We know it’s February but we still want to say Happy New Year!!
It has been too long since our last update and so we wanted to share with you all our happenings.
Our family is doing great and are keeping busy. Over Christmas we had Fiona's sister and her family here which was really great. It certainly helped with the homesickness at Christmas. We had such a nice time with them and it was lovely to have some family time.
Our girls are continuing in school this year. Christmas was just a mid year break for them. It has been a particularly busy year for us because Lucy is in pre-school doing half days. This amounts to 2 hours driving to and from school each day on a good day. It has restricted the things that Fiona has been able to get involved in because she is always needing to be around for the girls. But we know that being a parent is of a much higher importance. It has also been good because Fiona has been able to get more involved in the girls school. She has been leading discipleship groups and has shared in chapel.
Anthony has been busy working with the Hope House and Pavement to Prosperity. At Hope House we are continuing to help with their administration to assist in the home running more efficiently. Currently, Anthony is busy with the Pavement to Prosperity street boys project building new housing for them. A 40 foot shipping container was donated to the project and Anthony is project managing (and doing most of the work) on modifying it so that it can become new housing for the boys. In December our girls school did a Christmas fundraiser which raises money for different projects. Pavement to Prosperity got chosen which means that we have money to both complete the well and also to build most of the new accommodation. This has been a huge blessing.
We continue to work with the Southern Cross network and we have formed a team of locals who we are building into to one day take over the leadership here. This is exciting and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them.
That leads us to our BIG news!!!
We are moving back to Australia in July. We have been praying about this for some time and we feel a sense of peace from God about it. We also asked our girls to pray to and seek God's heart for our family. All of us feel strongly that this is the right move for us. We truly believe that God is in it! Although we will be sad to leave Kenya we are excited about the future in Australia and the next step of faith in our journey. Honestly, we have no idea what we will do in Australia but we feel that the call God has given us is not done and that our move will be a continuation of what we have already been doing. We know it sounds a bit crazy but we also know God has things in his hands.
We love and appreciate each one of you and the love you have shown us.
Anthony, Fiona, Zoe Pippa & Lucy
As this year draws to an end, we are excited to be celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus. Here is a very brief overview of our family happenings
Our girls are continuing to do well at Rosslyn Academy. The are in 5th grade, 4th grade and pre-school. We have done a lot of extra driving this year with Lucy only doing half days. They are breaking for their half year break this week and we are looking forward to having Fiona’s sister and her family come to spend Christmas with us. The girls are looking forward to hanging out with their cousin Rosie.
We have been developing a Southern Cross Leadership Team for East Africa and we are excited for the new developments that 2018 will bring.
We continue to work with Hope House Babies Home and the Pavement to Prosperity street boys project. We expect that the P2P water well will be finished in the new year after our girl's school selected the project to support for their Christmas Project fundraiser.
The Nation of Kenya
This is our last update in a series and at the moment it is the most important one of all.
Kenya is an amazing country and the people here have become our family and friends. Currently,
Kenya has 2 very pressing issues and we would love your help to stand with us in prayer and
1. Presidential election
This Tuesday, our country will be going to the polls to decide on the newest President and government for this nation. In the past elections have been tarnished with violence and corruption.
People here in general are cautiously optimistic about this election. We are remaining here and although we are being cautious we don't feel that there is any cause for concern. However, we would appreciate you standing with us in prayer. Here are some ways that are helpful to pray:
2. The drought
The other significant issue facing Kenya at the moment is the lack of water. Although, Kenya has received some rain it has not been the quantity that we needed. Currently, the water situation is critical and we are only receiving mains water on weekends. Thankfully, we have storage tanks but many do not. We have seen some reports suggesting that Nairobi could run out of water by October.
Please stand with us and pray that we would receive the much needed rain in the right places. Also pray for the government for wisdom to handle this situation well. We want to reassure you that we are fine and well. Please do not worry about our safety and well being. We are trusting that our Lord is watching over us.
Love Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa and Lucy
As promised here is part 2 of our happenings . . .
