Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AMAZING pictures and video of our Huruma Family!! Recap of our Kenya trip...

Hi friends!

Putting together this final recap of our journey to Huruma Children's Home has given me so much joy. Our Sewing Team accomplished so much during our time in Kenya and our hearts are full of love for our Huruma Family. Below is a video of our amazing experience!

Thank you for your support and encouragement for our sewing program at Huruma. Teaching the students, teachers and aunties the skill of sewing was extremely exciting for all of us! In our opinion, the students are brilliant! They caught on so quickly, never made a complaint and had amazing determination. They were able to learn and complete three projects:
  1. The Huruma Family "Leigh's Blankie"
  2. The Huruma Family Drawstring Project
  3. Headbands with "yo-yo" flowers
Because of your prayers and God's goodness, we were able to accomplish a couple of more unexpected tasks! Our team had prayed that God would provide someone to run the sewing program at Huruma after we headed back to the states.  One of the Huruma teachers, Jacinta, asked Mama Zipporah (the mother/director at the orphanage) if she could fill that position.  We were elated to hear her desire AND that she has a background in Home Economics! It brought all of us much joy to be able to teach Jacinta how to run an electric sewing machine and how to sew many new projects, including a pencil skirt. The second blessing that we did not expect, was conquering the mending of the children's clothes.  Their clothes and uniforms were in dire need of repairs and we were anxious to accomplish this for them! Although the mending was a huge success, their need is still great. If you would like to assist in purchasing new uniforms for the children, please consider attending two upcoming local events, REMIX and The Believe Boutique, at Cornerstone Chandler. At these events, we will be selling Huruma Family Drawstring Backpacks and Huruma Family Leigh's Blankies that the girls made themselves!  All proceeds will go to the purchase of new school uniforms for Huruma!!

With your financial support we were able to set up a fully functioning sewing program!!
We bought them:
  • FIFTEEN brand new Brother sewing machines!!! WOOHOO!! :)
  • 20 fully stocked sewing kits
  • Cutting Mats
  • Irons and Ironing Mats
  • Thread, bobbins and other notions
  • Tons of fabric for making Leigh's Blankies and other projects
  • Supplies to MEND their uniforms and play clothes

So we've put together a little recap for you
...grab a cup of coffee and enjoy video and pictures of our sewing mission at Huruma!!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Power has been out but we are still doing great!!

Love to all of you from Kenya!!!
With the power being out, it's hard to update , but we all are doin great! 

The sewing program is doing amazing, this is our last day to work with the students and teachers. We also have a lot of mending to catch up on. Please pray the power comes back on or the generator sustains us in the sewing room until it does!! 
Yesterday we went on a safari at the Nairobi  National Park! The animals were absolutely amazing!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 2-Church at Huruma, Dorms, Mending, and One very special blankie!

Wow! And we thought Day One was awesome, today was incredible!!

We began with church service with the Huruma kids.  They have their own worship band, play their own instruments and have incredible voices!! The worship service was 3 hours long and honestly, no one wanted it to end. We sang, we danced and we heard the Word of God.  Our Sewing Team was greeted by Mama Zipporah and introduced to all of the kiddos. Pastor Tim Beal from Cornerstone taught us from Luke 8:26-39. Reminding us that God can use anyone and any circumstance to bring others to Christ. At the end of the service, we said our goodbyes to the Cornerstone High School group that had been here for 2 weeks before us.  Everyone was very sad to say goodbye, but it was bittersweet as we were saying hello! Every student greeted each of us with a hug! It was beautiful. 

After lunch, Mama Zipporah shared with us her life story and how Huruma Children’s Home was founded. She began serving at an orphanage in Kenya and when God healed her from Heart Disease, she knew she wanted to live for him and do even more.  Mama started to care for a small amount of children and that led to the 180 children she mother’s today, plus the 100 children from the slums that she helps educate at Huruma School. She is an amazing woman, our love for her is big and her love for us is as well.  She radiates Christ’s light to others!

