Kari’s Highlights

August 10, 2010 - Leave a Response

Kari has been sending out email updates to her friends and family and I thought it would be a good idea to post them on here as well. So here are some of Kari’s highlights of Eburru:

I think Katie and I could write a book on all of what God has shown us and how He has grown us through this experience.  Below are just a few short vignettes about the people and ministry happening in the remote, Kenyan village of Eburru:

1)       “Jack & Jill of ALL Trades”- Pastor Steve and his wife Mary are the inspiration behind the church, clinic, feeding program, and school here in Eburru.  They work tirelessly serving in whatever capacities are needed.  For example, in addition to his responsibilities as a pastor, husband, and father, Pastor Steve can be found hauling construction material to and fro, hosting mission teams, providing transportation for hospital visits, playing keyboard at church, and a myriad of other tasks.  Mary works long hours as the head nurse at the mission hospital in Kijabe where they live during the week.  On the weekends, she serves at the clinic and church in Eburru and always is the “hostess with the mostess” for visitors.  I thought I had a lot of energy until I saw Mary in actionJ  What self-sacrificing servants of the Lord this couple is!    2)       Eburru “Retreat”- Eburru is a remote village tucked away in the north central part of Kenya .  If you look up Eburru in the encyclopedia, it will actually describe it as being in the African bush.  Although this isolated place lacks in the modern conveniences of electricity and running water, it overflows with natural beauty and the friendliness of the people.  Each night we lay our heads down beneath the black African sky illuminated by the shining stars and we wake up to the sounds of chirping birds, gobbling turkeys, and a cocka-doodling rooster.  The perfect alarm clock- God’s creation!!:)

 3)       Faith of Children– The children of Eburru have captured my heart.  Before the school and the feeding program which is sponsored by David’s Hope International was here, many of the children would go for days without food- let alone any nutritious food.  As a result, these young ones are quite small for their age.  For example, little Mary is 7 years old, but she is the size of my 3 year old niece, Abby.  Although these precious ones may be small in stature, but they are big in heart.  My favorite part of the school day is break time when we have chapel hour.  My heart melts seeing the smiles and the joy of the children as they praise God.  This week the students learned Psalms 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd.  I have all that I need.”  Wow, these little ones may not know where their next meal is coming from, yet they are confident knowing that their Heavenly Father will provide all that they need!  The great faith of children- a lesson we can all learn from.

4. Church Kenyan Style- The last two Sundays Katie and I have had the blessing to worship with the African Inland Church (AIC ) here in Eburru. Pastor Steve started the church here in 2004 and it has since grown to be the largest church in the areal. Let me tell you, this Kenyan church knows how to praise the Lord in song and dance.  The young men are playing the drums, the children are performing traditional dances, and the older women are banging on the tambourines.  Church service begins at 11am and goes well into the afternoon.  This past Sunday there was a special time for people to come forward with specific needs for the church to pray for.  How awesome it was to hear prayers going up in four different languages- Swahili, English, Kikuyu, and Turkana.   Although our words were varied, our hearts were united in the Holy Spirit.

 5) Teacher Eva Currently, there are 3 teachers that work here at the Camp Brethren Mission School- Ms. Nancy, Mr. Kago, and Ms. Eva.  I have really enjoyed getting to know Ms. Eva, the lead teacher.  What I love about her is that she ALWAYS has a smile on her face!  This joyful teacher lives in a simple one room “apartment” that is attached to the clinic.  She uses a small coal burner for cooking and heating water for her bucket showers.  At night, she has a paraffin lantern for light and an outdoor “squatty potty” for her bathroom.  Even with such rustic living conditions, Eva radiates the joy of Christ to all around her.   While at the market the other day, I asked Eva if she ever has a down day when she feels sad or lonely.  She explained, “I may have a minute or two when I am sad, but joy quickly returns to me.”  I further inquired    how she maintains such a joyful spirit.  She quickly replied, “ I sing praises to Jesus.”  Our conversation ended with us standing in the “parking lot” of the market singing Eva’s favorite song, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”

6)      Ministry of David’s Hope International (DHI) As you probably know, I am here serving alongside Katie Futrell who is part of DHI (www.davidshope.org).   This non-profit organization was formed by a mission team that served in Eburru back in Dec of 2008.  God gave this 16 member team a vision to continue serving this small village and, thus, DHI was founded.  Wow, how God has blessed their ministry!  Through their efforts and funding, in less than 1 ½ years, a school of 90+ children has been founded, a maternity ward to the clinic has been added, and plans for an orphanage have been drawn up.  Through these projects, lives have been saved- physically and spiritually.  I am humbled to have had the opportunity to serve with this organization and am excited to see how God continues to work through them.

