens are watching a DVD in the sitting room, and I can hear the little ones talking and giggling in their room playing. Life is good for the children at A Future and a Hope…

I feel like often times we don’t tell everyone specific needs that we have. It’s difficult for me/us because we don’t like people to feel pressure. So don’t. Don’t read on if this ‘openness’ bothers you.

However, for the sake of making our needs known to those who like to support us, here are some needs we currently have. I thought I'd just put this out there since I feel as if so many of you really care and want to help these kids have a future and a hope. Again, don't feel any pressure to give, I’m just making the needs known. We love you all, and appreciate the encouragement we get from friends!

School fees are due for:
Gregory, John, Enoch, Richard, Edith, Mercy Atenio, Mercy Anyango, Beatrice, Mary, and Teresa. (Approximately, $75 each)

Enoch, Richard, Gregory, and John all need school uniforms which will cost about $220 total.

It would be nice if our Kenyan kids could visit their relatives this December when they are off of school. Travel expenses plus food money will be about $100 per child. If we manage to send off everyone,  the Brooks clan can have a much needed small holiday as a nuclear family, if we can afford to after sending the others off. I’m trying to plan this ahead of time—being hopeful.

A big water tank is needed for our family to survive here at the new house. I’m not sure how much one costs, but I am certain it’s expensive. I’m looking in to it.

There are other needs, wishes, and wants, but for now, those are the most pressing ones.

Thank you for caring enough to read on. So many people encourage us and participate in our family dynamic. We truly feel surround by love.

~Kate, mom to SO MANY!


Water

blog action day pic  

 

 

According to some statistics I read on one of the U.N.’s web pages each person needs 20 to 50 liters of water each day. That’s for drinking, cooking, and sanitation. That’s a lot of water, especially if you have to carry it home.

Many of the people we work with here in Nakuru do not have any indoor plumbing. No flushable toilets. No sinks to get water from. They have to get their water from somewhere else.

water_bike_3793 Most of the time it’s delivered by guys using bicycles. The consumer rarely knows where the water comes from, or even thinks to question where it comes from.

We have been attempting to educate as many people as possible to at least boil the water before using it. However this is an added expense to an already overburdened household budget. It’s often skipped.

Globally, diarrhoea is the leading cause of illness and death, and 88 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities, together with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water.

That’s another quote from a U.N. page. Safe water would go a long way to improving many people’s lives.

Today (oops forgot to post this yesterday)is Blog Action Day and the topic is “Water.” Please join in the conversation and help bring more people clean safe water.


Promises?

If you give a gift to us and what we are doing here in Kenya, and I hope you will, I can’t guarantee God will bless you back 10 fold, 20 fold, or a 100 fold. I can’t promise returns of fortune, blessing, good times, or anything at all.

What I can guarantee is that we will use that money to care for the girls and boys that live with us. We will pay for their educations. We promise to feed them, to clothe them, to entertain them. Most of all, your gifts enable us to live here in Kenya full time and love these children.

We are their family now.

I promise that we will continue to help the poor in the community. We will take young teenage girls with H.I.V. to the hospital when they are sick. We will feed hungry children and adults. We will fight for them against a world that only wants to exploit them.

This I can promise.

We will follow Jesus wherever He leads us. He has asked us to forgo our culture, jobs, family, and all the security we once knew. I sometimes wonder why, or even if there could be an easier way. Yet despite the difficulties, it is all worthwhile when one of these kids can smile again, or experience real happiness and security for the first time.

I can’t speak for God and make promises on His behalf. I can’t tell you that if you ‘pay it forward’ the universe will repay you.

I can only speak for myself and my family. We promise to continue to pour whatever resources folks make available to us into the ‘least of these.’