Friday, October 30, 2009

Prayer Walk

We recently said goodbye to a team from Water of Life Church in CA. On their first day in the village I shared with the team that I've had it in m heart to do a prayer walk through our ELI sites here in Kipkaren. The team was enthusiastic about the idea and asked to join me. So on their last day here we met for a prayer walk through Kipkaren. We started with a team debriefing time up on a rock with an amazing view of the valley. We ended the debriefing time with prayer for the community of Chebaiywa and her surrounding communities.

After breakfast we went to the school to pray at Brook of Faith. The teachers actually called all of the students out and we shared together in a time of worship. Then we had a student, a teacher and a team member each pray for the school, teachers, and children. We thanked God for the school and the difference that it is making in so many young lives. It was a moving time. The headmaster thanked the team and asked that we consider doing this with more teams in the future.

From there we moved to the center of the Children's Home where the team prayed for the parents to have wisdom in raising the children. We thanked the Lord for the children who were formerly hopeless and have now found a future and a hope. We prayed for spiritual, emotional and physical health of the children. We prayed for good opportunities in future education. We prayed that leaders and even future Children's-Home-Parents would come out of this home. We also prayed that the Lord would open doors for ELI to build River of Faith Secondary school for the children to continue their education here.

We then moved on to the Training Center (TC) Garden. There we prayed for ELI's Christian light to shine brightly to all who encounter the TC. We prayed for the animals and gardens to be fruitful. We prayed for the staff and the Sustainable-Agriculture students. We prayed that the TC would be a place of empowerment for both those working there and those who come to visit. We prayed for the conferences and trainings that will take place at the facility in the coming year.

After the TC we headed over to the clinic. We thanked God for the tangible difference that the clinic makes to the people living in this valley. We prayed for the physical and spiritual healing for the sick in our community. We prayed for the staff to be encouraged in their work. We prayed that the staff would have wisdom when treating complicated cases. We prayed that the light of Christ would be a beacon in the village shining out from the Clinic. We prayed for the clinic to move more and more towards financial independence.

And then the team spontaneously took time to pray over William and I. They prayed that we would be encouraged and strong in our work. They prayed for protection over our home and our family.

It was a beautiful time. There is something special about standing on the site where the ministry happens and lifting that ministry up to our Father. Thank you for joining us in praying for this ministry and community!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rabies Follow-Up

I just wanted to follow up what is going on with the rabid dog situation we had yesterday. The rabid dog was killed after attacking one of our cows and one of our dogs. Both the cow and the dog have been treated by a veterinarian. The vet seems very confident that the injections he has given the animals will assure their health.

William and I are not quite so sure, so we are keeping the dog, Socks, tied up while we watch and wait. I really really hope that she is okay seeing as she got attacked while trying to protect me from the rabid dog. All of our research shows that if cows do get rabies they don't become violent. They just have an appearance of choking and then die. Cows are a huge commodity around here. But we can at least be thankful that Pasadena is the least valuable of our three cows. She is not pregnant or giving milk at this time. So it makes the watching and waiting a little easier. The vet will be coming for another visit for both animals and we will watch and prayerfully wait.

I've talked with the vet about doing some blanket immunizing against rabies in our area. When we asked for the immunization for our dogs about six months ago they told us they won't come unless they have at least a dozen dogs signed up for the immunization and then they never came. I've scheduled a date for him to come and I have assured him that there will be a dozen dogs and that I will pay for it myself. We are rounding up all of our neighbor dogs as I never want to go through this experience again.

My sinuses are just a tiny bit better today than they were yesterday. Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement. We are pressing forward and keeping our chins up!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One of THOSE Days

Well today I'm having "One of those days". It's only 9AM but feels like it should already be 9PM. For starters I have an evil sinus infection. Nose completely blocked, eyes throbbing, throat raw from the post-nasal drip, the works!

As I was trying to drag my body out of bed this morning I heard a huge commotion outside. People yelling, dogs barking and growling etc. Turns out a rabid dog attacked one of our cows. He jumped up and bit her in the face several times. A big crowd gathered in our yard rather quickly. People were being called to come and help find the dog. About the same time I got to the hill the dog came back. People were throwing rocks at it and then it ran straight at me.

