UPDATE: We have found uniform sponsors for every single child! We are completely blown away by everyone's generosity. Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored a child. If you missed out and still want to help, there are plenty of opportunities to be able to make this school something great. As they are only just starting out, they have almost nothing. If you would like to bless them with a donation, we can ensure it will be used 100% to bless these children. Again, THANK YOU!
As a family, we have decided to walk alongside our friends Joan and Carolyne to help them get uniforms for the beautiful children that are in their care at the Orphaid Community Center. We are looking for 25 individuals or families who are willing to donate AU$60 to buy 2 uniforms for each student. The girls will get 2 dresses, 2 jumpers, 2 pairs of socks and 1 pair of shoes. The boys will get 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 jumpers, 2 pairs of socks and 1 pair of shoes.
Currently, these children don’t have much more than the clothes on their back. A few of them have some foot wear but these shoes were doing little to protect their feet and many of them were either over or under sized.
Listed below are the beautiful faces of the children in need so you can decide who you would like to sponsor uniforms for. This is how we are going to do it:
Purchasing a uniform for a child will be a one off donation, but if you are interested we can also connect you to enable to support this project on a regular basis. We believe that this is a great new project that two amazing Kenyan women have begun and we would love to see it grow and thrive.
Hover mouse over the photos of the children to see their names and ages and click for a bigger image.
So it has been a while since we sent an update so here goes . . . .
Love from the Schopf family.
Last week we went to the baby home. I loved the baby home. The babies there don't have a mum and dad. I played with the babies. There was one called Lucy and I loved playing with her. We played with them outside. There are 22 babies that live there. They drank lots of milk.
By Pippa Schopf
Last Tuesday I went to the baby home with my family. There was a lot of babies there. I played with them. When we got there we played with the babies inside the house. And after that we played outside with the babies. I saw one of the babies getting their hair cut. Some of the babies cried a lot. They liked to drink milk too. I had lots of fun.
By Zoe Schopf
While the last 4 weeks have been mainly about settling in to life here in a new city and organising homeschooling, both Fiona and I have had a few opportunities to get out and about in Nairobi.
Fiona and I both got to tag along with Karen, a missionary with ABC Children's Aid Kenya who lives just up the road, to visit some of their students in slums around Nairobi. ABC are an organisation who educate children who normally couldn't afford to go to school. They also have boarding facilities and sponsor children to attend partner schools.
On my trip, I visited a couple of families of ABC students. The main aim of our outing was to encourage a teenage girl to go back to school after she had been absent for a number of months. We brought her a new school uniform and she gladly went back. Hopefully it is a new start for her.
Fiona met a few families whose children attended ABC schools and was able to bless one family who's 2 year old child was very sick. They were quite a distance from the nearest hospital and they couldn't afford to even travel there to get the child checked out.
The poverty, sanitation and injustices in these slum areas are very confronting. It can be difficult to see any hope, but when you open your eyes you begin to realise that there is also a lot of joy in these areas. The people are generally happy and laughing and there is always a lot of activity.
I made a very short video of my trip with Karen and the ABC counselors into the slums. It will give you a bit of an idea of the conditions that some people here are forced to live in:
I have also started trying to figure out what Southern Cross will do with the church building that I came here to help with in July, 2013. It is a slow process but we are progressing which is encouraging.
We hope you are all doing well, we miss all our friends and family back home but we are settling in well here. Please keep us in your prayers.
Love Anthony, Fiona,Zoe, Pippa and Lucy
We have finally made it to Nairobi, Kenya. WooHoo!
It was a very long journey with three children in tow but we have finally made it. We are gradually settling in to our new life. In between the lack of sleep on the plane, the jet lag and the high altitude here in Nairobi (6000 feet above sea level) we know it will take some time to get fully adjusted ... but we are getting there.
The house is fantastic and it has made the world of difference having a house keeper to help with washing and cooking, allowing us to focus more on family life than would have otherwise been possible. Her name is Trufenna and she is a wonderful help.
Leaving Australia was a difficult to say the least. In between trying to pack up most of our worldly possessions (we ended up with approximately 320kg of luggage) we tried to catch up with as many friends and family as possible. The most difficult part of leaving was saying goodbye to the grand parents. Knowing that Zoe, Pippa and Lucy wouldn't have the same connection with them is difficult as both Fiona and my family are particularly close. Skype is a fantastic thing but can never replace human contact. We will miss them a lot.
Having said that we know that God wants us here and the number of coincidences that occurred that got us here became so numerous that they couldn't possibly be considered coincidences but the absolute love of the Father.
Again, we had amazing favour on our journey. At Perth airport we were expecting to pay for 2 bags of excess luggage and they only charged us for 1 piece. They also blocked off a seat next to us so we had extra room to spread out on both of our flights. When we arrived in Nairobi we had some lovely locals help us to fill out our visa application forms. And after collecting our luggage we walked straight through customs without being stopped. Praise God!!
Our first couple of weeks here has been a time of getting adjusted to our new home and environment. We have been going to bed early and just trying to recover from our trip and the busyness of leaving Australia.
