Say Hello to Grace

Grace Lavenda.

   Caring. Compassionate. Kind.

 Like most children that grew up in the slums of Kipsongo Grace had to grow up faster than a normal twelve year old. Her story created a fire in her to love and care for those around her. She has dreams that will impact Kenya and change the lives of those around her. She has a heart of gold that will take her farther than her imagination. This girl is one of a kind.

DSC_3853Grace grew up in the slums of Kipsongo with her mother and four siblings. Their house was a very small one room house where Grace slept in a chair. Her father (who was a drunk and abusive to her mother) was killed by robbers attacking his car when he was on a journey to Lodwa. Leaving her mother to take care of all the children when Grace was four years old. Her mother did the best she could to provide for the family by selling  vegetables in a small shack, which helped them have meals from time to time, but they would often go hungry. Grace’s mother could not afford school fees so she only went to school about 3 days a week where she would get most of her food from. Grace has been in the orphanage for 3 years now and is thriving! She is doing so well in school and is so happy she gets to go everyday with all her friends from the children’s home. Her favorite subject is science and math and she has big dreams for her future and now that she is going to school she can achieve anything her heart wishes.

grace

Do you miss anything about your life before?

I miss being with my brothers and sisters

Do you feel different now that you are living at the orphanage?

I can go to school now and that makes me happy. I am loved by many friends who make me laugh.

 If you could say anything to your sponsor what would you say?

One day I pray that you will come to Kenya to visit me. 

What is your favorite thing to do?

I love to dance at church and I love to sing.

What grade are you in?

Standard 6 age 12

What do you want to be when you get older?

I want to be a nurse for little kids when they are sick.

Favorite color?

Red

Favorite food?

Chips and Chicken

Who is your best friend?

Mary we like to act in dramas together.

 

Say Hello to Everline

Everline.

 Compassionate. Giving. Selfless.

With a mind wise beyond her years, and a story that fuels her determination, Everline is going to be the change she wants to see in Kenya. She has a heart that cares for everyone around her and a trust in God to guide her on the path to her dreams. She is a beautiful soul.

EverlineAkisa

Everline is a beautiful 15 year old in the eighth grade she grew up in a two room mud hut, in the slums of Kipsongo, with her younger siblings Harriet, Metrine and Phelix. Everline has never met her father so when Everline was ten years old and her mother died, her grandmother had to care for them. Her grandmother was very old and Everline had to become the mother of her younger siblings at a very young age; Harriet was about 3 and Philex and Matrine were under a year old so they needed a lot of care. They often went to bed hungry only having only black tea for the day.  Everline would gather fruit from a tree in her grandma’s yard and sell in order to provide food for the entire family. She often had to miss school in order to make enough money for food and didn’t have enough money for school fees. When she did go to school she was often made fun of because she had no parents and the other children said she was cursed. She came to the orphanage a very depressed 13 year old girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Now she is a happy and out going young lady with a shinning future ahead of her. She has improved her grades and is so happy to be in school. She dreams of helping others one day that are in similar situations as the one she grew up with. She has such a big heart and always puts others before her own needs.

everline

Do you miss anything about your life before?

I don’t miss anything from before because I know I am doing what I need to do now in school, so I can go back home and help my grandmother. 

Do you feel different now that you are living at the orphanage?

When I came to the orphanage I was so happy because now I am going to school, I’m getting food, I have parents who take care of me, I don’t have to care for my brother and sisters and I am able to enjoy being a teenager. Before I got to the orphanage I was 12th in my class but now I am in top 10 so my grades have improved. I am so happy to have two parents now in mama Hellen and pastor Richard. They love and care for me so much.

If you could say anything to your sponsor what would you say?

Thank you for taking me as part of your family and taking me as your child , I know God will help her and add to her life. And I’ll be praying for her. Thank you for your love and care to my studies and thank you for the gifts that you have given me.

What is your favorite thing to do?

I like helping the house moms take care of the little kids in the children home, and studying for my classes. I know if I work hard I can do anything.

What grade are you in?

I am in Standard 8

What do you want to be when you get older?

I want to be in politics so I can start my own orphanage one day and give back everything I have been given to those in need.

Favorite color?

pink and yellow

Favorite food?

lentils, chapati and rice 

Who is your best friend?

Edith, we like to study together and read our Bibles.

