Sunday, December 20, 2009

Final Thought

Our trip to Kenya was similar to Kenya itself, full of extremes. From the trip over to Nairobi to the trip home we faced many challenges, changes and extremes. We arrived, after 30 hours of flying, layovers and all the discomfort of overseas travel to find nearly perfect weather in Nairobi and the loving welcome of Dan and Nancy Germo. We hit the ground by meeting with the leadership of Agape Fellowship Church and being challenged by the love, grace and vision of Dr. Kabachia. From Nairobi we traveled into Northern Kenya which is hot, arid and desert. The people in Northern Kenya are primarily Muslim and working and moving in this area of Kenya is challenging on many fronts. This is the leading edge of the missions field. The culture is radically different and the people's attitude towards the Gospel is also radical. Returning to Nairobi we were faced with additional extremes from meeting with families affected by tragedies to dealing with the challenges of our own families from thousands of miles away. One minute we were on top of the world and the next minute we were brought to tears over concerns for the people around us. One minute we found ourselves in a modern mall that would rival any mall in America and the next minute we were walking through an open air market full of small kiosks and dirt walk ways. The trip was amazing, informative and essential to planning the June trip. We never would have been able to prepare for the trip without experiencing the conditions in Northern Kenya first hand. As we reflect on the trip we are reminded of the extremes that we are all called to in our daily Christian lives as modeled by our savior, Jesus Christ. Any time we have an opportunity to be involved in what God is doing here at home or half way around the world we should expect to be challenged and to face the extremes of life but we can do so with confidence knowing that Christ is our hope, our strength and our salvation and through Him all things are possible. We are also reminded of the challenges and needs of those who work in these difficult areas day in and day out and that by supporting them we can be part of the awesome work God is doing everyday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kenya Day 14

We spent the day taking care of some last minute details, shopping, and resting before our long trip back home. We replaced the power outlet that got smoked by the dryer so alls well that ends well. Tomorrow we have a few last minute meetings with Dr. Kabachia and the pastors at AFC to plan the trip in June and then it will be packing and off to the airport for our trip home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kenya Day 13

We went to AFC Madaraka for a pastors' fellowship meeting today. We met with Dr. Kabachia and discussed the planning for the rest of our trip. We spent sometime talking with Pastor Silas Katheka from the church in Githurai. This is the AFC church that we helped to plant in 1999. We have partnered with the church since that time and Tim wanted to get a report on the health of the church for everyone at home. The pastor came with one of the elders from the church and we discussed the current status of the church and their vision for moving the church forward. They are hoping to have electricity installed in the church soon. The installation will require about 70,000 Ksh or just less than $1000 US. The electrical service is based on a prepayment plan. Someone purchases a certain amount of credits for nguvu ya umeme (electric power). As long as you have credits you have power, when the credits run out so does the power. If the church had electricity they could hold meetings and teach classes during the week which would help them to have more of an impact on the community of Githurai. We also met with Pastor Peter Kahunda from the church at Kasarani. We helped to plant the Kasarani church when we were here in 2005. Kahunda has been involved in all the LHC mission trips to Kenya, first as a Pastor at the church in Madaraka then starting the church in Kasarani. Pastor Kahunda and Mike are also twin brothers, which is obvious to anyone who has seen the two of them together, so it was a reunion of sorts. Pastor Kahunda oversees all the AFC churches in Nairobi as well as pastoring his own congregation at Kasarani so we were able to get an update on many of the churches we have worked alongside over the last ten years. We also discussed plans for the June trip with Pastor K. He would like to bring a group of members from Kasarani to work along side us while we are in Northern Kenya. As we were talking we found out that Kahunda is a trained electrician. Mike has been wondering where he could find someone to explain the differences in Kenyan and American electrical distribution only to find out his twin brother had the answer all along. Another prayer answered. It is hard to believe we will be leaving in just two short days. There is still a lot of details to figure out and plans to make. We have several more meetings planned over the next couple of days to make sure we get everything arranged, as much as anything can be arranged half-way around the world, for the trip in June.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kenya Day 12

