Friendswood United Methodist Church
Sharing the life-changing power of Christ everywhere, and every day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

There's No Place Like Home!

We arrived back in Houston Sunday evening. The team is tired but thankful for the many opportunities we have had to share the love of God.  It will take a while to process all that we have experienced from this mission trip.

Participating in an international mission trip is not possible without the support of many. Thank you to Steve and Vicki Freeman for organizing and leading this trip. Thank you to everyone who  donated to this trip - from financial gifts to baby hats. Thank you to  the church staff and members who filled in for me while I was away - Pat, Anita, the Pastoral Staff, the Pastoral Care Team, Pastor Mark and many others I may never know about. Thank you to Diane Taylor for keeping the blog up to date. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us while we were away - especially Mary Arnold (who we missed dearly on this trip) and my prayer partner Marilyn Cunningham. And thank you to my husband Terry who supports me in so many ways.

My hiking boots have been cleaned and packed away. I am eager to see what God has planned next for me. Time to go - and see what awaits me at the church.


Monday, June 23, 2014


Our flight was cancelled yesterday. After being in the London airport for over 10 hours, we were taken to a hotel for the night. We have been at the airport for over four hours this morning waiting again.  We should be boarding the plane soon and are EAGER to start the final leg of our journey.

Hope to see you all soon.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Our Final Day in Kenya

Baby elephants with blankets to stay warm are being led to dinner.

After leaving the CHAK House where we spent our final night in Kenya we spent the day visiting several interesting locations before catching our 11:40 pm flight to London.

The first stop of the day was at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts' Orphans' Project. This is an orphanage for elephants and rhinos. They currently have 25 elephants they are raising and preparing to release after 5-8 years. One rhino even made an appearance.

We also went to the Kazuri Bead Factory and Store. This is a wonderful ministry for single mothers. They are taught the needed skills to produce beautiful jewelry and pottery and in return they receive a regular income and health care for themselves and their children.

We are now in London after flying all night. Our flight is late leaving because of air conditioning problems in the plane. The captain came out and explained what was going on. I asked if I could have a picture made with him and he agreed. 

Afterwards he told me to come to the cockpit after we land in Houston for a proper picture. After 9 1/2 hours of flying (possibly in a hot airplane ) I don't know if I will take him up on his offer. Only time will tell.


Elephant baby learns to feed himself from a"baby" bottle.

Women working at the Kazuri Bead Factory

Friday, June 20, 2014

'Touristy' Things

Yesterday we started the day with a final safari and then after cleaning up we began our journey to Nairobi. I have a new understanding of grace. The lodge turns the electricity off at 9 am everyday and doesn't turn it back on until later in the afternoon. Because we were a little late getting in from the safari they left the electricity on a little longer for us! Thank goodness!

During the end of the safari we found a family of lions - 5 lions, 3 lioness and 2 cubs. Wow! They were hiding in the bushes but our tour guides spotted them and took off across the field and through the bushes so we could get a close up view. Some of you may not realize that we come in to Kenya on a tourist visa and have to show we are going to do 'touristy' things - that's why we end the trip with a safari.

A cell tower made to look like a tree in the middle of the game reserve.

Up close with the animals.  That's Steve, Vicki, and Belle in the van.

The giraffes never make a sound. They are always on the look out.
The hippos are huge!

The long journey to Nairobi took longer than expected due to a traffic jam along the side of a mountain. There was some over size road equipment causing problems and then there was a bad car wreck. We finally arrived at the CHAK (Christian Health Alliance of Kenya) House for supper and to spend the night. Supper was interesting with bugs flying all around the dining room. The doors to the dining room were open to help with air flow so..... Explains the bugs. I haven't seen a thermostat yet on this trip. No air or heat or fans. We have been very blessed with the temperatures on this trip.

Our rooms here actually have a tv, and I turned it on for the first time since leaving on this journey. The choices in English were a show about bee keeping or Dr. Phil.

Today we will be checking out at 9 am and touring Nairobi. One if the places we are scheduled to visit today is an elephant orphanage. I wonder if I can adopt one and bring it home? Our flight leaves at 11:40 tonight so it will be a very long day for us and then a long flight home.

I'm ready to come home and see everyone and enjoy the comforts of home. I'm ready to return and share my journey.