Two Mighties One Mission

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Since arriving in Kitale late last Tuesday, so much has happened to us. To say that we are loving every second is an understatement. Being with the kids and loving on all of them for a month and a half is more than we could ever want. The first couple of days were definitely a period of adjusting for us; adjusting to the time difference and the jet-lag, adjusting to our new humble abode at the Karibuni (The Buni as we so lovingly call it)  and all the little critters that came with it (spider, slugs, unidentified scary bugs, termites, geckos, annoying roosters at 6am, and these bird called Hadada Ibis that make this sound like a kazoo),  adjusting to the red dirt and mud (which is officially all over every single article of clothing and shoes we packed…we need to do laundry…), adjusting to power that comes and goes as often as the rain does (very often – it’s currently out as we are typing this), and so much more. As I’m sure you all can imagine, life is VERY different here. But after a week and a half of being here, We can officially say that the period of adjustment is over and we are so completely in awe and in love.

Being in Kenya, the way of life is so different. No one is in a hurry and everything just seems to slow down. As we have continued these past weeks, we have tried to adapt to this way as well. Not in our pace because we have so much to get done, but taking time to truly listen to what God is instructing us to do.  God has been reminding us to listen and wait on Him to answer. We have been getting up in the morning and getting ready for the day (that is if we don’t over sleep our alarms…ooopsss) and when we sit down for breakfast we both read a devotional and scriptures together. Last week, Scott, Wendy and the both of us began our day with a reading from John 17:20-26. The meditation on that reading really stuck with us and had profound meaning for all of us. A portion of it read, “One of the best ways to find Jesus is to look for opportunities to serve. Look for situations in which you can offer a helping hand. As you give of yourself, try to keep your ears and your eyes open. Look for Him in their voices. Try to sense His love and His glory right there in that moment.”

 Every minute that we spend with the kids, we are amazed by how present Jesus is in all of them. In their voices when they sing and praise him and when they laugh. In the sweetness of their smiles and their hugs. In the way they lovingly hold your hand and look at you. We are honored and humbled to be able to spend time with them and show them love. Being in the presence of The Holy Spirit and  just being still allowing Christ to give us a new word for that day and reflect on the days behind us, allows us to be a better steward for Him here in Kenya. It shows us the best way to encourage and love on these amazing children.

 As God continues to grow and work in us while we are here, we are trying to accomplish so many things.

We are all settled in to out little home away from home and have really made it our own. We put up curtains and changed the bedding to something a little cuter and have so many smell good candles lit that our room smells like heaven.

(A little shout out from Kylee) I love having Sarah as my intern. She works just as hard as I do and is always up for something new. We gel together and really are not only great co workers but I think its safe to say we are great new friends. I am so thankful to have her here to help connect all your precious children with you and to get some other fun projects done here as well.

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We have started getting into our daily/weekly routine. We spend our days at the school from 9:30am to 3pm. As soon as we arrive to school there is a swarm of littles that run up to the car yelling, “Jambo!” “Hello!” “How are you?!” and “Kylee and Sarah!!.” We could barely get out of the car today, let alone walk to the office where we were working because we were swarmed with hugs, high fives, and handshakes. While at the school we work on projects with the kids, spending time with each of them, getting to know them better and hear their stories of how they grew up and where they came from. It’s hard for the both of us. Many tears are shed and hugs are given as the kids talk about their lives before coming to the orphanage; it’s incredibly humbling. To listen to each of them share where they’ve come from and what they’ve overcome come, and to see where they are now, and to hear where they want to go in their futures. Their faith, their perseverance, their joy and their laughter despite all of the unimaginable things that have happened to them, is inspiring. Every single one of them is an inspiration to us. We are trying to interview all the MAF children before our seven week trip is over so we can continue posting the “SAY HELLO” blogs while back in the states. We want to continue  showing you who these amazing children are. They have touched our hearts and hopefully through our posts and blogs they get to touch yours.

 After we’ve finished our work at the school for the day, we usually run errands. We pick things up that we need for our house, check the post office, get supplies to make dinner, you know, errand type stuff. Then we head to the orphanage! Being around the kids at the children’s home is the BEST!!! We sing and dance and laugh with them (and snap lots of cute pictures for all you to see) until it’s time for them to eat dinner.

