Friday, June 29, 2012

Gratitude



June 28th, 2012


Hi Friends,

It is difficult to believe it has been over 2 months since we returned from our short term trip to Kenya.  This is a long overdue thank you. I am feeling embarrassed.

I have thought of writing our thanks often but am finding this difficult.  Wish I could simply go around and give you all a hug and say, "Thanks," and be done. But that is not right or fair to you. Part of me has needed emotional rest and part of me has wanted to escape and forget.  However, the truth is that is not possible.

This trip was only possible through your encouraging words, prayers and financial support. The girls and I do not take this lightly. Our hearts have been overwhelmed and your support has not only made us feel loved but deepened our faith in the power of Jesus. The same power available to all of us. He knows us. He knows our name. He knows our heart. He knows our need. Not only does he know, He PROVIDES!

Grant Jenkins our church staffer on the trip taught some team members to lead a song at church in Nairobi called, "GOD KNOWS MY NAME"  The church we attended, New Song Nairobi consists of a  congregation of predominately poor families,walking from the slums.  The pastor Garry had several women come forward and help lead in the singing. Sang they did! Sang and began to dance. Smiles abounded. As I learned the words and sang with them, I began thinking about their living situations and their daily struggles. I prayed they could believe and saw the belief in their hearts.  Then I realized I am the one who is selfish and insecure. I am the one whose God is not big enough. I am the one living in comfort and self sufficiency. Who am I to share that hope with them? They got it! They were teaching me.

Those woman know their God is big enough. They are not mad that they were born in a slum, that their children are hungry, or that they face illness and death, because they have felt the touch of their maker and they have confidence in whom to put their trust.  Thought I would share these lyrics with you.  For those of you who know me well, you know I was crying in this moment.  I continue to experience tears in moments when I reflect this time in church together.  I hope I will be cleansed to this deeper level of assurance and prayerful that I be a better witness in the process.

GOD KNOWS MY NAME:

I have a Maker

He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call.


These lyrics helped me keep hope alive as we played with so many children, loving on them, praying with them, sharing bible songs and stories. School was out and in each slum the kids abounded!!!   It was a blast. They will take whatever attention you can give. We played games in a large field, in a small field and in the streets. Several kids accepted Jesus in their hearts. It was pure beauty admist hunger, runny noses, dirty clothes and old burn scars. Peter, one day said, "I was peed on today and it was the best day of my life!"




Home visits, hospital visits, church service and Jacaranda Kids Day all made up the rest of our time together. God showed up consistently.  Our team faced illness but experienced quick healing. We learned the importance of teamwork and some of us over came our worst fears.

We walked through some awful mud and sewage and cried later at the thought of those we met living daily in those circumstances. It was the fall season there and the bugs were worse along with the rain. One night it rained into our guest house. I wondered how little Beatrice and Esther were managing in their makeshift homes with the rats their older sister had told me about earlier in the day. God help them, I prayed. And I remembered, God Knows their Name.

One divine encounter was  a sick baby and Mom who didn't know how sick he was. Pnuemonia. Amanda, the Peds NP with us, happened to have the antibiotic injection the baby needed. So alongside a curb in a narrow walk way(close to some poop) she treated this precious baby that God knew!   We weighed the baby with our arms, "11 pounds?"  "Yeah, 11#, sounds good." Amanda calculated the dose.  This provided time to talk through our interpreter and answer baby care questions the mom had. God worked as he does directly through his people when in obedience to him.  In the end, the woman cried, "Thank you. God has come to my home today."


Jacaranda Kids day was amazing as we celebrated the kids who have been sponsored, wrote letters, played games, updated their pictures.  It was the most physically demanding day.  Over 100 Nairobi children contained and moving to different stations was not an easy task. Jessica edited over 300 pictures. Dave and Amy wrote or updated as much computer information.  We ended the time by handing out a large basket of give-aways to each Jacaranda Creations branch leader.  Excitedly, each basket contained some medical (over the counter and nutrition) supplies to help meet their daily needs. We also had beautiful books, jump ropes and Prayer Bears from Crosspoint to give to the children. Ushering them out the gate (altho a relief) was emotional.  They did not want to leave.

There is so much more to the days events and more I could share about each team member but I think you get the picture. Lauryn , Jessica and I experienced deepened gratitude for the Jacaranda Kids school sponsorship program. School provides them with an education and hope to change their world but also provides them a meal each day. Organically, (or literally through Christ alone) there are now nearly 100 kids sponsored.  Our goal was 100 and now Brenda is saying 1000.  We (the Hewett family) are committed to volunteering to that end.

