Sunday, October 31, 2010

Counselors Retreat!

This weekend was such a blast. It was exactly what I needed. I got the news of my Deda right before the retreat started and I was so blessed to have people around me praying and encouraging me. Plus, the craziness of it helped keep my mind off of things. 

We had about 40 counselors come for a weekend retreat here at Word of Life. We arranged for them to stay in some of our nicest cottages, eat some amazing food, and just have a great time getting to know each other better and preparing themselves for camps. 

On friday evenings, we have a fellowship group in town where we train these counselors. Each week we have some train us in counselling youth. We have covered topics such as anger, grief, conflict, self-esteem and many others. This weekend we had some more sessions on ethics and communication. So it was a good mixture of fun and learning. 

Here are our counselors during on of their sessions. This is our main hall where we do pretty much everything. The roof is made of 'makuti' which is essentially grass. It always cracks me up to think I live under a grass roof. During one of our sessions, it started to rain. Our roof is a bit old and is needing repair. So when it started to rain, it started leaking on pretty much everyone. We had to all find spots where water wasn't dripping from the roof. 

This weekend also gave me a chance to see a lot of my friends for the last time since I will be leaving tomorrow. This is Jacky (left) and Betty (right). They are quite the pair. They will chat your ears off and make you laugh till your belly hurts. I will miss these two.

This is Issac or, as we like to call him, Izo. He's another great friend. 

Did I mention we had amazing food?! On Saturday night, we had Coast night. The culture on the coast of Kenya is much different than the rest of Kenya. It has it's own style of dressing, own yummy food, and its own lifestyle. So we cooked a traditional coastal meal. It was delicious. Here is Rahab making chapattis. She is an amazing chef! 

On our last night, we set up a movie screen and watched a movie outside. It was so nice sitting by the ocean, feeling the cool breeze, and watching a nice movie. Although I didn't stay for long. I was pooped and hit the sack.

Good friends. I will miss these peeps. 

Tonight, is my last night at Word of Life. I have pretty much everything packed up. I have shook out all my clothes and found enough cockroaches to make me scream. I just hope I don't bring any home with me. Ha. We are having a little farewell party at my directors house tonight. Then I am outta here in the morning. I am both sad and excited. One great season over, and another one just beginning. 

The Cost

On friday morning, I got an email from my mom asking me to pray for my Deda (grandfather in Russian) as he had an aneurism that was leaking blood into his belly. He was being rushed to a hospital 4 hours away. The doctors didn't think that he was going to make it to the hospital. Usually, they evacuate these types of patients by airplane but it just happened to start snowing that night and, when it snows in the little valley we live in, its very dangerous to land or take off. So they had to drive him. He had 5 people attending to him in the back of the ambulance for the 4 hour drive. Thank the Lord he made it and had a successful surgery.

However, he is still not out of the woods. He is currently on life support and kidney dialysis. His organs are pretty damaged from the trauma they experienced. He is in critical condition. So it's a bit of a waiting game. Many doctors have hope. Some think he will get worse before he gets any better. BUt there is always the possibility his body may not be able to recover. We are just waiting. 

It's not easy being so far away when things like this happen. The toughest part when leaving is trusting that God will take care of your loved ones while you are away and that you will see them again when you return. You have to surrender them completely to God. And you never really know what will happen. But that's the cost of following Christ. 

Jesus says, 'take up your cross and follow me.' He asks us to give up everything and follow Him where He leads you. He says drop your pride, your security, your good job or promising future, your money, your rights, and even the people you love the most, and follow Him. It differs for everyone. Not everyone has to drop their money-making job or their health insurance. Sometimes that's where He wants you. But He doesn't want you to get to comfortable there. Because He may just ask you to give that up too. He needs willing hearts; hearts that are willing to follow Him wherever, whenever, and do whatever He asks of you. 

God has lead me to Kenya. I have full peace that I am right where he wants me to be. It's not always easy to be here but I really love it. God has asked me to give up my comfy life and shine His light to the people here in Kenya. It's not for everyone. I believe God has given me a special grace to do it. But it comes with a cost. Yes, I had to give up my rights to a bed without bed bugs, a flush toilet, awesome food, personal safety, and many other things. But I also came knowing that anything could happen to my family. I knew coming that I may not come home and see all my family members. 

