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 2009 Mission Trip 

July 15, 2009
Today the group was on their way to the airport.  When they land in Atlanta they will use Louise's cell phone to coordinate meeting. Watch KLM web site for flight info.  Mack will be monitoring the flight status.


July 13, 2009
Louise called as they were just getting ready to go to dinner.  She said today was a "rest day" and they slept until 7:00am.  They spent time at the Children's Home while the kids were not there to do repairs and extra cleaning.  Today they ate lunch at Kierni Church where they also had VBS for about 600 kids.  It was crazy and wild but very good!  The kids there remembered the people who had come last year. They then went back to the Children's Home with the kids there and introduced them to popcorn and play-dough.  Everyone is well but they are all a little congested due to the dusty roads because it hasn't rained for awhile.


July 12, 2009
Summary of phone call from Cindy.  The group went to two different churches where Dickson preached, Myra sang at one church and Jennifer sang at the other.  The rest taught Sunday School.  They packed backpacks for 600 kids at VBS tomorrow at Kierni Primary School tomorrow.  They cooked an American dinner for the local officials and the orphanage kids sang.  The kids loved the sweaters knitted by the congregation and they were a big hit with lots of smiles.  Paul and Dickson are building a pen for rabbits and chickens.  They are all pretty tired and they will try to sleep in tomorrow and be at the orphanage at 10:00am.  Everyone is well.

July 11, 2009
Summary of phone message from Louise (her message was garbled so I couldn't get all the details.)  They visited sponsored children and they saw no children with jiggers.  All of the sponsored kids are in the top percentile at their schools.  They had food donated.  They placed flowers on the child that passed away last year.

July 10, 2009
Summary of phone call from Cindy Turner:
They did VBS at Abigail's school on Thursday. Abigail is 13. She led the whole school in song.  They have met with the sheriff, and deputy and the police chief.  They shopped for their families in Cheera where they will do VBS. The swingset is finished at the orphanage and all the kids just went crazy loving it.  Thanks to the Nordens for their donation. They took all the orphanage kids on a field trip (42 total on the trip) to Sweetwater National Park. They saw black rhinos, chimpanzees and white rhinos. The kids have never been outside of the area of their homes.  The Ikuu Boys School donated the bus and provided the diesel fuel.  They drove around the northern edge of Mt. Kenya where there were lots of farms. Everybody is fine.

July 9, 2009
Had a phone call from the group today. They were at the home, and the children could be heard in the background playing on their new playground! The group went to Humphrey's daugher Abigail's school today, White  Dove Academy, for VBS. They were testing and stopped the test to meet with the group. Sounded like everything went well. Jennifer said they have spent many nights packing hundreds of backpacks, but its well worth it because they are so appreciated. They have now been in Kenya for a week, but are still doing well. The team did take some time to relax last night, and have enjoyed being able to add some "fun" into the mix!


July 8, 2009
Mac called Myra today.  Here is a summary of the conversation. 
Everyone is fine, they are having a great time.  They gave out about 300 back packs to VBS kids yesterday.  They are having anohter VBS day tomorrow.  Friday the children from the orphanage are going on a safari with the group from Mars Hill.  A bus was loaned to them for them to be able to do this.  Myra reported that she is eating healthier there than at home with organic foods, vegetables and fruit.  Dickson says he lost 15 pounds because he's eating better.


July 7, 2009
(Update from Jennifer to Linda Harris) Jennifer sounded a bit tired today, but only because they have been going non-stop everyday.  Monday they all got to play with our kids and work on the playground.  The building of the playground is going slow and she hopes they'll get to finish it before they leave.
 
Today they did another VBS and at one point she was in charge of games for 100 kids! Without help of the translators she'd have never made it!  When they started handing out 500 book bags the kids started clapping with excitement and the principal said they'd never had anything so wonderful given to them.  :-) 
 
Layla found a lizard in her bed so now everyone is double-checking their beds! 
 
Tomorrow is VBS for 300 - or at least that's what they're planning for!

