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  • We are More than Conquerers

    Written by: Sue This is the day the Lord has made and we rejoiced and were glad in it! This morning we were blessed to worship with fellow believers at the Ceje Glory Center Church. Pastor Akal The message was based on Romans 8:37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!” He had seven interesting points with lots of scripture backing. Conquerors: 1. Recognize their limitations, allow God to help. Ie Moses, Jeremiah 2. Have a positive mental attitude. Don’t be pessimistic ie the twelve spies. 3. Never expect everyone’s approval, only seek God’s approval. 4. A conqueror does not conform but seeks excellence. 5. A conqueror knows how to listen and accept criticism without losing sweetness. Separate destructive from constructive criticism Galations 2:12-13. 6. Give meaning to everything you do. Prayer has a purpose so pray with a purpose. 7. A conqueror knows when to say no. Resist the devil. Have an understanding spirit to discern what is right. The message had lots of practical tips. The singing was amazing and the fellowship sweet! We have now completed all of our widow visits and most of our project work. Tomorrow we will fly to Nairobi and visit Martha’s Shiphrah Home. After visiting Martha we will head to our overnight safari. Our trip is coming to an end and our thoughts are turning towards home.

  • Another Blessed Day

    Written by: Linda & Rebecca Today was Ladies’ Day similar to the previous one in Kakamega. We arrived at the Yogo Glory Centre as the first lady arrived, and we were able to go watch (and some played) with the students who were playing handball. The impromptu, drumming, singing, and dancing, were enjoyed by all. We made our way back to the building as the last few ladies arrived. The ladies sang beautifully for us and there were several speakers, including a talk on water treatment. The new ladies we are supporting received VOH shirts. Each lady was able to pick out two skeins of yarn after we all enjoyed a time of refreshment with a pop, Queencakes and a stroopwaffle. After a quick break, we spent the afternoon visiting 3 widows. We would appreciate you joining us in prayer for Eveline’s daughter Michelle. She lives at the boarding school she attends and is having nightmares every night. While we don’t know the exact cause of Michelle’s nightmares, there are potential underground dangers at boarding schools, including devil worship and lesbianism. Please storm the throne of our mighty God for Michelle that she may be relieved of her nightmares and that she will come to know the Lord as her Saviour and only source of true comfort. We enjoyed supper at Pastor Silas‘s house. Now we are heading off to bed so we can be prepared for church in the morning.

