Wednesday, January 30, 2008


This morning, I'm meditating on this passage from Isaiah:

Open the gates,
so that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace -
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for in the LORD God
you have an everlasting Rock.

Would you please join me in praying for peace in Kenya,
and even while there is no peace in the region,
that we would have peace in our hearts
because we trust God!


I can't remember ever having had risotto. I certainly have never made it. Till today. I had brought some stuff with me to cook a nice meal for my colleagues who simply seemed worn out by all that's been unfolding around them. And since we've been having power outages every night from 7 till almost 7 am, I thought it wise to cook the chicken I had bought on Sunday as well as the ground beef. (And no, I didn't put ground beef in the risotto. I made meat balls, just in case someone didn't care for the rice dish.)

I cooked an entire chicken in my iron pot so I'd have good chicken stock as well as chunks of chicken to add to the rice dish. And I used some dried shiitake mushrooms I also picked up in SA. (The bag of mushrooms weighed a fraction of just the lid of the pot. Should've brought more!)

Now, I agree that risotto isn't the simplest dish to make, simply because it requires a lot of stirring. But I think it's worth it. If one could find arborio rice in town, I'd make it again! But I strongly doubt you can find that in Eldoret. Perhaps in Nairobi. Not here, though.

So, back to dinner. It was good to simply "break bread" together. Life is continuing. Conversations over a meal may be different these days, but we were all in good spirits. Our village seems far removed from all that's unfolding around the country. Much was happening today. Please read the news.

On a different note: Flannel seems delighted to have me back. She's been spending much of her day right by my feet. I don't think she's pregnant, btw. Oh, maybe I haven't told you. Michelle, who was taking care of her while I was gone, thought she might be pregnant.

The kids are glad I'm back, too. I went to visit the children's home yesterday afternoon, and saw little Dennis smiling from ear to ear when I walked into the gazebo. When I looked again, he was sitting by my feet. I picked him up and chatted for a while till I needed to continue my rounds of greeting everyone at the children's home. I'll go back tomorrow to hang out with the kids for a while. I really, really miss the kids in Ilula, especially during this time. I wish I could be there with them, but right now, it's not possible for me to go to Ilula.

I'm glad to be back in Kenya, despite all that's happening around the country. I'm incredibly saddened by all that's happening.

Please keep praying for peace.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Back in the Village

I left Nairobi yesterday morning on a flight to Eldoret. One could see homes burning from the sky. But things in our town seemed normal. Sort of. It was sad to see all the devastation en route to Kipkaren. Things in our village seem calm.

I can no longer comment about anything going on in the country due to security reasons. If you would like to hear from me personally, please e-mail me at (That's my junk mail address, btw, so it's not a big deal posting it here. Half the world's junk mail servers seem to have that address, in any case. If you know my regular e-mail address, let me know on that one and I'll send you updates directly.)

For news from Kenya, please check so you can read news from various sources.

And please continue to pray for peace.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back in Nairobi

So I left Johannesburg this morning, as always, with more stuff than I should be trying to take on an international flight. It doesn't help that the weight limit on flights from SA is only 30 kg (about 65 lbs). Try bringing books back on that limit. And treats you can't find in Kenya. Plus your normal luggage. Fortunately, I didn't take a lot of clothes to SA, but still.

The attendant who helped me check in asked, "What do you have that's so heavy?" OK, so I brought a cast iron pot with me (which by itself is 22 lbs). In Kenya, you cannot get cast iron pots. Kenyans cook in aluminum sufrias. In South Africa, probably every house has a potjie (pronounced 'poy-ki) . . . or three. Cause a cast iron pot cooks stews (or soups, or whatever you'd like to toss into it) like nothing else can.

Anyway. So I got the pot on the plane. And everything else. Without having to pay extra. Long story. Partly grace. Mostly connections, for which I am infinitely thankful.

