Medical clinic day 1

Today was the first of 2 days that we’re running a medical clinic. It was held in the same location as the VBS. We had 221 people register today, and had to send many home at the end. I helped with the registration. Samuel, one of the teachers at the school, translated their names for me, and I wrote them on the sheet. Joyce then copied the names onto cards that they took with them to get their checkups. This may sound like a simple job, but the names were not in English, and in most families, the last names are all different. So it was rather challenging to make sure the spellings and everything was correct. Luckily Samuel was very patient with me.

At the medical clinic, there was a station for glasses, both reading and prescription. There were no eye tests. They just tried different pairs on until one worked. Another station gave shots, weighed, and took blood pressure. Another station gave HIV tests to any pregnant mothers. The last station gave out prescriptions. It was anything from malaria medicine to simple pain killers like Tylenol.

The neatest story from the day came front the glasses station. One old lady got reading glasses, and responded, “Now I can read my bible.”. Amazing.

The best part of today, though, happened at lunch. We had been given money from a lady at Emanuel to use to buy a meal for a family. Instead, we got a bunch of groceries that will last for awhile. The family that we gave these items to has 7 kids, and they live in a small mud hut with a cornstalk ceiling. The ceiling has huge holes in it, so when it rains, they have no way to stay dry. I cannot even describe how moving it was to give these items to that family. We also had enough money left to buy them not only a new roof, but an entire new house. God is good.

-Miss R.

Last day of VBS, Worship, and Lake Victoria

This post is for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was our last day of VBS and construction. We did VBS in the morning, since there was no school. We had 510 kids attend VBS on Saturday. I can’t remember seeing that many kids together at one time before. It was awesome. We did our final story, which was the story of Jesus rising from the dead. The crafts were angels and flowers, and we did jumprope for the games. After VBS ended, we sent each child hem with some sort of gift. Many of the kids got the gift bags we put together the night before, but we didn’t have enough items to make 500, so some kids got a keychain or necklace. They were al so happy and excited to receive these gifts. They were items that many of us don’t think much about, like a toothbrush, pencil, or balloon. The joy on their faces was incredible.

In the afternoon, we did our construction and other work, after we finished feeding all of the kids. They had enough rice and beans to feed every child. What a blessing. The progress on the school building since our first day is incredible to me, since they don’t have ANY power tools of any kind. We also have a few computers working, and 5 good sewing machines that are all working that Shirley and Sandy have been working on for days. These will be very useful.

Many of us are sunburned. A note to those of you who plan to travel to Kenya someday: use sunscreen. So, we found a solution to our sunburn growing right along the side of the road. We picked leaves from an aloe plant, peeled off the green outer coating, and rubber the juice on our arms, necks, and faces. It worked really well!

After VBS, we went back to our hotel to clean up, and met the Meeker’s for dinner at a place right by the shore of Lake Victoria. We watched a gorgeous sunset and enjoyed a good meal. Then it was back to the hotel for devotions, and off to bed.

Sunday was a different kind of day. We didn’t have any work planned, as it was a Sunday. So, before church, we drove to the Meeker’s house to give the gifts from the sponsors to the kids. I tell you, it was like Christmas morning. Those kids were so excited. Even those without sponsors all received a quilt, beanie baby or doll, and a bag of items from VBS. They were thrilled. It was awesome to watch.

We left there to go to church. The church is located at the same area as the school grounds we’ve been working at all week. The worship service was really neat. Most of it was not in English, but we could kind of tell where we were in the service with some of the translation that was being done. The singing of the hymns was really fun. Members of the congregation just started singing whatever song they wanted, and everyone else joined in. The service lasted about 2 1/2 hours. The kids sat outside the church (along with the adults who didn’t fit inside), and the rest we’re inside on chairs.

After church was lunch, then we got to walk down to the shore of Lake Victoria to watch the fishermen fixing their nets and cleaning fish. Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the world, and probably the dirtiest. The water was literally green. Beautiful view, though, if you didn’t look too close.

On the way back to the hotel from the school, we stopped at a market to look at some items made by tribes in the area. Very intimidating shopping, they all want you to come to their booth, and can be quite pushy. I bought a few things (Christmas gifts, 4th graders!). Then we went back to the hotel, had devotions, and got dinner.

We did shop at the local “walmart” type store, and bought food for a family with 7 children and no roof. We also got supplies for makeshift bubbles for the kids at the Meeker’s: strainers, dish soap, and bowls.

I also have decided to sponsor one of the kids here. Her name is Marianne, and she is so precious.

We are doing much, and I wish we could be doing more. Tomorrow is our first day of medical clinic, and some may continue helping with construction.

Pray for all of these kids. Their stories will just break your heart.

-Miss R.