I now know that I may or may not get to see my Deda again. It's not an easy thing to come to terms with but thats what He asked of me. And I do it. Because I love Him more than anything else in this world. He gave Himself for me that I may know Him. 

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does to take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37-38

Please pray for my Deda. It's not easy. This weekend has been heavy on me. My family is all with him now in the hospital. As far as I know, he is doing fine. Please pray that, when I get home on Nov. 14th, he will still be there to welcome me home. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The beginning of the end

Today I am going to begin to pack up my room. Right after I post this blog. I have been saying for days that I should start but today, I realized, may be the only free afternoon I have before I leave. Tomorrow we start a crazy weekend of counsellors training. We are expecting 50 people to be with us this weekend for a lot of good food, games, and training sessions for our upcoming camps. It's a good way for me to leave. many of my friends will be come so I will get the chance to say goodbye. But I really can't see myself having anymore free time before I leave on monday.

That's why I must start packing today. Well first I need to wash my clothes. Our washing machine often 'misbehaves' as our housekeeper likes to tell us. It has been 'misbehaving' all week and we are not able to get our clothes washed. So instead of torturing myself and washing all my clothes by hand in one go, I have been taking 30 minutes a day to do a few items. That way my hands don't get all raw from rubbing and my back doesn't get sore from leaning over too much.

After my clothes are washed, I will start taking down my pictures off the wall and arranging my books in my suitcases. I need to start packing my clothes too. I need to see which ones are 'worthy' to still be worn in Canada and which ones are 'strictly kenyan' and should not leave this country.

I still have lots of paper work I need to go through. I will be sorting out all my work permit issues 3 days before I leave the country. It has finally come through but I need to get all the documentation together. It' a bit ironic considering I will leave 3 days later. Then I need to start writing my thank you cards to people who have blessed me and been so wonderful to work with.

Ok, I guess the list is not that long now that I look at it. It just seems like a lot especially because it is getting so hot you don't really want to move too fast (I am kinda looking forward to washing my clothes and having my hands in cold water). Also, there is little water that comes out of my taps so to fill a bucket takes an hour. Then there are men working outside making terrible amounts of noise with all the repairs they are doing to the building. And I am exhausted. I've been having troubles sleeping the last few nights. I think its the heat. Last night was the first time I had to put the fan on.

But I will get these things done today. I am determined to.

Since I haven't been sleeping great, I have been getting out of my room to watch the sunrise in the morning. I usually take my bible and sit a rock as the sun starts to rise. These days it doesn't have to rise to high for it start getting hot. I brought my camera along today. I will miss living in such a beautiful place.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The First Game

Five small boys sat behind me giving a play-by-play of the game in their own words. Simple but understandable. They sat on the edge of their seats with their eyes glued to every pass, kick, save, and slide. They jumped up and down when the ball got close to the net and cursed the ref when he made a call against their team. Their tiny bodies started imitating the boys on the pitch.

Then there was a Muslim man sitting on the bench in front of me. He was giving a more sophisticated and seemingly more educated play-by-play of the game to his friend. After every shot, corner kick, and defensive move he gave his comment on how he would have done it better. His friend beside him just kept staring at the game listening patiently to him yabber about the glory of his younger soccer-playing days.

A group of rowdy young boys showed up. The minute they showed up, things got louder and more abusive as they yelled at the coaches, the players, the ref, and even the spectators for no particular reason but to be annoying and seemingly cool. But every one resented them and eventually they calmed down after not getting the attention that had hoped for.

Then there was the mama who brought little packages of peanuts to sell to the people in the stands. She sat down beside me with an empty bucket. I was happy to see her business went well and she can go home with no peanuts left over and some money in her pockets.

And of course, there was me. The only white person in the whole place. The only girl watching the game. I just sat there quietly, not wanting to really be seen or to attract any attention to myself, but just wanting to watch the Rehma boys shine on the pitch for their very first match as a team.

