The Giving Tree
to track your green fundraisers I am looking for 31 monthly sponsors to fund one day each month ($20.00 per month) and pray on that day each month. On that day I will be praying for you as God continues to work in the US through you and the calling He has on your life. This tracks the number of committed monthly sponsors.
to track your green fundraisers
I did the math and this is cool: Below I have included a chart with how much it will cost for me to carry the GOSPEL to Kenya: Every minute counts and so does every penny, and when you think in terms of lives hearing and understanding the Gospel of Christ… we can’t afford not to give!
Even a penny could change a life for all eternity.
Proverbs 11:25 “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
Support the Adventure
Become a Day Sponsor
Okay, so the day has come for Amanda and Lacey’s A-Dollar-A-Day Challenge. We are excited to see what God has in store for us over the next week… so excited that we practiced by walking a mile and a half barefoot today. We would like to share with you some pictures of our new home, all our belongings, our daily food portions, and our pre-challenge feet. We are going dark on this Dark Continent, removing ourselves from everything western. We will resurface Monday February 21st with an amazing story to tell. Each day we plan to journal our thoughts, feelings, and revelations, as well as video much of this journey. We ask for your prayers and support as we step out in obedience to raise awareness for one of Jesus’ greatest platforms…. LOVE for the least of these.
1This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:1 ESV
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
~1 Corinthians 4:10-13 ESV
I sit here on the eve of a day that might just change my life forever. A few weeks ago I was sitting on the rock at Tumaini reading a book about the millions of people in the world living in absolute poverty. I looked just beyond the pages and across the rugged dirt road into the yard of our neighbors. A grandmother, aged and weathered by years of harsh living, lives with her many grandchildren in their grass-thatched home. These kids were left behind in the wake of the AIDS crisis. I saw sweet Songa innocently running and playing in the yard, knowing his fate had already been decided by the mistakes of his parents. I realized in an instant the reality I was living in as my eyes shifted their focus back to the pages before me. I then began to think about all the comforts I still have within the walls of the compound, even though I live and serve among those in the third-world. Conviction overtook my soul and I knew that I could no longer watch poverty from across the street. In some crazy way I needed to know what it felt like… smelled like… I needed to taste hunger. So as the sun set behind that scene of poverty that night, God proposed a challenge to me. Live 1 week on $1 a day. I will show you hunger, I will show you pain, I will show you what it is to want, and to your surprise I will show you what it means to have plenty. Tomorrow begins a labor of love for my African neighbors and all those living in poverty around the world. How fitting that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I’ve always wondered why we need to set aside a day to celebrate those we love…. Shouldn’t we celebrate the love we have for each other everyday??? This Valentine’s Day I am choosing to show my love to the world by becoming like the least of these. It’s my prayer that this act of love will not just be a day of remembrance, but instead create awareness that one day might change the world. The journal entries that will follow in the coming weeks will document the thoughts and feelings of poverty. As I pen these words in red, may I be reminded of Christ’s love and servant hood… IN RED LETTERS!!!!
We look around everyday at Tumaini and see what seems to be an abundance of resources. Fields of sugarcane, greens, and maize; water flowing from local streams. As American’s living at Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre we never have to worry about where our food or water comes from. When the well runs dry we just get in the car and head to the local grocery for some bottled water and our house helps (maids) prepare lunch and dinner for us daily. Although we are infinitely thankful for our accommodations while in Kenya we desire to experience first hand what it’s like to live outside of the walls of our compound. What is it really like to live in poverty? We’ve all heard the staggering statistics about the millions of people in the world living on less than a dollar a day. We want to know what that really looks like, so that’s where our “A-Dollar-A-Day” Challenge comes in.
Many of you may think highly of us already for giving up our cushy lifestyles in America. DON’T!!! Many of you may be saying better her than me, or I admire your willingness to give up so much to go. We’ve heard all of these things before, and don’t get us wrong, they are encouraging words. Yes we did quit our jobs and leave our homes and families behind, but the truth is we still have access to so much more than the people surrounding us. That being said, we would also like to note that not everyone in our area lives on a dollar a day. Some families are business owners, teachers, drivers, doctors, and lawyers. They are doing quiet well for themselves even according to American standards. Many others are middle class families who work hard to make ends meet. They look much different than our middle class families, as they may only have 3 or 4 changes of clothes, no running water, and a bicycle instead of a car. Nonetheless, these people are NOT living in poverty by Kenyan standards. Another misconception is that a dollar goes much further in a third world country. Yes this may be true for some items such as avocados that go for about a nickel, but in most cases items are much more expensive. An example of this is gasoline that goes for about six dollars per gallon. As you can see a dollar won’t get you very far.
