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We're Back from Nairobi!!

Today we arrived back home with our 2 visitors! It was an awesome day and we were blessed with easy and safe travels.

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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!

#kenya #james127 #changingtheirstory #changetheirstory#mercychildrenshome #orphansandwidows #nonprofit #aboutfacemissions#streetboycrisis #streetboynomore #missionarylife #missions


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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!

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Back to Construction and kids available to sponsor now!

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Back to Construction and kids available to sponsor now!

posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook.

new Ema full of joy

new Ema full of joy

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!

old Ema when we found him

old Ema when we found him


our new Minnie!

our new Minnie!

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.

A lot of dirt has to be removed before laying the floor.

A lot of dirt has to be removed before laying the floor.

Many of the rocks have to be broken up with a sledge hammer.

Many of the rocks have to be broken up with a sledge hammer.

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.)

 #aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #james127#kenya #nonprofit #changingtheirstory

Most of the room has the first layer of cement down.

Most of the room has the first layer of cement down.

The next layer will be the smooth layer. Tomorrow the brick wall will be covered.

The next layer will be the smooth layer. Tomorrow the brick wall will be covered.

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too long since I posted an update!

Zeke and Violet

Zeke and Violet

So it has been way too long since I posted an update, but here a little bit about why! Jeff left town on Sunday morning for a conference in Nairobi so I've been the one dealing with everything. Running a children's home is no easy task. Usually if we have an employee issue Jeff deals with that, if we have a disciplinary issue with a boy Jeff deals with that, if we have a staff meeting Jeff runs that, if we have people show up asking for a job Jeff deals with that, if we have some building going Jeff deals with that, anytime we have major behavior issues to address Jeff is involved with that, but the last few days all of that has fallen on me plus the normal life of being a Mama to many! I feel a little frazzled and torn on what to do next because I always have something to do next. Oh did I mention I don't sleep much when Jeff's gone and I have some sort of infection where my impacted molar is? I promise you I'm not complaining, life here is so good even when I'm frazzled and without my love by my side!

 A brother and a sister about 5 and 6 years old with bad jiggers we are helping

 A brother and a sister about 5 and 6 years old with bad jiggers we are helping

Today Karson sprayed 5 homes for jiggers. A few days ago we met a woman who had many jiggers even in her hands. 💔 So she and several of her neighbors were treated and had their homes sprayed today.

Next up on our agenda is to get the kids ready for school, they start back Monday for the final term of this year. We are currently trying to make sure each child has a pair of shoes to wear 😂😂 and I will likely have to buy several pairs this weekend.

Our sweet Lexy girl! Lord please send us to the right places with the right doctors for her! 💜

Our sweet Lexy girl! Lord please send us to the right places with the right doctors for her! 💜

Friday Jeff and I will travel to pick up a little girl (Lexy) with special needs. What her exact needs are we aren't sure, with complex issues it can be hard to get a real diagnosis. She is 3 and can't walk or talk, but she can hear and she eats just fine! Jeff just today made a new connection with a hospital we are hoping will be able to give us some real answers. Please pray for Lexy! She need LOTS of prayers and so do we as her parents, we want to help her in any way that we can.

Totally unrelated (told you I felt frazzled 🤪) but Jeff got told today (by a guy from the US) that he sounded like he was native to Kenya 😭😭😭 our Texas is gone!!!! 😭😭😭 I have noticed how "country" others sound when we video chat and I knew it had to be because our accent had changed! But I'm still saying y'all and my Kenyan accent won't stop that!

Thanks for following this crazy, joy filled journey God has us on!

Random pictures because it has been a while!

#mercychildrenshome #aboutfacemissions #james127 #nonorofit#byebyejiggers #orphans

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Day of Love and Joy! Thank you!

posted for Stephanie from Facebook. 

Blessing of a wonderful donor to rebuild the Burungasi family a new home!

Blessing of a wonderful donor to rebuild the Burungasi family a new home!

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!

 

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Cuddle

someone has a new friend. 

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Meet Victor!

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Joyful July day...I missed a bunch but now I'm back! 

