Friday, April 9, 2010

Leaving HOREC

Just wanted to fill you in on the events of the past couple of days—a lot has happened/changed. I spent Easter weekend, Friday through Tuesday, running all around Kenya doing various things—taking a friend to the hospital, getting over food poisoning, checking on some children in a dangerous situation, visiting the child I sponsor through Brightpoint, and spending time with my Kenyan family (Josphine, Faith, and Lenny). I got back to HOREC right at dusk on Tuesday night. I missed the kids so much over the weekend and it was so wonderful to see them again! We had a great night of fun and catching up. The kids are out of school for holiday, so they are able to stay up later and the older kids have more time for playing, as they have less schoolwork to do.

I am not sure if you remember/I ever told you about what happened at HOREC in November of 2009, so I’ll copy a blog post that was written about the incident immediately following:

“With terrible grief and heartache I must share terrible news concerning HOREC. On Thursday morning around 1 a.m. approximately 15 thugs broke into the orphanage. They were on a rampage coming from two neighbors’ homes that they had ransacked, beat and cut the people. All the people survived with multiple wounds. HOREC staff and children knew nothing of the havoc going on down the road until they too became victims. The men must have been watching the property because they waited until the night guard went into his house (just a short distance away from the dorm) to escape the rain. They quietly approached the dorm, cut the electricity supply, broke the lock to the front gate and made their way to the corridor of the bathrooms. Between the bathrooms and the girls' room the wall does not go all the way to the roof. Two of the thugs found the space and climbed over the wall landing in the girl’s bedroom. They then got the door open so that the rest could join. With flashlights shining directly in the kid’s eyes that were awake they told the children if they screamed they would be killed. They were carrying axes and machetes. Some of the men cut through the boxes of supplies, some were yelling at the staff to hand over money and cell phones, and others dragged two of the girls to the storage room and raped them. One of the girls is 14 years of age and the other is 10. Both have come from sexually abusive backgrounds. The housemother was being beaten mercilessly as some of the children were climbing under beds to hide. Miraculously some of the kids slept through the whole ordeal. Then, as fast as they had come they left. Their whirlwind was like a hurricane that ripped through bodies, hearts and minds leaving a shattered mess. It wasn’t until they left that the housemother found a cell phone they had hidden and frantically called Christine. Everyone was praying it was a nightmare from which they would awake. Christine, her husband and the police arrived to find the chaos of screaming children. Both the girls were taken to Nairobi Women’s Hospital and treated then sent back home. One feels helpless at the situation. Questions go through our minds and frustration feels like a heavy weight.”

This is what I read in December that changed the course of all of my plans for moving to Kenya… when I heard about this incident and these precious children who are not only orphaned, abandoned, and sick-but now traumatized in this way, the Lord made it so clear that I was supposed to move in with them and love them with every fiber of my being. Counsel? Yes, maybe eventually. Be a Child Life Specialist to? Yes, maybe along the way. LOVE? Absolutely yes--with everything.

Anyway, around 2am on Tuesday night, we received a call from a neighbor saying there was a gang of thugs moving through the community. They were beating people, breaking into homes, and stealing anything they could find. The adults were all woken up, myself included, but we did not wake the children. I was told as I laid my mosquito net covered bed, wide-eyed and confused as to why I was awake but there were no sick children, about the gang and to be prepared that they were outside and trying to get in, that they must have seen me arrive at night and realized I was sleeping at the home. White people in Kenya are assumed to have money so they are common targets for theft. God’s presence was thick in those moments and the peace I felt was indescribable-like nothing I’ve ever experienced or would expect to experience in such turmoil. My heart was at rest knowing that whatever the next several minutes or hours held, He was walking through it with us. Nothing mattered beyond that. I wrote this to a friend several hours after the attempted break in “I was preparing to personally hand them my laptop, phone, camera, and money given that they did not enter the dorm. I will even give them myself if that is what they're looking for. I had such a peace last night .............. Not an 'everything will blow over, no big deal' peace... But an 'I KNOW You are here and nothing will convince me otherwise. I will do anything in the world to protect these kids whether it means giving all of my earthly possessions, giving my body to be raped or beaten, or giving my life. I trust You to be the ultimate protector but if there is any role You want me to play in assistance, I am willing.’”

The thugs never got in… they were scared away by watchmen and probably somewhat intimidated by the electric fence that was installed since the last break-in. Please praise Him with me that the kids did not have to go through that again… that most of them never even heard the screams that echoed through the community all night as innocent people were attacked by pure evil. He is so gracious and I cannot stop thanking Him for sparing their hearts from seeing that evil once again. My brother sent a message saying that part of becoming like Jesus is learning to hate evil as much as He does… He encouraged me to pray that these men, who seem to fear nothing, would fear the LORD and would dare not enter into His home for HIS precious children and bring harm there. Much needed wisdom…

Unfortunately, for the safety of the children, it is necessary that I move out of HOREC. My presence -my skin color- was attracting men with evil motives and though it is extremely heartbreaking to succumb to their threats, the children will be safer in my absence. I am truly not worried for my own safety and trust that if He ever sees fit for me to return, I will hear Him clearly. For right now, I would be staying for purely selfish motives and as much as I want to, I cannot choose to serve myself over protecting the children. My heart breaks that I am not there to worship with them each night, to tuck the children into their mosquito nets, read them stories, pray with them, say goodnight and I love you a million times so that each one knows it is true for THEM personally, listen to them speak broken English in their dreams, check Carol for fever every couple of hours, hold the little ones as they fall back asleep after being woken by bad dreams, feel them cover my bed as I begin to realize it is time to wake up, give them their morning baths, try to sort out their school uniforms as they dance around the room in their birthday suits, and rub their backs as they take their morning and night medicines. Even just writing that was impossible without tears…. BUT, I trust Him. I trust Him to fill the deep holes left in my heart and if He was allowing me to bless any of their hearts like they bless mine, I trust Him to fill those holes too. I trust that He will take better care of Carol than I was. I trust that He knows what He is doing and this hurts me much more than it hurts them. I am waiting to see where He leads—not sure whether commuting will be an option or what. I knew I was supposed to live among them… that was my clear call from Him. I did it… I loved it… is it really already over? Hard to accept if it is, but time will tell.

This is extremely painful, my heart is broken… broken that these evil men have so much power. I must remember, though, that as much power as it seems they possess, it pales in comparison to HIS almighty power. That their small, corrupt power is NOT overtaking His… it never will. His purposes will come to be regardless of how hard they try to thwart them and for that, I am grateful. Please pray for continued safety of the children at HOREC… thank you.

"O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart." ~Psalm 7:9


  1. Hey Annie, I'm not sure if you remember me. I was in Kenya about two years ago on a trip with Buckhead Church, and on our way to the airport we stopped by an orphanage in Nairobi to pick up you and another guy to go to the airport with us. I just want you to know that I have been reading your blog and following your updates on facebook, and I think what you are doing is incredible. God is getting glory out of you, I hope you know that. I say this not to exalt you, but Him, and to encourage you to keep fighting the good fight. You are making a difference and changing lives and that is incredible and so very encouraging. Just wanted to let you know that I am praying for, and that I am uplifted by your amazing strength and courage and love, and willingness to sacrifice yourself so that others can know God's love. -Laura

  2. GOD is with you! You are a strong woman and He is leading the way!!!

  3. just found your blog your heart...and your mission...praying for you!!!