Okay so back to the challenge. In honor of our love for the nations, beginning the morning of February 14th and ending the evening of February 20th we have committed to live on 80 Kenyan shillings per day. This is the equivalent of 1 US dollar. We want to fully embrace the lifestyle of those who actually live on a dollar a day. This means we will not be allowed any of the luxuries that currently surround us. This includes toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, or toothpaste. It also includes electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, ipods, etc. We will only have the clothes on our back, 1 other change of clothes, and we will be barefoot for the entire week. Finally, no flashlights or electricity, only oil filled lamps and candles. Extreme you may say???? Tell that to the millions to whom this is a reality.
We will be using our money to seek shelter, buy food, and of course tithe. Check out our budget for details:
Amanda and Lacey’s A-Dollar-A-Day Challenge Budget
Daily cost per person
Ten percent of our income and this is the most important to us.
1 Room Mud House
(Average cost 500 ksh/month) for this type of accommodation
1 Bar of Soap
One full bar = 48ksh we will cut in half for sanitary purposes J
1 Roll of Toilet Paper
This is not a necessity to others but it is to us… again for sanitary purposes J
This amount will have to sustain us daily
** Special Note: We will be walking to the well or spring daily to fetch our water for drinking, bathing, and laundry, however we will be drinking bottled water during this time to prevent serious illness.
We would love to share our journey with you and you better believe that we are going to need some serious prayer support. After our challenge we will be posting our journal entries as well as a video blog that will allow you to see both the physical and emotional struggles and obstacles associated with extreme poverty. We are filled with mixed emotions as we enter this challenge and pray that it will enlighten us and challenge others to get involved in the fight against poverty in a tangible way… More details to come...
FUN STUFF AND HEART STRINGS
So much has happened since I posted my last blog and I’m not really sure where to start to catch you up to speed with God’s activity here at Tumaini and in my heart. So I just wanna tell you some fun stuff and some things that pulled on the strings of my heart! Enjoy ☺
Just to keep things consistent I wanted to first of all give a Leroy update. For those of you who are not followers of my blog you may want to refer to the 2 previous blogs… for those of you who know who Leroy is, we did find his grandfather in the shower the other day. We’ve also seen several of his relatives still lurking around the house. His cousin the cricket really liked the movie we were watching the other night as he would sing when the movie was on but as soon as we stopped it to figure out what and where the sound was, he would stop singing. I finally found him behind my laundry basket and we disposed of him and continued our movie in peace. Fun times!!!
Recently I had a photo shoot with my girls and Moses with our Tennessee shirts on. I brought them back for all the workers at Tumaini, plus baby Sara, Moses, Sophie, and Sylvia… We are still working hard to get everyone together for the full photo shoot so I will keep you posted when this happens… Fun times!
This past weekend Lacey celebrated her 24th birthday in Kenya and we decided to have a girl’s weekend in Kisumu, about a 2 hour matatu ride from Tumaini. We arrived in town and found the cutest little tuktuk driver named Sadik who provided stellar transportation all weekend. He was precious! We stayed at this cute little Bed and Breakfast near the lake. We were pleased to find comfortable beds, fast free internet, a hot shower, and the icing on the cake… air conditioner. It was fabulous!!!!! After we checked in we called our driver Sadik to take us into town for lunch. I took Lacey to my favorite restaurant and we had pasta, pizza, and MILKSHAKES!!!!! Need I say more??? After that we walked to the immigration office to renew her visa… YES, she has decided to stay and come home when I do in March. Woo hooo…. Anyway she renewed her visa with no problem and I finally got my alien card… that expired Dec 16th, 2010. But hey, at least I now have a cool souvenir right???? From there we walked to the Maasai Market and visited with my friends there and bought some more souvenirs. It was an awesome day where we just got to be tourist. I am so thankful for a day to just be “normal”, with no agenda about how to minister to the people. When we arrived back at the hotel we realized that we forgot to buy hair dye for Lacey… yes she is a brave woman for trusting me to dye her hair with Kenyan hair dye. So we went back out to make some final purchases for the evening. We came back to the hotel just in time for dinner and there was this precious man named Abraham who was serenading us with a variety of songs including You Raise Me Up. This lead to Lacey joining him in song. It was too cute. One thing led to another and several hours later we found ourselves singing with him and the hotel manager. We covered everything from country, to Kiswahili songs, to John Denver, and finally praise and worship. We had a blast and as much as it was nice to get away from ministry that day, we realized that the call to take the Gospel to the nations is not something you can take a day off from. The Lord gave us an opportunity to encourage our Kenyan brothers with scripture that night and we too were encouraged by their kind words. When we returned to the room that night we realized we still needed to dye Lacey’s hair… Let’s just say it was a late night and if you must know her hair turned out well… Fun times!!!
