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.
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.
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.
Chicken & chips (French fries).
Who is your best friend?
David Ewoi, Collins, Victor and his brother Moses.
Being here again is so surreal. I feel like it was just yesterday I was leaving for home after our work trip in November. But I’m forever grateful for The Mighty Acorn Foundation and how they put their trust in me time and time again to travel here and to serve. This time I will be staying here for a month and a half doing what my heart feels at home with. Being with those who are desperate for love and connection to something bigger than themselves. MAF does so many amazing things for these incredibly beautiful children and seeing God’s plan unfold before my eyes always gets the water works flowing. Thankfully however, I’m not experiencing all this and working here on my own!! I would love to introduce you all to Sarah Johnson, my amazing new intern! She has a heart for giving and serving those in need just as I do. I truly believe God guided our steps together so we could tackle this summer together. She and I are truly kindred spirits and I cant wait to see how God uses us this summer and what we accomplish!
Sarah’s About Me
I am so incredibly excited and honored to be interning with MAF this summer and to be spending these next 7 weeks on the ground in Kitale with Kylee. It has been something I have been thinking about and praying about for a while now and I can’t think of a better way for me to begin my summer break. I am from Fort Wayne, IN, I am 19 years old, and I just finished up my sophomore year at Indiana University. I recently switched my major to non-profit management because I can’t deny the fact that God put me here on this earth to serve others. It is something I have always felt called to do and it is something that I am extremely passionate about. I can’t wait for this next month and a half to unfold and I would greatly appreciate if you kept Kylee and I, along with all of the little Mighty Acorn kids, in your prayers!
(If you want to know more about me and why I joined MAF I wrote a blog back in June of 2014 that is titled ‘Hello from Kitale” that you can read! But also if you want to know more feel free to email both Sarah and I and we will answer anything you like!)
Sarah and I will be continuing the work I started the last three months I spent here. Connecting your kids to you and you to them! That means your mail boxes will be getting letters, blogs will be written, Instagram and Facebook will be going crazy, and any and all questions you throw at us will be answered as soon as possible! But that isn’t all! Sarah and I have a few really exiting new surprises for you that we are working on with the kids! So keep up to date on all of the pages and we will try not to disappoint!
We arrived in Kitale yesterday and it already has been a flood of emotions. Scott and Wendy (Sarah’s parents) are helping us move into our room. They have been such a great help, I really don’t know what we would do without them. They just so happen to sponsor two amazing kids at the children’s home (Beryl, and Collins), which they haven’t seen in a year, so when we arrived at the school so many hugs and tears and giggles happened. It was such a cool thing to see! So grateful for amazing sponsors that partner along side MAF to really change these children’s lives! I never get tired of seeing these heart connections unfold before my eyes. It truly is the real representation on earth of how God loves us! Pure, selfless, unconditional, giving LOVE! Such an amazing feeling to be a part of!
As we continue this week with Scott and Wendy by our sides, we will be just getting our room turned into our home for the next seven weeks and getting our routine established as much as we can! Sarah and I have a LONG list of things to accomplish while we are here but I know that between the two of us and God guiding our steps there will be so much more done then we could have imagined! Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support while we are here. We couldn’t do it without your encouraging words and love that you all constantly give us!
Love you all!! Wish us luck! And keep us in your prayers!
-Kylee and Sarah
Have you ever felt like you’ve been handed this specific assignment, a mission even, and you know it’s going to be a journey but you’re not exactly sure where it’s going to lead? You know you’ve been called to step out into something you’re not quite sure you’re qualified for but there’s this urge, nudge to go after it.
Well that’s where I find myself today as I sit in the living area of the Karen Blixen Cottages in Nairobi, Kenya. There’s a fire in the fireplace and it’s raining outside – it’s been raining all night. — Man it’s beautiful here.
I’ve been pondering the next several days – what will they hold – by the end of my stay will I have gotten any closer the answers, solutions we’re seeking? Gosh I hope so… but I truly don’t know.
What has compelled us to send DW to Kitale right now… why is she there solo? Believe me if feels a little weird not having 15 to 20 others to be concerned about – I’ll let you know by week’s end how I did with that J
So here’s why – over the last two years you all have helped us rescue, restore and support over 200 children from the Kipsongo Slum. These children are amazing, resilient and despite all the hardships, filled with joy and laughter. We’ve all fallen in love with them and those that care for them every day. Many of you have taken the journey to Seed’s Children’s Home with us and experienced the impact we’re all having in this place… it’s a life changing experience… and it’s good – really good. But for several months a few of us that work closely with the day to day of MAF have been sensing this nagging tug at our hearts… it feels like there is still more… Part of our mission statement is igniting dreams – and with that comes the question “Once ignited, how do they reach them?” Are we really helping to empower them to be all they can be? What happens after they reach 18 and have to leave the Children’s Home? That’s THE question! What happens after the daily care has ended – are they ready to move into society, into community successfully? Our friends the Makani’s are doing great work helping the children be ready but is there a role for the Mighty Acorn Foundation to play in this part of their story?