Everyone was telling me to run or do something. But I was just frozen staring at this dog. Thankfully it ran past me. In a flash my dog's were on the scene coming to my defense. Our sweet little mutt Socks (who happens to be pregnant), went after the dog with Tuli (our Ridgeback dog). The rabid dog jumped on Socks and got her leg before she got away.

I was sent to the house for my own safety. About twenty minutes later I was informed that the dog had been killed. Now the vet is on the way to treat our animals. They are telling me that there is a serum they can be injected with. But I always thought that once an animal was bit by a rabid animal that was it, they had to be put down. I'm going to try not to get to worked up over this all until the vet and I have had a chat about the whole thing.

In the meantime I would appreciate your prayers as I want nothing more than to crawl in bed right now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


It is amazing how differently things look depending on where you are looking at them from. I've been in Kenya for just about two years now. When I moved here our house was under construction. I lived with a colleague until William and I were married. Then we moved straight into our little house.

At the time we moved in we had a roof but no ceiling. The walls were not painted yet and we had no furniture to speak of. The kitchen and bathroom were a thought for the distant future. It's been quite a journey but the house has come a LONG way.

At first the house seemed small. But with time I discovered it to be a lovely and actually rather good-sized home. That is until we went to the USA for two months. Some missionary friends of ours warned us right before we headed back to Kenya "Everything is going to seem really small after being in America." As we stood outside the door of our home with keys in hand I kept thinking "Remember it will probably seem small." We opened the door and William exclaimed "Wow our house is small!" However after nine months back home in Kenya I'm back to seeing our home as lovely and actually rather good-sized.

The first time I walked into what would one day be my kitchen I was shocked at how small it was. My first thought was "I have friends with walk-in-pantries bigger than my kitchen! But today I have to tell you that I have a rocking, awesome kitchen! It's finally finished (well almost!) and I LOVE it!

Starting out without electricity and running water gives you a whole new appreciation for those luxuries when they finally come. I actually have a small fridge, oven and stove in my kitchen. I have beautiful hand-made cupboards. And now I actually have a sink with water in it! I think I have one of the world's greatest kitchens!

The bathroom is still a work in progress but is becoming functional. The electric shower (yes I did say electric!) still needs some tweaking before it will be operational. The toilet is somewhat operational. We have to replace something in the cistern because it doesn't sense when the tank is full. So the tank fills up, overflows and floods the bathroom. No problem though. You just run outside, turn the main water line on to fill the tank and then turn the water line off once it's full. Well, no problem unless you forget that you turned the waterline on like 45 minutes ago. Then you just might walk into your bedroom and find that not only the bathroom, but bedroom is flooded. However I absolutely cannot complain because it is GLORIOUS to not have to put on shoes and find a flashlight to go out to the outhouse at night!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A full Day's Morning

Wow it's been a full day and I'm just now finishing lunch. Today is Kenyatta Day (a national holiday here in Kenya) so most of my staff are gone. The nurse who was supposed to be with me had a childcare emergency this morning. I am SOOO very glad that our volunteer receptionist offered to come in even though it was a holiday. I would have been dead in the water without her helping to check patients in, translate and help me dispense medications.

We saw 26 patients before lunch. Some of these were first-time prenatal visits. I sewed up a 2-year-old's nose that had been ripped on a rock when she face planted. Then I drained a few abscesses and quite frankly the rest is a bit of a blur!

Then suddenly our waiting room was completely clear right at lunch time. I can't tell you how miraculous that was. Just as Margaret and I were getting ready to close up for lunch a friend/neighbor/co-worker for ELI walked in. He looked extremely distraught. Now this man does not speak a lick of English. Not even the standard "How are you?" In his distress he was speaking Swahili so quickly I wasn't catching anything. I finally had to look at Margaret and ask what he had said. She told me that his daughter Jemeli is dead. I think Sambai must know the word dead because when he heard it he collapsed into a chair crying.

