Friday, August 29, 2008

Thoughts on Care Packages

Hhhmmmmm I've been debating all week on whether or not to write this post. You see I don't want to give the wrong impression or come off selfish, greedy, whiny or demanding. I've recently had several people ask me about receiving care packages. So after just answering another e-mail on the topic I decided to go ahead and write a post about care packages. So there is my disclaimer, please don't read this as me begging for care packages! No I don't have running water or a normal stove/oven, but I'm not suffering in agony in the bush as some may imagine. But that being said, I will confess that in being human there are some things that I do get homesick for. And there is always a happy dance associated with the receiving of cards, pictures, letters, or care packages.

OK, enough rambling! Yes, we can receive packages. No they don't always arrive or arrive in a timely manner. I am pleased to say that we did receive all of our Christmas packages. They all arrived on January 31st! So far I've had one big (as in bulky AND expensive) package fail to arrive. And who knows, it may still show up... My colleague Juli once got Christmas cookies from her grandmother nine months after Christmas!

All international packages typically go through a customs office before getting to us. Anything in a box gets opened, inspected and often taxed. Envelopes are very rarely opened or taxed. They also seem to arrive in a more timely manner. Even bulky bubble wrap envelopes. So the trick I think is to send small quantities in envelopes instead of big expensive boxes.

What do we like to get? Here are some ideas:
  • Seasoning Packets for Cooking (especially taco, and fajita seasoning!!!)
  • Crystal Light Packets
  • M&M's (regular and peanut butter are our favorites)
  • Dried Parmesan Cheese
  • Tazo Passion Tea
  • Hot Chocolate Packets/Apple Cider Packets
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Worship Music/Christian CD's
  • DVD's (we can watch them on our computer)
  • Updated picture(s) of your family
  • Personal notes/cards with encouraging scriptures
  • Flavored instant coffee
  • Books (inspirational, Christian fiction, interesting biographies etc.)
  • Just about anything Bath and Body Works
Where do you send them to?
William and Michelle Kiprop
c/o Empowering Lives International
P.O. Box 8199

It actually helps if both of our names are on the package. We have to show ID when we pick up a package. And if my name is the only one on the package William can't pick them up and bring them home.

Again, let me reiterate the best thing you can do is pray for us! We can and do live fine without care packages. They are not a must by any means. And we love getting cards from the USA that don't come with packages. Just knowing that someone thought about us and cared enough to send a word of encouragement is a huge blessing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday William!!!

Today is William's 33rd birthday!! We are having a private birthday dinner tonight. Sunday will be a big party. It is going to be completely Kenyan. Meaning that today they bought the goat which will be slaughtered on Saturday night. It is bleating it's little heart out. I don't know how I will be able to cook and eat it! But I truly want it to be a special birthday celebration. So I shall grit my teeth and do it Kenyan style. Happy birthday my love!!

Back in Business

My computer is home!!!! It is so wonderful to have my old friend back. I was going through some serious music withdrawals. I'm sooooooo glad that they did not wipe my hard drive clean!! I also just got an external hard drive so that from now on my work can be backed up properly. But I'm just so thrilled to be back in business. Hopefully I can start getting some pictures uploaded pretty soon now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Prayer Partners

In the past I've tried to send out an updated prayer/praise list on a monthly to bi-monthly basis. When my computer broke I lost all of my pre-set address books. So if you are wanting to receive my prayer updates via e-mail please send me an e-mail to let me know and I will add you to the list. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Wow, three posts in one day, this must be some kind of record for me!!! I'm trying to wrap some things up before heading home to make dinner. But as I'm sitting here working I'm listening to the enthusiastic singing of youth from our community.

Youth camp starts tonight. We are expecting approx 400 youth between the ages of 15 and 25 to come stay at the ELI compound through Sunday. You can feel the energy in the air. Listening to the singing takes me back to a night back in the summer of 1994.... I was at the Lord's Boot Camp in Merritt Island, FL. I was preparing for my first mission trip to Brazil.

They dimmed the lights in the big top tent and asked everyone to close their eyes. Then the crowd was asked to imagine that it is just before dawn and they hear birds singing. In the distance you hear a group of Africans heading on their way to church to worship. As we were imagining, a choir of Africans (from all over Africa) began to dance into the tent singing acapella. It was a moment that will stay with me for as long as I live. I think it was the first moment I felt the call of Africa on my heart.

So as I sit in the office finishing some computer work I'm taken back to that hot summer night. I'm reminded that this is an amazing continent full of amazing people. That this is the place that God put in my heart. That I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be at this exact moment in time.

