Living internationally is interesting, to say the least. The latest and greatest debacle in my life is our furniture. Many of the local missionaries here use a really nice guy, Dixon. The one thing I can say about Dixon is he is a nice guy. I brought with me from the US a Pottery Barn catalog. I had great hopes about showing the carpenter the pictures, and in return owning a hand-crafted piece of furniture. I guess I should have thought differently!
I had found a picture of an outdoor sectional in the Summer 2011 Pottery Barn I “borrowed” from my sister (in-law). I knew I would have a house full of girls and looked forward to lounging and watching Friends, talking about life, and maybe even a nap occasionally. After waiting almost two months (Brittany had her entire house furnished in this time) our couch was being delivered. I was so excited. Dixon and his crew carried the wooden furniture into our empty and spacious living room and began piecing it together. My first thought was, yippee! we have something to sit in besides our $6 wicker loveseat/market find! Then the issues began. My favorite feature, the chaise, wasn’t even close to square. Second, and proving to be the biggest issue, the connecting pieces were cut at an angle and not straight. When I say an angle I don’t mean slightly off of square, I mean our living room looks like a yacht club. After experimenting and rearranging several times, we decided on two separate “couches” and using the added “chaise” as a coffee table. We also asked him if he could make cushions for our
boats couches. He said he could. Now, a month later we have cushions. The catch? Our cushions have a strange black piping on our cranberry seating. To top it all off the cases he made for our back cushions are like little cotton balls, not the big fluffy pillows we had described. Today we also discovered they bleed on your clothing!! My jeans actually look purple.
Since we had been unhappy with our couches, we decided to go to the market to find a table for our guard’s room, my bedroom, and our front porch. We have now made friends with a nice guy in the market and he makes beautiful tables. He also gives us good prices, not the Mzungu (white person) prices that Dixon does. I got a beautiful bedside table for about $10. Dixon had quoted me $50! Our new friend Kepha is now known to all his buddies as The Mzungu Carpenter. Should be good for his business.
I forgot to mention that before we got couches we got curtains made. This was at least a 2 week process that began with curtains 4 inches too short. Aly and I even made it very clear what length we wanted. After several visits to the fabric store, and an incident that may have involved me “borrowing” some wire and hooks, we got our curtains. They now look great, which is more than I can say about our couches.
Well, looks like all it takes to get people to read your blog is have your friend link to it! I am very grateful to everyone who read about Mary. I also want to thank you for your prayers, they are doing much good.
We went to go visit Mary Friday. The bad news is that she still needs a lot of care. The doctors are optimistic about her recovery, however she has a way to go. The good news is Kimberly has been looking and asking around for a place to move her once she is released from the hospital, and it looks like she has a very good possibility! We just don’t have the knowledge or facility to care for her out at Mattaw.
The “step-mother” showed up at church Sunday along with Mary’s nephew. The little boy is named Kimbo and he looked really good. I had one of our house dads translate for me and I asked the woman some questions trying to piece together her story. I mean, how could you not know this girl was dying? She pretty much told me she couldn’t remember the last time she saw Mary, and then asked when she would be back home. I kindly said that we were happy she was coming to church and look forward to seeing her next week. I was very happy Kimbo looked so good. He is obviously much healthier living with this woman than his grandfather, but so many unanswered questions.
Now for an update, or introduction rather, on the Lima school. Lima is pronounced Lee-ma. It is the Swahili word for cultivate and is a farming term. This program is designed for young adults who feel called to international missions. This summer we have a total of 5 girls coming through. These young women are amazing!!!! There are times I feel like a happy house mom, and times we laugh together like sisters. The servant hearts that God is cultivating is humbling. The last 2 weeks we have been able to serve at least 4 different organizations/missions in the Kitale area. The girls have led Sunday school, taught english and math, been covered in boogers, and loved on street kids. I am very excited about what God is doing in this generation! I am also excited about the Lima School growing. This summer Mattaw has had a FULL schedule of teams fly through out gates. Teams from Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Missouri. Many of the girls on the teams have showed interest in coming back. I love being able to mentor and encourage these young women. Right now there are 9 of us in our house! Number 10 arrives Friday! 3 girls are in Kenya working with Buckner Children’s Home, 1 is here volunteering with Mattaw for a month, 4 will be here for the Lima School, Aly is what we call a “freelance Missionary”, and then there is me. We have a full house of girls. Our nights are filled with laughter most of the time. I am very blessed. In need of some sleep, but very blessed.