 We look forward to sharing more stories and pictures with you when we return.  Thank you for making this trip possible through your support, prayers, and encouraging emails.  We truly feel like we have an extended team through you.

For God’s Glory Always



Homeward Bound

August 9, 2010 - 2 Responses

Well, today is our last day in Kenya. We will be flying home tonight and should arrive at Dulles by 1:50 pm Tuesday. It was hard to leave Eburru yesterday but at the same time I think Kari and I are both looking forward to showers that aren’t in a bucket and toilets you don’t have to squat in.

 On that note, I was thinking about how different the school in Arusha was from the school in Eburru. In Arusha we had running water and electricity but not in Eburru. As a teacher from the States you really have to be creative in how you teach with such limited resources. The closest copying machine is two hours away in the city of Navisha,. My school alone has four copiers and I complain loudly when one of them breaks. Also, the students do not have textbooks as the school can not afford it. Instead, there is one text book for the teacher to use and she will write on the board for the students to copy in their composition books. It is pretty time consuming and I am hoping this is something DHI can help provide in the near future. I will be going back to my American school in September with a different perspective on things.

 The last two days I was able to work with Brandon Neil, a fellow Frontliner and DHI supporter. His background is in business and I could already see he is going to be a great help with the business side of things. On Saturday we went to a local café in Eburru center. It is owned by a lady named Mary who is an active member of Pastor Steve’s church. However, a few years ago she was not a Christian and her café was then a bar. When she got saved she did not know what to do with all the illegal moonshine she was selling. So the church decided to do a “liquor pouring” offering. They would give some money to buy some of the liquor and then they poured it out. Mary is now part of the women’s ministry of the church and a light to the community. However, her restaurant is not bringing in enough income. This is where Brandon comes in. On Saturday he sat down with her and helped her figure out her expenses and profit. He plans to teach basic book keeping classes to some of the businessmen and women of the church since it is something completely foreign to them. We also came up with the idea of selling something that the other cafes would not offer in order to bring in more business. We helped her make guacamole – something they have all the ingredients to make but have never heard off. We served it with their chipotas (flat bread). I even went around the town giving little samples to the townspeople, telling them they could only buy it at Mary’s café. Brandon plans to continue to work with her for the next two weeks and hopefully we will get her a sign to put outside her door that says “American guacamole Exclusively sold here!” I thought it was pretty amazing that God could take my one of my weakest areas (I took economics twice in college ) and still use it to help those in need.

Haiku on African Dust

August 8, 2010 - 2 Responses

 Turns everything brown

 Clouds coat roads and nostrils fill

 The rain comes, now mud

What’s the big deal about DHI?

August 7, 2010 - 2 Responses

Many of you maybe be asking, what exactly is DHI? So I thought I would take the time to give a little background information on it.

 December 2008 was the first time I visited Eburru along with a team of 14 others.  About a month before we left someone came and talk to us about poverty. She wanted to prepare us for what we might see.  She told us not to be too concerned with the poverty because it was just the way of life here and there is nothing that can be done about it. “Just focus on their Spiritual needs but don’t worry about their physical needs.” In my opinion that is exactly the wrong attitude to have. The Bible is full of verses commanding Christians to give to the poor.  Yes, their spiritual needs are more important but we still need to help them physically as well. In fact I think reaching out to those in extreme need is an amazing why to witness by showing Christ’s love. 
Well, that is exactly the vision and mission of David’s Hope International (DHI); “to create lasting solutions for the physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of abandoned children in the poorest communities of the world” Our team decided that we would not be Americans that saw the need and went back home and forgot about it. Instead we started David’s Hope underneath the leadership of fellow team member Jeff Trexel. I remember us all sitting in Jeff’s basement shortly after returning, trying to come up with a name for the new organization. Since then, God has truly blessed it. We have been able to raise funds to send to Pastor Steve for him to buy a water tank, land to grow crops and farm animals for the feeding program, classrooms for the new school and the start of constructing an orphanage. Pastor has also decided to plant another church (this will be his third in Kenya) down at the edge of Morgan since many walk miles and miles to go the church in Eburru.  

