Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tunajifunza Kiswahili

As you all know, one of Andrew and I’s main priorities right now is learning Swahili.  I feel like we talk about it a lot, but no one back in America really knows how it is going……

So this post is to update you on how we are progressing in our Swahili classes. 

(My school books)

P1070886When we first got here, I felt completely overwhelmed with my Swahili class (which makes sense when you are surrounded by a language you know nothing about).  But now, a quick 3 months later, I can understand and speak short sentences with people! It is an amazing feeling!

Now, I am still a beginner.  Very much so.  But I am learning quicker than I thought I would, and I am loving it.  I have such a desire to be able to speak Swahili fluently, because it would make life so much easier—in the market, with the kids, basically everywhere!

                                                                                                            (Andrew’s school books)

P1070889Andrew and I have joined the Swahili classes at Mt. Kenya Baptist (the primary school that we are living at).  I am in Standard 1 and he is in Standard 2.  We go to class with the kids every day, do homework, and even take tests!

I have found that I can be a big distraction to the kids.  They have mostly gotten used to me being a part of their class, but they still love to turn around and check if I am following along, or if I know what the answers are (which I am getting much better at). 

At the end of each month the students have exams for their classes.  Below is our first Swahili test from January.  I got a 75% on mine.  I was disappointed, but it is still passing!  Andrew got an 83%.  Here they are:

P1070879  (My test)

P1070883  (Andrew’s test)

Not bad for our first tests…….right???

Here are some examples of the work we do in class and on our own. The first ones are mine.

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Now, Andrew’s work……….

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So, being the end of the March, the kids have been prepping for their exams tomorrow and Friday.  We had a practice test today in my class.

It was HARD! 

As I was taking it, I felt very discouraged. When I handed it in to my teacher, she then informed me that it is way above the 1st grade level, and that I did much better than my classmates.  Ha!

Why is a Standard 1 class taking it then!?  I guess that is why it is a practice test.  I don’t feel so discouraged anymore.   🙂

Here are my results:

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See all the words written in red? That’s not a good thing.

Lol, I’ll do better next time!

Kwa Heri!

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Harambee

2011-03-06 12.51.19
 
We went to our first harambee the other day! Harambee is best translated in this context as fundraiser. Churches hold them when they need to purchase something for the ministry. It was an experience I doubt I will ever forget…
 
2011-03-06 12.57.41Orlando Ngenea Baptist Church is a village church about 40 minutes from our home. They have been a faithful church for years and have sent out from their congregation some of the most humble and faithful pastors in our ministry. They have been meeting on the property of a local school and even have a building on it, but have since been asked to relocate. In order to avoid losing members, most of whom walk from the surrounding area, they have decided to purchase a piece of land right next to the school. Providing an occasion for a harambee.
 
Abby and I had been trying to visit the church for a few weeks,  and after having to cancel one trip, God brought us there on the day of the fundraiser. I was asked to speak on giving (a hard enough task in your own culture, yet alone cross-culturally). Another missionary gave me some great advice and I spoke on bits of 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9—a humbling example of a region of poor churches who give extravagantly to help others in need. God blesses generosity with an “abundance of joy!”
 
2011-03-06 13.07.51 And joy is what we saw that day. People arrived at the small church with chickens, all kinds of produce, a rabbit, and a sheep. After the service there was a fun little ceremony with food and gifts, none of which were free 🙂 (this is a fundraiser). Then came the auction to sell everything people brought.
 
2011-03-06 14.20.09 People from surrounding churches came to support. Everyone gave generously and God worked in a mighty way. The church needed to raise around $3,000, which was an impossible task for the village congregation.
 
If you even had a job out there, you would only make a few dollars a day. Still, with the help of all the visitors who came and a couple anonymous gifts, the churched raised everything that they needed. Praise God!!!
 
2011-03-06 15.58.40
Abby and I supported through buying some of the auction items. We went home with some sugar cane, a live chicken, and about 200 lbs. of maize (We donated the maize to the school rather than eating ugali every day for the next year 🙂
 
 
 
2011-03-06 15.51.39                                        I gave Jackson my Bible when I found                                 
                                                      out he didn’t have one.

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Meru Medical Team February 2011

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Abby and I joined a medical team a couple weeks ago (hence the long silence on our blog due to being so busy). We had an incredible time. God worked in so many wonderful ways!

We hesitated going because our finances are tight and we had to pay our own food and lodging. Still, we felt like God wanted us there, and the experience was a great opportunity to learn and prepare for our own medical team which we will be hosting in a week and a half. We decided to go for half the trip to balance the expense.

