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 Mission Trip to Kenya 

Click here to read the Mission Trip Retrospective Letter

View a small part of the last day at VBS at the closing ceremony:

Find out about the "Jiggers" problem in Kenya:

Thursday, August 9

Update from Humphrey (Note: He refers to jiggers, which is a parasite that some of the kids had in Kenya and was quite disturbing to the team, so both the US team and Kenya team are working on the problem.):


Hi There

  I got the picture of the Jigger infested feet and hands. I have just arrived from a visit to Mukami and James. The treatment of their house and that of their feet is working.I will send you a recent photo on their progress with the jiggers. Your labour is not in vain.

   It was such a great thing and blessing to have your over for that mission trip.

You made us proud.It a great blessing to be associoated with you.We have no words to express the honor and the blesssings of hosting you. We greatly  miss you and it our prayer that we shall do it again next year.God bless you.Talk to you later.



Thursday, August 2

UPDATE 6:30 P.M. EST - THEY'RE HERE, THEY'RE HERE!!!!!!  Every team member arrived exhausted and smiling (and a bit stinky) tonight. The plane arrived at 3:53 p.m. but the group got stuck in Customs for an hour and a half before we finally saw the first faces - Scott and Kesley (didn't check any luggage).

The families waiting cheered loudly as each one arrived and there were some tears of joy.  Even after only 30 minutes of chaotic neck-hugging and welcoming back, we had heard more amazing stories than you can count. It was evident that this Mission Team has been changed by their Kenyan experience.  They will have a lot of adjusting to do - time changes, shaving again, going back to work, and even feeling a little frustrated or guilty about all that is still left to be done in Chuka. So, Prayer Team, please continue to pray for them to get re-acclimated as soon as possible. Thank you, Prayer Team, for keeping such a committed watch over this awesome Mission Team.  Welcome Back Team!!! We can't wait to hear every detail.

UPDATE from Bonnie Hawley at 10:00 P.M. EST Thursday:

Subject: Kenya Team

Hey folks,

Praise the Lord!  Our Mission Team is back home safely!  After arriving in Amsterdam, there was a 2 hr delay due to some plane maintenance issues.  They arrived in Atlanta this afternoon at about 3:30 pm.  After a long processing out through customs, they were met by their families for wonderful reunions.  I am sure the entire group will be talking about the sights, sounds, experiences and the many blessings for many weeks and months to come.  I am, as I know all of you are, anxious to  be with them on Sunday, Aug. 19 at 11:30 am after church for the pot luck luncheon organized by the Evangelism Committee to hear the group share their stories and see all the many photographs.  There is another update from Leslie on her travelpod website: and on the Mars Hill

website-go to the Kenya Connection portion if you have not read it yet.

Thanks for all who came to see the team off on their journey and for all the prayers during their stay and safe flight home.    We are all so proud of these brave

Christians, aren't we!     Bonnie

Update Noon EST:  Flight still in progress and expected at 3:39 p.m. EST. Leslie has updated the TravelPod site, but here is the text for those who cannot access it yet (note that the pictures she mentioned do not seem to be accessible):

Dear Friends,
We are on our way home, most of us passed out on the plane from Nairobi to Amsterdam.  We have had a packed week and a very emotional and hard time leaving Kenya Behind.  We have bonded as a family here with Humphrey's team and very hard saying good bye.  We never felt in danger and felt loved beyond words.  Humphrey's home and the people of Kenya are living exampes of what Jesus would like us to be.  The loved poured out on us was very overwhelming.  The children are absolutely beautiful.  Not a toy in sight and joy ceaselessly pours out of these sweet children.  Amazing week.  The orphanage updates:  Ceiling in big bedroom complete..2 bedrooms completely mudded,  septic system dug, pluming and showers installed. Only 1 more ceiling needed to be done  (We didn't have a generator the last I had to saw by hand wouldn't my father be proud!)  We loved going to church with Humphrey and was quite blown away with offering...sugar cane, chickens, bannans..felt like Old Testament!! Kenyas praise and worship very openly and was an overwhelming service. 

On Wednesday we headed to Nairobi and we went and saw the baby elephants. Then we went to the giraffes and Kesley, Grace, Abby, Reba, Mcgee, and lotsof the others kissed a giraffe. There tongues are very slimy and rough. After we did that we headed to eat lunch and after that we went to see the orphan animals of Kenya zoo we went on a private tour and we went behind the sences and got to  pet a real live adult cheetahs in their habitat. Also we saw lions at feeding time, we got to feed a ostrich, monkeys, and hipppo.  While we were in Nairobi Humphrey's childern Abigail and Alex stayed with us. Here are pictures!!  

**Update at 11:00 a.m. EST - Team in Flight Now - KLM's website shows that they left about 2 hours late, but are in flight now with an estimated arrival in Atlanta at 3:39 p.m.  You can also track the flight on KLM's website:

KL  621  Amsterdam (Schiphol) to Atlanta
Flight 1
From Amsterdam (Schiphol)   To Atlanta
Terminal     Terminal
Scheduled departure 2 Aug  10:20    Scheduled arrival 2 Aug  13:40 
Actual departure 2 Aug  12:35      Estimated arrival 2 Aug  15:39   
      Status: In flight

Update at 9 a.m. EST - FLIGHT DELAYED 2 HOURS!!! - Just talked to Karen Porter and also double-checked on the web to see that their flight has been delayed two hours so far - see below. Will keep you posted. Go to this website, go to the By Flight  tab and enter KLM as the airline and 621 as the flight.