Hardly four hours later, we landed in Nairobi. Kilimanjaro was greeting us beautifully as we approached Nairobi. The city looked normal. Taxis still cut in line. But there was about one third of the usual traffic. There were also fewer vendors on the side of the road. Many shops still aren't open. Things just aren't quite normal yet.

I ran into a friend at Mayfield. She's been stuck here visiting doctors after a really bad cycling accident in Sudan which left her with a dislocated shoulder, and two-pins-and-some-wires-wanting-to-poke-out-after-really-bad-surgery later, she's in Kenya for new surgery to remove the hardware which apparently wasn't necessary to begin with. Poor girl! (You'll enjoy reading her blog, I bet. Interesting life in Sudan.) Anyway, I kidnapped her for the afternoon so she could get out of Mayfield a bit. It was good to hear of the work she'll be doing with a division of AIM. They're looking for positive stories coming from the events in Kenya. It challenged me to do the same. Look for the stories of life among all the pain and devastation.

It's hard, sometimes. Reality is, there's still a lot of pain. One could see it in the faces of some of the people I always run into in Nairobi. You could feel it in the air, the uncertainty. In the city, things truly are better. On the surface, at least. Last night, new violence erupted in Nakuru. (Nakuru is halfway between Nairobi and Eldoret.) I am told things are calm in Eldoret.

Kofi Anan is in Kenya, and he said he had witnessed "gross and systematic human rights abuses."

Obviously, I won't be driving back to Eldoret. (One would have to pass through Nakuru to do so.) I'm flying tomorrow, and should land in Eldoret around 2 pm, at which time colleagues will pick me up. I'm looking forward to being back in my little home, seeing Flannel, seeing my friends in Kipkaren. It will be a while before I can go to Ilula to see my friends there, but I'll let you know how they all are once I get there.

So, for now, I'm going to crawl into my bed here in Mayfield. And pray for peace to come to this land. True Peace. Deep Peace.

And tomorrow? I'll have to try getting my pot onto the next flight again... Among other things the day holds.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Facebook Family Reunion, and Going Home

The downside of having lived abroad for the past 13 years is that I don't see my extended family much. I'm usually only in the country for short periods of time, so my immediate family and close friends are usually the ones I try to see.

Recently, however, I reconnected with some of my second cousins (who I last saw in 1989, when they were little kids) on Facebook. And so the other night, four of them came to my sister's house for desert. (Unfortunately the photo's a bit blurred, but that's is my sister in the back, then me, Tielman, and in the front Elza, Lizette and Nettie.)

It was a fun time of reminiscing about family stuff, especially about my grandma (their great-grandmother). Good memories! My sister gave me some old family photos, and I chuckled at this one of my ouma. She's on the far left, posing with her sisters. Look behind them. My brother is chuckling and I'm the one sitting on the ground. I actually remember this particular day. It's the last time we saw all my ouma's sisters together. (By now, they've all passed on.)

I'm wrapping up last tasks these two days, and flying out on Saturday. I look forward to posting updates from Kenya! I'll land in Nairobi around 3 pm, but will have to spend the night there since a connecting flight to Eldoret would only have me in town by 7 pm, making it too dangerous to drive back to the village. Flying on Sunday would also be better since I can stop in town to stock up on groceries. Lots of it, since it's still hard to get to town past all the (non-police) road blocks.

I'd appreciate your continued prayers for true peace in Kenya. Things are still pretty bad there, though it's safe enough to return.

I'll keep up-to-date on life in Kenya.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Going back this weekend

Last night and this morning, I spoke to David, my director in Kenya, as well as to Julius, ELI's Director of Operations. They agreed that it would be OK for me to come back this weekend. Though there are renewed protests, they believe it's safe enough for me to return to the village, as long as I'd be willing to be careful, not go to town without consulting with our directors, and not hold it agains ELI if anything happens. I'm OK with that.