School was out in Nairobi and without school, the kids were so, so, so, so hungry. I can say that strong enough.  Starving. Maybe thats it. Some we have known now for 3 years lacked the energy to smile. One being Beatrice. Precious Breatice. Three years ago, God cared for her, bringing her in to my life. She was very sick and God healed her. My heart was stolen in for her in 2009. To see her hungry when she was out of school was almost unbearable. But let me tell you about Beatrice. We snuck her off to give her water and a protein bar (as we did not have enough for all 100 children playing with us). She drank and was grateful.  We were not prepared for what we witnessed next. We gathered the children to begin our walk back to their homes in the slum and Beatrice (starving Beatrice) began breaking off the tiniest pieces of protien bar and passing them down the line with her friends. There are no words.  Except the question: would you do that?  Beatrice is Jesus with skin on. Are we?




 Lauryn had to detox when she returned because emotionally she was ready to drop out of school and move there to open a home for the children. She is still not sure that God is not calling here there to live at some point.  None of us is really sure of our next steps with ministry in Nairobi, but we know we will never be the same. Jessica stayed longer to work with Brenda, Amy and Dave. She completed more home visits, heard more, experienced more and loved every minute, but she too has needed some time to not feel the depth of the pain. Friend her on FB and you can see more of her awesome pictures.

We know our experience and touching those around the world with hope and love would not be possible without you!

THANK YOU!!

With much love and an overflowing grateful heart,
Rhonda







Friday, April 13, 2012

This is the DAY!

Today is it!!  We miraculously leave again for Nairobi, Kenya.  We owe thanks to so many people who have prayed, encouraged, provided financial provision and donations to take with us.  THANK YOU!!!

I will try to update this blog at least once.  But we do have a FACEBOOK Page:  Cross Point Nairobi Team.  Please "like" our page and follow along there.  Internet is not consistent while there, but we will do our best.

It has been crazy these past few weeks with work responsibilities piling up for both John and I, family illnesses and then last weekend the sudden unexpected death of our nephew, William. Thank you once again for your prayers. I would be dishonest if I didn't say that each day this week has been difficult to emotionally engage in  our trip to Nairobi.  My heart is sad.

I did have one friend write me and ask how I can reconcile this event with God, as "his timing is so confusing"  This question has brought me to my knees.  Mostly for the pain I know that my extended family is experiencing a this time.


 I believe bad things happen for 3 reasons, 1. We live in a fallen world. 2. The result of our personal sin. 3. The effect from someone else's sin.

But I do agree God's timing is confusing.  I know he could have saved William, but he choose to bring him home.  I guess, this is just where trusting and believing come in.  I have felt the strength of others prayers this week and a peace that I know can only come from God. He weeps with us, he died on the cross, so I know he understands on a personal level, not just an I am God level.  The scripture says, he is close to the brokenhearted, he binds up our wounds and makes beauty from ashes.  While he certainly allows our free will , when we choose to allow him, he has never failed to overcome on a heart level, transforming us to be more like him.  His goal is not our comfort, but rather our hearts.  He wants us to choose him.  He loved us so much he stayed on that cross, the nails didn't hold him there, love did! I have to trust in that love.  I can't imagine the depth of that love. I am so grateful for that love that saves me daily. I choose to respond in faith and choose to show love to others.  Altho not perfectly do I do this.  But it is my hearts desire.   It is the only love that brings freedom, healing, hope and joy!  Comfort is not his ultimate goal, but healing is and in that we find comfort.

I have been so sad this week I have wondered how am I supposed to comfort those who live in such poverty and face pains on a level most of us can't imagine, yet I am grieved myself.  It's funny before each trip like this I have tried to fill myself with scripture, "put in" extra time with God.  It occurred to me last night that this is something my daily life should be like, not just prep for a trip.  Life is a trip, everyday, every place.  Several have mentioned that life has been exceptionally hard lately because satan is trying to derail and distract me, our team from a great work to be accomplished in Nairobi.  I don't disagree  BUT isn't that the truth for everyone, everyday.  Satan wants to distract and derail us from the work God wants to do in us and through us!

But the truth of the matter is, life here on earth is never perfect, never without pain or suffering. The Greater TRUTH is Jesus and He has overcome the world.  Fear Not, Rhonda. Fear Not, World.  God will accomplish his work.

Thanks again to each of you!  May whatever you face today lead you to Jesus.

