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December 2010

Entries from November 2010

whine

For the first time in 3 years, we’ve managed to send all of our orphans off to various ‘relatives’ or friends houses for the holiday. Some people have helped us with the transport costs, and we are happy to have our biological family time…. it’s going to be a time of regrouping, bonding, and just enjoying our core and remembering who we are as a family unit…

IMG_0002 However, there is a reason why the orphans live with us to begin with. The reason is because their families cannot or will not take care of them. It has been brought to our attention that Edith, who is at her Aunt’s house, is eating only porridge. Beatrice and Sarah Muthoni are packed in with 20 or so other children at their aunt’s house, and their mother, who has gone insane and can’t care for them is still popping out babies each year. They also need food.

So it appears that our nuclear family time may be coming to an end soon. For now we are sending food to Edith, and hoping the aunt feeds her the food and doesn’t keep it for herself only. We are also sending food to Beatrice and Sarah’s family as well with the same expectation… we shall see how it works out.

In the mean time, I better start thinking about what I’m going to do if all of the children start coming back home for the holidays.

It was my hope to get a little vacation, but I’ve been down with the flu since the week before everyone left. I haven’t had MY time. I’m still fighting a fever every day…

Forgive me for whining. I am grateful in all things, but I’m hoping for just a little more time to be with my family… it’s a much needed refreshment.

 

~Kate Brooks


37th

Yesterday was my birthday, 37th. Happy birthday me! Which has gotten me to thinking about life and stuff. You know evaluating or reevaluating the choices I have made or the ones that have been foisted on me.

According to the world’s standards I’ve got precious little to show for my life. No property. No cars. No degree. No money. The lack of those things bothers me very little, I really don’t have any need or desire to attain vast holdings in this life. What does matter to me is family.

Family, and I mean more than just my immediate one, has become my life blood. I’m working hard to build a strong community by building a strong family. We may not have a Land Rover or Prado, but we have love. Because we have that love we have happiness and contentment. (Not that we are immune to wanting nice cars. That desire just doesn’t drive us.)

The ministry, or whatever it’s called, has grown beyond my wildest dreams. Almost daily someone is rescued because we are here in this place right now. Almost daily. I couldn’t have asked for any greater success. Sure hardly anyone knows about us and what we do, but still we manage to survive. No, that’s not true. We manage to thrive.

All in all I am happy with my life. It’s not where I thought I would be at 37, but I wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s life.


Double Blessing (Guest Posting)

This is from Natalie. (Click here if you are wondering why she is posting on our blog.) She seems to get what it means to give yourself for a child. The decision to adopt or assist a child is a big one. (That of course being an understatement.) You never know what will happen. You plan for a, b, and c but then x, y, and z are thrown in. Not multiple choice either. It’s the whole alphabet or you remain mute. No in-between when it comes to children.

 

UNEXPECTED MOTHERHOOD

Something most girls dream of all their lives is getting married and having children. Becoming a wife is the first part of that equation, followed by becoming a mother. Both dreams usually come true eventually, and with little effort-- at least for most women. In my own life, the wife part was easy once I let God choose my husband...and I’m sure glad I did! After the wedding, like most normal couples, our thoughts turned towards having a family. Unfortunately, four years of trying to have children made us wonder if this “natural” thing was ever going to happen.

A LIFE-CHANGING QUESTION

One day the phone rang and our pastor’s wife was on the other end. She asked, “Have you ever thought about adoption?” The answer to that question would literally change our lives forever. The next month and a half turned into a whirlwind of excitement and activity. We met with the birth mother, we prayed, we discussed it all with our families, and we came to the conclusion that this adoption was definitely what we wanted to do. I was able to go to our birth mother’s first doctor appointment at the beginning of December. She thought she was already in her eighth month, but wasn’t sure. The doctor conducting the exam was having a challenge hearing the heartbeat without an echo, and told us that there would be no hiding the heartbeat if she was looking in the womb. So, down the hall we went for an impromptu sonogram.

A DOUBLE BLESSING

It seemed we stared forever at the screen. Then the doctor began to grin. “Well,” she said, “it looks like we are having twins.” I am sure I must have looked shocked, because the birth mother looked over at me and said “do you want both of them?” Quickly, and without hesitation, I answered “YES!” A subsequent sonogram revealed that both babies were boys, and a revised due date for their arrival was set for February 14. But as with most twins, they did not wait that long. Shortly after the holidays, on January 5th, our sons made their debut. It was love at first sight for me! They were wonderful and beautiful all at the same time. I did not know that such a feeling could exist inside me for two little people I had only just met.