I've treated 24-year-old Jemeli on and off quite a bit in the last six months. She was a type I diabetic who had multiple complications. I've had her hospitalized a number of times in the last two months alone. I told William two weeks ago that it's been hard to see how much she is suffering. I know now that her suffering has ended, but Sambai's heart is completely broken. Please pray for this dear friend as he mourns the loss of his daughter. William is going with him to the hospital this afternoon to start the process of getting her body released. They won't release her today since it's a holiday so someone will likely take the ambulance to get her tomorrow. She will be buried at home just two houses down from my home.

Now I'm back to the clinic to see what this afternoon brings.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Special Need

Several months ago I was asked to make up a wish list of things that I would love to have in the clinic. So I did just that. On that list I included a seriously big-ticket item that I never thought would actually be donated. I was once told that when I dream I should dream big. So I included an ultrasound machine on the list.

At the clinic we frequently encounter pregnancies that have some sort of complication that needs an ultrasound. About 70% of the time when I refer a patient for an ultrasound she doesn't go because of the expense and the distance needed to travel to get one done.

Just a few weeks ago there was a patient who I felt pretty sure was carrying twins. She has had a complicated pregnancy and I had already asked her twice to go for an ultrasound. She came in two weeks ago in a lot of pain thinking she was in labor. But on exam she was not in labor at all but was having terrible pain. I told her that she needed the ultrasound and to be seen in the hospital. Three days later she convinced her husband to take her to the hospital. As they did an ultrasound they determined that she did have twins and that one of them had died. They induced and delivered both babies. I couldn't help but wonder what her outcome would have been if we could have done the ultrasound when I first wanted it three months ago.

Well this week we have been blessed with a team from Iowa. They are a crackerjack medical team that we have been looking forward to for quite some time. When they arrived I was absolutely overwhelmed with the volume of luggage they brought. I was even more overwhelmed when I discovered that the majority of the luggage was for the clinic. The team had gone over my wish list and made every possible effort to fill it, including the ultrasound machine! When I asked for an ultrasound I never imagined that we would actually get one!

So now we have an ultrasound machine! We have a few of the team members giving us a two-session crash course in its use. But we really could use someone who knows what they are doing who could come take the time to train our staff.

So I'm putting a call out for an ultrasound tech who is willing to give a few weeks to come to Kenya and train our staff. We are looking into the possibility of hiring someone from a hospital here in Kenya who could come do some training with us. But I would really love it if there was someone who could volunteer to come and spend a few focused weeks really getting our staff comfortable with the machine. If you, or someone you know, are interested please contact me to talk about the possibility of a trip to Kenya. I figure if God can get us the machine he can get us the training to use it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


A missionary's definition of home can be an interesting one. In many ways you have at least two homes and never really fit entirely into either one. I've noticed a transition in my use of the word home. When I first moved to Kenya I always referred to the USA as home, never Kenya. Then I went through a long phase where one had to really know the context of the conversation in order to know where I was talking about when I said "home". To a degree that's still true. However more and more I find that I use the word home when referring to Kenya.

You know those moments that just strike an emotional cord and give you chills or bring tears to your eyes? I had one of those moments today. We took a team that is visiting here in Kipkaren over to Illula (ELI's other Kenyan village we work in) this afternoon. The children from the Children's Home there had a great welcoming service for the team. During the service a group of children played the Kenyan national anthem on recorders. It was just one of those moments that strikes you in a special and emotional way. This was the first time I've gotten emotional over hearing the Kenyan national anthem. I realized that I'm really feeling a sense of pride and identity with this country and her amazing people.

People in the village have been saying that I'm Kenyan ever since I married William. But every now and then I hear myself say "Well since I am Kenyan...."

I also realized recently that I've been telling some of our visiting teams "William and I have to go back to America in Sept next year to do some paperwork for his green card." Notice the use of the words "have to go"? A year ago I was asking "When are we going to get to go?" What a wonderful, beautiful, crazy journey this has been!