Airport:   (AMS) Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport
    Amsterdam, NL
Scheduled:   Thu - Aug 02, 2007 10:20 AM
Actual:   Thu - Aug 02, 2007 12:35 PM
    Departed gate 135 min later than scheduled
68 °F (20 °C)


Airport:   (ATL) Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Atlanta, GA, US
Scheduled:   Thu - Aug 02, 2007 01:40 PM
Estimated:   Thu - Aug 02, 2007 03:39 PM
    Estimated to arrive at gate 119 min later than scheduled
73 °F (22 °C)




Wednesday, August 1

It's finally time for our crew to come home. Talked to Chuck for a few minutes early today and they had made it to Nairobi and were going to have some lunch, see some animals and head to the airport. The call was very short so I didn't get any details.  Here is an email from Dickson from earlier this morning:

We left Chuka Thuchi River Lodge around 6 am and made it back safe to Nairobi.
We just finished lunch at the Nairobi Wildlife preserve and the wildlife police headquarters location we will be heading to airport after some walk through park to see animals.
See you soon.

I just checked their flight and it left Amsterdam (only 16 minutes late) at 10:31 p.m. If you'd like to follow the trip home, go to:

and enter their flight information - KLM 622 to Amsterdam and KLM 621 from Amsterdam to Atlanta. Several of us are going to pick them up. We thought about arranging a reception, but the mission team is exhausted and we thought they wouldn't be up to visiting after 24 hours in airports and planes, so we'll plan another opportunity for them to share. 

Meanwhile, please continue to pray for this last leg of their journey.

Monday, July 30

Update from Chuck King:

I talked to Chuck late today and they've had another great day. He said they are all struggling with exhaustion, but the excitement of the project and mission are keeping them going. Tomorrow is their last big work day because they have to pack and leave for Nairobi on Wednesday in order to catch their evening flight.  Chuck said that he has over 1000 pictures and that Scott has been taking pictures worthy of National Geographic.

They can't wait to come back and share the story with everyone. In fact, Chuck shared a very touching moment with me. Apparently, they've had two "security guards" traveling with them during this trip. Chuck said that when they finished up VBS and some of the other mission work, one of the security guards looked at him and said, "This is a very good thing that you have done for these children. I think I might like to have a Bible."   It gave me God-bumps all over to hear that story. That's what it's all about - doing what God calls us to do wherever we are, in whatever way we can, and he'll take care of the rest! Amen.

Sunday, July 29

Update from Dickson:
"We are having problems with cell service. Today was unbelievable as we worshiped at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa with over 300 Kenyans. Pastor Michael preached for the first Praise and worship service and I preached at the 2nd traditional service. We all met in the back chambers with the Session and the moderator  Rev. Gitari  of the Chuka Region of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. Humphrey and I got a commitment from Rev gitari to get Humphrey back on track for his offical Ordination exams etc. After the sermon by Dickson they took up a collection and those farmers and famies that had no money gave fruits, vegetables and evwn We were fed yet an by all the ladies of Kenya. Then we loaded up the 2 *vans plus 3 cars and the 2 security guards  and headed for the Orphanage which we were running late for but hey! We have been told over *and over- This is Africa man! Acoonna MaTata- no problem. The dedication service was another neat Blessing and Cindi and Louise represented our church and team excellently. They cut the ribbon together after a couple of tries. We had over 400 people come to ceremonies. 5 ministers the Chief of security and several other Govt. Reps.

We handed out gold prayer coins that dickson brought to remiind community and us to pray daily for the Orphans and the Mission team.
I am fallin asleep good nite."

Update from Chuck King:
Wow, I just talked to Chuck and he was full of good news. The group attended two church services today and the dedication of the orphanage. He noted that when they took up the offering in church, there were many gifts that we would not normally see in the States - live chickens, sugar cane, whatever the family had to give.  He was touched by their gifts and willingness to sacrifice despite their own needs.

There were probably 250 people at the dedication of the orphanage, including the community officials. He has been surprised by how much attention they have received by the entire community, particularly the officials. They've even been granted a visit with the provincial Governor.  Truly, this team has made an impact on the whole community.

They continue to work as hard as they can on the orphanage, but the progress is slower than expected. Not only has the mission team worked diligently to complete the building, but they've made the time to teach the Kenyans how to use the tools from the container to make their work easier. The team has given lessons in woodworking, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and more. They've taught them how to use the generators, compressors, nailguns, and more. Many of the tools in the container had not been used until the mission team arrived because they either didn't know the purpose of the tool or how to use it. For example, there were wheelbarrows in the container, but not having used them before, no one recognized how to put them together or what to do with them. Chuck said, "You should have seen the grins on their faces once we put them together and they began to use them."  "After we showed them how to use the nail guns, they would hold up wood, shoot the gun and shout with delight time after time."

"Sunday is market day and people come from everywhere. There must have been 15,000 people crowded into a tiny area around 6 or so buildings selling and buying everything you can think of - passion fruit, sugar cane, chickens, and so much more. I have tried so many wonderful foods since I've been here." 

I asked Chuck about VBS and how it turned out. He said it's been one of the highlights of his trip. He was fascinated by how receptive the children were and how many came (about 560), some walking miles and miles. They were so appreciative and excited about every little thing, even balloons were a big deal.

Chuck was able to meet the two kids we sponsor - James and Mukami. He gave them our care package and they loved the gifts.  It meant a lot to him to get to meet them in person. He was concerned about getting them some medical attention as they still seem to be suffering from parasites, so Humphrey, Hellen, and Ann are going to see what can be done.

Our phone connection was bouncy, so I didn't get to talk much longer. I must say that every time I've talked to him, he seems even more elated than the time before.

PRAYER TEAM - Please pray for strength, endurance, and stamina for the team as they try to complete these last few days. They will be leaving Kenya on Wednesday night at 10:15 p.m. and will arrive in Atlanta on Thursday at 1:40 p.m.

Saturday, July 28

From Eric Norden (Leslie's husband) - this was posted on the Travelpod @

Good morning - this is Eric, Leslie's husband providing a bit of an update.  The group lost their Internet connection and have not been able to update the log.  Leslie lost her phone and reception has been poor for the other phones, so hang in there, I'm sure we'll here more through the week.         & nbsp; 

This will be a rambling as I have an odd collection of items to pass along, so lets get started.

The group wanted everyone to know that they are praying for Larry Atkin's heart procedure and hope all is well. 

They were able to get the generator working and spent time in Nairobi looking for a van, I'm not sure if they purchased one or not.

