Archive for January, 2012

Reflections

Friday, January 20th, 2012

23-Dec-2011 10:28, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 3.5, 18.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

The common questions asked now that we are home are “How was it? Did you have a good trip?” It’s great that people want to know and the immediate answer is “fantastic;” although having witnessed poverty and the needs of many people fantastic is hardly an adequate response. We have so many stories to tell; some sad, others inspirational. Do we tell of the lady caring for a baby abandoned on the beach soon after birth? Or of a mother of 7 children taking in another 3 orphaned children? Or being given Christmas gifts from someone deeply impoverished? Or comforting someone hearing of the death of their sister? Or of the lunchtime queue for food? Or the obvious impact on two young men caring for a special friend dying in pain? Or watching a young boy starting school after a two hour walk? Or..? Or..?

20-Feb-2009 07:47, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 18.0, 49.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 400

Perhaps the starting place is considering a picture in our minds. The coast south of Mombasa is lined with many fantastic sandy beaches with shells to pick up and collect. Some are brightly coloured; others have lost their shine and when you pull them out of the sand are chipped and broken.  Many of the people we have met are like the shells; the more you engage in conversation, the more you appreciate their fragility and their beauty and inner strength in the face of adversity. In a sense, the beach sums up the mission of Education for Life working in an area with thousands of lives. Like the thousands of shells on the beach, which would, in the course of time be broken by the power of the ocean beyond the shoreline, Education for Life can only help a finite amount of people.  This requires discernment; knowing where to start, caring for the broken as well as the ones that shine and to have the faith to let go at the appropriate time.  Having set the picture the answer to “How was it?” “Did you have a good trip?” is “we have so much we need to share with you!”

The great news is that we can all be part of this mission! The more we take part in it through prayer, giving and doing; the wider the impact in the community served by Education for Life.

David Cole (St. Lukes, Nottingham)

03-Jan-2012 16:18, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 5.0, 18.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

Visitor updates

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
25-Dec-2011 05:57, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 5.0, 18.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS!

It’s Christmas Day and here we are up at 5 a.m. getting the beef together for the Christmas church and community meal. An hour later we are sat outside chopping onions and tomatoes with the cooking team amidst an atmosphere of excitement and expectation. On the wooden fire the beef and pilau rice is being stirred in the sufarias (large cooking pots). Smells delicious and only 6 hours to go!

What a fantastic sight to see the classroom used for the Tumaini church overflowing for the Christmas day service.  O.K. apart from “We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year” we didn’t understand much of the songs but the praise and worship of the infant Christ was vibrant and joyful. No Christmas service is complete without a nativity play and we weren’t disappointed as an array of angels, shepherds, sheep, wise men,   plus Mary & Joseph came forward.  Prior to Christmas Day we had spent the previous 3 mornings with the children explaining the Christmas story and making decorations for homes as well as church. It was good to link these activities with this service using the stars we had made both adults and children wrote on the stars their promises to God and their expressions of what He means to them. These were stuck on the walls as a vivid reminder that the Saviour born 2000 years ago dwells with his people across the world today.

25-Dec-2011 09:03, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 4.0, 24.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

In this country of contrasts it was still somewhat bizarre to find a large musical Santa Claus outside a supermarket, to hear carols inside, to see a snowman and Christmas  tree carved in sand on the beach,  and to see Father Christmas (complete with red suit, beard and trainers) handing gifts to children in a restaurant. Away from this Western commerciality for many many children there is no magical delivery of presents.  So the fruition of many hours of wrapping small gifts ( around 240) was completed in the space of a few minutes as after church we distributed gifts of small  toy cars, pencils, pens, notebooks, jewellery, hand stitched crosses, key rings hair accessories  etc. to everyone. And of course Christmas day isn’t complete without a lollipop enjoyed by both young and old.

22-Dec-2011 09:02, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 5.0, 35.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

So to the meal.  Men & women sitting separately and children sitting with siblings and friends enjoying this wonderful mixture of beef, spices, expertly chopped onions and tomatoes, and pilau rice. We are in Kenya after all so of course we eat from the plate with our hands (apart from Emma who resorted to a spoon).

The afternoon is spent chatting, renewing old friendships and making new ones and also praying for someone who broke down in tears on us.

Who needs turkey? Well you can’t refuse the hospitality of an English lady living locally can you?  Whilst known to Maureen Clayton, Linda had met us only very briefly as we dropped bottled gas at her house but very generously invited us to share a Christmas meal with her plus other friends. So at 9 p.m. we were sat enjoying Turkey plus the usual trimmings and vegetables.   When we went to bed at 1 a.m. there wasn’t much time to reflect on the day as sleep beckoned. Looking back it was a day of both sharing what little we had and more lavishly under different circumstances. Our God is equally and without favour the God of the rich and poor and we will forever remember this special day with its contrasts and fun. In closing we would like to thank family & friends who generously gave so that we could finance the community meal, gifts and so much more. Thank you.

David, Maureen, Emma & Matthew (St. Lukes, Nottingham)

25-Dec-2011 10:00, Canon Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL, 10.0, 18.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 400

Happy New Year

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
28-Dec-2011 06:09, Canon Canon PowerShot SX100 IS, 2.8, 6.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 80

Happy New Year. It’s always exciting to start the new year off with good news;

The well project that we have been working on over the past few months, in partnership with The Gathering from Caronport, Canada and Tumaini Family Church is now completed!

The ultimate hope was pure drinking water; unfortunately, we didn’t quite reach that goal. The water turned out to be slightly brackish. This was a little disappointing at first, but not entirely surprising given the challenge of hitting a thick interface of pure drinking water in this region. The good news is that fresh water for other uses is a close second best. Practically speaking, it will mean free, clean, fresh water for every purpose other than drinking. That includes bathing, washing dishes, cleaning clothes, rinsing produce, scrubbing floors, flushing toilets, etc. We understand that this will save families as much as one day’s salary per week! There is genuine excitement and thanksgiving here.

Thanks to all those who sacrificed to make this possible, we hope you have a blessed year.

Xx Glyn, Jane & Maureen

28-Dec-2011 06:06, Canon Canon PowerShot SX100 IS, 2.8, 6.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 80