A new covenant of ministry partnership with AFM, Bys Family and Revival Church, Fall Creek WI . Hallelujah, the Lord is good!
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Today we arrived back home with our 2 visitors! It was an awesome day and we were blessed with easy and safe travels.
Ironically enough two years ago today we were traveling the same roads to our new (temporary) home in Kenya. Happy 2 crazy blessed years to us! We had no clue what lay before us but we were as ready as we could be. For anyone who hasn't been following our story from the beginning let me recap "quickly".
•2011 Jeff began to talk about Africa
•2012 Jeff was still talking about Africa and I was a "maybe someday".
•2013 "Africa, Africa, Africa"-Jeff "Don't talk to me about Africa!"-Steph
•2014 Jeff started volunteering with AFM and attempted a trip to Kenya, but it was bad timing so he wasn't able to go.
•2015 "MAYBE, when all the kids are grown I will go to Africa so please stop talking to me about it!"-Steph 🤷🏻♂️-Jeff
•2016 Jeff was able to go to Kenya with DC Shelton for 10 days at the end of April. While Jeff was in Kenya God made it abundantly clear that I was to go to Kenya as soon as Jeff wanted to. 😭😭😭 (I REALLY, REALLY did NOT want to move to Kenya EVER, much less so soon.)
•May-November 2016 We sold everything we had and packed 45 bags to permanently move with our 7 youngest children to Kenya.
•December 2016 moved to Bungoma, Kenya.
•January 2017 Had the water well dug and started building our home.
•May 2017 started taking in children
•September-December 2017 many wrangles with the men we came here to work along side with, forcing us to leave our home and we were even put in jail for a short time.
•January 2018 we moved back home with the support of our village and our court case was closed.
•June 2018 Purchased the 1/2 acre our home is built on. (Yes this was done backwards and we learned a lot)
•October 2018 finished the boys' side of the home and painted the majority of the inside of our home! 😁😁😁
•November 2018 Enough funds to purchase the front part of our land was donated. 💜
So here we are 2 years in and I can't imagine living anywhere else. It hasn't always been easy and we have made mistakes along the way, but we have been SO blessed and learned a ton. We now have 90+ children living at Mercy Home, a staff of 20+, a church that meets here weekly and we 2 visitors!
Thank you! Thank you for allowing God to use you in the lives here in our small village. Thank you for caring for orphans and widows. Thank you for building 5 homes for widows and families who need help. Thank you for allowing Jeff to live out his passion by sharing and teaching the gospel. Thank you for loving our children, I can't even explain what that means to me!
I'm crazy excited about this next year! We are hoping to open a school and welcome more visitors! Come and see!
Those who still want to give to our Christmas Mercy Home Celebration event, please click this Mercy Home button to visit our webpage and use the giving options there! God bless you!
And if you have not yet watched our full length documentary yet, what’s keeping you?? click here to watch it all!
posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook.
As many of you know we now have a sponsorship program and instead of posting the whole album I thought I would share some individual pics and a little bit of their story. Below is Ema (long E) who is a former streetboy. Ema use to spend his days sniffing glue, stealing, begging for food and being chased away by adults. The first time I met Ema (picture in comments) I didn't understand why he was being chased by a security guard, why he was so dirty or why he was asking for money. My eyes were about to be opened and my heart was soon cracked wide open. Ema slept on the streets most nights until he come to MCH. Now Ema is in school getting and education and he never has to worry about food. If you would like to sponsor Ema just click his picture and comment "sponsored". Thank you for your prayers and support!
Our "tiny" Minnie girl needs a sponsor too! While you can't yet communicate back and forth with her yet we can certainly update you on her progress. Minnie came to us straight from the hospital, she had been hospitalized for 3 days due to malnourishment. She obviously isn't lacking in food any longer and has put on a lot of weight (check the comments for an old picture). She is such a sweet, happy baby and it is a blessing to love on her and watch her grow. Minnie is 6 months old and thriving here at Mercy Home. If you would like to sponsor Minnie just click on her picture and comment "sponsored". Please feel free to ask any and all questions you have.
Finally construction has begun on the boy's dorm room!
Currently, we have the boys in the girl's dorm room, and the girls are in a smaller room that will become the office/library/study. We will also begin the finishing phase of the boy's bathroom in the next few days.