Meet Victor! This boy always brings a smile to my face. When you see him on the street he is smiling and if he isn't smiling before he sees you he will smile at you. Jeff and I have had many conversations with him, fed him many times and we desperately want to help him. The "problem" is that he is 16 and in our experience the older the child the harder they are no matter where they come from. Actually he has asked us to take him off the streets. Will you pray for Victor? Will you pray that something will give and Victor will have a home, family and get some education? Will you pray that if Victor is supposed to be here that fear would not stop us. He's probably so far behind in school that he needs to just attend a tech school to get some hands on training in a particular skill so he can get a job and do something besides sniff glue all day. It would bring me so much joy to see him sober and have a real conversation with him.
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome#streetboycrisis #kenya #nonprofit #james127#orphans

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We bloom where we are

Mercy Home Update!

And we've grown some since this picture :-)

And we've grown some since this picture :-)

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV

As many of you know we've been asking for prayers and seeking the Lord on where he would have us. Would He have us stay in Kaya or move to the 7 acre property? Today, best we can tell, that has been answered for us. We were notified recently that the Kenyan ministry who has been raising money for the 7 acre property for the last year has made a cash offer that has been accepted. Since I knew towards the end of last week that this property wouldn't likely be ours I have been able to process most of my feelings and today I have peace with some sadness of course. However I still want to share where my heart is and has been.

I will admit that I haven't taken this news well at all. Now that I have waded through my anger (which is actually feelings of failure) and heartbreak it comes down to one thing for me. The school. The Victorious property has a school that we don't have. We already have a big living space for children, we have clean water and we can and will plant flowers and trees here in Kaya. But we don't currently have a school or the land for a school. 💔

As you can see our home is mostly surrounded with dirt and the outside hasn't been plastered yet. The handmade bricks are beautiful, but the rain is damaging to them overtime so we must plaster over them. Once the outside is plastered it will also help seal up our home, meaning less bugs, dirt and mosquitos.

As you can see our home is mostly surrounded with dirt and the outside hasn't been plastered yet. The handmade bricks are beautiful, but the rain is damaging to them overtime so we must plaster over them. Once the outside is plastered it will also help seal up our home, meaning less bugs, dirt and mosquitos.

Currently we send our children to a public Catholic school, but it is completely different than any school you would see in America. Public school here looks like 3 children sitting in 1 small desk, 60+ children to a class, a school of 800+ students to 10 (TEN) teachers, not enough text books for every child, teachers walking around hitting children with sticks for any reason at all, lunch isn't served (children walk home for lunch) because it just isn't in the school budget, there is no running water, no pencil sharpener, no power the majority of the time and we must pay school fees.

Often times I feel like the school undoes what we are trying to teach at home. One of the many things we try and teach our children is that they can trust us (and the entire MCH staff). They can trust us to love them, to feed them, to protect them and to do what is best for them. How can you trust an adult who calls you stupid? How can you trust an adult who has just hit you in front of 50+ other students and you aren't even sure why? How can you trust an adult who hits you for asking why they are about to hit you? How can we as parents protect our children when we are told "This is the Kenyan way."? It is the Kenyan way, but it isn't the only way.

Our goal is to have a great school with small class sizes, with teachers who love children, without beating sticks, with proper supplies, that is able to serve breakfast and lunch year round, that is 100% free for the children in our area who aren't currently able to afford to attend school. Our goal is to have a real Christian school, not just a school that teaches a Christian class (required by the Kenyan government).

When this from is finished it will be the boys room. Currently we have the girls in a smaller room, but we are out of room in that room for beds. Finishing this room would be a huge blessing to our children.

When this from is finished it will be the boys room. Currently we have the girls in a smaller room, but we are out of room in that room for beds. Finishing this room would be a huge blessing to our children.

So what now? We bloom where we are and basically keep doing what we've been doing. We keep fundraising to finish our home, purchase land and grow our ministry including building a school for our children and our village which could easily cost us more than the $150,000 we have been trying to raise. We keep caring for those God sends us.

Anyone want to guess how many children we have here at Mercy Home? 😮I am not going to lie to you, waiting is hard for me. I'm very all or nothing if you will, but God is working on that. For the last year and a half I feel like we've basically been camping 😂. So many parts of our home aren't finished, we don't have an actual kitchen or dinning hall, we are just now getting some paint on the walls and we are still living out of our suitcases that we moved here with.

