sodas, swings, and surgeries

Well, I have been here in Kenya for 4 months and I can’t even believe it!  The time is flying faster and faster every day. I am completely mixed about this because I am so excited to see my family and friends, and yes…my puppy when I come back to America, but the thought of leaving this place, these people and not knowing when I will be back absolutely cuts my heart to the core.

The past couple of months have been extremely full of so many memories and blessings and heart breaks that I almost don’t know where to start when I sit down to write a new blog. So, since I can’t give you anything but glimpses into my life here, I’ll try to just hit the highlights!

Since the day we took Tony, student #114, to buy his backpack and first school uniform, God has been rapidly on the move.  We accepted 75 new students into the Ndoto sponsorship program in September, and have since been getting to know them and their families.  We have also started asking for new sponsors, and God has been so faithful to raise up around 15 in just around one month! Watching these students learn that they were accepted into the program has been one of the deepest joys during my time here.  I have watched them smile from ear to ear and praise God with every ounce of their being. We had students bring every member of the Ndoto staff hand written thank you notes, and since they’ve been accepted, we have even had students show up on the compound and work hard slashing and cleaning up around.  I am so blessed to see God working in their lives. These students have such a tangible joy in the Lord, a rare, genuine gratitude for everything He does in their lives. They thank Him for each day.  They praise Him for being the God who provides, who heals, who protects, who saves, redeems, and makes their life new. If I have learned anything here in these past 4 months, it is how to genuinely thank God and how to see him in everything. There are moments where it is hard or where satan and sin get in the way and cloud my vision, but I am seeing the Lord Jesus and His work even in the small things in every day.

Also, since #114 got his backpack and uniform, we have seen the completion of one of God’s miracles! Emily, the girl I told y’all about months ago, finally had her surgery to remove her tumor.  On the way to nairobi, her bus flipped over, she was injured, even lost for almost 12 hours… The Lord took care of her, and brought her to surgery and she came out of an 8 hour operation with her hand in tact! After a giant tumor that was suspected to be cancerous, they were able to remove it and keep her hand in tact! I have shown the pictures of her tumor to doctor’s in the USA and they have guaranteed me that it is cancer. I firmly believe that God healed her body and restored her health, and provided a doctor who was risky enough to try to save her arm.  He has been so good and not only has He healed Emily’s body, but He has healed her heart! The joy in her heart leaves me completely floored. When I moved here, Emily barely spoke, was in so much pain, and was deeply sad in her soul.  Today, she is so full of joy that I truly don’t even know how to explain it! Praise God for He is Jehovah Rafa! The God who Heals!

One day in September, we had the joy of taking about 15 of our primary school kiddos to a playground in town.  It’s so fun to see them lighten up and be able to forget about fetching water, doing chores, washing utensils, cleaning clothes etc…and just play. They were so excited that they sang the entire way there and the entire way home.  At the playground, as we discovered the swing sets, and the rides that spin around really quickly, the kids got over eager and we ended up with 5 or so of them laying in the grass trying not to throw up! They just were too excited and they’ve never been to such a playground! It was quite hilarious, but it was a blessing to just be able to love on them for a while. A few of them had never even been to town before from Obunga, so it was fun to see their eyes light up just to have a soda and play.  I am learning what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a tangible way and combining it with speaking His word in the process.  Sometimes, I think I’m just playing with kids in a foreign country, but then God reminds me that He is loving them through me and teaching them in every day situations as I interact with them. I’ve been challenged to not be so hard on myself, but to just remember that as a believer in Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in me and therefore, He just is in everything that I do. He’s just in me and as I love, it’s Him loving through me. I remember that there is no way on my own free will I would love these kids the way I do. So I am just praying and trusting that He will use me in whatever ways He sees fit in this time.

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