We have just landed at Schiphol in Amsterdam and have about 6 hours to wait before embarking on the plane to Nairobi Kenya. I have been lucky enough to find a nice resting chair next to my dear husband and have put my computer in my lap. ”Mind your step” is repeated endlessly from the loudspeaker close to the roller track and right in front of me there is a nice stall with tulips, blue and white coloured vases, cushions and other typical Dutch things. Christmas decorations are still dangling from the ceiling … it’s only the 2nd Jan. 2020 and we are turning a new page. 2019 was a year of sorrow for me as I lost two of my beloved siblings. But I am trying to lift my sight and am carried by the hope of seeing them again soon.
TRANSITION – Can’t help but thinking that it might be a while until we make this journey again – Sweden-Kenya-Sweden … We have worked with Charlotte and Thorkild, our successors, this fall and we plan for them to take over the responsibility of the work in Loki when we go home in the beginning of April. We will of course be available at a distance if needed. It’s a lot for them to get into, not the least when it comes to finances and administration. But they are tough and don’t give up easily.
They are back in Loki after a couple of weeks very needed holiday in other parts of Kenya. They have started sending our ”old” high school (Form 2-4) and college students back to school. The new ones from Hannah Emuriakin will be sent off the coming week when we are back in Loki.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – Even this year our 8-graders have succeeded very well and there are 47 students not wanting anything but to continue their studies in high school. 15 of them sat under the tree when we visited in 2008. It has been a great joy to follow them all these years and now see how well they have succeeded. Most of their care takers have no means to cater for their children’s high school education since they come from very poor circumstances. We can’t cater for all but we hope to take on at least 20 through our MSS (Mapendo Students Support) program. It feels very important to give these young people a chance in life. Thanks to all who are sponsoring th MSS program!
GIFTS BRINGING JOY – Before we left for our Christmas holiday the LEDO sewing project made dresses and shorts which were handed out to the vulnerable children who are given food packages each week. The clothes are being sponsored through Children’s Mission Sweden’s webbshop. These clothes are probably the only present the children will get for Christmas so guess if they are happy.
THANK YOU LORD FOR THE FOOD – There are 100 children who get a food package each week and in November Charlotte and Thorkild were interviewing the children and took pictures that were used in the reports sent to sponsors in Sweden. Just like me, Charlotte and Thorkild are moved to see how much the packages means to the children and their families. They gather faithfully each Saturday morning in front of ”the blue house” where the packages are being distributed. Jennifer and Symprose are there leading a short devotion where oftentimes one of the children is leading in prayer thanking God for the food and the sponsors who are paying for it. Then they are called one by one by name to come and get their package: rice, beans, lentils, fruits, eggs, a soap and washing powder. Most of the children are orphans or have a parent that can’t care for him/her in a good way. We notice that vulnerable children who are put on the program get a new sparkle in their eyes.
There are also some 20 old and sick people who get a food package weekly.
THE PINK RIBBON – This fall ANA Shanga (the women group that makes jewellery) got an order from the Breast Cancer Fundation called Hilda in Örebro. They wanted 100 pink ribbons made of small pink beads. I immediately tried to make a sample and then taught the women how to make it. Lots of fun! Now they are in full swing making them and they also make pink earrings and bangles that ”Hilda” is going to sell. Maybe you know of another associations or fundations that would be interested in ordering them.
LOVELY VISIT – Erik and Maria Johansson, who started a charity in the memory of their son called ”Jacobs Minne”, have stood with us during many years as one of our main sponsors. They have sponsored buildings, water, equipment, children’s education and a big number of high school students etc. They have visited several times and even this fall they came with a big group of sponsors from Sweden. A great joy for us and not the least for the children, students and our co-workers.
VILLAGE MEETINGS – It is always a great and touching experience to sit together and share the fellowship at the village meetings. We gather at different homes in four different villages belonging to Loki town. The meetings are simple with singing, different stories and sharing from the Bible, information about health and sanitation and praying together. I have learnt a lot about the people and their culture through these meetings. You really do come close to one another.
CHRISTMAS PARTY – We had a fantastic Christmas Party with the ANA Women’s Group at our back yard just before we left for Sweden in order to celebrate Christmas with our children and grandchildren.
CHRISTMAS in ORSA- Finally some pictures from our Christmas celebration. What a joy to spend three full days together with our six children, their spouses, our 17 grandchildren and dear friend Anne at Trunna Retreat in Orsa. We sang Christmas Carols in the neighbourhood (only one slammed the door on us), some went skiing and snow sliding, some built a snowman, the Christmas tree was decorated, presents wrapped and even Santa came. Reading the Christmas Story from the Bible and reminding ourselves about the Saviour who came with reconciliation, forgiveness from sins, peace and hope to a lacerated world is the the biggest thing.
Finally we want to wish all of you a Happy and Blessed NEW YEAR!