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Posts Tagged ‘Huruma’

In 2006, I saw this video at a David Crowder concert that was going around online on youtube from three guys that traveled to Uganda. I had just surrendered my life to Christ and was exposed to injustice in other parts of the world for the first time. I was blown away by what I saw and I bought a copy of this video (Invisible Children’s Rough Cut) and watched it over and over again at home. The part where the little boy is describing how he and his brother were abducted by the LRA and how his brother never made it back just sat with me. He kept saying over and over again “my heart is beeping…”. I began supporting the war in Gulu through World Vision for many years after that.

Months later I would go to Belize and Passion ’07 and God opens my heart to cross-cultural missions. Then two really good friends of mine would leave AZ to live in Kenya to intern at Huruma Children’s Home and I would spend time following their journey and supporting them. In 2009, I would also travel to Kenya and visit the same orphanage on behalf of my church. It was not a good experience for me as I see firsthand how western churches have hurt other countries and ministries. I had just read When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and spent time learning about missions strategy with the Pathways/Perspectives course. While there, I saw tons of money being misused by both the orphanage and the church that sent me and some other things that I won’t discuss. People back home were being deceived and I had it out with God one night there in the middle of my trip because I was so disgusted. But God did something cool, He opened my heart up to the people of Kenya. I was able to put aside my frustrations and spend time building relationships with the people of Africa. I really developed a heart for them and even today I chat with my friends in Kenya and at the orphanage almost every week.

Me with one of the children at Huruma

Chris Tomlin releases “Love” with the Watoto children’s choir and the song really touches my heart. He would sing it in Kampala with the Passion World Tour to thousands of Africans in their language. Watoto is a holistic care ministry that helps orphans in Uganda that are victims of AIDS and war. Then the choir makes a surprise stop at my church and God once again opens up my heart to Africa. I started to learn about what these kids have gone through in Uganda and what we can do as Americans to effectively help them. The movie “Blood Diamond” comes out as well and really impacts me. It’s a movie about child soldiers in South Africa.

Watoto Children’s Choir at Cornerstone

In 2010, I attended a Passion conference with my girlfriend at the time in Atlanta. During the conference, we walked through the World Vision Experience – it is an interactive exhibit that combines audio and amazing photography and transports you to the heart of Africa. You get to experience stories of tragedy and triumph lived out by real children in AIDS-affected communities. It totally blew us both away. In the exhibit, you also have a chance to go to an AIDS clinic in Africa and feel what that is like as well as visit a truck stop on Kenya’s infamous AIDS highway (a road I actually got to drive on). I remember I couldn’t stop thinking about this exhibit for months and even tried to get my church at the time to do something very similar with Huruma.

Map of the AIDS highway in Kenya – Passion 2010

 

So where am I at today with all of this? I’m an ESL instructor for Somalian refugees here in Phoenix working alongside Peace Catalyst International and Redemption church. It’s a really awesome ministry God has brought to me right here in my own backyard and I am blessed to be a part of it and to be working with people from Africa. I spend a lot of time as well watching and reading about different ministries in Africa and how they are helping the situations over there. I am currently corresponding with a few ministries in three different countries in Africa.

 

For the past year I have felt a tugging in my heart to return to Africa. I watch several of these videos and I pray over all these wonderful ministries all over the world. I took a big chunk of time off work next summer and basically told God to use me for whatever He wants during that time. I have always believed that when you go through hard times, God is preparing you for something big and I can’t ignore the calling He has put in me. After much prayer, I will be spending some time in Africa next summer. I don’t what this looks like, but I have already started the process of raising funds and preparing my heart. I am excited and at the same time thankful to God for giving me an obedient heart to serve. This is who God made me to be. God’s doing a lot in the world and I just want to play my small role in the Kingdom.

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During our ‘Lost Crusade’ series at Cornerstone today, Pastor Linn spoke about impacting the Kingdom beyond our short time here on earth. God wants us to leverage the resources that He has given to us to impact other lives. Here is a video of the different stories from those who have been impacted by your generosity:

One way you can make an impact is by sponsoring a child through one of our three focus countries. Cornerstone offers child sponsorships through Food for the Hungry (Peru), Huruma Children’s Home (Kenya) and Harvest India(India). For just over a $1 a day, you can make a difference in a child’s life, their family and the community.

