Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kenya captured my {heart} Part 2

3 weeks ago God called me out my comfort zone to lead 6 students to Nairobi, Kenya along with 3 other adults. Never did I think this trip would completely change my heart and expose desires that have been on my heart in a tangible way along with “sins” that have been hiding their way in my soul. I have grown up in missions and have learned/experienced what short term mission trips can be- they can either be a blessing, but always changing the person who came more than the person who was left or they can be a disaster and bring more hurt than good.  This trip changed me more than I thought it would. It has left me broken, exposed, hurt, clinging, questioning, missing, longing, and wondering. It has overwhelmed me to the point of having a hard time putting words to it and just wanting life to slow down for a little bit so I can get my feet under me again. Even though the past 3 weeks have been difficult I am so thankful for them because it is a tangible way for me to see that this trip in my life wasn’t just some trip that I will soon forget about like what happens to so many short term mission trips that people go on, but that this trip was a gift from God to grow me. There are many things that I loved about this trip and one of those things was seeing some many awesome ministries that are empowering Kenyans to bring hope and change to their country for God’s kingdom. Today I would love to share with you the very first ministry that we went to Joseph Kamgethe, Street Boy’s Center.

The Joseph Kamgethe, Street Boy’s Center is actually a government run center that is a very dark place with lots of “evil” things that happen. The boys center is located on the outskirts of Kibera slum, the largest slum in Kenya. The center houses “street boys” that are found around Nairobi. “Street boys” are exactly what you are thinking: boys who live on the street. They are everywhere in Nairobi, knocking on car doors and begging for food and money. Some of them are orphans, but most of them are runways that have left their abusive homes looking for better lives somewhere else. Nairobi’s City Council thinks the boys are criminals and sends men to drive around the city and capture the boys to drop them off at centers around town. The boys usually have some type of food and some type of bed at the center.

Our amazing hostess for the week, Emmy has been volunteering here along with three other Christian friends for the past two and half years. She focuses mainly on teaching English and trying to share the gospel with boys. They have also raised funds for 28 of the boys to go to school (many of them have never attended before because it cost $200). This $200 covers their school fees, uniforms, books and food. Can you imagine buying a pair of $200 shoes knowing that you could have used that 200 to change someone future for the better for the rest of their lives?  How easily do we spend $200? There are currently around 40 boys at the center so Emmy tries to teach the boys some type of school until they can raise the funds to send them as well. The boys can be ages 4-16, but right now the center has boys from the age 6-16!

While we were there we had the opportunity of going to the center twice. The first morning that we visited my heart and mind were overwhelmed. We pulled up to the center which is one “community center” building that has one room open for activities and such and then one room filled with metal bunk beds squished together. There were about 5 stray dogs hanging around which yes, I overcame a fear and didn’t let those dogs scare me. I had courage! J There were a few boys hanging around (not yet sponsor to go to school), but most of the boys were at school.

Their "bedroom"
Our first morning there we took on the task of washing the boys’ blankets- all forty of them to be exact. Their blankets had never been washed before. We had no idea what was in these blankets, but we didn’t let it stop us. Each team member humbled themselves and went right to work without complaining or saying a word of negativity. We had to wash the blankets by hand so we started an assembly line of some people filling buckets, carrying buckets, scrubbing blankets, rising blankets, wringing blankets and laying them out to dry. The minute a blanket touched the water the water turned completely brown. We scrubbed their blankets many times, but each time we scrubbed more and more came out of them. We had a limited amount of water so we could only wash the blankets twice and rinse them twice, but they were still filthy dirty. {I was hurting inside. I was frustrated. I was angry. I just wanted those blankets to be completely clean. God very quietly spoke to my heart that all I could do with my very best for this moment and that He would cleanse the rest. He asked me to pray over each blanket that I washed that the boy would feel He love and peace as he slept with the blanket that night. I repented of my emotions and abide in trusting God by praying.} We worked hard. We left soaking wet, dirty and unsettled in our hearts.

Filling buckets with water
Carrying buckets after buckets of water



Wringing water out
The next day we returned to the center in the afternoon so we could play soccer and games with the boys who were at school while we were there the other morning washing blankets. The minute Emmy told them we were there to play soccer with them and they came running out shouting with excitement! J Our students played soccer with them for a few hours and of course they were tens better than we were. We also set-up a little corn hole game which I had the privilege of playing with some of the smaller boys. My job was to be the cheerleader and celebrate with them when they made it and encourage them when they didn’t! J

Cheering at the corn hole game! :)
We learned many sad things about what goes on at the center-lots of abusive, stealing, and punishments from the director. The director is a very evil man who gives me the creeps when I looked at him.  He makes me so angry and I wish that he would just be taken away, but I was remind again even yesterday at church how God can take the most evil man (Saul/Paul Acts) and change him! I was convicted of my prayer for this man and this was something that Emmy taught me as well. She said “I first pray that God will change His heart and that he would know God and then she prays that if not he would be taken away.” Injustice like this makes your heart long for Jesus to come back and bring justice so much more intense.

