God works in mysterious ways.
For a while, I have been wanting to take a boy, named Daudi Mutisya, to the eye doctor. He is a 1st grade student that has a really hard time seeing in class. His father, or at least who we thought was his father, is crippled in both legs. His home life is not easy. It took some time to contact his parents and get prepared to take him. Finally, last week, Bro. Tom, the boy, his father and I were in the car, about to drive to town to see the eye doctor. The father turned around to see the boy sitting with me in the back seat. He informed us that this boy was not his son. We did not know what to say. We were completely surprised. He said his son is a 4th grade boy named Gilbert Daudi, that has a problem with his eyes. The boy that we had in the vehicle was Daudi Mutisya. It is very common for people to go by their first or second name here, so the father did not think anything of us referring to his son by his second name. We had the right boy but the wrong parent.
We had no choice but to go back to school and resolve the matter. I had unknowingly promised this man that I would take his son to the eye doctor. How could I turn him away now? It seemed that God had a plan for both boys to see well. I went back into school and found Gilbert Daudi in class. His teacher confirmed to me that this boy truly had a problem seeing. We contacted Daudi Mutisya’s mother and arranged for both parents and both boys to go with us to the eye doctor the next day.
In the midst of this confusion, I was met with my second surprise of the day. I was informed that I have visitors in the library. I am in charge of the library right now and I wasn’t expecting anyone so I quickly went into the library to see who had come. I saw no one so I asked again. I was then directed to a box in the library, where I found two small kittens. It seems that while we had been gone over the weekend, a cat had slipped into the school and given birth. I am not an animal person, but I do care about the well-being of animals. I just care more about people. I didn’t want these sweet things to die, and certainly not in the library. I had no idea if the mother had abandoned them. They seemed well and weren’t making any noise. They silently sat in the library for a couple days, with hundreds of children coming in and out and the children never knew.
You can never know what a day will bring, living in Kenya. As I arranged on how to take both boys to the eye doctor, I found myself googling signs of abandonment of kittens by their mother. We determine that the mother must be coming in at night and feeding them. There was no way to know for sure, but I just hoped and prayed it was so.
Leaving the kittens in school, the next morning we left for town again. This time, we had both Daudi’s and their parents. The boys were examined by the doctor. Gilbert’s eyes are healthy. He just needed glasses. He received his glasses last week and his teacher has told me she has seen a significant improvement in him. Daudi Mutisya’s eyes are much worse and he was given some eye drops for allergies and lenses for astigmatism. Daudi Mutisya glasses took longer to come in. He just received them today.
With everything happening, I was still concerned about the kittens, but I just had to believe they were okay, because surely they could not survive three or four days without food. Finally, last Thursday, I got my answer. We were in the field late, having a dual track meet with a neighboring school. When I came in to get my things from the library, the lights were off and everyone was gone. I switched on the light to see a mama cat curled up in the box feeding her two young kittens. To keep from alarming her, I quickly got my things and happily left her in peace. The following day I found the kittens gone. The mother must have decided our library wasn’t quiet enough for her babies.
I continue to say that a life lived for the Lord is truly is the greatest adventure. Thank you to every person, church and organization that supports New Hope Fund. Many have generously given to our specific projects at New Hope, but it is the general donations that allow us to meet unexpected needs like this one. I know that the boys and their families would want to express their thanks to you. If it were not for your generosity, I would have had to turn away one of these boys or not had the funds to help either of them at all. Thank you and God bless you! Gilbert Daudi and Daudi Mutisya are seeing much better now, but I pray one day they will also receive the eternal sight that comes with the saving grace of Jesus.
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It has been over 6 months since I last wrote an update. This past year has been full of unexpected blessings from my God and Savior. A year ago, I left home to come live in Kenya, thinking that I would not see home again for 14 months. In the few months before I left America, the Lord began stirring in my heart that He was soon starting a new chapter in my life. I had been preparing for years, for the upcoming new chapter of moving to Kenya. What I was not prepared for, was for the Lord to bring my soon-to-be husband into my life. The Lord works in unique and extraordinary ways.
Once in Kenya, it became clear to me that the Lord had brought into my life the man that I was going to marry. I wondered about God’s timing, as I had just left this man in America. I am learning to never question God’s plan. Not much time went by, before God orchestrated for me to come home to America in March, to give a report at a mission conference in Kentucky. Although I was excited about the opportunity to present on what God was doing in Kenya, I couldn’t help but yearn for the day that I could go home and see the man the Lord was awakening my heart to. I left Kenya on March 14th, with full intentions of coming back in May. Once I got home, I soon got engaged and set a date for a December wedding, for when I returned home next.