Sunday afternoon brought a need we were not prepared for materially, but we were moved in a big way to help. The uniforms of the students need incredible attention.  Almost every student has been wearing their one and only uniform, six days a week, for well over a year.  Can you imagine what an outfit of your child would look like if they wore it every day? For OVER a year?! To say these clothes needed mending was an understatement.  We did not come prepared for this, but that’s ok, because God led the way and the clothes just kept coming!  We have mended sweaters, pants, shirts and jackets, sewn on buttons, and we had to utilized the materials that we had brought (since we had no clothing patches, we are making them from bed sheets).  The need is so great, it is overwhelming.  But slowly we are making progress as more and more come in.  I’m amazed by this team’s talent and skills! They have had to “make do” with supplies, yet have risen to the occasion with amazing work! Thank you Lord! The kids are so grateful and so is Mama Zipporah. Seeing her smile and the children’s is a beautiful thing!!

Later that night, we went into the girl’s dormitory to read them books and play games.  It was bittersweet! Spending time with these kids is priceless, but their surroundings are difficult to see.  They are certainly living a life that is full compared to their upbringing, but the overcrowded rooms, worn linens, tattered clothes and shoes, and difficult smells are gut wrenching.  Even with these conditions, they are grateful for everything!! They loved the books and the games. Especially playing “big booty” with Kristina! It was too cute! The girls are eager for their new dormitories to be finished.  The construction is in process! We hugged them goodnight and looked forward to our first full school week with the children!

Church Service at Huruma

 Haiden and Deanne with Selma in the girl's dormitory. Immediately we saw their Leigh's Blankies on their beds from last year! And they still looked great!!
More girls and their Leigh's Blankies!

 If you attend Cornerstone Church, you will recognize this dormitory.  The church built a model of this particular room on our church campus this year to help raise awareness and funds for the Huruma Girls. It was pretty incredible seeing the actual dormitory IN Kenya. Seeing this on our own church campus moved so many people, they raised $120,000 to build the girl's a new dorm! They are anxiously awaited their new home. Their current conditions of cramped spaces and inadequate toilets/showers is heart wrenching.  Many of these girls sleep 2 or 3 to a bed. But look at their faces, happy and grateful for all that has been given to them. They are amazing girls.
Their one and only toilet in the Girl's dorm, which also doubles as a bathing area.

This sweet guy was studying on top of his Leigh's Blankie. :) When I told him we had made that for him he eagerly said, Thank you! I love it.

The Boy's room with their special curtains made by a Leigh's Blankies.

To see Leigh's name throughout Huruma is incredibly moving beyond words.  The students know who she is and the light her life was to us all.  They are thankful of how God was faithful through grief, provided for Leigh's Blankies and brought us all to Huruma to serve them.  Our hearts are full, yet we miss her no less than when we first lost her.  We will have a lot to catch up on one day in Heaven.

Maria is an incredible volunteer of Leigh's Blankies.  Her servant heart has sewed and facilitated many groups for our organization.  Being in this room together with our curtains and blankies was certainly rewarding.

Sweet Hope and our Sweet Rylie. 

Mending the clothes at Huruma!

Just an example of the mending that God put before us! 

This is a BEAUTIFUL picture to us!! Missy taught Sweet Agnes, a former child from Huruma, how to sew the very first Leigh's Blankie at Huruma! Each blankies will also have their very own HURUMA FAMILY label with a silhouette of Africa on the opposite side. Agnes gave this first blankie to her daughter, Caren.

 Agnes and her daughter Caren are VERY special to me! We have been messaging on Facebook for quite some time.  When her daughter was born in Kenya, she was first wrapped in a Leigh's Blankie.  Here is that picture!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day One-The children of Huruma are amazing!