Today was an amazing day as several people stopped by the child sponsorship booth to sponsor children.

We were also blessed by a visit from Mama Zipporah from Huruma Children’s Home in Kenya. Mama spoke from main stage on how the generosity of the people of Cornerstone have impacted the lives of the 140+ orphans at Huruma. She then took time to visit with those that sponsored children at the booth and the team headed to Kenya in August.

Pastor Linn and Mama Zipporah

Caroline, Mama and Sylvia sing Kenyan songs to the August team going to Kenya

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The August Kenya team has arrived. These kids sure know how to make us feel welcome!

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The second team to Kenya held their packing meeting Monday night. I was on hand to answer any questions they had. They leave Friday. There was all types of excitment as all of them know within a week they would be plugging into those amazing kids and be a part of what God is doing in Huruma. The team is being led by Joel England (my uncle) and Chris Haidet from Rock Eternal. Brian Wurzell will be joining as well to provide music. They will be joining Lisa Winters and the other three girls that are already there. Please keep them in prayer as they make the long trek to Africa.

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After getting back from the slums, we loaded up our stuff to leave. We went around saying our goodbyes. Of course Mama wouldn’t say goodbye, she just said ‘see you next time’. What a life changing expereince this was!

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Last meal

Last meal

Boarding the plane

Boarding the plane

Funny story as we were leaving. Pastor Linn placed a belt buckle with President Obama’s face on it in Dave Hutcherson’s side pocket without him knowing. As he went through the metal detector, it kept beeping. He had no clue why. So the Kenya security patted him down. To his surprise they found the belt buckle. Dave denied knowing how it got there. Obama is an icon in Kenya and we all got quite the laugh from it. Even the security couldn’t help but laugh.

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We had church outdoors today . Part of Kenyan culture is to honor the guest before they leave. Many of the kids displayed their talents with singing, dancing and acrobats. After Pastor Joseph’s message, we were called up on stage. Mama Zipporah and the kids presented us with gifts and clothes. It was a very humbling experience.

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This is Moses. He is deaf. He is also one of the sweetest, most loving kids here at Huruma. We’ve all fallen in love with him. I had a chance to spend a little time with him for the last time today.

We have one more day before we leave. It was a good day today. Some of the older girls came up to me today. They generally look at me and snicker. But a group of them decided to spark a conversation with me. They wanted to know why I am so quiet at times. I told them that I like to think a lot. They said being alone is not good. I laughed because I’m generally pretty social at home. This then sparked a huge conversation about the differences between Kenya and America. I then began to realize how selfish and materialistic we are. It was a good talk and I made some new friends. They told me they would miss me.

We then headed to the Kazuri Bead Factory. At first I didn’t want to go, but I eventually gave in. I was actually very impressed. They gave us a tour of how they make all the beads and pottery. It is a very nice facility. We had a great cup of coffee in their coffee garden. Then we headed into town to buy groceries and have lunch.

Kazuri Bead Factory

Kazuri Bead Factory

Enjoying a coffee in the Coffee Garden

Enjoying a cup of coffee in the Coffee Garden

After we got back, I packed up my things. Then I spent some time with some of the kids. It hit me that today would be the last time I get any quality time with them. I played with Moses a bit and then I walked around Huruma. I wanted to take the experience in one last time. Some of the kids were helping set up church tomorrow. I goofed off and took pictures with them for a awhile. I also had a quick chat with Mama Zipporah. She told me that when I come back that I need to have a wife with me.

Hanging with some of the Kenyan teachers

Hanging with some of the Kenyan teachers

Lisa invited me to see the homes of some of the older Kenyan teachers. These are the guys who left Huruma to go to high school and now are back teaching the kids. They are an amazing group of guys. Some of them are looking into full-time ministry. They all live in these ‘apartments’  down the road from Huruma. To most of us the houses look like sheds. I personally thought they were cozy. The cool thing was that they were just happy to have their own place. I really enjoyed spending time with them and getting to know them. These guys are the future of Kenya.