It became very clear that the Lord had yet another change in “my plans.” Thomas and I joked for a couple days about the irrational idea of extending my stay and planning a wedding in two months. That irrational joke quickly became a reality as we prayerfully considered God’s plan for us. I am thankful that the Lord’s ways are so much higher than my ways. Thomas and I got married on May 26th, 2018. We spent a couple months working and saving money, before coming to Kenya together.
We are now both here in Mombasa, working at the school. Neither of us are teaching yet, as the school is finishing up the 2018 school year, this month. We are busy checking on children in the sponsorship program and preparing for the school library to open in January. There is a lot of work to be done, but we are slowly making progress each day.
The Lord is continuing to bless the church and school here, in Mombasa. We have heard testimonies of several souls being saved. Students, teachers, staff, family and community members are coming to the school mission, hearing the Gospel and being saved. We are preparing for a baptism next Sunday.
Please pray for us as we try to work for the Lord every day, in any way that He may have us to. The school building still has parts left unfinished, that Tom Olonde is working tirelessly to finish. Thomas and the librarian, Joseph are spending hours every day, tediously covering and cataloging a couple thousand books, for the library. We even have students volunteering to help on their break time. Sarah and many teachers and staff are working to feed and educate hundreds of children. It is the greatest honor to work for the Lord and He has given each of us here a work to do. Many try everything to experience I life of pleasure and adventure. Over and over, I have found it to be true, that the greatest adventure comes with a life lived for the Lord.
I can't believe how quickly time passes. It has been much too long since I have written an update. In the last few months, God has continued to bless us here, in Mombasa.
Yesterday, we had our weekly school worship service. The Holy Spirit blessed us by manifesting His presence in a mighty way. Many children were convicted of their sins and were seeking a relationship with Jesus. Even Muslim children were knelt and praying. As the children went back to their classes, I spoke to several of them and encouraged them to continue seeking the Lord until they find peace. I spoke to one of my students, who was especially troubled. I asked him if he had been praying for the Lord to save him. He said that he had been. I told him that he can be saved anywhere and that only Jesus can save him. I encouraged him to keep praying until he felt peace from God. Please pray for these students. At New Hope School, we care a lot about education, but we care much more about the Gospel.
Brother Tom, Sister Sarah and myself will all be traveling to America this March. I am beyond excited that the Lord has given me this opportunity. I am looking forward to seeing my family and reporting on all that I have experienced in the last six months in Kenya. Please pray for us, that the Lord can guide our steps as we travel to America. Please also pray that the work in Kenya will continue as God wills it to be, while we are away.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "for we walk by faith, not by sight."
Many times, the Lord has asked me to step out on faith, when I could not see the why or the how. In those times, not only has the Lord carried me through, but He has always blessed my weak steps of faith. When God prevents me from seeing the end result of a situation, I am tempted to try and write my own ending. Most of the time, if I look at my outward circumstances, the end result is sure to be ridden in failure and impossibilities. In these moments, I am reminded why the Bible says that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:2). Without the Lord, my worries of failure would probably be accurate. I can praise the Lord that I am not the author of my faith. My faith comes from the Lord and He is the one writing my story and making the impossible possible.
When I look at all that encompasses New Hope Church and the New Hope Schools, I am amazed at what the Lord did from one step of blind faith. Today, 15 years after New Hope School was started, the Lord is still requiring us to “walk by faith, not by sight.”
I am amazed, each time I come back to Kenya, at how much can change in a year. The Lord is constantly growing this work. Many are asking what the needs are here. Currently, the most important need is for construction on the school expansion to be completed, so that plans can be made to start the orphanage. Though we are prayerfully planning for the future of an orphanage, Tom, Sarah and I all agree that we cannot start the orphanage until the construction on the school is finished. We have to take one step at a time.
We started working on plans for the new addition to the school, over three years ago. The building has been in good use for about two years now, but it is still not finished. Since last year, the bathrooms have been finished and one of the upper floors now has office spaces for teachers to prepare for their lessons in. The school has almost doubled in size in the past 5 years, having almost 700 students. The original school building now has all of the kindergarten, preschool and nursery classrooms in it. The tin roof, on the kindergarten building, was a continual hassle because of the rain. The roof was leaking a lot and the hard rains beating down on the roof caused teaching to be nearly impossible.