So will you pray for us? Pray for resources, we need a lot of money to finish our unfinished home, for land and to build a school. Pray for us to have patience, me especially. Pray that our eyes will remain on Him and what He wants for us. Pray for us to have a school in January (when the Kenyan school year starts) as we feel this is very important, not only for our children, but the children of our village as well. And thank God for answers even when it doesn't end up looking like we think it will. 💜 In some ways this is a relief because now we can focus only on this home and property, in other ways it is a bigger burden because we now know we need to build a school from the ground up and purchase additional land.

Thank you for your prayers, love and support. Living this life isn't always easy, but it is a huge blessing. We are constantly growing and constantly trying to better the lives of our children. Making their lives better only happens by your prayers, your support, your sharing and you will never know how much that means to us as the parents of these children. Thank you so very much!

#mercychildrenshome #aboutfacemissions #kenya #james127 #orphans#theleastofthese #streetboycrisis

I'm not sure if you can see past Robai's smile or not, but we don't have ceilings in our home. While it isn't super important for the whole house it would be nice to have in our bedrooms and office.

I'm not sure if you can see past Robai's smile or not, but we don't have ceilings in our home. While it isn't super important for the whole house it would be nice to have in our bedrooms and office.

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Mercy Home Birthdays all the time!

Posted on behalf of Jeff Bys from Facebook.

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Another MCH family birthday in the books! Today we celebrated Wilbur's 10th bday.

Here's a fun fact: At MCH we celebrate an average of 6 birthdays a month. That's more than 1 per week!

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Joyful July 2,3,4,5,6,7!

Posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook

Joyful July 2nd, 3rd and 4th because Nairobi was busy for us! After living in Kenya for a short while you learn you can make plans all you want, but the likelihood of them all happening on your timeline is slim to none. But in Nairobi we were able to get so much done!

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Joyful July 2nd-Our immigration check-in was a complete BREEZE! We had all of our paperwork and all of our paperwork was all REAL so in about 20 minutes we were completely done and that includes waiting in line because we arrived early!

Joyful July 3rd-We were able to meet up with a Kenyan pastor/missionary that Jeff met at a conference in Nairobi in May and he took us to Mully Children's Family! Wow, it was such an honor to be there and we were invited back for a more in-depth tour so we can lean more. If you haven't seen the Mully movie I would encourage you to watch it. What Mully has been doing for the last 25+ years is our dream on a much smaller scale (our dream is on a much smaller scale than what he currently has.). It is neat to get to be with like minded people...you don't feel so crazy in those moments! ;) Also yesterday we got to eat TACOS 🌮 🌮 and I was able to find some gluten free products that we can't get in Bungoma! God was so good to us yesterday (and every day)!

Joyful July 4th-We are on our way home to see our kiddos! While I know we had things we had to go and do I always hate leaving them. So far it sounds like the children have behaved themselves better than some of the adults!😂So far our travel back hasn't been too bad, just not as fast as I would like for it to be.

And I'm terrible at taking pictures, sorry!!

#joyfuljuly #aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #kenya #bungoma#james127

 

Joyful July #5

Growth! It is such a JOY to get to be a part of the growth happening here at Mercy Home. We cant always snap a picture of the growth, but this one was too cute not to share. All of our children are growing daily whether it is physically, academically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally or in the area of responsibility. Children are amazing and thrive when given food, love, good shelter and a bit of structure.

If you support us in any way you are changing lives like Minnie's in Kenya. Thank you, thank you for helping these children, thank you for allowing us to be the "boots on the ground", thank you for joining in on the joy in our JOurneY.
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome#bungoma #kenya #changingtheirstory #growth#james127 #thankyou #joyfuljuly

(Current picture taken today while she has malaria...she's not letting it phase her one bit💜)

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Joyful July day 6

The family plus 2 of their Granddaughters. 2 of their children have sickle cell anemia.

The family plus 2 of their Granddaughters. 2 of their children have sickle cell anemia.

Today we started the project of building a new home for a family of 9. Currently they are sleeping in 2 8x8ish huts, children in one and adults and youngest child in the other. As you can see the rooves are made of straw and they are old so when it rains water comes in and the floors get wet. A wet floor isn't too big of a deal unless that is where you sleep without a mattress and that's exactly where this family sleeps. 😞 But God! He is so good and we had afamily donate $500 to build them a new home. Today we met with the "fundi" (worker) who will set and build the frame and roof of the home. Tomorrow we will go into town and purchase materials for the home. Monday is build day, they will now have 2 bedrooms and a sitting room (living room) all under one DRY roof! We are still seeking additional donations to cover beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets, mosquito nets and additional iron sheets so we can enclose the "toilet" for this family. If you would like to donate to meet these needs please mark it for "Dishon family".

