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Entries from March 2011

Mass Email

I sent out an email to our mailing list today, only I accidently selected the wrong field for choosing who gets the list. So some people didn’t get it, and some folks who had requested to not get it got it. Anyway it was a technical error on my part, or really I should just blame it on my wife and kids. They do constantly interrupt me all day long, mistakes are bound to happen.


If you missed it here is the text of the email:


I had this crazy idea of forgoing the mass monthly email and relying on the blog and social media to communicate with everyone. Turns out, not everyone reads the blog regularly nor are all of you on Facebook. So here we are, reunited like long lost relatives.

I want to reiterate my promise to not bombard you with requests for funds. Surely finances will come up from time to time in these emails, but hopefully we can keep the begging to a minimum.

These emails, which will typically occur once a month, are to serve as a reminder; A reminder to think about us, pray for us, send checks, and to check out the blog (and Facebook.) Should you wish to be removed from this email list, just send me a note and I will delete you. Please forward our info to as many people as you think would be interested in what we are doing here in Kenya. We are always interested in meeting new people.

Our blog is running strong; we update it several times a week. It has evolved to be more about the project and less about theology or religion. I do from time to time pontificate on those subject matters; however, you are free to ignore my ramblings. Our blog is the best way to keep abreast of what is going on. Feel free to visit and leave a few comments.

We use Facebook primarily as a way to keep our sanity. It’s an avenue for relationships with people from our own culture and language. We are real people and our updates, comments, photos, etc. reflect our humanity. Here are our Facebook links:

I can say we are living our dream here in Kenya, a dream that would not be possible without the support of our friends. Never assume we are too busy to answer an email, phone call, Skype call, or Facebook post. We need those things, and hopefully have something to offer others as well.

Many Blessings,

Johnny Brooks

Nursery School Update

The construction on the new nursery school is going much quicker than we had anticipated. The goal was to have the thing under roof in 2 months, but it appears that it will be done within one. Lonnie offered the contractor a bonus for getting it done faster, and it seems that did the trick. Of course there will still be much work to do after we get the walls and roof up, but it’s good to see those things done quickly and well.

I hope to get some pictures up today. Lonnie has all the photos on his computer, and he’s taking a nap right now. He stayed up all night last night. Not sure what the deal is, perhaps delayed jet lag?

Don’t ever leave me…

A few weeks ago, while at the funeral of Grace’s bio-mother, so many things were going through my mind. At moments, I wanted to say, “Here lies a woman who has caused great pain in the lives of many, but it is my hope she finds grace and forgiveness when she meets our Father…” But one can’t speak the truth at a funeral.

It seems I wasn’t the only one pondering what was going on. Emma Caite, age 4, seemed deeply concerned. I could see her constantly looking up at her daddy with puzzled expression as she questioned him about the coffin and if there was a body inside…

I was standing by Grace with my arms around her when Emma ran up to me and inquired, “Mommy, Grace’s mom is dead?”

“Yes, honey.”

Then after a long pause and with a look as if to say, ‘I’ll never let you go…’ Emma Caite wrapped her arms around me and held me tight.

It was the sweetest hug I’ve ever received.

Another angle--

Just thought I’d remind everyone that Babu, aka Lonnie Hatfield, has a blog as well. If you’d like to get a fresh look at things from his angle, check it out by clicking on the link above called Babu Lonnie or clicking here.

Andrew turned 13

March 21st, 1998 was one of the best days of my life. Andrew was born at our home (which happened to be the attic of some friends in Beaumont, TX). I love this kid. This past week, he turned 13.

new clothes for drew5

Here’s a photo of when we first moved to Kenya. You can see how much all of my kids have grown! Two of them didn’t even exist! R to L Andrew 6 yrs old, Butterfly 1 yr, Makena 4 yrs.

our first week in Kenya

Things that make me happy…

Today as I was about to jump in the bath, I thought, “I’m SO glad we have a hot water heater and a bath tub.”

One thought led to another, and I began to make a list of ‘the little things’ that make me smile inside…

The obvious ones are my husband and kids, but I’m talking about actual THINGS. Here’s my list:

my mini
converse shoes
having a hot water heater with a thermostat
my bath tub
my phone
doing what I always dreamed of- living in Africa
Husky my Eskimo dog
making people smile
seeing the kids play outside
the girls tidying up the house
getting things in the mail
seeing lots of notifications on my FB account
creating something

Yup. These are a few of my favorite things. Call me materialistic if you will, but those things actually cheer me up.


Why Swim Upstream?

Recently I blogged about going against the flow of institutional Christianity and normal missionary behavior. Which brought me to the following question: Why would one want to do that?

I mean really, it causes lots of headaches. Generally speaking most people just don’t understand, or rather choose not to understand. What I say, what I do, who I am is hardly ever interpreted in the right light. Pushing against the system means that you are struggling with the people in those systems, and that often is seen as an attack on them personally.

Example: The way I use the word religion verses how some folks use the word. I define religion as obligation to a man made system designed to earn or curry favor with a god, or even The God. In my view religion is set up so that we can work our way into Heaven, or whatever version of the afterlife one may believe in. While others may define religion as faith, or the practice of their faith. Then my rejection and attacks on religion can be taken the wrong way.