  • Soli Deo Gloria

    Written by: Carla Rather than walk you through each widow visit we had the privilege of doing this morning, I'll focus in on one and leave you to extrapolate as to the other 30some over the past week. My hope is you get a feel as to what it's like to be 'boots on the ground' ... It'll be a long one; sorry, not sorry! This is the first time a VOH team met Monica and her grandson Tyson; the widows in the Seje area have had 3 visits total already from the 2 field partners and the HFL liaison. Today we all learned she had 11 children, 9 of which have died. She elaborated she did not see it as a punishment from God or that it was her personal guilt contributing to these losses, but she could endure and continued to pray throughout that God strengthen her. She is now raising her grandchildren as a result. She acknowledged the goodness of the Lord and sees how it is Him Who gives them peace. Even in pain He consoles you, she affirmed. He gives a strength which she said is not normal, it is from the Lord. Whenever she goes to church and has the opportunity in her home, she encourages others. She reminded me of the portion of Matthew 12 regarding the tree being known by its fruits: 'For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks'. She was so happy to report they recently started a Seje women group to study the Bible together. When we dug a little deeper, we discovered both Tyson and Monica both need a Luo translation of the Bible (the Swahili version is too difficult and 'deep' for folks with lower education levels). When we discovered her eyesight was deteriorating, Helen gave her an extra pair of eyeglasses which absolutely delighted her because they made such a huge difference. The VOH field partners had already given them a bed, 2 blankets and a mattress. The males in her family sleep in the simba (a separate hut) with 3 men on one mattress, sharing one small blanket under a thatched grass house roof that leaks. They have to gather the mattress and their blanket when it rains and stand in a certain part of the room and wait until the rain passes. Monica's home needs new treated (to protect from termites) rafters and a metal roof, another 4 mattresses and 4 more blankets for the females of the family. Termites are eating the wooden rafters of the main house and the roof is leaking due to a few holes and the joints of the metal not being sealed. Further questions determined she cooks under a tree so we are proposing to make a kitchen house and use the old metal from her home for the roof on that. She has no wash house and also needs a latrine. Her water is currently being hauled from the river 4 km away twice a day. Her grandsons Tyson, Don or Felix haul the water by bike. We learned they drink untreated river water and confirmed Monica was coming for the educational sessions presented at the upcoming Women's Day where one of the topics deals with the need for and method of treating river water. Monica's shamba is 1.5 acres of land and she plants maize, sorghum and beans. VOH ordered soil tests to be done due to low yields in the past and determined it is very acidic soil and nutrient depleted. This information will be passed back up to VOH leadership and they will decide on the fertilizer and lime needed to increase her yield. Monica's only soft-spoken request was for post-secondary education fees for her granddaughter so she could continue on a career path; Monica knows her time is short and the biggest blessing would be that her grandchildren would get educated and be able to provide for themselves after she passes. Tyson prays, if the Lord allows, that he can go to driving school (a 6 month course) because there is good opportunity to get steady work with that qualification. One challenge is there is only one bicycle in the home... so if he needs it to get to his classes in the town 14km away, his cousins can't haul water with it and would have to walk. Every decision has so many consequences. What a privilege it is to again observe the relationship being built with the widows, the wisdom and stewardship mission organizations need to have as they evaluate and pray through the needs they are presented with. The field partners are invaluable; understanding the culture and all the nuances, translating for us and all the while leaving the recipients feeling valued, loved and with their dignity intact is an immense skill set. Please remember Everlyne, Cathy and Aggrey who continue to work for VOH between team and HFL visits. This afternoon we visited the Seje Glory Centre Academy and read Bible stories to the students, sang a few kid's songs, handed out soccer & tennis balls, frisbees & skipping ropes as well as bubbles & wands. What a joy for us ALL! Soli Deo Gloria.

  • And It's HOT! HOT! HOT!

    Written by: Janet & Rosanna The day began bright and early for our trip to beautiful Siaya for a short 3 day visit! Little did we know how hot the day would become. 38 degrees, hot, dry and sunny. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery while singing praises to God and catching glimpses of Kenyan life. Distinction Gardens is our destination and we arrived in time for coffee, mandazi (a sweet treat) and a moment to get ourselves together. Shout out to the champs for clearing out the foyer of many suitcases and bags of supplies we needed for our time here. By 11:30 we were on our way to tour Yogo Glory Centre high school.  This is a beautiful facility being built but construction is on hold due to inspections. We had the privilege of visiting Rosalyn a widow of cheerful disposition. Her greatest desire was the salvation of her 5 children. In between visits, it was exciting to stop by the equator point. Another dear sister in Christ, Sarah, a 104 year old was a real gem to visit. Although she was hard of hearing and her eyesight was failing, her faith was firm. Her face lit up when we asked her to sing and sing she did. Sarah was taken care of by her daughter in law, Grace, another beautiful Bible name. She was also able to testify of Christ. Praise be to God. What a pleasure to visit these 2 lovely examples. We received disturbing news that the doctors went on strike. This is terrible news for anyone not in ICU as they need to leave the hospital. What a trial for the sick! We are especially praying for Brian who is awaiting surgery but will most likely be released. At this time we are still waiting to hear. Please pray that he may be transferred to a private hospital. Praise the Lord, his mercy is more, Stronger than darkness, new ev'ry morn Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more!

  • Mud Will Wash Off - The Memories Will Last Forever!

    Written by: Sue The thought of being able to play in the mud caused some of our dear team members to jump out of bed excited to get good and dirty! Today was the day we would work alongside our Kenyan friends and mud Brian’s simba. Brian is the young man who recently became a paraplegic due to a mining accident. Through the help of our faithful VOH supporters, we have provided Brian with many of the necessary items needed while he navigates his new normal. We were able to bring a wheelchair along from Canada, provide a Roho mattress bad to prevent bed sores, a laptop computer and other items to bless him. Our afternoon was spent visiting 4 more of our widows. Tomorrow, we head to Siaya, about a 1 ½ hour drive, where we will continue with our work. Thanks for following along with us! We appreciate your support and prayers. We are all doing well as we slide into the second half of our trip!

