Success!

The run was a success. It was a small gathering, but it is what God wanted to provide. We raised $520.00 which is fantastic. Please pray that this money will be used in the most strategic way possible. I am praying about starting up an e-mail list that would make it possible to give people updates on what is going on in Africa and-hopefully-what other fundraisers are going on to help out with these things. If you have any ideas, please let me know! If you would like to be involved in the e-mail list I am considering setting up, please shoot me an e-mail at twinkiesaregross@yahoo.com
Have a great Sunday!

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Woo hoo!!!!

Newest update on the blessings God has brought to the orphans of Kenya and Uganda!!!

The 270,865 (43,000 lbs) of nutrient enriched meals have finally been granted the “Exemption from Duty” Certificate that we have been working on for 10 months. Praise the Lord!
Through the difficulties of replacing staff, the situation brought a man into our lives (Martin) who was an ex-Custom Duty Officer who worked on the very dock in Mombasa where our food was being held. I met Martin at his request. I met he and the town Elders of Webuye as a result of them hearing about the difficulties as we replaced the managers of the Webuye Children’s Home. During our conversation I mentioned that we were disappointed in the former staff being unable to get the 40 ft. container that we had raised $9,000.00 to ship containing $45,000.00 worth of doanted food. It was then that “Martin” began to inform me of the “corruption” that abounds in the Kenya Custom Department and how that everyone wants a bribe to move the paper work to the next level. I was amazed and discouraged at the same time, knowing that we were not going to “bribe” anyone in this process. I felt that we would just be adding to the already corrupt culture of Kenya if we were to begin paying “bribes.”
I asked Martin if he thought he could assist us getting the food exempted from duty without paying bribes. Tears came to his eyes and he said, “If I could help get this food into Webuye for the hungry children, it would the largest thing I have ever done in my life.” What a divine meeting this was! What Satan meant for evil, God turned around and sent a man to us who could actually get the exemption certificate. (Otherwise – the duty was over $28,000.00 and the storage would have be $10.00 per day for 10 months.)
What an awesome God we serve. Thanks to all who have prayed for this action to be completed. God has heard and answered our prayers in a miraculous way.
On Monday, Godfrey and Martin will travel to Nairobi again to meet with the shipping company and then will go to Mombasa to sign for the release and shipment of the food to Webuye. They need around $300.00 for transporation and hotels in Nairobi and Mombasa for 4 nights. If you want to assist with an offering towards their expenses feel free to e-mail and let me know. You can go on-line and send it through Pay Pal at our site www.kenyaorphans.org
Thanks for you love for the orphans of Kenya. Together, and through our persistence, we are truly making a difference in the lives of many orphans. Now 844 orphans will receive a nutritious meal every day for an entire year. Praise the Lord!

Pictures

So, since I have been gone for so long, there has been a lot going on in life. In June, I left for Mexico for 5 days. It was an amazing experience that got me in the mindset for Africa. I never thought living conditions could be worse. I got back and left on the plane for Africa the next day. It was experience that changed my life and hopefully the lives of the kids I was around. When I left, I felt like I left a part of myself there. I have some pictures of both Mexico and Africa posted here.

Additionally, please check my Mom’s blog for another opportunity to bless the kids in Kenya. The skirts were a huge success in Webuye, Nambale, Kimilili, and Uganda. I was so blessed to see how blessed the orphans were by the skirts that everyone contributed.

Invisible Children

Check this out! I am planning on saving all my spare change up to buy some bracelets. What can we actively do with the blessings He has given us?