We finished fixing the dryer today. It works great except the power outlet melted and now we have to replace it. Anyone know a good electrician here in Nairobi? We went to AFC Madaraka to meet with Dr. Kabachia and his staff after we finished the dryer. We spoke with George who teaches at the computer college we setup during 2007 trip. Over 90 students have completed the three month training course offered at the church and another group of 15 just finished. The equipment seems to be working well. George is going to let Mike know what parts or components the college could use. Hopefully we can bring out anything that is needed in June. It was exciting to see and hear about how well the computer college is working. We don't always get to see the fruit of our labor so it is nice when we have that opportunity. We went to dinner with Becky tonight. We had a good time sharing a meal and fellowship. Becky has been with us almost every day but we have been so busy we haven't really spent much time talking. Tomorrow we are going to a Pastor's fellowship and we are going to pick up a new power outlet. We'll fix that dryer or set something on fire trying.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kenya Day 11

We attended church at the main Agape Fellowship in Madaraka. Tim and Mike greeted the congregation in Madaraka and thanked them for hosting us while we were in Kenya. The partnership between Living Hope Church and Agape Fellowship is important to the church at home and in Kenya. It was great to be in a service with our brothers and sisters. After church we went to an Ethiopean restaurant for lunch. Ethipoean food is very different from Kenyan food. The lunch was good but the goat was a little spicy. We are looking forward to going baaaack when the team comes in June. The restaurant was another example of the contrasts here in Kenya. After lunch we went shopping and Time and Mike prepared an American breakfast for everyone's dinner. You can take the boy out of the country but you can never take the country out of the boy.

Kenya Day 10

We travelled back to Nairobi today. We went out into the desert to a giraffe sanctuary before leaving the great hot North. There are three types of giraffes in Kenya: the massai, the rothschild and the reticulated. The reticulated giraffes are mainly in Northern Kenya. Who says three's a crowd. We had a great time in Northern Kenya and an opportunity to see an area of Kenya that is totally different than any place we had been in Kenya. The people, customs, terrain, weather, culture and weather are as different as night and day from the other areas of Kenya we had travelled to. On the way back to Nairobi we took a shortcut through Limaru. This area is a prime spt for growing coffee and tea. We drove through many coffee groves and acres of tea bushes. The picture below was taken about two hours south of the picture above. The bottom
picture is a tea farm around Limaru. This is another example of the constant contrast of extremes in Kenya. After we arrived in Nairobi we spent the rest of the day resting from our trip and continuing to plan a team trip to Northern Kenya. It seemed cool by comparison in Nairobi, although not as cool as it will be when we arrive home. This has been a great trip and time of learning for Tim and Mike. We are in a much better position to plan for the team to travel here in June.

Cruisin' Kenya Style II

A 4-wheel drive is a must for cruisin' in Kenya.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Building Blocks

The finished product

The block compressor

Crusin' Kenya Style

Kenya Day 9

We spent the morning checking on accommodations for the team that will come in June. The local Catholic guest house looks like a good option. They have rooms for 34 people, a dining hall and meeting rooms. All the rooms have fans, trust me that this is a good thing, and screens in the windows, an even better thing. We were able to observe a school building that was being built on the Catholic Church compound. This will help as we make plans for building a girls school on the Agape site. We also went to check on a hotel in town in case anyone required luxurious accommodations. The hotel has three different style rooms, air conditioning and a restaurant on site. After we checked out the hotel we went with Jason to a location where compressed block was being used to build a trade school. The compressed block is made from a mixture of sand and cement. The sand is first sifted, then mixed with cement. The sand cement mixture is placed in a block compressor and formed into blocks. The blocks themselves interlock so they allow for building without using cement between courses of block. The compressor allows three men to make 150 blocks per day at about 16 Ksh. per block. The blocks must cure for 7 days after they are made. Once the blocks are cured they can be built into a structure very quickly because no cement is required in the construction. This eliminates the need to wait for the cement to cure as the walls are being built. It also lowers the cost of construction by eliminating additional cement and labor. The compressed blocks are a pretty clever idea for building in area that is primarily covered in sand. While we were checking out the block compressor Dan mentioned the temperature was over 100 F (this was before noon by the way). I could have told him it was really hot because of the way my skin was leaking. On the way out of the site we saw a small group of camels and it was so hot they were even sweating. We went to the Bethany intern site for lunch (picture). Bethany has six women and two men interning here. The interns work with the local missionaries and attend classes while on site. The internship lasts 16 months. We are going to Jason and Bekkah's for nyama choma, barbecue, for supper tonight. When we stopped by to pick Jason up for the trip to check out the compressed blocks he was butchering the chickens we will have for supper. And Copp's claims to have the freshest meat, ha! Tomorrow we will be going back to Nairobi. It will be nice to get out of the heat but we will be back here soon enough.