My last African sunset

My last African sunset

For dinner, we had chipati bread. It is kinda like a Indian fry bread and it’s good. We then had our last debrief. Everyone took turns sharing their experience from the past two weeks. We all know we played a small part in an amazing story that is going on here at Huruma. God has truly blessed this place.
Chipati Bread

Chipati Bread

As a joke, we gave Pastor Linn a bumper stick that said “My other car is a matatu”. Matatu are vans that are used as taxis. He had quite the experience driving around them in Nairobi yesterday. After that, a few of us went out to the middle of the field and prayed over Huruma. It was an amazing God-moving experience under the stars.

We leave tomorrow night and I will post our final day here at Huruma when I get home. We have church in the morning and then a ceremony after that. Then we are headed to the slums to feed some of the children there. Thank you so much for your support and prayers while we have been here. It has been an amazing experience. Please keep us in prayer as we head home.

Something cool to check out..

Our very own Promise Tangeman-Wurzell and artist Barton Damer have been collaborating on an artwork piece for Huruma. The proceeds will go to the Huruma Children’s Home. Check it out here.

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Painting day. Many of the team were watching kids as the teacher’s had a conference with Pastor Linn. I opt to help paint the building. I really enjoy painting. I can’t tell you how much better the wall looks now. We surprised Mama who didn’t know we had done it. She loved it!
Touch up work

Touch up work

Mama likes her new wall

Mama likes her new wall

We had a fun night out after a long day. We all went into Nairobi to eat at Carnivore’s. It is a popular restaurant that is any meat lover’s paradise. They serve all different types of meat Brazilian style. Waiter’s come to your table slicing chicken, lamb, pork or beef off a skewer onto your plate. They even have exotic meats like crocodile and ostrich. Unfortunatley they were out of crocodile meat, so I went to town on the ostrich meatballs. Micah was our meat eating champion for the night as he kept the food coming. Mama Zipporah and some of the older Kenya boys joined us as well for dinner.

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Slicing some meat

Slicing some meat

Hanging with Mama Zipporah

Hanging with Mama Zipporah

I entitled this blog ‘Bump n Bond’ because of the bumpy ride to Nairobi on the mini Huruma Children’s bus. I don’t think that thing has shocks on it. And of course the roads are bad in Kenya too. Pastor Linn drove and the ride back wasn’t fun because we all had full stomachs. But we laughed and had fun. It was a good bonding night for our team.

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Kids standing on their heads

Kids standing on their heads

Today was our last day of Vacation Bible School. I think overall it was a success. We averaged about 95 kids each day. I planned out a big obstacle course for the last day. It was a little difficult trying to explain it to them at first, but they figured it out. After their Bible lesson, we gave them sunglasses to wear. As fun as I had today, I was wiped. These kids can really wear you out.

Kids in their sunglass

Kids in their sunglasses

I also got a taste of driving in Kenya for the first time. Stephanie, Derek and I took 7 kids out to dinner for chicken and chips (fries) at the Bonapet Cafe in Ngong. I got to drive the van. Everything is backwards compared to America. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car and they drive on the left side of the street. Plus there are people walking everywhere. It was quite the adventure, but we made it there and back safely. The kids loved it! They rarely get outside Huruma and have a nice dinner like this. We then enjoyed a round of Kenyan tea for dessert.
Chicken n chips at Bonapet Cafe

Chicken n chips at Bonapet Cafe

Kenyan Tea time

Kenyan Tea time

After dinner, I did my good deed for the night. I got a late night summon to kill a big spider in the girl’s room. It was funny seeing their reaction.

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Kids in their VBS shirts

Kids in their VBS shirts

Today was the start of Vacation Bible School for the kids. They have the week off from school to do this. The slogan for the week is “Wonderful Mystery” based out of John 15:15. We are using a “spy” theme to go along with this. Micah and Jayna are walking around in trench coats and sunglasses looking around for clues. We have crafts and story time. I’m in charge of recreation. We had a great first day! After VBS, we gave the kids flip flops that said “Huruma” on them. They loved them!

Huruma flip flops

Huruma flip flops

Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light

Today I spent more time getting to know some of the people on my team. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up with the work portion of the trip and forget to make time to get to know the people you are serving with. Had an amazing time sharing testimonies with Dave Hutcherson and then goofing off with some of the high school girls in the kitchen.

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