Long story short, we joined the team for the whole medical campaign and God provided for all of our needs. We did not have to pay anything! At one point we were having to go home before the end of the trip because of an obligation, but we really wanted to stay with the team and continue to help. The evening before we needed to leave, I got a text message asking to reschedule the speaking engagement. God opened the door.

Abby acted as a stand-in eye doctor 🙂 and handed out reading glasses and sunglasses to people the real doctors referred to her. I was crowd control and flow management (which is fancy talk for I stood in the sun and told people where to go). I also got to assist with some of the surgeries! Beyond learning the logistics of running a team and the complications that you are bound to face, it was a great time to practice Swahili. “Ukiona mlango huko, kwenda huko na utapata dawa.” (If you see the door over there, go there and you will find medicine).

Below are the results from the trip. I write this not to boast in the team, but to boast in what God did through the team. I have heard of many medical teams which report much higher salvation numbers, but the numbers below are people the missionary/pastors were confident in the sincerity of their profession and are prepared to follow up with baptism. Something the numbers do not show is that in one of the villages, the men of the community approached the Kenyan pastor about planting a church in the area!

In five days…

2002 Patients were seen

2725 Visits (If a patient saw the doctor and received glasses that is 2 visits)

9092 Prescriptions were filled

49 Professions of Jesus Christ!!!

This was all accomplish to the glory of the Kingdom of God by people from 5 different states and Mexico, along with student volunteer translators, 2 Kenyan pastors, and 6 missionaries who sacrificed there time and money to make a difference!

 

DSC_0123 The Team!

 

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Sorting medicine the night before. The pharmacy had enough work to do filling over 1,000 prescriptions a day.

DSC_0367 Setting up a tent for registration. We couldn’t get to the school we were suppose to be at because rain flooded the road…

 

DSC_0461 Roping of the pharmacy to give them room to work.

 

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We would pray and sing to start each day.

 

DSC_0502  The men in charge! Ernie, in the white shirt on the right, was the lead missionary. Leon, in the vest to the left, was the group leader. Eddie, in the flannel shirt in the middle, is a missionary up north in Turkana and was our connection to the group.

  DSC_0316 Water bottles being saved to give to people so they can use the UV rays of the sun to purify water. Google SODIS (solar distillation) if you want to know more.

 

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People hearing the gospel as they sit around and wait for they’re medicine.

 

DSC_0141 Abby helping in the pharmacy. We forgot the glasses the first day…

 

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Using a reading chart to determine the prescription.,

 

P1070203 Happy to receive a pair of glasses!

 

DSC_0271  Learning how to direct people in Swahili. Eddie is teaching me the phrase mentioned in the article above.

 

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Holding a flashlight so the nurse can see better to clean a wound. This young man has had an open wound for 2 years because he was not able to get proper care and it healed open. He received the burn when he fell into a fire during an epileptic seizure.  

 

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Contrast of a village unreached

We worked with a medical team this past week. I’ll write more on it later but there is one story that needs to be told…

One of the two girls On our fifth and final day, everyone was exhausted from the massive amount of patients we had seen. It was lunch time, and the team was enjoying the solitude of one of the school classrooms. Two young girls interrupted our down time, but they were shooed out of the room.

In that brief moment they caught the attention of one of the missionaries, a guy who, although a great person, is not known to be the most sympathetic human alive. Eddie brought the girls back in and gave them some leftover food. He asked one of the doctors to take a quick look at the girls’ infected wounds even though they had seen their patient quota. 

One of the wounds was a perfect circle, and although possibly a scratched and infected mosquito bite, it was identified most likely as cigarette burn gone wrong. One of the doctors pointed out that a large number of injuries treated during the week appeared to be the result of abuse. There was an old man who was beat with a cane and countless children with scars, infected wounds, and other injuries resulting from abuse.

The doctor was surprised that last time she was in Kenya, she did not see the prolific number of abuse cases. What was the difference?P1070292

Last time she was in the north among the Turkana tribe. Comparing the tribes, the Turkana are a rough group as they are faced with the harsh conditions of life in the dessert and conflicts with neighboring tribes. Personality wise they would be and in most places are much more prone to abuse than the polite and relatively good-natured Meru tribe we were with this trip.

The difference was not tribal but related to the reason we were in each region. 2 years ago the team was working through well established churches that Eddie, the missionary mentioned above, had planted. In Meru, we were working to help grow two small churches and open new villages to planting a church. The Turkana had a strong exposure to the gospel where the rural Meru villages we visited were largely unreached.

The contrast was an amazing testimony of the life transforming power of the message of Jesus! Abuse is a direct result of our sinful rebellion against God. Jesus died so our sins can be forgiven and people can be restored to a right relationship with their creator.

“ We love because He first loved us!” -1 John 4:19

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