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 Mission Trip 2011 
Thursday, June 30 2011

Louise left a message for Ann Johnson so this is the info from her:

This morning the team met and had pictures made in the morning and then they visited all the classrooms in the school where the kids from orphanage attend. Then they went to Humphrey and Hellen's house and had lunch. From there they went to visit Humphrey's mom and her group of ladies and had more lunch there. When she called they were waiting for the kids to come home from school so that they could have dinner with them and spend some time before they had to go and finish their packing so that they could leave for Nairobi at 5AM. Somewhere during their visits during the day they were given another chicken which they took back to the orphanage. They have had a wonderful time and hate to leave, but also are looking forward to getting home.

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, June 29 2011

Cindy just called to update me! While it is 5:00 PM here, it is midnight there.

Today the went on a field trip with everyone from the Ameican team, the Kenya team, and the kids in the orphanage. The Ikuu boy's school let them rent a giant bus again that they've used before. They went to Meru to a museum where the learned about a tribe - their background, dances, etc. and saw monkeys, crocodiles, and snakes. They went to a private park in Meru that was beautiful and hung out with the kids from the orphanage, had lunch, played games, and rested / had some down time that was much needed.

Tonight they had a board meeting with everyone from the American team and the Kenya team. Their plan was to meet for an hour, but it ended up being two and a half hours! They talked about the future of the new orphanage that is close to being finished I believe, future containers that will be sent from us to them, the home visits they made this trip and their obsevations from that, and what they will be doing moving into the future. There was a lot of heavy and deep discussion but they walked away with ideas and goals for the future from their prodcutive meeting!

Tonight they are packing a little bit since tomorrow is their last day at Thuchi with tomorrow night being their last night there. Tomorrow they will sleep in a little bit, go to a lookout where they take pictures with the beautiful green scenery behind them that we go to every year, and then go to a snack at Humphrey's house. They will then go to see Humphrey's mom's group, a women's group, which we visit every year as well. They always sing and dance for us and make purses for us to buy and sell them here in America. They will finish up their day by spending their time at the orphanage and it will be a hard time for them to say goodbye tomorrow night! Last year there were many tears! Friday is when they will pack up from Thuchi early in the morning and make their journey to the airport, but probably with something fun along the way.

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 05:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, June 29 2011

From McGee:

I got a call from Michael yesterday and he asked me to email you some information to put on the website.  He said they had divided into three groups and each had taken about 10 sponsored kids to visit.  They were thrilled with their day and seeing so many kids' families.  He said they had seen some of the poorest of the poor.  The drought last year has left many with no food.  Some have to walk an hour each way to get a few gallons of water and carry it back to their homes.  He was excited that orphanage resident Godfrey was able to get together with his family for a visit after a long time of not being able to see each other.  THey had a Connection day in Tharaka, I think, the day before and it went well. He said their kids are holding up well, even after miles of walking.  I can't believe they will be coming home already this Saturday!

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, June 26 2011

Louise called and said that the group split up and went to two churches this morning. One group went to Gospel Celebration which is a small church with beautiful mountains behind it that you can see when you go up some stairs to an upstairs Sunday School area, and the other group went to Humphrey's church which is a bigger church with wooden doors with intricate carvings in them. All have wooden benches and the doors and windows all stand wide open and usually both are packed with people of all ages. Everyone sits very close together. At Humphrey's church Michael preached, Layla led the youth service, and Reba and Brady taught Sunday school. There is an offering time there where you can sell your livestock - fruits and crops or animals - if you don't have any money to give. Whoever buys it, that money goes to the church. Drew got a chicken, and others got fruit and vegetables.

For lunch everyone got back together and went to a nice restaurant called Godka. All of the Kenya team members (who live in Kenya) along with their kids ate there and the money was donated by someone at Mars Hill and Louise said they were so thankful for it!

The Habitat for Humanity group came to the orphanage after lunch. There were 22 of them from New York, Arizona, Boston, Rhode Island,France, and the Netherlands! They asked a million questions and were interested in helping more.

The team went back to the Thuchi Lodge where they are staying to take showers and refresh for a bit. Tonight a lot of the group is going to spend the night in some of the houses of the Kenya team and a few are staying back at Thuchi.

Tomorrow they are going to visit homes in Tharacka where we sponsor kids. Louise said all of the kids at the orphanage are doing great and no one is sick. They can't believe they only have 5 nights left in Kenya! They leave Chuka on Friday morning and fly out Friday night, arriving back in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon/evening.