  • Hit the Road Running

    Written by: Janet & Rosanna After landing in Kisumu we traveled to our guest house in Kakamega. We had our first 7 widow visits yesterday after a much-needed nap and a delicious meal prepared by Maggie and Julia, our sweet helpers. The visits went well, and the ladies were happy and grateful to see us. We shared Bible verses, received prayer requests, sang songs and gifted them with flour, sugar, and oil to make chapatis, and also tea, soap & a washcloth. We visited Mary who is 91. She had been hit by a motorcycle a few weeks ago. Her shoulder had been dislocated and her leg broken. She was in a lot of pain!  Berin, another dear friend was visited. Berin’s daughter suffers with seizures. She also has the concern that a family  member is trying to evict her from her home. We praise God for the grace he has given Berin to deal with some dark providences. She is an excellent mother and radiates joy! Today we held our Lady’s Day conference. We covered a lot of information including Lords day 1 of the Heidelberg catechism. Methods of agriculture were also discussed. Together as a group we enjoyed a well-prepared meal of nasi and stroop waffles. The widows quite enjoyed it! We visited 4 more widows this afternoon and experienced a Kenyan thunderstorm with heavy torrential downpours so much so that we had to sing songs because we couldn't hear each other. We were very much encouraged to see that God is working in their lives! Please remember these widows and others in your daily prayers!

  • From Generation to Generation

    Written by: Helen Day 5 on the ground in Kakamega dawned bright and clear. We were up and out the door by 8 am. Following the bumpy but beautiful road was a pleasure; the team singing praises to God as we were bouncing along the way to Arise and Shine. Arise and Shine is a preschool supported by Voice of Hope. Visiting there is always a highlight for the team. Story time, coloring, singing, craft, games and bubbles galore! From there we visited Rose, the first of 7 widows for the day. Space will not permit me to let you know about each of them but will share two with you. We got to meet a delightful set of twins born to Rose’s son and daughter-in-law. After updating and many snuggles with the little ones we trundled off. Close by there was an elderly widow we were asked to visit. We had been alerted by one of our faithful boda boda drivers of her dire need. Just two of the team went to check on this elderly woman. Indeed, his concern was well founded. We were met by a man who was painfully hobbling toward us to greet us. We entered the one room, blazing hot hut and were greeted by Regina, an 84-year-old. The tin roof had multiple holes. There was only one bed. It was for Regina. Henry, the man who met us is her grandson, the only living one left in her family (other than a grandson who has not been heard of for years). He has to sleep on the floor. In the corner next to the bed was a dark little square area where they would cook on an open fire. One chair. Last year’s crop of maize netted 6kg. When asked how she lives, she admitted she begs for food. Three months ago Henry had a bad fall in which he damaged his hip. He had gone to the doctor but because of lack of funds did not follow up on the recommended x-ray with the result that now he can barely walk. Immediately we made arrangements to get the proper medical help for both Regina and Henry. The house will be replaced and nutritious food provided. What a humbling privilege to be enabled to help this destitute widow, her as well as so many others. Psalm 68: Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds, his name is the LORD – and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