There's no place like home!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Lot Has Happened

The wifi has been very limited in the areas I have been lately so I have not been able to update the blog like I wanted. A lot has happened…

On Saturday (June 14),  we traveled from Maua to the Kingdom Builder's Orphanage near Lake Nakuru. When the van arrived to pick us up we were told that one van had broken down, so  we had to leave several of our bags behind—being assured they would be picked up and delivered to us that evening.

To say some of the roads were very rough is an understatement.  Dr. Lee and I were traveling in the back seat of our van. We bounced all over the place. Hard hats should have been worn for that trip! We finally arrived 8 hours later—after stopping and asking for directions several times. We are in the middle of nowhere!

Children at the Kingdom
Builder's Orphanage.
After getting settled we toured the campus and played with the children. There are 25 children living here and a few older ones that now attend a boarding school. We had a great time playing until the storm set in... It was a dark and stormy night.

Our team enjoyed warming up by the fire during the storm, and needless to say, our bags didn't arrive as promised. I can't imagine traveling on these roads at night (there are no street lights or lights from area businesses). And when the rain is added onto the already muddy and sometimes slippery roads, it can be very hazardous.

After sleeping in my traveling clothes I had to decide what to wear to church. Oh my! Electricity out meant no warm water and no lights in the bathroom meant no shower for me. Instead, I slipped on a skirt I purchased over the pants I traveled and slept in and borrowed a couple of shirts from Dr. Lee. I didn't have any make up, I didn't wash my hair, so I dug through our donation bag and found a knitted cap to cover my hair. I was a really sad sight!!

Steve Freeman stepping through the
fence to go to church with the orphans
The fence keeps the animals out.
Luckily, our bags arrived just in time for us to clean up some and change into cleaner clothes. Praise God! We walked to church with the children and staff from the orphanage and what an experience we had. The church had dirt floors and tin sides and roof. But they had a speaker with microphones and a keyboard. There was also a big homemade sign hanging from the rafters in the front of the church that read, "Please switch off your phone." Everyone here seems to have a cell phone wherever we go. The difference is that the people here purchase airtime a few minutes at a time.

Sunday afternoon we sorted through a lot of medical supplies donated to Kingdom Builders Orphanage. With Dr. Lee's guidance we grouped medications and other supplies and prepared for the medical clinic we were hosting the next day. On Monday Dr. Lee and I helped at the medical clinic –in a cargo container… out in the middle of a field… a few blocks away. (There was a generator so we had lights.)

People were lining up outside as we waited for the Kenyan doctor and nurse to arrive. It took a long time because they were coming from a nearby town on a motorcycle taxi and the roads were terrible. Three people on a motorcycle is not uncommon here. They had to stop though because of the road conditions and the doctor got off while the nurse was driven in and then the driver went back for the doctor.

Dr. Lee standing outside the cargo container clinic.
We served 58 individuals that day. The Kenyan doctor saw the patients and Dr. Lee ran the pharmacy and I was her assistant. Thank goodness for the two ladies who served as translators and helped us out. It was an interesting day for all of us. The cargo container medical clinic was a donation made by Clear Lake UMC.  It’s great to see what the Methodist church can accomplish as we all work together.

While I helped at the clinic, other members of our team worked on organizing a library at the orphanage. Many books have been sent here for all ages and they have built a large room that is designated as a library. Shelves are currently being built and some of them now have books ready for the children to use. We were truly blessed with the time we got to spend with the children and the staff there. The staff took good care of us and we saw how they shared the love of God with the precious children.

Tuesday was another day of travel.  We rode in the van forever. It feels like forever when you see the condition of what they call roads here. (Forever = 7 hours.) We arrived at the Fig Tree Camp and were welcomed with cool towels to wipe  off with since we were so dusty!

We are staying in tents. I am actually tent camping now! It is interesting. The tents have a nice bathroom connected to it! <<insert smiley face - the blog doesn't like emoticons>> We were instructed to keep the tents zipped up at all times to keep the monkeys out.

What incredible creatures
we saw on safari!

We went on a daylong safari today and saw so many animals: elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, Thompson Gazelles, Grant Gazelles, Impalas, and many more. What is truly amazing is the wildebeest migration. We have seen thousands of these huge animals. We also saw several Cheetahs and while driving to see two of them both of our vans got stuck in the mud! Several other vans came over and the drivers all got out and helped to get us out of the mud. There we were with cheetahs nearby along with other wild animals and these men were out of the vans. I can now say I have been mudding and had to have another vehicle push us out. What an adventure!