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 02:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, June 25 2011
Greetings from Kenya!
This is our first attempt at posting using an air card connection so we are excited about this post and hope this works!
Last night we sang songs with the children in the home and then Helen Kanga read the first chapter of Summer Plans Gone Awry from the book The Giving Festival by author Cindi Brown.  The children were amazed that their names are a part of this incredible story.  They were all ears! 
Today we had a Connection Day with 85 children from the areas of Cheera, Ikuu, and Karubia.  Everyone looked good and only a few adults had jiggers.  Reba received 2 rabbitts from her child that were from him raising rabbitts as his project.  Each of our children in the field are given a project which can include raising rabbitts, cows, chickens, goats or growing banana trees. 
Tonight is movie night at the home so all the children are watching Up in the Air and enjoying Jiffy Pop popcorn.
The US team is doing well and loving great Kenyan cooking and tea.
Look forward to seeing you soon!
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 24 2011

Louise called me a little while ago to update everyone on what's going on!

Today they went to Tharacka, a town that is nearby. Tharacka is actually the picture I took above with the two trees. The last time we went in 2009 the road there was all dirt and very bumpy. She said that this time the road was mostly paved! She also said that Chuka, the town the orphanage is in, has been growing because of Chuka University being nearby. At Tharacka they had a devotion, Layla led some, did the chicken dance, preformed their skit, and they had a "connection day" where they met with all the sponsored kids in that area, took pictures of them, got updated info on them, etc. They played soccer as well. She said as usual all of the kids want to touch them and feel their hair and are amazed to see white people. One of the girls had a seizure while they were there and she said it was awful. They found out that a lot of them have been having seizures and Reba is going to get some medicine together for them.

One of the sponsored boys, Godfrey, his grandfather walked two days to see them and thank them. He was very old and in poor shape. He gave them a goat for appreciation. Louise said they didn't want to take it because livestock and food there are precious possessions and they felt guilty, but Humphrey said they needed to take it because it is custom there and he was giving it to them out of thanks. So they put the goat in the back of their van (I want to hear more about this when they get home!) and brought it to the orphanage to cook it. They tied the goat up by some string but the string broke lose and was running around! Thankfully the orphanage is surrounded by a fence, but I think it could have gotten through, I'm not sure. Anyways, after chasing it they found it in one of the girls' bed (Brenda)! What a funny sight to see I'm sure! Having a goat in my bed is something that will never happen! However, goats, chicken, and rabbits are common animals there that are probably like squirls and dogs to us, just common animals all over the place.

They ate dinner and watched a movie on the little TV in the orphanage.

Some people from Habbitat for Humanity are at the Thuchi Lodge where our group is staying as well and they are going to come check out the orphanage soon. They have been helping giving money each year to the orphanage and our Kenya Connection Ministry, so it will be great for them to see where there money is going and how it is affecting those precious kids.

Louise said everyone is doing well and over the "culture shock" for those who are new.

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 03:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 23 2011

I was hoping to be at a computer when Louise called from Kenya, but I was driving to work, so when I got to work I wrote it all down as quick as I could!

She said that the group visited 24 sponsored kids yesterday before the Mells arrived and one of them gave Cindy a chicken. The Mells got to Chuka and they ate lunch and went to Kathegirirni. Normally when you meet with kids or groups of people they sing and we sing and/or preform a skit. (The Kenyans accent makes the word sound like skeet.) But they hadn't prepared their skit yet. So they did the chicken dance for them! They taught it to the kids as well and Louise said it was comical!

They visited Paul Johnson's Sunday School class' sponsored girl. She had been given a chicken project and she now has 85 chickens....all in one room of their three room house! Louise said it was a trip to see 85 chickens all in one room!

Michael and Cathy's wedding went well - she said it was a mix between an American wedding and a Kenyan wedding. It started 50 minutes late, but everything in Kenya starts late. The kids from the orhphanage sang, and Moffatt (one of the men who works in Nairobi that partners with us) brought the kids that Michael has been sponsoring for the past several years to see the wedding! She said there was cake and there was goat. Humphrey and another man officiated the wedding. She said it was beautiful and a great thing to see! Congratulations to Michael and Cathy!

As I talked to Louise they were on their way to visit a hospital and give them medical supplies. They've had meetings and prepared for Vacation Bible School - I don't know what we'd do without Reba to head all of that up, she does a fantastic job of it! She wanted me to tell everyone that they are so thankful for all the prayers and that their flight was smooth to Kenya! Things are on "Kenya time" which means that the schedule is full but lax - most things are late or don't have to start at a particular time, and things take much longer than you think it will. She said it's been a little hectic, but it always is a little hectic on those trips! They have enjoyed their time at the ophange so far and the kids always sing for them.

Keep praying for them to be a huge, blinding light in the darkness and that their impact is much bigger than just the two weeks or few hours that they spend with any particular group of people. Also, for those of us not in Kenya or for the rest of the team when they get back home, remember that you can be just as big of an impact or a light in the darkness in your every day life in your families, work, schools, or circle of friends. It doesn't matter where in the world you are, you have the chance to be Jesus to everyone, so DO IT! :-) Your life can be one giant mission trip because you mission in life is to spread the gospel!