July 6, 2009
Louise and I are with Humphrey and Daniel today in their office and have met with the accountant who has audited the Kenya Connection Kids (CBO) books.  He provides ongoing help now with the organization as well being sure to keep the receipts and accounts payable separate in xcel spreadsheets.  They have shared the bank account records with us and all the childrens files and I must say that we have been very impressed with the amount of detail maintained on all concerned.  Paul, Dickson, Layla, Jake, Parker are all working in Chuka town unloading the container and Jennifer, Reba, Myra, McGee are at Humphreys house  working on making 500 backpacks for VBS tomorrow at Kathigiririni School which is the school that the children in the orphanage attend so we are all very excited about that.

Everyone is doing well and we are pleased to be here with Humphrey and our Kenya team.  Today we will be going to have lunch with the kids in the orphanage and will play games with them and do a devotional time this afternoon after school.

We have been asked by everyone we run into where Chuka Chuck is, Michael, Andy and Abby, Julie, Kesley, Leslie, Grace and Scott.

We will see you all soon and love you very much for your continued support and interest in what is happening here in Kenya.

Cindy


July 5, 2009
I just heard from Louise Mell and she said that they had a wild day in Nairobi but are in Chuka getting ready  to go to bed and get rested for a big day at the orphanage tomorrow.  They are going to work on a play ground for the kids.  She did say that they had to limit their phone time so we only talked for a minute but every one is doing fine!
 
More later.
Heather Biles
Friend of the Mell's  and keeper of their dog :) 

July 4, 2009
Jennifer called today!  :-)  She said the flight over was uneventful, got some sleep, food was horrible.  Even Louise, Myra and Layla thought so.  They got to the Grace House and planned the VBS for the next day (today - Sat.). 
 
The VBS was at Moffatt's church with the private school children.  They planned for 60 kids and while the adult women arranged the glitter cross craft, the rest of our group went out to play...and then people from all over came!  They swarmed the room trying to do the craft too and they completely ran out of materials.  Our group did manage to get the 60 book bags to the students while everyone else just watched from the windows and when they left, those kids asked if they could have a book bag too.  :-(   Most of the people didn't know English so they nodded and smiled a lot.  Got some pictures, lots of people touching white skin and hair.  :-)
 
The Kenyan's found out it was our Independence Day so they asked everyone to sing our national anthem.  After they finally got an "okay" vocal range they managed to sing it.  [That's a hard song to sing without accompaniment!]
 
I think Jennifer said after VBS they went to a shopping "mall" kind of place and had pizza - something most of the Kenyan team hadn't had before. 
 
She
heard that before her group got to Kenya, Dickson had ridden a camel, Parker cut the head off a chicken (she assumes so they could cook it) and they went on a safarri. 
 
Tomorrow they'll go to Moffatt's church and then ride out to Chuka.  Monday they'll get to spend some time with our orphange kids.
 
All for now!
Linda
  

July 2, 2009
Jambo Michael,

This is Chris. It’s Thursday 8:20 a.m. I just heard from Dickson. He was eating lunch at the picnic tables that Robert Long had sent. I got to speak with Ellijoy it sounds like they were all having a great time. They’ve been going through the container and trying to get things out that are needed for Bible school and trying to fix things up from where the container had been open at the port and some stuff was made a mess of. He said there are lots of single shoes looking for their matches!! This afternoon they were going to put together the barbeque grills. On Saturday, July 4th they will be in Nairobi doing a VBS at Moffat’s church for about 100 children. Dickson is suppose to preach Sunday at a church and some other place for boys that Humphrey has set up. They are looking forward to the rest of the team getting there. Sounds like things are going great and they are all enjoying themselves.
 ...
Chris


