Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Torit

 We celebrated Thanksgiving two days this week. 

We have a huge pumpkin garden and a pile of pumpkins we have harvested.  These are a few I saved to make pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. 

On Thanksgiving day,  Abigail and I made a turkey out of a toilet paper roll.  As missionaries, we learn not to throw ANYTHING away!  You may see towels covering bowls on the grill in the background . . . those are rolls rising in the sun.

Kevin smoked some ribs to share with the Kenyan workers and staff.  We shared why we celebrate Thanksgiving in America and told them we traditionally gather with family and EAT EAT EAT! 

On Saturday, we gathered at the Bylers' with other missionaries and pastor Peter and family from church.

Our table center piece, complete with Abigail and my toilet paper roll turkey and a Hokie Bird (VA Tech's mascot, Kevin's alma mater).   A short term missionary left it at the Bylers' house and it made Kevin feel at home!

Who needs Starbucks?   I was craving a pumpkin spice latte. So, I found a recipe and made some to go with our appetizers out of the leftover pumpkin.  One of the missionaries from Canada brought some Canadian smoked Salmon (my favorite!)  We ate it on some crackers the Bylers' brought from the states.  These are treats that are hard to come by, rare, and travel MANY miles to grace our tables in Sudan!

Our Thanksgiving . . . tur . . .chicken.   This is also a very rare find in Sudan.  There is a new restaurant in town run by Arabs that has wonderful chicken.  The local chickens running around our compound are too tough to enjoy.  The restaurant sold these whole frozen chickens to us.  Linda Byler made stuffing and stuffed the chickens and baked them in her charcoal oven.  They were GREAT!  

Kevin is our traditional tur . . .chicken carver. 

Phillip Byler carved one of the tur . . .chickens.

Debra is a new missionary with African Inland Mission from South Korea.  She is here working with local street kids now living on the African Inland Church compound. 

Phillip and Linda Byler enjoyed hosting our Thanksgiving meal. 

Philip Byler asked us to find a symbol around the house or yard that symbolized what we are thankful for.  I chose a picture of a little child.  I am thankful for Abigail and our children that have come to Hope for Sudan.  Kevin chose his cell phone.  We are both thankful for our means of communication.  A few more feet from our compound we would be out of cell phone and internet range and have to use a satellite phone.  I often think about that not too long ago missionaries in Africa had little to no communication with their friends and families in their home countries. 

After our meal we gathered around and sang Christmas songs and lit the first candle in the yule log (a few days early) to celebrate the beginning of advent. 

 The Yule Log

We ended the day with a piece of pumpkin pie from pumpkins out of our garden.

Abigail enjoyed putting her hands in the cake and pie and helping herself!

 We continue to be thankful DAILY for you, our friends and family, who support and pray for us, the staff here, and the kids. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Opening Celebration of Hope for Sudan


Massies,  director Romano, dorm mother  Mary, and children

On Friday, we celebrated the opening of Hope for Sudan!   
Moti, the compound dog, guards the children.
The children watched in anticipation as Kevin and I decorated the dormitory.  Husbands and wives don't usually work together in this culture.  We take opportunities to try and model a Godly relationship of service and love. 

They all received new clothes for the celebration.  It was beautiful to see them modeling!

Marching, with their new chairs proudly on their heads, to the ceremony.  Guests and staff eagerly waited to honor them!



 Taking their places as the honored guests in the front row.

Our mission is not only to care for orphans but to provide jobs for widows.  Our dorm mothers are widows that, in this culture, have no hope of remarrying.  Therefore they have no one to provide for them. They are happy to have a new family and care for the orphans. Above is our dorm mother, Mary Amo and cook,  Itofa.

Kevin gave a greeting and shared our years of preparation and story of coming to Sudan.  The word amazing has been a theme in our marriage, with an AMAZING God bringing us together to do AMAZING work.  Now, it is AMAZING to see the fruitfulness!
Children led the way entering the gate with the community support behind them! 
Director Romano, pastor from African Inland Church, and  Minister of Education Peter dedicated the dormitory.
The minister of education, Peter, cut the ribbon.  He is a Christian and very supportive and willing to help us and give in any way he can.  He shared that he wants to help us find the "best"  Christian teachers.
After the ribbon cutting we had a little fun with an "over under" game using a balloon.  
We had teams of men, ladies, and children. Missionary, Phillip Byler, headed up the men's row.