So why not drop it? I mean after all the more people you please the more funds you can raise, and therefore the more children you can rescue. Right?

I don’t have the time right now to explain how that particular logic just doesn’t work, instead I’ll just say that I can’t drop it.

To pretend to be something I am not has become the deadliest sin that I can think of. To lie about who I am so you can like me makes me feel dirty. I have to be who I am. Plus I earnestly believe God asked me to be who I am, I believe He created me to be who I am. It would be contrary to His will for me to pretend to be Baptist so that the Baptist folks will donate to our project. It would be a sin.

I swim upstream to spawn.

I swim upstream to avoid being downstream of the herd.

I swim upstream to be with Jesus, John the Baptist, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and others.

I swim upstream because that is where the best food is. Food untainted by the herd.

Anniversary Gift

Kindle and Johnny Brooks My wife gave me a Kindle for our anniversary last month, and Lonnie brought it with him from the U.S. (The wireless service works here in Kenya, but Amazon will not ship here. They say they can’t ship Kindle’s to a P.O. Box, but that is all we have here.)

Kindle books can be gifted, and I do have a wish list up on Amazon. Not all the books on my wish list are available on the Kindle, but a number are. Plus I’m open to reading stuff not on the list.


Here are some instructions from Amazon on how to gift a Kindle book:

Purchasing Kindle Books as Gifts

Any Kindle book available for purchase in the Kindle Store can be given as a gift to anyone with an e-mail address. You do not need a Kindle to send or receive Kindle book gifts, and the recipient can read their gift on a registered Kindle device or any free Kindle reading application.

To gift a Kindle book, click the Give as a Gift button located under the Buy button on Kindle Store product detail pages. You can also gift Kindle books through your recipient's Amazon Wishlist. Note that free books, books on pre-order, periodicals and other content in the Kindle Store cannot be gifted at this time.

To complete your Kindle Book gift order:

  1. Enter the personal e-mail address for your gift recipient.
  2. Enter an optional gift message.  If you'd like to preview the notification your recipient will receive, click thePreview E-mail button.
  3. Click the Place your order button to finish your gift purchase using your Kindle 1-click payment method.

Note: Make sure you enter the personal e-mail address for your gift recipient, not their e-mail address.

Gift Notification

Your gift recipient will be notified of their gift at the e-mail address you provide.  We will send a notification at the time the gift order is placed.

Paying for Digital Gifts

Purchases of Kindle book gifts use your default 1-Click payment method. If you do not have a 1-Click payment method set up, you will be prompted to do so during the purchase process. We'll charge your credit or debit card when you place your order. Kindle book gifting currently requires a credit or debit card on file, even if the price of the item will be fully covered by an Gift Card or promotional balance.

Viewing and Resending Gift Orders

You can see the Kindle book gifts you've purchased in Your Account. From the order summary, you can redeliver the gift if needed.
Note: We'll only charge your payment method when you initially place your gift order.
To view a Kindle Book gift order:

  1. Visit Your Digital Orders in Your Account.
  2. Select "All Digital Orders" from the pull-down menu and click the GO button.
  3. Click the View Order button next to the gift order you want to see.

To resend your digital gift:

  1. Click the "Resend it" link on the Order Summary.
  2. Click the Resend digital gift button.

Swimming Upstream

I recently watched this video* about nonconformist rising up and fighting against society, and other such notions. Which got me to thinking that most of us really have no idea what it is to swim upstream.

Mainstream media and our Western conceptions about how life is, have created in our minds the idea of a rebel or nonconformist. You know the bad boy who really is a good boy wearing a black leather jacket. Or sporting tattoos and piercings. Because we all know that resisting society’s skewed notions of fashion and flaunting our disregard for it’s mores is what makes someone a rebel.

Seriously. We have been brainwashed into thinking this way.

I’m not discounting this fight, well not more than half off anyway, but there is more to being a nonconformist than dressing and talking weird.

To swim upstream against society actually makes you an enemy of that society. Meaning you really can’t function or survive for long within that particular group.

I just don’t see these supposed nonconformist being persecuted.

What we need are people who shuck off the rules and bring attention to the glaring inequalities in our world. People who show us the truth, not with the clothes they wear nor the hip way they speak, but instead with the sacrifice of their lives.

What does this have to do with what’s going on with us here in Kenya?

One of the few things that I really know without doubt that God has spoken to me, is to be myself. Just to live the life that I am happy with. To speak out against untruth as I see it. To function within the Kingdom of God in a way that I was born to do.

This puts me at odds with the norms for missionaries. I often am swimming upstream when it comes to theology, practice of my faith, fundraising, etc.

We have lost donors because I refuse to condemn someone to hell. We have lost dollars because of how I feel about the Bible. We have lost friends because we no longer practice an institutional form of Christianity.

I say that not to solicit pity nor to brag about my nonconformist ways of life. I say this because it is central to who I am and vital to our work/ministry.



*Can’t find the video now. Guess that proves I’m not following the save your browsing history crowd.