After all the frustrations of waiting yesterday, a good reminder this morning. On Sunday, we ended up about 45 minutes late to a dinner engagement with Dennis and Irene Tongoi. As Bob was apologizing, Dennis assured him, “The timing is not what is important – it is the event that is important.”
Through all the waiting yesterday, nothing started on time. But at the end of the day, the things that are truly important happened. Pastor Roy spent time doing leadership training with several pastors. Did it start on time? No. Did the technology work up to our standards? No. Did everyone come that was expected? No. But, Roy met with six pastors that engaged with the materials he brought. They received his training and were grateful for his words on leadership.
I had a chance to share my hobby with 13 students. Did we start on time? No. Were the students as advanced as I expected? No. Did we accomplish as much as I had wanted to? No. But, is that what’s important? No. I was able to introduce a new concept to these students who have come from nothing. Not all of them were that keen on it, but there were at least 5 or 6 that by the time we were done understood the concepts of quilting and probably 1 or 2 that will really end up interested.
The rest of the team opened the nursery. Did they start on time? No. Were they able to spend time with the teachers? No. Did they hang out with the kids playing? No. But they got all of the stuff into the nursery. They set up the bed caddies. They taught three little ones what toys are – little ones that have never even seen a toy. At first they were scared, but quickly took to the toys and started playing with them.
So what is it that is really important? What time we start? How many quilt blocks we create? Or so many other things that we get stuck on? No – what is important is that Roy spent time with leaders, I spent time passing on the ideas of quilting and the team opened the nursery.
What a good reminder in a place where the concept of time is held so loosely.
Today was scheduled to be a day filled with activity at the Brydges Center and at the Skills Center. Pastor Roy taught leadership principles to about a dozen preachers from around this area. I was scheduled to teach quilting at the Skills Center and the rest of the team was working on opening the nursery.
What we learned today was that there is no time in Kenya. I went to the BC this morning at 9:00 with Pastor Roy and the other guys. I was hoping to catch a quick tour of the BC and then be driven back to Kitengala to the Skills Center to teach quilting for the whole day. Roy was to start his teaching at about 10:00 and the rest of the guys were going to unload all the stuff for the nursery.
The rest of the women were coming a bit later after they finished sorting the other things that were to be given to people at the BC. They arrived at the BC at 11:00 – I was still there and had not yet received my tour.
There is also no such thing as a quick anything – so the tour took considerably longer than anticipated too.
I was finally taken to the Skills Center and arrived there at 1:00 – had lunch, was welcomed by the students there and I think I finally started teaching quilting at about 2:00 this afternoon. Now instead of a full day of teaching, I had less than half a day.
The students at the Skills Center have just started their year long program in February – so although they all know how to hand stitch, only one of the group – Mercy – knew how to use the sewing machine. Instead of teaching them quilting skills, I spent most of my time watching as they hand sewed blocks together. By 6:00 when the rest of the team came to pick me up, we had finished one quilt top and I had taught Mercy how to quilt and put binding on.
For some reason my computer is not loading photos tonight. I will post them tomorrow if I can.
Just like every other time I’ve been on a missions trip, expectations have to be set down at the door. We have had two long and glorious days in Kenya, but certain expectations had to be set down. Electricity is one of them – and internet service is another.
Since I do not know how many minutes I have of internet service, let me give you a very quick recap of the last two days.
Arrived in Nairobi Friday night with seven team members, fourteen carry on bags and 18 checked bags. We looked like we were moving in! Thankfully, we were able to move through customs by just paying one $50 fee for all that we were bringing in. We were finally able to go to bed at about 1 in the morning.
Saturday: We went to the Brydges Center (BC) for the day. The kids there hosted a Game Day in which each of our team was the honorary captain of a team of kids named after an African animal. The kids competed in several games, ending with a challenge to create a skit or performance exemplifying a part of the day or a given Bible verse. Sadly, I realized about halfway through the day that the battery on my camera was about gone, so I have very few pictures of the day. Others on the team took lots, though. I hope to get a few of them for myself.
