Monday, October 10, 2011

Future plans

First (even though my title is future plans), I want to update you all on Whitney, the little girl I mentioned in my last blog who desperately needed a sitter. Some wonderfully kind and generous people bought Whitney's chair. It was made here in Nairobi and delivered to Mbita. Here is a picture of Whitney enjoying her new chair. You can see how happy she is to be up and looking around at all of the faces she loves. She is now able to interact more and is having great fun doing it!

Now, to my future plans...which are directly related to Whitney. Since Whitney's successful story, there have been many other similar situations. It has become blaringly clear that one of the greatest needs I keep running into is the availability of good equipment and basic resources for children with special needs. Most of the time it is simple equipment and adaptions that can make the most tremendous difference in someone's life. Another example is a 16 year old boy I have been working with in Nairobi (for confidentiality purposes, I will call him Sam). Sam had a stroke in March due to a bad dose of Quinine. He is a bright boy, but the stroke has left him unable to speak well and wheelchair bound. Some people from the US brought an IPOD touch for us to use with some of our patients. Apple has an app that allows you to download communication boards to the ipod. With a series of pictures or by typing, someone would be able to use the ipod as their voice to communicate wants/needs. I let Sam use it and he immediately picked it up and was using the machine to communicate in sentences and short paragraphs. I have not seen him so hopeful and full of joy the entire time I have been working with him. It is amazing how this device opened his world. God is good and someone has already offered to purchase an ipod for Sam to use as his own.

There are so many Whitney's and Sam's out there. It may be more sitters or ipods or it may new things, like special wheelchairs, but the need is prevelant and there is a simple solution; God uses people to help people. There are people in Kenya who can start producing some of these items (for example, the fundi in Nairobi who was able to make a chair designed just for Whitney). What an incredible solution. The fundi needed work; Whitney needed a chair; many people are looking for specific ways to help. All three needs were met by each other.

So, how do we keep this going? I have been praying that God would show me a way to continue growing this project so that these basic needs can be met. I am going to be visiting the states for the next month. While there, I will be looking at how to set up a non-profit organization to be able to filter these needs to people who are looking for specific ways to help. In return, these donors would have a place to go to learn of real people with real needs and be able to donate through the organization, tax-free.

This is just the very beginning and there is so much to learn. Right now, it is a little thought, but God is a big God and it is all in His hands. Please join me in prayer for direction and guidance. If you have any suggestions or advice, please do pass them on. I will continue to update you on the process and details as I learn them myself.

In the mean time, please continue to pray for Whitney, Sam and all of the people living with disablities who don't have access to the basic needs to improve their ability carry out a life with which God has blessed them.

Thank you for all of your prayers and kind words and thoughts. Your encouragement is a blessing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Hello. Sorry this has been a long time coming. Unfortunately, I do not have decent internet service at my house in Nairobi which makes blogging extremely difficult. You have all been on my mind.

There is so much to catch you up on, but will start with just one little story. This story is about Whitney. Whitney lives in Mbita with her mother, grandmother and several extended family members. She was born with hydrocephalus. Whitney has a wonderful family who care for and love her very much. They work hard to get her to the doctor (Whitney had a shunt put in at a mission hospital) and keep her clean and nourished. It is rare to see a child with special needs out in the community (they are often hidden in the home), but this is not true for Whitney. Her family sets her out in front of their duka (shop) they run out of their home. This way, Whitney is able to enjoy the sunshine and greet all that pass by. They did this by putting her in an old toddler stroller that her mother had saved to buy.

However, Whitney is getting bigger. She has outgrown this stroller and is unable to sit out at the duka. She lays in her bed most of the day of sits on a loved one's lap. However, both positions make it difficult for Whitney to see what is happening around her and it makes in extremely dangerous for her to eat.

One of the contacts I have made while in Nairobi is a man (fundi) that makes furniture. With a little explanation and pictures, we were able to design a chair for Whitney. And with help from good friends who visited Whitney, Whitney's mother was able to pay for the chair. Otieno (the fundi) is now making the chair and Whitney will have a the chair to sit in in a couple of weeks. It will be good to see her smiling face on the side of the road again.