The ladies in their skirts had a tough time putting the balloon through their legs.  The object of the game: LAUGH!  Mission accomplished!  
We presented a cake to the children.
The Lord has instructed us to care for His precious diamonds.  They are His treasure and a gift to us.  We symbolized this with the children cutting the cake, which is contrary to the culture.  The culture caters to the adults and the children are often treated as inferior.
In the evening, Kevin and I honored and thanked the workers who have left their families and come from Kenya to build Hope for Sudan.  They have worked hard and have a passion for protecting these kids!  They had a generous portion of, their favorite, Nyama choma (grilled meat). 

Make Way Partners has a child sponsorship program.  Our goal is to find sponsors for each child which will enable us to care for more children.   For an orphan, sponsors become family which not only financially cares for him or her, but also may be the only one to pray for him or her by name each day.  You or your church could become family to one of these children!  To find out more about child sponsorship, visit Make way Partner's website

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Diamonds have come!

 Opening of Make Way Partners' children's home
Hope for Sudan!

First time to enter the gate of Hope for Sudan!
Because of your prayers and generous support, we joyfully announce the arrival of our Diamonds!

The first Dormitory

At 7:00 in the evening on Sunday, I heard the sound of the land cruiser honking through the bush to enter the gates of Hope for Sudan for the first time as Romano, our compound Director, brought our FIRST group of children to live here!  I quickly grabbed my camera to try and capture the moment of these kids coming to their new home.  Our dorm mother, Mary Amo, our Kenyan workers, that have diligently worked to finish their home, and Kevin, Abigail, and I welcomed the children with open arms.  It was special to me to see the men pick up the kids as if they were their own!

Abigail greeting her new brothers and sisters

The first group greeting the second group

Our new family!

Romano showing their home

Welcome to your new home!

Mama Mary showing their beds.

Mary immediately stepped into her role and showed each child the first bed they have probably ever slept in. I could sense much emotion in them and one had tears running down his cheek.  In the exciting moment, my heart began to break as I know they were scared and sad to leave the only comfort they have ever known, though traumatic and harsh.

Proud Romano with "his" kid.

"Hey, I want to play with you".

Excited sis just kept greeting them!

Taking a drink.
On a bed for the first time.
The Kenyan workers, guards, Kevin, and Mary began to split fire wood to heat water for the children to bathe.  One child, 5 years old, quickly came out of the dormitory and dipped his head into the bucket of water to drink.  Romano told us he had to walk about 8 miles to reach where he was meeting Romano.  When Romano found him, he had fallen asleep on the road.   Exhausted and hungry they all fell asleep on their beds.


Plenty of food!

When dinner, complete with meat, arrived to the dormitory in the evening, Mary and Romano woke the kids up to eat.  They had been very quiet and shy upon arriving, but when the food came, they became hungry, vibrant children . . . the silence was broken!  They had never had meat before. One boy put a piece in his mouth, made a sour face, spit it out, and handed it to Mary.  With a chuckle, she took it.  He didn’t know what to do with this foreign food in his mouth.  

More children came Monday.  The boys were excited to try out the top bunks.  They had to be shown how to climb the steps on the end of the bed.  They proudly looked down at everyone as if they were really on top of the world! 

Abigail and I spent the afternoon playing with and observing the children interacting and watching the staff caring for them.  Mama Mary began right away teaching the children to wash their hands before they were served food and teaching them to wash their dishes.  As they sat eating, Mary led them in repeating their numbers and ABC’s in Arabic AND English.  They played a game of pointing to their facial features.  When they got the answer correct, they were told to sit under a shade tree as their reward.   They are learning quickly they will be loved, cared for, fed in plenty, and educated. 

Next group of kids having their first meal at Hope for Sudan.

They shared their food with Abigail.

Flowers Kevin brought and my cake.

The evening ended with sharing cake with the children to celebrate their arrival and singing a song they had learned in just their first day.  Unbeknown to them they came for my Birthday party too!   They were wonderful gifts for our (Kevin's on Wednesday)  Birthdays!  The children had full bellies with 2 BIG meals AND a BIG piece of cake. 
Telling the children about cake.

Helping Romano show it!

They were repeating the word "cake".

Romano enjoying a big piece and the leftovers!

Thank you all for doing your part to build the Kingdom of God! Visit Make Way Partners' website  to learn of ways you can help bring more children to a safe and loving home.  Please pray for the children as they transition into their new life.  Pray for the staff as they care for and teach the children.  Continue to pray for Sudan in the upcoming referendum.