The group has spent a lot of time working on the orphanage, roof is done, working on the electric and the ceiling, wonderful progress has been made.

VBS has been a real hit.  The group started with 100 children and its exploded to 650 children for many locations.  As there is no regular available transportation, many of the children walk through the mountainous terrain for hours.

Leslie and Grace have mentioned many times what wonderful hearts the people of Kenya have and how beautiful they are.

Grace and Leslie met Mercy who is the 12 year old girl that we sponsor.  We did not know it but the child that Charlie Fisher and his family sponsor is her sister (Linet).  Leslie prepared a package for Linet as well.   The meeting was very emotional for all.  Mercy has a limp and needs medical follow up.  She called Leslie, "momma" and Grace, her sister.  Many, many tears of joy flowed.  Leslie wishes they only had more time together.

They also had a gathering of many of the children that have been sponsored and their friends.  The children dressed up, sang songs and welcomed them all so warmly.  In all 88 children were part of the visit mainly from the town of Cheera.

Grace has spent time with Abigale, Humphrey's daughter.  She is on break from school.   Her English is great and she and Grace have really hit it off.

Grace has been in charge of recreation for the young children.  They all love the games they're playing and can't seem to get enough.

Grace described the town of Chuka that helped me get a clearer picture.  The town is hilly.   There is a small intersection with 1 gas station where everyone sets up their market and gathers to socialize.  Grace and Lesie have repeated over and over how wonderul, beautiful and amazing the people are; I only wish I could be there with them.  In fact the Grace's biggest surprise has been just how special the people of Kenya are.

As this is getting lengthy, I'll end here and pick up with more details in another log.
Eric Norden

Second entry from Eric:

As I mentioned in the previous update, the team is doing well and staying healthy.  There have been some problems sleeping and adjusting to the time zone.  Its good to have our favorite nurse, Julie, there to take care of those types of things.

Grace said the food has been very good.  Breakfast has been porage most morings but they've also had eggs, sausage and toast.  The people of Chuka don't drink the coffee that is grown locally but typically drink tea. Lunch and dinner has been just as good.  Chicken, mashed potatos, rice, maize have been the staples.  Grace said it was different but all very good.  Leslie mentioned several times how the people from Chuka and the lodge have gone out of their way to welcome them and have "rolled out the red carpet."

The team was able to meet the area governor and spent time with him discussing their plans.  He expressed his sincere thanks and has committed to supporting their effort.  The team also met with a local women's group who has committed to providing and cooking for the children (2 wonderful and surprising blessings!!).

As we've all witnessed, our blessings continue to come in from the place that you hadn't anticipated they could come in from.  Last night, we were having desert at my brother's house and were catching up with Bari's (Jack's wife) father Martin.  After hearing the story of Humphrey, the mission and the orphanage he's offered his support and wants to sponsor the orphanage.  He has a radio show out of Dallas and has offered to spread the word and let Dallas, Texas know what this is all about.  As Kevin G mentioned in one of church camping get aways, "at times we find outselves in an absolute downpour of blessings".

As you can imagine, this has been a very emotional time for the group.  Leslie has been overwhelmed, excited, blessed and energized all at the same time.  I can absolutely feel her heart 10,000 miles away and can only imagine her and the group wrapping their arms around the children and becoming a great big family.  I have to confess, I worry about Leslie convincing the airliness that all the children are really hers and bringing them home to Acworth and knowing Leslie, she'd figure out how to make it work.

I'll end my rambling here.  Leslie did call using Dickson's phone and I suspect that is the best means to contact the group.  If anyone has news from the group to pass along, let me know, I'd be happy to update the travel log.  God's speed and God bless!

Posting from Michael Porter's mom: 
"This is Michael Porter's mom and I just want to say that you have all done a wonderful job in keeping us informed on a daily basis overwhelmed about this mission trip because I really care about whats going on daily. I can not imagine the joy and experience of a life time that you must all feel. I am so very thankful that all is safe and was very excited to hear of the warm welcome you all received. I think of you all daily.
Love and Prayers to All,
.P.S. Michael we miss you but we know how much this Karen
means to you. Love Mom"

Friday, July 27

Update from Dickson:

We had another outstanding day working at orphanage at organizing the 2 apartments that have 1/3rd of the donations. The whole team worked hard on the orphanage and the Kenyan Ladies brought tea and cakes plus another outstanding lunch of Chicken rice local potatoes and pineapples. Then we were Blessed again with the warm hears of the Kenyan children you will hear the voice of God in their voices when you hear the video Scott M has done. It was a Blessing to hear their faith in action.

Thursday, July 26


1) This one had some text that I could not interpret, so I posted it as it came in my email:

From Dickson at 5:33 EST on Thursday:
Just one quick note to let everyone know we are all fine. There was an earthquake here tonight around 10pm pt no pot damages and in the shower and didn't even feel it.  Akuna ma ta ta - pt no pot problem.  Mungu aku bariki. God Bless you.  La la salama. -may you have on on peaceful res tonight

OOPS, I overlooked an email update from yesterday (so sorry!!).

From Linda Harris on Wednesday:
I JUST heard from Jennifer on Dickson's satellite phone!  (8:00 our time, 3 theirs.)  Wooohooo!  :-)  Internet is very sporadic which is why we didn't hear anything yesterday.  Let's see if I can remember everything - she talked a mile a minute for 11 minutes!