What an incredible blessing for Whitney and all of those around her!
I want to thank you all for the many things you do to keep things going here. It is because of people like you that Whitney will be a bit more independent again.

Prayer requests:

1. That other children like Whitney will be given the opportunity to be seen and heard within their communities; and that they will be able to achieve their purpose here.

2. My family: We have recently suffered and incredible loss of a special lady and loved one; my aunt, Ann. She leaves behind many smiles and fond memories. Pray for healing and peace that passes all understanding.

3. Financial: I am need of car to be able to transition back to Mbita. I am getting close to my goal and am grateful for your help. Please pray for the remaining $1500 needed to purchase this car.

Again, I thank you so much for your support in many different ways. I could not do what I am doing here without each one of you. You are just as much part of what is happening in Kenya as I am. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you would like to partner with me by making a one-time donation or monthly contribution, you can do so by clicking on the top right corner of the page. The link is also on the intro page as well as the address for mailing. Anything is helpful and tremendously appreciated.

Much love,

Jenny Cox

Monday, March 22, 2010

Raising awareness

I will start by apologizing for the lack of photos. They will have to be added at a later time as I do not have the cord to transfer from my camera to my computer. Sorry, sorry sorry.
I just want to share with you about some of the exciting things coming up. As you all know, I am working in various places around Kenya (mostly Nairobi and Nyanza provinces) with children with special needs. These children are often left to sit in the home or are even abandoned. Many disabilities are still not understood in this country. It is often thought that the family has wronged God in some way. In turn, it is though that the child is possessed and is tossed aside as "a fool."

It is my firm belief that God has a purpose for us all. I don't think He limited that to just those that develop in a "normal" way. I think that often He has a very special plan for those that are different from others. I think they are truly God's special children. I hope that I can help others understand this and that I can give these children a chance to find God's will for themselves. Afterall, I am often the one that is affected by the plan God has for their lives. It never ceases to amaze me when these kids make the tiniest of achievements, but aknowledge it in monumental ways. I have also come to see what kind of affect it has on others. It may be the desire to serve or the realization that our own lives are not so bad afterall; but, it always seems to me that these kids make an impact on those around them.

Last month, I mentioned Leon. Leon was given an opportunity to walk again through CURE organization. They provided him with free surgery to correct his severely clubbed feet. I just want to report that he is recovering well and looks forward to dancing when his casts are off.

This time, I want to tell you about a little boy named Owen. Owen is from one of the slum areas here in Nairobi. He is 9 years old and has Autism (yes... it is even on the rise here in Kenya). His mother cannot afford school fees for a special school and cannot make the long transport to Heshima (where Leon attends). However, once a month, his mother puts him on the bus and brings him to a free clinic. I have been seeing this family for quite some time. Owen has a mother who's faith continues to amaze me. Her husband left her, accusing her for their son's "craziness." She has not been able to work because their is no one who will watch "the little boy that is possessed." She lives in the poorest of situations and brings Owen with her to sell whatever she can in the market. However, Owen has had little to no intervention, increasing his behavioural outbursts, and she often has to leave without selling anything at all. Her neighbors look at her funny. Her family does not come around. Still this mother continues to find ways to help her son that she loves very much.

You see, most mothers would have dropped Owen off somewhere. Some have even been known to kill their children. Not Mama Owen. Even though it is against the social norms of the culture... she has brought her son out in the open. She travels with him on public means. She seeks any help she can get. Because of this, she has encouraged others in similar situations to do the same. These mothers just needed permission and validation to have their children be seen. I am not saying that things have changed completely. We have a long way to go. But, it is good to see that Kenyan women (although often accused of not) do have the ability to be heard. They can make a voice for themselves and their children.

If you thought this story was sad... it gets harder. Mama Owen recently called to let me know that Owen had been missing for about 2 weeks. He just wandered out of the house. They had looked for him for 2 weeks and eventually found him cowering in a sewage type drain. He had amoebas and parasites and would often cry uncontrollably. He is not able to communicate what he experienced during this time. He has recently been admitted to the hospital, unable to recover from these illnesses. He is very sick. He is frightened and does not understand what is happening. His autism denies him the ability to reason or understand what ppl are saying to him.