This past Sunday my favorite taxi driver showed up at Tumaini and wanted to show me his new car. He actually wanted me to drive him, so of course I said Yes!!!!! I got behind the wheel… on the right side of the car ☺ and laughed as I heard the song, Amanda The Light of My Life, playing on the radio. I think he played that song just for me. Fun times!!!!
The stars have been so beautiful lately and I’ve spent many evenings just admiring God’s creation. Our night guard, Ezekiel, came and greeted me as I was looking up at the stars and I started to point out some constellations to him. He asked me why wazungu always like looking at the stars, and then he said that Kenyans never really pay much attention to such things. I told him that I liked it because it reminds me of how big God is and how amazing His creation is. Then I accused him of being an angel because he never sleeps… I see him guarding us all night and then working on the compound all day. He assured me that he was very much human and then we laughed together…. Fun times!!
On the way to Kisumu for Lacey’s birthday, we stopped in Mbale to wait on more people to board our matatu. It was a crazy busy Friday and I was just observing the hustle and bustle of town. I looked over to my right and saw a lady in the distance just sitting out in front of a shop. She had her head down and looked to be sick. As I continued to watch her I noticed she could hardly hold her head up. It broke my heart as people just passed her by and did nothing to help. As I sat in the front of the matatu God began to stir in my heart to take some kind of action. The lady was far away and the matatu was about to leave the stage, so I grabbed this man who was standing outside my window and said… do you see that lady over there? The one that looks like she is sick? She is sitting down over there. Can you take this water and just give it to her. The guy looked at me kinda funny and this other guy stepped forward and said yes I will do it. I handed him the bottle and Lacey was able to look back and see him place the water in her lap as we drove away. I’m not sure if that lady lived to see another day. She looked like she could die any minute. I just said a prayer as we pulled away that she would know that the good and perfect gift of that water came from her Father above and that she would know that she was loved. God pulled on my heartstrings!!!!
It’s been over 2 weeks since we have seen a drop of rain and people are going without water and food. We have a well here at Tumaini but it has been dry and someone is suppose to come and repair it… I think they are on Kenyan time. In the mean time we have been dealing with water that is brown and undrinkable. Unfortunately many do not have a choice but to drink and bathe in this water. Just the thought that we don’t have to struggle with this in the US pulls on my heartstrings. We take so much for granted!
I’ve been teaching life skills class and the kids seem to love it. I love it too. I’ve notice that the kids write about me in many of the assignments I give them. Today I was teaching the kids to encourage each other with positive words and we went around the circle saying good things about one another. The last student, Ruth, stood up and I told her that I still hadn’t gone. Do you have something good to say about teacha Amanda? She said, I love you. Need I say more… HEARTSTRINGS!!!!
Well to all who may be concerned that our spider friend Leroy has an angry family ready to avenge his death you can sleep easy. Our walls show no sign of his family and we are SO thankful. As for the water situation, we only went a few days without water as some men came to fix the well. It also rained Thursday, which helped settle all the dust and gave the soil a much-needed drink. This week of teaching went really well. We have been talking about self-awareness and the kids really enjoy the activities we do in class. We looked at ourselves in the mirror and talked about our physical features, how God made us unique and special and how we should embrace who he made us to be. They LOVE this, as many of them have never seen themselves in a real mirror before. I have been discussing the changes that occur in our bodies during adolescence with the 6th grade class, and as you can imagine that leads to some interesting discussions. I love this class and I’m amazed at how often an opportunity arises to relate our topic back to Christ and His love for us. At the beginning of each class we say our Faith Statement together. It’s from Beth Moore’s Believing God Bible Study that I taught the kids last semester. They love it and remembered all of it on the very first day of class. GO GOD!!!!!
