Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A simple blessing for beautiful people

I am spoiled here at Word of Life. I live right on the beach. I eat good food. I have comfortable surroundings. Everyone around me speaks english. I never lack anything. My friends here are so modern in their thinking, fashion, language, actions, etc. I sometimes forget that the majority of Kenya isn't like this. I am nestled in a little pocket of comfort and luxury. However, my heart longs for the village. As much as I love what I do, my deepest desire is to be in small villages living amongst the poorest of the poor. 

Yesterday, we drove only about 30 minutes deep into a village called Dima.  The team wanted to bless some needy families and see how people live in rural Kenya. We have connections with the local pastor there so he was able to direct us to a few places. My heart was in awe as we  hiked the dirt paths through the rolling hills filled with palm trees. We passed many children playing in the dirt with big smiles on their faces. We met with women carrying baskets on their heads and men working in the fields. We didn't see any shops or electricity wires only cows and chickens. These are people who have nothing. I mean nothing. They sleep on the floor. They eat whatever they grow. They don't wear shoes. They wear the same clothing that is dirty and torn everyday. There is no running water anywhere to be found. They don't have jobs or a source of income. I walked around wondering how they actually survive. 

This was the first woman we came to bless. She is a widow with 9 children and 9 grandchildren. Her fingers had been eaten away by jiggers so they were short and stubby. As we arrived, she had a jovial smile across her face. She had placed a few wooden chairs and logs out so that we could have a seat. 

This was the second woman we visited. She is a Christian but her husband isn't. She was praising God for the small gifts we were able to give her. To each family we gave unga (corn flour), cooking oil, milk, and sugar. 

Inside this house was a sick grandmother. She has been sick for quite some time now and it is doubtful that she has had any medical attention. When we arrived at this house, one of the ladies pulled me aside and explained to me that her mother was mgonjwa sana (very sick). She asked us to pray so we had a few of the team members enter the house to lay hands on her. I just can't imagine living in a dark, hot, stuffy, dirt house unable to move, eat, get up. 

We saw so many kids in the village and I couldn't help by wonder why they weren't in school on a tuesday afternoon. Maybe it was because they couldn't afford the uniform. They could barely afford shoes or a second set of clothing so a uniform would have been a stretch for them. That was just my assumption. 

God uses everyone. We were encouraging the teens on the team that they didn't need to be preachers or pastors to share God's love. God uses anyone. Every family we visited, we got one of them to pray. Here, Sarah is praying for a family in her own sweet words. 

Our last stop was the local primary school. All I kept thinking was, "What would my dad think if he was here?" It is a public school so it is free for everyone except students still need to buy their own school supplies and uniforms. They have 350 students and only 5 teachers! One teacher has 60 students in his class. Out of those 60 students, only 10 of them have exercise books to do their school work in. They get very little funding from the government so the school suffers greatly. We were their guests so they gathered for an assembly under the mango tree as we presented them with over 100 exercise books, stationary, clothing and a few bibles. We also gave all the kids a lollipop. 

As much as we came to be a blessing for these people, they ended up being a huge blessing for us. I am so thankful for everything God has given me. It is only by God's grace that I was born in Canada and not in Dima. Or maybe we are missing something? Maybe it's a blessing to be the small, seemingly insignificant, poor of the world. Often the happiest people I have met are people like these ones who live in Dima. The most faithful people I have ever met are those who live day to day without knowing what they are going to eat tomorrow. I don't know. I don't understand everything. But I do know that we have a wonderful, loving, caring, mighty God who cares for every single human that lives. Amen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good....

This weekend was extra special cause some of my best friends from my bible school in Nairobi came down to attend the seminar. I haven't seen most of them since the end of May so it was an absolute DELIGHT to have them around this weekend.
They left Nairobi at 3am so when I met them for lunch at 2pm, they were half asleep.

PETER! We are still best of friends. I adore this young man. Since the end of bible school, he has started to run bible clubs and a few schools. He has also been accepted to go to Bible School in the UK on a full scholarship!!! I am beyond proud of him.

This was by far the most beautiful moment of my weekend. The guys from Nairobi had played football on our pitch that is right on the ocean. Afterwards, they decided to go for a dip in the water as the moon was shining high in the sky. The tide was low so they could walk far out (and many of them can't swim so there was no danger of them drowning in water that was only a few inches deep.) I listened from the shore as they giggled and splashed in the water. They were so happy. It warmed my heart. 

I missed laughing with Robert. He always knew how to make everyone laugh. He did the best impressions of people. He also will be going to the UK for bible school next year!

Thank you God for bringing my wonderful friends to Mombasa this weekend! 