Please pray for peace for him and that the doctors are able to heal is little body. Pray that as his speech and language therapist, I able to help the doctors and nurses be able to communicate what they need to him. Pray that God is able to comfort him when words cannot. Pray for Mama Owen as she continues to fight to get her son the help that he needs.

Good News: April 14th is Autism Awareness Day. This day takes place throughout most of the world. We have teamed with some area hospitals to really let this day bring awareness. There will be several big events held around Nairobi to encourage people to come and learn more about this disability. There will be fun for kids, speakers and entertainment. Way to go, Kenya for recognizing the need for change when it comes to Autism. By raising awareness, we hope to help people understand the disability that affects children like Owen and his family. We hope that more schools will find ways to provide services to these children. And, we hope that the government of Kenya recognizes the need to take care of all of the children in their country in ways that provide them with lives of quality. I will let you know how the day goes. Be sure to share with all!!!

If you want to join me in helping children with special needs, please click on the link to the right to learn how to give on line or by US mail. Your support of any magnitude is appreicated... it is what keeps me here. You can also find links to Heshima and CURE to learn more about these organizations.

Much much love,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to Kenya, Back to Basics; Where Life has Taken Me In Kenya.

Well, here I am, back in Kenya and thinking of the wonderful holiday I had in the states. It was an incredible Christmas, spent with family and friends. During my short 6 weeks spent in America, I was able to see almost all of my family and friends…even if just for a short time. Those of you that I missed, I will look forward to seeing on my next visit. While in St. Louis, Charleston, Charlotte and Chicago (yes, a whirl-wind tour in 6 weeks), I was able to meet babies born to good friends (including my first great-niece, Sophia… and I mean great in more than one way) and share videos and pictures of people newly wed. It’s amazing how much can happen in a year and I hate missing all of those moments, but am fortunate to have wonderful friends and family that keep me in the kn
ow. Please enjoy some of those moments with me by looking at the pictures below.

Some fun things… My first day back, I arrived in Kenya about 5 am. I wanted to try to stay up so that I could quickly get back on schedule. My flat mate was going to the Karen Blixon (from the movie, Out of Africa) and asked me to go along. Here we are hanging out in the tree that sits on ground where her farm is. The house in the background is the same house she lived in… you may recognize it from the movie. We came home and watched the movie (I hadn’t seen in many years). It was a great way to come back to Kenya. What a beautiful land!

Life back in Kenya is a bit warmer than the states. This is the hottest time of the year in Kenya (although it doesn’t vary too much) and this year is no exception.
While at home, it became apparent that not everyone is aware of the changes I have made it the past year. So, here is a summary, in short(I will continue to highlight the various ministries with which I am working over the next few months):

Some exciting new adventures await me in the next couple of months here. As I mentioned in previous letters, I am now based in Nairobi and working on training programs that will allow children with special needs to receive services that they do not currently receive… including basic communication. I get to work with parents in the development of their little ones and even train teachers and other professionals how to help disabled individuals communicate basic wants and needs and to become as independent as possible (allowing mothers to go to work and provide for their families). In Kenya, there only a few schools in Nairobi (the capitol city) that include children that have disabilities of any kind (although most teachers have not received proper training) and many times no services are provided in more rural areas. Many times these children are left in the home or abandoned and brought to children’s centers like the Abandoned Baby Center through Feed the Children. There are only 6 speech and language therapists in the entire country of Kenya and no training programs at all. As a speech and language therapist, I work with kids on basic communication skills and helping parents communicate with their children. I work with adults that have had strokes and head injuries. You can imagine the need in a country where poverty and disease are so widely-spread. I work with teachers to incorporate problem solving and reasoning/judgement and overall critical thinking in their lessons. I love what I do and look forward to a new year of many possibilities.
There is a lot of work to do, but know that God will provide a way to push through. Here are some pictures of people I have got to work with. These are children from various schools, centers and clinics where I work. I will try to continue to highlight some throughout the year and tell you of their stories. I will use my blog… feel free to follow me regularly!
Join me:
By praying for
*guidance as we develop programs in Kenya to train others to work with people with special needs and raise awareness so that they me part of society.
*people of Kenya to accept others that are not like them; for schools to see that children with disabilities belong in school and have a right to education so that they can become independent and contribute in their own way to communities.
*that this is a year where light is shown in dark places in this country and others.
*Please partner with me in helping spread a new service in Kenya; one that will encourage self-sustainability and independence. All donations go through Seacoast Church for tax purposes and are used to keep this cause going.
*You can do so by clicking on the link on top of the right column. It will lead you directly to the sight to give. Just follow the prompts. Or you can send a check (with Jenny Cox written in the memo) to:
Seacoast Church Missions
Attn: Roz Page
750 Long Point Road Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