Keep us in your prayers.  Safety: violence has escalated in Kenya, particularly in Kibera Slum, one of the slums we are hoping to do home visits in. Health: the team stays fully functioning and protected from illness.  HOPE: That we bring light and healing to a very dark place.  I love each you and my gratitude to you is great. Family: Pray for family left behind during these next 2 weeks. Pray protection over them and pray for peace in their hearts.

love,
Rhonda and the girls.

                                         I am excited to hug this sweet family!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hey friends!
Jessica here. I just wanted to take a second and mention how excited the Crosspoint team and I are about traveling to Nairobi, Kenya in April to join forces with our good friends at Jacaranda Creations. My sister, mom, and I have been so thankful for all the donations, prayer, and overall support we have received over the past few months and we are getting closer and closer to our end goal! Altogether, we need around 3,000 more dollars to make our trip happen! If you would take a second and consider supporting us financially or through prayer that would be a huge blessing to not only my family, but the Crosspoint team  as well. If you are interested in making a financial donation please e-mail Johnrhon@comcast.net or Jesrenee12@yahoo.com or simply click the donate button on this blog!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rewind and Fastfoward

     Fastforward and Rewind        

Dear Family and Friends,  

Hope this finds each of you well and feeling much gratitude filling your hearts this Thanksgiving season!

Through our trip toNairobi in June God has moved in greater ways than we could have imagined.  First of all, our home church Crosspoint Community has partnered with Jacaranda Creations to start up a sewing branch in another slum area of Nairobi.  As you may remember, the Jacaranda is a tree plentiful in Nairobi.  Brenda and Garry Kean, the founders of this micro-entreprise have more than 70 women and men sewing at locations around Nairobi.  These men and woman live in desparate situations but are filled joy and hope in the Lord.  They connect to him, knowing he is their vine and they are his branches. Mostly this connectedness comes through the work of Jacaranda Creations.  It is so exciting to see the involvment and support of my home church and friends! 

The blessings have continued through the founding of our child sponsorship program, Jacaranda Kids.  The Hewett family serves on the committee along with several others who went on the trip with us. Since August, 47 kids have been sponsored. This means they are in school, some for the first time ever. On top of this they also receive one meal a day!  This is huge.  God continues to grow this ministry in amazing ways and we are constantly humbled at how big God  uses his children in America to be the answer to prayers of a 5 year old in Africa. 

Our church has now decided to send two teams per year to support the work of the Keans in Nairobi, Kenya. The first trip will be as soon as April 2012. During this trip we will  minister to the women and children in the slums.  We are hopeful to bring all the sponsored kids together for a one day camp. This is not an easy or inexpensive day!  They come from all areas of the city and since nearly 70% of Nairobi is made up of slums. Traffic is crazy and transportation expensive.

Immediately our girls declared they are going.  Jessica only needing two classes to graduate high school as adjusted her schedule. Lauryn, a sophmore in college has spoken to her advisors for next semester and has been granted 3 semester credits to go on the trip.  Myself, well of course, I want to go back.  I miss and worry about some of those children.  I gain so much from the woman who sew, teaching me pure and real joy. And when asked if I would go and help lead the team, I HAD to say, yes. 

This is all happening so fast and I am so excited.  It's the "fastword"  in the title. 
BUT,
the "rewind "is once again I have no idea how to pay for this trip. I must be crazy.  I also dread writing and asking for support but the truth of the matter is your support is what we need.  I think God enjoys keeping me humble this way. But on the other hand I am so excited God loves me (us) enough to keep me walking close to Him. Trusting in Him and not on my independent, self sufficient self.

John would love to return with us, but as some of you know he was laid off in August.  By the grace of God he started a new job in October but leave time is not available in April.  We will miss him!! But grateful for so much.

Brenda Kean, missionary Nairobi.

The cost of this trip is $2,600 each  The money will be going toward flight, lodging, and assisting Jacaranda ministries.We have been saving money and participating in group fundraisers but we need your help. Any donation is much appreciated.

You can donate on-line by going to crosspoint.tv/give, (click: One time donation, Campus: Bellevue, Other: [A box will pop up] then type Hewett Family+ Nairobi then continue to the payment info.).

If you would prefer you can mail a donation to Crosspoint Community Church at 4301 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209 Checks should be made payable to CPCC. Please be sure to put in the memo line (Hewett-Africa). All gifts are tax deductible.

Thank you so very much.  May you be blessed!

Love,
Rhonda and the Girls (Lauryn and Jessica)                                                                     11.26.11

PS. Plus, I have a car trunk full of donated sewing supplies including a brand new sewing machine. Excited for the opportunity to deliver in person.  Please pray we can get these things safely to the women in Nairobi.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who Cares He Cares!