The boys arrived at the pitch before any one else to get focused and warm up properly. They had taken the initiative to raise money to rent proper jerseys for their first game. Just before the ref blew the whistle for the game to start, it started to pour with rain. It had been the first time it rained in weeks and of course it had to come just as we started our first game. The first 20 minutes had a lot of slipping and sliding, bad passes and short kicks. And a lot of mud. The boys were covered in it from head to toe. But soon the sun came out again and the field slowly dried up. That’s when the real game began. 

More and more people started to trickle into the small, humble stadium until there were over 300 people watching the game. And guess what? They were all there to watch our boys! My cheeks couldn’t stop hurting from smiling so much as I looked around at all the people who had come to watch the boys play. It was a big afternoon as two heavyweight soccer teams were playing: Manchester United and Arsenal. Both very crucial games in the season. Yet, for some reason, people chose to come watch the Rehma boys. It just goes to show what an impact they have on their community.

The game was exciting. There was lot of close calls and intense moments. The boys played their hearts out but in the end, neither team scored. As the boys walked off the pitch, they were congratulated by the multitudes on a game well played. I learned later on that they were playing the top team in the 3rd best league in the nation. Their opponents criss-cross the country beating great teams. And our boys tied with them??!! I asked why we couldn’t play in their league and I was told that it was merely support that makes the difference. If you have the money for travel, team fees, equipment, etc. then you are able to join the league.

I sat on the side as they debriefed with their coaches in awe of what I had just seen. These boys would not have had the chance to play if we had not gotten the support to help them. They would not have drawn such an incredible crowd and created such a sense of community if they weren’t the incredible boys that they were. They will be surely making a big impact in their communities with continued love and support. We have already heard some great things about what they are doing and how they are behaving in the community.

As we walked home watching the sunset, I was talking with one of the boys about his struggles in life. They are big struggles compared to what we struggle with. Things we may never understand because we are so fortunate. My heart hurt for him. I was just glad that, for a few hours, he was able to forget about the challenges in his life, and just play.

 We still need a few things for the boys. We have really seen the need for a full first aid kit. Also, they don’t have their own official jerseys. They are going to family and friends just to raise a little money to rent them so it would be nice for them have their own set. We have been able to equip some of the boys with a few necessities thanks to some generous donors.  If you got to spend one day with these boys, you would see the amazing amount of needs they have in their lives. One thing is education. Many of them have only gone up to gr.8 because they can’t afford the school fees past that. There is not much you can do if you only have a certificate up to gr. 8. It is our prayer that one day we can also sponsor some of them to continue their education. Please pray about it and contact me if you would like to help them out in any way.

The Poor

The other day I was sitting with a friend of mine at a local food joint when a sweet, elderly woman came up to us.

'Jambo. Nisaidie. Shillingi ishirini ata kumi' 

'Hello please help me with 20 shillings or even just 10'

We very kindly told her with a smile, 'Pole, si leo' 'sorry, not today.'

My friend then turned to me and said, "You know, when I meet people like that, I always think about the scripture that talks about Jesus separating the goats from the sheep. One day, I will stand before him and he will say to me, 'I came to you because I was in need and you denied me.'"

We sat there silently for a few minutes convicted by the thought.

Living around the poor is so tough. We don't really experience it in Canada. How many friends do you have that will not be eating supper tonight because they can't afford it? Sure, there are people around us who don't have great paying jobs, are in debt, can't afford to drive a nice car, or can't afford to by the latest gadget but I am not talking about these things. That is not poverty. That is just lacking nice things.

I am talking about people who have nothing. I mean nothing. Their kids don't go to school. Their kids wear the same clothes everyday and never have shoes. They make less than $1 a day. They wake up in the morning not knowing where their next meal will come from. They get sick yet can't see a doctor because doctors cost money. They have no luxuries like TV or radio or even books or playing cards instead they play with old plastic bottles and little stones. They sit around because there is no work or they don't have enough education to get a decent job. Families of 5 live in a one small room and share a toilet with 30 other people. That kind of poor.

When was the last time you went with out a meal?

I guess I have been thinking about it more lately. I have a lot of friends who live like this. They will have $2 to live on for the next 5 days. They will eat a banana for breakfast and some bread for supper and thats all for the day. They will feel hunger pains that we can't even imagine. I have seen it first hand and lived it with them. Well, sort of. Until I get too uncomfortable that is. For me, it's easier because I know that if I am desperately hungry, I have a savings account I can access at any time.