donate on line by clicking on the link:

Thank you for your support of any kind and magnitude. Without you, I would not be able to continue the work in Kenya. You are changing lives!
Until next time,
Much love,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

lesson learned

It's no secret that Kenya suffers from a lack of water sources; especially clean water sources. It also suffers from a lack of consistent and reliable power. I currently am on power rationing. On Tues, Thurs and Sat, I am without power all day. I have rearranged my schedule (and life) to work around this. However, the other day it became obvious that this rationing was to affect me in other ways. Becuase of the lack of power, water pumps do not have the power to pump water to my apt. So, being without consistent power and absolutely no water, I became annoyed and frustrated.

My good friend allowed me to come to her place to shower (she has a bore hole). In my self pity, I began complaining about my circumstances. My friend listened with empathetic ears. After letting me wallow in my misfortune for a bit, she simply said to me, "Do you think God is trying to give you a glimpse as to what most of this country lives like?" I admit, I hadn't thought of it that way. All I thought of was how inconvenienced I was by the rationing. The reality is, a mojor portion of people living in Kenya go without clean water everyday. Even in Mbita, where I spend a great deal of my time, most of the community has never had electricity. I know this, but I forget when I am affected in the same way.

In some of the slums where I work, most of my patients/children will never know what it's like to have such luxuries. These are people that I work with and care about. It gave me a reality check. I know I will never truly suffer in the same way they do, but a "glimpse" into their lives was much needed and now; very welcomed.

The next time someone brings their child to me with something so easily avoidable or with a problem that could be fixed by a little more attention, I hope I will be able to stop and think about the "inconveniences" they face on a daily basis. Those things that prevent them from living a life such as I have been blessed with; a life I feel is better. I hope to remember all of the frustrating circumstances they have come to know as life. I hope I can listen with an empathetic ears and offer them something more; prayer and understanding.

Update: Joan, the little girl at the Abandoned Baby Center (from my last newsletter) has gone home. Her mother is a bit stronger and she came to pick from the center last week. I am sad to see little Joan go; I will miss her sweet little laugh, but am thrilled that she has been reunited with her family. We will continue to monitor her progress and assist the family in any way we can. Please pray for Joan and her mother as they re-establish their relationship.

Also, I know some of you were unable to open my last newsletter. Please bare with me as I develop the best way to share stories and pictures with you. I will work on resending a new and improved letter ASAP.

Thanks again for your prayers and support!

Much love,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Journey to Mbita

Dear family and friends,
Sorry for the delay in communication. I am a little late getting this newsletter out, but I’ve had some obstacles along the way. I am now in Kenya after a long journey back to Mbita and Christ’s Gift Academy. Some of you have heard pieces of the story. Here is the full version of the events that have taken place since I left the United States on Dec. 26th.