Currently, we have three main areas that we are giving our time to here in Kenya.
1. Southern Cross Association of Churches
Southern Cross is the relational network that we oversee here. This year we have begun working towards establishing a Key Leadership Council for East Africa. In May we held a vision casting day for members who are interesting in the continued growth and development of Southern Cross in East Africa. We had a great turn out and we are currently working towards building a team of Kenyan’s to work together with us to lead the network here. We are also excited to be working towards helping our members with more resources.
2. Hope House Babies Home
At the start of this year we sat down with the leadership team at Hope House and talked with them about what their main needs are. We also discussed areas that we could help them with that are within our skill set. We established some goals to work towards together.
Anthony has been spending regular time at the home with individual staff members. We have been working towards helping them to improve of some of their administration and communication. He has been teaching them some new skills in admin and technology. We are excited to see how these business and administration skills will help them.
They have recently received permission to start adopting babies out again as there were hold ups due to governmental red tape.
3. From Pavement to Prosperity Street Boys Project
We continue to partner with the Pavement to Prosperity street boys project. Anthony has been working with the team to help see the completion of the well they are drilling on the property. It is a challenging task but ultimately this well will help the project to thrive and quickly move towards self-sustainability.
We love this particular project because we have seen some amazing transformation in the boys lives over a short period of time. We would love to share one boys story with you:
Approximately 2 years ago Clinton was living on the streets of Nairobi. He was in a hopeless position. Through a connection to another boy who has been through the Pavement to Prosperity program Clinton was selected as a part of the second intake of boys to the farm.
Clinton spent approximately 9 months at the farm where he was rehabilitated, taught life skills and discipled. During his stay at the farm members of the team noticed that Clinton was taking a keen interest in learning to cook. After further discussion Clinton expressed an interest in pursuing a career in hospitality.
Through a generous donor Clinton was able to spend a year in vocational training where he was taught about hospitality. After a year Clinton has been offered a job at a well known international hotel here in Nairobi. The hotels general manager and head chef have a heart for helping street kids and have offered Clinton and another boy the opportunity to complete an internship in the kitchen. Clinton is working in a program that is also offered to university graduates.
If you would like to find out more about "Southern Cross" or the "Hope House" or "Pavement To Prosperity" projects, click on the logos below to visit their websites:
Let start by just saying that we always intended on being better at this communication thing!!
You see, the thing is that after a while, your exciting move to the mission field on the other side of the world seems less exciting and more like everyday life. Then you find yourself wondering what’s so interesting about our life that is different to anyone else’s? Do people really want to hear about our life? But we know that so many of you love us, just as we love you and we know that many of you pray for us and support us in many ways. Words cannot express our gratitude for those of you who care for us so well.
So here is the latest family news from us:
Our girls are as always right in the centre of our lives here in Nairobi. They are currently on their VERY long break from school (11 weeks). On 15 August, our girls start another school year at Rosslyn Academy which is a great Christian international school. Zoe is commencing 5th grade, Pippa 4th grade and Lucy is starting pre-school (half days). This will be the first time all three girls have all been in school here. They are all excited to be back at school soon and they loved buying their school supplies for the year the other day.
In June, we had Fiona’s mum and dad here to visit for 4 weeks. It was so lovely to have family around and the girls especially loved jumping in bed with them every morning (and we loved the sleep ins). We spent our time with them with a mixture of ministry, tourism and just hanging out.
Recently, some good friends here blessed us by inviting us to go on holiday with them. It was really lovely to spend time together in Kericho, tea country. It was so lush and green with rolling hills of tea everywhere you look. We are glad to get to know another family better. God has really been answering our prayers for deeper friendships here.
OUR NEEDS (please pray for):
We love hearing from you so please let us know how you are too.
Love Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa & Lucy
Part 2 - Ministry - coming soon! ... If you would like to connect with us or support us please head to our website for more details.
We want to share with you about the heart breaking humanitarian crisis that is currently being faced by many Kenyans. Severe drought is affecting over 2.7 million people in Kenya right now who are facing food shortages.
To read more about it on the ABC website click here.