If you or someone you know is interested in the Lima School you can email me at:
My last post was written in the midst of a more difficult time. Life has it’s ups and downs, but it is through the tough times God refines and strengthens us. That is exactly what God has been doing in me. The last couple weeks have been amazing. Last Tuesday I traveled back to Nairobi to pick up 3 amazing young women. Mattaw has launched a discipleship program we are calling Lima School. This is a month long program for college girls to come get a taste of missionary life. The girls get first hand experience working with street kids, teaching and playing with the Mattaw kids, and serving the poor. These ladies are amazing. I want to talk more about them soon. Before I can post anything else I need to write about today. This was the most difficult and yet rewarding day I have ever known. I don’t want to get too lengthy, but here goes.
3-4 years ago Mattaw had a team that prayer walked around the village Mattaw is actually located in. They came across Mary. Mary was so malnourished the family didn’t know what was wrong with her, they actually thought she was dying. The team and Kimberly took Mary to the hospital where she was treated and nursed back to health. Through this experience a family from the US started sponsoring Mary’s family. Kimberly takes food to them to ensure that Mary and her nephew are getting fed. We also see Mary and her nephew in church on Sundays. The last few months we had not seen Mary or the young boy. Sunday at church Kimbo, the little boy, showed up with his “step-grandmother”. I quote because I’m not really sure who she is. This morning Kimberly woke up with a huge impression from Jesus that we were supposed to make the food delivery today. When we got to Mattaw we confirmed that Mary and her father had moved to a small hostel off the main road. We loaded up in the car and drove to the mud shack that they call a hostel. Kimberly and Caleb got out and asked around about Mary. We ended up finding out that her father was around and he was coming to let us see her. We walked around the corner and the father was walking up with a machete in one hand, and keys in the other. I looked at Kim and she whispered, “she was LOCKED inside”. Kimberly stepped into the dark, dirty, lonely room and found Mary laying on the floor. She was naked, shivering, and lying in her own waste. Kimberly dressed her as I held up an old wool blanket to block the on lookers standing out side. The smell inside the room was so bad, and you could see the sores on her body. As we were praying for her I was fighting back tears and my body was shaking. We finished dressing her and Anna, my precious Lima girl, carried her out and placed her in the car. Kimberly and I immediately drove her to a cottage hospital about 20 minutes away. I tried getting her to drink some water, but her mouth was so dry she could hardly swallow. I also gave her some muffins she scarfed down in only a few bites. When we arrived at the hospital I just held Mary’s hand telling her she was loved and how beautiful she was. I can’t even put into words the emotions that flood your body when you witness such an injustice. The doctors began running tests and began an iv to hydrate her frail, stiff body. The doctor began to evaluate Mary and needed someone to run to the pharmacy to pick up a vitamin supplement they would inject her with. In Kenya patients are responsible for their own medications and dressings. I volunteered to go and let Kimberly remain with Mary and the 2 other girls we brought. I ended up taking a piki-piki, which is a motorbike taxi, to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine. Soon after I returned the nurses bathed Mary. I couldn’t even begin to guess the last time she had bathed. While the nurses were bathing her they found more bed sores on her body from having to lay on the dirt floor and not being moved. They soon put Mary in her own bed and we prepared to say our goodbyes. I looked at her laying in the metal hospital bed and pondered when the last time she had something so nice to sleep in. My heart was breaking inside my chest. I was just thanking God for the protection over Mary’s life and that Holy Spirit would comfort her.
This is the short version of our day. Words could not even begin to paint a picture of what this day held. To feel anger, heartbreak, sorrow, victory, and love all flow from the same place can only be because Jesus lives inside me. It is days and events like this one that remind me why I am here.
To read more of Mary’s story check out HuffmansinKenya.blogspot.com