The boys dorm room has progressed faster than I thought it would. A lot was done today despite our power issues which have caused us to not have enough water (no power, no water pump pumping) and delaying the construction team some. Tomorrow they should finish the first layer on the floors and all walls. Monday they will start the bathrooms! As much as I'm not a fan of living in a construction zone I can't tell you how exciting it is to be making progress after months of not. Thank you so much for all of your support! Praying, sharing and giving is what keeps us here in Kenya loving on these children, church members and our community. (Sorry for the terrible photos, it rained/got dark before I could get better pictures and we don't have all of the lights installed yet.)
posted for Stephanie from Facebook.
Today has been a day full of L💜VE! We woke up to an email that a family donated $500 to send 4 children back to school and to provide them and their widowed Grandmother with an adequate home! What a huge blessing that is! Then we received a call that we had 3 bags of toys from America waiting for us in town. Today was like Christmas for Mercy Home! We have been hugely blessed and loved well!
someone has a new friend.
Joyful July Day 1! I saw someone doing Joyful June, so I decided I would jump on board in July!
This girl is such a JOY to my heart! Caitie has a heart for babies and children unlike most her age. I remember when she was 9 and Ava-Joy was born, Caitlin had a real live babydoll. Caitie has such a sweet heart and is such a big help in our home. Over the years the main thing she has wanted to be when she grew up was a Mom. She's spent hours reading parenting books, baby books and pregnancy books. She's met some resistance over this choice, but it is what she feels like God wants of her. Aside from being a good Mom she wants to help other Moms be a good Mom. She wants to help educate women on pregnancy, birth and raising children. There have been talks of us possibly opening a birthing center here in Kenya one day and she really likes the idea of that. She wants to hold prenatal, birth and parenting classes there. I don't brag on her enough and she's not a fan of being in pictures so I try and respect that, but I couldn't resist snapping this (first) picture. She's crocheting a blanket for our Minnie while wearing baby Joy on her back because she was fussy. Caitie is such a joy to us and those around her!
#joyfuljuly #caitie #aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #james127#nonprofit #kenya
We were given some exciting news last night! After discussing our strong desire and love for the new property with the owners they have decided that we can secure and move into our new 7 acre property for $50,000 down. Then we would pay off the remaining $100,000 with 50k in 6 months and another 50k in one year.
So our plan right now is to raise $60,000 to secure this beautiful property. The additional $10,000 is to cover legal fees, moving cost, getting the transformer set up to bring power back to the entire property and a few small things that need to be replaced/repaired. Currently we have $15,000 of the $60,000 needed to call this place home. As soon as God has provided the first $50,000 we will enter a legal agreement and start the purchase process. The purchase process will take about a month, but paying the first $50,000 takes the property off of the market.
This is an amazing opportunity that we believe that God has called us to. Originally the property was listed at $800,000 so the price being offered to us is a total God thing. Also an interesting fact is that the previous ministry started shutting down right around the same time Jeff and I first felt the call to Kenya years ago. Since then it has mostly been sitting empty, I'm not saying that this home has been waiting for us, but maybe! 😁
We have a couple of online fundraisers open right now and we have a couple of more in the works. If you are willing to host a fundraiser for Mercy Children's Home please reach out to us and we can answer any questions you may have. We are also looking for donations to auction off in a Facebook group, no item is too big or small, I've seen small handmade items bring in a lot of money for other charities. While we are constantly asking for your help, we are really just asking for you to join in and experience this greatness with us! Not everyone can come and see or go and be, but everyone can do something and all of the "somethings" add up to life change. Life change is why God moved us to Kenya.
Thank you for your love and support. We are always sharing what God is doing through you with our people here. Just last night I was sent enough money to build a home for a large family currently sleeping on the wet ground in 2 different small huts. That is about God moving in the hearts of His people for His people and not about Jeff and Stephanie at all. We love you and thank you for caring for our children and community!
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #kenya #nonprofit #james127#orpahnsandwidows #orphans #bungoma #changingtheirstory
posted on behalf of Jeff from Facebook
These are pictures from a recent visit we made to members of the church we planted at Mercy Home. The family is living in extreme poverty (and yet tried to gift us with 2 cabbages). They have 7 children living at home and have had 5 children die. 2 of their kids have sickle cell so we were able to get them set up for the vitamins they need to prevent them from going into sickle cell crisis, which is very painful and requires being admitted to the hospital. The family is currently living in two 8x8 thatch-roofed huts with wet floors due to all the recent rain we've been getting. They have no beds or mattresses and the couch has no cushions. So all the kids sleep on the wet floors. They desperately need a new home.
