Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unlikely Friends...

When Sisters Decided to Take a Different Path


Irene... a very young, single Mom... living with HIV...struggling to feed her 3 children


Two sweet sisters with their amazing Mama
Ciera and Ryanna... Florida sisters, who could live comfortably, focusing only on their  friends, fun and horseback riding, but instead have chosen to look beyond what God has given them and share it with others!

Although they will probably never meet, these sisters brought Irene hope - the prospect of being able to provide for her own children!

Irene with her baby twins

It all started last October, when Ciera, and Ryanna  made a crazy choice.   An unusual twist jolted the end of their beautiful birthday party...  when it came time for gifts, they opted instead of receiving, to give.  They and their friends set up a fund to help ladies here in Kenya!

Now, that fund has brought hope to Irene.

Irene has been a part of the outreach, Girls With Vision, and Pauline, for months now.  She grabbed onto the soap making skills and has gone through some light business training.  Now, with "birthday gift" funds, we have been able to launch her in her own business.  The first day, she sold 20 liters!  She came the next morning to celebrate with me.... "Now I can put Faith (her daughter) into school!" 

 Our biggest prayer for Irene is that through this "earthly hope" of food and schooling, she will deepen the "most important hope"... her relationship with Jesus! 

One of our "front porch" soap making classes

Irene receiving her "soap-making" certificate

One of her visits - the day her sister died

Sam taking care of Blessed, her baby while Irene made soap

Her business start-up supplies

This is what it takes to make soap!

Celebrating 20 liters sold (with baby Esther)!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The day Brad got mugged...

...that was when I took my wedding ring off... 

Brad's wedding ring was the one thing the thugs didn't steal... but not because they didn't try!  His ring was a little tight, and as they were trying to rip it off, another car began to approach - they ran off.

We were both relieved - thankful!  His wedding ring was so much more precious to us than all we lost... the money, the laptop, even the damage to the car...  All those could be replaced, - his machete wounds would heal.  

I decided my ring was the one thing I didn't want to lose...  We don't own a lot.. and although we need what we have, we do hold it pretty loosely.   But my wedding ring... it's now in Florida in a safety deposit box. 

I bought myself a copper washer at the market... for only 20 cents!  Brad wasn't impressed - especially when it (and my finger) turned green!

I am delighted with the gift he presented to me yesterday! 
A Kenyan wedding ring!  
Inscribed with the Kenyan date...  
Sentimental in a new way... 
Signifying a new beginning... 
perhaps our next 20 years Kenya?!

Today I'm thankful!   Not wearing a ring reminded of a difficult time...  
Now, this new ring makes me smile... my Kenyan wedding ring! ... beautiful in God's time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This morning, I am longing...

...for one day back at our beautiful, familiar, Summit Church ...for one trip to the beach with all of our long-time, comfortable friends ...for one relaxing afternoon at the park with our family (without looking around for potential dangers) simple laundry day ...a long fellowship and prayer time with a close friend...

...for a moment back in my comfort zone...

The tears feel close to the surface - normal just isn’t “normal”!

I’m encouraged this morning by these words from Ann Voskamp.

“When God moves us out of our comfort zone —- into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful —- that even hurt — this is a gift.

We are being given a gift.

These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God — in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Weather Forecast in Our Home...

The forecast... another “grace-filled” day! 

Finding this to be my prayer each morning.  Starting with grace toward my family.  Grace toward each precious, dirty hand that reaches out for a touch.  Grace in my response to the widow’s story that grabs me with pain. Grace toward the first person to ask me for money... as well as the 10th person.  Grace for the visitor that shows up at “just the wrong” time.... and the next visitor and the next...   Grace for situations that seem hopeless.  Grace in situations that are unjust...


Sometimes, these days feel so very full!  How can I approach each draining situation with grace?  Only as I embrace the BOUNDLESS GRACE that God extends to me.  As I stretch my arms up to Him, He so generously forgives, reaches down, and pours out ...more GRACE!

I’m thankful that the forecast in my life - today and every day, is another “grace-filled” day - unconditionally delivered through God’s love!