So, on Saturday morning, I'll be off to Nairobi. I'm waiting to hear if it would be safer to spend the night in the city and take a morning flight. I think that'd be best. Wouldn't want to have to drive to Kipkaren in the dark. I usually don't like it, and now it would even be less of a good idea to drive at night. So on Sunday, I'll fly to Eldoret and then someone will pick me up from the airport.

I look forward to posting news from the village!

Monday, January 21, 2008


I don't like uncertainty. Who does, anyway? Of course life always holds some level of uncertainty. But this state I'm currently living in - Will I go back to Kenya this week? Are things well enough for me to go? Would it truly be more of a burden for them to have another person there to be responsible for? Would I not be able to pray more effectively when I'm there, in my community? is frustrating.

Friends ask, "Can you join us at such-and-such a time for this-or-that?" Perhaps. If I'm here.

I've made a deliberate choice not to live in a constant state of wishing I was somewhere else. I'm loving the time with family. But I'm not supposed to be here. I am supposed to be in Kenya. I know that. Despite the news that's coming from the country.

Please pray that the doors will open for me to return to Kipkaren this wek!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Kenya: Moving forward?

I just wrote an update on the situation in Kenya on the ELI blog. I've read several news sources, and it's unclear to me if today's protests will continue or not. It is clear, however, that Raila has asked people to move to a new tactic: Boycotting major Kenyan businesses by doing things like withdrawing all their savings from Equity Bank, "the poor man's bank." I cannot help but wonder what the effect of that would be... Things are already unstable. Why would people want to go and take what little they have in a safe place and bring it home?

Daniel raises a similar point on his blog. He talks about Kisumu, a town near Eldoret where things seem to be the worst due to the fact that Raila is from that area. Says Daniel, "People in the city of Kisumu are starving because two weeks ago they burned down most of their super markets and food storage facilities because they were owned by Kikuyus. Now that they got their way and chased the Kikuyus out of their city and burned all their shops, the people are left with no food. They are paying up to 4 times the price for simple things. They didn’t think about that when they soaked the shops with gasoline and lit the match. It amazes me how far people will go because of hate. Thousands of the same young men are jobless because they worked for the Kikuyu business owners. Yes, they are the ones who burned down their bosses shops. Clearly not concluding that if they burn down their place of employment, they won’t have a job the next day, and won’t get a paycheck at the end of the month and won’t have money to buy food that is now 4 times as much."

I am praing that things will settle down in Kenya so life can continue, that people can go back to work to earn what little money they can and quit causing more destruction. And I am praying that I'll be able to head back next week! Despite the dangers of being in an unstable country, I want to be with the people God had called me to serve.

"Tell them!"

I learned a new concept the past few weeks. It's called "load shedding," and it's what Eskom does to most everyone in South Africa. Eskom's our country's "electricity supply commission," but they're not able to currently supply the country with enough electricity. (What's crazy, though, is that they're allegedly exporting power to neighboring countries!)

So what does your supplier do when they don't have the goods to supply? They cut the power. Which would've perhaps been understandable if they announced when they're cutting the power. They say they do on their Web site. However, they don't stick to that schedule. They also say that they won't cut the power for more than two hours in any area. However, over the past 2 weeks, I've personally experienced several days of no power in Pretoria from around 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. (Several in this case would be about 6 days.) What baffles me is that friends in Johannesburg have had no power outages in months.

So what? you may wonder. Imagine the impact on your economy when
a) shops, filling stations, offices have no power for days in a row;
b) you don't know when your power will be out, so you cannot plan work activities accordingly;
c) you don't know how long power will be out, so you don't know if you should simply send your entire staff home, or hope the power comes back on in 2 hours;
d) supplies in homes and shops go bad because of lack of power;
e) banks have to close immediately, movie theaters have to give people refunds, and only a handful of big businesses can afford expensive generators for backup power.

Losses are currently estimated in the "hundreds of millions of Rands" (one dollar = around seven rand).

Imagine the impact on traffic when all the traffic lights simply go out and there aren't cops at intersections to direct traffic. All intersections simply become 4-way stops, causing crazy traffic delays. And you can go on and on and on...