Thanks be to God! Before we had a chance to post this need, Steph talked to a woman seeking to bless families here in Kenya. The generous donor sent $500 last night, enough to build this family a new house!! Praise God, these kids will not be sleeping on the wet ground any more! The family could still use beds if you would like to chip in. For $500 more we can provide beds, mattresses and blankets for the whole family in their new house if a few of you wanted to help us help this poor family.
Thank you everyone for praying, sharing, and supporting the work here. So many lives are being changed, and not just physically, but spiritually. Soli Deo gloria!
These two 8x8 huts are currently sleeping 2 adults and 7 children. It's rainy season, so it rains nearly every day. When you sit inside, you can see daylight through gaps in the thatched roofs..
What a blessing it will be to this family to have a new house!! God willing, they will have beds too!
Shantel is about 1 year old and has a sister named Stephanie who is about 3. They are the granddaughters of the family living here. The father is not around and the mother has been gone for a long time seeking work, but has been unable to send the family any money yet. So there were actually 9 kids living here. The grandparents asked us to take Shantel and Stephanie to Mercy Home. We have taken them in while we try to help the family get stabilized. Poor Shantel just got over malaria, but we took her to the hospital today as she was still not feeling well. Turns out she also has a bacterial infection.
Goodness my life here in Kenya is so blessed! Our sweet Minnie is gaining weight so well and she has quite the sweet personality. She is all about smiling and she is starting to laugh. She is loved by everyone.
In case you have missed it we are raising funds for a 7 acre fully developed property that would house, educate (school) and provide medical care for us! We have 2 awesome Momma's hosting fundraisers for us right now through home based business. One party is for Norwex, chemical free cleaning products and the other is through Trades of Hope, they have all kinds of pretty things. Both sweet ladies will be donating their profits to help us buy this property. If you need help finding those groups (they are posted on my page) let me know and I can add you! Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Big things are happening here and Kenya because that how God works! We will continue to lean on Him and follow His will for Mercy Children's Home. #aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #nonprofit #james127 #orphans#bungoma #kenya #streetboysnomore #thankyou #prayersplease
Mercy Home update!
1. Jeff's leg is A LOT better! Praise the Lord for that because once I realized we were dealing with MRSA I was freaked out about how long he had been walking around with this infection. I have a recent picture should you medical people want to see it.
2. Samuel came home today! We were there when the Dr's were doing rounds this morning and one Dr said she didn't think Samuel would make it one more day when he first came in. It is such a blessing to get to see these children live and thrive. However, we now have a hospital expense of $820 to cover, but we know he is worth it and God will provide for Samuel.
3. We didn't announce it, but we also had another little one in the hospital for a few days. Silale (See-La-Lay) had malaria and was treated at home, but she never fully bounced back. After taking her for testing it was discovered that she also had a bacterial infection and very low blood count so she needed to stay and get a blood transfusion. During her stay she was tested for HIV twice. Both test gave different answers, so her blood has been sent off for a 3rd test. Please pray that there would be no HIV found in her blood work. Please also pray for money to come in to cover all of these medical expenses, we've been hit extremely hard lately with 3 in the hospital, one of those 3 required surgery and we've had a lot of dental work done. The only money we have to pull from is our weekly budget and land/finish Mercy Home fund. We are trusting God to cover these funds as we believe that each child here was brought to us by God. All while He knew their exact needs, so we continue to trust and follow Him.
4. Our 3 little babies we took in are doing great! Minnie is gaining weight daily, she is no longer malnourished and she is even getting a little chunky. Gracious and Joy are eating and responding so well! Both girls are interacting with us more and more and they never turn away food.
5. We have been hugely blessed with a new sponsor, a business that has committed to supporting Mercy Home monthly! We have been praying for our donor base to grow and God is answering that prayer. You will now see their logo on our newsletters and website in recognition of their love. A huge thank you, which is never enough, goes out to Mike Mazyck Realty of North Texas! Anyone who has a business and wants to sponsor any of AFM Ministry's work can do so by contacting David at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thank you for following along, loving us, sharing our journey and giving when the Lord guides you to. The children you are supporting here are worth every single penny!
Added note from DC Shelton: We also want to shout out a huge THANK YOU for our other two business sponsors who have been helping us for months now, Charity Center Kenya, and Five Plus Two Ministries that you will now see on our website and email updates! Thank you all who give, whether $5 or $5000 You are helping us change lives and literally save lives in Kenya for Jesus! We need you all to do this well.