These are the questions that have brought me here this time.
What can you do? Personally, I would love your prayers, for wisdom and great connections, for reasonable pathways to open up for our older kids, pathways into advanced schooling, mentorships, apprenticeship, other forms of job training and housing solutions. We serve a big God and He will show the way forward.
The circle needs to be complete, rescue, restore, ignite and empower – we need to help do all parts well.
Thank you for joining in this journey with us and specifically thanks for your thoughts and prayers this week.
We asked one of our youngest travelers on our last trip to Kenya to share a little of her experience. It was so amazing to watch Anna, she was truly in her element as she interacted with the children of Kitale.
Anna, age 16, shared this with us:
Going into the August Kenya trip, I was very optimistic. I knew that this trip would change my life, and honestly I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted that to happen, but God knew His plans were bigger than mine. That being said, there was not a single moment in Kenya that didn’t completely change my world. There was one experience that made me realize that my heart was at home in Kenya.
On Tuesday of our trip, we had plans to go visit Mt. Elgon but it didn’t work out. Instead, we went to the Precious Kids Center, a place where they provide support to help children with disabilities. Some of the kids at the orphanage were selected to go with us and first went to shop for some supplies that we would take with us. When we got there and walked through the gates, there were kids everywhere, and just like the kids at Seeds, they were so joyful. I immediately fell in love.
One little guy in particular, Moses, came up to me and stayed in my arms from that moment on. Even if he wanted someone else hold him, he always came right back. We had a connection. While at the store, our children had brought snacks to share with these children. While my mom and I were feeding Moses, he was struggling to eat the crackers, but the mango juice was a HUGE hit. Even if there was nothing left in the cup, he held it all the way upside down over his mouth to get every last drop. He was sitting in my lap, drooling all over me, but I didn’t mind a bit. After finishing off the mango juice to the point where we thought he was going to get sick, there was a box next to us that they were using for trash. To make it more interesting, my mom and I showed him how to throw the trash into the box and cheered when he did it. We would say “throw it Moses!” he would throw it and we would say “Yay! Good job!” and he would smile from ear to ear, a smile that is very rare. That smile made my heart melt.
That day, Moses showed me that no matter what, you can find joy in the little things and to be thankful for what I have. My heart has always been for children with disabilities and being able to love on and serve them in the place where I left my heart was a huge blessing. The Precious Kids Center was truly eye-opening and heart-breaking. Every day I wake up thinking about Moses and the impact he left on my heart. I am so grateful that I was able to go on this trip with the Mighty Acorn Foundation because it changed my life. It gave me a reason to be more thankful and appreciative for what I have here in the United States. God truly did have plans much greater than mine for our trip.
I went on my first trip with the Mighty Acorn Foundation in August of 2014. I had been dying to go to Kitale since I had first heard about it at a Matilda Jane trunk keeper conference in 2013 so I jumped at the chance when my sweet friend Kim asked me to go. I didn’t realize at the time just how much this trip would truly change my life.
I had never traveled overseas, but found the trip to not be difficult at all, although I’m not a very high maintenance kind of girl! The bond created among the team that traveled together was almost instant and when I met the children for the first time, I knew I wanted to come back as many times as they would let me. It’s funny, I found that people sometimes don’t consider it a “mission” trip because we aren’t technically doing medical, construction, or other “specific” work, but I can tell you that meeting your sponsored child face to face, spending time with them, holding their hand, bragging on them, and simply letting them know how much you love them…..love is often the best medicine someone can get!
We sponsor an 8 year old little girl, Faith, who literally moved into the orphanage the day we arrived on our August trip last year. She and her twin sister, Mercy, who is sponsored by one of my best friends, April, were so shy and scared especially when they were meeting their new white sponsor moms for the first time!
I was able to take my 16 year old daughter, Anna, with me on the trip this last August. To travel back and see the changes in Faith and Mercy just in the past year was incredible. They greeted us almost immediately with huge smiles on their faces and big hugs!
The biggest thing I have taken away from the two trips so far is that the impact the children and the experiences have on me far outweigh anything I feel like I do for them. The children there consider their sponsors their parents. Many of them truly are orphans and even if they aren’t, they long for someone to love them, encourage them, just to feel like someone cares. I never understood that until I went. They carry around the letters and pictures that we write like badges of honor. Each one stops me and asks if I know their sponsor. They are so proud of the very little they have and are truly so happy to have a bed to sleep in, to be able to go to school and to get to eat warm meals.
If you are on the fence about joining us on a sponsor trip, I hope this encourages you to join us! The bond that the group going forms is hard to describe. This last group was the most diverse group of people and yet I left feeling like I was leaving family. I truly felt like I came home from Africa last year with a lot more perspective on what was truly important in my life. I truly don’t plan to ever miss another trip!
– Brea Freeman