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February 2012

Entries from January 2012

You’ve got Mail! (A family breakthrough)

It all started with a medium sized cardboard box, color pencils, and a clever idea from Butterfly and the artistic skills from Makena…

Four and a half years ago, we opened our home to some orphaned girls in need. Each one has a story to tell, and a past I can’t even relate to.

Over the years, I have struggled to get these girls to open up, tell me their stories and ‘let me in.’ Often times, I wonder, “Am I really helping? Is it worth it? Am I making a difference?”

The girls don’t express their feelings to me very often. They are scared of grownups in general. They have traumatic pasts of being forced to work at young ages by the grownups they trusted. They’ve lost parents, and lived for a time without being cared for in the slightest until moving in our home. It’s a life that most of us can NOT imagine in its entirety.

Let’s fast forward to yesterday when a little miracle happened.

Butterfly loves people. She loves communicating. In fact, she has her own blog, if you’d like to subscribe to it: www.butterflybrooks.wordpress.com Yesterday, she decided to convert a cardboard box into a MAIL box for their room.

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Thus the form of communication which the girls can relate to and feel comfortable with has begun! I have been getting letters in this mail box addressed “To Mommy” from the girls expressing what they were too scared to say verbally. One of my girls wrote her ‘story’ and told me about her past. Several letters have come expressing deep gratitude for what we’ve given them. I am surprised and comforted to hear these words which have gone unspoken.


Going Home with Baby

We have been trying to reach out to some prostitutes in Ali's community. I'm not talking about a big project meant to rescue or rehabiltate them, but instead just attempts at building relationships. We are trying to be there, when no one else can or will be there.

Ali texted me today letting me know of an opportunity for us to be there.

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This is the maternity ward where one of the young ladies went to give birth. Shirleen Njeru was born to Betty in this little maternity clinic here in Kenya. The baby has brought her joy, even if it's creation did not. 

Yet creed attempted to sabotage the happy birthday celebrations. Betty was unable to pay the bill and so the clinic decided to hold her captive. It's a common practice here in Kenya. If you can't pay they punish you by locking you in, along with your newborn baby.

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Here's the little bundle of joy.

We jumped at this opportunity to rescue them both and paid the bill. Mom and baby girl are home free now.

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Yes even though it's 300 degrees out she is bundled up well enough for the artic.


A Future and a Hope

 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NKLV


 This is our goal. We attempt to give the orphaned/abandoned kids a future. One that they have some hope in. Before coming to be a part of our family these children literally had no hope in any kind of future. It was virtually impossible for them to answer the "what do you want to be when you grow up" question. We wanted and want to change that.

We want kids who dream of being doctors, presidents, business owners, or whatever their minds can think of. We want a house full of girls planning weddings and kids names. We want boys dreaming of souping up a dirt bike and riding to the hot springs with their girl.

We are creating a space where there is hope in the future. Will any of these children be doctors? Impossible to answer right now. However just the opportunity to dream of it is a huge improvement.

Dreams are important. The future is important. Hope in those dreams of the future, perhaps the most important thing of all.


Confession

Yes, I admit it, I’m on a diet. Sigh, glad that’s off my chest.

At the beginning of last November I slipped and fell off the steps at our back door. Not a very high fall, and other than a bruised up knee no real injury to speak of. The fall did however cause me to come to the realization that I was too heavy to be easily moved by my small wife. So I started researching.

I don’t handle restrictions well, or truthfully not at all. If you tell me not to do something I will do it, it’s my nature. Trying to restrict my diet was something that I knew would not work with me. I like to eat until I’m satisfied. Starving myself  would just be setting myself up for failure.

I was looking for a way to change what I eat, instead of not eating. I found it in the Paleo diet, or at least a wheat free diet.

Two books influenced me in choosing this diet approach. The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation and Wheat Belly.

The first is set up to break your eating habits so you can recreate more healthy ones. It’s based on the concept of returning to a diet more alike what Paleolithic man ate. It’s all scientific and based on evolution. Essentially you remove all processed foods.

The second book, Wheat Belly, describes the changes that wheat has been subjected to over the past 40 or 50 years. It’s not a pretty sight, and encourages a wheat free diet.

Anyway the point is not to evangelize you to the Paleo/wheat free diet. Instead I’m simply informing you of what is going on.

We’re almost 100% wheat free. (We still have an off day and consume some wheat products on that day, for now.) We have completely removed margarine, seed oils, oils from petroleum, many other processed foods, and reduced sugar intake by 90% or so.

The menu has more meat and fresh vegetables on it, well actually that is the menu. Though we have to add in some restricted foods from time to time do to economics, but barring that our whole family now eats a paleo diet, at least at home.

Good thing is I don’t have to starve myself. By eliminating wheat and most sugar, I have shrunk 25 pounds since November.

Don’t worry about me I still have a few unhealthy items in my diet, like soda and alcohol, so my rebellious nature is sated for the moment.

I feel great and am looking forward to shrinking some more.


Can You Hear Me Now?

Thanks to a donor we were able to send Joyce, Ali and Virginia’s daughter, to be fitted for a new hearing aid.

Her current model is complete with a cord from her ear to a box in her pocket. Joyce being a teenage girl is naturally weary of wearing this older styled hearing aid. In fact I have never even seen it.

However she now has on order a new device that will not only enable her to hear better, but will be less conspicuous in her ear.

Joyce at the Audiologists Joyce at the Audiologists


On the Other Hand…

I love being able to help folks in the community who need a little boost (sometimes a big one) to get back on their feet. To preach the Gospel by actually feeding the hungry, clothing the nude, caring for the sick, and visiting those imprisoned, is truly an honor.

Yet I don’t always like having to make the tough decisions.

You know the financial choices. Do I pay the electricity bill or buy food? Which is more important; paying the girl’s school fees or helping a dying single mom get out of the hospital to spend her last moments on Earth with her children? Do I fix the van so the girls don’t have to walk to and from school or do I help pay for a baby’s surgery?

I’m not sure I always make the right choices.

By the way those are not hypothetical scenarios above. They and countless others are running around in my head everyday. I left the mom in the hospital. Not sure that was the right thing to do. The girls are in school and even have all their books (though we still need to pay the boy’s school fees) yet so many are still imprisoned in the local government hospital simply because they cannot pay their bills.

I sometimes resent these types of decisions, o.k. I always resent them.