Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Creations

New beads created by the women of Noor

On Monday, we had the pleasure of taking our friend and CBM colleague Lois Mitchell and her fellow peace and justice researcher Katherine Morris to visit the women of Iftin at the Eastleigh Community Centre. Katherine and Lois have been working with our national partners in Rwanda and Kenya on issues of reconciliation for The Sharing Way.

Katherine Morris, Lois Mitchell, and Erica
modelling some of the newest Noor creations.

Kerry J

The birthday girl, Kerry, with her mom Claire
who surprised her with a visit from the United States.

On Saturday, we celebrated the birthday of our good friend Kerry Jividen. The men barbecued, the kids jumped, and the ladies talked. And balance was found in the world and all was good.

We are drawing close to our April 12 departure for Canada. Less than two weeks to go! Ava asked mommy the other night if "Daddy was going to drive the plane?" Fortunately not. Please keep us in your prayers as we make this journey.

Pie instead cake. Hmmmmm!

Friday, March 26, 2010



Ava's Canadian travel VISA was finally granted this morning -- we are returning for home assignment on April 12th!!! We are very excited to be finally returning to see friends and family.
Guardians of Hope

Patty and Erica meeting with the ACC&S development coordinator, Henry, today in Thika at the ACC&S headquarters.

Once or twice each quarter, representatives of the nine ACC&S Guardians of Hope projects gather in Thika to discuss the progress of their shared ministry and support the ongoing ministry to households affected by HIV/AIDS.

Along with being a part of budget planning with the group organizers, it was a great opportunity for us to meet the various grassroots leaders who are the backbone of the GOH.

Erica with Rev. Kimani, the area minister for the African Christian Church & School's Nairobi churches. They had both been students in the certificate of ministry course that Erica attended in Nairobi back in 2004. Kimani took part in today's meeting representing urban GOH projects for the ACC&S.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guardians of Hope

Guardians of Hope

Guardians of Hope meeting in Ichichi
parish this past Monday

In August 2010, Erica and I will be joining Canadian Baptist Ministries/The Sharing Way's HIV/AIDS ministries as the African coordinators of Guardians of Hope (GOH). We will be filling the gap left by Patty Card who is retiring from this role and returning to Canada this spring. Patty's passion for seeing change for vulnerable women and children has lead GOH to be an effective program of transformation in Angola, Rwanda and Kenya over the past six years.

We will continue serving in an oversight capacity with the Iftin Women's Empowerment program in Eastleigh as we work together in the leadership of GOH. We are very excited to see how lessons learned from both Iftin and the GOH may compliment each program as the two overlap in many ways with a focus on mobilizing vulnerable people to overcome poverty and experience the abundant life of faith.

Erica with Patty Card and the ACC&S
Guardians of Hope group in Embu

Over the past two months, we have enjoyed several opportunities to meet with Patty and to visit GOH projects for monitoring and evaluation of the program. It has been an incredible encouragement to see the impact that GOH interventions are having in the lives of families affected by HIV/AIDS.

Living Positive!

Aaron and Patty with Guardian of Hope Lydia Waruinu who cares for three children in Kangema. With the help of the GOH, Lydia is putting her children through school, is harvesting maize from gifts of seed, and has raised her dairy cow which has now had a calf. Her cow produces 4 litres of milk each day for her family. "I thank God," Lydia told us in Kikuyu. "I could not be where I am if it were not for my church and the guardians."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Mombassa, Kenya

This past week, we were able to visit with women from the Solwodi women's program in Mombassa which has a large Muslim women's self help group project. It was a valuable experience to learn from the success and challenges of another program seeking to help vulnerable women and children in an urban context.

Elizabeth Nyambura and Lucy Mwirigi with SOLWODI Kenya

Solwodi (Solidarity with Women in Distress) is a comprehensive ministry to commercial sex workers and those at risk in the coastal region of Kenya. The program was started in 1985 by Dr. Sister Leah Akamanm, a German Catholic nun who recognized how poverty pushed vulnerable women into prostitution. Solwodi was registered as an official organization in 1997 and has had a lasting impact on thousands of women and young girls.

