Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Making a Difference in the Lives of AIDS Orphans and Young Girls

St. John (Rochester, MI) and Friends of Mercy plan on making a difference in the lives of young girls from the Massai tribe and AIDS Orphans in partnership with LCMS World Relief and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK).

These photos shows how Lutherans are making a difference. In the foreground (above) is the old orphanage in which 9 orphans lived. Some of these children only knew of this mud-dung hut as they lived there their entire lives. The buildings in the background are the similar to the new buildings that we will fund in other locations.

Below, you can see the contrast between the two facilities. When we fund an "orphanage" we provide a place to sleep, an all purpose building with a kitchen, and lavatory facilities. Furthermore, not only does the local church provide for the children living at the compound, but they also care for the many orphans from the village and surrounding area where single parents and family members care for orphans in their homes.

(left) Elizabeth Nelson (1st grade teacher) stands at the door of the old orphanage started by a Lutheran pastor. The mud-dung walls slowly deteriorate annually from rain. The home owner patches these homes every year.

(right) Elder, Kirk Radford, is taking pictures. The building on his immediate right is the sleeping quarters for the boys. The building in the background is the all purpose building with a kitchen. Between the buildings, the black object is the rain-catching system for water consumption.

(left) The interior of the old orphanage where 9 children lived. There are two very small rooms.

(above) This is the interior of the sleeping facility with mosquito nets.

(right) Pastor Karl Galik and 1st grade teacher Elizabeth inside the all purpose building where the children eat and participate in other programs.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Faith & Mercy Expendition to Help AIDS Orphans and FGM among Massai

Faith & Mercy Expedition - St. John, Rochester, MI Lead Team

I'm on my way home from Kenya after a successful and life changing Faith & Mercy Expedition. A lead team from St. John, Rochester, MI (See their Africa blog here.)

did a great job of updating their blog while they were in Kenya. Pictured above from left to right, are the St. John team, Mr. Kirk Radford, Mrs. Elizabeth Nelson, and Pr. Karl Galik. After Pr. Galik, Pr. Dennis Meeker [Springs of Life, Kibera, pastor] and Chairman Immanuel are pictured in the church. The team wanted to learn how they can help the ELCK (Evangelical Lutheran church in Kenya) with the millions of hungry and dying orphans as the result of the HIV\AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

It was a wonderful week as we experienced time and time again the constant suffering of the children and families in Kenya. "Thanks be to God," as Bishop O'bare said, as we witnessed the work of the ELCK.

There is much more to come as I continue to catch up from our trip. We will have many photos of the on-going work.

At the right and below are orphans from Kowengare and the Othoro orphanages. The expressionless look on the faces of AIDS Orphans who are not on ARVS (antiretroviral), the medicines which help the children get better and live with the HIV virus, often have this hopeless and emotionless look. The blank stare reflects how bad the children feel. No matter what I did, and I can get quite silly, the child's expression never changed.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Lutheran Cancer & Hospice Society Publishes First Booklet by John Pless

Luther on the Care for the Sick and Dying

It was an exciting week for us here at Friends of Mercy. We received our first shipment of Professor Pless' booklet, Luther on the Care for the Sick and Dying.
His booklet brings to light Luther's writings on sickness and death. It is an opportunity to read Luther as the compassionate pastor that he was.
This booklet is the first in a series of booklets on facing cancer, terminal illnesses, and even hospice. Every year, Lutheran Cancer & Hospice Society will publish six booklets to help pastors and parishioners deal with cancer, other terminal illnesses, and hospice.
Hospice, It Doesn't Mean Giving Up
My booklet is also available, Hospice, It Doesn't Mean Giving Up. You can receive the booklets by sending an e-mail to order@thefriendsofmercy.org. Or, you can go to Friends of Mercy and click on the picture cover at the top of the home page under, "What's New."
The proceeds from the booklets support the ministry of Lutheran Cancer & Hospice Society

Kenya by Friday - So, What Time is it There?

I leave this Thursday for Nairobi, Kenya. It will take about 23 hours to get to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Many people ask about the time changes from St. Louis to Nairobi. Nairobi is 8 hours ahead of Central time. Here is a clock that will always tell you what time it is in Nairobi. I'll also place it near the top of the sidebar on the right.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Trip to Kenya to Visit Orphanages - St. John, Rochester MI

Faith & Mercy Expedition Set for Oct. 16-26

In a couple of weeks, Pastor Sell will lead a Faith & Mercy Expedition with members of St. John Lutheran Church, Rochester MI. Pastor Karl Galik, Elizabeth Nelson, and Kirk Radford will spend a week in Kenya for the purpose of building a relationship with the Kenyans and to offer the love of our Lord through acts of mercy. St. John wants to help with an orphanage to support the work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) with their ministry to AIDS Orphans.

Please keep us all in your prayers as we travel to Kenya. You will also be able to follow our travels online. Pastor Galik will check in regularly and we expect to be able to upload pictures while we are traveling the Kenyan countryside. You can check in here or at St. John's blogspot.

While in Kenya, we will visit the land for the Entito Rescue Center, the Massai Mara, Kibera Slums, several orphanages, and pastors and leaders of the ELCK.