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Entries from March 2012

The Money Post

If this is your first stop at our blog, rest assured we do not ask for donations in every posting, nor even in every other posting. It's more like once in a blue moon type of deal, though without the baby smurfs. 

Our life is sustained by the generosity of our donors. The little money we had was used up back in 2005. This means that in order for us to eat this weekend, we need donors. If we are to continue to care for the girls and boys that rely on us, we need donors. To reach out and feed, clothe, care for, and otherwise love the poor in our community, we need donors. 

Currently life has served up one of those perfect storm type situations for us. 

  • All our vehicles need repairs, insurance, and/or inspections. 
  • My driving license expired, and I need to acquire a Kenyan one.
  • We need money to cover paperwork related to registering the ministry here in Kenya. Which in turn is connected to me renewing my work permit. 
  • It's time to plow the farm. Right now I have about 4 acres that are available to plant. These acres belong to friends, but we have agreed to cooperate and share in the harvest.
  • School holiday is coming up, which means the girls and boys need to travel to visit relatives. Plus it would be nice for us and our children to get away for a day or two as well, visit a mall in Nairobi, go down a water slide, and eat good Italian food.
  • We had wanted to give our H.I.V. support group an opportunity to cook an Easter dinner for their families. 
  • Many people need medicines, food, school fees, clothes, uniforms, and everything else you can think of.
  • We need to pay rent.
  • We need to feed everyone, almost a 100 meals a day.

Gotta stop it with the bullet points before I overwhelm myself.

March has not been an easy month for us financially. I just paid our rent, yesterday.

Thank you to all those who have donated, your gifts have enabled us to continue to help bring a future and a hope to many people who otherwise have none. 

If you would like to donate here's how:

Checks can be made out to Kenya Fund and mailed to:

713 West First Street
Beaver Dam, KY 42320

100% of that donation is made available to us here in Kenya.

You can use PayPal, and send to back2kenya@yahoo.com or click the link on the side.

Western Union and MoneyGram are also available to us. Use my names Johnny Lee Brooks and send to Nakuru, Kenya. (Then email me the receipt number and answer to the secret question.)

Now that that is done, back to our regularly scheduled program. 


Internship

Having an email exchange with someone about interning and thought it would be useful info to post on the blog:

 

Here are my answers, or at least the best attempt at them:

  • What is it exactly that you do? What is your missions statement and goal of running this ministry? 

The first part of that question is easy enough to answer. We work primarily with orphaned/abandoned children. We have a girl's home, which is where we live, and a boy's home. Not traditional styled orphanages, but set up to be more family in nature. (Which is what orphan children lack, family.) This endeavor occupies most of our time and resources. We also work with impoverished families in the community. Helping them with food, medicines, clothes, counseling, school, and occasionally small businesses.

Now the second part is more difficult. We have no missions statement, and our goals are broad. Our goal is to give these children a future and a hope. To give them a family, which will catapult them into the rest of their lives.

  • Do you have religious affiliations? If so with what church or churches?

We do not participate in organized religion. Instead we follow Jesus and fellowship with whomever He brings into our lives.

  • Who runs the ministry?

Our leadership is linear in nature, meaning there is no one person at the top. Whatever we are good at, we lead at that thing. For example my friend Ali is knowledgeable in agriculture, so whatever farming endeavors we have going on he is in charge of them.

We do have a board, which consists of myself, my wife, a Kenyan friend, and an older couple in the U.S. Though the day to day decisions are made here in the field by us, the team.

  • How are you funded/ where does the support come from?

Our funding comes from individuals and/or groups. When we started this work we felt that God did not want us to do traditional fund raising, i.e. speaking from church to church. We rely mostly on word of mouth, social media, and our blog to get the word out. 100% of our funding comes from donors. We used our own money long ago, and now rely on the generosity of others.

  • How do you get the children?

I hope you mean the orphaned/abandoned children, cause I am not having a "birds and the bees" discussion through email. All the children we have with us came through our interactions in the community. We work with sick and impoverished people, and through that work we met these children.

  • Do they still have parents? If they do how does that work?

Two of our children do still have a mother, but she is mentally incapable of caring for them. Otherwise all the others are orphans.

  • How do you teach the children the Bible?

We have no formal Bible studies at our home. We do however attempt to model a life of faith, and have discussions on faith from time to time. The children do go to a Christian school, and so receive some instruction in the Bible there.

  • Do you bring them to church on Sundays?

We do not attend formal religious meetings of any kind. However the children are free to go to any meetings with friends on Sunday mornings. From time to time we meet together as a community and have communion as a meal together.

  • How much does it cost to intern with you?

We do not charge people to visit us. We have limited experience with interns, however we have never asked anyone to pay us to visit us or help us out. Though all your expenses would be your responsibility.

  • What would an internship look like?

That is a good question. I suppose that all depends on the goal or the field of study. Our visitors in the past have helped us with the work in the community, hung out with the kids, and assisted with household chores.

  • How long would an internship last?

This is not something I have thought on much. It could not be more than 3 months, as that is the longest visa one would be able to get.

  • What sort of training would I need to have?

You don't need training to love someone, just practice. Start loving the "least of them" wherever you are right now.

Hope that helps.

Johnny Brooks


What Is That On the Horizon?