The Solwodi Rehabilitation program is currently helping five hundred women and girls who have left prostitution to rebuild their lives. Along with health and life style training, the women access education, vocational training and micro credit opportunities and are formed into self-help groups. With approximately fifty percent of these women HIV positive, AIDS awareness, treatment and prevention are an essential part of the program.

Another important aspect of the Solwodi approach is their Affiya 2 peer education program where social workers and ex-prostitutes identify and meet with active sex trade workers to educate them on the dangers and risks of their way of life and draw women into the rehabilitation program and out of the sex trade. This is a challenging and dangerous ministry, but by God's grace they have seen many transformed lives.

One of the newest initiatives of the Solwodi program is their "Self Esteem Project" that has trained 32 women in sandal making and fine arts.

Making and selling sandals is a sustainable way for these women to provide a dependable livelihood for their families.

In Prayer:

Please uphold the women of Solwodi in your prayers. Especially leaders like Elizabeth, Rebecca and Farida who are striving to empower women and young girls to live a life of dignity and abundance in Christ.

Child trafficking is a huge issue in Kenya and throughout the world. Please remember the Solwodi program as it presently cares for 30 women and young girls who were rescued from Europe and returned to Kenya where they are now living in their safe house. We pray for healing and restored hope as these women grow in faith.

Coast Province

Crown of thorns star fish on the
Nyali Reef, in the Indian Ocean

This past week was Spring Break for our kids and we traveled as a family to coast province where we stayed on Nyali beach at the Bahari hotel managed by our friend Katrine. We had a wonderful rest away from the city and were able to visit with the SOLWODI women's program in Mombasa. Along with exposure visits in Mombasa, we enjoyed some great time in the sand and snorkeling in the surf.
Emma and Ava ready for the beach!
Daddy and Tristan after a great day on the beach

Mommy and the girls on the way to supper

Tristan and Emma hunting for star fish in the lagoon

Ava enjoying a quiet time on the beach

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Emma Nicoles

Beautiful Emmas
Emma Nicole Kenny with Emma Nicole Barnett

Last night we had a fun evening with our friends Scott, Lara and Emma who will be leaving Kenya this spring while we are on home assignment in Canada. Lara has been an art teacher at Rosslyn Academy over the past few years, while Scott has been working with Kenyan churches in rites of passage ministries for youth.

Erica, baby Emma, and Lara

We were thrilled to discover in November that Lara and Scott had coincidentally chosen "Emma Nicole" for their newborn baby girl. Little Emma cuddled with all of us as we shared supper together. Although they will soon be leaving Kenya, we won't be surprised if they are back again some day.

Tristan and Emma

In Prayer:

* We pray for the Barnetts as they return to the West coast of the US this spring.

* Please continue to pray for the women of the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program as they continue press on in their studies and efforts to better their lives through literacy, capacity building, and small business creation.

* We pray for our new English teacher, Farhiya, as she works to help fellow Somali and Oromo refugee women the basics of English.

Our friends Paul Carline and Scott Organ visiting this week with some of the Iftin members in the literacy classes.


Poor Henry living with a bucket-head

This past weekend, our puppies Henry and Reese turned one year old. For Henry's birthday he received a "little" operation to ensure that we don't come back to more puppies this August, after our Canadian home assignment. All week long he has been wearing a plastic garbage pail on his head and crashing into us like a blind rhino. Poor Old Henry!

Monday, March 8, 2010

CBM Somali Team Retreat

Erica, Salome and Yattani getting breakfast ready

This weekend, we joined our Africa team leaders, Malcolm & Patty Card, and our Somali Ministry team mates on getaway to Eldama Ravine on the western ridge of the Great Rift Valley. Together we shared about where we are in our ministry and drew together for worship and prayer.

Follow the leader
Emma, Keenan and Kelvin

It was also a great time for our children to be together and for us as families to relax and play. We hit some massive thunder storms on our journey, but each day we also enjoys the sun breaking through the clouds and giving us an opportunity to walk and share in outdoor activities.
Guys vs Girls Blanket Volleyball

A theme of girls verses guys competition soon became a theme of the weekend, with the boys sadly falling short. Despite their great efforts the "Muscle of Men" could not beat the "Avon of Women". On Saturday night, the victorious girls were able to gloat over the boys pictured below wearing their hats of defeat!