Before we left the center we had the opportunity to hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste to each of the boys. Oh, how excited they were to receive such a necessary thing. The little boys ran over to brush their teeth the minute they received their toothbrushes. Seeing their toothpaste filled smiles brought joy to my heart knowing it is just the simple things of life that should bring us joy. We don’t need things- we need to know that we are loved, cared for and wanted and the only one who is the best at that is God!!! Emmy also told them who washed their blankets the day before and this is when I broke down. You should have heard their expressions and comments of thankfulness. “Thank you SO much I haven’t slept that good in a long time.” “My blanket smelled SO good.” “It felt SO good getting into bed.” How can this be? There was no way that we washed those blankets to the clean that “we” would sleep in and think smelled good. We couldn’t give them “our” very clean, but to them it was perfect. Words can’t describe how this moved my heart… it seriously brings tears to my eyes each time I think or tell this story. And it also showed me a tangible way of how powerful prayer is and abiding to what God lays on your heart! I pray that I will never forget this center and deep things that I learned from this place.

Melt you heart?!
If you would love to sponsor a boy so that they can attend school please contact me and I will get you all the information! Also, if you would love to please join me in prayer for the boys at this center, Emmy and her friends who volunteer here shinning God’s light in the dark places, the director’s heart to change and that justice would be brought! My heart has to just trust that God is in control and that His plan will always rule over the darkest even when we can’t see it!

Thanks for reading a little glimpse into my trip. There will be plenty more (exactly 6 actually) posts talking about the other ministries throughout the next weeks!
Love, Daniella
P.S If you missed reading Part 1 of my trip click here or want to see all of the pictures from Kenya, click here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Capture my Kenya

It has been a very long process uploading on the Kenya pictures. We had over 1,000 pictures of our time there. I also wanted to add words to the pictures so that I would remember and so that you could understand a little bit more of what happened. I couldn’t write under each picture, but I tried to capture the most I could. I LOVED going through the pictures and remember the stories, love and brokenness from them. I will write more details with more blogs post to come, but for now here is the link for the pictures: Also, please feel free to ask questions or talk to me about the trip. I would love it!

God's light overshadowing the darkness!
Love, Daniella

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kenya captured my {heart} Part 1 of many!

Words. I can’t really seem to find them as I think about what I want to say or write. There are just so many thoughts. So many things I want to tell you, but I just can’t seem to find an organize way to do it. I am exhausted and life has to just keep on going. I wish for just a moment that I could pause for a few days and process all that I experienced while in Kenya, but it’s not reality so I am trying to pause in the little moments of here and there and reflect, think through, ask questions, remember, and figure out how to hold onto what I learned and move forward. My biggest fear is that I will forget everything and life will go back to normal, but you see I don’t want that. I don’t want my life to go back to way it was- I want to live with the newness that the brokenness I saw last week did to my heart. My heart is broken, hurt and overwhelmed. To be honest my trip to Kenya was two completely different trips except for the small little fact that it actually was one trip.  Personally my heart was broken, captured by love and I just wanted to stay in Kenya for so many reasons. We served at so many different amazing ministries and so many different Kenyans impacted my life with their stories. I loved spending the week listening with my whole heart and serving wherever I could so that those there could just have a moment of rest from the day in and day out of ministry and life. I saw so much hurt, injustice, abandonment, but at the sometime love, hope, grace and determination.  There are so many stories and lives I want to capture with words and remember so over the next couple of weeks I will try write more details with specific stories as I continue to process! Feel free to read as many or as little as you would like I just want to document all that I saw so I will never forget! God laid it so clearly on my heart that this trip would/will impact my future and I am already seeing how some of it playing out. Oh, how I love my Savior who is so faithful and so worthy to trust. Trusting in Him these days is all my heart is holding onto because to be honest I have had a bad attitude the last couple of days. My mind, my soul, my heart and body want to be anywhere, but where I am. But it is not a choice. I am where I am because this is where God has called me for now and I am being reminded again by a wise man Timothy Keller that “Faith is not primarily a function of how you feel. Faith is living out, trusting, and believing what truth is despite what you feel.” So even though I don’t feel like being where I am. I am choosing to live it out, trust and believe in the anchor that is holding me together, my Savior.

 Thank you SO much to those of you who supported me through this trip either with prayer or financially. Your prayers were felt and much needed. Thank you! And I was financially all fundraised! Yay! Really I cannot thank you enough for your encouragement and prayers. One of the many things this trip taught again was the power of prayer. My hope is that over the next couple of weeks I will be able to share more details about all that went on. If it is not happening please kindly send me a reminder- I may need some motivation and push to continue to process everything! Thank you for being patience and loving me! J

Love, Daniella
Weekly Truth
This is truth that I cling onto and press into through this season!
p.s My next project is to get pictures onto facebook so you can at least "see" what I experienced!