Saturday, May 31, 2008

Uganda Video, No Different for Poor AIDS Orphans in Kenya

Be ready to have your heart broken. Although this was taken in Uganda, we have come across similar situations in Kenya. A new friend from California, Lanny Cordola, introduced us to the web site, San Damiano Foundation, a foundation that produces video to help the poor around the world. Thanks Lanny!

Keep us in your prayers and help us help them.

Uganda Film: Sam & Esther Scene

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Meekers & Sell: Great Time with Lutherans Making a Difference in Kenya

Thanks to Everyone Who Hosted Us

What a trip it was. The Meekers arrived on April 12th. Deaconess Lorna left May 1st and Pastor Meeker's final preaching date was May 25th. In every stay, the local people provided us with places to sleep, eat, and relax a bit. There are so many people to thank, that I fear if I start listing them, I will miss too many. We visited with pastors, parish nurses, DCE's, teachers, elders, deacons, many laypeople, and others for about a total of 23 events. Meekers put about 9000 miles on their car and we flew around California for a week. Thanks especially to Cliff & Lori Lewis (above) who helped us line up visits in Southern California. Lori is a great organizer and Cliff and I had a great time talking physics on occasion, chaos theory. He told me my silly round hat that I wore on our trip to dinner one night was a sample of chaos. Hmmmm... still tyring to figure that one out. Oh ya, cliff is a physicist.

Sorry I Couldn't Keep Up the Travel Diary on the Blog

Once we got moving on our trip, several things came up unexpectedly (IA in the US?). Pastors Meeker and Sell both had deaths in their families. The more we traveled the busier we got. We added several more speaking engagements to our itinerary and when we had a few hours of down time here and there, we "rested our eyes," as my father used to call it.

Where's Deaconess Lorna?

"Where's Deaconess Lorna?"

"I thought she was going to be here?"

Those were comments Pastors Meeker and Sell heard often as they traveled during the second half of their trip.

IA - A Term We Learned from Parish Nurse Pam Boehle-Silva

"It's Africa."

For anyone who has traveled to more of a low-key country, you will snicker at this story. Many countries are not as fast paced as the U.S. Kenya is one of them. When we scheduled things in Kenya, the time of the appointment is more of a suggestion. Sometimes entire events will change at the last second without warning. Parish Nurse, Pam Boehle-Silva, (Holy Cross, Rocklin CA) told us of her trip to Kenya and how they finally began to respond to uncertainties with, "IA, It's Africa."

When Pastor Meeker and Deaconess Lorna flew to the states, they planned on being here, together, the entire time. We knew Deaconess Lorna needed to get back to Kenya to start classes the first week in June. The day before they left Kenya, she went to the school to double check that everything was ready to go when she got back.

Surprise! I.A. The administration told her everything was ready, but school was now going to start the first week of May instead of June. Pastor Meeker explained this and everyone was very gracious to understand that Deaconess Lorna needed to go home early. We made plans to get her home and fly her from St. Louis etc.

The first week in May arrives and Deaconess Lorna goes to school. She walks in to the class room and was told, "We had only 16 students and that wasn't enough for class. The school will start in September.

I.A. :)

In the Lord's hidden will, it was a fortunate event. As it turns out, Deaconess Lorna was needed by the people that she and pastor serve. For example, a young husband and wife, with 4 children of their own and caring for 5 orphans were living in a 10 sq. ft. home. Several of the children were sick. The wife/mother has AIDS, is suffering from breast cancer, and is undergoing chemo. Deaconess Lorna brought them some food and began to look for housing for several of the children. Too many under one roof. Too much sickness.

This is only one example of several situations wherein Deaconess Lorna was badly needed. In the end, maybe "I.A." is another way for us to pray, "Thy will be done."

Pastors Meeker and Sell Travel the US to Support Kenyan Lutherans and Mercy

Pastors Meeker and Sell traveled all over the U.S. in the last month and a half to raise awareness of the AIDS Epidemic and how it affects Lutherans in Kenya. Between the two pastors, they spoke in 5 states making about 23 presentations (IL, MI, OH, IN, IA, CA).

A portion of their presentation was to update people on the needs of the poverty stricken and disease infested Kibera Slums. Pastor Meeker serves Springs of Life Lutheran Church in Kibera and his wife serves as a deaconess in the ELCK.

So many people were made aware of the fact that many parents die by the time they are 30 and, in the words of ELCK's Bishop Walter Obare, "Every home is an unofficial orphanage." Every family works and contributes to care for the millions of orphans in Kenya.

Often in the states, once we get past the initial news blast of something "big," we tend to move on to the newest fad or disaster. However, this trip around the country reminded Lutherans that so many homes are in ashes, children are starving and dying of AIDS and widows are sick with many children to care for.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

In Memoriam - John Mwaura

Last week I mentioned that Pastor Meeker's chairman of Springs of Life, Kibera entered the church triumphant. He passed away from a sudden heart attack. Here is a video clip of him the way most of us in the states remember him. He was so very helpful to the ministry at Kibera.

I'm sure many people who traveled to Kenya will remember these sorts of scenes.