There's something about people loving on people they've never met that makes me all "heart eyed" 😍😍😍. To see someone love the people God loves thousands of miles away, to see someone impact so many lives they've never met, to watch someone care for others children...it brings me so much JOY. Our JOurneY is full of JOY here in Kenya.

Thank you for being JOY makers. When you support our mission here you are not only supporting our children, but you are supporting other families in our community as well. From the local shops in our area, to our staff of 19, from the lady we buy sukuma (collard greens) from daily, to the family that provides us fresh milk daily for the children's porridge and even the extra driver's we require daily...you are helping to support so many families.
#joyfuljuly #aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #nonprofit #james127#kenya #bungoma #changingtheirstory

 

Joyful July day 7

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We have bunnies! For me bunnies bring so much joy. I look at rabbits as pets and pets only, but we (Karson and the boys) have delved into raising rabbits for meat. As you are probably aware our home is ever growing, in order to be able to afford to continue taking in children we have to find ways to produce some of our food. While I highly doubt I will ever eat rabbit I know that the children will benefit greatly from this little project, both in their bellies and knowledge wise. Currently we have 7 does, 1 buck and 6 bunnies. Best we can tell all 7 does are pregnant so soon we will have lots of bunnies. We will butcher at around 12 weeks and as fast as rabbits have bunnies we should have a steady supply for the children. Being able to feed our children better (more meat/protein) bring me SO much joy!

In addition to providing food for MCH we are hoping to use some of the rabbits to help others do this same sort of thing. This would allow them to sell the rabbits and also provide some food for their family. Rabbits are basically free to raise here because the children go and gather fresh weeds/greens for them daily, pluse we eat cabbage, sukuma (collard greens) and carrots on a regular basis so there is plenty of food here for them and they do not eat pellets. Currently we have our rabbits set up in a colony setting and they are doing great.

In about 8-10 weeks we should have our first rabbit stew. And now the boys are asking to start raising birds 😒, I just don't like birds. I was hoping that we would focus on goats (we have 1 female) or chickens (we have about 6) next, but birds seem to be much cheaper to start up (about $1 per bird) so it looks like they may just win again.

Thank you for following along, your prayer and your support!

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Big Dreams can come true!

posted for Stephanie from Facebook

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.

Primary residence on campus

Primary residence on campus

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

Hospital included with campus!

Hospital included with campus!

guest house near main house

guest house near main house

2 building school campus with 10 classrooms! (prior location of Lavin Academy)

2 building school campus with 10 classrooms! (prior location of Lavin Academy)

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2 opportunities to help us!

posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook.

Opportunity #1

Christmas is just 6 months away and will be here before you know it, so it isn't too early to start shopping now. We've had a couple people offer to have online parties like this to help us raise money for the new property God is calling us to. Every little bit helps. Allison Bailey has launched an AFM benefit Norwex sale opportunity! If you are interested in cleaning products without all the toxic chemicals add yourself to this group. These Norwex products will help you improve your life and profits will go to us to improve ours! I hear they even have a make-up removing cloth!
Thanks for your support and please share with your friends.

If you don't use Facebook and want to go straight to the shopping page that generates 25% to AFM then click this button! 

Click this image to be taken to the Norwex About-Face Missions private party group.

Click this image to be taken to the Norwex About-Face Missions private party group.


Opportunity #2

Here's another way you can help support Mercy Home! Amanda Berger with Trades of Hope will be donating 100% of her profit to MCH for our land purchase. Purchasing from Trades of Hope helps women out of poverty and our mission in Kenya to grow. Please join this group and let me or Amanda know if you have any questions. Feel free to share this group with your friends and family.

 #mercychildrenshome #aboutfacemissions #nonprofit #james127#orphans #kenya

Click image to visit AFM Trades of Hope benefit shopping group!

Click image to visit AFM Trades of Hope benefit shopping group!

Click button below to go directly to benefit shopping page! 

Please we ask you to visit both of these sites and give their products a try and enjoy blessings of living well and helping About-Face Missions support more needy families and neglected children in western Kenya, one of the poorest places on earth! Every sale here or dollar given matters!