Girls Rule!

What would a road trip in Africa be like
without car trouble.

Sunrise Acres is also a working farm.
The kids had fun exploring the farm and helping out.

Milking Time!

Tristan and Emma trying their hand at milking

Ava playing with the very friendly Kip

Emma hanging out

Canadian Baptist Ministries' Somali team:
Aaron & Erica Kenny, Salome Gollo, Kelly & Paul Carline, and Yattani Gollo

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spiritual Emphasis Week

Tristan in his "Family Group" during
Spiritual Emphasis Week at Rosslyn Academy

It has been a great week for our kids as they participate in the elementary school's journey through Rome with Paul and the underground church. After tomorrow's closing program, we will be packing up our van for a road trip with the CBM Somali ministry team as we go on a journey of our own. Together with the Cards, Gollos, and the Carline family, we will be sharing in a team retreat in the Great Rift Valley.

Along with gathering for times of prayer and sharing about our specific ministry areas, we are looking forward to a time of fun with our children and simply getting out of the often chaotic pace of Nairobi.

Emma and her "Family Group"
sharing their memory verses.

In Prayer:
* We praise God for Yattani's safe return from Somali land after his week of assisting the health program there. Please also keep Yattani's father in prayer as he is recovering from surgery. His dad just arrived back in Marsabit today after several weeks here in the city.

* We pray for this weekend's Somali Ministry gathering that it would be an effective time of team building and refocusing.

* Please be in prayer for Canadian Baptist Ministries as the board of directors begins it's search for a new general secretary. We give thanks for the wonderful leadership and ministry of Gary Nelson. Gary will be completing his final term of office this July.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Paul and Brutus

The grumpy Roman guard Brutus (Paul Carline) and the apostle Paul (Aaron) in Rosslyn Academy's Elementary Spiritual Emphasis Week.

"Paul and the Underground Church" is this year's Spiritual Emphasis Week theme at Rosslyn Academy. Each afternoon the children will journey back in time to meet Paul and the early Christians in Rome as they learn about the faith of the early Church.

The children were very excited to begin the week long adventure. As part of the theme, they will be meeting in a "cave" church, making ancient Roman crafts, and sampling food in the outdoor Roman market.

Over the lunch hour Aaron and Paul Carline share a skit where the students gather to meet with them in prison.

Paul did a fantastic job today playing the gruff Roman guard who endured these strange time travelling visitors from strange parts of the world like "Can Ee Ha!", "Am Eric Ha!" and "Can Nad Ha!" These ancient men have never heard of such exotic lands.

The real message of today was that "God's gift is love". Paul shared part of a letter he was writing to the followers of Jesus secretly living in Rome for the kids to deliver. They would need to be careful as they ventured out into the city to find the underground church.

After all, the message of Jesus is dangerous. Faith in Him can be costly. Following Jesus may even lead us into chains. But no matter the cost, we can trust in God's promise that He is with us always.

Jiko Stove

Students in the ECC Vocational Training Centre
making jiko cooking stoves from recycled metal

The Eastleigh Community Centre's skills training and enterprise development program works to address youth unemployment through need based and market driven skills in order for them to attain sustainable livelihoods. A key part of each of the VTC programs is financial, entrepreneurship and life skills training to help youth lead responsible and dignified lives.

As part of the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program, vulnerable refugee women are given the opportunity to improve their literacy, join women's self help groups, and enrol within one of the nine VTC programs through capacity building scholarships provided by The Sharing Way and the generosity of churches and individuals.

Vocational training is extremely hands-on and practical. Students go through a program of study in six to twelve months depending on the particular course. As women go through these training programs, they are linked with outside businesses and experienced trades people to help them get a head start in either employment or self-employment.

In Prayer:

Please remember the teachers and students of the Vocational Training Centre as they seek to improve their lives and their community.

We are praying that as many as ten more Iftin students will be ready to join the July in-take of the VTC. Many of the Iftin ladies are interested in computer technology, hair dressing and sewing programs. One of the ladies is even interested in taking a welding course. But the great barrier is language, as the classes are offered in only English or Kiswahili. We pray that the Iftin students continue to progress in their language study.