God is who He says He is
God can do what He says He can do
I am who God says I am
I can do all things through Christ
God’s Word is alive and active in me
I’M BELIEVING GOD
On Thursday it was time to call all the kids to the office who had received sponsor gifts from the US. I have to share this one story with you… it touched
my heart and soul. Here’s Emanuel’s story:
Emanuel’s sponsor sent some money for me to buy a few things for him here in Kenya. They suggested that I use the money to meet his immediate needs, so I went up to the school earlier this week and just made some observations. What I saw broke my heart. He was wearing shoes about 2 sizes too small. His toes were busting out the ends and the soles were worn unevenly. I also noticed he was carrying his books in a worn plastic bag, like a WalMart bags that had ripped at the handles and been tied together into a million knots. The next afternoon I headed to town to purchase some new shoes and a new backpack. When I called Emanuel to the office Thursday afternoon he waited patiently as all the other kids received their various gifts. Now it was his turn. I called him out to the front porch and presented him with a letter from his sponsor. We read it together and then I handed him his backpack suggesting that he take a look inside. We looked in all the pockets until we came across a shiny new pair of black shoes. His eyes lit up his face like the moon lights up a dark night sky. My guess is that he’s never had a NEW pair of shoes before. This was special. I looked down at his feet hanging out of his shoes and suggested that we try on the new ones. As he removed his feet from his old shoes I noticed the mud caked on them from where he was helping clean at the school just a few minutes earlier. The Lord gently spoke to my heart and said, Amanda, I want you to wash Emanuel’s feet. Show him my love, Amanda, show him my love. Now for those of you who have known me for a while you know that I would barely even touch my own feet let alone someone elses up until a few years ago. Feet are just not my thing. It’s funny how over the past few years God has changed my point of view concerning feet. Anyway, I had Lacey retrieve a basin of water and a towel and I washed Emanuel’s feet. If you are ever in need of a humbling experience, just wash the feet of a kid who walks miles each day to school with huge holes in his shoes. I must say that in that moment his feet were absolutely positively without a doubt the most beautiful sight I had ever laid eyes on. Who knows, these feet may be the very feet that one day carry the gospel to the nations. God has BIG plans for this kid. As I finished drying his feet, putting on his new bright red socks, and shiny black tough soled shoes, he looked me straight in the eye and said may God bless you… thank you. What could I say but you are so welcome and thank you Emanuel for being such a wonderful kid. This kid is going places. Not because he has new red socks and shiny black shoes, but because he knows what it means to be blessed to be a blessing!!!!! I know his response blessed me beyond measure. Praise be to God. It is my prayer that each of you know how truly blessed you are. May you see the overflow of those blessings revealing the glory of the Lord in your life and in the lives of others! Bwana Asifiwe.
Well, I‘ve been back at Tumaini for a week now and it’s been great seeing the staff and children again. This time it’s been refreshing to have some else from the US living in the house and serving with me. Lacey has really helped me process all that happens here on a daily basis and she is a blast to be around. God really answered my prayer by sending her to Tumaini. This week was the first week of the school year and we worked hard to help the teachers establish a schedule that will work for them. This term I will be teaching a class called Life Skills, which is sort of like a basic psychology class for kids. We will be discussing things like self-awareness, emotions, and communication skills. I will be teaching classes 3-7 on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. Lacey and I will also be working with the kids during the lunch reading program. For those who have donated books, thank you so much for making this reading program possible. We still have a long way to go to get all the books over to Africa, but I am working on several options to get them here ASAP. These kids LOVE to read and are constantly asking me for books. They are really passionate about learning. Finally I will be helping the teachers establish a club program in the afternoons for the kids, offering such things as Bible Club, 4H, Science Club, etc.
In the evenings Lacey and I will be serving as tutors for the kids at the Children’s Home, and one evening a week we will be having a Bible Study with the young girls. God is really doing some awesome things already this New Year and I can’t wait to see what he has in store.
On another note, we have had several interesting adventures this week. When I arrived baby SaraBeth remembered me and we sang Oh Happy Day together. This week we will be perfecting Rocky Top! She was so cute cheering my name as we pulled the car into the carport. Loved it!!!!
Poor Toba fell on a stick that jabbed into his shin. We worked for hours to remove it, but it just wouldn’t budge. So that resulted in a fun little trip to the hospital in Malava. (note the sarcasm). They told us that Toba would have to go to the theatre or as we would say surgery. After seeing the wazungu girls coming they decided to charge us double what they would normally charge… which was about the same amount of money posted for an emergency C-Section. WOW!!!!! We decided to take him back to Tumaini and have Rose take him to Kakamega where he got the attention he needed. They removed the stick under anesthesia for about 1,000 ksh or about $15.00. We are glad Toba is back to normal!
Yesterday Lacey and I decided to go for a little walk and 2 hours and 15 minutes later we found our way home. Lets just say that we felt like we had just gone through pre-season from the old days. We are definitely a bit sore this morning.
When we arrived home from our walk all sweaty and sticky, we were informed that the well is now dry and we have to walk about a ½ mile one way for water… No big deal for the kids, but us American’s are spoiled. To top off the week, we were getting ready for bed last night and Lacey noticed this gynormous spider on the wall and forced me to kill it . We named it Leroy… it was HUGE, but I will let you be the judge!!!!!