I was driving into work this morning on I-40 and looked up to the sky at some clouds and I felt aware of God's presence. Have you ever done that? It amazes me how nature is the quickest trigger linking my emotions to our Creator.

It amazes me how small I am in the universe, yet how God reveals himself even to me.

My thoughts wondered to 6yo Beatrice with TB in Marurui,Nairobi,Kenya. How miraculous it was to have her been seen by a doctor that cared so much, he actually listened and become an advocate for her. This led to a diagnosis and treatment in a clinic, after months of my friend Brenda Kean, trying to solve the problem at another clinic: Beatrice, coughing, not feeling well often. She weighs 25# at 6 yo of age. It truly was a moment to feel aware of God's presence

God provided for Beatrice. It was all Him, there is just no other explanation. And you know what? She is one of millions of children suffering. But God saw her!

Do you ever feel like your problems are just not big enough for God? Or maybe God is too busy, or doesn't really care. Don't be decieved, remember Beatrice.

Oh, How he love us!
Loves us all!
Rhonda






Monday, June 20, 2011

Nairobi Hope Now 2011

We named our trip Nairobi Hope Now. We felt like we could bring hope to those in need. What we learned is quite different. One team member, stated on our final night "it's like we came to save but they in turn saved us." This profound truth broke my heart further.

Yes, we walked in 4-5 slums, visited homes, witnessed poverty that you think you are prepared for from pictures you have seen but in reality there is no way you can feel it unless you are there.

Sitting in the homes of the women who sew with the Jacaranda Creations Ministry of Brenda and Garry Kean, (www.gbkean.com) you see the hope of Jesus in their smiles and you hear the hope in their hearts. They trust God to provide. The pray for provision and believe. They retell stories of God's faithfulness in their lives while we sit in their home of tin, cardboard and mud. They share their gratitude for school for their children because on those days a meal is provided on weekends they only have tea to give them. They believe our team was in part an answer to their prayers. An extremely humbling proclamation. One I am not sure anyone on this Crosspoint Team is prepared to receive.

You see we did all step out of our comfort zone, we met regularly, we fundraised, asked for support, prayed and watched God miraculously provide for us to go. BUT these ladies and men believe for their daily bread. Our miracle is small, our faith is small. They teach us to believe bigger, love larger and walk stronger.

In the worlds of sweet 12 yo Pennina from Marurui Slum, " When I get sick, I can not go to the doctor. I pray to Jesus and he heals me." With such confidence she states as she pointed to the sky, I had to look away briefly to contain my tears.

But truly are our tears for those living in such poverty or are our tears for the poverty of our own spirit? I wonder.

With a broken heart,
Rhonda


Jessica singing and dancing with Pennina!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hands of the Healer


Sweet Beatrice. I love this girl. I met her two years ago and she was very sick. She looks a lot better, but unfortunately has only gained 3 lbs in 2 years. She is 6 years old and weights 25 lbs. Her cough continues despite Brenda taking her to the clinic many times. My heart sank when I saw her again. But, Brenda was able to arrange a visit with a new doctor this time. I explained to him what has been happening the past 2 years with Beatrice and I do believe he was an angel in disguise. He treated her without payment and walked us to the hospital for x-rays and communicated with the chest clinic on Beatrice behalf. Shockingly, I went in with her for the chest x-ray and the "technician" took the picture with the previous patient, (another young girl) still redressing. No metal shield. I pulled Virginia and I behind a brick wall. Crazy! This is their government healthcare. Anyway, the doctor brought the x-ray to me and allowed me behind the counter to view the picture with him. TB! But amazingly I was thankful it wasn't HIV. Beatrice started her medicines. It will take 6 months which is a huge commitment for her Mom. Pray for them. This time I want to bring her home even more than my last visit. But we pray for complete healing, and Brenda spoke over her that she will become a doctor in her community and help change the world she lives in! Brenda sees all through the eyes of the Lord, not through their circumstances. She constantly teaches me this!

Beatrice visited some patients with us when we were done with the clinic. She put her sweet little hand on the head of Jane, the 12 yo dying in the hospital and prayed over her with me! May the hands of the Healer touch Beatrice and work through her!

With love,
Rhonda



Monday, June 13, 2011

Nairobi Days

I haven't been able to write much with limited internet time, but I am not sure I have words to write adequately either.

This trip has been wonderful, emotional, inspiring, and tiring. It's great to be able to see the team members experience life in the slums of Kenya, meet the people and share the love of Christ with them.

However, often we have experienced the love of Christ from them. It is humbling.

Yesterday, we sat in slum homes listening to the testimony of single, HIV positive Moms. I really can't concentrate right now to truly express all the experiences here.