If I gave something to every poor person I meet or every sweet lady who comes and asks me for a few cents here in Kenya, I would be broke tomorrow. The need is overwhelming. I struggle too because I am white and people believe that I have unending riches. But if I try to teach them to lean on God yet hand out money to them whenever they need it, then who are they really leaning on?

Jesus loves the poor. He has a huge heart for the poor. So if you hang out with the poor, you are bound to meet Jesus. The poor have faith like I have never seen before. I get it when James 2:5 talks about the poor being rich in faith and inheriting the kingdom of God. They will trust in God alone to provide. If God provides 3 days later, they will turn back to Him and give Him praises while forgetting about the 3 days they went hungry.

Not all poor people are like this. Don't get me wrong. There are those who steal, cheat, prostitute themselves just to eat. There are those who die of ulcers from worrying so much. There are those who go to witchdoctors to make potions of prosperity. They are not all full of faith. But I have seen more poor people with genuine, steadfast faith.

There is a man who walks around Mombasa town. I think he is mentally lacking something. Maybe due to drugs or a birth defect. I don't know. But he intrigues me. Now I see him, I divert my eyes because most of the time he is naked or wearing torn shorts and, if you are not careful, you will get more than your eyes bargained for. He has not clothes let alone shoes. He probably never bathes. He just lives on the street. Sometimes I see him fast asleep on the pavement in the hot sun with noisy cars passing by. He must eat because he doesn't have a really scrawny body but is quite built. He doesn't care what people think of him and he never really bothers people. He just lives in his own little world and day by day somehow he gets by. I don't know what his faith is like and I don't know whats really going on in his mind but he seems content. There is something about his life I admire. No cares in the world. He survives.

I don't know.

As you can tell, my thoughts are mumble jumbled. I go back and forth.

All I can say is that I am blessed to mingle with the poor. I am excited to be apart of their lives. To be their friends. Not merely just to give to them but to live with them. After all, there is the rich and the poor and the Lord is the maker of all of them.

Alot of my thoughts were sort of spurred on by an article I read this morning. I suggest you read it. You can find it here.

A lady I met when we traveled a few months back to one of the poorest village I have ever been to. Isn't she beautiful?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sand, Snacks, and Soccer!

It had been on our hearts for a while to do something special for these boys where we could all get together and just hang out and build a sort of team spirit. We decided to treat the boys to a day at the beach. In the morning, we had troubles at the bank, we couldn't get the sodas we wanted, it was getting hot, some of the boys decided to leave because we were late but we managed to meet up with them and boy were they ever excited. We hired a mini-bus to take us to the beach. The boys all piled in, jumping up and down, ready to get going. Kelvin and I just looked at each other smiling. We knew it was going to be a special day. 

Kelvin led them through some team building exercises and eventually ended up playing beach soccer for a while. Their sweaty bodies fell in the sand leaving them covered with sand. 

Before we gave them sodas and some snacks, Kelvin had a 'life' chat with them about community and loving one another. The boys are really captivated by him. Everything he says they seem to just soak up. 
 I think they can see his love and devotion to them and they appreciate it.

I was excited because this was the first time that I was actually able to spend some time with them other than just greetings as we pass each other. At first I could tell they were just trying to be on their best behaviour but eventually they loosened up and let their true colours shine. 

They totally loved rolling around in the ocean during low tide. 

It's really amazing how much they love soccer. They would never just pick up the ball and walk with it, someone always had to be kicking or playing with it. We were waiting to be picked up and they occupied the whole street playing. They were laughing so hard. They kept reminding one another that they were in a very posh estate and it wasn't like their environment where they could scream and yell and make lots of noise. 

It was truly an incredible day. The boys really started to connect and become closer friends than they already were. We were able to lay aside every thing at home, school, work, and struggles in their lives and just have a few hours of joy and relaxation. It's also incredible to see the change that is happening to them. They are starting to become caring, considerate, hard working young men in their community. We actually have had a few comments from the locals about the positive changes they are seeing in these boys. 

