January Ministry Update

Greetings from Amsterdam,

May the Lord bless you now and in the coming year through the power of His grace, peace, joy and hope!

This update will focus on my latest mission trip the last two weeks of December to Kenya. I am extremely thankful for your prayers, which resulted in an amazing time with the kids. I am unable to put into words all that took place and how God moved in a variety of ways, but I’ll do my best to at least describe some of the events, activities and special connections that occurred.

The relationship Amsterdam50 has with this group of orphan children in Karai goes back to December 2009. Since that time we’ve now made 6 different mission trips with the main goals being spiritual development/encouragement (for both kids and staff) as well as educational development through language activities (singing, reading, writing, conversations, story time, etc). For 4 years we’ve also raised funds to help them with their school fees and to hire tutors for extra help after school.

In addition, the Lord inspires me to encourage their creativity in different ways. The safe house is known as the Kenyan non-profit Community Recovery Centre Africa (CRCA). This year I was inspired to take paint supplies and these roughly 5x7” cardboard letters and then have each child and every staff member paint on one of the letters. So I created 41 sections and each chose a number to paint and voilá…. a beautiful “personal touch” display of who they are mounted on a shelf in their dining hall.

Above: (l to r) Teresiah painting on C, Joyce painting her section on the R, Mary assisting Patrick in painting on the C, Monicah painting on the A.

Above: CRCA painting product being proudly displayed by myself and former orphan at the safe house, Grace (who finished High School in 2013 and is now in Nairobi beginning college). She came by to visit on the day that we completed the project.

Included during my visit was, of course, a huge focus on CHRISTMAS: Bible stories about the birth of Jesus, watching a movie about the “Birth of the King”, lots of decorating and putting on the Nativity Play at both their local church as well as for the Guardians who came to celebrate with us on Christmas Day.

I took some special time with the 9 youngest children where we colored and built a Nativity display, which included foam animals and all the main characters.

Photo above: l to r front row: Aiyana, Jeremy, Pauline, Brian and Joyce; back row: Lewis, Patrick, Isaac and Simon

It was a very fun activity which remained on display at “Mama’s house” and was played with often, especially by Aiyana and Jeremy who are the grandchildren of Dorcas, known as Mama.

One of the highlights this trip was observing the kids growth and maturity as we added to the Nativity play dynamics. Compared to when we performed the play in 2011 and 2012 with mainly narration and all the others “acting their part” to this time where many more kids had speaking parts, including Mary and Joseph, the host of angels, 2 of the shepherds, and the magi.

I am deeply touched to have witnessed the transformation of the two youngest orphans, Patrick and Pauline (brother 5 yrs & sister 6 yrs). They’d only been at the safe house for about 3 -4 months and I observed when they were doing group performances that they’d mostly stand still, usually hiding behind someone else, but not really participating.

My first day with the children was December 17th and we performed the play on Sunday, the 21st, therefore, we spent several hours those first few days singing and rehearsing the play. Patrick and Pauline did not know either of Christmas songs, nor perhaps even understood what we were acting out.

They were both assigned to being “sheep”, Patrick in the field with the shepherds and Pauline in the stable around the manger. They did seem to enjoy making the “baaaa” sound when cued. &smiley; And, within 4 days God did a beautiful work in their lives to where they felt comfortable enough to clap, “sing” and perform well in the play. Fun!

You can go to YouTube and watch a slideshow I’ve put together from my time with the kids, called Mission Trip to Kenya December 2014. Be sure your volume is on, so you can hear them singing in the videos.

The YouTube video includes a portion of the “Joy to the World” song which is how we ended the play. You’ll see Patrick, the smallest little guy in the front left (you’ll notice his sheep ears are almost falling out of his hat) who is absolutely having a great time! Mama Dorcas said even people in the congregation were commenting on the transformation they saw in Patrick, since he was actually smiling, clapping and participating, which they had never observed before. His sister, Pauline in the green shirt/floral print skirt, 2 to the right of Patrick is also participating. A marvelous transformation to witness ~ thank you, Lord!

So many more fantastic breakthroughs and revelations took place during those 2 weeks. Truly an amazing time!

Please pray for Kenya Matters (www.kenyamatters.org) the organization Amsterdam50 partners with as well as for the CRCA:

  • God’s presence over the safe house and that each child and staff member remain grounded in God’s truth!
  • Academic success for the kids in 2015
  • New members of the CRCA Board to be selected for oversight and direction
  • Development of a team and plans for next Amsterdam50 Kenya mission trip (Dec. 2015)

Thank you for your prayers and provision, which allow me to serve the Lord full time in ways like this. I’m so blessed!

By His grace alone,