Building Site for the School

Heading North

We stopped under this baobab tree on way up nort'. Tim, Mike, Becky and Dr. Kabachia are enjoying the shade, ay!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kenya Day 8

12-10 We spent the day travelling around the area with Dan, Dr. Kabachia and Pastor M. It is hot here – like Africa hot. The three of us, Dan, Tim and Mike, drank more than 12 liters of water today and that doesn’t count the sodas and chai we drank. Tim is sitting here drinking a hot cup of chai now. I think the heat has addled his brain. Mike is holding out for an ice cold Fanta black currant. When we went to shower this morning the water was cold. I never knew a cold shower could be such a blessing. We spent most of the day meeting with government officials and an architect concerning the building project we might be involved with in June. Dr. Kabachia definitely has a gift for working with people from all walks of life. We met with the various groups in the morning and all of them showed up at the building site in the afternoon. A preliminary survey was completed and the architect was able to discuss the project with the church elders and the contractor. We participated in the meeting and also discussed building techniques that work in Africa with Jason, the architect and the contractor. We believe a stone building will work best. The initial phase of the building will provide five classrooms for the school and a common area that could be used for multiple purposes including worship services. Jason suggested we use compressed stone for the building. Compressed stone is actually man made and can be made right at the building site. The stones interlock and don’t require mortar which actually saves money in the construction. There is a group in this area that has the machine to make the blocks. The architect seemed to think this was a good idea. This is just one of the differences in building in Kenya versus building in America. Another difference is the amount of work that is done by hand. Cement is usually mixed by hand and moved one shovel or wheelbarrow at a time. The slab for the building we are thinking of building would require 12 to 15 people to lay in a continuous pour. In America we would just arrange for cement delivery and have 2 to four men watch the pour into the form for the foundation and the foundation would be poured in a few hours. The block for the building will be 15.5 inches by 7.5 inches. Each block will be laid by hand and the blocks and concrete columns will form the entire structure for the building. It will take a week for four fundis (skilled laborers) to set the block for the building. The foundation and walls for the building could be completed in as little as two weeks. Have you ever seen anything built in the US in two weeks? Me neither. We also talked with Jason about tools. We formed an immediate bond. Nothing like discussing a good framing hammer to bring three guys together. Seriously though, all the people working here have a heart for the local people and a heart for the Lord. Every time I come here I feel I am at home because I have spiritual family all over Kenya. Tomorrow we are going to continue planning for the building and trying to develop a preliminary budget. We are also going to spend time with Jason, Bekkah and the Bethany interns on the ground here.

