This is going to be long, I can feel it. If you do not want to read it all—at least read the second half please. Ha.
I have major pride issues and asking for help with ANYTHING... even just accepting help is so difficult for me. It always has been. There is nothing good about this... please do not mistake it for humility or any other noble characteristic-it's all pride. Trust me, I've tried my hardest to convince myself otherwise. I did not work instead of raising support when I decided to move to Kenya because I love to answer phones and work in concession stands... I worked because I would rather take the time and energy to do things on my own than to humble myself and accept the support of those who are willing and CALLED to advance the kingdom in this way. Some of you gave anyway and I see that as God's infinite grace displayed to me despite my heart in need of so much refinement.
Anyway, things have changed... I still struggle with debilitating pride that prevents me from asking for help for myself, but now I am asking on behalf of those whose voices are muddled as they aim to travel from this continent to the next. There are so many barriers between their voices and our ears. Now I am living it--my eyes are peeled back, my ears cannot silence the cries no matter how hard I try, and I am touching the pain with my hands. Now instead of asking for supposed needs of kids I have not met, I am seeing the extremity of needs and begging for your assistance because I have realized very quickly that Acts 2 does not happen without accepting assistance from members in the community. I cannot just set out to provide assistance for the community as ONE. Not sure if that makes sense... it is all just a big mess in my head, but I wanted to try to explain it before the paragraphs that follow this.
The needs here are limitless. The most urgent is the need for LOVE; but the incredible thing is that there are so many ways to show this Love. I don't want you to just read this blog or keep up with my facebook statuses or listen to me talk about these kids... I want you to be a part of this with me. So many of you already are in the hugest way--prayer. I cannot tell you how much peace I receive daily from knowing that you all are praying for these children with me.... that I am not the only one God is hearing their names from. These children do not have parents and I know that each of you with children put so much love and care into constantly speaking to the Father on their behalf. I know it's true--I've watched it and admired it and yearned to be a part of. It is enough that the names of every one of these children is inscribed on the palm of His hand... that is MORE than enough. But, for these children to be covered in prayer like yours are--the thought of that brings tears to my eyes. Eventually I will need your help setting these kids up with people to pray over them specifically--by name. I want you to know their hearts, their dreams, their fears so that you can pray best for them. I am praying for them but there are so many, thought I could spread the wealth. :) Or just accept the help of community... Also, your prayers are the greatest gift you can give me and I will never be able to thank you enough.
So now, I am asking you (and most of you do not need to be asked—you have been asking ME how to help since day one… and no, I have not and will not stop praising Him for your willing and generous hearts) to be a part of this, or continue being a part of this. I am going to be telling you of the needs I come into contact with as they arise. I have been here for 2 months and have already seen enough needs to last me a lifetime if I intend on fulfilling them with my own means. God has asked me to respond to the needs He shows me here and I am doing my best—but He has shown me how foolish I was to believe that this is something I am supposed to do by myself. Right now I will briefly describe some current needs and will be in contact as soon as more arise, trusting that nothing will be given as an obligation—just returning what He has given you. Also, one of my greatest pet peeves in the world (and I know I will offend some people with this… sorry) is when support letters end with “and if you don’t feel like you can give at this time… please at least pray.” Please please please, I pray, know that no tangible gift you could give to me or to these children is more coveted than your prayers. Truly. I mean that with every ounce of my being… I would rather have you approaching the throne for these motherless and fatherless children than have you paying for each and every one of them to be fully fed, educated, and housed for the rest of their lives. Believe me, please. So here we go….
-security guards (2 armed guards at night to protect the home from gangs that have repeatedly attempted-and once succeeded- to break in during the night)
-electric fence (razor wire is in place, we just need help funding the electric wiring)
-medical fund for kids (the HIV+ children at HOREC go to a free clinic that provides their antiretrovirals and medicine to combat the opportunistic infections that arise; however, when the children need to be admitted/need special lab tests and further care/get sick on the weekends, funds are extremely limited.)
*also, I feel very led to explore other homes where HIV+ children reside and find out how we can be of assistance in taking the best care of these kids. I am trusting that eventually He will provide the means for a children’s hospice center and/or rehabilitation center to care for these kids who are dealing with AIDS in unfavorable circumstances. Until then, I will pray He provides ways to help these children whether by paying for their hospital admissions/stocking a medical cabinet/etc.