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Our Sweet Minnie

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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

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Kenyan village life for some children.

This is the worst case we have seen. I can't wait to see his feet all healed up.

This is the worst case we have seen. I can't wait to see his feet all healed up.

Griffen, around 10 years old, showed up at our home today, alone and asking to come and live with us. His story is so sad, but the condition his feet made me cry 💔. His father died about 3 years ago from HIV. His mother, a drunkard, went to a funeral a week ago while Griffen was at school. She locked the door to their home and has yet to return. So poor Griffen has been locked out of his home for a week, has no idea when or if his mother will be back and has been forced to stay with an uncle who treats him poorly. His feet have been taken over by jiggers. His toes are now very infected, so much so that he can't relax them. They just stick straight out and he has to walk to school everyday. This can kill him if not treated.

All the dark spots are holes and jigger "homes".

All the dark spots are holes and jigger "homes".

Why? Why do his feet look like this? Why hasn't his mother helped him? Why hasn't a teacher at his school helped him? Why has a neighbor not helped him? Why is someone not stepping up and being his voice? These are all questions I just don't understand, but I'm asking them with my first world knowledge all while trying to understand in my third world life. This child is in constant pain and just forced to live that way because others haven't helped him. Griffen is part of my why...he's part of the reason we came here and he is part of the reason we stay.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."John 14:18

#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #kenya #changingtheirstory#james127 #john1418 #orphans #bungoma #jiggers

At the hospital getting Griffen's feet tended to and Brendan an antibiotic injection. It cost us $18 to treat his feet today and Caitie and I will finish treating him at home.

At the hospital getting Griffen's feet tended to and Brendan an antibiotic injection. It cost us $18 to treat his feet today and Caitie and I will finish treating him at home.

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Help wanted! and Help is on the way!

Posted for Stephanie Bys from Facebook on the 22nnd

Help wanted and needed for Mercy Children's Home and it doesn't require you to leave your home! 😀

1. We need about 4 people (I'm open to more than that) to help run a Facebook group that will hold auctions of donated items to benefit Mercy Children's Home.

2. We need MANY people willing to donate items and or services that will be auctioned off in the group above. (Shipping within the US will need to be paid for by the donor.)

This would be a huge blessing to us at Mercy Home. Jeff and I are just too busy to effectively organize and run a group like this or we would just do it. I've seen and been a part of groups like this that are able to raise a good amount money for their purpose. Once we have the admins set up and the group open we can work on a list with pictures of each donation. If you are able to help admin and run this group please private message me on FB.

Thank you for your support and prayers!
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome#nonprofit #james127 #changingtheirstory #kenya#streetboysnomore #streetboycrisis#helpushelpthem 
 

( PS...  several have volunteered to help us get this auction site launched!  Praise God! )

Pic of Wilbur because he's adorable, his smile lights up the whole room and I just found his selfie on my phone. Also the stains on his teeth are from the glue he use to sniff daily, he does brush, promise!

Pic of Wilbur because he's adorable, his smile lights up the whole room and I just found his selfie on my phone. Also the stains on his teeth are from the glue he use to sniff daily, he does brush, promise!

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5 more Praises to God!!

Introducing Samuel !  Who we intook directly from his crisis living situation to Bungoma West Hospital but he is now well and being introduced into our life at MCH!

Introducing Samuel !  Who we intook directly from his crisis living situation to Bungoma West Hospital but he is now well and being introduced into our life at MCH!

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.

Aspen, Silale and her twin Gracie! These girls are happy Silale is better.

Aspen, Silale and her twin Gracie! These girls are happy Silale is better.

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.

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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 david@afm.ngo 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. 

#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #james127 #orphans #kenya#bungoma #nonprofit

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WELCOME to our new Samuel!

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Samuel has been a "Mercy Home Kiddo" for 3 days now, but he has yet to come to Mercy Home because he is sick and in the hospital. On Wednesday we received a call from a doctor at a local government hospital. She told us that she had a boy who was 7 years old, HIV+ and in great need. So with that information we sent our social worker to the hospital to check out his situation. Once she arrived at the hospital and got a bit of information we learned that this boy needed help quickly. Help his grandparents couldn't give him. His grandfather said he couldn't afford the medications needed, couldn't keep up with the HIV medications he was on (he hadn't taken them in at least 2 months), couldn't get the blood transfusion the hospital said he needed (this hospital wasn't even equipped to do it either) so he was going to take Sweet Samuel back home and drop him off with his sick grandmother.