Kenya Day 7

12-9 We traveled up country to Northern Kenya today. We traveled north out of Nairobi, past Githurai and Kasarani, about 360 KM out of Nairobi. As we traveled out of Nairobi we passed through an area where the road is under construction. The plan is to widen the road to six lanes. A Chinese company is managing the construction. We were surprised to see modern road building machinery, like backhoes and road-graders, being used in the construction. A fiber optic cable was being installed along the roadway to provide internet access to Northern Kenya. On the other side of the road there was a group of men digging a ditch using picks and shovels. This is one example of the constant contradictions in Kenya. On the one hand a modern road is being built using all modern equipment and the latest in modern communications is being installed. On the other hand men are digging using tools and techniques that haven’t changed much in a hundred years. The temperature, terrain and vegetation change as we continue moving North. Along the way we met three donkeys who wanted a ride up North on the hood of Dan’s truck. Unfortunately having a donkey attempt to catch a ride when you are traveling at 100 Kph can be a little startling. Thankfully Dan has the reflexes of a cheetah and good brakes so we were able to continue without the additional passengers. We stopped half-way for fuel and water along the way. When we left Nairobi the temperature was 76 F. When we arrived at the half-way point it was 92 F. When we finally arrive in Northern Kenya the temperature was 99.5 F. Between the two of us, we have made over ten trips to Kenya and this area is unlike any other part of Kenya we have ever visited. The area is very arid. The main roads are paved but all other roads are dirt. The tribes in the part of Kenya we have been before primarily identify themselves with Christianity - it was just a matter of winning individuals. In this area, the tribes do not identify at all with Christianity, nor do they want to. The other teams which we have brought to Kenya came to work in the harvest. The teams that come to this area are working to break up the soil for planting. The trip from Nairobi is a physical reminder that some are called to till the soil, others are called to plant and still others come to harvest. When we arrive we meet with the pastor from the local Agape Church, Pastor M., Dan and Dr. Kabachia. We spend some time hearing about their vision for reaching out to the people in this area. They would like to build a school for girls as a way of reaching out to the local people. This is important because in the local culture girls and boys are kept separate which results in the girls being held out of school. By building a girls only school the local girls will have an opportunity to receive an education while maintaining the separation from the boys. After our meeting we drove around town then went to the site where the school will be built. We are definitely in the minority here. It was interesting to drive through an area where everyone stares at the wazungu (white people). We met with a local contractor who is a member of Agape Fellowship at the building site and discussed the building size, materials and potential issues with obtaining a building permit and other regulations. We also discussed the potential of building the school in three phases by forming a partnership between Bethany Church, Living Hope Church and Agape Fellowship. The contractor will develop some plans for the building and a cost estimate which we will review tomorrow. After inspecting the building site we went to the home of a local Bethany missions family, Jason and Bekah and their two daughters. Another couple from Bethany, Dave and Jul are staying with Jason and Bekah. Jason and Bekah oversee the missionary internship site here in Northern Kenya and Dave and Jul are here from Indonesia teaching the interns. The focus of the local Agape church, the local Bethany missions program and the interns is reaching out to the unreached people in this area. The entire area is a tremendous opportunity to be involved at the leading edge of what God is doing to reach out to all people of all nations.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Click on map to enlage

Kenya, Day 4

12-7 We attend church at the Agape Fellowship Center Madaraka. This is the head church of Agape Fellowship which has churches throughout Kenya. Tim is the guest speaker at the early service. We arrive at the church and are greeted by Dr. Stephen Kibachia and his wife Jennifer. Dr. Kibachia is the head pastor, or bishop, for the Agape Felloship. Living Hope has been working with Agape and Dr. Kibachia since the first team came to Kenya in 1999. We spend time catching up with our friends and discussing the schedule for the next week. We plan on traveling north on Wednesday to see the work Agape is doing in the area. This will allow us to make some plans for how we can help when the Living Hope team comes out in June 2010. As we talk with Dr. K, Dan and others at Agape we are reminded that there is one God and one Spirit that binds all of us together as brother and sisters in Christ. Tim speaks on God working through our weaknesses and His power enabling all believers to do the work He has planned for us. This is evident all around us here in Kenya. We spend the rest of the day visiting with the Germo family and decorating their home for Christmas. Somehow, setting up a Christmas tree when it is 75 degrees just doesn’t seem quite right.
Tim and Mike

Kenya, Day 3

12-6 We spend the day at a U-15 soccer tournament held at the Nairobi German School. There are teams from the German School, the French School, WNS and several other American Schools around Nairobi. Graham plays for the WNS team. The WNS Rhinos come in second. Watching the tournament we were reminded that boys will be boys regardless of where they come from or where they are at. Once a game of soccer starts it is hard to tell who is Kenyan, French, German or American. They are all just boys having fun competing and trying to play their best.

How can boys play soccer in December? Most of Kenya is south of the equator so it is actually summer here. Nairobi is 4500 feet above sea level so it never gets really hot here but this is the start of the hot season. The temperature in Nairobi has been in the 70’s and 80’s since we arrived. The temperature in Northern Kenya, is in the 80’s and 90’s and getting hotter every day. We will be traveling north on Wednesday.
Tim and Mike