It's been very frustrating not being able to plan activities. You simply don't know if there'll be power tomorrow. Would I be able to e-mail? Don't know. Work on my computer? Not sure. Go to a library and study? Not if there aren't lights.

Ugh. It's really no good!

It seems trivial to complain about something like this when my friends in Kenya are facing a major humanitarian crisis...

News from Kenya today is far from good. The past two days have brought more deaths and more clashes.

It breaks my heart to hear stories of friends who are personally affected by deaths, of division among families and neighbors, of children traumatized by the violence, of a child from my neighborhood in Ilula having been kidnapped and barely escaping death... (Please note: It's not a kid from our orphanage.)

In so many ways, I feel powerless when it comes to what is unfolding in Kenya. I want to be there to pray with my neighbors, to encourage them. But I'm still waiting for an OK from my directors. I know, however, that I am NOT powerless, that I can pray. And I have been.

This morning, I had a very vivid dream. In my dream, a person was urgently and emphatically saying to me,

"Ephesians 4. Tell them!"

That was all. I woke up and immediately read the chapter and prayed accordingly. Wow. God's amazing. If only we would follow His directions.

Please join me in praying this passage for Kenya. Please pray that people would be willing to surrender to God's statutes, regardless of politics, tribe or beliefs. And He, my friends, never fails us (unlike politicians or Eskom.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quick Update

Daniel's blog gives you a good idea of how things are going in Kenya today. There were protests today, but no riots. Seems like rains really helped calm things!

This site is VERY insightful. It shows you exactly how things are going in various parts of Kenya.

Let's keep praying for rain. :) And for long-term peace.

I am really hoping to get back to Kenya next week, but need the OK from my directors first...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Update from South Africa

I've been following the news in Kenya as closely as is possible with limited Internet access. Things aren't looking up. I am anxious to be back in Kenya to do the work God has called me to do. However, at this stage, it is burdensome for our Kenyan leaders to have more wazungus around that they have to be responsible for... And so I will continue working from South Africa until I get the green light.

I've posted a number of updates on the ELI blog today. Please be sure to read those and pray for Kenya. Today and the next 3 days are critical days! Parliament opens today, and the opposition have called for 3 days of protests from tomorrow till Friday.

Please pray that God will give the ELI directors wisdom in how to deal with the situations in their communities. News is starting to come of staff having lost loved ones brutally, of friends who lost their property, of distrust in the communities... I do not believe it is God's will that hundreds are dying innocently, and hundreds of thousands being displaced. I do not believe that it's his will that patients who've been receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS should risk growing resistant to drugs due to not having access to their anti-retroviral treatments.

Please pray that God will bring beauty from the ashes in Kenya! (Isaiah 61:3)

On a personal note...
I got to spend all day with Anja yesterday. She came down with a fever on Sunday evening, and since Liesl (my sister) was back at work yesterday, I took Anja to see the doctor. She wasn't up for going to daycare yet, so she slept all day while I was working. Today, she seems her normal self. She came bouncing into my room this morning to give me a huge hug and a kiss, and to say she's off to Bambi again.

Today, I'm working from the university library. It's strange to see how much my university has changed. I have crazy memories from here! Good crazy, that is.

I won't have much Internet access for the next 3 days as I'll be seeing a missionary friend in Mpumalanga. I hope to spend much time in prayer for Kenya during this short breakaway.

From a sunny Pretoria, it's back to work for me!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bad news!

Due to the failed talks, Raila has once again asked Kenyans to have protest marches. Read about it here and here.

Please pray for God to bring peace back to Kenya!

On Being a Godmother

I've been learning lots and lots and lots about being a mother, seeing that I'm living with my sister, her husband, and The Girls. I've been loving it, but while kids usually are willing to behave extraordinarily well for a few days, they're their youthful selves now and don't always listen when I ask them to do things... Which made this YouTube video all the more real to me...