  • They are all doing well - Cindy and Abby are having some reactions to their malaria medicines, so please pray for that to clear up.
  • Jennifer and Kesley are in a 2 room house and share a room.  Wasp got in, but they did get it.  (That's a big deal to Jennifer.)  They do have running water, but not enough pressure to wash shampoo out.  They will use a big tub to wash their hair.
  • Water from Coke didn't get there until today, so they had to use Leslie's and Kesley's water filters - so they are all really thirsty. 
  • They are working on the orphanage and it'll be really nice.  (She didn't tell me much about that though.)
  • Across from the orphanage is a boarding school.  Evidently most (or all??) parents leave their kids at school.  This is where they learn English.  Jennifer, Layla and Grace, along with Daniel (an interpreter) went to visit the kids there since the kids could watch them on their balconies.  The director asked how many they wanted to see and Jennifer just said "as many as you can...?"  So 50 came!  She asked them, "How are you doing?"  No one said a word.  "What do you like to do for fun?"  Nothing.  "Do you like to sing?"  They nodded.  She said, "I know a song in Swahili..." and she sang that one.  They all just laughed and laughed.  "Do you know that one?"  Yes and they all sang it together.   :-)   Guess it is a very popular song - everyone knows it.
  • There are rice fields everywhere (and yes, Kesley CAN eat the rice - after it's boiled).  She didn't know it grew under water; they clean and "harvest" it on plastic near the fields.
  • Reba is getting LOTS of pictures.  Jennifer can only take 10 per day since she only has a photo card for 100 pictures.  Everywhere they go, Reba tells the driver or whoever, "Wait!  I need to take a picture!"  They will have some great ones for us when they get back.
  • Our group has been handing out candy to all the kids - Lifesavers and Sweet-tarts.  Most of them don't know what it is, so they've learn the Swahili word for it.  The kids just jump up and down when they realize what it is.
  • Our group has had to learn a few different meanings of words - "hotel" there means restaurant/dining place.  They get lots of chuckles when they ask for napkins at dinner - "napkin" means "diaper" over there!
  • No one there wears braces, so everyone is intrigued with Layla's.  They all just point and stare.
  • Time isn't much of an issue over there.  They are on time for meals, but other than that, they just do not follow a time schedule.  Hard for some of our folks since we are all so "watch oriented".

That's all I can remember.  She did say that Chuck talked to Laura and she will update the church website with her news.  (Laura, you can post this one if you want.)



From Laura King at 9 a.m. EST on Thursday:
Wow! I just talked to Chuck and Louise and they were so excited! Today has been a wonderful day for them. They accomplished much at the orphanage - started putting timbers in the roof to create a ceiling and began the process of digging and installing a septic tank. Chuck said that they showed the Kenyans how to use some of our "power" tools - a tiller, nail gun, and skill saw - and they were amazed. But, he said that the Americans had also learned a thing or two from the Kenyans. What an awesome cultural exchange! They will be working on "landscaping" soon, which is not what we think of as landscaping.  Instead, it's using rakes and hoes to level the earth and smooth off the rocks and dirt.

They continue to be amazed at the Kenyans' response to the group and how welcoming everyone is. Most of the time the children wave or run up to them; occasionally, there is a child who has never met a white person and he or she seems a bit afraid - but more comfortable with our younger team members.

At 8 a.m. EST (3 p.m their time), our team was on their way to the school to start VBS. They were overwhelmed because Humphrey had just told them that 450 kids were already there waiting. Chuck was talking to me as they passed through the town of Chuka. He described it as being much like downtown Kennesaw with one main street and a half dozen buildings lining the street. What surprised him the most was number of people everywhere. He said there must be 4,000 people packed in - just like it would be at Kennesaw Trade Days - selling their goods and milling around.

Chuck and Louise both sounded exhilarated. Louise told me that the food was great and everyone was eating well (so families at home, don't worry about them). The weather is very dry and dusty, only one night of rain that dried quickly.

This morning, some of the team (Cindy, Dickson, Reba, Michael, Humphrey and Scott) went 20 miles to the Tharaka district to visit with 13 sponsor kids (one of them was Cindy and Burton's sponsor child - Godfrey). Godfrey's grandmother (age 63) walked two hours to meet them. This is an unbelievable story:  She only has one leg. Her husband had hand-carved a leg for her a few years ago, but he lost both of his hands due to an illness, so she has asked the team to help her find a leg. 

Humphrey had taken flour, sugar, and other supplies to the kids. The grandmother gave each of them a hand-woven basket (that she sells to survive since her husband cannot work.) (Yes, the tears were flowing.) School released while they were there and 200 kids came to see them and the team handed out candy.

I don't know about you, but as I write this message, I'm struck by how fortunate I am.  This makes any little aggravation that I've faced this week seem quite ridiculous and unimportant. Thank you God for all that you've provided in my life and the opportunity to share in these Kenyans' lives.

Ralph Waldo Emerson defines success: " leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."


Wednesday, July 25

From Ms. Ledbetter:


I am Paul Mell's mom, I talked to him Tuesday morning about 7:30 a.m. He assured me they were all fine.  He said the flight went really well but they were tired.  They were on their way to Chuka and were sitting in a small cafe.  He told me the area did not look anything like he expected. There were farms growing all kinds of things like corn and rice.  I asked him if he had seen any animals ( meaning wild) he said only donkeys, chickens, goats and other farm animals.  He sounded really excited and looking forward to the challenge coming up.  He reassured me before he hung up that they were all good and that the Lord was watching over them and for me not to worry I thank you all for your prayers and to let you know we have several churches and friends in Milledgeville/Sparta area praying for the whole mission trip.

Jan Mell Ledbetter



From Michelle Marshall:

I heard from Scotty too, about the same time.  Here is what he had to say:

  • They had a long travel day from Nairobi to Chuka yesterday.  3 flat tires on the way!
  • They have not hooked up the computers yet so that is why we got no updates yesterday. Too hard to text message (he's showing his age!!) on the Blackberry.
  • The weather is fantastic!!  So much like Southern California!  Bougainvillea, jacaranda trees and palm trees everywhere.  He said you could just go up and pick a banana off a tree and eat it!
  • He said the food is fine.  He is eating lots of chicken!
  • In all of his travels, even in the worst parts of Mexico and the Philippines that he has seen, nothing compares to what he has seen there.  It is 10 X worse.
  • When they saw the orphanage yesterday there was not a dry eye in the place.  They cannot believe their dream is coming true!  They are wiring the orphanage for electricity today.
  • They all seem to have separate bedrooms.  The accommodations wouldn't be up to my Hilton preference!  Especially not the bathrooms! :) But they are managing well.
  • A group met with the governor this morning.  He was a very nice man.  Scott is getting lots of pictures.
  • Said our kids will never know how good they have it.  He was just thrilled to hear that his children got another Webkinz!  (yeah right!!) 
  • He said the people, especially in Humphrey's village, are so nice to them.  He said they walked out of the airport and their greeters were holding HUGE banners that said, "Welcome Kenya Connection"
  • Lastly, He said that he has never felt in harms way the entire time. They feel especially safe in Chuka.