Crazy Wonderful Weekend

I am officially pooped. This weekend has been the busiest weekend I have had since I arrived here in Kenya. Friday night we had a youth meeting in town. Saturday we had a youth ministry seminar all day and in the evening was our monthly girls sleepover. We were up at 5:30am Sunday morning to be at a girl's school in town by 8am, then to a church service at 11am, and then finally to perform at a christian concert that went all afternoon. I prayed hard for a supernatural energy this whole weekend and God sure delivered. 

Dave Huizing came with a team of 9 teenagers plus his wife to come and be with us for two weeks. He was the main speaker at our youth ministry seminar as he is a missionary in the US with Word of Life. 

We were excited to see over 60 people attend our seminar. We had youth pastors, college students, Christian Union leaders, and even high school students come from all around the area. 

This is my beautiful friend Ruth. She was working at Word of Life just before I arrived. Now that I have gotten to know her, I wish she was still working with us. Luckily, we get to see her as she still comes for our monthly sleepovers.

 More girls. I tell you, they can talk talk talk and never get tired. They are like the energizer bunny; they just keep going and going and going. They are truly lovely. 

We had the privilege of having the girls from the team join us. Shauna has an amazing voice and sang to us sweet praises to our King. Kate Huizing encouraged us to take our thoughts captive to Christ and not think anything else that is contrary to God's Word. 

Finally, the concert had over 1000 people attend it. Our courageous teen team did one of their very powerful skits for us. Although the power went out in the middle of it, they did a fantastic job. 

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend despite the crazy schedule. The best part is that we saw over 25 people accept Christ! After all, that is what it is all about!

I need to stop wearing my green t-shirt

I have a nice green t-shirt that I must stop wearing. I wore it on friday and I got too much attention. It is not a provocative t-shirt. It is not low-cut or a belly shirt. It's not super tight nor does it have any design or words on it. But the fact is that it's green and right now in Kenya, green is a significant colour.

Green is the official colour of the "YES" campaign.

Kenya's history is in the making right now. They have written a new constitution that is going to be voted on next week (August 4th is the big day). It has been no end of controversy. I guess rewriting your constitution is a pretty big deal but it has created so much drama and conflict that we are all praying for the results of the referendum next week.

I was talking to some of my friends about the post election violence in 07/08 and they never thought it would have the outcome that it did. It was a matter of minutes and the whole country was in chaos. We are not anticipating the same reaction to the referendum but you never know. All we can do is pray pray pray.

In short, majority of the christians are NO for the constitution because of the legalization of abortion. But the rest of the country is YES for the constitution. Most of my christian friends will be voting NO and are very boldly shouting their opinion.

So on friday when I happened to wear  my green shirt and the friend I was with also happened to wear a green shirt, we got a lot of attention. It didn't help that there was a YES campaign rally happening right in town that everyone was attending....wearing their green shirts.

I have decided to put my shirt away until after the referendum. I don't really want to be associated with one side or the other. First of all, I don't even get to vote since I am not a citizen of this country. Secondly, I really would be torn as to which side to be on especially concerning the abortion issue. Now, I am definitely against abortion. In no way do I think it is ok but I have grown up in a country where it is legal and it never seemed like that big of a deal. I explained this to a friend a mine and he said, " yes, but Nikole, this is Kenya. If kenyans suddenly are allowed to abort, they will all start aborting regardless of their morals. This is what kenyans are like." So I am torn.

One thing I do know is that, laws and constitutions do not change people's heart. We can't rely on laws to keep us from sinning. We must have hearts that are turned to Christ and He will change them Himself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Snippets of my week

My GO GO GO has yet to STOP as I had anticipated. The past few days have been draining. It started on Tuesday evening when we didn't get back to the compound till 3am after picking up our visitors from the airport in town. Of course their plane was delayed and their luggage didn't arrive with them. Then we missed the last ferry so had to wait an hour for the next one. By the time we got them all settled in, it was 3am. Each day since then has been exhausting hosting them, planning for this crazy upcoming weekend, and just being available for anything that needs to be done. But I have stopped to take a few pictures of the places I've been and the people I have seen this last week.

On Sunday, Tsuma (one of my co-workers) and I went to a local high school to minister to them for their sunday church service. Tsuma spoke and I sang one (blacklightprophet) song to them. The picture above is of the feet of the worship team. They have no fancy instruments and are dressed in school uniform. All they had to lead worship was their hands for clapping and their voices for singing. 

Tsuma gave a message and we had a few students come to Christ! 

The rain paused for about 2 hours which was just enough time for a football game. I was invited to go watch two churches play against each other. It was fun, although I sort of lost interest after the first few minutes. I didn't even know the score at the end of the game. However, I was touched as at the end of the game, the two teams came together, put their arms around each other and bowed in a word of prayer. Then, as if on queue, the rain began to pour down again.