After dinner is our favorite time of the day with the kids…Devotions. Its a time for all 215 children to gather around and worship Jesus. They sing songs both in English and Swahili and pour their hearts out in thanks for all they have been given. Witnessing this and being apart of it with them is a breathtaking experience. As we are all joining hands and singing to Christ, God’s presence is so overwhelming.  After praise and worship someone reads a verse from the bible and teaches the entire group what it means and why it is important for them to know and understand. They truly dedicate the time to get to KNOW Jesus on a personal level. Following that they pray The Lord’s Prayer and a personal prayer and close with announcements for the night. It is an amazing and beautiful part of the night. We hope one day all you sponsors can be here to truly grasp what it feels like to participate in it. God is going to move mountains with these children…there is no doubt in our minds.

APART we can only do so much, but TOGETHER we can climb mountains.
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Say Hello to Sylvia

Sylvia

Shy. Sweet. Smart as a whip.

Sylvia is someone who has big dreams from big places. She has a heart that wants to give and the determination to achieve anything her heart desires. She is always full of giggles and is always there to lend a helping hand. She is sincere, she is caring, she is mighty.

DSC_3316She lived in her home with her 4 older sisters who still live there. Her mom provided what she could for the family by planting vegetables and selling them, but if no one bought their food they could not afford to eat for the day. When she came to school she often didn’t have food and was late to most of her classes. Now since being sponsored she eats three meals a day and is able to go to school without worrying where her next meal will come from. Her grades have improved since coming to the orphanage. She was position 13 in her class and now she has moved all to way to position 7 in her classes. Sylvia has such a bright future ahead of her and its all because of you supporting her. Her dreams can come true and be able to change the world for better. Thank you for being her American family.

 sylvia ameyo

Do you miss anything about your life before?

 Nothing

Do you feel different now that you are living at the orphanage?

Yes I am very happy to have Pastor Richard and Mum Hellen as my parents now, because before when I was living in the slum I only had my mum to care for me and my siblings.

If you could say anything to your sponsor what would you say?

Thank you supporting me and thank you for the gifts you send to me all the way from America.

What is your favorite thing to do?

I love to read books , jump rope, and play soccer

What grade are you in?

Standard 5 

What do you want to be when you get older?

I want to be in  politics so I can help children on the streets 

Favorite color?

Purple and pink

Favorite food?

My favorite food is beans,  rice and chapati

Who is your best friend?

Cynthia Womobi

Say Hello to Brian

Brian

Determined, Resilient, with a Heart of gold

 Brian’s giving heart constantly pours out to others, He has faith that can move mountains and a will to achieve his dreams that will take him to the stars. Nothing has ever stopped him and nothing ever will. He encourages those around him to never give up, always dream, and to work their hardest. He is truly an inspiration and a world changer.Bryan

Brian moved into the orphanage in 2011 when he was 12. Before that, he lived in the Kipsongo slum with his father, mother, and his four younger sisters. His parents did their best to provide for the family and mother had a job selling alcohol, but she was forced to leave because his father did not approve of her job and would not allow her to live in the house. Brian’s father had a job selling furniture, but  on his own it was not enough to provide meals for the five children, so Brian would skip school to get meals for him and his sisters. His father wanted better opportunities for him, so he encouraged Brian to talk to Pastor Richard to see if it would be possible to stay in the orphanage and go to school. Brian was doing poorly at the school he was at and new being in the orphanage granted him the opportunity to attend seeds, where he new he could be a better student and have a better life. Brian has now been in the orphanage for five years, and he is thriving. He smiles all the time, is incredibly smart, and is confident in his ability to achieve his goals in the future.

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What do you like most about being in the orphanage?

The people I live with are good; when they wake up in the morning they worship and when they go to sleep they worship and they’ve inspired me to follow that. I also see the characteristic of people studying and being in the orphanage has helped me to follow that. 

Do you miss anything about your life before?

Being with my sisters.

Do you feel different now that you are living at the orphanage?

Before, I didn’t have any dreams, but now because I have been learning and I have been learning my soul and growing my faith, I want to be an engineer.

If you could say anything to your sponsor what would you say?

They have changed my life. I really appreciate the things they have done for my life and I pray that God may enable them and that God may give them life and protect them every day.

What is your favorite thing to do?

My first favorite is soccer. Then volleyball. Then dancing.

What grade are you in?

8th grade. Mathematics is my favorite.

What do you want to be when you get older?

An automotive engineer. I want to make cars.

Favorite color?

Sky blue.

Favorite food?

Chicken & chips (French fries).

Who is your best friend?

David Ewoi, Collins, Victor and his brother Moses.