Africa Part 1

So, it has been a week since I’ve been back and I haven’t really told anyone much of anything. When it comes down to it, I realize that I am almost scared of telling people anything that happened while I was in Kenya. I get scared because I know I can’t even begin to portray it all to you. I am not able to explain to you exactly what Africa is like. You would have to be there. I can’t tell you how beautiful Africa and its people are. I can’t tell you what it feels like to eat your lunch while you know that kids in the next room are hungry. I can’t tell you what it smells like in a mud church filled with 250 Africans. But I am going to try, because it is my responsibility to tell you. From this, I hope that someone may be inspired to step out in His calling and make a difference for Him. I don’t know how long it wil take to get all of this posted, but I will do it until I have attempted to tell it all.
So, we left town on Wednesday the 27th. Me and my gang of cohorts (check out the sugar cane gang in my pics) were extremely excited. Outfitted in long shorts, comfy t-shirts, and bandannas, we were ready for the three days of travel necessary to get to the Kenya. We were so excited, even DIA was exciting. Whoa, check out the cool escalator things that are flat on the floor. I dunno what they were called. This early on in the trip, even they and the bright yellow tags we had to fill out to put on our luggage was exciting. 🙂
So, we took off on the flight from London to Denver. As I was too young to remember my last plane trip, I was pretty stoked. I was amazed at the fact that I could listen to music or watch movies. And food…Hmm, not too shabby. Believe my, by the time I got on my fifth plane at the end of the trip, I was not amused in the least bit. Anyway, we got to London in the middle of their day and in the middle of my night. I was awake enough to go explore London. Sure, London is exciting, but it paled in the anticipation of getting to Africa in a matter of hours. So, Big Ben, Thames River, changing of the guard, Houses of Parliament, yadda yadda, get me to Africa. 🙂
Next flight was from London to Nairobi. By the end of this, I haven’t slept in about 36 hours, not to mention showers. This gives credibility to the whole stinky American thing. As we are landing, I strain to see my first glimpse of Africa. Most people realize that airport runways and buildings are very boring and ugly. I didn’t think so. I was in freaking Africa and anything was amazing me. I saw the cool trees that are flat at the top. Acacia I later learned. Something I had worked towards for so long and dreamed about for years was actually happening. Now get me off the freaking plane and let me breathe it…
We got off the plane and had to get our luggage. After about an hour of filling out paperwork for visas and picking up our thousands of trunks filled with our belongings and clothes for the kids, we went outside. It instantly felt different. We were all in short and t-shirts and everyone was in jackets and pants. They told us it was winter. It didn’t feel like it. We practically had to chain our bags to our wrists, because Nairobi is such a dangerous place. It is a common occurence for things to be stolen.
Then our drive to Webuye, Kenya. My first experience with African “buses” and “roads”. They are really roads. They’re giant potholes and invisible speedbumps with road interspersed between. We were driving on this road for about 8 hours. Amazing the vehicles do this on a daily basis. I took so many pictures at this point. I look at them later and they all stink because they are out the window of a bumpy vehicle, but I had to record it all. After about 4 hours of taking it all in, I fell asleep. I didn’t want to, but couldn’t quite help it. I woke up when the whole car of Americans started exclaiming about baboons on the side of the road. That became a common occurence, but it was amusing. A few minutes passed, and we started seeing herds of zebra.
After a while, the inevitable occured. The infamous roadtrip bathroom break. I would soon learn that there would be many more to come. Some better than others. In all the time we were there, we came across one place with toilet paper. Our most common phrase soon (I’m sure one that made us closer as friends) became “Who has toilet paper?”.
After what seemed like a bazillion hours of travelling, we finally arrived in Webuye at the orphanage I have been waiting months to see. All the kids came running out saying things in Swahili. Right away, I saw my kid Osiemo. I have had a picture of him hanging on my wall for about 4 or 5 months, and something just totally happened over the time I had been praying for him. I am not the crying type and rarely admit it, but I almost started crying when I saw him.
We took all our bags in with the help of the Africans. The orphanage was an old hotel which is being renovated into one of the best buildings in all of Webuye. This hotel was formerly responsible for much of the spread of HIV and AIDS. This is the reason many of the kids are orphans, so it is amazing how God was able to turn a place of sin into something that brings him glory.
We had beds which was amazing. Many don’t. It is different than any bed most have ever slept in though. The mattresses are tiny sheets of foam with no pillows. It was lucky we Colorado kids felt warm, because many of the blankets have been used by kids and peed on. We all felt very thankful right away. These types of qualms quickly wore off though as the African adventure continued.
Right away, we got out some paper and crayons to hang out with the kids. They colored for two straight hours. With no toys to entertain them, this was like heaven. The kids at this age are unable to speak English. They do not learn it until later on in school. Luckily, the understood what we were saying when we asked their names. They all replied in the same way with the same accent. “My name is…”. After about 24 kids answering, I couldn’t remember many. It took most of the two weeks to get them all down.
Finally we had to let the kids go because they had to eat. We took our first sink showers and fell asleep right away.
More later…

Africa, Verses, and Girlyness

Africa Update: Up to the $655.00 mark. Talk about seeing God work in the process of raising money. My great-grandma who is in a retirement home showed my letter to her neigbors who decided to help me out. People I don’t even know are sending donations. Talk about God having everything in His hands!
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
Talk about a verse which you can find freedom in. How much do I worry about grades and tuition money and future career and the desire to serve God in missions? Way too much. God has everything in His hands-even the animals. And when it really comes down to it, how much more does He care for us as human beings? A lot. I think I can stop worrying!

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
Satan and other enemies have set out to destroy, but God is turning it around. I get up and fight and use that attack against me to glorify Him. Last night at Bible study, we were talking about battles. Sometimes I get up in the morning, not ready for the day. I wonder what battles might come up and I feel discouraged. But I’m forgetting who I have on my side. Duh! 🙂 Jesus is on my side of the war, and when I wake up in the morning and remember that, I think Satan becomes a very fearful being.

I was just thinking about the whole bridesmaid thing today. And I thought, “OH MY GOSH! I WILL BE WEARING A DRESS AND MAKEUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. So, if you are new to my blog or just don’t really know me, you won’t get what I am saying. I’ll attempt to put it into perspective for you. Last time I wore a skirt was at graduation in May, because I was forced to by a dress code. Before that was camp, um, three years ago for another picture dress code. As far as a dress goes….I was probably seven last time I wore one. Oh, except for that time I was co-erced into wearing one when I was hanging out with some friends and some crazy person thought it would be “fun” to try on prom dresses.
Makeup next. I never wear it. My parents let me start wearing it when I was sixteen. Since then I can probably count the number of times I have put it on with one hand. I found out it was nothing special. The last time someone put on my makeup, it was bad. Again, I was forced into it by a crazy person who thought it would be “fun”. My eye started having spasms. Dude, why do girls stick pencils on their eyeballs? Come to think of it, these days I guess guys do it also. It hurts! Anyway, my eye was wacking out so much I ended up looking like a raccoon. So, all that preface to say I can’t believe I am going to be wearing a dress and makeup in a wedding.
Now after the preface and exclamation comes a disclaimer: Once again, my sarcastic nature comes out. I am not seriously worried or bummed or irritated about being girly for a day. As a matter of fact, I am excited to “dress up” for a day. I’ve never actually worn a nice dress. I love my friend, M****** who is getting married, and I would wear a dress every day for her if it really meant a lot to her….As long as I could wear some jeans and chuck taylors underneath. 🙂