ANXIOUS MOMENTS

When my husband and I finally got to go in the nursery and see the boys, I was only allowed to hold one. They called him Twin B, but we called him Timothy. The other, whom they called Twin A, was not doing as well as his brother. We called him Caleb. My heart was in my throat at the thought of losing one before I even got to know him. So it was time to make the call to family and friends for prayer. I was determined that they were both going home with us. In every sense of the word I had already become a mother. Timothy grew strong quickly and was released after 7 days. We brought him home from the hospital and left Caleb in the hands of the doctors and God. Between the feedings in the middle of the night, the visits to the NICU, and working at my job, I do not remember much about that time. Everything was a blur. Life was suddenly very different, as it is for any new parents. But by the end of February, we experienced God’s full measure of faithfulness to us as our little Caleb had his “homecoming” as well.

FAITHFUL TO DELIVER

The Lord and I had lots of conversations in the wee hours of the morning during feeding time. He spoke to my heart about many things, and used the boys as teaching tools. It may have been a physical feeding for the babies, but it was spiritual feeding time for me. When we were trying to have a baby and nothing seemed to be happening, we felt like “God, this is taking way too long!” But, when He answered our prayers and we multiplied from a couple to a family of four in only two months, our attitude was “Whoa, God! Things are moving too fast!” Nevertheless, we learned God is faithful to deliver on His promises even when His timing is different than ours.

LIFE LESSONS

Our sons just celebrated their 9th birthdays, and have been true blessings in our lives. They look and act so much like our own families that we joke that they must have our DNA! God knew all along we would be the ones to raise Caleb and Timothy, but we had to be obedient to Him for it to happen. I love sharing my personal adoption experience with others, because I see it as an example of God’s love for mankind. Without relationship with God, the Bible describes us as spiritually fatherless. We may still have our earthly father, but we don’t have a Heavenly Father. The Bible says in Luke 19:10 that the “Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” I can just picture the Lord getting a call from his Son Jesus, “Dad, I have another one for you. Can we adopt her as well?” Through His loving kindness, and without hesitation, He answers “YES!” As an earthly mother, if I fell in love immediately with my two boys the second I saw them, how much more does God love us from our moment of creation?

LOVING CHOICE

Here’s a little known fact you may not know-- when you are legally adopted, it’s impossible to be disinherited in the eyes of the law. Bearing natural children could be considered “unexpected”, accidental” or “unplanned”. But with adoption, you go through a great deal seeking out a child to call your own, many times at a greater expense than normal pregnancy and birth. Adoptive parents make solid, reasoned choices to raise a child—premeditated actions that are not at all “unplanned.” Isn’t that how God works to make us His children? Our Heavenly Father does not “unadopt” or disinherit us! We can choose to walk away from Him, just as the prodigal did from his father. But He chooses not to ever walk away from us. Like a natural inheritance, a spiritual inheritance is always there for our benefit if we’ll just stay around to receive it. If God not only came to find us, but sent His only Son to die for us, let me ask the same question my pastor’s wife asked me: “Have you ever considered adoption?” Your adoption, by your Heavenly Father? Take this opportunity to pray and think about it. I guarantee that the answer to this question will literally change your life forever!


Guest Author?

Do you want to be famous? rich? blessed? fit in? If so then don’t even consider writing a blog posting for us.

That’s right. You heard me. I’m looking for some guest posts. Written by our readers.

Why? We’re interested in what you have to say, or I’m just lazy and don’t want to write articles right now.

A few rules:

  • You can’t write about how great we are. We already know we are awesome.
  • No soliciting for money. Even though we need money, people don’t want to hear another plea at this time of the year.
  • The post needs to be about how you live out your faith, or someone you know, or something along those lines.

That’s it. Now lets see how many of you are reading and willing to devote a little time to writing.

One last thing; Don’t let the lack of writing ability stop you. I don’t.

Oh, one last last thing; email me the post : afutureandahope@gmail.com


totally confused

Yesterday and today, our orphan kids are all travelling ‘home’ for the holidays to visit various relatives from their rural homes. This is the first time we’ve been able to send everyone away since we started doing orphan care….