Our Sweet Samuel was going to be left at home to die. So what do you do when faced with getting him the care he desperately needs, which will cost us (Mercy Home) a great deal of money or allowing him to return home and die? I know that sounds harsh, but that was literally our reality on Wednesday. Everyone I know would choose life, just like we did on Wednesday. Samuel has had all the odds stacked against him...he's a double orphan, HIV+, severely malnourished (he weighs 14 kgs or 30 lbs) and he lived with elderly grandparents who don't understand and can't keep up with the medications and nutrition that an HIV patient requires.

Since being at the hospital it has been confirmed that he has malaria, his blood count is in fact extremely low causing him to need 2 bags of blood, he has thrush in his mouth causing painful open sores and he has about 6 new medications in addition to his 3 HIV medications. If Samuel didn't get the care he needed he would have died. He was too sick with a weakened immune system and severely malnourished. His body couldn't just bounce back from this without medical intervention.

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So thank you! Thank you for putting us in a position where we could consider stepping in and changing the direction Samuel's life was headed. Thank you for listening to the Lord and helping us meet the needs of these children time and time again. If you would like to help us cover Sweet Samuel's hospital bill (we do not have a total yet, but we assume it will be $300-$500+) you can go to afm.ngo/donate and mark it for Samuel or Mercy medical.

We have been quiet the last couple of days because Jeff and I both have had malaria, but we've been so busy we haven't been able to just rest. The moment we can we fall asleep and we (and by we I mean me ;) have a 2 month-old who still wakes up in the middle of the night. Praise God that malaria isn't near as harsh on us as it used to be. We are bouncing back much faster and able to keep working at some level during our sickness! Thank you a million times more for your prayers, support and love for Mercy Children's Home!

#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #orphans #james127 #theleastofthese #hivpositive #thankyouforgivingtotheLord #kenya #bungoma #nonprofit

(Samuel is feeling much better today and will be released tomorrow morning to come home! we also still need to retire our $2400 debt for Jeff's medical bills that we had to borrow from our construction land fund. Pray about about anything you can do to help us meet these two important needs) 

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Mercy Home PRAISES and prayer request!

Minnie loves to smile at us! Our pretty girl is chunking up.

Minnie loves to smile at us! Our pretty girl is chunking up.

🎶PRAISES!🎶
*Minnie is doing great! She eats well and has out grown her diapers that were too big on her when we got her. She is responding to us with smiles and she starting to "talk" to us.

*The twins are doing phenomenal! Today for breakfast they each ate 3 eggs, a banana and they drank some chai. They are eating so good! Gracious is trying to crawl and Joy wears the biggest smile most of the time.

*Wesley is gaining his strength back and laughing and interacting with our other children. Before coming here he had basically given up on life so he had a hard transition, then was hospitalized for 10 days, then more hard transition. But he is coming around and I see Joy in his face on a regular basis now.

*Praise God for all of the help and advice we received when asking about Jeff's leg. It was very helpful and instrumental in getting him the care he needed.

*Jeff is home! He was in the hospital Wednesday through Saturday, but it felt like a month to me 😂. I'm so glad he's feeling better and back home. His wound is very clean now and for the most part the infection is gone and the pain has lessened.

*Jeff has been battling this infection for months, it turned out to be MRSA and in all honesty it could have caused his lower leg to be amputated or it could have killed him. Thank God for his protection.

*We have added 2 new staff members this week. Both are young men who are new believers from our local village. Jeff has been discipling them and this will allow him to spend more time with them.

*We have visitors coming again this year!!!💜😍💜


💜Prayer Requests💜

*Jeff's leg would continue to respond to treatment and he would have complete healing.

*Jeff and I need to return to Nairobi soon to check in with immigration. Please pray for safe travels and health and safety in our home while we are gone.

*Jeff's medical bill was double what we thought it would be😮. $1,426.40 for surgery, meds and his care for 3 days. We are incredibly grateful for his care and realize this same situation in America would have cost $25,000 or more. We need prayers for funds to cover this bill so it doesn't pull from our weekly budget or finishing the unfinished dorm room.

Joy, her big beautiful smile and Aspen! Aspen has just fallen in love with Joy and Gracious. Today she decided that she could change their diapers and clothes. I must say she did an outstanding job!