Things to be sent:
-underwear (honestly, the more you can provide the better. Not just for my kids--it is a huge need in every children’s home and I know that I could find a grateful recipient for even a million pairs. As far as HOREC goes, we have already received some from the Young Adult ministry at Mt. Bethel which was a huge help. They covered most of the little kids-but we could still use some for 5-6 year old boys*about 6 boys total, 9-10 year old boys*2 boys total, and 10-15 year old girls*about 15 girls total.
-Socks (all sizes)
-handwash/antibacterial gel *probably easiest for me to buy here, though it is cheaper in America…
-medical supplies (bandaids, alcohol pads, gloves, Neosporin, etc etc etc…. anything you’d find in a first aid kit, really—very limited supplies here and they are expensive. I think those weekly medicine containers would be helpful too for those on HIV meds.)
-security guards for Strong Tower home for rescued street boys and girls (**urgent need that I will explain more to people who are interested in helping)
-school bags (small bookbags/backpacks—used are fine!)**somewhat urgent as well… there is a children’s home that could really really use new bags before going back to school in May. I took pictures that I will post soon… their school bags are a mess. I can get each one a new bag for around 5 dollars….16 children. $80
-bed sheets (again, used are fine--twin sheets are best)
-personal Bibles (English OK)
those are priorities…. There are also some things that the kids would love, but definitely do not HAVE to have. These are probably all the things you actually are excited about sending/providing.
-clothes(especially for preschoolers because they wet themselves like 5 times a day. Also baby clothes are helpful.)
-toys/games (the only problem is that they need to either be for groups or there needs to be enough for each child in a home)
-art activities:beads, paint, paper, markers, crayons, stickers, etc.
-pictures/letters… they LOVE getting pictures, even just of your family or something random.
-kids dvds (as I write this, my little ones are all watching Shrek-thanks Brennan and Grant Kelly!)
now these are ideas of things you could provide for the kids to experience if you choose:
-a trip to the pool (it’s about a dollar per child…. So, for HOREC I am hoping to get about $30 dollars to take the kids before their holiday is over on May 2nd)
-a trip to see the animals that live in their country (most children have never even seen the animals our kids see at the zoo, even though the animals actually LIVE in the wild here)
-any other fun thing you can think of… they love to get out every once and a while. Now is a good time because they are out of school for two more weeks. Their next opportunity to go away for a day is probably not until August.
Even with just $20 dollars or so, I think I could figure out how to throw an ice cream Sunday party for an entire children’s home. Be creative. ☺ I also think $10 or so could provide an extremely rare event—sodas for all.
These are all just ideas because people have been asking and I WANT to provide a way for you to help… I am responsible to these children and GOD to share their needs and let Him do the rest of the work—leading you to respond however He chooses. The books you donated have been the HUGEST blessing... multiple children's homes now have stories to read before bed and His love is sung over them in a new way. Also, those of you that gave clothes--every single item has a new and grateful owner. Thank you :)
Gaylyn Kelly has been extremely generous in offering to help arrange all of this on the American side of things. An account has been set up through Mt. Bethel United Methodist church in Marietta, GA so that any monetary donation can be given with my name on the ‘for’ line. Some of the money will be sent through BrightPoint for Children (an incredible child sponsorship program that you definitely need to check out if you have not) - ie. security needs (HOREC and Strong Tower) and medical fund for children’s homes that are already being sponsored by them. If you contact Gaylyn, she will be able to give you more information and advise you on how to give. If you have other ideas, PLEASE share them with me or run them by Gaylyn if you’d rather. We want you to be able to respond to Him however He leads you… these are His children and I trust Him to direct you how to provide for them, whether by your prayers (that I allow the Holy Spirit to lead), your money (which I will watch in awe to see how He moves you to give), and your possessions (cannot wait to hear about a sweet child who decide to give up one of her dolls so a child in Kenya can have one). Before I go on for 5 more pages, let me give you my contact information and Gaylyn’s as well. Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org and Gaylyn’s is email@example.com. This will be a constant work in progress and we might not always have answers, but things will slowly but surely be figured out. Thanks so much for even reading this and I pray He overwhelms you with generosity so that you can in turn, be generous with Love.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” ~1 Chronicles 29:14
and all of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. . . . . . incredible passages about generosity/love/service.