July 1, 2009
I was on a conference call today and missed a call from Cindy but her message was GREAT!!!!  She, Parker and Humphrey went into town today and toured the local Credit Union and Cindy got to meet with the supervisory committee and they discussed at length the internal processes of the CU.  Sounds like fun, huh????  Cindy was in HEAVEN!! :)  Reba got to visit with her children, John and Jane and took them plenty of food and McGee visited with her Kenyan son, Dennis and also took him lots of food!  Everyone was sooooooooo happy to see their 'babies'!  I'm telling you--these trips are priceless!  HEY--Chuck and Laura King--GUESS WHAT!?!?!?! The team visited with your children---James, Naomi and Rose and family and when they got there, Rose came running out to greet them!  They also took them food and got to go inside their house which is paved and a little part of the outside yard is paved too.  All of the children are JIGGER FREE and the older 2 are in school.  Humphrey and Cindy were able to go to the school and pick them up early so that they could visit.  What a HUGE blessing!!  When we were in Kenya in 2007, this family was suffering greatly from jiggers and it is so rewarding to know that the money that Chuck and Laura send each month is TRULY changing their lives!  Thank you God!  Cindy ended the call by saying that she was going to cook dinner for Humphrey and his whole family tonight and was nervous.  Oh--I talked to Burton earlier and Parker called him today and told him that Reba had been given a chicken........she was very excited....can't wait to see how she gets that home to you, Jimmy :)  The Mells, Myra and Jennifer will be in the air this time tomorrow--CAN'T WAIT!!  God bless all of you who are making this trip possible!

June 29, 2009
Just heard from Cindy and everyone has had a wonderful day!  Cindy, Reba and McGee 'unpacked' Humphrey's garage and got everything organized for VBS which we will be doing at 7 locations while in Chuka over the next couple of weeks.  They went over the schedule of the week also and feel very confident about the agenda.  Cindy sounded much more 'rested' than she did yesterday.  Praise God!


June 28, 2009
I got a call from Cindy last night and she and Parker were settled in at Humphrey's house while Dickson, Reba and McGee are staying with Paul and Ann and Julius and Freshia.  Everyone is tired but so happy to be in Kenya.  I just hung up with Dickson.  He called to give us the specifics on what type of weed eater Humphrey has so that we can buy more string for it and pack it in our suitcases before we leave on Thursday.  Today, Dickson went w/Humphrey to visit Ken Mawari who is the child that Dickson and Chris sponsor.  They were recently able to secure funds to build Ken and his family a new house so it was wonderful for Dickson to get to see the house!  Ken lives next door to Ben, who is our security guard at the children's home so Dickson got to visit with Ben and his family too.  When I was talking to Dickson, I heard a chicken in the background and I asked him--what's up w/the chicken???  Ben's wife gave it to Dickson as a gift along with some pumpkins and lemons so Dickson will be taking it to the home today for Mama, Aunt and the children to have for dinner--not sure when but soon.  Dickson said that the people of Chuka are so very thankful to Mars Hill church for all of the items in the containers that have been sent over.  Everywhere he goes, people come up to him and express their thanks.  OH--I got to talk with Daniel briefly too!  What a treat!  He is so excited that we are all going to be together again.  Reba, Cindy and McGee are meeting at Humphrey's house now to go over our schedule for the next couple of weeks.  We cannot WAIT to get there!!  Thank you God for all of your blessings! ...Louise

June 27, 2009
Parker called Burton today around noon our time.  Burton said they were having an amazing time!  Cindy, Parker, Reba, Dickson and Mcgee went on a one day Safari w/Humphrey and Hellen and got to see elephants, lions, zebra and other animals up close and personal!  They are all having a wonderful time and are tired!  Will be heading to Chuka tomorrow for a few days before they come back to Nairobi on Friday to pick up Paul and family, Myra and Jennifer.  Cindy told Burton one weird thing--they cannot convert 100 dollar American bills to shillings if it was printed before 1996.  Cindy is going to call me tomorrow w/more information.  Anyway---everyone is safe, happy and thrilled to be in the company of our dear friend Humphrey again.  Thank you God for all you do for us here and throughout the world.

June 26, 2009
Just got a call from Burton!  Our group of 4--Cindy, Parker, Reba and McGee--arrived safely to the Nairobi airport and were met by Humphrey and Dickson.  There were busy loading and arranging luggage.  PRAISE GOD!  They will spend the night in Nairobi tonight.  Everyone is REALLY happy and excited!

