Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27 NLT
This verse is why we moved to Kenya. We felt like, and we had that feeling confirmed in more than one way, that we were called to care for orphans. Looking back on our lives, Jeff and I are able to see that many of the events and happenings of our lives have led to us being in Kenya. I believe that God has been preparing me for this my whole life. Since moving to Kenya we have faced many challenges, but really we have been blessed. We moved here not knowing or understanding the procedures to open a children's home and here we are with our home open and we still aren't anymore clear on the rules and procedures. So we have just been winging it, trusting that God has us here for this purpose and that He will make a way. Winging it is something that I seem to do well with, or at least survive with.
At this point we have a home that houses 29 people. The girls dorm is complete minus a ceiling, the boys dorm is not yet completed (still needs bathroom and floors completed). Our plan several months ago was to only take in girls because the boys dorm isn't livable yet and we have a lot of room for girls. So we started taking in girls from our area and things were (and still are) going great. But every time we go into town we see these poor boys who just roam the streets all day begging for food and sniffing glue. We decided that we could bring one home, then another, then another.
These boys are such a joy...you can see real transformation with them. When they come here they are dirty, tired and hungry. We immediately provide food, clean clothes, shoes, shower and a hair cut for them. Within a few days you can see a real difference in the way they carry themselves. You can see the harshness in their face fade away. You see them become loving and gentle and you see a sense of security in them.
About 2 months ago we temporarily lost our minds and took in 3 boys within 2 days. We quickly realized that was a mistake because the level of chaos in our home was out of control. We swore that we would never do that again. 3 boys under the age of 10, who had been running the streets of Bungoma was just too much at once. One of the boys that came during that time period decided to leave after being here a couple of weeks. We tried to keep him here because kids shouldn't be allowed to make adult decisions, but he insisted on going. You didn't hear about that because I had too many feelings to process on my end. I don't even believe that we had announced that he was here so I needed to deal with my own feelings of failure before I could try and explain what happened to y'all.
So fast-forward to this past Friday (8/18). We went into town to do our weekly shopping trip plus purchase a bunch of needs that had been provided for by one of our wonderful supporters. We had about 10 stops to make that day so we didn't have time to waste. Right before we were headed to grab a quick lunch I had big brown eyes looking up at me asking me to take him to school. In my head I'm saying "we just don't have room...but we keep telling him soon...but we just don't have room". I ask Jeff if we can take him (Junior) to lunch with us and he agrees. So at lunch we are just beginning to eat our "chips kuku" (french fries and fried chicken with no breading) when we see a familiar face peek in the window and then disappear. The owner of the restaurant goes outside and gets this boy and it is Danny. Danny is the one who was living here, but decided to return to the streets. My honest gut reaction was "Oh no, not this boy!", but he wanted to talk to Jeff. He told Jeff he was sorry, he asked for forgiveness and asked to be able to come back to MCH. Sounds great right? Well it was great except he was told he wouldn't be allowed back if he left our home. We made sure that he fully understood that. We had his teacher talk to him, we had a friend try and convince him to stay and several of our other boys told him not to go, but he did, and now he wants to come back. Jeff is asking me what I think..."uhhh I think he left and knew coming back wasn't an option. I think we don't have room. I think Junior (our lunch date) wants to come and that is completely unfair if we take Danny back and leave Junior. I think you want me to eat all of my food before a decision is made because I'm seriously hangry."
If you know us you probably already know how this is going to end...we take both boys home. How do we say "no"? These are precious children who need love, support, food, clothing and more love. So we are getting ready to leave, Jeff and I with our friend Nickson, Ray with Junior and Danny. But then Wilbur walks up. Wilbur is a little boy who has had my heart for months. We've tried to get him to come to MCH, but he hasn't wanted to. Every time I see him I just want to grab him up, hug him and bring him home...I've watched him decline over the last several months. Well on Friday when we are already in over our heads he wants to come to home. At this point we have broken all of our own rules and really what's one more? So we took Wibur home too.
What we are doing here is hard. I don't mean loving the kids and caring for the kids, that is really easy. But going into town and being asked to help and having to say "no" is hard. When you know you are leaving them to fend for themselves at 8, 9 and 10 years old. When you are saying you won't protect and love them. When you are fully aware of the filth they live in and you choose to leave them there...that is beyond hard. You will never hear me say "We can't save them all." I threw that crazy statement out a long time ago. With God all things are possible, and Jeff and I both fully intend to spend the rest of our lives trying to say "YES!" more and "No" less, in order to save them all.