Thursday, February 23, 2012

The F O R G O T T E N Ones: the Children of the Kibera Slum

Welcome to the Kibera Slum. To a land inundated with the forgotten ones crammed under a sea of rusty tin roofs. How many people can you fit into a 1 mile square area? 1-2 Million. 

 The stunning fact is that the largest percentage of these are children. C H I L D R E N who have no knowledge of living life any other way. Many children who have never even stepped beyond the border of the slum.Children with no hope of living a better quality life - simply because they do not know one exists. Until now...

We are visiting the school in this picture playing Awana Games .

In the heart of the Slum, Savior King Academy is rising up to meet the needs of these precious ones. They are providing education, uniforms, supplies, food, wisdom, games and most importantly H O P E! They currently as of 2012 have over 300 children in their school. 300+ students in a school with three rooms. Yes - 3 rooms. 

With the growing need to educate more children, to eradicate slum life, the school needs our help. In the process of figuring out how to do this best we have decided a child sponsorship program would be just the fit. For $40 a month we can provide these children with a uniform, school tuition, supplies, meals and medical when needed. 

Meet Benta. Sweet, precious girl. We were able to meet her on our last visit in 2011.

Here is the bio we received on her:
Benta is 13years old. She attends Saviour King's Academy, she lost both her parents at a tender age due to HIV/AIDS, She now lives with her grandparents and due to poverty the family has difficulty affording to purchase a bucket of water. The family lacks basic commodities and Benta is sometimes in dirty clothes and unkempt hair, the grandfather works as a guard this is usually a job for the very poor as the pay cannot do much a part from paying house rent, the grandmother is very old and still tries to find laundry work in the neighborhood, sometimes she can't find any because there are so many women from the slum who are looking for the same work for survival. Benta is in entire need of help in order to have a brighter future.

Meet Tobias. We met him in 2011 as well. He has a sweet, gentle spirit and is eager to learn. He walks with a crutch but doesn't really let it slow him down.

Here is the bio we received for him:
Tobias is aged 11years old and attends Saviour King's Academy, his father died when he was still young and he now lives with his mother who is struggling to manage her family, she does odd jobs to survive. Tobias has a problem with one of his feet, he walks with a crutch, he does feel pain in his foot at times. The foot started swelling on its own, he has been to the doctor and there is hope that it will heal completely. Tobias is very creative, hardworking a shows many talents, he is in need of help and if he get's sponsorship his basic needs will be met and he will have hope and a future.

These are just two out of 300+ children that we have to help.

Today I have a challenge for you. I would like you to invite one of these children to walk by your side over the next 24 hours. As you go about your daily journey stop at the intersections and picture one of these precious ones with you. What awe would show on their face? What questions would they have? What waste would they see? 

Where can our lives of abundance be reduced slightly to increase the quality of life for another?  Let's be honest about this - even when we feel we have little we usually still have something. Could you manage to get yourself a bucket of clean water? All of a sudden we have something else to measure our prosperity with. 

We are just beginning this sponsorship program - this is so new we are even looking for a name that reflects the vision - which is: 

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 
                                                                                                                  - John 14:18

1 Person + 1 Decision = Making a D I F F E R E N C E

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scripture I would like to WEAR everyday

Do you ever feel like if only you could wrap yourself inside and out with God's WORD maybe, just maybe, the temptations, difficulties, conflicts of life would not get such a grip on you? Me too! They just sneak right in and grab you before you even know you are focusing their direction.

In the Bible Study I am working in now the teacher talks about how we need to start being doers of the WORD - not just HEARERS. As most know this teaching comes straight from the Bible. 

But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. -James 1:22 NLT

It is in the action that we begin to change our spiritual, mental make-up. One question that was asked was "When was the last time that scripture, study, teachings  changed you?" Great question. Often we find ourselves learning but is that learning actually transforming us? Changing the way we think, act, LOVE?

I believe it is time we challenge ourselves to seriously grow outside of our comfort zones. To start LISTENING to God & immediately FOLLOW where HE LEADS. This will take practice but it can be done. The great news is God will help us in this. He is eager for us to have WILLING hearts

Let's live our lives in the EXPECTATION that we WILL HEAR from HIM throughout the day...that He does have a plan for us. A plan just for YOU & ONLY YOU! A good plan!

I love hearing from God! Although sometimes I need a reminder to keep me on track. That is why I am making these necklaces... reminds me of the verse: "Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads." -Deuteronomy 6:8 NIV

For those of you that could use a little help to remind you that you are covered & equipped by God's truth you can purchase a custom necklace with your favorite verse. I can make any bible verse reference necklace that you want. (These are fundraisers for our upcoming trip to Kibera Slum in Kenya this Summer.) 

 Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, 
   the Mighty Warrior who saves. 
He will take great delight in you; 
   in his love he will no longer rebuke you, 
   but will rejoice over you with singing.”

 Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hope can RISE in the Kibera Slum - Nairobi, Kenya

As we are forming our team to head to the Kibera Slum in Nairobi Kenya, this summer of 2012 I find myself once again clouded with memories: smells, sights and sounds from my trips past. Often these memories are so deep in the recesses of my mind I have to soak a bit to draw them out. Somehow the busyness of our culture frequently has me preoccupied with my L O N G list of to-do's. Yet this week I can scarcely keep my mind focused on any given task on my list of all I need to accomplish. I keep finding my chest heaving and my eyes leaking as the memories are so vivid to me. It isn't one trip that is standing out either but a collection of the three trips we have taken there. 

As I have been sauntering through the old pictures I have gathered images that I think will touch your heart as well. This boy in the pic above was SO precious. This shot seems to capture what I think every child in the slum is forced to live with:  "Be brave, be tough, stand strong...don't let 'em see ya weep". Yet there is an unspoken silent prayer that cries out from inside of each one of them. Help me...PLEASE...HELP ME!!!

The slum is not pretty, it is not healthy, it is not hopeful. I believe it can feel claustrophobic, limiting, debilitating:  H O P E L E S S.

Yet HOPE can rise in a dry and weary land. It is as close as one person making one decision. Whether that is a decision to go or a decision to help, it is still only one decision to be made. 

The need is SO GREAT there. Picture a 10 mile square with 1 to 2 million people. Imagine no running water, no clean water. Imagine generations knowing nothing different. This is the Kibera Slum. Yet... we have found a way to help. We have joined hands with a local couple who work every day in the slum. They run a school in the middle of it: Saviour King Academy by Garden of Eden.  They provide education, meals, prayer and H O P E. It is a joy to work alongside them.

Our family tries to offer SEVERAL ways for people to be informed of the needs. We try to provide many opportunities for people to find ways to give, to help support. Imani Design is one of those ways.  I have created MANY jewelry designs with beads from Kenya (which are on sale at etsy), we have bags made from fabric we purchased there. There is also opportunity for those that want to contribute to the trip directly without purchasing a product. AND OF COURSE you can always join us on one of our trips.

You can browse through here and see some of the items we have for sale. We will continue to add more as well. Sign up to follow this blog and you will receive updates as we add them.

Remember it is as simple as one choice. Together we can make a difference.

 Psalm 63:1-8

1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
   my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
   as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
   my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
   in your name I will lift up my hands.
 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
   and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
   and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
   and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
   your right hand upholds me
We usually give them rice and beans when we visit.
The school is PACKED.

Introducing Awana Games to them for the first time in 2008.

Team that returned in 2009