Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flat Holden

Our friends the Brewer family visited Grace family last June when we (the Cheromei family) were still in America. Holden their 7 year old had a class project. The class read a fun fictional book called "Flat Stanley" about a young boy who accidentally got squished as "flat as a pancake: and was a blessing to travel all over the world in an envelope because he was so thin. So Holden made a "Flat Holden" and sent it to us! We had fun taking him around and sent Holden an email about Flat Holden's adventures with Grace family.

 When Flat Holden arrived he first visited the Cheromei house and met with Lucy and Jackson Storm our cat!
 Our 2 month old puppies (Zuma and Honey Blue with their Mama Scooby) wanted to greet Flat Holden next on the front porch of our home.
 It is rainy season now so Lily wanted to protect Flat Holden from all of the rain with her pink umbrella!
 The next day Flat Holden wanted to play with Levi and Derick in the dirt with all the trucks! He loved it and was thankful he got the car transporter to play with!

 On Saturday you helped the other kids with the laundry. Everything is hand washed here so it was a lot of work! Flat Holden enjoyed hanging up with clothes on the outside line with Winnie Awino.
 Flat Holden along with Naomi and Mercy  washed A LOT of laundry and got so soapy and wet!
 Victor Kirwa wanted you to get a nice picture with our calf who is yet to be named!
 Levi took Flat Holden to the playground to slide down our steep slide!
 Moses wanted to climb up the playground with Flat Holden!
 Mercy wanted Flat Holden to see all of the great potatoes that are growing in our garden!
 Levi helped Flat Holden climb up the stalk of maize (corn).
 Moses wanted to show Flat Holden more of the garden (shamba).
Lily wanted Flat Holden to see our chickens that we hope will someday lay some eggs for us to eat!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Conglomeration of Life Here

 Our 2 month old puppies love to snuggle up on me while I work or relax outside. They love warmth.
 Even when they can't be on my lap they want to be so close to me! I was chilling outside talking with my man and Zuma this little puppy wanted to be so close to me!

 We also had another Cheromei family gathering where Grace family was also invited! So many cousins and amazing food! It was hosted at David's eldest sister's home, Rebecca!

 All lined up and waiting for the yummy lunch at Rebecca's!
 Sibling love!
Levi playing with the school kids!
 I have this room in our home where I have quiet time with Jesus and create. Lucy and woken up from her nap and Lily surprised me by carrying Lucy out of bed to where I was at! I told my two girls get up on my lap and I squeezed and loved on them! So many sweet snuggles and silliness and laughter... just what this mama needed!

 I have been trying to get more involved up at the school and the class one teacher asked me to bring up some story books for the kids to practice reading!
 You should have heard these kids looking at the pictures and reading the words in the books! They were fascinated! Such vivid colors and interesting and funny stories! I take for granted books and now I see them in a new light! They are a luxury in Kenya to have story books to read!

 "Take a picture of me and my book!!!"
 The clouds here are always so fascinating to me!
 Just a bit of a rainbow peeking through. We are currently, thankfully in rainy season and our crops are growing! We also get to witness a lot of rainbows that always appear behind the big house! So fascinating!

I found some great stomping on the farm boots for Lucy from the container of items we shipped here in 2015! She has loved them and wanted to model them for me! :)
 Lucy also loves our puppies...

 sometimes a bit too much!
Here is another one our animals, Jackson Storm, as Levi named him. He loves to hang out in our house and stay close to me.

It has been quite a tumultuous few weeks here as we found out that Victor Kiplagat who has been with us for about 3 years here was HIV+. His father Kemboi used to be our cook here. Kemboi is a single father with 4 children. We welcomed his family here to live with us as Kemboi was always working long hours and stressed about taking care of the family. We always test people before joining the family for HIV but we did not with his family thinking that he would have told us if any of the children had any health issues. Again we were shown that we can really trust no one here. :-( So at the end of last month we found out that Victor is HIV+ and has been taking medication without us knowing because his older brother Dan had been giving it to him. It was a whirlwind. It was scary thinking that we had all been innocently interacting and caring for Victor this whole time! I prayed during and after that meeting and God gave me a peace that surpassed understanding.  All of Grace family, Cheromei family and all our caregivers went to be tested at our local health centre.... Praise the Lord all of us were negative. The Lord protected us. He is good and such sweet Father! Currently we are not trained or equipped to help children who are HIV+. We had to send Victor to go live with his father Kemboi. Please continue to pray with us that God would continually lead and guide us as there are tough decisions and challenges. We pray we would lead Grace family with wisdom and a whole lotta love!

Happy Mama's Day

In Kenya they do not celebrate Mama's day like we do in America. I had to share with the children at church what we do in America to celebrate mothers. I was saying that usually on this day the fathers and children take care of the mama and make things for her and tell her thank you for all that she does. I shared with them the story of Hannah in the Bible of 1 Samuel chapter 1 praying for a child. God had compassion on this mama and granted her request. God loves to answer prayers and work in mighty ways. I asked the children do you think that your mama prayed for you before you were growing in her tummy? We also talked about how Hannah kept her promise to God that she would take the child when he grew up to serve God at the Tabernacle in Shiloh. What a courageous and obedient thing for Hannah to keep her promise to God after he gave her Samuel!

After church I told the kids you all are free to make something for your mama! Their eyes lit up! In Kenya they do not have the resources and freedom or money to just have arts and crafts on hand. They see that putting money toward food, schooling and clothes is much better use money of their income. I had cut construction paper in half and had all of the colors of the rainbow for the children to pick from. I forget until we do something like this that they are not given many options so when I asked what color paper they wanted as I walked around it took them a few minutes to decide. The children do not have so many options here (I feel we an have overwhelming amount of options in America)! 

 As you can tell from the following pictures that the children just loved creating and thanking their Mama in their artistic creations! They were so busy and focused!

 Here is the table where the kids could pick any color crayon or marker for their creations!

 I would say a little over half of the children that attended Sunday service wanted to create something for their mama. I observed that most of Grace family walked out and did not want to create something. It is one of those hit you in the heart moments that I could have really hit a nerve. Some of the children in Grace family have either lost their mama, they have been abandoned by their mama, or their mama wanted them to be part of Grace family because they come from a large family or she is HIV+ and wants a better life for her children. I don't force any of Grace family to call me mama. They call me Soti or Auntie Laurel. I noticed a few weeks back that Mercy and Moses the youngest have started to call me Mama and it really made my heart smile.

 Just look at their fun creations!

Much love and many thanks to my Mom and the many different mamas who have shaped me into the woman I am today. I am thankful for how God has given  me a community of women to encourage and share life! It is vital love on other mamas as we all have struggles and challenges in raising these blessed children God has given us.