We also celebrated Fiona's birthday by going to feed the giraffes and going out for lunch.
The girls have started to do Distance Education from Western Australia which is quite different to what we have been doing before so it is taking time to settle into that. The girls have been enjoying going out in the afternoons to make friends with the children across the road. They have been enjoying playing in the mud and playing outdoors. Lucy is very happy and loves following Trufenna around outside.
Thanks for taking the time to journey with us.
Anthony, Fiona, Zoe,Pippa & Lucy
DEPARTURE DATE: 17 AUGUST 2014
LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!!
Recently, my good friend Janelle posted this picture onto my Facebook page. I thought it was not only funny but also a good reminder to not get stressed out.
Well, it's been nearly 3 years since we first felt God clearly tell us to make the move to Kenya as a family and often in our human nature we want things to happen instantly. If someone had told me at the end of 2011 that it wouldn't be until August 2014 that we move I would have been disheartened. But things take time and it's actually really good to enjoy and learn in the process. Thankfully, the time has come now for us to make the move to Nairobi, Kenya. In a few short weeks we will boarding the plane.
When I reflect on the last 3 years I can see how much I've learnt and hopefully I am going to Kenya better equipped for whatever it brings. So here are a few things I've discovered in this process:
1. God is faithfully and trustworthy
God has met us every step of the way as we have prepared to move to Kenya. He was there when we sold our home, when Anthony left his job, when our dogs needed a new home, when we traveled around Australia, when I was scared and anxious about the future. He especially gave us incredible peace during the emergency birth of Lucy. He has met our every need and gone above and beyond what we could have hoped for. He has got our back and although I have the occasional moment of worry I really do know that He is taking care of all our needs.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
2. Ministry of family
Anthony and the girls are the most important ministry I will have here on this earth. Many times people have asked me what I am planning to do in Kenya and my reply is usually I'm going there to raise my family. My hearts desire is to raise world changing children and I believe that what God uses us to do will be as a family. I want to see my girls equipped with everything they need to be light in the world. I believe that if we love our children well and raise them to be great princess warriors then our family will make a difference in Kenya by who we are more than what we say.
Likewise, I want to have an amazing marriage. I desire to see our marriage demonstrate to those around us the love of God. My marriage and family are a gift from God and they will always come first. Anthony and I agree that our priorities will always be relationship with God then each other and our girls before anything else.
3. Loving Others
When we traveled around Australia we met and got to know many amazing people from all walks of life. We would get chatting to people and get to know them in a short amount of time. Most of the time we didn't know if we were camped next to a shop assistant, a teacher, a doctor or a cleaner. It struck me that sometimes I've made assumptions about another person based on what they do rather than who they are. I questioned whether sometimes people give more respect to a stranger who's a lawyer rather than a receptionist.
A camp ground is an even playing field so to speak. Nobody knew us and we didn't know anyone else. It was up to me to get to know people without judgments based on their lives. Jesus died once for all people. If this is true (I believe it is) then he sees us all as equal. He loves all people the same and he sees them through a different filter than most people do. So I feel challenged to put on my Jesus filter with everyone I meet. I want to see them the way He does. I believe that when I choose to see people through the love of Christ regardless of who they are or what they do then I'm valuing who they are. Everyone deserves to be loved the same.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV)
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
4. Relationship over tasks
So while we were travelling we set up and packed up around 60 times. For those of you who enjoy camping you are probably like me and don't look forward to pack up day. In the past pack up day has always been about achieving the task and getting out of the camp ground before check out time. However inevitably, we would always find that some friendly person always wanted to chat while we were packing up. They would come over and say things like, "where did you get your washing line from?" or "Can I have a look at your trailer?" or " Can you show me how your solar panels work?". At the beginning all these questions would infuriate me, especially when Anthony was getting distracted by them. I would brew on the inside while our camper packing up efforts came to a grinding halt. Couldn't these people see we were trying to pack up?
But what would Jesus say or do in this situation? I realised that the priority of relationship was more important than achieving a task. I learnt to let go and stop being a control freak. I started to join in the conversations and take the opportunities to connect with the people that were in front of me. After a while people started to comment, "I've never seen any family so relaxed about packing up" or "How do you manage to not fight while packing?". Most of our trip we never left a caravan park on time and we were never charged any extra fees either.
I want to be the sort of person who puts people above tasks. Yes there are times when that is not possible but where possible I want to stop and give others the time they deserve. In the gospels Jesus often stopped in the middle of doing something or going somewhere to help someone. I hope that we can be like Jesus to the people we meet along our journey.
5. Choose to make a difference
Around me all the time are opportunities to make a difference to someone's life. I am learning to look for more of these people connections. It can be as simple as a smile, a kind greeting or buying someone a cup of coffee. Everyone deserves to be loved. You just don't know what impact you can have or how your behaviour or response can influence the people around you. But one thing is for sure that kindness and generosity are never going to ruin someone's day.
6. Be happy
Lastly, I want to say that I have learnt that life is for enjoying and happiness is contagious. My joy and happiness comes from Jesus and I want that to shine out of me.
Bless you all and be happy because there's lots to be happy about.
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!