Cold and wet

It's been raining in Pretoria. Lots and lots. It's perfect study weather. I've been working on my first book report. I've been learning a LOT about the history of Christianity in Africa. It's fascinating, really.

I've been thinking about the fact that I have more time with my family and friends in South Africa. Though I would love to be in Kenya (to talk and pray with the community about what's happening, to tell the stories, to take the pictures), I don't want to live in a constant state of wishing I were someplace else. And so I will appreciate the time with the family, especially the girls. And get my work done in between. Because I still have a job.

Kipkaren's finally back online. We should be able to get more news from there.

Back to reading...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Latest

I wrote a quick update on the ELI blog regarding things in Kenya.

As for life in South Africa: I've been trying to use this time to get ahead on my studies. The only problem is that I was realistic in how many books to bring on vacation, so I'm about to finish the only text book I brought. I'll visit the university library tomorrow and hear if they'd let me study there and check out another text. It'd be OK just to sit there and work. Like way back when, when I had to spend hours cramming for exams. (I was not a very diligent student as an undergrad...)

Other than that, I've been enjoying the blessing of spending extra time with my goddaughters as well as catching up with friends I rarely get to see during quick visits to South Africa. I'm thankful to be "stuck" in SA rather than being in a country where I have to be concerned about visas or housing.

School started today for the girls. Clara is in Grade 2 and was thrilled to go to a new school today. I'm praying that she'll come home with news of making friends... The adjustment to life in a new school can be hard, sometimes! Same with Anja, though changing daycare isn't quite as big an adjustment for a 2-year-old. She seemed really happy with her new teacher when we went to meet her yesterday and even gave her a huge hug, so things should be fine. She was especially excited about all the toys at her new school.

OK, back to work. It's raining outside; has been raining all morning. So it's a perfect day to study. Just heading out for a quick cup of tea with the parents of a friend of mine who's a missionary in Sri Lanka. Then, back to the books.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kenya crisis: How you can help

Some of you have been asking how you can help in Kenya. ELI has set up an emergency fund. We need to raise an additional $10,000 to cover extra costs due to the unrest in the country. For details, visit the ELI blog.

Some news from Kipkaren

I got a text message from Michelle in Kipkaren today. It seems like things are slowly returning to normal in Kenya, though there is still a lot of tension in the air.

When Michelle and others were driving to Eldoret today, they were saddened to see the destruction along the way. About half of Turbo—the nearest town on our way to Eldoret (about 7 miles from the center)—had been burned down, including the gas station. I am waiting to hear if the AIDS clinic where we take all the patients in our home-based care program, sustained any damage. I am praying that it was safe. It’s a stone’s throw from the torched gas station.

There's still no Internet connection in Kipkaren or Ilula, so news is coming forth very sporadically.

Good news is that tomorrow's march has been called off! That's a huge item of praise.

Please also join us in praying that God would bring beauty out of the ashes and chaos in Kenya!

At this stage, international papers are reporting that 360 people had passed away since December 29. Kenyan papers report around 600, and hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced. You can read more on Daniel's blog.

As you can imagine, I am eager to get back to Kenya! However, I must still wait to get clearance from the Kenyan board since people are still being deported en masse from Eldoret...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

News from Kenya!

I've posted updates from Ilula on the ELI blogs. Please read Don's updates here, and news from Laban here.

Yesterday, Don, Amy and their kids were able to be airlifted by MAF. Getting out of Ilula was a challenge, and they are staying in Nairobi now, not able to change their flight home. They were able to buy $1000's food in the city yesterday and MAF did food drops at both our children's homes as they have been running out of food supplies and no shops in the Eldoret area have been open. (When they do open, there are lines up to almost a mile long as people are trying to stock up!)

Though some of the news I've read today talk of the possibility of another election in 3 months, nothing is certain yet. Things seem to have calmed down significantly in the city, but the conditions are still very volatile.

Please, please pray for peace!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

What's happening in Kenya?

Please note that this entry does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Empowering Lives International. This is a personal blog reflecting the writer's personal opinion.

