Meet Mary, Day 2 in Africa

This is a weird pic to include, but the kids at our first game yesterday thought Dave's elbows were quite funny.

This is a weird pic to include, but the kids at our first game yesterday thought Dave’s elbows were quite funny.

Mary Musyoka’s name belongs in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith. Dave and I and the other adults on the team had a blast listening to this woman tell us how she came to start the Springs of Hope Children’s Home eight years ago in her hometown of Machakos, Kenya.

After many years of teaching Sunday School and working as a pediatric nurse,  Mary’s call from God to care for babies and children intensified when she had a dream about giving birth to and caring for twins. “But God,” she said in the dream. “My youngest child is 19 now. I’m almost done with active mothering. I can’t take twins.” Finally, after repeated urgings (in her dream), she said she would do it. The dream ended; she woke up; and she very nearly forgot about it.

We toured the Kirigiti Girls Rehabilitation School before we played its team. This is one of its classrooms.

We toured the Kirigiti Girls Rehabilitation School before we played its team. This is one of its classrooms.

Mary was already known in her community for her work with children. She taught Sunday School and helped the local police find safe places for children who were orphaned, abused, or neglected. Soon after her dream, in August of 2005, she received a phone call from the police about two babies—twins—who needed a place. Mary couldn’t find one, so she decided to take the babies to her own home. Her 19 year old watched her with the babies and said, “Mom, you’re really relaxed about the babies making messes and getting into stuff. It’s like they’re your own twins.”

The dream flooded back to Mary.

A few of our girls with girls from Kirigiti.

A few of our girls with girls from Kirigiti.

Several weeks later she had three more babies, and she began searching for a rental property that would function as a home for them. She rented a building without the money to pay the rent, and God provided.

He has ever since. “I just remind Him of His promises,” says Mary.

For several years, Mary lived at the home, but now five women care for the children, and another five clean, cook, and wash (and wash and wash—just think of all those bibs!). Currently she has 18 children aged 5 and under.

our impromptu bball game yesterday--see what I mean about height!

our impromptu bball game yesterday–see what I mean about height!

Mary has God-sized dreams. She wants Springs of Hope to own its own building, first. Then she wants a kindergarten and homes for older children so they don’t have to be sent to other institutions after they get too old for her baby-and-toddlers’ home. She wants house parents for each group of kids. She wants sponsorship for orphans that will go through the university level.

And there’s more!

The girls (minus one--still inside with a child) in front of Springs of Hope

The girls (minus one–still inside with a child) in front of Springs of Hope

Mary was grateful for the diapers and formula and clothes we brought with us, but she was most excited about the love our girls showered on her children. Every single child there had one-on-one time. The girls fed the eight babies (one was less than a month old), and played nonstop with the toddlers—who also wanted some holding. One of our moms fed the home’s one child with special needs. Dennis contracted meningitis when he was three and is now deaf, dumb, blind, and crippled by cerebral palsy. Shawna (the mom) sat with him for hours, stroking his head and legs. Several of the girls joined her later and prayed over Dennis.

Mary and I

Mary and I

When the children went down for afternoon naps, we visited the site where the permanent home is being constructed. The grounds are partially fenced, and concrete footers are being poured. Then we took Mary out to lunch.

“You were meant to be here for this day,” Mary said when we expressed regret that we were only here for one day. “It is wonderful when they receive individual love. It makes a difference: They sleep better after they have received love like your girls gave them today,” Mary said. “They are calmer, like it filled them up.”

Holes for the concrete foundation for Springs of Hope's permanent home. These were dug by hand!

Holes for the concrete foundation for Springs of Hope’s permanent home. These were dug by hand!

 

an impromptu gathering with children just outside the gates to Springs of Hope's permanent site. Notice Rachel trying to roll a tire with two sticks. She was inspired by the village boys--who were experts at it!

an impromptu gathering with children just outside the gates to Springs of Hope’s permanent site. Notice Rachel trying to roll a tire with two sticks. She was inspired by the village boys–who were experts at it!

She added, “And it will make a difference in their development.”

Mary serves on Kenya’s adoption committee, and she works hard to find adoptive parents (both Kenyan and non-native) for her children. It’s paying off. Though many of our girls left the orphanage in tears this afternoon, their faces brightened when we told them that three of the children will be in permanent homes in the next two weeks.

I was amazed, absolutely amazed, at the incredible level of care at Springs of Hope. The best example is Dennis. It often takes the staff two hours simply to feed Dennis alone. When they told Shawna how to help him eat, they told her, “You must stroke his head when he eats. This is how we let him know he is loved.” They turn him two hours around the clock so he doesn’t get bedsores.

It was a good, good day.

Thank you, God.

Correction/items for prayer/praise:

  1. At breakfast this morning, I was corrected about the outcome of the basketball game we played yesterday. Evidently we actually did win, by one point. My apologies!
  2. Tomorrow we visit the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy in the heart of the Kibera slum. Kibera can be overwhelming with its level of poverty. Please pray that we will se God’s hand at work in Kibera and that we will truly be a testimony of Christ to the girls we will get to know tomorrow.
  3. If you would like more information on Springs of Hope and on how you could donate to its amazing ministry, visit www.entertheventure.com. That is the website of Venture Corps, a Stateside ministry that partners with Springs of Hope. Scroll down to the bottom of the front page and click on the “soh” tab there. You can make a donation through the website, earmark it for Springs of Hope, and Mary will get it. (The founders of Venture Corps are good friends of ours.)
  4. I’m really grateful for our health and safety tonight. God is faithful in sickness and through accidents, but I’m very, very grateful that no one has even gotten the slightest case of an upset stomach so far! Wow!
  5. By the way–wasn’t able to upload too many pics. Have some beautiful ones of the girls holding babies, but Mary asked that I not post any that showed children’s faces. The girls are getting some great pictures with their cameras/phones, but I plan to make a cd of all the pics I take for each of the girls.

Thanks for reading,
Jen

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