After all the games were played, we presented the BC with many gifts, including 10 computers for them to open a computer lab with. The cheering of the kids was amazing when they realized that they would be able to learn computer skills.
The director of the BC, Rosemary Wafulu, was not able to be present for Game Day due to health issues. After we finished at the center, we joined Rosemary at her home, which is also the guest house for the center. It was so wonderful to meet her and hear her heart for this ministry. She started out by rescuing babies from the gutters in the slums. Now she runs the most respected children’s home in Kenya. She started with 25 kids and now has 110+ kids! She has added a school and a skills center to her ministry and she is graduating kids out into productive Kenyan lives.
Sunday: After staying the night with Rosemary, we left to attend church with John Sulai and to teach and see his ministry. Regrettably, this plan was foiled by the president’s wife. She was hosting a marathon today which caused certain roads to be closed. We thought we would be able to make it to a bypass which would then take us an alternate route to John’s church. Wrong. We were on a 3-hour detour that made us so late we decided to change our plans and not go at all.
Instead, we ended up getting some market shopping in. After about two hours of shopping I got the best find: a teak wood bas relief carving of an African Jesus welcoming the little children to him. It is absolutely beautiful!!
This evening, we enjoyed a marvelous dinner with Dennis and Irene Tongoi. They each lead separate ministries – Dennis is very active in lobbying for policy change to help the poor. Irene runs New Dawn School, a high school for about 125 students in one of the slums of Nairobi. She has also recently begun a new program, New Dawn Abstinency Program, which is structured in small groups with a mentor. This program has about 400 teens involved, both boys and girls. It was amazing to hear their hearts for what is happening here.
That’s all for now – I haven’t had a shower for two days, but it feels more like twenty. And I’m never guaranteed how long the internet will be on. I’ll blog again the next time the internet is available – and hopefully I’ll add some pictures next time.
As posted last time, our packing day was on Saturday. Fantastic time of going over the team’s itinerary, making sure we are all understanding what we will be doing and then of course – packing all the things we are taking to bless the Brydges Center, and so many more, with.
Micah helped sort and pack pencil box kits for us to bless school children with.
These were the boxes Bob and Nancy left for us to pack and bring to them.
We are taking as many Days for Girls kits as we can for the women in outlying rural areas.
The box on the left is an outdoor Awana games kit that Micah and I will hand deliver to the Kenyan club our church sponsors.
Lynette is excited to bring baby toys that will help open the BC’s first nursery space.
After all pencil boxes were filled, we still had over 100 scissors left!
To be expected, we discovered a few last minute things that still needed to be dealt with. Lynette wants to bless the kids at the Brydges Center (BC from now on) with little caddies that can be attached to their bunks. You see, each child has their own bed with a metal trunk to put their things in which is stored under the bunk beds. But the kids don’t really have any personal space to keep things in. So, Lynette is getting some sewers together to put together a caddy similar to this:
The ones she is making will tie to the bed frame and hang out from under the mattress. There are so many bright colors and the women are using canvas so they are going to be quite durable. I can’t wait to take pictures of the kids’ faces when they see they will have their own space to put a hairbrush or a little notebook.
Another thing that had been overlooked until Saturday was the BC’s Game Day. While we are there, the kids are going to host a Game Day – nine teams (named after African animals) will be playing games against one another. Each of us on our team will be an “honorary team captain” of a team. It’s our job to cheer our team on and hand out prizes. But we have been wondering how to be able to tell the teams apart. That’s where my crazy sewing skills come in handy. It was now my job to make 150+ headbands to take with us.
Off to JoAnn’s I must go. I found nine different colors of cotton fabric. Starting with 2.5 yards of each, I cut them all into 5″ strips. I just folded the strip in half, sewed it together and then Micah turned them right side out. After pressing them, voila – a perfect sized headband. I had Luke try on the sample – he didn’t want to give it back. Micah tried it on, too, and he also didn’t want to give it back.
As crazy as this project was – making more than 150 headbands in just two days – I’m so glad I did it. I can’t wait to bless the BC with these headbands. They are something they will be able to use for many years.