After spending a wonderful Christmas with my family in St. Louis, I boarded a plane the next day to head to Kenya. I had a two day layover in London and enjoyed seeing some of the sites that historical England offers with some great friends, Bethany and Joe. We were able to see the Towers of London, St. Paul’s, Westminster Abby, Big Ben and the London Eye just to name a few. It was cold, but we had a great time and I’m thrilled that I was able to see so much history. It’s a beautiful city and it was a great way to transition back to Kenya. I am grateful for the opportunity. God must have known what was ahead…
I flew out of London (to Nairobi, Kenya) on the 29th of December. I landed late and spent the night in Nairobi. The next morning, Joe flew in and we (along with Jay, a friend of Joe’s from Montana who was visiting Kenya for a few weeks) headed for Tenwek, a hospital on the way, where we to drop Jay. We planned to go through the Masai Mara on the way to see some of the amazing animals residing here, in Kenya. We were going to spend one night there and move on to Tenwek and be in Mbita in a couple of days. God had other plans.
We arrived in the Mara on the evening of the 30th after flat tire #1 and being pulled over and hassled by Nairobi police. We had a wonderful evening game drive. We were so close to an elephant that I think I could see right into his eyes. I don’t think he was as impressed with us as we were with him. We saw some of God’s most amazing creatures. We had a lovely dinner and went to our rooms. My tent was beautiful. However, it was big and in the middle of Masai land. I have to admit, I was a bit scared to be there by myself. I was just hoping someone would be able to hear me if I yelled. Despite the fear and a bat flying over my bed, I was able to fall fast asleep; only to be awakened by the loud trumpeting of an elephant and the roar of some other animal I could not quite make out.
This went on for quite some time. I was grateful for the fence surrounding our camp, but was wondering just how much the metal would be able to keep out. The sounds stopped and I fell back asleep. Breakfast was to be at 6:30 the next morning so that we could go on another game drive and get on the road. However, there was a knock on my door at 6:15. It was Jay explaining that some of the sounds heard in the night were actually Joe getting sick. He said we needed to try to find a doctor. This is not always that easy. We had seen a clinic nearby, but found that they did not treat mzungus (white people). Slightly discouraged, Joe decided to try to rest and see if he could wait and drive the 45 min. to the next clinic.
While we were waiting, Jay and I took a walk through the Mara with some Masai warriors. They taught us a great deal about tracking. Who knew you could get so much information from dung? We also came upon the fight that I heard taking place the night before. Apparently the other sound was from a African buffalo. He lost. We finished our 3 ½ hour walk and headed back to camp to check on our sick friend. He was feeling better, but not up to driving far and it was getting late. We decided we had better stay another night. Joe continued to feel better and decided to do a short evening game drive to see if we could find some hippos. We found many hippos bathing and hanging out with a few crocodiles.
Upon getting into the vehicle, we noted the smell of gas. We saw that there was a slight leak, but didn’t worry a great deal as it was small and recurrent. We drove on as we needed to be back in camp before dark…. Don’t want to be out the Mara after dark with vicious elephants and lions. We stopped to get fuel and use the restroom and realized that our slight leak had indeed turned into a gushing river of gas flowing from the tank. We had to do something immediately. We found a very kind and helpful Kenyan man working at the balloon safari shop that was willing to give it a go after close (getting dark) on New Year’s Eve. This was, perhaps, one of our first indicators that God was sticking close to us. He was able to fix the leak in about 3 hours. Joe was pulling the vehicle off of the ramp and we were ready to get back to camp. The workers were ready to get on with their New Year’s celebration as well. As he backed down the ramp, we heard a loud hiss and watched the tire deflate before us (flat tire #2). The exhausted gentleman kindly asked us to just put the spare on instead of having him repair the tire. We understood and went to get the spare (flat tire #3). The person using the vehicle while Joe was away had put the tire back on… ruined. So, the man repaired the tire, we returned to camp, enjoyed a nice performance by the Masai and received a new name (Nasha-meaning rain/brings blessings). Joe and Jay both received the name most blessed. Hmmmm….
We headed out the next day without a tire to spare. We had a man from Bomet (by Tenwek) join us and he talked us into taking a “short-cut,” down a road that was unfamiliar to the driver. The roads in Kenya are always less than desirable to travel. This one surpassed them all. We actually ended up off any sort of “road” and in a ravine…. Flat tire #4.
Now we are in a predicament. We have 3 tires on the car and a demolished spare. We drove up to the road on the rim. As soon as we got to the road, a matatu passed. They were coming from Bomet and the driver would be returning. He promised to come back from us. This would be the last we would see from him or any other vehicle for the next 3 ½ hours. We were in the middle of nowhere; only a few mud huts and every child that lived in those few huts were gathered around watching the silly mzungus trying to figure out what they would do next. I was able to get a hold of some friends I had made while I was at MTI training in CO in Nov. Dan was actually working at Tenwek (where we were taking Jay). We had planned on visiting with them on our way through. Thankfully, he was able to find someone to drive him out to rescue us (Dan and his family would come to the rescue several more times). Jeff and Dan sat out with Jeff’s spare tire to find us…. a difficult task. We jacked up the vehicle (again) and prepared for the new tire. Unfortunately, we were on uneven ground and the vehicle fell off of the jack. Planted firmly on the ground, we were unable to lift it to get it back onto the jack. With nothing else to do, we decided to get in the car (the brutal sun was frying our skin) and play cards.
The Masai put manure around their homes to keep wild animals out. The problem with this is that it attracts flies. Many flies. Apparently, they wanted to be in the vehicle too. This made our situation all the better. I think it was at this point that I lost the ability to think clearly. Luckily, God was kind and gave me good company that was able to find the humor in the situation. A few hours later, the original matatu we saw returned. In Kenya, time is not of great importance. Just as something 70 miles away can be “just over there,” just a short time can mean several hours. I’m working on my patience as I learn this. It has helped to know the meaning behind it…. Kenyans are very relationship oriented. They want to please and the idea or situation at hand is secondary to the relationships or friendships they have. It’s quite endearing, really. Anyway, the matatu driver was kind enough to help us with a jack and we were able to get the car back up and ready for the tire that was on its way. A short time later, Dan and Jeff showed up (another sign that God was watching over us as the road was hard to find, and we didn’t even really know where we were). The matatu driver was quick in getting the tire on while we got everything else gathered and ready for our journey. We were happy with his eagerness as we were ready to get back to the fish tacos Dan’s wife, Heather had waiting for us back at the house. We also had not eaten since leaving the Mara early that morning. We all took off; the matatu driver leading. As we started our ascent up to Bomet, it was noted that the tire was wobbling back and forth. We got out of the vehicle and realized that the tire was the wrong size. I guess the matatu driver had other relationships that he was more concerned with; hence, the eagerness to get his jack back and get out of this predicament he’d found himself in. Unfortunately, because we had driven on the tire, we were unable to get it off. It was stuck. After hours of problem solving and pulling/pushing on the tire, we realized the only solution was to drive on the wobbly tire to a safari club that was about 8 km away. We did this at a speed of about 5-10 km/hour. Those of you who are mathematicians have probably already gathered it took us about an hour to go “just over there.” They were able to get the tire off, but had none to replace it. We left the vehicle, went back to the Galats and enjoyed some great fish tacos. This was the last meal Joe would enjoy for a few days.