On a personal note, as well as severe water rationing in Nairobi, we personally have begun to see the effects at the local supermarket, where items that are regularly available are becoming scarce, due to the lack of rain in food producing areas of the country. While we are not facing any real problems, we want to be able to help those who are.
Sometimes it is easy to feel helpless when these things are happening on the other side of the world. We want to share with you about some ways that you can support the relief effort:
Please pray for the nation of Kenya and the whole of East Africa that is facing the devastating effects of drought and famine.
Each year at Christmas time we look for an opportunity to bless a community group or project as a family. It is a great thing to do as a family and also blesses those who don't have much. This year we made packages for the Pavement to Prosperity street boys. As a family we shopped for suitable gifts to make them a bag each. Then the girls decorated Christmas cards to put in each one.
On Wednesday 21 December, we visited the street boys to give them our gifts. The girls loved handing out the presents and the boys were excited to receive their FIRST EVER present.
The boys gave us some art work that they have been working on as a gift in return. After we shared with and encouraged the boys. We all went outside for a group picture.
Once the boys opened their gifts they were quick to offer us something out of their gift bags. This really touched us because even though we bought these gifts for them they were happy to share back with us.
From our family to yours we pray that you have a blessed Christmas and an amazing year ahead.
Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa & Lucy
So 2016 has been a busy season for us in Kenya and we thought it was about time we updated you all on what we have been doing. In November last year we had to move house. We were blessed to find a house in the same area that we already live. And even better we moved into a much bigger house for the same rent. One of the things we believe that God is calling us to in Kenya is to host people who want to visit Kenya. So with the provision of the bigger house along came many visitors; 18 different people have stayed in our home this year and so the best way to share what we have been doing is to tell you about them.
1. Meg Richards
2. Maddie Richards
Meg arrived in Kenya in August 2015 to live with our family for 6 months and help us as a nanny to the girls. Meg greatly blessed our family and we were grateful for her time with us. She left in Feb 2016. For the last 2 weeks of Meg's time here she was joined by her sister Maddie. We wonder if Maddie was sent to make sure Meg came home !!!
3. Jens Schmidt
Jens stayed with us in early January. He was delayed in Nairobi for a few days after finishing staffing the Iris Harvest School of Missions. We had never met Jens before but we were connected through mutual friends and we loved having him stay for a few days.
Churchlands Mission Team - 4. Roland, 5. Chris, 6. Georgina and 7. Maggie
Also in January, we hosted our first missions team from our church in Australia, Churchlands Christian Fellowship. The team consisted of four people: Roland DeHaas, Chris Whitwell, Georgina Corlett and Maggie Johnstone. The team were very busy (as were we) and fitted a lot into small amount of time here. They were a huge blessing to many here.
8 & 9. Geoff and Carole Parsons
Geoff and Carole Parsons were with us in February and are pastors from our church in Australia. They have been visiting Africa to minister for a number of years. They were in Kenya ministering at a church in the country area so we invited them to come to Nairobi and stay with us.They were able to run a morning seminar with our Nairobi based Southern Cross pastors.
10 & 11. Colin & Fran Fallows (AKA Fiona's Parents)
In March we were excited to have Fiona's parents visit us. It was wonderful to see them and as well as show them around our city we were able to show them some of the work that we are involved with here. It was their first time to Africa and we think they'll agree that it had a great influence on them. We loved having them here!
12, 13 & 14. Southern Cross Leaders Advance - John and Alaine McElroy and David Apelt
In April we had our annual leaders conference for Southern Cross Association of Churches, which is the relational network that we oversee here. Our pastors from Australia John and Alaine McElroy travel here every year to equip and encourage the Pastors here. David Apelt is also a regular visitor to Kenya and he also played a big part in the teaching at the conference. David stayed on with us after the conference and spent time with Anthony at 1st Joy Academy.