Emma Caite was just 8 months old when she met her new Kenyan sisters. She’s learned to walk, talk, and boss since that time, but when it comes down to it, these Kenyan sisters are all she’s ever known.

Now that they are leaving for relatives’ houses, Emma Caite, (who will be 4 in Jan.),  is quite confused.

I realized today that I’ve never really explained to Emma WHO these girls are. I mean, we’ve incorporated them into our family equally. They are her SISTERS. She’s never questioned why they look a little different, because to her, they look the same. It’s all she’s ever known, and she can’t understand their circumstances which is why they live with us to begin with.

So now the darker kids are all leaving for a month, and Emma Caite is left wondering….

And today, I just realized that I had never explained to Emma what we do and why we do it. I started to… but as soon as I did, I realized it would bring a division she doesn’t need. She will learn in her own time.


Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all our U.S. readers!

It’s gumbo for us tonight. No turkey this year. Neither Kate nor I care much for it. All the African girls are off visiting relatives, or on the way, so it’s just the Brooks’, Pauline, and her 2 children for dinner.


The Next Christendom (book review)

The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global ChristianityThe Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like reading the work of futurists and speculating alongside them about the coming events. Philip Jenkins is not a futurists, but his book The Next Christendom does make future predictions about the Christian religion.

His view is a shift in the religion from being ruled and dominated by the Global North to the South. Mainly Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Lots of numbers in the book. Recitation of statistics, again, again, and again. Makes for some dry reading.

However the historical recap of Christianity is nice. He attempts to correct our view of Christianity as a Western religion by reminding us of it's roots in the East. In fact the history parts of the book were by far my favorite.

I do have an issue with his definition of who is a Christian and who is not. For his book and stats he counts anyone who claims to be a Christian as one. Also seems that he includes people as Christian if someone else claims they are Christian, like a parish priest or a government official. I would have preferred a more strict definition, i.e. the faith has to have caused some tangible change in your life.

He also avoids the financial issue. He spends a good deal of time discussing the shift of Christian leadership to the South, where the theology and practice are more conservative and Pentecostal in nature. His view is that this will cause change in the North, where we tend to be more liberal in our theology. Having lived in Kenya now for almost 6 years I do see this conservative and Pentecostal trend. However I don't see the church putting up much of a serious challenge to the north's liberalness. Primarily due to the need for funds. Money changes everything.

All in all a decent book for those interested in the future of Christianity.

View all my reviews


Passion

Are you on fire for God? Do your eyes sparkle when you talk to someone about His love for you? Do you feel the goose bumps? Chomping at the bit to go out and do something for the Lord? To expand the Kingdom?

Yes? Great. Me not so much.

Just being honest here. I’m just not that passionate of a guy. Well actually I am not that expressive.

I do have passion for Him and what He has us doing here in Kenya. We’re saving lives each and everyday (practically speaking not just “spiritually” speaking.) The Kingdom is being expanded due to what He is doing through us and with us. Yet I don’t really feel like jumping up and down and shouting.

I’m just not that kind of guy. My life is more matter of fact. I just see what is there and state it.

Does this mean something is wrong with me? I used to think so. Once upon a time I looked around at the church and saw all these excited and passionate folks, and felt bad. Guilty even.

I have since come to grips with who I am and the type of personality I have. Johnny is low key. (Unless cake is involved.)

Besides my wife, Kate, has ample passion and excitement. Enough to cover any deficit in me.


Highlights

So much is going on here at A Future and a Hope…

Let me highlight a few things:

School is closing next week for everyone. We are sending as many of our girls to their rural homes as we can. Some don’t have families to visit, but we are hoping we can find a place for them for the whole month of December. It’ll be the first time in three years that we’ve been ‘just the Brooks,' if we pull it off. Ok, Ben and Pauline, little mercy, and baby Christine may be around here, too…

Today 5 of our girls are on a class trip to Kisumu. They are excited! We’ve packed snacks and drinks and polished up their shoes. They even stayed home from school yesterday, per a teacher’s request, to get their hair braided neatly for the trip.

We could use prayer right now. There’s a virus going around. It’s causing bad headaches and high fevers. It seems to be passing through lasting about 4 days of fevers and who knows how long the coughs will last. The baby has been spared thus far. It is my hope it stays that way.

Well, those are the highlights!

Thanks for keeping up with us.