He said he would try to call in a few days, about the same time because of the time difference.  Be sure to check the church web site (  go to Kenya Connection tab) and the Travelpod for more updates from other folks!


From Laura King:

I also talked to Chuck this morning and heard some of the same information. He said the work on the orphanage was going a little slower than expected as it all has to be done by hand and without the benefit of the advanced equipment we are used to using. For example, they are installing the wiring in stone walls, which requires them to hand chisel the wall (no 2X4 wood framing and sheetrock here).  
Thanks to everyone for sending in updates - it's great to hear all the stories and perspectives!



Tuesday, July 24

Update at 10:45 p.m. EST - Hold the presses, we have some news from Ann Johnson:


    I had a call from Humphrey at 6:45 this morning. He said they were traveling and the connection was a little bad at first. It seemed to clear up and I understood him to say that they were in Meru. He said everyone was "fine" and to tell everyone to keep up the prayers. It was a short call, but I could hear the uncontrollable excitement in his voice! I know that everyone will have so much to share when they return.

We do serve an awesome God!!


Update at 8:00 p.m. EST - Today the team left Nairobi and headed for Chuka. I haven't heard from them directly, but during my reminder calls tonight, I talked to Heather Biles, who had talked to Louise Mell about 8 a.m. our time today and she said the team had gotten a flat tire on their way to Chuka, but that they were taking it in stride and enjoying hanging out at a fresh pineapple stand - Hakuna matata (no worries).  Hope to get an interesting update tomorrow.  
Go Prayer Team Go!
-- Laura

Monday, July 23

Great news! The second group made it safely to Nairobi today. Leslie Norden, a member of the mission team, is sending updates using a travel blog called Travel Pod, so if you'd like to check it out daily (you can even post your own reply), here is the link:

If you are having troubles with the link above, please try this link:

We will also try to pull her info and post here along with any other information that we get from the group.  Here is her blog entry from today:

Jumbo! Ubana Esefiway  (spelling check tomorrow!!)  This means Helllo and Praise the Lord in Zahilli
We have arrived safe and very sound in Nairobi.  We were greeted by Humphrey's group and was very blessed...a couple of tears !   We are staying tonight in Nairbobi and leaving first thing in the morn for Chuka.  The lodge is very quaint..reminds me of Bed and Breakfast of Europe. 
I am feeling very blessed as one would feel standing next to a great Muirwood or Redwoods of California.  Humphrey's team are Spritual Giants and God is moving and working miracles.  Humphrey preached almost the same message I have been planning to teach for my woman's bible study.  God is Great and HIS grace is sufficient for today!! We have VBS plans mapped out and the advance team have worked tirelessly in laying a very organized foundation for our mission.  God bless you at home you all were prayed for tonight in Africa. 
God Bless you all...good night for now

In Him,
Leslie Norden

Prayer Team - We have had a request to pray for energy and stamina for the team. Thank you for your diligent prayers!


Sunday, July 22

Letter from the Kenya Mission Team:

Dear Friends,


We hope that you all are happy and healthy! 


     As you know, we left for Kenya the week of 7/17/07!  It's hard to believe, isn't it?  We have been very busy preparing and have accomplished so much.  THANK YOU ALL for helping us financially and for praying for us!  We could not have done it without you and of course with out God's blessings. So much has been accomplished since we started talking seriously about this trip in September!  It has taken hard work and prayer to pull it off but honestly, it has been easy.  God has opened more doors than we could have ever imagined and that made the planning smooth! The Blue Grass Fundraiser in April provided us with enough money to buy all of the materials for the orphanage and sustain it for at least a year.  The container that we packed FULL of tools, clothes, linens, medicine, blankets, shoes and supplies for the orphanage in April arrived in Chuka on June 22nd.  Humphrey and friends have unloaded everything and stored it in an apartment for safe keeping until we arrive.  Humphrey said that everyone was just speechless when they opened up ?the little ark'..they were amazed and so very thankful!

     One of our biggest concerns was good, clean water to drink but God took care of that too.  Eric Norden, one of our church members, works for Coke and his wife Leslie and daughter, Grace are part of the mission team.  Eric arranged for 100 CASES of water and Coke products to be delivered to Chuka on July 21st.  What a blessing!

     When each team arrives in Nairobi, Humphrey and team will meet us at the airport and drive us to The Mayfield House which is a hotel just for missionaries.  On Tuesday, July 24th, all of us will drive for 3 hours to Chuka and will work each day from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on the orphanage.  We will focus on plastering the walls, plumbing and electrical work landscaping and building a fence around the property.  So much has been done already!  As you can see from the picture below, the outside walls are already up. Humphrey has hired a foreman who is in charge of everything and we will take our orders from him.  Three of the days in Chuka, we will spend 2 hours a day teaching VBS to 300 children.  Reba Harrison and McGee Spencer spent hours preparing crafts and Bible lessons and it will take all 18 of us from the U.S. and everyone in Humphrey's team to pull this off  but we cannot wait!!  We will also visit 2 schools and on Sunday, July 29th we will have a ?blessing' for the orphanage and Humphrey has invited people from the community to participate.  This will be an opportunity for us to interact with people from the village and we are so looking forward to this! On Monday night, the ladies from MHPC will have a Bible Study at Humphrey's home with the women of Chuka.  Our subject is ?The Power of Prayer'. We leave Kenya on Wednesday night, August 1st, fly to Amsterdam then land in Atlanta on Thursday, August 2nd at 2:00 p.m. 