June 26, 2009
Humphrey called me (Louise) yesterday afternoon and he and Dickson had just come from the bank to pick up the money Cindy wired for our lodging, food, gas, etc.  All is well and they are excited about going to Nairobi today to pick up Cindy, Parker, McGee and Reba.  Humphrey said that he is trying to get Dickson to slow down a little :)  Reba called Paul from the Atlanta airport and only one of her bags was a little over but the person checking her in let it slide!  A miracle!  Reba's carry on alone weighed 42 pounds and McGee's weighed over 30.  Those crazy gals.....................:)  Thanks to everyone for your prayers!

June 24, 2009
We heard from Dickson again this morning at 5:15 a.m. They had a wonderful trip to Migori. Bob & Ethel were very gracious, Dickson slept in the boy’s dorm and Dickson & Humphrey got to watch a hernia operation. Steve James is someone who has started a foundation in his daughter’s name and he must have a medical team in place there and Dickson got to spend time with him. I think in the past they have just communicated by e-mail. He said Bob’s Hope Center runs smoothly and he was able to have a devotion with some of the boys early this morning when they got up. He sounds so excited about everything they have done in the past 2 days. They are heading back to Chuka now it’s a 9 hr. trip. He called back a second time this morning and asked if you or Cindy or someone could get Humphrey a blood pressure machine. We have one at home that Dickson had to buy for himself so they aren’t too expensive. I guess Humphrey needs to check his blood pressure.

June 23, 2009
Dickson arrived safely in Nairobi last night after a 30 hour journey!  PRAISE GOD!  When he went to have his baggage checked at the Atlanta airport, according to airport scales, all of his bags were over the weight limit so he had to off load some of his loot to Chris to take back home......mostly medical supplies and meds that he was going to deliver to one of the hospitals.  I just called Humphrey and got to speak to him and Dickson--they were in a remote area and are on their way to one of the local hospitals now and things are going well though they have already had a couple of flat tires!!  They were just laughing about it---this type thing is to be expected in Africa due to the bad condition of the roads.  Dickson and Humphrey both sounded GREAT and happy to be in each other's company again!  The rest of us can't WAIT to get there!  Thank you God for blessing us with this opportunity!!