Some people have been asking me why things are falling apart in Kenya. Here's how I understand it:

The former president, Mwai Kibaki, is from the Kikuyu tribe. They're the biggest tribe in Kenya. Often, people from other tribes don't like the Kikuyus, possibly because they're the most successful and most prominent in Kenya's business world.

Leading up to the elections (truly only the second democratic election in Kenya), things were getting tense. Most of the tension was along tribal lines. Though support for PNU (Kibaki's party) and ODM (the opposition party of Raila) wasn't strictly tribal, there was definitely some tribal division.

Raila, who is a Luo, the third-largest tribe, has VERY strong support from the Kalenjin tribe, who mostly live in Western Kenya (where I live).

From what I understand from all the leading news sources, there is evidence that Kibaki rigged the results and thus stole the victory. reports, "At one stage on Sunday in this nation of 36 million, Odinga was one million votes in the lead. Election officials in Kibaki's strongholds then disappeared with the ballot boxes, only to reappear with dramatically enhanced tallies for the President, who was promptly declared the winner and sworn in less than an hour later."

Officials of the ECK (electoral commission of Kenya) agree that they had been pressured to prematurely announce that Kibaki was the winner and swear him in as the president. Even EU observers have been saying that they saw Kibaki's votes mysteriously go up with tens of thousands of votes. Both the EU and the ECK have called for an independent investigation into the election.

Back to the tribal unrest: In Kenya's 44 years of independence, there has never been a Luo president. The Luo thus believe that their only chance of having one of their own as president has been stolen. Things are worse in Western Kenya (around Eldoret) since both the Kalenjin (the majority tribe of the area) and the Luo are strong supporters of Raila.

I also believe it's of spiritual significance that the West has been a hot spot in terms of tribal clashes. It is reported that thousands were marching to Burnt Forest, a town about 30 km (about 15 miles) outside of Eldoret. We're all watching to see what will be happening there... I am trusting that nothing will come of the march to Burnt Forest, nor of Tuesday's march in Nairobi. (That march was supposed to be held today, but after the police fired tear gas and water bombs, ODM postponed the march till next Tuesday.) One of the challenges of the march to Burnt Forest, though, is that Western Kenya is a very poor region. Many people live on $2 a day which they get for day labor. Most businesses have been closed during the unrest, leaving people with no source of income, and hence, no food. A friend with connections in Burnt Forest wrote me today saying that people have no food in Burnt Forest. Please pray against the tribal strongholds in the west of Kenya!

Effects on ELI's Centers
When I spoke with our director in Kipkaren two nights ago, he asked for prayer for the country, but assured me that they are safe. The town of Kipkaren, about 2 miles from our center, was suffering from divisions between people, and even while we were on the phone, shots were fired nearby. They weren't able to buy bread in town, but had enough maize to keep feeding our children. We also have large vegetable gardens where we can harvest enough vegetables for the children. "If we have to, we will slaughter our (dairy) cows," I was told. "But we'll have enough food."

At our center in Ilula, many people have been coming to seek safety. I do not know how things are in Ilula right now, but will be calling Samuel this weekend to hear.

What now?
Reports vary regarding the number of people who have been killed to date. Most sources agree that it's more than 300 people by now. That's 300 too many. One article quoted a man from Kibera (Africa's largest slum, in Nairobi) saying how he's not sure they've really gained anything by fighting. It was clear that he himself has been fighting in the struggle for true democracy, but he was somewhat disillusioned by the fact that the President has been quiet, many people have lost their lives, they've lost their homes and peace. The article quoted him as saying that he doesn't think the government (whether under Raila 0r Kibaki) will help them get their lives back together, that all the fighting is in vain.

I couldn't agree more. I do understand that the people are upset by the vote rigging. It is sad, however, that lives, homes, and peace has unnecessarily been lost.