Just want to say a huge thank you to all our supporters, to Crosspoint Community Church and our families back home!

This team loves you!

Today we are having a Jacaranda Conference for all the Jacaranda Women from the many different branches. Plan to share testimonies with them, share the bible, teach some bow making, jump rope with them, teach some health issues, laugh with them and pray with them.

Tomorrow the team will get to visit an elephant and giraffe orphanage and then they leave for the airport around 5pm to head home.

John, the girls and I will stay behind for a few days! Sad to see the team head home, but they are missing their families and ready to figure out how to reconcile what they have seen and learned here with life at home. I am proud of them and very grateful. God is definitely in this trip.

I promise to write some stories when I get home. I want to tell you about Flora, Sandra, Sarah, Beatrice, Pennina....

Pennina, is 12 yo and told me, "My Mom hasn't told me when my birthday is..." Need I say more?

Rhonda

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sacred and Sad Moments

Today was our 3rd Day in Nairobi. It's difficult to believe that we have only been here for 3 days! So much has happened. The team is awesome. It's exciting to see their smiles as they interact with the people/children and exciting to witness God using each of their gifts and talents!

Before I say more though I want to THANK ALL OF YOU for your prayers. We arrived safe and sound and other than a few upset stomachs and fatigue from 28 hours of travel the team was awesome.

There is so much to share but the internet has not been very cooperative, so while I have this "gift" of internet time I really want to share about today!

Kiambu hospital is a public hospital we visited today. It was just a few of us because we were concerned about not being allowed in.

We walked through the pediatric ward into rooms with babies 3-4 to a bed. I really am speechless. These babies have pneumonia, severe malnutrition, yellow fever, meningitis, HIV. Their Mom's are clinging to any hope they can find. We prayed over every baby individually and Beth Luca sang in each room. Beautiful!

We think we have health care problems. We met a 12yo, Jane, with meningitis and HIV..she has been in this hospital for 5 months, only receiving some food and water, because her Mom has no money for medicines so the hospital will not treat. Basically, she is dying. We prayed for a miracle, we shared the gospel, she tried to open her eyes and move one of her arms but watching her struggle we prayed for her rest! Her face relaxed and she started snoring.

These were truly sacred and sad moments. There are no pictures because it simply was not appropriate at any moment.

Crosspoint Yahoo's! Your socks touch the lives of many children/babies today!

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed..in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.... Death has been swallowed up in victory....Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you." 2 Corinthians 15

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

So we are down to less than 24 hours...

...packing, repacking, packing, repacking, bank errands, last minute items, team is checking in online, receiving texts and calls,working my last day(full of meetings and turning over my workload) woo hoo, it is exciting and overwhelming.

Here is our tenative Schedule:
Leave Friday June 3rd 11:50am Delta Airlines, Nashville to Atlanta to Amsterdam. Change to KLM after 6 hour lay over and arrive in Nairobi Saturday June 4th 8pm!

Sunday: New Song Nairobi Church Service: John and Rhonda speaking; Beth leading worship. Sunday afternoon computer lab with Dave Lewis
Monday: Marurui Slum and Jacaranda Head Office
Tuesday: Alberts school and Tassia Slum
Wednesday: Kaimbu Hospital
Thursday: Massai Land
Friday: Massai Market/ Sight Seeing/ Justin and Elijah Davis arrive
Saturday: Marurui Outreach(sports and fun)Health Clinic
Sunday: New Song Nairobi Justin speaking/Beth and Joby leading worship/ Afternoon Computer lab with Dave Lewis
Monday: Kibera Slum
Tuesday: Jacaranda Conference
Wednesday: Team Departs
John and Rhonda stay to June 18th(Saturday)
Lauryn and Jessica stay to July 8th.

Wow, it will go fast. All this planning and now is the time!

The only thing I can think of to say is to repeat our team verse:

Romans 12:10-13
"Be Devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need."

Thanks again to everyone for their support and prayers. Stay tuned for more updates! Keep the prayers coming.

love,
Rhonda

PS. Here is my new and first great nephew, born this week! I love you Baby Landon. Welcome to the world. Congratulations, Sarah and Ryan!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friday is Coming!




It’s been an incredible journey the past 10 months. Last August no one knew how they would afford this trip, how they would leave family behind, how they would get off work. I personally didn’t know how to lead a team like this! I didn’t feel equipped, not popular enough, not young enough, etc, etc….