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." - Ephesians 5:8-10

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 09:50 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, June 22 2011
E-mail from Burton:
"I spoke with Cindy and Brady yesterday afternoon and everyone is good.  Our kids played in the field with the kids from the orphanage all day.  Brady was very surprised at how heavy Moses was when he picked him up. 
Cindy and Humphrey made calls to all the local politicians and dignitaries regarding the trip and goals of the mission team."
(Moses is the 3 or 4 year old "baby" of the group.)
From Daniel:
"We met so many kids in Kirubia/Kiereni today, about 25, and went home with lots of gifts. Reba is famous here and Scott is the new Obama with wife Michelle Obama. A lady in Kathigiririni said, 'when you people vist you remind me of Obama and since he is is from here, you should feel at home, and am happy to even see Michelle, like Obama's wife.'"
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 05:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 21 2011

From Dickson Lester:

Here is the latest Kenya Mission Trip update from Michael and the others.

 It is 11 p.m. in KENYA and 4 p.m. (e.s.t.) here in the USA.

I just got off the phone with Michael Porter, you could hear the excitement and joy in his voice and those in the background giving him information. They are having their nightly prayer gathering and planning meeting.They said they have had an incredible time already.

Starting on Sunday June 19 - they got up early leaving the Mayfield Guest House at 7a.m. to go on a Safari into the Kenya National Park just outside of Nairobi in the plains. Everyone was excited to see, up close, the beauty of God’s creations – the water buffalos, cheetahs, baboons, giraffes, wildebeests, elephants, birds, hippos, zebras and Scott Marshall was able to take some incredible shots of the lions which are very hard to get sense they are so elusive. They kept moving around and Michael said it was obvious the 4 boys were blown away.

Then they drove to Chuka arriving late Sunday night.

Monday- June 20th- they spent lots of time with the kids in the home. Ellijoy and Pauline prepared awesome meals for them. Hellen, Ann and Humphrey were with them and they loved getting to be with Hellen and Ann.

Paul Murianki (Ann’s Husband), Julius and Frashiah Mwebia are working in their jobs so they could not be with them. They worked on the new home a lot, painting. Cathy took 20 kids and they all had their brushes having a great time working together. Michael said there was as much paint on Cathy, the kids and the floor as there was on the walls plus somehow paint got on the van but they managed to get it all cleaned up.

Then they took the kids for a shopping trip to Meru which is a little over an hour’s drive north of Chuka. On the way they stopped at the Equator for pictures. The kids had a great time getting supplies for Michael and Cathy's wedding feast. They also picked up items for the home. Kids are loving the cokes and water bottles.

The 4 young adult men from Mars Hill took their baseball gear and went across the road from the home to the private school and taught our Kenyan boys how to play baseball. They were extremely happy in this event.

Meanwhile Cindy, Reba, Michelle, Cathy and all the other ladies organized all of the lists of the other children in our program. They organized where they are located so they can go to their guardians homes in a timely manner and visit with them in their environment. They will gather updated data on each child, assess their needs and put a plan together to accomplish whatever needs to be done to update and inform their sponsors .

Humphrey, Hellen and Ann had made arrangements for Doreen, a professional wedding planner, to meet with the wedding couple and finalize all of the arrangements. It is going to be one huge spectacular event in Kenyan traditions for Michael and Kathy, they are roasting a goat for the festivities, [I am wondering how many goats the men are going to require Michael to give as a dowry which is Kenya tradition for his hand in marriage] .


Tuesday- June 21- Today- Cindi, Reba, Scott and Kenya team members visited all of the local dignitaries of the City Council, County Council, Chief Magistrate, Mayor John Wbabu, Police Dept. Family Services, Communications Dept., Forestry Dept.  and other Government agencies. The Hospital & others have had a vital role in helping the Kenya Connection for kids, Inc. with many  aspects of life in Kenya. They discussed  health issue, security issues, continued partnerships with the Forestry, Child Services, Police and the Communications divisional Offices.

The rest of the team spent lots of time at the Home with the children playing games and working on projects. Then Ellijoy and Pauline cooked another awesome traditional meal for everyone. Michael says Cathy is ready to move to Kenya permanently and loves the food.  Michael says he will no doubt gain lots of weight again from all the japati bread.

Tomorrow- Wed, June 22- The team will travel in the a.m. out to visit door to door with other children in our program in the KIRUBIA area which is near Kierienni district.

Then in the afternoon they will go to Kathigiririnini to meet with children, families and teachers.

