Monday, February 28, 2011

Journey to Egypt

Rosslyn Elementary teacher Jamie Dunning and Aaron, as Rameses and Joseph in this year's Rosslyn Academy Spiritual Emphasis Week

Today was the start of the annual elementary school spiritual emphasis week at Rosslyn Academy. Aaron is back on stage for the lunch time play, this year telling the story of Joseph from prison to Pharaoh's Court.

All week long, the children are learning about how God is Our Hope through both the lows and highs of life. It is like a week at summer camp, as the students, teachers and parent volunteers participate in activities, games, crafts, songs and skits.

If your feet are cold...

There is a wise saying that "If your feet or cold, put on a hat". We don't often have cold feet living in Kenya, but this coming March, Erica and I are planning to climb Mt. Kenya with a group of friends and expect to see snow on the mountain top. In preparation for the trek, we had our children help test out some of our gear, including our small collection of winter hats. It was a fun Friday night with our friends Amy and Sammy Murimi.

Mommy and Emma sporting our Mountain Touques

Ava and Sammy Getting Ready for Hilarium

Hilarium is a party game where players draw cards with all kinds of wild actions on them. Then everyone acts, yells or just sings out what's on their cards--all at once! It is crazy. Every card has an exact match, so you must try to find the other player who is acting out what's on your card. When you find that match you score!

But don't get stuck with the Gotcha Card...that one will cost you.

Aaron and Amy gathering up their Hilarium Bucks, after our big game

Emma, Tristan and Ava trying our winter hats on for size

Ava showing Daddy and Mommy a thing or
two about keeping warm by dancing:

"shake shake shake... shake shake shake..."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Perspectives on Diversity

Naivasha, Kenya

Laura Muema and Erica in Eastleigh

Early this morning, we opened our gate to greet a friendly monkey who was roaming through our neighbourhood. He reminded us of a bold Colobus monkey who joined Erica's mother, Mary, during tea time at the hotel we stayed in on Lake Naivasha this past weekend. No matter how long we live in Africa, we are continually surprised and blessed by the incredible wildlife. From tiny lizards to majestic elephants, Kenya is home to such an amazing array of wildlife.

The other great blessing about life here is the diverse people with whom we work with, in Eastleigh alone, we serve people from dozens of tribal and ethnic backgrounds. Each culture has its own unique gifts of music, language, food and tradition. We find that we are continually learning as we discover more about the neighbours we meet each day.

Laura Muema is the project officer of the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program in Eastleigh. Although she comes from a Kamba background within Kenya, she cross cultures each day as she serves women and children from various Muslim backgrounds from Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. The Eastleigh Community Centre has become a safe place for these Muslim families to become friends with their Christian neighbours from many different Kenyan communities. Urban ministries like the Eastleigh Community Centre in Nairobi have a special opportunity to connect people and build bridges of trust and respect.

Volleyball games at the Eastleigh Community Centre

Please pray for the urban ministries of Canadian Baptist Ministries and for grass roots leaders like Laura Muema who are working to share the love of Christ to a diverse community.

Nana sharing tea time with a friendly Colobus monkey
this past weekend in Naivasha

"Hey lady, pass the sugar!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Canadian Baptist Ministries Matching Grant

Help Change a Life!

We want to thank everyone who has so generously supported the work of The Sharing Way. Through your help, we have seen such incredible transformation taking place in the lives of children and vulnerable families. We want to let you know about a "special matching appeal" that can have a huge impact here in Kenya especially in the ministry of the Guardians of Hope and Children of Hope programs. Below is a short excerpt from the CBM website. To learn more or to participate in this opportunity, please click on the link below:

"Thank you for your generous support of The Sharing Way. Because of you, we have fed the hungry, helped families increase their income through small business loans, taught women how to read, given orphans the opportunity to be educated and trained subsistence farmers in ways to increase their production.

Our annual matching grant opportunity through Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has consistently allowed The Sharing Way to start each new year with a dependable source of funding for crucial development programs. However, I need to inform you of some changes to this year’s matching grant appeal.

Due to the generous support we have received in past years, funding is already in place for our CIDA-approved projects for 2011. However, we must urgently deal with the reality that we have other crucial projects that desperately require funding – projects that are not eligible for CIDA funding.

Our greatest needs in The Sharing Way for the next several years include funding to:

The good news is that we have been given an incredible opportunity to receive matching funds to help support these programs.

Recently, a few generous donors of The Sharing Way personally committed to matching all the funding we receive through this appeal, until April 30, 2011. They have pledged to match every dollar we receive, so that your gift will continue to multiply in impact!

Please consider generously supporting The Sharing Way through this appeal and taking advantage of this wonderful matching grant opportunity. Your gift will help transform the lives of countless men, women and children in need around the world."

Click Here to Read more,...

Erica and Mary Doerksen

We just completed a few great weeks with the Doerksen family who have been serving with us in Eastleigh. We are thankful for the way that they have embraced the Iftin families and been such a source of encouragement for us and our team here.

Today we joined the leadership of the Africa Brotherhood Church, as we interviewed candidates for the ABC Guardian's program officer. Please pray for us as we work together in strengthening this program with our partners.