We were able to register them in one of the best leagues in the area. They play their first game on sunday. They have also been asked by the local MP to join another league. 

Keep these boys in your prayers. They have a lot of personal needs and issues that we can't even fathom. We just keep assuring them that there is Hope for them! 

I have realized something...

Ok, I came to this grand revelation the other day.

Lately I have really been craving hummus. I eat a lot of hummus back home with carrots or pita or naan bread. I just love it. I also love other dips like tzitziki (sp?) and artichoke and asiago cheese dip. So yummy.

I have been really thinking and dreaming about them a lot lately and I realized why the other day.

They have just been put in our supermarkets here. The other day I walked in and saw these new dips on the shelves. They were even giving us samples. I tasted hummus for the first time in over a year and it felt like my mouth was melting. mmmh. The only thing was that they are ridiculously expensive. I must be in a really good mood to spend so much money on that.

But I realized something when it comes to craving things. I got through these periods when I crave certain foods. Like a few months ago it was skittles, heinz ketchup, and pizza now comes hummus and the likes. I always get this craving when either I see these things or when I get a little taste of them.

I think if I lived in the bush and only had access to the basic kenyan foods without seeing any of my luxurious dishes, I wouldn't crave things to often.

So I guess I need to stop looking at things. I think I am going to stop going to the supermarket. Let me just stick to my rice and beans.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Teacher Nikole

Just before I was suppose to go to bed last night, my dear friend and work colleague knocked on my door. I invited her in and told her to take a seat. She then proceeded to ask me in this sweet voice whether or not I could teach for her at chapel in the morning. My first thought was "no, I am not prepared so it's not fair. You need to give me more time" but I decided to hear her out. She told me of some things that she was told she must do which was a surprise to her as well and that she couldn't get out of. This is typical here even though it drives me crazy but I have gotten used to it. So I finally gave in and said I would do it. 

Word Of Life has a primary and nursery school. It is a separate entity from our ministry but shares the same name and morals. Every friday morning they have chapel for one hour which we are in charge of. They split the lower primary (gr.1-3) and the upper primary (gr.4-8) in two different sessions. I am often the one speaking in the lower primary with the little munchkins. 

Learning styles and discipline is much different here in Kenya. Their learning style is to get kids to remember as much as they can for their national exams which they do in gr. 8 and gr. 12. The national exam in gr.12 pretty much determines your future. If you don't do well, it is unlikely you can get into a good university. There is a lot of pressure to do well that's why teacher's main focus is to get kids to memorize as much information as possible. Whereas in the West, our philosophy is teaching kids to think, analyze, and learn by their selves. Discipline is also very different. In Kenya they have a lot of threats, embarrassment, and beating. They still do hit kids here when they misbehave (and even when they can't do what the teacher is telling them which I do not approve of at all). If kids are disturbing the teacher, they will also embarrass them in front of the class or threaten them. In the West, if kid are not paying attention in class we are more likely to try and change our teaching styles so they will want to listen and learn. We want to engage them instead of punishing them because we are too boring for them. If we do discipline them, we take away some sort of privilege or call their parents but we never beat them or embarrass them in front of their friends. 

So it's different. And I have struggled teaching these little ones. My teaching style doesn't quite work with them because they are so used to strict Kenyan ways. Also, I don't want to just teach them one bible verse. I want them to understand it and be able to apply it in their lives. It has been a learning experience for me that's for sure. 

We had our class today outside under the tree since some of the other students were doing exams and we didn't want to disturb them. I was unsure how the kids would react to being outside but they did a pretty good job.

Preacher! Ha, I am probably just telling them the bible verse in my slow, kenyan accent so they can be sure to understand me.

We have new visitors from Germany. They will be serving at Word of Life for one year. This is Kathrine. She was taking the photos for me. She is really great with kids!

One thing these kids do that really bugs me is they tell on one another a lot. This little boy walked in front while I was speaking to all the kids and interrupted me just to tell me his friend was disturbing him. I just told him to sit down but 2 minutes later I see him disturbing his friend so I call him up to the front. Our lesson today was "Love your neighbour as yourself" which worked perfectly as I told him that he didn't like being disturbed so he shouldn't disturb others. He just looked down and went quietly back to his seat. 