From our packing party, we all left with a total of 14 bags completely packed and ready to go. Since then, we have added at least two more, maybe three. We will definitely be quite a sight at the airports! One bummer about a blessing: we are thrilled to have the chance to help the BC set up a real computer lab. We are taking 10 laptops and one iPad for the kids at the BC to learn computer skills. As we were packing, we had been told that we would be able to tuck the computers into the middle of the checked bags so that we wouldn’t have to pull them out at every airport security check, as would if they were in our carry-ons. So, happily, we made sure each and every one was well padded and protected and packed them into the fourteen big bags.
Bummer: we have now been told that if the Lithium battery cannot be removed from the computer, then the computer may not go into checked baggage. Because most of these laptops are quite small, we have to pull them all back out of the big bags and each of us will be carrying one or two computers in our carry on bags. Bummer – but still glad to be blessing the BC in this way.
Last – an update on my ear. For those that don’t know, I have been fighting a cold for about two weeks now. A week ago, my ears were both so plugged up that I went to see the doctor to find out what I could do about it. They were not infected, so she gave me a prescription for Flonase, said I could take Claritin, and hoped for the best. By the later part of the week, my ears were clearing up and I was feeling much better about getting on an airplane.
Then, Saturday afternoon and evening, my ears started to hurt quite a bit. Advil helped for a while, but then even that couldn’t temper the pain. I knew from my repeated battles in childhood that I had quite an ear infection brewing. Saturday night we were all making plans for me to visit urgent care before church in the morning.
After a mostly sleepless night, my eardrum ruptured at 4 am on Sunday. Once the pressure was released, I was finally able to get a couple hours of sleep before getting up. The doctor confirmed my suspicion of ear infection and has me on an antibiotic (as well as the Flonase, Claritin, and whatever else might help).
The good thing is the ear infection is being treated well before my trip starts. And I’m fairly certain that my ear will not be hurting on the airplane. However, the downside is I have virtually no hearing in my right ear and it will take several months for the hole in my eardrum to heal. And I currently have a nonstop high pitched ringing in my right ear. It’s enough to give me a headache sometimes.
Tomorrow morning, the real countdown begins! Together, our team will be trying to pack as much as humanly (divinely) possible into the few allowed bags we will be taking with us. At first, I didn’t think I had that much that would be added to the pile. I thought wrong.
Between the Awana outdoor game kit, the donations of dental supplies and school supplies and then the quilting supplies I am taking, my pile got pretty big pretty fast!
Of course, I’m also trying to pack all of my own personal stuff into just my carryon suitcase. Eeek – there’s not much room in one of those for a two and a half week long trip. I’ve got almost everything in, and then I realized my sandals are still sitting on the bed. Good thing Micah doesn’t need as much space for his stuff, and his carry on is a little bit bigger than mine. Look out Micah, here I come with all the odds and ends that don’t fit in my suitcase.
It has been over a year since I have posted anything here. Wow, how time flies.
Since I know many people will want to keep up with the missions trip Micah and I are taking to Kenya, I will be posting here not only what we are doing but also some pics that I take along the way.
Here’s what’s happening so far: We have our basic schedule set for while we are in Nairobi. We will be on the go the whole time we are there. Our full team will be meeting with four different ministries that Rockpoint Church supports. The rest of the team will be coming back home after a week in Nairobi. Micah and I will be staying for a few extra days and meeting with one more ministry we support.
Some of the things we will be doing will include:
Pastor Roy Fruits will be meeting with and teaching some local pastors
I will be training some of the children’s ministry workers in discipleship of children
We will be setting up and opening a baby area at the Brydges Center
We will be participating in a Game Day – mostly just spending time with the kiddos
I will be teaching quilting at the Sewing Center
Of course, this is all very flexible!!
While in Kenya, we will also be going on safari. I’ll be sure to take lots of pics there.
After Micah and I are finished, we are taking the “long” way home – by way of Rome, Italy for a few days. It will be much needed rest after almost two weeks in Kenya. We are excited to see the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and the catacombs. Most of all, I think we are both excited to taste the food!!
Check in every few days to see how things are coming along. Then, come along with us as we venture into Africa!