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Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

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I’ve been a huge supporter of Blood:Water Mission for some time now. I love their passion for clean water in communities in need and their projects to build water wells. On occasions I will partake in their water challenge fundraiser around lent season. When I traveled to India, I had the opportunity to dedicate a water well. To see the joy in people’s faces who have never had clean drinking water is something I’ll never forget. It cost $1200 to build a water well in India and I am raising 10% of that from giving up some my personal pleasures of life during lent. Watch some of these videos for the Save a Life campaign for Rwanda and be inspired by the work Blood:Water is doing. You can give to my campaign here. Thanks! God Bless!

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Today is World Water Day. It’s a day set aside to raise awareness for the more than 700 million people who lack access to clean water. When I was in Kenya, I joined many at an orphanage in making the trek back and forth with big jugs to bring water to the home. In India, we dedicated water wells to a couple of villages and I saw great joy in the faces of these people who had gone so long without clean water. Here in the states, we take water for granted. We forget how important water is to people. 300 million in Africa alone lack access to clean water. Charity:Water and  Blood:Water Mission are two organizations near and dear to me that are making a difference in the world today with their water projects. Take some time to get yourself educated on what is going on in the world today and how you can help.

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Last year I saw this movie with my son and loved it. It brought me back to when I went to Kenya in 2009 and went on a safari. Well, Ty and I watched it again today and every scene of this movie looked so familiar to the safari I went on. After watching the making of the movie, I found out it was filmed on the Masai Mara – where I went. Knowing I will be in Africa soon, this movie got me excited to be able to travel overseas to once again see God’s creation. It’s a beautiful movie and I’m thankful to the filmmakers for making it and capturing the beauty of Africa.

Below are some pictures from my safari 

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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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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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Quick stop in London

We had a brief layover in London and then on to New York. I had a quick lunch in the city. It was nice having food from home, but the busy streets of New York reminded me of how complicated we make our lives. Kenya has taught me the simple life. I can’t wait to get home and see my family.

New York skyline

New York skyline

 

New York, New York

New York, New York

Amazing pizza and wings

Amazing pizza and wings

Busy streets

Busy streets

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

The subway

The subway

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