15 & 16. Richard Jefferies and Anne Jefferies
In May we had Richard and his mum Anne come and stay with us. Richard is a good friend of Lyndon and Kathy Armstrong who are regular visitors and supporters of Kenyan projects. Richard wanted to visit and see some of the projects. We were able to host Richard and Anne in our home and we took them to visit a number of projects here in Nairobi. We were blessed to have them in our home.
17 & 18. Mark Fallows & Joshua Rule
As we write this blog we currently have visiting with us my brother Mark and his friend Josh. Mark and Josh are here with us for 3 weeks and wanted to come here to see what we do. We are planning on visiting a number of projects that we work with as well as checking out some of the tourist attractions. It has been wonderful to have our family come and see what we do here.
So we hope you can all forgive us for not being better with our communication this last six months!
At the end of June we will be back in Australia for some R & R. For those of you in Aus we look forward to seeing you.
Love Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa &Lucy xo
On 30 December I travelled to Kitale to visit the beautiful children of Revived Hopes Community Centre (formerly Orphaid). I travelled with Meg Richards (our lovely friend and Nanny) and John Wandera (the Pastor who founded 1st Joy Academy). We were excited to be delivering school uniforms to the children and we had plans for a big party and lots of treats. We met up with the project directors Joan and Carolyne in Kitale.
When we woke on 31 December we were excited and ready to head off to the Lunyu Village to deliver some belated Christmas cheer. We felt a bit like Santa! On the way to the village we picked up some new underwear for the girls to wear under their new dresses.
We arrived at in the village to the sight of the children dancing and singing to welcome us. The children were excited to see us and I was very excited to see them again. I especially welcomed the sight of my special friend Moses. Moses (5) was on the brink of death from HIV when we last visited and without a balanced diet would have probably have died by now. For a very small amount of money from us each month we’ve seen him come back to life. This day was the first time he had been to school in months. The sight of him clapping and dancing with the other children made my heart sing. What an amazing privilege!
We ushered the children into the church hall where we did prayers, welcomes, greetings and more singing and dancing. The team were very keen to get the children in to their new uniforms so using the school classroom we helped the children to get out of their rags and into their smart new uniforms. Their faces lit up as they put on shoes and socks and their brand new clothes.
Most of the parents and guardians turned up on our invitation and were overjoyed to see the children in their new clothes. The gratitude from them is not something that I’ll easily forget. Once the children were all dressed they got up on stage to have a group photo and then they danced and sung again. The funny thing is that they were struggling to dance with the same vigour as before but I guess it will take some time to get used to proper shoes!!! The parents got up and joined with the children to dance and sing. Such joy! The parents then asked if they could sing for us. So they all got up on stage. It wasn’t long before we were all being dragged onto stage too. This was there way of welcoming us into their community and making us one of them.
After all of this everyone was hungry and because of a generous donation from a couple in Australia we were able to share with them a feast. It was the first time they had tasted beef and they all seemed to love it. For Christmas this year we agreed that we would buy plates, cups and spoons for the children and so it was great to see them getting used. After lunch the parents went home and the children played games with balloons, bubbles and a new soccer ball. It was a truly blessed day.
I’m so grateful to all of our friends and family who have donated to help this community. I’m so thankful that God has blessed this village and that he has called us to this amazing country to see lives changed.
Lastly, I’ve asked Meg to share her experience in Kitale too:
“For me Kitale was eye opening. I saw so much beautiful land, met such beautiful people, saw more joy and zest for life than I ever have and I wouldn't exchange that experience for anything. I fell in love with 25 village children in one day and I will never forget their faces, their energy and their love for what they have. I will always remember their happy smiles. This trip truly blessed me. I am forever grateful for that opportunity. I can't even write the words my mind wishes to tell. But for now just know that I am humbled and blessed and will never forget that last day of 2015.”
Finally, we just want to share a brief video of the kids dancing ... enjoy!
From our family to yours we just want to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas. We pray that God will bless you and that your home will be full of joy during this time of celebration of our Saviour's birth.
Anthony, Fiona, Zoe, Pippa & Lucy
We are a family who are just seeking to do what God wants us to do. We have heard God speak and we want to be obedient to his voice, and are excited by what He is going to do when we respond!