Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Emma, Claire, Levi, Josie and baby Jane

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Battle for Our Youth

Sunset over the Mara...view from Olderkesi.

The crew...

Pancakes and popcorn for breakfast...

Landcruiser races...only in Africa.

Not sure what this one was called, but the kids loved it.

Preparing for the hunt.

The result of the hunt.

More results...

Ouch.

The boys did a good job of slaughtering the goat (quicky and humanely for the PETA folks).

After the skinning...

Peter and the kidney...not fully sure he actually wants to do it.

The girls hovering over the chargrilled goat. Let's just say this goat was not the most tender specimen, although it tasted good...

Best part of the weekend...building relationships.

And time alone to learn and be with God.


Missionaries often carry varying responsibilities, one of our favorites being the MK (missionary kid) youth coordinators for our sending agency, World Gospel Mission (WGM) Kenya. So, this past weekend, Heather and I, along with fellow missionaries and friends Dino and Janice Crognale, Beth White, and Vera Steury took our junior high and high school MKs on a youth retreat to Olderkesi, a WGM development project in the heart of Maasai Land.

Significant events included a traditional Kenyan goat roast (Mbuzi Choma - chargrilled goat) which the kids themselves slaughtered, butchered and then heartily consumed. Peter White thoroughly impressed all by eating a raw kidney plucked directly from the freshly dispatched goat (although likely spurred on by the small wager I offered him to do so). Because the area around Olderkesi is known to have lions, leopards, Cape buffalo and more, later that same afternoon, the entire tribe went out hunting. Although nothing of significance was seen or bagged, the majority of the boys came back with long, sharp thorns piercing their ear lobes in classic Maasai fashion. Jeremiah unfortunately (“accidentally”) broke off the entire tip of a thorn in his ear lobe and is unable to retrieve it (what next?). Nighttime consisted of campfires, laughter, and general lack of sleep.

Although much fun was had, the focus of the retreat was definitely spiritual in nature. We led the kids through an incredible study in 2 Peter entitled “In the Last Days” which challenged us all to live with watchfulness, purpose, and passion, as our time on earth is short. I am humbled as I imagine what God is going to do with this bunch of regular, yet privileged kids in the future. At the same time, I realize that they are targeted by an enemy who employs false teachers and ideologies with the goal of leading them astray. For now, we were glad to be fighting with them this weekend and trust that God has given them “everything they need for life and godliness.” All our kids, whether here in Kenya, or in the U.S., are in a battle, and we need to fight with them and pray for them continually.

Thanks for all your prayers and support for us here in Kenya. Let's pray for our kids, that God would protect them, grow them, and ultimately raise them up as laborers in His kingdom, for His glory.

2 Peter 1:3: His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The God Who Sees: the Story of Achu

Daily dose of Achu's smile on morning rounds.

In the courtyard with Achu. She is still very emaciated but significantly more healthy since removing the piece of dead bone from her tibia.

Achu's sister accompanied her from Sudan to Tenwek and is with her all the time.

After removal of the dead bone...note the huge hole in her leg.

Achu is a beautiful, 15 year old Sudanese girl who presented to Tenwek with a huge piece of dead and infected bone sticking from her leg, the result of an injury which occurred a year ago. Because her mother was dead, and her father a drunk, Achu had no money, and no one to advocate for her care. So she became progressively more emaciated, and more hopeless as the infection grew worse. She prayed that God would somehow help her, and He answered by initiating a massive series of miraculous events that started in a hot and dusty clinic in South Sudan and ended at Tenwek hospital in Kenya (including sponsorship by Randy Alcorn's Eternal Perspective Ministries). For the full (and amazing) story, check out Kimberly Smith’s blog .

As our orthopedic team evaluated Achu, the foul smell of necrotic flesh was strong, and our first thought was "there is no way to save her leg." The piece of protruding bone was too large and after removing it, we were concerned that the remaining defect could never fill in with new and healthy bone. However, we were encouraged, as x-rays showed a surprisingly large bridge of new bone posteriorly, which explained why Achu, despite her condition, was still able to walk, bearing weight on her leg. In addition, we had the sense that God was at work and we were just along for the ride. So that same day, we took Achu to theatre, and removed this piece (approx. 3 inches) of dead sequestrum. Indeed, the hole it left in her leg was cavernous, but we could feel the bridge of bone posteriorly, and the leg miraculously felt very stable.

Achu is currently still in the hospital undergoing daily “whirlpool” therapy in a Jacuzzi-like tub to clear up any remaining signs of infection, and soon, we hope to continue wound VAC therapy which utilizes a sponge and suction to encourage formation of granulation tissue that will slowly fill in this defect. What is most striking to us now about Achu is her beautiful and continual smile, which, I believe, is the reflection of new found hope. She knows there is a God who has seen her condition and is loving her with a perfect love. Her story reminds me of Hagar, who when she met God, called him El Roi, "the God who sees me" (Genesis 16). God is answering her prayers (and the prayers of many others) and we are privileged to be a small part of this process, seeing yet another one of God’s miracles on behalf of the poor at Tenwek. I am humbled and moved to worship the Father who sees the neglected, the abused, and the hopeless.

Please pray for Achu, that she would continue to heal, and that God would powerfully use her testimony to touch the lives of many! Thanks for all your prayers and support!

(Hagar) gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13