     While we are in Kenya, there is a 24 hour a day prayer vigil at church and we ask that each of you pray for us and everyone on the team daily. Pray for safe flights, health and stamina.  Pray for each of the children that will live in the orphanage and pray that we are able to touch many people and let them know that they are loved and cared for.  Our church website will be updated daily with our progress.  If you'd like to check in, go to . 

    On Sunday, August, 19th, there will be a pot-luck lunch after the 2nd service where the Kenya Mission team will share video, photos and stories from the trip and we would love to see you there!

     We want to thank each of you again for your financial support and your prayers.  It means so much and we are forever grateful.  We are humbled by your care, concern and most of all the outpouring of love. 


God Bless all of you and we love you!

The 2007 Kenya Mission Team


 To prepare God's people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up. (Ephesians 4:12)



From Chuck King:


Good morning,

It's Sunday and I am getting ready to go to church here. Should be another big day! I tell you the truth, this is the beginning of our 3rd full day here and it feels like we have been here a month and traveled 1000000 miles.

       Yesterday was very good. We visited the S.O.S. orphanage to learn how an orphanage works. The place was great! 110 kids divided into sixteen houses that serve as independent families for the kids. All the kids seemed very happy. In fact, the director told us that some locals will try to have their own kids placed there because the quality of life is so much better. One boy, Simon, really took to me he grabbed my hand and would not leave me.

        The rest of the group leaves today and will be with us tomorrow! We are ready. I suppose from here on out the really hard stuff starts! So far it has been manageable.

Thank you for the prayers,





Here are the updated names of the Kenya Mission Team from both USA and Kenya, please pray for each one:

Cindy Turner

Chuck King

Louise Mell

Paul Mell

Layla Mell

Jake Mell

Reba Harrison

Dickson Lester

Jennifer Harris

McGee Smith

Michael Porter

Julie Graiser

Abby Thurmond

Scott Marshall

Leslie Norden

Grace Norden

Kesley Posey

Andy Thurmond

Humphrey Kanga Muthengi

Hellen Muthengi

Paul Murianki

Julius Mwebia

Kanga Mugambi

Ann Murianki

Benjamin Muzambi

Children placed at orphanage

The village of Chuka Meru

 Freshia Mwebia

 Lucyline Muzambi


UPDATE JULY 21, 2007

From Cindy Turner:
Good Morning Team!!

Just a few things....please don't worry about bringing more VBS stuff, we have already been working on that and thought we would give beanie babies to the younger children only.  We will get it all worked out so no worries, you have enough going on with your packing etc. and all we have over here is time to focus on this so don't worry about it one bit.


The part about Dickson and Reba is TRUE!!  They are the wild ones, Chuck and I didn't participate but did have a good laugh.  The giraffe sanctuary was at the Karen Blixon house which is the place that "Out of Africa" is written about.  The chimpanzee part got lost in translation between Louise and I because it was actually a CHEETAH.  It purred.  Imagine that.  This was an animal orphanage and they said it was docile from being with people all the time and not in the wild but it seemed to be drugged a bit too.  It was full grown.


I'm completely amazed that we have internet access but know that it is two PC's shared by about 55 - 60 people.


Humphrey has three additional ladies joining us on Monday too so we are going to have to squeeze in a little because the Mayfield House is at capacity.  We are in twin beds with two beds to a room.  On Monday we'll have additional rooms of course and two of them have space for two of the ladies and I wanted to see if Layla and Grace would consider sharing a bed so the other woman will have a space?  Thank you girls!!


To Ms. Abby....please remember the sign for the big picture collage for the orphanage, it is really coming together and Humphrey and his team are highly impressed with it.  Thank you Abby!


To Michael and Kesley.... Our VBS time on Saturday will include a break out session for youth who have just completed and are going into the 8th grade.  Humphrey really wanted Michael to spend time with this age group so we put Michael and Kesley over this session and will rearrange the rest of us accordingly.  Saturday will be a long day of VBS. I just want you guys to have a heads up and not be surprised by this. 


Can't wait to see you here in Nairobi!!


In Him.


UPDATE JULY 20, 2007

From Cindy Turner:

Greetings from Africa!!


There is internet service here at the Mayfield House but you do have to wait in line for it.  Reba and I got up early so we could beat everyone to it this morning.


A few things.....In Nairobi, you will go all the way through luggage claim before we can meet up with you (rest of the team).  We will be waiting outside for you, required to do it that way.  Can't wait to see you!!  Humphrey and his friends are incredible.  Alice and her husband Sam, both customs folks were very gracious as well and I'm very thankful we had Sam on the inside to greet us. 


We didn't sleep well on the first leg of the trip but did on the second and the view from the plane was incredible, especially when you cross into Egypt....desert for ever.  It's too bad that you land in the dark and we will be taking off in the dark, will do that differently next time if there is a choice.


To clarify the carry-on weight...because I got this's 30 pounds.  I did 14 pounds and Reba almost flogged me to death.  I don't for the life of me know where I got 14 pounds from but would like to apologize to everyone for that.


Got to go, others are waiting to use this

In Him,


From Louise Mell:

"I just talked to Cindy and you would not believe all that they have already seen/done/planned!  I will try to get it all in below. Both she and Reba sounded so happy and excited and were literally bubbling over with information!

Today, Cindy, Reba, Dickson and Chuck met with Humphrey's team and they tweaked the schedule some.  Changes: VBS will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday but not Monday.  On Saturday, it will last for 4 hours instead of 2.  Humphrey is expecting 400 kids so Reba asked that we bring more VBS supplies--haha!!  We will do what we can with what we have and God will handle the rest, you know?  We will do the Women's Bible Study at Humphrey house in Chuka on Monday night.  Hellen is hosting and Leslie is leading the study.  Hellen said that the women there are sooo looking forward to this!  They also planned out what we will do at the orphanage each day so we are SET, PEOPLE!!!!