The Mells have arrived in Nairobi at 1:15 p.m. our time and 8:15p.m. Kenya time. Onesmus our Bus driver has driven the 5 hours back to Nairobi tonight and will pick them up around 7 a.m. or earlier and drive to Chuka.

All in all the team is getting blessings from everyone they meet and the Kenyan children are having a great time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Our team continues to be blown away by the scenery and Love of the Kenya folks.

'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence... 'The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'  Pray for GOD to bless His works through you. 


Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 05:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 21 2011
The Mells have just arrived at the Mayfield House in Nairobi Kenya where they will be staying the night! They said their flight was fine and they leave to go to Chuka at 8:00 AM (their time) tomorrow morning (1:00 AM our time). To quote Louise in her e-mail, "GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME!"
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 03:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 20 2011

Louise just called me and said that they are going to Kenya!!!! They were first ones at the passport office and they let them in! They brought Dickson along for good measure, one of the other church members that usually goes to Kenya with us! :-) They will go back at 11:00 to pick up their passport and then head to the airport. They fly out tonight around 5:00. Thank you for all your prayers!! I know this is a huge answer to prayer and such a relief to the Mells. Bwana asifewe! (Praise the Lord!)

I got a short amount of info from Daniel in Kenya saying that they were on their way to the orphanage to have lunch. I know our team is just loving the time with the kids, sitting in the sunshine with roosters crowing in the background, and no electronics distracting them from God and the ones they love around them.

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 08:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 20 2011
The Mells are currently at the passport place in hopes of flying out tonight and arriving in Kenya tomorrow, Tuesday, at 8:15 PM Kenya time (1:15 PM American time). A van will be picking them up from the airport to take them to the Mayfield House where they will stay the night. Louise asked that Onesmus (one of the drivers) pick them up from the Mayfield House on Wednesday morning to take them to Chuka where the rest of the team is. Daniel e-mailed in reply to say he got the info and will let them know! Keep praying that they are on a flight today!
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 08:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, June 18 2011

We just arrived in Kenya!  We are staying at the mayfield house.  I have no idea what day it is.... or what time it is at home, but it is 11:55 Saturday night here!  :}

The Mell's (a family of 4 who were traveling with our group) did not make it on the plane due to passport issues.  Hopefully they will get that resolved on Monday and get here Tuesday night.  God works in mysterious ways!  Have no idea why things are so whacked!

We are getting ready to go to bed under our mosquito nets!  Up at 5:45 to grab a quick breakfast then off to do a safari day trip!  We will head to Chuka to our lodging there and to the orphanage tomorrow night.

All is well~  flights were uneventful.  Love and miss you all!  Hope to update you soon!

XOXOXOX mich:}
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 05:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 17 2011
I just saw that there was an option for people to make comments on these posts, so if you feel like it you can comment on them for the group to see when they get back!
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 08:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 17 2011
The Mells got all the documents together to update their passports but when they arrived at the office they had closed at 4:00. Now they must wait until Monday morning to go and hope they will see them. Please be in prayer that they get through and can get the first flight out of here!
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 08:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, June 17 2011
The Mell family (Paul, Louise, Layla, and Jake) were not allowed to board the plane to Kenya with the rest of the group this afternoon!! The airport said their passports expire in 6 months so they are not allowed to board. They sent them somewhere to try to get everything worked out and get their passports updated, but they don't know if they will get to see them tonight. If they don't they will have to go back on Mondy or Tuesday, and probably either way fly out at the earliest on Monday or Tuesday. PLEASE PRAY that they are able to see somone tonight to get this straightened out, and most of all that they are still able to go to Kenya!!! They would not get their money back if they're unable to go, and after two years of waiting and planning they are so ready to be in Kenya!!
Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 05:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 17 2011

And they're off! A large group of people met for prayer in the church parking lot and we saw them all off as they left for the airport. The picture is not of the whole group because some had different flight times, but this was several of them. Their flight leaves later on this evening and they'll have a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam, the halfway point, and then fly on to Kenya. The flight is about 20 hours not counting the layover. What an awesome group of people God has called to serve in Kenya this year! Good luck guys!


Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 03:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 09 2011

Next Friday we have a send off at Mars Hill Church at 2 PM where we will pray for the team going to Kenya and all are welcome to join us! We have 15 people going this year with 7 of those going to Kenya for their first time! Please pray for all of them for safety, patience, persistance, endurance, and health. If you hear from anyone on the team while they are in Kenya, please call or e-mail me (Jennifer Harris) at, as I will be updating this page for everyone. Check back to see details!

Thank you to all who gave money to those going, for helping at the fundraisers, and for the time and energy people have given to make this possible for the 5th year in a row!

Posted by: Jennifer Harris AT 11:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Kenya Ministry

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