Greetings Friends and Family!
Habari zenu? (How are you all?) We are all fine, and I’m sorry it has taken a bit to update you! Our “new home” is about 1 hour’s drive outside the Western Business capitol of Kenya, Eldoret. With that, we have intermittent electricity – and no internet at our Guesthouse. There is limited internet at the Living Room Hospice, about a 10 minute drive or 20 minute walk. I (Daniel) have very limited cell coverage here, and can get a text out occasionally. The community of Chebaiwa (Che-bye-wuh) here is one of the most welcoming places you will ever find, and so is Kenya in general. Most homes around us are mud huts, with thatch or corrugated metal roofs. Typical Kenyans here have no electricity, piped water or other usual amenities we take for granted. Wherever we have traveled, whether airport, vehicle or ministries, almost everyone we meet says “Karibu sana Kenya” – you are highly welcome!
We arrived in our village at about 5pm Monday, settled into our beautiful guesthouse, took showers and hit our beds. Our journey was almost 48 hours, with 4 airplanes, 2 shuttles, 2 trains (a brief trip into Amsterdam on layover) and not too many hours of sleep! But God is faithful and we arrived safely – even with all our luggage (this cannot be always assumed). On our first morning here, we jumped right into ministry. Our morning was spent at the Living Room hospice, where we received the most beautiful welcome ever! As our vehicle arrived, the entire staff and several patients were outside singing Swahili and Kalenjin (the local mother tongue). We each received a bouquet of roses, and enjoyed a little ceremony where leaders shared their excitement for our arrival. We then toured the Living Room facilities: the 24-bed hospice, a mortuary, physical therapy rooms and offices. We then spent the remainder of the morning fellowshipping with the LR patients, especially about 6-8 kids who are guests there. The kids immediately connected with us, and we sang, played and had a great time. Max especially connected with a young, charismatic boy named Manuel (probably 8 or 10 years old), who had suffered from multiple sclerosis (or something like it), but had received surgeries and helps to get him walking around again, albeit with the use of leg braces. Manuel is full of joy, walking back and forth asking our team “unaitwa nani?” (What is YOUR name?)
After lunch at Living Room – we drove back up the road to Brook of Faith School, where we kicked off our VBS program for the week! Again, the school and students received us with singing, a welcome ceremony and a “ribbon cutting” as we walked through the gate. All of the team jumped in head-first to their various activities: Mariah and Daniel did stories & snack; Sam and Max did crafts; Lauren, Jordan and Cameron did sports & games on the soccer field and Justin was our roving photographer. The kids were both attentive and energetic, and we were surprised by how well-behaved they were, especially as compared to our U.S. context. We taught them Swahili and English songs – including a song called “Imba Wimbo” which is like a “Father Abraham” in Swahili – motions and all. Our program ran pretty smoothly, and the team did awesome! I (Daniel) was so impressed with how each one fully engaged without fear or hesitation. After VBS – the school headmaster (principle) invited us for tea in typical Kenyan style, then we walked back to our guesthouse, many of us pretty tired from giving our all. We then enjoyed dinner and debriefing with the Tarus family – David and Allison – who are key community leaders and co-founders of Living Room.
This week, our schedule will be similar through Saturday – Living Room ministry in the morning and VBS in the afternoon at Brook of Faith. We are so excited for all God has in store for us! Thank you for your prayers – we feel them and appreciate them greatly. This week, you can pray for: stamina and strength as we adjust to full schedules, warm sun, higher altitude (about 5500 feet) and lots of activities! We are all healthy, but you can always pray for continued health. We are so grateful for your investment in our ministries and your support of this good Kingdom work! Love you all,
Daniel, Lauren, Sam, Cameron, Mariah, Max, Jordan and Justin
Justin being chased by kids during sports time! He is also our team photographer, so you can thank him for these great pics.
Our team took a quick tour of Amsterdam on our 8-hour layover!
Sam, Lauren & Mariah in front of our airplane from Nairobi to Eldoret (western Kenya).
Practicing songs outside of Nairobi airport.
Our new home, Shiloh Guesthouse – this is the living room where we relax and eat our meals.
Cam playing with beautiful children.
Lauren, the kid magnet. She is smiling with kids wherever she goes, and was given the Kalenjin name “Chep Bai Bai” – which means girl who is happy/smiling.
Jordan leading sports activities – the kids LOVED it!
Our welcome to Brook of Faith Academy. David Tarus, in the blue shirt, is our main host from Living Room staff and a Director of the school.
Touring Living Room campus and facilities.
Daniel greeting old and new friends as we were welcomed to Living Room. On the right is Pastor Ijeji, the Chaplain for Living Room, and one of Daniel’s old friends.
Our welcome to Living Room Hospice facility – Mariah had the honor of cutting the ribbon for our team.