There seems to be a stale mate in terms of peace talks. Raila won't talk to the President unless he steps down. Kibaki won't talk to people like Desmond Tutu who has gone to mediate. Nor will he talk to the chairman of the African Union.

To me, it's not clear what the way forward is. What is clear, however, is that millions of people have been hurt by two men's fight for power. Kenya will take a while to recover. Right now, it's not clear when it will be safe enough for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Kenyans to return to their homes.

Please continue to pray for peace and healing for the people of Kenya. This is obviously a watershed event in Kenyan history. I believe it is also such for the church in Kenya. This nation professes to be 80% Christian. I am praying that God will use the events to allow the church in Kenya to take a closer look at the life God calls us to live--including laying down tribalism.

The way forward is long. Kenya needs your prayers.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Church burned down in Eldoret

I've been spending time reading credible news sources like BBC, Associated Press and Reuters to find out what's happening in Kenya. I have not been able to figure out where exactly the church in Eldoret is that had burned down. But it's in Eldoret, indeed. It's really sad to see what's happening.

Please keep praying for peace.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Staying in South Africa

I received news today that things aren't looking good at all in Kenya. Not at all. The news doesn't portray things so badly because the government is now controlling news. Here's a eye-opening article written by a missionary in Kitale, a city close to my home in Kipkaren. Seriously, till I read his account of how things are, I didn't realize the extent. I had been told that even around our base in Ilula, homes have been burned down. Last night, 80 people stayed at our base, seeking refuge. People are starting to run out of food and water. According to The Standard, 24 people have been killed in Eldoret. Violence is focused on the Kikuyu, the ruling tribe. Busses are stopped and Kikuyus are pulled from them and attacked.

I've been asked to stay in South Africa until things have calmed down. All teams for January have been cancelled.

Please pray for peace in Kenya! Please pray for safety for our children, especially. Please pray that food supplies will miraculously last at our children's homes and at our bases even as people have come to seek refuge. Please pray that we'll continue to be able to receive news. According to Daniel's blog, (he's the guy who lives in Kitale), communication with the outside world is gradually being cut off. He and others are trying to flee to Uganda.

I will try and call my directors in Kenya this afternoon to hear how things are at Kipkaren and Ilula. Please, please pray for peace in Kenya.

Kenya Update

Some people have been asking me about what's happening in Kenya after the elections. I've not spoken to my colleagues and don't know anything more than what I've been able to read on There's also this article on NY Times. Things aren't looking too good. There have been riots and strikes across the country, especially in Nairobi. And in the west of the country (umm, that's where we live). It seems like the government has put a block on news from around the country. Not good.

Please join me in praying for peace in Kenya.

New Year's Culture Shock

I'm at my sister Liesl's house, soaking in every moment with my nieces. We had a fun day at the Vaaldam. (Americans would call it a lake, I guess.) Went fishing, took a boat out on the dam and had a good time visiting with family (actually, my brother-in-law's family). Decided to enjoy a barbeque (South African "braai") at home with the kids and watch a New Year's concert on television. It's the top 24 Afrikaans artists. I recognized only ONE. OK, if you include a boy's choir that performed, make it two. But I didn't know any of the other artists. And I don't regret it. In fact, it's been a shock to watch most of the artists. Wow. I simply cannot relate. I'm having culture shock. Big time.

It's about 10:30, and I'm ready to head to bed. Clara's fast asleep. Anja's wide awake since she slept the entire 2-hour drive from Vaaldam. She doesn't quite grasp the idea of New Year's yet. Clara, on the other hand, had been announcing all evening, "This is the last time I'm taking a bath this year. I'm not going to eat again this year." And so on and so forth. Like only a 7-year-old can do. But I love 'em, nevertheless. Lots and lots.

It's been an amazing joy and blessing spending time with these two nieces as well as with my brother's kids. That's one of the hardest things of living so far - not seeing nephew and nieces grow up.

On this note, a happy New Year to you and yours. By the time the clock strikes 12 over in the US, I'll already be up on this side, ready for another fun day with family and friends.