But God has proved to be in this journey. My faith with each mission trip I have taken has grown to new levels and my heart is changed. I now hope the changes never stop. The best part of this is trusting HIM. I love the part in the book, Sun Setting Prayer when he talks about stepping into the water, applying wisdom and then swimming like you never have before. And never, never turning back, because ultimately, HE is the wave jumper, not me.

The great thing too for me is that my focus is so much more on what God has given me in life(my family) and what he has given me to do, (my service) and no longer on my outward appearance, my status economically or socially. It’s is freeing and liberating! I am not perfect at this but my awareness is on my Creator not my popularity-or lack of.

This was not what I was looking for, but God is always about more than we expect! I love Jesus more today than I did 10 months ago! I am more aware of the depth of His love than I was 10 months ago!

For the team I have witnessed teens working and saving their money to donate and pay for expenses, I have seen businesses be blessed, doors of miracles open and miraculous provision of funds! It's Awesome. I have worried about the faith of the individuals on the team and that I would somehow lead them wrong and ruin their faith for their lifetime. I know a bit dramatic but it was real. Back in Feb. I had to lay that down and remember again God is the wave jumper not me. He certainly has jumped many of our waves and I trust HE will continue.

It's hard to express how excited I am for this team. We have really bonded over these months. I thanked them for their team spirit!! We decided early on that we were one for all and all for one! Which meant that each other was more important. As far as our fundraisers the money was divided equally no matter the participation level of individuals. Sometimes events conflicted with work schedules. When someone raised more than their amounts I gave them the option of using that money for their other expenses or giving back to the team. Everyone gave back to the team! This spirit of team work made our fundraising work! This spirit of team work will go with us on this trip. We will forgive fast, seek forgiveness quickly, treat each other as more important than ourselves and when one is tired, or overwhelmed we will not let them fall. There are no other finger prints in the world like Elijah Davis, or Amy Thomas, or Alyssa Jiosa, we each bring our gifts and talents but we are greater as a sum of or parts than standing alone!

Early on I had several folks ask me what we would be building and when I would reply that we are not doing any construction they looked puzzled and asked me “ what are we doing then?” There has also been concern from caring folks about the socks I had asked for , what kind, what size, how many, types….

The point is not the construction, not the socks, but the love that comes with that. The touch alone! People are hungry for touch and when they receive that sacrifice of touch which they understand comes with great generosity of time and abilities they see Christ. That was my experience. All, it took was a touch and they wanted Jesus!

So, my answer has been wrong. We are going to build the church! Friday can’t come fast enough.

A huge thank you to all of you that have prayed, shared encouraging words, supported fundraisers and given generously. This trip is yours as well. It would not be happening otherwise. THANK YOU!

love,
Rhonda

Thursday, May 19, 2011

14 Days!!

Yep, 2 Weeks until the "Africa Team" / "Nairobi Hope Now" team leaves for Nairobi, Kenya.

Thank you to so many of you that have contributed through prayers, encouraging words, donations, and financial sacrifice! YOU are part of this team. I hope and pray you feel it.

Once again, we will be working alongside Garry and Brenda Kean, their church, their sewing ministry(Jacaranda Creations) and their outreach in the slums.



Our to do list is very long and possibly unrealistic. Garry and Brenda are in the process are coordinating the final daily schedule but here is the general activities:

Speaking and leading worship at New Song Nairobi
Speaking/Ministering to the Jacaranda Sewing ladies in their different communities
Neighborhood door-to-door visitation
Loving on and playing with the some kids including sports camp
Computer training
Visiting in homes located in the slums
Volunteering with a mobile medical clinic.
Visiting childrens ward in a local charity hospital.



We have been meeting as a team since last fall, becoming closer to each other, growing in our faith as we have watched the Lord provide and now we feel anxious to just get there. The needs of the people in Nairobi are great but the main desire of this team is to simply hug some people, love them and show them the love of their Creator. Show them hope. We can not fix all their needs, but to live a life in those slums without hope is irreconcilible with my heart. They need, we all need HOPE now. Sometimes the best way to experience HOPE is to serve hope.



We are excited that for a team of 14 individuals most of the funds have been raised. However, we still need around 2,000.00 to make the trip secure for 3 team members. If you feel led to give you can do so online at www.crosspoint.tv Just be sure and specify that the donation is for "Africa Missions Trip" Or you can send me a message and we can work something else out. Thank you!

Remember we leave in 14 days,June 3rd. Keep us in your prayers!

In Him,
Rhonda


"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need." Ro. 12

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Whole Hearted

Transitioning to a new role as a nurse I attended a health coach training. There I was exposed to a speaker by the name of Brene Brown, she spoke on connnectedness and vulnerabilty. Brene is a social worker turned reseacher setting herself on a journey to "cure" lack of connectedness.