Our first day here brought only joy and confirmation that would fall in love quick with the children of Huruma Children’s Home!!!
Our travels:
Well, in case you didn’t know, Africa is very far away!! We flew 4 ½ hours to Washington D.C., 8 hours to Belgium, 12 ½ hours to Nairobi!!. With our layovers, we logged 32 hours of traveling!! Honestly, as EXHAUSTED as we all were, the traveling could not have got smoother for all of us.  We had no significant delays, zero cancelled flights and most of us got to sit relatively close to each other (so we could complain about how tired we were :). It seemed like we got a second wind when we began to walk through the exit doors of the Nairobi terminal.  We were met by Mama Zipporah (jumping up and down, clapping her hands in excitement), Mama Roberta (ecstatic to see us), Mama Lisa (teary eyed, she worked so hard at getting our sew team ready for travel) AND several Huruma kids with big smiles, hugs and beautiful roses for each of us!! What a beautiful Kenya Welcome!!
The Children:
The children at Huruma are extremely friendly and always have a ‘hi” and “what’s your name?” for each of us. Their smiles, as you can see in pictures, radiate love. They are absolutely grateful for all that they have been given. And despite their difficult beginnings to life, they are so thankful to call Huruma their home.  Huruma offers them love, a bed, food, clothing, education and the knowledge of God and His word.  I’m amazed at the appreciation these kids have for what they’re given. Many of them share a twin bed, they don’t have nice clothes or shoes that fit (by America’s standards anyway), you can imagine their menu options are quite limited, and their dormitories are extremely crowded. Yet to them, Huruma is a safe haven and an answer to their prayers. Their gratefulness is never ending. They will thank you for just holding their hand or for  showing them your family pictures on your phone.  They soak up every moment with the volunteers. Today, I found little Elisabeth playing in a stairwell.  She had her toys out, 6 Fanta bottle caps, 2 of them entirely rusted.  We played ”flip the bottle cap with your finger and then cheer like crazy” game. She loved every minute of it and frankly so did I :). The hugs and smiles are endless here.  We are floored by how bright these kids are.  Many of them have moved far ahead in their classroom at school because of their intelligence and determination.  Our entire team is in awe of the children. They are absolutely amazing. And beautiful. And have stolen our hearts.

The Sewing Program:
After breakfast, we were brought to the new sewing room. That was exciting! We arranged tables, chairs, supplies and their new sewing machines.  With your donations we were able to buy 8 machines and our plan is get 7 more this week. Awesome! We were just half way through setting up our classroom, when children began to enter the doors and jumped at the chance to learn how to sew! Their excitement encouraged us.  One of the teachers from Huruma is the new Sewing Program Director.  She has background in Home Economics and  even she was elated to learn! She had never sewed on an electric sewing machine before and she had the time of her life!!  Chaos began to ensue though, as the classroom was buzzing with excitement, so we kindly locked up the room and invited others to come later for our class.  Their excitement was such a huge encouragement to all of us, especially the teacher’s own excitement for her new found love of machinery :).  We had prayed so much over this program, one of the things being that we plainly wanted the kids to have fun and enjoy this! Thank you Lord, they loved it.
Later after lunch, we gave 15 girls and their new director a two hour class on the basics of sewing.  It went beautifully! We never imagined the students would pick up on things so fast. They learned all of the parts of their sewing machine, how to thread their top-thread and bobbin and then they spent some time practicing a straight stitch.  We explained how this skill could be a fun hobby, a sustainable trade, and a means to raise money for Huruma.  We showed them the projects they would be working on this week and how each project would have their very own “Huruma Family” woven label sewn into the seam.  You should have seen their faces when we explained they could sell these items in the market to raise money for their home! Priceless.  And when we showed them the drawstring backpack that they would be sewing, they were giddy! By the end of the class I can easily say they were eager and all of us on the sew team were deeply encouraged. Thank you Lord!
The Dance Party
After we ate dinner we were in for a dance party. And I mean DANCE PARTY. On Saturday nights they meet for prayers and then when the music starts, they dance like there is no tomorrow! It was a cross between the best Zumba class you could ever take and an African Bandstand.  Those kids can MOVE!! We had a blast dancing in line with the older kids and holding hands with the little ones. Their music just rocks and I’m hoping to get their playlist :).
After dancing our tooshes off, we headed back to the dorm to reflect on our day.  It was just wonderful.  We shared what our expectations were as we came into the trip and how God surprised with so much more than we could ever imagine.

And friends, that was just Day 1.