I have heard through other team members who received some emails that there has been some concern for our safety. We are fine and have felt safe every step of the way. I am eager to get home to share more about our mission trip and to show you the pictures I have.  Thank you for your many prayers!


P.S. It's almost 6 pm here. That means the hot water and electricity will be turned back on soon. ( this tent camping is interesting.) I've got to go in hopes of beating Michael to the shower!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rosemary... Where are you???

It's been a few days since we've heard from Rosemary, and I fear some of you may be getting a bit worried.  Don't be alarmed; all is well with her and the Mission team.  They have simply moved out of WiFi range for now.  As soon as she is able, Rosemary will be back with more tales of their Mission Adventures.  Stay tuned...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Joseph Now Has Hope at a Bright Future

Today was a another great day where we got to see the love of God in action. After chapel we visited the Zoe Ministries Office and learned more about this amazing organization. They help identify orphans and children who are considered heads of households and organize them into groups called families. Zoe offers these children hope at achieving their dreams by training  and empowering them to develop ways to support themselves and their younger siblings. This is an amazing program and it has many success stories. Three of our team members traveled out into the community today and visited with children who have gone through the Zoe program and are now running successful businesses. These children have grown into responsible adults who are productive citizens of their communities and oversee the care of those in their house hold.

MaKenna in her grocer's booth where she sells potatoes, grains, and charcoal to support her siblings.

Agnes earns money in her beauty shop to support her younger brothers and sisters.

The Zoe social workers, our driver, and team members enjoy a soda outside of Rose Kawy's shop. That's Rose in the doorway.

This afternoon we had the opportunity to go and play with some of the hospital patients and even some of the nursing staff. The highlight of this time for me was playing with beach balls with some of the adult male patients. The patients here have nothing to do to help pass the time. Those who are able go outside and visit with other patients. When our group was entering the pediatric wing with balls and craft supplies in order to play with the children some of the male patients tried to follow us. They were still outside waiting when we left the children. I recognized some of them from the day I did hospital rounds with the chaplain. As I passed them we smiled and waved at each other and I just couldn't keep going. Michael and I stayed back while the others in our group went to interact with children in another location. What fun we had! Those men were thrilled to be able to play with the beach balls. Some were hesitant at first but eventually everyone was standing up and participating. I noticed how they were conscious of each other's injuries and limitations as they hit the balls around. I was thrilled to see Joseph come out and join in the fun. Below is the story of Joseph that was written by Jim Monroe. Joseph came to the hospital 3 days ago. His recovery is going amazingly well.

Joseph had a toothache.  Joseph is an orphan.  When you are an orphan with a toothache and no money and no one to help you, what do you do?  You tough it out.  Which Joseph did until the tooth became infected.  Then abscessed.  Then developed into a major orbital abscess that affected his eye and threatened his brain.  When he had an abscess in his optical orbit the size of a small grapefruit Joseph went to a farmer and pleaded for a job.  After a week of hard labor this fifteen year old boy had earned 500 ksh, enough to see a doctor at the hospital.  He presented himself and was immediately taken to see Dr. Inoti, who recognized that the infection and abscess were now life-threatening.  But there was no money to treat him.  What to do?  We freed up 40,000 ksh (about $425) from the Service Fund and Dr. Inoti performed the delicate surgery.  He says it was one of the worst infections he has ever worked on.  Joseph is now recovering in the hospital with a good prognosis and will be discharged in a week or so with a referral to ZOE Ministries, our outreach program for AIDS Orphans of his age group.  He now has a future, thanks to the Service Fund.

Coloring paper-plate elephants with the hospital children and their mothers.

Playing beachballs and parachutes with the hospital patients.

Providing recreation for the male patients in the hospital.

The donations given to the Service Fund for Maua Methodist Hospital truly change lives. I will be glad to give everyone more information about how you can donate to this fund and help other children like Joseph.

Tonight our team is packing up in preparation of leaving Maua in the morning. We will be driving about 8 hours to go to the Kingdom Builder's Orphanage. We do not have any idea if we will have wifi access while we are there.  I will try to blog again when I am able.