Nairobi is totally amazing per Cindy.  It is the most bustling place she has ever seen.people EVERYWHERE..all kinds of people from all over the world.  She said that they went to the financial district and really stuck together but it was not scary at all.  The saw the 2nd largest slum in the world-----1.2 million people in a 3 mile radius.  I know that sounds crazy but I wrote it down when Cindy told me.  Truly unbelievable and sad.  Some of the children that are sponsored live there.

Today they went to a place that is home to orphaned animals.  Reba and Dickson KISSED a giraffe and held a chimpanzee!   Would have LOVED to have seen that!  But the most amazing thing were the children that they saw.  First they saw a huge group of children ages 4-7 or so and they all ran up to our group and wanted to see them, touch them and kiss the palms of Reba and Cindy's hands.  Cindy said it was a wonderful experience and if she had to come home right now..just that one event was worth it!  Then they saw a 2nd group of kids who were even younger and they did the same thing!!  Cindy just kept saying how beautiful and precious the children were. 

Ok Layla and Jennifer ---FOOD...Cindy said that it is delicious and that we will NOT lose weight while there..of course that may change once we get to Chuka.we'll see.  The Mayfield House has filtered water in the rooms and in the kitchen. WOOOOHOOOOO!!!  Let's GO!

From Dickson Lester:
Jambo!  Mungu abariki! We had on on really incredible day today. We started process of getting the Vans for our tavels secured, men went to General motors headquarters to see about other transportation. We met at great length on the final touches of the VBS schedule.  We took drive to see local animals. School children blew us away by running up to us and kissing and hugging our hands and singing and shouting good wishes. It was such on on special moment and they were soo excited to see us when they didn't even know us. Soooooo loving and caring. I caught some of it on Video. God gave us many Blessings today. Reba Cindy and I got kissed by a Girafe! Their kiss is like an anticeptic according to keeper.

From Nairbi with Gods Blessings + Our love
Cindy, Reba, Chuck + Dickson

UPDATE JULY 19, 2007

The first 4 members of the Kenya Connection Mission team (Cindy Turner, Chuck King, Dickson Lester, and Reba Harrison) left on Wednesday, July 18. They met at the church at 11:00 for prayer and were so excited about all the people who came to pray with them and to see them off. They got to the airport and through checkin and customs without any big hiccups, but the flight left an hour late. Dickson has been emailing a series of updates throughout the journey:

Thursday, July 19 - 3:00 a.m. EST   -  "Touched down in Amsterdam town at 3am your time. Just boarded 747 to Nairobi. Met a Kenya Minister that is going to help me get a good milk cow Chris and I can donate to Orphanage. Bout to leave gotta go.
Love from all of us to all of you."

Thursday, July 19 - 8:10 a.m. EST -  It is now 8:10 am your time and 3:10 pm our time. We have crossed Mediterraean now over North Africa desert near Ethiopia. We have approx 4.5 hrs to go. We have not gotten much sleep may 2.5hrs very tired. Food has been very nice different but nice. Desert is really something to see at 35,000 ft up. Really bright tan/white sands. Got to try and sleep now. This won't go out until I get to Nairobi.

Thursday, July 19 at Noon EST
"Folks we just touched down in Nairobi' Kenya. It is dark at 7pm! Rainy and pleasant 60s We are waiting to be placed for deboarding. Thank You Lord for a safe trip. Thanks to all Prayer warriors for all the support.
Dickson, Cindy, Reba, + Chuck"

Thursday, July 19 at 12:30 p.m EST. - "We are in van headed to Mayfield Guest house now. Humphrey is in car behind us."

At 5:30 p.m on Thursday, I got a call from Chuck saying that everyone is doing fine. They made it to the hotel and had eaten dinner with Humphrey and were headed to bed. He said the accommodations were nice and that they were excited about tomorrow. More to come....

All of the prayer warriors in the USA are on duty and blessing them every step of the way. We will post more news as soon as we hear.


We hope that all of you are happy and healthy!

As you know, we leave for Kenya in less than three weeks!! Hard to believe, isn't it? We have been very busy preparing and have accomplished so much. There are a few details to wrap up but..WE ARE READY! We have passports, Visas, immunizations and are registered with the Kenyan Embassy. Thanks to the generosity of friends and family like you who have helped us financially and have prayed for us, our flights are booked and paid for, we have accommodations for our stay in Chuka that includes 3 meals a day. So much has been accomplished since we started talking seriously about this trip in September! It has taken hard work and prayer to pull it off but honestly, it has been easy. God has opened more doors than we could have ever imagined and that made the planning smooth! The Blue Grass Fundraiser in April provided us with enough money to buy all of the materials for the orphanage and sustain it for at least a year. The container that we packed FULL of tools, clothes, linens, medicine, blankets, shoes and supplies for the orphanage in April arrived in Chuka on June 22nd. Humphrey and friends have unloaded everything and stored it in an apartment for safe keeping until we arrive. Humphrey said that everyone was just speechless when they opened up ?the little ark'..they were amazed and so very thankful!

One of our biggest concerns was good, clean water to drink but God took care of that too. Eric and Leslie Norden have arranged for 100 CASES of water and Coke products to be delivered to Chuka on July 21st. What a blessing!

Four of us leave for Kenya on Wednesday, July 18th and the rest of the group leaves on Sunday, July 22nd. Both groups will fly all night, have a layover in Amsterdam, then fly all day and arrive in Nairobi at night. It takes us 24 hours to get to Kenya and Kenya is 8 hours ahead of Atlanta. Humphrey and team will meet both groups at airport and escort us to The Mayfield House which is a hotel just for missionaries. We will depart The Mayfield House together on Tuesday, July 24th and drive for 3 hours to Chuka. Each day, we will work from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on the orphanage. We will focus on plastering the walls, plumbing and electrical work, landscaping and building a fence around the property. So much has been done already! As you can see from the picture below, the outside walls are already up. Humphrey has hired a foreman who is in charge of everything and we will take our orders from him. Four of the days in Chuka, we will spend 2 hours a day teaching VBS to 300 children. Reba Harrison and McGee Spencer have spent hours preparing crafts and Bible lessons and it will take all 18 of us from the U.S. and everyone in Humphrey's team to pull this off but we cannot wait!! We will also visit 2 schools and on Sunday, July 29th we will have a ?blessing' for the orphanage and Humphrey has invited people from the community to participate. This will be an opportunity for us to interact with people from the village and we are so looking forward to this! We leave Kenya on Wednesday night, August 1st, fly to Amsterdam then land in Atlanta on Thursday, August 2nd at 2:00 p.m.