June 19, 2007 
Hi Family and Friends,  
  We have had our shots, obtained our VISAs, started packing our bags, prayed a TON and we are leaving for Kenya in less than 2 weeks!  Our flight out is Thursday, July 2nd at 1:40 p.m. and are VERY EXCITED!!  We have a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam with a brief layover there, then we fly to Nairobi and land Friday night at 8:00 local time.  We will spend 2 nights in Nairobi then head to Chuka on July 4th.  We have been busy preparing and praying since we left Kenya 2 years ago and we are ready!  There are 11 team members going including the 4 of us  (me, Paul, Layla, who is 16 and Jake who is 14) and we will again stay at Thuchi River where we stayed before.  Humphrey and the Kenya team have a packed schedule for us which will include Vacation Bible School at 7 locations (including Nairobi) where we will see a total of over 2000 beautiful children.  We can't wait to hear them sing and are looking forward to seeing their sweet, smiling faces again.  VBS will consist of songs, crafts, Bible stories including a skit, snacks, prayer, recreation time and TONS of laughter!  Some of you helped us collect backpacks and items to go into them like blankets, hygiene kits, water bottles, etc., and we will distribute these backpacks at the different locations we visit.   Along the way, we will spend time with the over 100 children sponsored by people from our church, Mars Hill Presbyterian and others in our local community.  We look forward to giving the children the boxes of much needed items from their sponsors that were in the huge container that left the states in March and arrived in Chuka in May.  Each child will be thrilled to recieve their boxes and letters from their American family!  
  We will also spend as much time as possible with the 17 precious children who live in the Kenya Connection Orphanage that we helped build when we were there in 2007.  The kids have been in their new home for almost a year now and are doing well in school, attend church every week, are happy, healthy, well adjusted and LOVED!  They are so thankful to God to have a home. Mama Ellyjoy and Aunt Pauline take great care of them and they are one big, amazing family.  We are taking different crafts, games and playdoh to share with them.  They will love it! 
   One of the places where we will host a day of VBS is Cheera.  It is a very poor area and the three children that our family sponsors, Mukami, Justin and Alex live there.  We can't wait to spend time with them and let them know that they are LOVED!   I know that they have grown in the past 2 years since we saw them last.  Cheera was where we saw so many children infected with jiggers......a tiny parasite that buries under fingernails and toenails which will eventually cause digits of their toes and fingers to self amputate.  Alex suffered from jiggers when he was younger and his right foot is really disfigured.  While in Cheera, we will take medicine and wash the feet of the children and adults who are affected.  We will also provide a chemical spray for them to treat their homes and yards.  The medicine is so cheap!  At some point, we will visit 2 hospitals and several local dignitaries in an attempt to continue to raise awareness about the children's home.  This has been a highlight in the past and the Mayor of Chuka has been helpful to Humphrey and the home.   There are plans for an American Team and Kenya Team board meeting where we will discuss what our next steps are for the acre of land that was purchased last year from proceeds from the 2008  Mars Hill Music Festival. 
   Toward the end of our trip, we will spend some time in downtown Chuka with the 'street boys'.  We met several of them 2 years ago and they were a pitiful group.  I have thought of them every day since we saw them.  Some are orphans and some are children of prostitutes.  All are addicted to sniffing glue which is evident from their eyes.....the whites of their eyes are yellow and the boys are really 'spaced out'.  They range in age from 7 or 8 to teens.  Humphrey is arranging for local counselors to be with us and our plan is to sing, talk and pray with them and encourage them to get help and get into school.  We want to help them understand that they are loved by Christ and that they have hope.  When we returned from Chuka in 2007, we knew this was something that we all felt led to do and are thrilled that God has made a way for us to have some time with these boys.
   Now, we have told you of our plans but we also know that Kenya time is not at all like American time.  There is never an agenda written in stone and we know that things will get rearranged........and we are OK with that .........which is not always easy for me :)  
   We leave Nairobi on Wednesday, July,15th and return to Atlanta on Thursday, July 16th.  While we are away, we ask that you pray for us, the Kenya team and American team and the children every day.  Also pray for our families--we know that they will worry --especially my Dad and Paul's Mom.  Pray for safety, stamina and health.  Above all, pray that we do God's will and not get caught up in our own agenda and that we are able to show everyone we meet that they are loved by Christ.  
   We plan on calling and providing updates that will be posted on our church website so check it out: http://www.mhchurch.com/kenya then click on 2009 Mission Trip.  For those of you who are not familiar with the events that led to our church going to Kenya, you can read the whole story.
   Thanks to each of you who have helped us along the way with the backpacks, container, music festival and prayer  We could not do it without you!
   God bless you!
 
Paul, Louise, Layla and Jake
   P.S. Feel free to pass this on....the more people who pray--the better!

The Music Festival was great! It was a cloudy day with some light rain throughout the day, but we still had fun and raised money for the orphanage in Kenya. Thanks to all who came out and to those who helped put it together!! Here are some pictures from that day.....

Our group is hard at work planning this years trip. It's time to start getting immunizations, passports, visas, airline tickets...

We'll return to our friends in Kenya this July to spend time with the kids in the home, plan and organize with our Kenyan Board, visit local schools and churches for VBS, connect with local dignitaries, treat jiggers, and so much more.

Please be praying that we will spread God's message of hope and new life through our words and actions. Check out the pages of the team members that will be going this year.

And THANK YOU to our church, family, friends, and community for making all this possible!

 

The container is on it's way! It left Mars Hill on March 16 and is hopefully sailing on blue seas any day now and should arrive in June, before we get there in July. Thanks to all who helped get that ready!

Update - It arrived in Chuka and is ready for our arrival!

The 2009 container has arrived! It came to Mars Hill on Feb 9.

Thanks so much to those who helped with the packing last Saturday, Feb 14!! Since we're pressed for time to get it out of the US quickly so it will be in Kenya before we get there, we're having another morning of packing boxes and the container this Saturday, February 21, 9-2. Bring your friends - we'll have a packing party!

    Kenya Ministry

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