2nd Day of VBS and working

Today we switched the order of events, construction in the morning and VBS in the afternoon. When we arrived in the morning, we headed up to the worksite. We were assigned jobs and got to work. My job was to add water to the cement/rocks/dirt mix they were using to fill the columns for the school. It was a useful job, but not very exciting, as most of the time I watched to see when the water was needed. Pastor Meeker came to my rescue and asked if I wanted to help down at the school. The kids were still in school that morning.

It was morning break, so I went down and joined them. Some kids from other schools had joined them, so we couldn’t really teach what the teacher had planned. We sang songs and had then draw pictures of all the things God had created, since that was our VBS lesson yesterday. I was helping to lead songs, and had the kids sing some songs for me. As they did this, I just stood and listened. The songs literally moved me to tears. They were singing about Jesus their Savior, and it was the most moving experience I can remember ever having. Wow. God is good.

We got to help serve the kids lunch. They got a bowl with some kind of stew and potatoes, and not a single bowl was left with food in it. The cooks ran short of food because there were the extra kids today. They bought some bread at the nearby market and used that for the rest of the kids. Pastor Meeker said that many of the kids come to VBS to get lunch, but he hopes that in doing so they are fed with the word of God as well.

VBS in the afternoon was awesome. We had 308 kids today, and are expecting near 500 tomorrow. The only problem was that we ran out of crafts for the last group, but they were very excited to have a piece of candy instead.

We hurried back to the hotel after VBS, to clean up and eat an earlier supper, because we have to pack a bag of 10 items for each child who will be attending VBS tomorrow. If you were paying attention, that is 500 or so bags to fill tonight. We will have our work cut out for us, but I cannot wait to see the looks on their faces tomorrow when they get their bags.

-Miss R.

First day of VBS and construction

This morning was our first day of Vacation Bible School. Our story for the day was creation. The kids knew this story a little bit already, and it was neat to see how their teachers added to what our group was teaching. The kids also loved the songs, and even though we didn’t speak the same language, music always has a way of communicating beyond words. They really loved JOY, so special thanks to Emanuel family fun night for teaching that one to me, and now to these kids in Kenya. The craft was tissue paper flowers. They were pretty. And of course, the kids loved games, and in the spirit of everyone wins, they all got prizes to take home.

After a delicious lunch, cooked right there for us, we headed up to the construction area, where they are building a new school building. Pastor and I worked on building a stone wall, while other jobs included sifting dirt to make cement, shoveling rocks, cutting wire, and building scaffolding for the posts that will hold up the building. I hope we get to be even more helpful when we return there tomorrow.

Back in Kisumu, we cleaned up and had a Bible study at the hotel. Then after dinner, we soon headed to bed.

Tomorrow brings VBS day 2 and more building.

-Miss R.

Jesus Loves Me In Any Language

Today, after quite a bumpy journey from Nairobi to Kisumu, we had the opportunity to Skype with the students at Central. (Skype is video chatting on the internet.). What an awesome thing to watch as the kids here in Kenya, who have nothing compared to all the blessings we have in the US, sang Jesus Loves Me for our kids back home. I hope that the message of this song rang true for the kids at Central as it did for me and my team over here.

We are settled into our hotel in Kisumu, and are ready for our first day of VBS and construction tomorrow. We aren’t sure what we will be doing, but are ready for the challenge.


-Miss R.

Safe and sound in Nairobi!!


I am writing to you from our Guest House in Nairobi, Kenya!  We arrived here around 8:30 Tuesday night (1:30 Indiana time) and spent awhile at the airport getting our luggage, getting our Visas (document that gets you into the country),  and going through customs.  But before I get ahead of myself, let me recap our journey to this point.

We left the Fort Wayne airport around 3:30 on Monday afternoon.  Arrived in Detroit around 4:30.  We ate dinner at the Detroit airport, then went to our gate to check in for our flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands.  The flight from Detroit to Amsterdam was about 8 hours long.  Luckily, that flight was not full, so once the plane was in the air, we were able to move around to empty seats to have more legroom.  Got some sleep on the plane, but not much.  When we arrived in Amsterdam, it was about 9am their time (2am or so Indiana time).  We pretty much went straight from that gate to the next one heading to Nairobi, because you have to go through additional security at the gate.  The Amsterdam airport had many tulips, because of all the tulips the country is known for.

Once we got through the security at the gate, we didn’t have long to wait before boarding our flight to Nairobi.  That flight also took about 8 hours.  The legroom was VERY limited, and the plane was full, so no chance of moving to a more spacious seat.  Needless to say, I could not wait to get off that plane.  Then, as I mentioned before, we arrived in Nairobi around 8:30, and after doing all our paperwork and grabbing luggage, we met Pastor Meeker, and he had a small bus waiting to take us to the Guest House.