This is my love wall. The other night, I was missing my peeps back home. I had a small photo album of pictures I had taken before I left. I decided to pull them up and stick them on my wall so I can look at my wonderful friends and family back home. Tears strolled down my face as I went through each photo. I miss you good people. 

I have wonderful news!! My visa was to expire a week ago and typically this type of visa is not able to be renewed. Plus my work permit has yet to be processed. So I was in a sticky situation. I was told that I may have to leave the country within a few days and come back once my work permit comes through. It sort of excited me as I would have had an excuse to go visit my good friends in South Africa but it would have disrupted all my plans here and been an extra expense. However, my boss just happens to be good friends with the Chief Immigration Officer here in Mombasa. He set up a meeting with him and we went to explain our situation. The Officer was very compassionate and stamped my passport granting me permission to stay! It was a huge relief and such an answered prayer. Thank you all for praying!

So it's been a busy week full of awesome things. This upcoming week will be even busier so pray for energy and joy as I go about my days!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Go Go Go...Stop

I am sitting in my office staring at my computer wondering what to do. My lifestyle is sort of a GO GO GO....STOP type lifestyle. There are days where I am busy from 7:30am till 9:30pm. Then there are days that I wake up and have nothing to do. Today is one of those. Yesterday, was a busy day planning for our upcoming events and visiting a school in the afternoon. Today, no plans. Slept in a little, chatted to some friends on facebook, talked with some of my co-workers while drinking a cup of coffee. I have decided to catch up on emails, write a blog entry, and perhaps go swimming in the afternoon.

I really hate being idle. I try to keep myself busy. Idleness has forced a lot of kenyans to become 'vidiots' aka video idiots. Some Kenyans can sit and watch movies all day long and feel like they have accomplished something. A friend of mine admitted that he is addicted to watching movies. You see, here in Kenya, movies are cheap and in abundance. But it's all illegal. They are all copyrighted. The quality is terrible but you can buy a DVD with 6 movies on it for less than $2. And some of these movies haven't even come out in theatres yet. I try to avoid those as much as possible and I don't dare put one of those DVD's in my computer. I don't know how my precious computer would react to such a thing.

I guess I should enjoy this day as I know that come Sunday, the GO GO GO starts again for the next few weeks. I think I need more friends.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Creepy Crawler

Walking to my room this morning, I saw this gigantic, black stick that seemed to be moving. Millipedes are common here. I see them almost daily but I have never seen one this big. I wouldn't want to find this in my room or, worse, on my bed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A good friend comes to visit

I have been to Kenya 4 times now and the only person from home who has come to see me is my daddy. It's strange when I go home and tell everyone about my life and adventures in Kenya and no one understands or can relate to what I am talking about. But now I have a friend who I can reminisce about all things Kenyan when I get back to Canada. My dearest friend, Daphne, came to visit me this weekend in Mombasa. Daphne and I met when I went to school in Vancouver for a couple years. Since then, she has become one of my best friends and a big encourager to me. So it was an absolute delight to be with her this weekend and to hang out with a good ol' Canadian friend. 

Silly me forgot that I live right on the beautiful Indian ocean. I never go swimming or to the beach but Daphne encouraged me this weekend and I think I might have to make it a habit. We had loads of fun bobbing up and down in the waves.

Beach feet. I always wear flip flops as there are tons of sea urchins and other pokey, stingy things that live in the waters. 

Daphne and her friend making discoveries in the water. This is the beach in front of Word of Life. It's not the best to swim on so we go further down in front of some of the resorts. 

Eating yummy coastal food. It was a nice treat for Daphne who has been eating overly greasy village food for the last month. 

We also watched the World Cup finals together at a local joint. The place was packed with people from all over the world. Yay Spain! I am glad it's over. Now our lives won't revolve around the game schedule. 

We had a wonderful time together. I thank God for such a good friend and a wonderful visit. He knows just what I need right when I need it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Farewell Germans

I meet a lot of foreigners here in Kenya. Many people come and go, come and go. We spent time together, eat meals together, talk, do fun things, and in the end become good friends. But at some point, we must part ways back to our homes. It's the sad part about living here in Kenya. Half of my facebook friends are people who I have created a relationship here in Kenya and haven't seen since. Last night was another farewell to two loveable German boys who have been in Kenya since September. The great thing about people is the farewell party! It's an excuse for making pizza! 
Jonathan loves our cooking. I think he was starting to get fed up with the kenyan food. He was looking forward to getting back to his beloved Nutella in Germany.

Mr. Joshua is always making noise. He's a rowdy character.

Genrich has almost convinced me to cheer for Germany in the World Cup. I am still leaning towards Spain though. The big night is tonight when the two will battle it out on the field. 

We drove them into town, had our last cup of chai together and then dropped them at the bus stop. So long, farewell our dear German brothers. 