Kumbe kumbe! Frequently along the side of the road you will see ladies selling these. Over a year ago I asked Nickson what they were and he wasn't able to translate it for me. So for over a year I have assumed these were some type of roasted seed. Hoping one day to figure it out and try some of these "seeds". Well Friday all my questions were answered and I was so grossed out. They are fried termites...fried termites! I think we have 2 kids and myself who've not ever eaten them but the rest of our home has (excluding the babies of course).
Karson and Kepha got some and ate them at 7 in the morning. BUGS, they ate bugs y'all! 🤢🤢🤢
(posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys)
Quick update! Today we picked up marbles from the post office and the kids are just so excited to get marbles "removed from America" 😀. Thank you for the marbles and creating some serious excitement in our home. Usually when I get home the kids chant "Mama, Mama, Mama!" Today it was "Banda, banda, banda!!" which is marble in Swahili.
We talked with the social worker from Chwele today and she said the Dr wanted to wait and release the girls on Wednesday. We went to the hospital to make sure they had everything they needed and took them some clothes and blankets. We talked with their Mama for a little bit and she is very sweet. She has asked if we will send her to school. She is 19 and has always been in the top 5 of her class. She's a sweet girl who was pressured into something that had life long consequences. Of course the one who pressured her has moved on with his life and has no such consequences 💔. Tomorrow I'm going to visit a girls high school in town to get the fee schedule for the other teen girl we just took in. I will inquire for this Mama as well and if we can raise the money for her to go to school I think we should send her as well. After finishing high school she wants to be a nurse, poverty in her village is rampant so I was glad to hear that she had hopes and dreams.
Yesterday I got word that someone has committed to paying $1000 of Wesley's hospital bill! That is huge because his bill ended up being $2500 and that is more than we were prepared for.
Thank you for your prayers, support and sharing our story. We are so stinking blessed to be here and we know that. Even on the hard days Jeff and are amazed that we are living out our dream and our heart's passion here in Kenya!
(posted from Facebook on behalf of Jeff Bys)
The Proclaim Conference in Nairobi was awesome!
Thanks to generous donors, I was able to attend along with 8 other pastors from Bungoma and Moi's Bridge.
(This reformed theology conference was held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi about 8 hours drive from western Kenya)
It was such an encouragement to get to make much of God and His mission along with about 450 other saints. It is so great to see the evidences of God strengthening His Church in Africa! So many are committed to combating false gospels through the teaching of orthodox Christian views. May Africa turn her back on the false prosperity gospel and 'word of faith' movement and return to the doctrines of the great African theologian Augustine.
See below for images of this wonderful opportunity for these pastors we brought along. for many this is a rare opportunity for such an educational joy and time of fellowship with with pastors from around the country.
Video of pastors signing "A Fortress" below.
(If you do not see this video link in the email version for those reading the mailchimp email of this, then click the link for read more to watch it from the blog page)
(posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook May25th)
I went to the hospital today to check on the twin girls. The report from the Dr is that the girls are improving. They have been diagnosed with PEM (protein-energy malnutrition) and edema caused by the PEM. The edema is starting to reduce so the girls are losing weight, but they should start gaining again soon. The hospital suggested that I purchase them some milk because they are supposed to be getting milk every 3 hours. The hospital doesn't have enough milk or funds to supply that much milk, so we went across the street and purchased milk to get them through Monday when they should be ready to be discharged. Also they can sit up, but are not crawling or walking.
I've had some questions asked about what it would cost us to bring them home. So here is an estimated breakdown. If we can get this covered I feel confident that we can really help these girls.
$40 travel to pick the girls up (hire a car)
$30 clear their hospital bill for the last week
$55 pack n play (the will be sleeping in our room for sometime and the new baby also sleeps with us💜)
$18 Diapers (weekly)
$365 formula (Just to supplement as they can eat real food. 2 bottles per girl per day, 3 cans a week for 2 months should be enough and it doesn't have to be purchased all at once.)
The only reason we need to hire a car is because they won't do well on a motorbike for that long. The hospital they are in is 45 minutes to an hour away. We make that trip weekly on a motorbike, but we are healthy for the most part.
Thank you for all of your prayers, love, support and for sharing my post yesterday. Thank you for allowing us to be the hands and feet here in Kenya, we couldn't do this without your support!!
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #changingtheirstory #kenya #nonprofit #james127 #bungoma #theleastofthese #orphans #thankyou #prayersplease
(Picture of the girls sleeping today.)
I feel like I should have an awesome story to share or something inspirational to say, but I'm just tired y'all 😂. Parenting 40 children is exhausting, but such a blessing....