Ok, then we played Simon Says. It is a good way to pass time and to get them to learn to listen. Hmm, I need to ask my dad if that is a good teaching method or not? I don't think I was meant to be a teacher. But I try. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ramble ramble ramble...

I keep telling myself that I need to sit down and blog more often but sometimes I just can't think of anything to say. Sometimes my days aren't as exciting as one may assume that someone living in Africa would have.

 Lately work has been more administrative type stuff which is the unfortunate part about living in and working with organizations here. It's unavoidable. I find my eyes glued to the computer most of the day typing up schedules, budgets, plans, letters, etc. And if I am not staring at my computer typing lots of stuff, I am in a meeting talking about what to type on my computer. I am sure glad my computer is so cute and fun to hang out with.

We are planning for a busy next two months. Starting October 29th, our weeks will be filled to the brim. We will be having 6 week long youth camps. These camps are exhausting, a lot of hard work, yet incredibly fun and rewarding. We get youth from all over the country to come for a week of crazy fun, lots of Jesus, and a life changing experience. Our camps really are wonderful.

When I say 'we' and 'our' I really mean 'they' and 'their' because I won't be around. I will be leaving Mombasa by November 2nd. Part of me is sad that I won't get to be with them after being such a big part of all the planning but part of me is really ok with not participating in the 6 week madness of camps. I will be back in Canada nestled in my beautiful home drinking coffee and watching the snow fall.

I didn't get to celebrate thanksgiving. I knew it was happening and I enjoyed the day but not in the way that I am used. No turkey, stuffing, brussel sprouts, pumpkin pie, etc. No close family and no autumn colours. I actually went to visit some friends of mine whose brother just happens to live in Castlegar. Such a crazy connection but ever since I moved to Mombasa in November 2008, they have been so loving and welcoming. So I went to their house for lunch after church. They treated me to chicken curry, chapatti, vegetable rice, salad with salad dressing, and some indian pork dish. It was delicious. But the best part was dessert. They had just returned from a vacation to London and they brought back all sorts of yummy goodies. I had ice cream with strawberry and whopper (you know those little malt balls) flavoured chocolate sauce. I had nice moist cake (which is a nice change from Kenyans' dry, crumbly cake). I ate some sort of fruit and nut bars. Then they pulled out the terry's chocolate orange and my heart almost skipped a beat. YUM! I think I ate almost half of it after I had filled my belly with all this other great stuff. I could barely walk after that. I didn't eat anything till the next morning.

In about 10 minutes we are going to a school for ministry. We haven't been there in about 2 months so I am excited to see all the students again. They are very friendly, loving, welcoming, and talkative. We didn't know we were going until this morning. We got a call from the mwalimu (teacher) asking if we could come today. Surprise! I wake up every morning submitting the day entirely to God because I know that the plans that I have made for the day will most likely never happen and something completely different will come up. Just like today. But I am happy to get my eyes away from the computer screen and out of the office and actually interact with some people.

These are my random rambles for the day. More to come I am sure.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good Morning Nikole!

"Good Morning Nikole! This is God. Please come out of your room and come see the beautiful sunrise that I have created. Enjoy it. It will be the perfect start to your day. Come chat with me and be with me before you do anything else. Feel the cool, crisp breeze. Listen to the waves crash. Let the sun shine on your face. Enjoy the rest of your day! Love you!" 

I woke up early this morning. I didn't really have to but my body woke up at around 6am just as the sun was coming up. I could see the bright orange sun from my window but I convinced myself that I should go back to sleep for another 30 minutes. About 10 minutes later, I just couldn't sleep and was rolling around in my bed so I decided that I should just go and enjoy it. I have been wanting to get up and watch the sunrise but I tend to wake up and chose my bed. This morning was different. I just put a skirt on and some flip flops, grabbed my camera and walked down to the beach. 

It was amazing. It felt like a fresh summer morning. There was a cool, crisp breeze in the air. It was so peaceful. There were a few birds walking in the water and some crabs digging their sand holes. I just rested and was silent knowing that this was a gift from God. 

