Monthly Archives: September 2013

Terrorist Attack- Light in the Darkness

Our hearts have been heavy the last couple days. Grieving and mourning with Kenya as they struggle through a terrorist attack at Westgate Mall, killing at least 62 people and injuring over 175. 

Saturday afternoon we were at church preparing for kids to come to Awana. I looked at my phone and saw an alert about the Westgate Shooting- at this point the motive and shooters were not known. 

Earlier that day, I had heard of two missionary families that we are friends with that live in town, they had both experienced burglary in their home the previous night, one at gun point. Another missionary family we know was trapped inside the movie theater in the mall as the attack had began. Thankfully, they were able to escape but late afternoon. 

Less than one month ago, after we sent off our second team, we visited Westgate Mall, as we normally do when we are in Nairobi.

We walked up these stairs…

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Lucy went on her first escalator 

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We safely walked around enjoying time as a family

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Our family memories at this mall are now replaced with sorrow and grief as we ask God that as sin is more, may His grace be abundant- Romans 5:20

We have been glued to the TV- news updates- videos and pictures to hear or see the latest from media. 

On Sunday we had a special church service dedicated to prayer and protection for our nation. It was heart wrenching to see Kenyan’s worshiping God, crying and sobbing before Him, pleading for God’s love to be shown among the distress that was all over Kenya. 

Sunday evening before we went to bed- we watched the News until we were numb. We were speechless that this attack was still continuing. Because our mood was dull- we decided to spend the next 15 minutes sharing our PRAISES for the day. We like to do “high and lows” before we sleep sometimes- and especially Sunday night we saw it necessary as our hearts were very heavy.

I had looked through my day and all I could remember was the images I had seen from the attack. As I remembered the images I saw, God showed me the beauty in the unity. When we were at Westgate, we saw a lot of division through different countries and ethnicity. But in the video and images, you don’t see that. 

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As many of you know there have been a lot of tribalism and division in Kenya this year, especially due to the recent election in March. It’s encouraging to see different tribes helping one another, and all of Kenya coming together to support one another. Sunday night we saw Kenya’s president address Kenya, alongside two other men who ran for the president election but lost. When Fred and I saw that we were shocked! They are normally very distant from each other and that attitude is reflected in Kenyans. But as they stood side by side on national TV, we were encouraged that Kenya’s leadership, citizens and expatriates were united. And it was beautiful. In just four days Kenayn’s have raised over $625,000 for victims and families of the Westgate attack. 

Despite this horrific events that are taken place in Kenya, God’s grace and love has been abundant.  My prayer is the unity that He has brought to Kenya through this tragedy will continue to reign.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalms 9:9

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Hope

I thank God for last week, it was a memorable and highlight of my ministry so far.

A few months ago Pastor James, our director, brought a boy to my attention within our church. He was deaf. Pastor James told me to take a picture of him and see if we could find a sponsor for him. It was just before teams arrived and my head was spinning like a crazy women- which I’m sure I represented very well.

I rushed to take a picture, tried talking to his mom, but language got in the way and finding someone to translate was difficult. So I left it like that- because I knew in the upcoming months, finding someone to sponsor the child would be difficult as we would be consumed with teams coming. Especially because this boy and the family would need a lot of time to get started in the program as we would need to search and find him a deaf school- which we knew of none in the area. But this slender and tall boy was continuing to be brought to my mind among the chaos this summer. I would say a quick prayer for him and then dismiss it and turn to the next thing. But God had bigger plans for this sweet boy, named Joseph.

When our first team was here- a women who was a Sign Language Interpreter, told me how she would like to sponsor two more children. Immediately, this sweet boy’s face came to my mind.

Thank you God, for you know all of our needs and fill them.

I told her about Joseph and she was thrilled…

So over the last month Fred and I have had some great time with the family. Joseph is 11 years old, knows no sign language, only communicates through hand signals and has never been to school. His parents are proud of him and love him. He is the second born of six children and he loves smiling with his big white teeth.

Through reaching out to my missionary community in Kisumu, I was able to find a school about 45 minutes outside of Kisumu, Maseno School for the Deaf.

Over about a two week period of time, Fred, Joseph and his parents made several trips to Maseno, preparing him, filling out evaluations, doing assessments and getting him prepared to start boarding school, as of last week.

We have many children in our sponsorship program, but why is this child, family and sponsorship case so sweet to my heart? I fell in love with the family and Joseph so fast and the day we dropped him off at school, I think I cried more than his parents! I love that God connected the child with a sponsor that I know will love Him, pray for his family. They have a sweet connection that only God can ordain. But I think the main reason I loved watching God bring Joseph to school was because of Christ’s promise to us- that he would give us a hopeful future.

Hope. Joseph and his family never knew hope. They often got hopeful when other community pastors would recognize their son was deaf and promise to take him to school-but never did. The father told Fred, before he was brought to school last week- You may think I’m not excited or thankful for this, but I am. But you will see my real excitement when he is actually in school. The father had been through the process so many times, it was hard or him to have full hope that his son Joseph would finally have his first day of school, at 11 years old.

Joseph has hope. He has a hopeful future and a chance. He may have felt invisible- but He was never invisible to Christ. But Jesus always saw him and always had a plan for him. There is hope in Christ, and their is a future for Joseph.

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If you want to help bring HOPE to a child in Kenya, please contact me about sponsoring a child for $35 a month- to bring the hope of Christ to your child and their family.

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September 17, 2013 · 8:21 am