We enjoyed the evening with Dan and Heather and their kids. They were so hospitable and eager to help us find some rest after a stressful day. We thanked God for seeing us through the day and went to bed. I was sure I would be sleeping late the next day, then, get tires and return to Mbita. Again… God had different plans. At about 1:30 am, I heard a lot of noise down the hall. I got out of bed to see what was going on only to find Dan and Heather in Joe’s room. Joe was laying in bed, shivering with an IV in his hand; Dan with a stethoscope in his ears, listening to Joe’s lungs. Evidently, they did not sound so good. Diagnosis #1: pneumonia. Dan, very nicely (but adamantly), encouraged Joe not to leave the next day. Since he was in no condition to argue, we both agreed that it would be best to stay so he could rest through the weekend. This would give us time to find tires as well. He got better the next day, but 2 nights later, he began throwing up again. Diagnosis #2: malaria. So, I’m in the middle of Kenya with only three tires on the vehicle that is supposed to be taking me home, a driver and friend that has both malaria and pneumonia and little to no way to contact anyone to let them know I have made it to Kenya. However, God put us in the home of great friends who not only knew how to take care of my ill friend, but were also so much fun to be with. They certainly helped in lifting our spirits. Also, Joe’s friend, Jay was staying nearby. He is a powerful man of God and his prayers kept us going, along with his eagerness to play games for hours at a time.
We stayed the weekend, enjoying good food and greatcompany. I even got a chance to teach a little English to Dan and Heather’s children. On Tuesday, Steve and Judi (friends and team leaders from Mbita) were passing through. Steve was able to get 4 new tires in Nairobi. I said goodbye to Dan and Heather, loaded up in a taxi and set off to meet Steve and Judi on the side of the road. I was able to get in the vehicle with them and was back in Mbtia by the end of the day. Joe and Jay got the new tires put on the vehicle and were back early the next day; in time to be a part of the first day of school. It was such a joy to see the road leading to Christ’s Gift Academy and even a bigger joy to start seeing familiar faces and friends at school. My own ideas and choices had taken me on a long, difficult journey, but God had brought me back to the place I belong. It wasn’t until I stopped my own problem solving and was still before the Lord that things started falling in place. It was also at this time that I was able to find peace in the situation and see God’s hand truly at work. Lesson #1: I need to lean completely on Him for everything. I can do nothing on my own: at least not if I want it to go right. Lesson #2: It’s hard to hear God when I’m busy talking. God clearly wanted there to be a transition back to Mbita. His ideas are always so much better.