 As I am writing this, David, our namesake, is sitting next me so I can help him with some homework. He is 15 and in third grade and weighs about half of what a child his age should because his grown was significantly stunted when he was very young due to malnourishment. We hope to place him in the orphanage once it is open so that we can monitor his progress. However, we still need help in funding it. Please consider giving by going to www.davidshope.org

Historical Day in Kenya

August 4, 2010 - 2 Responses

Since we first arrived in Kenya we kept hearing  talk from the radio, TV news, taxi drivers, and street advertisements about the referendum for a new constitution. We saw people wearing red (those for against the  new constitution) and many others wearing green (those for it). Supposedly, President Obama gave motivation to the politicians in Kenya that there needed to be a change and unity in their country. Well today is Election Day and they are voting on that new constitution. As we drove into a town this morning we saw extremely long lines of Kenyans waiting to vote. Many that we have talked to say they are in the “Yes” camp and polls are predicting  that about 80% are for it. Many of the changes have to do with the rights of women and children; including the right to free education and better healthcare for expecting mothers. Currently the mortality rate for infants is very high and they hope this is one step towards improving those statistics.  However, the last time there was a big election (2007) there were major riots between tribes. Many are still adamantly against it. A large number of those in the “No” camp are landowners as some tribes could potentially lose land. The US has currently put a travel warning telling Americans not to travel to Kenya until this is over so please pray that it will end peacefully this time around. For more information on this international news please visit: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa/08/04/kenya.elections/#fbid=i8CCwwKWZYg


July 30, 2010 - 4 Responses

I mentioned before about he feeding program at the school but I wanted to share a very touching story about a little boy named Solomon.

 Back in December DHI sent a small short term missions team to serve in Eburru.  Monty, a girl on the team, was able to bring a large supply of Nutty  Butta, a peanut base nutritional supplement. It is packed full of protein and there is research being done on its effects on malnourished children.  When the team arrived their attention was brought to Solomon, an extremely malnourished four year old boy.  Mary told me that his mother came to her in the clinic and told her that they were just waiting for the child to die. She had given up on hope that there was anything that could be done at this point.  Mary and the team started giving the child the supplement and enrolled him in the school immediately so he could have the advantage of the feeding program. At first Solomon did not have the energy to even smile. He would sit and watch the other children play. He came to school wearing layers but when those layers were taken off it was apparent the child was skin and bones.

 Well, Solomon is in the class I have been working with and the teacher told me he is now top of the class!!! I actually took a wonderful video of him working the classroom but of course the African internet connection will not let me upload it so you will have to wait until I return. Mary says that the child would most certainly be dead by now if it were not for the team that came with the supplies or the feeding program.  Solomon now runs and laughs during recess and he loves going to school.

School Days

July 28, 2010 - 3 Responses

  “We have had many teams visit Eburru but your team that started David’s Hope International was the only one that caught the vision.”

These last three days working at the  school have been so good. It is hard to believe that it only started 6 months ago. Currently, the school has three teachers and three full classrooms but everyday people come wanting to know if we have room for their child. They like our school better than other primary school in the area because they can tell quality education is being offered. Not only that but they are being taught the word of God daily.  The pastor and teachers want the children that are the most destitute  to be the ones that are accepted into the school….the children that would never have a chance of education otherwise because they would not be able to afford it (education is not free in Kenya). One of the best things about the school is its feeding programing. Many of the students that go to the school were extremely malnourished before but because they get a cup of porridge in the morning and a bowl of beans, vegetables, and grains for lunch many of these children are now at a healthy weight. In fact, most Kenyan schools would be on break for the next three weeks but the David’s Hope School has decided to stay open because if the school is closed, the children do not get to eat.  Because of the funds raised through David’s Hope the school now has a garden and three goats (two are already pregnant ) in order to have self-sustainability as these will provide vegetables, fruit, grains, and milk for the feeding program. In fact some of already asked if they could buy the offspring of the goats which will also help bring financial sustainability.

Pastor Steve says that Kari and I will be “pioneers” since we are the first American teachers to visit the school. In addition to helping the teachers and leading chapel hour, the pastor also wants us to develop a “training guide” on how the school runs so that other education teams that come to work in the school will have an idea before hand of what is being taught.