Joy, her big beautiful smile and Aspen! Aspen has just fallen in love with Joy and Gracious. Today she decided that she could change their diapers and clothes. I must say she did an outstanding job!

*The 2 new staff members are new believers and previously struggled with drinking too much. Please pray that they would continue to grow in the Lord.

*We've been made aware of 3 children from 2 different families who have been orphaned that need to come here. 2 of those children are HIV+ one of them just 3 years old. Please pray for them and for wisdom for us and that funds would be provided if they are to be here with us.

*We have some important decisions to make about future ministry work here. Please pray that the Lord would make His will known to us and order our steps.

Thank you for sharing in our joys and supporting us through prayers, donations and sharing our posts. Thank you for blessing the lives of these children and our village. 💜
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #james127 #changingtheirstory#orphans #praisetheLord #kenya #bungoma #prayersplease #blessings

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Progress on Jeff's treatment!

Amenities😂. Slippers, toilet paper, toothbrush, Colgate (any brand of tooth paste is Colgate here), body soap, mafuta (Vaseline) and a bath towel (it is the size of a hand towel). Oh and if you run out of any of these things during your stay you are required to purchase your own 😂😂😂.

Amenities😂. Slippers, toilet paper, toothbrush, Colgate (any brand of tooth paste is Colgate here), body soap, mafuta (Vaseline) and a bath towel (it is the size of a hand towel). Oh and if you run out of any of these things during your stay you are required to purchase your own 😂😂😂.

We've had a busy day. We left the house at 8:15 so we could get to the hospital early. Not only were we getting Jeff's leg checked out, but we had 4 children needing dental work done ($260 worth) and Karson has something going on with one of his toes. At the hospital we go to we are well known. The head Dr and owner of the hospital has even donated food and money to us, he is a really nice man.

The first doctor we met with looked at Jeff's leg and ordered antibiotic injections (basically an IV, but he would be able to go home) once we got to the pharmacy (at the hospital) I realized he wrote the Rx for 1 per day for 10 days. That was not the advice that our friends told us so Jeff called the head doctor and we headed to his office.

Jeff's cozy room. There are 2 beds, but they won't put anyone in with him, usually I would stay with him, but babies need me this time!

Jeff's cozy room. There are 2 beds, but they won't put anyone in with him, usually I would stay with him, but babies need me this time!

Head doctor said Jeff need to be admitted so they could clean out the wound and do 3 days of IV antibiotics. He also called another doctor on staff to come and look at his leg and she agreed with him. So we left the hospital to come home and get his things and took him back.

His IV port is in, they took some blood and have him his first round of antibiotics. I'm sure he will sleep well tonight, Kenya hospitals are not like American hospitals. Jeff isn't hooked up to any machines and they are pretty much hands off unless you call them or they need to give you medication. Often times they will leave some of your medications with you and just tell you how often to take it. 😂

So we are expecting this bill to be about $700, but it could always be higher. We've never had a wound cleaned out, but I do know they are going to use local anesthetic and it will happen in "theater" so I'm sure that will add some cost.

All in all Jeff is doing well and God is so good. He's had this spot under his ankle for a long time, he even stood in a dirty creek baptizing new believers with this open wound. Not smart I know, but he was on antibiotics so we figured it would be "okay". This infection could have easily caused a lot more damage than it has.

Toilet, shower and sink all in one small space. Notice there is no toilet seat/kid, that is the Kenyan way.

Toilet, shower and sink all in one small space. Notice there is no toilet seat/kid, that is the Kenyan way.

The shower side and for the most part they keep this hospital very clean!

The shower side and for the most part they keep this hospital very clean!

Thank you for all of your advice, love, prayers and support! If you are able to help us cover this medical bill just mark it for Jeff's medical and it will get applied to that. I will update more tomorrow once we have talked to the doctors.
(If you open each picture there is a description)

#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #changingtheirstory #kenya#nonprofit #james127 #bungoma #theleastofthese #streetboycrisis #streetboys #orphans #prayersplease

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Gracious and Joy are growing, joyfully and graciously!

our little girl Joy! 

our little girl Joy! 

Look at these happy girls! They are finally "waking up" and showing us their sweet personalities! They were so expressionless and they are developmentally delayed (due to malnutrition) so I was starting to get concerned, but over the last couple of days they have flashing quick smiles for us. Today they have been all smiles! It is such a blessing to get to watch our children grow and change!