Although, it was soon disturbed by a beach boy who insisted on bugging me. He kept asking if he could come closer and talk. He called me beautiful like princess  Diana. I was getting so frustrated with him. Couldn't he see I was just wanting a nice peaceful morning? So I turned to him and said, " I came to the beach for a nice peaceful morning and you have just ruined it." I then turned my back and he started yelling, "I am sorry, I am so sorry. Please come back. I will leave now." I just walked up and sat where I took this picture. My morning wasn't ruined. Just a little disturbance but nothing to take away from God's awesomeness. 

A precious note...

To Nicole, 
You are a blessing to me. 
May God bless and manifest
upon your life. 

The way you encouraged me
made me feel at God's presence.
I wish you a nice time 
as you continue ministering in 
the Word of Life ministry. 

From your Friend 

I found this sweet note in my purse today. I had put it in there at Kapropita when it was passed along to me. It made me smile. Sometimes I am amazed that God gives you the privilege to be used by Him. As much as it can be a sacrifice for us, a huge blessing comes along with it. A blessing where you sit and and thank God for choosing you to be apart of something so amazing. This was one of those instances. 

We had finished a session at the girls school and were heading up for tea when this young girl, Violah, approached me and asked if she could talk with me. She then began to pour her heart out to me. I wasn't quite prepared for the things she told me. She began by explaining to me that her father was pretty much destroying their lives. He had began drinking and no longer providing for the family. He started to going to medicine men to send curses and bewitch her mother. He hated her mother and pretty much left her to die in the hospital. Violah feels stranded. Her mother and her both need help but no one is there. Family members have disowned them and want nothing to do with them. The local people have turned their backs. 

Violah is scared of what is going on at home. In Kenyan boarding schools, students are not allowed to contact home unless it is an emergency or if they need to come home due to lack of school fees. So Violah has no idea what is happening to her mother at home. She fears her mother is on her death bed and her father doesn't care. She knows that her father has not paid her school fees so she may be sent home at any time. Plus, before she left for school this term, her father said that in December, he will kill both her and her mother. 

This girl has a lot of anxiety and fears on her shoulders. I didn't quite know what to say. I have never personally experienced anything like this so how can I comfort her. I just listened to her. As soon as she started crying, my tears started flowing as well. All I could offer her was simple bible verses and a small prayer. 

After our talk, she admitted she felt relieved. I don't know what it was. Maybe she just needed to share it with someone and get it off her back. Maybe she needed a simple prayer or a loving hug. I don't know. But God put her at ease. He used me. I felt so privileged and honoured. Especially the next day when the precious note above was delivered to me. 

" In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:19

Monday, October 4, 2010

That familiar sweat moustache...

Yes, it's back. That sweat moustache. The tiny beads of sweat that form above your upper lip which leaves you constantly wiping your lips with your t-shirt. It's gross yet uncontrollable. Everyone gets it; it's not just me.

The weather is starting to really heat up like I remember it. When I first moved to Mombasa, I just happened to move here just as the hot season was beginning. It's not that scorching hot where the sun beats down on you instantly burning your skin. It's a muggy, humid heat that leaves every part of your body constantly sticky. You sweat all the time! If you are in a rush and decide to run up the stairs to get something, you will come back down having beads of sweat dripping down your face. Cooking over a stove or even drinking a hot drink will cause you to sweat profusely. It doesn't cool down at night either. You lay on your back, since it is too hot to sleep any other position, and you have the fan on high all night blowing directly at you. There are even days where you will spread your body out like a starfish to avoid sweat in the cracks of your body and sit under a ceiling fan and STILL sweat.

I must have wiped my sweat moustache about 100 times today. I got into my room this afternoon and starting filling a bucket of cold water to bathe in, turned on the fan, and changed into my shorts and tank top. It's only just beginning so it's not too bad yet. I will be missing the worst of it since I go home in a few short weeks. Praise the Lord!

Speaking of going home....I don't want to.

A few weeks ago I was actually really looking forward to it but now I am dreading it more and more. I am so excited to see my family and friends and enjoy some of the wonderful luxuries of Canada but I know all that excitement will wear off within two weeks and then I will be counting down the days till I can return. So please pray that God prepares my heart to leave the people and this wonderful (yet quirky) country that I am so in love with.