Roasted Maize

This is a common site here in Kenya. Roasted Maize. It's just corn (not that yummy, soft, yellow, sweet corn we have back home) that is roasted over a charcoal fire. It's everywhere. And its super cheap. The most expensive you will pay for a large cob is less than 25 cents. I can eat a whole one and make it a meal. In Mombasa, they will even put lime and masala on it to give it a little sumin' sumin'.

So I was sitting in the van and decided to take a pic of one of my favourite snacks. One thing I love about Africa is the street food. I know they advise us not to eat it because chances of getting sick are high but thanks be to God, I have never been sick from street food. You can get anything on the streets. I used to walk around just buying food and by the time I got home, I would be full and wouldn't need to cook supper. I will miss street food when I get back to Canada.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fort Jesus

There's a lot of history in Mombasa. It was a port that people first came to and there were slaves and Indians and Arabs and ships and spices and stuff. I am not so great with the whole history thing. I don't care so much. Never did care so much about history. Doesn't interest me at all. It's probably the reason I have never gone to Fort Jesus. It's a very popular tourist spot in Mombasa. It's this big castle like structure right on the water. Like I said, it involves slaves and ships and the Portuguese and other stuff. What I love most about it is that it is located right on the ocean. It's cool and breezy. And in the evenings, young boys come and play football on the small, dirt pitch in the back. On friday, I had some time to kill and a couple friends from Norway who wanted to see the city so we spent some time enjoying Fort Jesus from outside the walls. 

This is me and Solveij with Fort Jesus behind us. Right behind us is the football pitch that comes alive in the evenings. 

To one side, you can see Nyali, a rich, high-end part of town.

And to the other side you get to see the great Indian Ocean. If you look hard, you can see a ship coming into Mombasa. It's fun to watch the big ships come into the port. I always wonder if there are any pirates on them. Haha. Most of the ships that are attacked by Som@li pir@tes come into Mombasa. Rarely are there actually pirates on it.


Tis the season of rallies. We are invited to about 5 rallies every weekend. We decided to be apart of yet another rally on Sunday at WAA girls secondary school. We were in charge of the program, worship, sound and music, speakers, MC's and so on. It was a long, tiring but fun day. 

Remember Rahab? Yes, we are still best of friends. We work together here in Mombasa. We are no longer roommates, but now we are neighbours. It's nice to have a good friend around. 

Rallies are often a time for same sex schools to mingle with other schools of the opposite sex. We had this boy come to do a presentation and the girls went wild. They were up dancing and singing along screaming at this young gent. I was laughing. I don't understand what its like to be in a same sex school as I schooled with boys my whole life. I can imagine though. 

This is Mr. Joshua. He is on our ministry team. He preached to the students an amazing message from Hebrews 10.

Ok this wasn't the rally but I am trying to take at least one picture a day so I can remember my days. On weekends, I like to go into to town to stay with friends and we always enjoy a nice breakfast. Most days I eat bread and tea for breakfast so I like to treat myself to something different. This morning we had coffee, sausages, eggs, bananas, and mahambri (a local doughnut type food made with sweet coconut milk). Yummy yummy!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Every month, we host a girls sleepover in one of our cottages at the beach. It is a chance for us to have a fun night of lots of laughing, encouraging, eating, being silly, and listening to the Word of God. I attended my first sleepover last weekend. After an extremely exhausting day, it was a nice way to relax. Although girls being girls, we talked our way through the wee hours of the morning. 

My dearest Rahab was sharing with us on "the Beauty of Brokeness". It was such an encouraging word for so many of us who have gone through tough tough times in our lives. God is faithful. He gives us beauty for ashes.

FOOD! We are girls and like to eat! It was a bit different cuisine than a sleepover in Canada. It consisted of cabbage, mukimo (mashed potatoes with beans, corns, kale), and chicken liver stew. I was wondering where the Doritos and Hot Dogs were. 

This is Baby Chris. He was the only boy allowed to stay the night with the girls. His mom Mercy is such an amazing woman. She is single mother who struggles to take care of her baby but she is so FAITHFUL to God. She inspires me to no end. 

Just a few of the girls the morning after. Such beautiful women they are. I was so inspired by their stories and the lives they live. I was so thankful for the life God has given me. I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father. We are all daughters of the King! 

A poem for me

Nescafe is a mild sedative
but your smile is highly addictive

In you is strength to face the odds
from the product of your vocal cords

Killing I find them eyes
though not with a heart of ice

Only Him is right no need of might
He will protect you through the night

Loving you ought to be
don't sting like a bee

Everlasting your love will grow
and leave mankind in awe

My dear friend, Tsuma, wrote this poem for me for my birthday. He likes poetry and this was his gift for me. I have to admit, I don't quite understand all of it but it was written with care. It was very sweet. I will always keep it with me.