July 26, 2010 - One Response

Becca wrote this blog before she left and asked me to post it.

Originally when the three of us knew we would need transportation from the guesthouse we were staying to the school we would serve we thought we’d buy bikes for transportation. Unlike the states bikers do not get the right of way on roads! Plus three blond Americans on the road may have been too much for the Tanzanian’s to handle! We quickly learned about the public transportatin called a “dala dala”. This seemed to be a much better option for us to use.
You may be asking “what is a dala dala?” We will post a picture at some point to give you a visual. So for now we try to paint a picture in your mind of what it is like. A dala dala is a vehicle with 3 or 4 seats per row. Think of a smaller version of a 15 passenger van. 4 seats in the back 2 rows and the next 2 rows with 3 seats each. Plus 2 seats next to the driver. On each dala dala there are two workers- the driver and the caller. The caller opens and closes the door and takes money from each passenger as they ride. Also they whistle and look for people walking who want rides. Now you may think there is a limit to how many people can fit in a dala dala. But we soon realized there is no “set number” of how many can ride at a time. Litearlly you may have 3 to 4 people standing holding onto the door.
We learned the swhaili word for “let me out here”. Shusha. This is very important to know so you make sure you get off where you need to go. Each ride is between 250 and 300 shillings (1,500 shillings is $1.00) so it was very inexpensive to use.
In the morning we would walk about a half mile to get the the dala dala stop. Usually if the dala dala driver saw the three of us walking they would pull into the road a ways and pick us up. Since we were farther out on the main road the dala dala didn’t have too many passengers when we got on. But with each stop more and more people join the ride. By the end of our route there may be between 15 to 20 people in one dala dala. We had one transfer where we got out walked to a round about in the road, crossed over and got onto the Mwanama dala dala that took us to the school and Church.
In the evenings riding the dala dala was harder to find one for the three of us to fit. In the beginning we would let the dala dala pass if it looked to full. But by the end of our time we realized it was safe even if we were the ones standing holding onto the sliding door.
We became quite proficient and learned to love the adventure each ride would bring!

Eburru Needs You

July 25, 2010 - 5 Responses

Our trio is now a duet. Becca is flying back home today and Kari and I arrived in Eburru last night. It is so nice to be back. So much has been done here since I left 18 months ago. We stopped by the David’s Hope school on our way to camp yesterday and it brought tears to my eyes. Since 15 Americans decided to start David’s Hope International and we have had so many gracious donators, 93 students now are getting an education for the first time and that is just the beginning of the good work that is being done here.

 We had a nice long talk with Pastor Steve last night and this is what he had to say: “It is so hard for you to paint a picture of what the situation is here for the Americans. They are still living in the comfortable homes and you are here. They don’t know that many of us have gone without food today.” Several times a week the pastor and his wife Mary will drive 55 km (but it is a 2 ½ hour drive due to the horrible road conditions) to the remote village up in the mountains of Northern Kenya so that they can work at the clinic and school they started here. Mary is a nurse and works in a hospital during the week and here at the clinic in Eburru on the weekends. Although she would sometimes like a day off she knows that there are children waiting to be fed, taught, and treated here.

             Luke 12:48  tells us “From everyone who has give much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” As Americans we have been blessed and given much. How are you using what God has given you? 

 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses. – Proverbs 28:27 www.davidshope.org


Top Ten Reasons Why We Love East Africa

July 22, 2010 - 2 Responses

10.  Fresh mangos for breakfast.

9. Traffic too fast? Build your own speed bump!

8. Coca-Cola Light in glass bottles (we promise it tastes better when it comes out of a glass).

7. Hakna Matata and Pole Pole are their mottos (“no worries” and “slowly slowly”).

6. How many people will fit in a Dala Dala (public transporation)? Not until at least three people are hanging outside the sliding door.

5.  Ugahli and beans that you can eat with your hands!!!! (We also love the mbzazi and tea in the morning ).

4. The traditional conga dress can double as a napkin.

3. The natives really know how to dance and sing!!! (especially the Masai).

2.  Smiling children greeting us in the morning.

1. Even though our cultures and language are very different, we have realized that we are united with our brothers and sisters in Christ.