  • Health, Hygiene and Home Visits

    Written by: Carla We set the tone of the day by singing hymns together, cruising these beautiful red dirt roads...We are so grateful to Principal Justice Abuko who allowed us to come into his high school and address the Form 1 and Form 2 classes (equivalent to our Grade 9 & 10). One room held 140 boys and the other 152 girls. Each presentation covered various hygiene, Godly living and health education topics. We gifted the boys with backpacks which held a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and a washcloth. The girls received the NRC ladies' sewn hygiene kits. What a huge blessing the VOH donors are; I hope you realize how much you're valued and also prayed for by the many served here. Praise God for inclining hearts to give! Please join us in praying for the government funding to come through for this school (they're $30,000 behind in payments), for food for the students (most have nothing available at home and depend on the tea and rice, maize or beans provided at lunch), teachers (they're needing to hire their own since the government isn't providing sufficient numbers), and strength for the students (it's extremely difficult to learn when their school days are 6:30am-5:45pm and they're not getting near enough food). Our next visit was to Dr. Isaac's clinic where we dropped off a suitcase full of medical supplies from the Ontario donors. He is such a blessing to the VOH, the widows and their needs; he's basically on call 24/7 for Everlyne and Aggrey (our field partners). Lillian and Pamela were the two home visits of the afternoon. Late in the afternoon we split into two groups to make supper at their homes. One group made chapatis at Florence and the other green grams at Melissa. What a delightful few hours of fellowship and food. Since our theme for this trip is LD#1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, we have had no shortage of Scripture to encourage one another about our only comfort in life and death.

  • God is Good All the Time...

    Written by: Rebecca & Linda We woke early this morning to be on time for the sunrise church service. We were greeted by some local children. They sang for us and we sang for them. It was good to worship our great God with our sisters and brothers in Christ. After church we gave a health and hygiene talk while the kids heard Bible stories, coloured, and played. Brian, a young man, had a mining accident in the fall, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He has been feeling quite discouraged but is beginning to see hope for his future. We are very thankful to be a part of God’s plan in providing some of the means to help him reach some goals he didn’t think would be possible after the accident. VOH supporters helped to provide a laptop which will aid in his schooling and a wheelchair for when he comes home from the hospital. To see his smile when he was given the laptop was priceless. Please continue to pray with us for Brian and his road to healing, as he adjusts to his “new normal”. We also visited a few more of the widows, (Rita, Margaret and Josephine). It’s a blessing to hear them praising God and expressing their trust and thankfulness to Him for His provisions in their life. Late this afternoon, we gathered with 4 widows at Margaret’s home to read the Bible, share testimonies of how God has been working in all of our lives, which led to an extended time of singing praise to the Lord. A group of children continued to grow as we sang, which turned into an opportunity for them to hear how God saved Daniel from the lions. What a wonderful Lord’s Day it was. In church we heard “God is good all the time” which the congregation responded with “All the time, God is good and that is His nature.” We loved hearing them rejoice in God’s perfection and we joined in. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good and that is His nature! Jehovah Has The Final Say

  • Arrived in Nairobi

    We are so thankful to have arrived in Nairobi! The Ontario girls met up with the BC girls in Turkey. We have had a safe journey and everyone is doing well! We have one more short domestic flight. A one hour flight to Kisumu! Please follow us along daily on this blog for updates and prayer requests. thank God with us in the safety and health and strength he has given so far!

  • Prepped and Packed and Ready to Fly!

    Just two short days away 'til our departure to Kenya! Please pray for us as we make the final preparations. We are so excited to spend time with our field partners Everlynn and Aggrey! We anticipate a great time of blessing our widowed friends and others and look forward to also being blessed! We appreciate your prayers for a safe and uneventful trip! Follow us along for daily updates on this blog. From the whole team - Carla, Helen, Janet, Linda, Rebecca, Rosanna, & Sue *We hope to post a group picture once we are together at our stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • God be with you till we meet again

    Farewell Kenya, …God be with you ‘til we meet again. Tonight we bid good bye to our dear Kenyan partner and friend, Everlyne. Amidst our eagerness to return to our families, there were tears but also gratefulness for this beautiful woman who daily works so diligently serving with love and dedication caring for the widowed women and children that Voice of Hope supports. Everlyne is joined in this task by Aggrey in the Kakamega area and Cathy in the village of Yogo. Aggrey and Cathy also bring so much to the care program as they live and know their perspective communities. They all serve with the needed understanding of their people and culture. Their respect and sincere love for each and every precious individual is such a blessing. Since its beginnings, Voice of Hope has focused on strong relationships and sharing the beautiful truths of God’s Word as we befriend and serve. The Lord has provided these godly partners to carry out this mandate each and every day. In a few hours we will board our plane and head to our homes. We thank the Lord who has protected, guided and cared for us all every step of the way. “And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

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