Guess what she learned? "VULNERABILITY: The Core of Relationship"

Here is the deal, people who had more of sense of connectedness did not necessarily have less struggles. Instead she named this group of people "The Whole Hearted". Because these individuals had a strong sense of "worthiness".

There are 4 strong characteristics of The Whole Hearted defining the worthiness they feel.

1. Courage: "Cour" latin word meaning who you are with your whole heart

2. Compassion: Treat yourself kind. If you can't treat yourself kind, how can you be truly kind to others?

3. Authenticity: Those who let themselves be seen loves greater

4. Vulnerability: What makes you more vulnerable makes you beautiful. Believe you are worthy of honesty. Because honestly the less you talk about it the more you have it. We can not selectively numb emotions. If we numb pain, etc we also numb joy, peace, love. To date adult Americans are the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated in our history.


The Whole Hearted fundamentally believe in vulnerability. This allows them to be the first to say, I love You or I am sorry and to love our children purely unconditionally with now expectations of return.

Important to remember Brene states, "You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle but worthy of love and belonging."

So awesome to hear this from scientific research, because I think I have read this elsewhere as well. How about you?

Are you ready to connect? Do you believe you are worthy? Jesus made it so that I am and you are; every tribe and every nation!

Laura and Lauryn. Oahu 2011.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gratitude

Lauryn and Jessica are well! Woo hoo!

Lauryn's final testing for lupus was negative. She has had no further strange symptoms of an autoimmune dysfunction.

Jessica developed viral hepatitis from mono, but that has resolved! She still has some moments of fatigue, but she is feeling great. In her words, " The fog has lifted. This fog I felt for a month finally gone."

THANK YOU for your prayers!!!! I know there was power in them and am humbled and grateful for healing.

We have also raised 9,000.00 of the 12, 000.00 needed for our trip to Africa. This means our plane fare is covered for sure and we just need the rest so that we can all have a safe place to lodge, transportation on the ground there, food, etc... Again: Woo Hoo!

THANK YOU to all of you that have given us so much support! We are humbled greatly and grateful extremely.

"Cease striving (let go, relax) and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Believing!!!

I thought I would write in here tonight to simply ask for your prayer. Its seems my sweet girls have strange unusual illnesses associated with us and trips to Africa. Last time is was bacterial pneumonia and H1N1 virus. This time the Raynaud's phenomena with the threat of associated lupus and now Mono with viral hepatitis. I honestly, have said, if this is because of my attempts to go to Kenya, forget it. But just maybe that is the whole purpose straight from the evil one himself. So, NO. He can't win. He has no stronghold over me or my family. The scripture says he flees at the mere mention of Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Take that!

But with that being said, I covet your prayers at this time. We all need to be healthy and able to fully focus on the task before us.


"Keep your eyes focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, our healer and redeemer."

These words came to me in an email from my sweet friend Brenda. She was communicating details of our lodging, food, water, visas, transportation,etc...for our upcoming trip. It's is so exciting and overwhelming!

Our deadline is approaching March 31st and I just finished looking at the funds raised for each team member, plugging the amounts into the excel spreadsheets.

It seems every turn I make I am having to let go and focus on Him. It's a really good place to be. I am sitting at John's desk and he has this verse framed:

"For you are my rock and my fortress, for your name's sake you will lead me and guide me." Ps.31:3

It's a beautiful verse to rest in.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers for provision and protection.

I am starting to like this blogging thing!

With Hope,
Rhonda



Just another picture of Brenda in Africa with Grandma CuCu and Margaret.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Giving Up

Almost two years ago I had the opportunity to go visit my friend Brenda in Nairobi. What I experienced in Kenya was big movements of God. I heard stories from woman in desperate situations full of hope because of their faith. I also witnessed a woman my age with 5 kids, 2 of them critically ill and malnourished turn her heart over to Jesus. She was a "brew maker" with a bad reputation in the slum. Another woman my age dying in pain from untreated metastatic breast cancer relinquished what she called "a bitter heart" and "bent her knee" to accept Jesus.

Now, I am leading a team of people back to Kenya this June. I am amazed, excited that God is allowing me to go back. Even greater, taking others with me.

Life has been full lately with lots of distractions and worries, from sick children with possible autoimmune disorders and mono; to children traveling far distances for the first time alone; to children being away from home and under Tsunami warnings...yep Tsunami. Then there is the usual car issues, eye doctors, menopausal issues(yes, I said it), aging parent issues and then there is my job. That is a long story. So through all of this for the past 6 weeks I would rather take the easy road and go to the beach and forget Kenya.