One of our major goals is to be able to produce the majority of our own food. We would like to raise cows for milk and meat, chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits for fur and meat, goats for milk and meat, vegetables for decorations, and fruits for dessert. Feeding everyone is our biggest expense, and growing our own food would free up more money for the work we do in the community. Not to mention we would be in control of how healthy the food is, i.e. organic and humanely raised.

Currently this idea/vision/dream seems distant, like a tiny blip on the horizon. Yet not entirely unattainable, just needs more work. I’m not fundraising here, at least not yet. We are still in the learning phase, though we do need some funds.

Currently we have a little more than 2 acres we need to plant. This is a cooperative situation with a friend, his land our capital. We share the harvest. Helps him and gives us food.

I’m also working on utilizing the space we have at the house we rent. I’m not a gardener, so it’s trial and error for now. I have managed to produce 3 chickens, a pumpkin, a few herbs, and some compost.

Thursday’s child has far to go,


Why Me?

Back in December I was able to get an IPad 2, in fact two of them. I took the black one and Kate the white.

In no time at all I was doing 80% of my computing on the thing. Found lots of cool apps, uses for a more portable computer, and even one or two fun games. Synched music, learned how to use a touch screen, and even was organizing my gardening with Evernote.

Till one day it stopped charging. After determining it was not a problem with the plug, I decided to take it back for service/replacement.

Three weeks later I found myself in Nairobi, and at the official Apple dealer. Warranty still in effect, I figured they would replace it or fix it. Whichever, as long as it works when I get it back.

It will take three to four weeks for that to happen, or at least that is how it normally works according to the service dude.

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

 

 

P.S. I’m aware this is not a big problem. In our lives/ministry we deal with such humongous and monstrous problems that every now and then I like to think on the small ones.


Grace is something that eludes me most of the time. I mean I understand it intellectually. I can assent to the theological concept, but do I get it? I mean to ask do I live it?

Not really.

Most of the time I have to force myself to extend grace. I have to constantly remind myself that my Father in Heaven accepts me, and so I should reciprocate by embracing others. It is an exercise that does not come naturally.

Not that I'm saying that is a bad thing. After all I am a product of my life, and grace has not always been a big factor in said life.

I do look forward to the day when I can extend grace to all. 

Tuesday's child is full of grace,


Stop.

Take a deep breath.

Remind yourself that there is beauty in this life. Sure for many of us, that beauty is hidden. Hidden so well that we may only glimpse it once in our lifetimes, but it is there nonetheless.

I'm not talking about comfort. Comfort can resemble beauty, but it is only a mimicry. It lulls us into thinking that an IPad 2 is a thing of marvelous wonderous joy. Comfort creates in us a space where we can actually believe that chocolate cake can bring us joy. Comfort helps us to ignore the realities of life.

I'm not talking about attractiveness. Even a blobfish is beautiful. We use appearance to mask our disdain for the outsider or the outcast. We allow our cultural understanding of who or what is nice looking determine who we relate to. 

I'm not talking about creativity. Certainly creativity contains or resembles beauty from time to time, but's lets not forget that creativity gave us the nuclear bomb. 

What is beauty? Beauty is life.

If you are reading this, you are alive. That is beautiful. May not feel like it right now, but it is beautiful. Life itself. Not what we do with it, but the thing we call life is a wonderous, joyous, beautiful thing.

Monday's child is fair of face,


It’s tragic

OK, so this week hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been the best either. My friend Tricia got a stomach bug, and now I’m throwing up, Eowyn was throwing up, and well…. ICK.

We had a fight in the house which is resolved, and eight of us were on our periods.

Also this week, we got some turkeys and a goose. I thought the goose would like some water to splash in so I filled a basin and put it in the coop… Sadly, two turkeys drown in it. :/ I know, it was stupid, but it happened so now I’ve moved the goose to it’s own pen so s/he can play in the water safely now. It seems very happy there.

One of our baby chicks also died because the mom stepped on it.

All of our camera’s (including Tricia’s) have died, which is a HUGE loss.

Makena spent loads of time crocheting some animals, and the dogs decided to shred them.

And to top it off, this morning, the orphans-no-more decided to eat ALL of the breakfast, leaving none for the rest of us.

I think my week must get better.

~Kate

PS
I forgot to mention that we have an airlock on the hot side of our bath water, so no baths for me. Also Johnny’s ipad won’t charge, thus rendering his Christmas gift useless. I’m sure the list could go on, but I AM grateful for many many things! Perhaps that list should be posted tomorrow!


Turkey, turkey, GOOSE!

My neighbor has geese, turkeys, and chickens. I wrote her a note asking for some eggs to buy and put in the incubator with the hopes of growing our own.

She was out of eggs so I ended up buying 5 baby turkeys. While there, Emma and Eowyn fell in LOVE with the geese. The old ‘grandma’ of the house noted their affection and GAVE us a free goose!! She let us chase and pick whichever goose we wanted!

I think we caught the prettiest one of the bunch, and he/she is now a part of our fowl family! (PUN) <sadly, my nice Cannon digital camera broke this week, so I cannot add a photo here>.

I was so happy, I almost cried as I hugged her neck and blessed her for blessing me.

I hope these new birds adapt and do well together!

~Kate