So, I was in Mbita for about a week. I was able to spend some time with the kids. I spent the first few days of the new school year with them. I was even able to experience my first boat ride of Lake Victoria with several of them. This was great fun as it was the first time for most of them as well. I am now back in Nairobi ready to start my 2 months of language school. It was difficult to say goodbye to them so soon after being welcomed home. However, my time with them was very rewarding and fruitful. It confirmed that I am right where God intends for me to be.
I look forward to learning Kiswahili over the next couple of months. I have many gracious friends in Nairobi that are teaching me how to get around. Bethany (the friend that was in London) is letting me stay with her while I get settled into the big city. She’s a good friend and keeps me laughing. It will be a rewarding time of learning more about the language and culture while waiting to return to Mbita and the kids at CGA. God really does know my needs and continues to provide me with more than I can hope or imagine.
Thanks for your continuous prayers and support!
In Him,

Monday, December 15, 2008

International Justice Missions

Just wanted to share a "God sighting" with you all. My missions pastor and very dear friend from Charleston recently took a job a very large church near Chicago. I had the opportunity last weekend to visit her and spend some time at this church (although, to really see the entire thing, it may have taken weeks, even months). I was excited to catch a sermon from such a powerful speaker and to spend time with someone who means so much to me. Now, Satan did his best to keep me away that weekend. I almost backed out several times for various reasons, but felt that is was a much needed trip. So, I went.
When I got there, my friend explained that there would actually be a guest speaker this weekend. The speaker was from International Justice Missions (IJM). Perhaps you've seen a little about it on Oprah, Dateline and several other places? I had started hearing about it through other resources as well almost as soon as I reached the stateds. But, I have other things to focus on and, quite frankly, it just seems so big to me. So, to hear that I would be listening to a Washington DC lawyer speak about the great things he is doing in 3rd world contries, I was slightly disappointed.
Then, this man came on the stage. He began telling stories about people they have rescued from unjust situations. One story was even of a man from Kenya that was robbed, shot and saved by a hospital, only to be thrown in jail by the vary police officers that robbed and shot him (because they were drunk and broke) to keep him from "talking." He also spoke of giving what we have (no matter how little) and letting God perform the miracles. I have to admit, I was feeling a bit convicted. Here I was complaining that I had other things to focus on and this was just "too big." I complained about a big "DC lawyer trying to take credit for 'saving Africa'." This man was actually very humble... giving God credit where credit is due. All God asks is that we give what we have and He will perform the miracles. He's placed me right where He wants me... I just need to obey. He certainly hit me over the head with a brick this weekend to get that point across.
So, I was able to meet the man that started IJM. It turns out that they have an office in Nairobi (where I will be going to language school) and I will be getting connected with them. IJM provides investigative, attourney and couseling services to those who are trapped in unjust situations (unjustice is defined as anyone being kept from God's intentions from them by someone stronger or in higher authority). To learn more about this organization and how you can help, please see the web site at
I will also try to post some pics of the great time I had with my friend while in Chicago as well. Thanks for a great time, Jodi!