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Gracious loves to be held and she loves Brendan!

Gracious loves to be held and she loves Brendan!

 

A beautiful sight!  

The "little" boys are helping Daddy play a game before bed! 😍😍😍
#mercychildrenshome #aboutfacemissions #kenya #nonprofit #james127#bungoma #theleastofthese #orphans #orphansandwidows

playing with daddy.jpg

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Singing God's praises for His wonderful blessings

(Posted on behalf of Stephanie Bys from Facebook)

🎶Praise God from whom all blessings flow!🎶

Praise #1-Anna and Mercy (the 2 teens) started school today! I don't have a pic of them in uniform because they didn't get them until after we left, but I should be able to get one in a few days!

Praise #2-We had more than enough money donated to pay for all of their books and supplies and the school under estimated the cost of all the boarding supplies so we spent more than the $600 per girl.

Praise #3-The donated overage will cover a pretty big medical bill we unexpectedly had and some dental work that our children desperately need.

Praise #4-We have a new daughter named Bridgette! Bridgette is a sweet girl who has sickle cell anemia. She came to us during a sickle cell crisis and was required to spend 5 days in the hospital. Sickle cell can be managed, but her family couldn't afford the $2 a month to keep her on vitamins or the proper food. Medical care here is realitivly inexpensive, but if you are admitted to the hospital it can get expensive quickly.

Praise #5-God is good all the time! I will say that in the easy times and the hard times because it is true! On the hardest days we are so blessed to live in Kenya and serve Him!

Thank you for your prayers and support! You have had an impact here bigger than you know!

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(Posted on behalf of Stephanie from Facebook)

I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this but I just couldn't! When I got home from getting the big girls into school Minnie had the cutest bow on! Our sweet, beautiful Caitie crocheted it for her today with the yarn one of our sweet supporters donated funds for! So much love in this one picture! 😍
#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome#changingtheirstory #kenya #nonprofit #james127#bungoma #theleastofthese #orphans #crochet#love

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One down. One to go!

(posted from FB on behalf of Stephanie Bys)

Mercy's (Mama of the twins) school fees have been paid 100%!  She will start school on Monday morning.

Mercy,  the teen mother of our twins Joy and Gracious. 

Mercy,  the teen mother of our twins Joy and Gracious. 

This is Anna, 16 yrs old and mother to the baby we now call Minnie. We are trying to get the needed funds for her to start Monday. 

This is Anna, 16 yrs old and mother to the baby we now call Minnie. We are trying to get the needed funds for her to start Monday. 

At this point Anna will not be able to attend because the $600 hasn't been donated for her. For these 2 girls this could be a life changing situation. Their family is poor, not American poor, literally no food in the house poor. Their families don't have power in the home which makes studying hard since they don't get out of school until 5pm or later. They are likely the most educated (freshman in high school) in that home, leaving no one to help tutor them when they stuck on school work. They often feel the burden of no money and no food and will skip on school and school work to try and earn some money for the family. Their babies almost died because they weren't being fed properly. The grandfather to the 1 year old twins said if it wasn't for us they would be burying those babies. I can't even imagine that being a reality.

All 3 babies were hospitalized for malnutrition. All 3 babies are are doing better and gaining weight now. Can you help change this 16 year old's story? Can you help her go back to school so she can do something in the future besides struggle? I realize $600 is a lot of money, but that is what she needs to go to school and get back on the right track. If we can get that amount donated TODAY we can shop for the items needed tomorrow and she can start school with Mercy on Monday!

Please pray and share! Thank you for all of your support. 💜💜💜

#aboutfacemissions #mercychildrenshome #changingtheirstory #kenya #nonprofit #james127#thankyou #orphans #bungoma #theleastofthese #prayersplease


Update! $300 is being sent in right now! Can we get the other $300 before tomorrow so I can shop for both of them after church?


UPDATE #2! We've had another $100 donated so we now just need $200 for Anna to start school on Monday. 💜💜💜


UPDATE #3! A third donor has donated another $100! We are just $100 away from Anna starting school on Monday! It is 10:30pm here and I'm sick so I'm about to go to sleep, but I will update y'all tomorrow, hopefully from town while I'm shopping for both girls' supplies! 

♫♪ Praise God from whom all blessing flow! ♫♪♪

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