Kenya, Day 2

12-5 We planned to take it easy today to recover from jet lag. We spend the morning at Heshima for Children. Heshima is a ministry for Kenyan children with special mental and physical needs. Heshima is the Kiswahili word for dignity. The ministry was started by Tracy Hagman who, along with her husband Eric, is a fulltime missionary in Kenya. There are very few services for the special needs children of Kenya and Tracy saw the need for a place for these children to learn, receive physical therapy and to learn that they are part of God’s plan so she started the Heshima Children’s Center. We visited Heshima with Becky and Cailin. Becky and Cailin go to Heshima every Friday to work and play with the children. When we arrive there are six children from teenagers to five year olds singing and praising God. We all join and have a great time worshipping with the children and workers. The children spend time praising, learning and playing together. We spent time speaking with Julius, the administrator of Heshima, and Tracy. Julius explains that Heshima has teachers, physical therapists and other staff and volunteers and gives us a tour. The center has a physical therapy room, a small kitchen where they prepare two meals a day for all the children, a large room that serves as a classroom, dining room and activity room and a smaller room that is used a classroom for the older children. Julius explains that there are no services for mentally disabled children in Kenya and many parents are ashamed of having children with mental or physical challenges. Within this culture it is considered to be a curse to have a child with a disability. The abuse rate is also rampant because of the mindset that they have done something wrong. The children are kept at home where no one can see them. The workers at Heshima go door to door to find the children and offer hope, God’s love and help to these families. If you want to know more about Heshima and the work being done there you can go to This ministry is in the beginning stages and very exciting to see.

In the afternoon we go to West Nairobi School (WNS) to attend a school band concert. Cailin plays trumpet in the primary school band and Graham plays saxophone in the advanced school band. WNS is an American school in Western Nairobi for grades kindergarten through twelfth. The students body at WNS is made up of Kenyan children, the children of foreign nationals working in Nairobi and missionaries’ children. The concert is a hit with the parents, like school band concerts everywhere, even though there were a few sharp or flat notes. Following the concert the WNS senior class sponsored a school talent show. Watching the talent show we are reminded that kids will be kids no matter where they are or what there cultural background. The students at WNS really are a talented group.
Tim and Mike

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tim and Mike Day 1 - Kenya Trip

12-3 10:20 AM The plane actually left Green Bay on time an we are on our way to Kenya.
We will fly from Green Bay, through Minneapolis, then Amsterdam, Netherlands and finally Nairobi, Kenya over the next day and a half.

12-4 8:45 PM We have arrived in Nairobi. From the moment we step off the plane onto
the jet way we know we are back in Kenya. The sounds, the smells and
our spirits all tell us we are in Kenya. The trip has been long but we are excited to be here. Now if we can just find our luggage and get through customs maybe we can get some sleep.

12-4 10:30 PM All our luggage made it. Dan Germo and Becky Manditch meet us at the airport to Dan and Nancy’s home where we will be staying while in Nairobi. Dan and Nancy Germo are fulltime missionaries in Kenya who became friends with Tim and Chrissy Kelly in college. Dan and Nancy have been working in Kenya for eleven years. They live in Nairobi with their three children, Graham who is 13, Cailin who is 10 and Ellie who is five. Beck is working as an intern with Dan for the year.

12-4 11:00 PM We arrive at Dan and Nancy’s. It is hard to say who is more excited to see who. Becky seems pretty excited to have a couple more mzungu (white people) to talk with. Or maybe she is just happy to see us cause we remind her of home. Finally, we can get some sleep. Or maybe it’s the Christmas presents we brought from home.
Tim and Mike

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tim and Mike arrived last night in Africa after 24 hours of travel. They where tired and ready for bed! We look foward to hearing from Tim in the coming days right here. Please keep Tim and Mike in your prayers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The First Post!

I would like to welcome you to the LHC Missions Blog! It is our goal to keep the LHC family better informed of all the missions opportunities, happenings and history. Please leave comments to encourage "our' missionaries. Tomorrow at noon Tim Kelly and Mike Waldrop are leaving for Kenya , Africa to begin the missions trip that 20 to 30 young people and adults will go on next June. Tim will be posting periodic updates here and so will those preparing to "GO" throughout the coming months. We also encourage other missionaries from our LHC family to leave posts, so please come back frequently. you will also notice links to the LHC family blogsites and web pages, please visit those also. lastly we are posting pictures of activity now and from the past . if you have pictures and descriptions of past trips or current trips please email them to me at as I will be moderating this blogsite.