While we are in Kenya, there will be a 24 hour a day prayer vigil at church and we ask that each of you pray for us and everyone on the team daily. Pray for safe flights, health and stamina. Pray for each of the children that will live in the orphanage and pray that we are able to touch many people and let them know that they are loved and cared for. Our church website will be updated daily with our progress. If you'd like to check in, go to and navigate to ?Kenya Connection'.

We want to thank each of you again for your financial support and your prayers. It means so much and we are forever grateful. We are humbled by your care, concern and most of all the outpouring of love.

God Bless all of you and we love you!

- The 2007 Kenya Mission Team

UPDATE JUNE 29, 2007

The Container "God's Little Ark" Arrives in Kenya
Click here to see photos with captions in a Word document

Click here to see construction photos in a Word documnent

Click here to see photos of Humphrey's Homecoming in a Word document



Wow! God has continued to work in amazing ways! Our Bluegrass Festival was a huge success - we raised $20,000! On top of that, one couple agreed to match the price if we got to $20,000, totaling our money to $40,000! This will all go towards the orphanage - paying the "mama" who will take care of the kids, utility bills, food, medical care for the children, etc. 

We also sent a 20 foot container to Kenya - it will arrive there in early June. The container was packed to capacity with an abundance of donated items such as clothes, tools, shoes, toys, bikes, beds, hygiene products, and so much more! Thank you to all who contributed and packed the container. 

God has blessed us in many other ways as well. When we are in Kenya , we have someone who was able to help us provide as much free water and cokes as we need! We now have our lodges worked out - we will be staying in Thuchi River Lodge while in Chuka, and the Mayfield House for one night in Nairobi .

Thank you to all who are helping us along in this journey! 

"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" -Jeremiah 32:27


Great progress is being made with the mission trip to Kenya.  We see God providing a way for us to go every day!  See below for details:

  • One person who Humphrey did yard work while he lived in Acworth has donated $15000 to buy all of the materials for the orphanage!
  • 3 families stepped forward with money to purchase the land!
  • Humphrey has a building permit, a title deed for the land, blueprints designed by an architect for us to use and permission from the Kenyan government to build the orphanage!!  He has been very busy and says that things are 'QUITE GOOD'!
  • The orphanage will have access to running water and electricity which is more than we ever prayed for!  Humphrey's next goal is to obtain funds for a septic tank and a fence to surround the orphanage.

There are a total of 19 people who will be heading to Kenya in July!  One group will leave on July 18th and the larger part of the group will leave on July 22nd.  The first group will spend 3 days shopping for tools and making sure that we have everything that we need when we leave Nairobi on July 24th and travel to Chuka. We all fly back to Atlanta on July 31st. Our primary goal is to 'touch' as many people as we can and spread the word of God through the building of the orphanage and by forming lasting relationships with the leaders and people in Humphrey's village.  We would also like to have 2 - 3 days of VBS and on Sunday, have a 'revival' at the church that Humphrey attends.   We have many, many more hours of planning and praying but know that God will continue to bless this mission as He has already.

The confirmed group of people going are:  Reba Harrison, Jennifer Harris, Julie Graiser, Kesley Posey, Michael Porter, Cindy Turner, Dickson Lester, Chuck King, Scott Marshall, Leslie and Grace Norden, Andy Thurmond, McGee Spencer, Ashley McGhee, Sarah McGhee and Paul, Louise, Layla and Jake Mell.  Please keep each of these people and Humphrey and his team in Kenya in your daily prayers.  We all feel so blessed to have such a wonderful church family who pray for us and support us!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you would like to know more, please:

Email Louise Mell or phone 404-291-7936
Cindy Turner or phone 770-974-7912
Michael Porter


Over the past five years, Mars Hill Presbyterian Church  has had the unique opportunity to nurture and provide for Humphrey Muthengi Kanga who was in the states from Chuka Meru, South in Kenya, Africa.  Humphrey brought Africa to the doorsteps of MHPC through lessons of humility, brotherhood and faith of the extreme nature.  He touched many people with a grace and kindness that can only be the works of God Himself.

Humphrey left America in June 2006 to return to his homeland and focus on his calling to provide for the shelter, education and basic needs of others.  In 2004, the MHPC Vacation Bible School project was to provide for two children in Humphrey's village so they could attend school and have their basic needs met.  This project has turned into a life-long commitment for many and has grown into sponsorship of 55+ children. Many feel this calling as well and have a drive and determination to make things happen for Humphrey and his people. Along with medical care, clothing and food comes the basic need for shelter.  Humphrey has an immediate need for housing in his community for many orphans who have been left without parents due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. An estimated cost of $15,000 will provide permanent housing for 10 - 15 children.   .

A team of 18 people from Mars Hill Presbyterian Church will be traveling to Kenya in July 2007 to assist with the raising of a structure.  A few nights of VBS and a day of simple medical help is also in the works.  The over all goal is to build relationships with Humphrey, his community  and the children who will be staying at the orphanage .  An undertaking of this magnitude will take lots of time, energy and financial resources.  But the rewards for us and them will be greater!!

Through many generous people, approximately $22,000 has been donated for the materials and land for the orphanage, but there is still a need for financial support in sponsoring the mission trip and for various expenses for the orphanage. If you would like to hear more about this mission trip or help in any way please email  Louise Mellemail Cindy Turner , or call Michael Porter at 770-974-4395.
 "Go into the world.  Go everywhere and announce the Message of God's good news to one and all."
Mark 16:15

    Kenya Ministry

    Mars Hill Presbyterian Church
    3385 Mars Hill Road
    Acworth, GA 30101