Who said I was called to go anyway? Who am I to lead others? What might happen to their hearts, their relationship with God if I mess up in this process. What if we has a family do not raise the money needed, what if others do not receive? Worry, anxiety and confusion. None of it from God.

My devotion today led me to Daniel chapter 4

"(I)raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever....He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, "What have you done?"

Turning my own eyes to heaven I am reminded God is sovereign. Nothing happens without his foreknowledge. He holds the path ahead. Like the ladies I met in Kenya, I am called to walk on. I needed to give up my heart (like the ladies in Kenya) in order to walk on.

Giving up for me today started with praising Him. I started praising Him when I heard the waters near Diamond Head had receded so much a barrier wreath that had never before been exposed was at that moment. That is how my heart felt exposed. Very vulnerable with the truth of my insecure, fearful, tired and prideful heart was revealed. I felt like a child and began singing, Praise him, Praise Him All Ye Little Children God is Good, God is Good.

Thankfully a severe tsunami did not hit the island of Oahu(where Lauryn and our good friends are) but thankfully a tsunami hit my heart.

Today, I am at peace and rest. How about you? Is there anything God has placed before you causing you fear? What must you give up to walk on? Could it be your heart? Go ahead, let HIM have it! You will find peace and contentment.

With all my heart,
Rhonda

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jacaranda Sewing Ministry

This summer our team will meet many of the women who sew with Jacaranda. This is an amazing ministry started by our friends Brenda and Garry Kean. These women live in and around the slums of Nairobi and have desperate needs. Most are single Moms. Many are HIV positive. Sewing and bible study continues to lead them away from the familiar beer making and prostitution that can consume their lives.

Jacaranda trees are prevalent in Nairobi,Kenya. They have deep purple flowers that bloom before the rain falls. The Jacaranda tree represents the hope that the rains will indeed come. Rain needed by a dry and parched land. We hope to represent that rain sharing God's love and hope with people in need.

Thought I would share some pictures of these beautiful women.


This is Sarah, the Production Manager. Sarah is the "one woman" that Brenda started this ministry with. We now have 67 plus women in 13 different locations around Nairobi. Sarah is training trainers, and is a beautiful woman with the most precious humble spirit. Jacaranada is hoping this year to help her begin to "homeschool" in order to get her high school education. She has only been able to complete grade 8. Right now they are in the process of not only making beautiful bags, but they are training our ladies to make school uniforms and backpacks to help with the incredible need for the thousands of children in the slums who are refused an education because they cannot afford uniforms.






This is Mercy ... making "Mercy Baskets". Mercy is a young girl who is not married yet, and does not have children. Jacaranda ministry is giving her an alternative to getting pregnant and selling her body in order to make money for her family and for food. Most girls have not hope of getting a job, so they end up ruining their lives because they do not have hope. God's love, and mercy are so great, and we know His plans for her are far above what she could hope or imagine!


This is the walk on the way to one of the branches ... life is hard for the people and the children



This is Monica ... she makes beautiful aprons (Monica Aprons) and she has recently become a Jacaranda Branch Leader. She has been sewing with Jacaranda for three years now, and she has been able to feed her children and pay for her rent. Her husband is an alcoholic who does not have a job and who has made her life very difficult. We are praying for him and for a miracle to happen in their marriage. Monica is the one that we trust to check on others in the slum who are sick and in need. She helps take people to the hospital, we deliver work to her and she distributes it among the ladies at her branch. Please pray for Monica as she takes on her new responsibilities. Brenda believes she has great potential, and that she will rise above her circumstances and that her two children will have a better life. She is now being paid not only for her piece work, but for her leadership at the branch, and also a commission on all the bags, aprons, mercy baskets, etc. that are made at her location.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nairobi Hope Now 2011






Romans 12:"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people in need."

That is the verse for our team heading to Nairobi, Kenya June 3rd 2011. Be careful what you pray for because I would have never imagined I would be leading a team on a missions trip to Africa. It's true. This was not in my plans. I have prayed for years for the ministry of my sweet friends Brenda and Garry Kean. I have prayed their ministry would grow in ways that would amaze them. In those prayers I never saw myself as part of their ministry. So watch out! You never know where God will grab you!

I learned three things from my trip in 2009

1. It is not only ok, but it is essential for my heart to break for the what breaks the heart of God.
2. Always be obedient to the small, soft promptings in my heart. Like giving my socks to the lady at hospice. That act sweetened a bitter heart.
3. God is bigger than my imagination.

Please journey with us through this blog and with your prayers!