Two to Go

Juli and I have had the privilege of conducting well child exams at our Children's Home. We have been meeting every Wednesday morning to do the physicals. We have 92 down and 2 to go till we are done for the year.

In 2006 I remember doing the medical intake for the first 56 kids to come into the Home. It has been amazing to see the difference between then and now. As I read the medical notes that I wrote during those initial assessments I'm amazed at the progress that has been made.

There were a few girls who were fearful during their 06' exams. It is so exciting to see those same girls laughing through their exams. Many children were severely malnourished when they arrived; it's exciting to see them climbing the growth charts these days! We have a few with heart murmurs that need to be checked out. But overall it has been amazing to see the progress. What an honor to have a part in these little ones lives.


Technology and I have never been the best of friends. You could just ask my patients from my old nursing days in the US. Trying to figure out some of those IV pumps was a real nightmare!!

But technology in Kenya is an interesting thing. For example, here I sit in the middle of a Kenyan village in the middle of nowhere and I am on the internet!!!! We use a satellite uplink. Sometimes it works great and sometimes.....well sometimes not so great.

Another interesting thing is cell phones. Almost everyone here has a cell phone. You buy "scratch cards" to put credit on your phone. So it is a pay-as-you-go system. No monthly plans, no paying for incoming calls. It is actually a great system. But it is a bit ironic that you can be sitting by the river where people are watering their cows, and suddenly you hear the tune "Jingle Bells" going off from someones cell phone.

Then there are the showers..... I don't have running water at my house. So I have the privilege of boiling water and hauling it to my outside shower for a bucket bath. But some of my colleagues with running water have these incredible electric shower heads. I know, I know, electricity and water aren't supposed to go together right? Well somehow this incredible shower head flash-heats the water using electricity as the water passes through it. There are certain parts of the shower head that are not advisable to touch. As in you get a wake-up shock. Then there was the shower head that caught on fire, but that is a story for another time and another place..........

Monday, August 18, 2008

Long Awaited Good News

William has his passport!!!!!!

He just called and told me. I'm headed out the door but I wanted to share the good news!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nothing Can Go Wrongo

As a child I remember singing a catchy song with the lyrics "Nothing can go wrongo, I'm in the Congo!" Very soon I may really be in the Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo that is.

William is currently in Nairobi trying to get his passport. He left on Friday but didn't make it in time before the office closed. He is now staying the weekend with some relatives waiting to hit the office first thing Monday AM. We received word on Thurs that his passport is there. So we are praying and hoping that it really is.

As soon as William calls to tell me he has the passport I'll be booking our flights to the Rwanda/DR Congo border. Our tentative schedule has us traveling along with colleagues Kierra and Wendy. After arriving in DRC we will be meeting with the Empowering Lives area director.

ELI has a school for children living in the slum of Keredi in the city of Bukavu. As a team we will be getting to know some of the children and listening to their personal stories. ELI has dreams of eventually opening a pediatric clinic in the slum area. So I'll be investigating where I may fit into health ministry in the DRC. William will also be checking out ministry opportunities where he may be needed.

We are excited to see where God is taking us in future ministry opportunities, whether in Kenya or in the DRC. I have a feeling that this next year may be just as full as this one has already been. Thanks for walking the journey with us. Please pray with us that William's passport is ready by the beginning of next week. And if you are interested in making a donation to help finance our trip to the DRC you can donate to our account using the link at the left. I'll keep you posted!!

Monday, August 04, 2008


It was just brought to my attention that I'm a bit behind in posting updates. Oops! Sorry bout that. I actually wasn't on the computer very much last week. When we traveled to Kijabe I had the computer configured for internet there. So when we got home to Kipkaren I couldn't get back on our connection. I finally caught up with our computer tech who fixed it for me. Then the power went out! So I'm finally sitting down to get caught up on e-mail etc. today.

I actually don't have too much to report at the moment. But I do have a piece of good news. Jeptoo (the mother of Chelagat) is doing really well. She has been diligently working and is now providing the majority of the food for her family herself! In fact she even brought William and I a few ears of corn last week. She came over to say asante (thank you) and to ask if there is anything she can do for us to show her gratitude.

So I want to send out a big thanks to those of you who prayed for and even assisted financially to help Jeptoo and the girls get on their feet again. It's been quite a journey. I'm excited to see where God is taking them at this time.

Now it's back to catching up on those e-mails! Oh, and I want to make sure that I don't come across like catching up on e-mail is a bad thing. I absolutely LOVE getting e-mail. Sometimes it's those messages from friends and family that make my day! Every now and then I get an e-mail that says something like "I know you are so busy that I try not to write and disturb you very often." Please please please know that it is the opposite, getting e-mail makes me smile and brings joy to my heart.