Link to CBM Website:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hell's Gate National Park

Central Tower, Hell's Gate National Park

Over the weekend, we ventured into the Great Rift Valley with the Doerksen family where we had a great day of hiking and climbing in Hell's Gate National Park.

The gorge is an incredible hike that cuts through the
parks rugged terrain and geothermal vents. Some are hot
enough to boil an egg.

Climbing down into the gorge with the help of our friend Silas

In the heart of Hell's Gate

A great weekend getaway!

Fischer's Tower

Erica, Emma and Tristan at Fischer's Tower,
Hell's Gate National Park

Near the eastern entrance of Hell's Gate National Park stands a 25 meter high volcanic column named after Gustav Fischer, a German explorer who reached here in 1882. It was also the place of a fierce stand off between Fischer's geographical expedition and the local Maasai warriors, who put an end to his search for a route to Lake Victoria, by putting almost his entire party to the spear.

Today, Fischer's tower is an exciting place to test your courage and rock climbing skills. As we entered the park with our guests the Doerksen family, 11 year old Aby lit up at the opportunity to scale the tower. She was out and in her climbing harness almost before the rest of us were outside of our van.

Aby Doerksen on her way to the top!

Inspired by Aby's tenacity Erica, Emma
and Tristan mounted up for the climb as well

For a first timer, Emma was very brave.

Tristan on his way up

Way to go TK!!!

Emma wasn't the only first time climber: Mommy also
made it to the top of the tower having never tried
rock climbing or repelling before.

Erica on her way down...

... bring on Mt. Kenya!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nakuru GOH

Nelson Njoroge with one of his dove chicks

Today we journeyed to the Rift Valley town of Nakuru to meet with the ACC&S Guardians of Hope group there. We had the pleasure of taking Erica's mother, Mary, and the Doerksen family with us to learn more about the ministry of the Guardians of Hope.

After a short meeting in the ACC&S Church in Nakuru's Section 58, we visited beneficiaries of the GOH project, including Nelson Njoroge. After Nelson's parents died of an AIDS related disease in 2005, he became the caregiver for his younger bothers and sister. Nelson received assistance from the Guardians of Hope to complete high school and then he entered community college to study internet technologies. He is now employed with Child Care International and continues to look after his younger siblings.

"Hope must not die!", he shared with us as we spoke about the death of his parents and the great challenge of caring for three younger siblings. Today, Nelson beams with pride and joy. Along with his employment, he helps his siblings raise rabbits and doves which brings an addition small income into their home.

Erica with one of Nelson's doves
(Notice that I (Aaron) am not the brave one holding the bird...
Erica jumped right in and got a full lesson in raising doves)

At each visit, we were impressed by the determination and ingenuity of the Guardians of Hope in Nakuru, from selling used clothing to raising poultry, they are working together to improve their lives and the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS. Please pray for the Nakuru group as they work toward being registered with the Kenyan government, and organize for future plans for a fish farm and green house project.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Middle School Banquet

Colin, Ezra, Michael, Robert, Drew and Tristan

Last night, Tristan and his buddies spiffed up for the annual Rosslyn Academy Middle School banquet. This year's banquet had a tropical theme, with the students dining in style by the Rosslyn pool -- parents not allowed! The boys in Tristan's sixth grade class had a fun time at this their first banquet.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Connections in Eastleigh

A week in pictures

Micah and Farhiya explain the importance
and use of a water filter system to a family in Eastleigh

We really can't quite capture an entire week in a few pictures. As Mary Doerksen commented one morning as we drove through the chaos of street life in Eastleigh, "Pictures are just not enough. How do we ever explain all of "THIS" to our everyone back home." We hear you Mary!

Nonetheless, here is a quick recap of some of this past week's highlights. If you are interested in seeing more, or hearing the first hand account of the Doerksen family, we recommend you checking out their blog at:

Aby introducing her new friends to one of the Iftin classes

Marking teaching the vocabulary of "good manners"
in one of the primary school classes

Mary sharing with her small group in Iftin Class 2

Mark learning about the Iftin women in his small group

Over the past five years, we've come to learn
that one of the greatest things
we can do in empowering women is listen.

H o m e V i s i t s

Each afternoon, the Doerksen's accompanied Farhiya, one of Iftin's seven community facilitators, on home visits to meet refugee families who are being interviewed and considered for assistance with child sponsorship for the primary school. Already this year, Laura Muema has a case load of over one hundred refugee children who desperately want to attend school, but can not afford it. Through the generosity of churches, organizations and people like the Doerksens, the Iftin program is helping refugee children access clean water, health care, education and livelihood training and support for their care givers.

It is amazing, but it only takes a dollar a day to change the life of one of these children.

A family of children excited to have house guests

Aaron and Mark demonstrating how to assemble
a water filter system with a family in Eastleigh

Aby & Micah raised enough money at their school in Winnipeg, to purchase about sixty water filters, that will be distributed in Eastleigh this year!

Atalie Dougherty, Erica, Mark, Aby, Micah,
Mary and Ava on their way to the Iftin Party
Eastleigh, Kenya

Erica and Aby at the Amani Ya Juu
Women's Refugee Sewing Project in Nairobi