They made us a nice dinner at the Guest House, and even though it was already after 10pm, we gladly ate.  After the airplane food, the grilled tilapia, potatoes, and rice were delicious!

I am writing to you from my bed, complete with a mosquito net around it!  Very “Africa”.  Tomorrow we leave early to drive to Kisumu, which is where we will be staying for the remainder of the trip.  Pastor Meeker says it will be about 6-7 hours in the bus to get there.  Once there we hope to Skype with Central for their chapel service.  Hopefully that works out!!

More to come tomorrow.

~Miss R.~

Leaving on a jet plane…


Today’s the day!  In just a few short hours, we’ll be loading the church bus and heading to the Ft. Wayne airport to catch the first of 3 flights we’ll be on in the next 24 hours.

Itinerary recap:

Fort Wayne to Detroit

Detroit to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam to Nairobi

We’ll be in Nairobi overnight, so possibly I’ll be able to update again at that point to let you all know how things are going.  Not sure on the Internet situation that night, though, so we’ll see.

We’ll leave Nairobi the next morning to drive to Kisumu.  This will take a few hours to get there.  Once there, we hope to set up Skype and talk with the kids at Central, for chapel.  Can’t wait to see my kids on the screen!!

I guess that’s all for now.  Pray for safe travels for our team as we begin the long process of getting there.

Stay tuned…

So, we leave Monday to start our flight journey to Nairobi!!  Itinerary promises to be a LONG process:

Fort Wayne to Detroit

Detroit to Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam to Nairobi

Nairobi to Kisumu (by van)

After all the traveling, I believe we’ll have been traveling for over 24 hours.  Crazy!  I hope to update either along the way somewhere at an airport layover, or once we arrive in Nairobi.  (We’ll stay over in Nairobi before traveling to Kisumu, I believe.)

Can’t wait to tell you all about it!  Now, off to finish packing…Monday morning will come soon enough!!  🙂

One week to go…

Today I decided to watch Disney’s “The Lion King” to get even more excited for the upcoming trip (as if it were possible to be even more excited than I already am…).  I came to an interesting realization while watching.

The Lion King first came into theaters when I was in 4th grade (which makes me smile, because that’s the grade I teach now!).  It was immediately my favorite movie ever, and still remains my favorite Disney movie to this day.  Because of my love for the movie, I checked out books and videos from the library about Africa…pretty much anything I could get my hands on.  The library may as well have just put my name on the Animals of Africa video, since I rechecked it out so many times.

Then, partway through my 4th grade year, we got a new student in our class.  Her name was Shannon, and she had just moved back to the United States from Togo, Africa, where her family had been missionaries.  She told me all about life in Africa, and I was fascinated.  We were fast friends.

So, my desire to see Africa for myself stretches back to when I was 10 years old.  Interestingly enough, the same year The Lion King is re-released on DVD, I am headed off to Africa on a mission trip.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Now, I realize that what we’ll be doing while there is hardly the sight-seeing adventure you think of while watching The Lion King.  In fact, where we’ll be staying and working, many people have never seen an elephant or a lion in their lives.  We’ll be teaching VBS, building various projects, distributing medical supplies, and even help mud a hut home for someone in the community.  I know the idea I have in my head of what Africa will be like will be drastically different from what I experience while there.  In the words of my favorite song from The Lion King, I must “be prepared” for anything that comes up, and be flexible with whatever we’ll be doing.

I think the unknown is what makes it all so exciting.  And also what will ultimately make it a life-changing experience.  I cannot wait!  🙂

10 More Days!


As I sit here, with my arm throbbing slightly from the last round of immunizations I got today, I can’t help but think that we are one day away from single digits in the countdown!  WOW!  Months of planning, and here we are!

Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

~Last immunizations
~Starting up malaria meds
~Tuesday we packed and inventoried 10 suitcases full of supplies, gifts, medical items, quilts, backpacks, crayons…and anything else we could get in to bring to the people we’ll be working with…entertainment came in the form of Thom and Pastor working very hard to get the suitcases to close
~VBS items are just about ready to go

Here’s what we have left to do as a team:

~Final reviewing of VBS items
~Last minute details
~Only one more meeting before we go!!

Here’s what I have left to do before leaving:

~Obviously, pack
~Shop for items I need to take
~Parent-Teacher Conferences
~Enter grades for Report Cards
~Meet with my sub
~Last minute details

So, as you can see, we’re still very busy, but as we get closer, I can’t help but feel we are so prepared.  How amazing to be getting ready for a trip where we are as prepared as we can be in terms of safety, passports, medicine, and other concerns that come with travelling internationally.  What a great team I have to work with!!

10 more days, 10 mores days…ahh!!!  🙂