What we are getting up to in Nairobi

Archive for March, 2011

Exciting times…

So, in the last two weeks or so, lots of exciting things have been happening…

Firstly, as the majority of you are already aware, we have now officially extended our stay here for another year.  My school back in UK have given me another year of ‘Career Break’ which is fantastic.  We are still awaiting my visa to come through however.  It would be so useful if it would come through in the next 2 weeks as otherwise I need to apply to renew my tourist visa again. 

As mentioned last time, Heshima now own the title deeds to the new land, and I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that last Wednesday the very first part of construction began… the drilling for the bore hole.   Please pray that the construction work will all go smoothly and relatively quickly. 

Last time I was also mentioning that we were unable to go into Turning Point due to security fears.  This week we will be going back in (with security)  to continue the work!  It will be great to be back there and continuing what was going so well.  We only have 3 weeks until the Easter break so hopefully we will get lots done in this time. 

A fortnight ago I went into Mahali to observe and see what needs to be done in order to help them further improve.  After Easter I will be aiming to go in weekly in order to train the staff a bit more, and to give demonstration lessons on making things more interactive and fun for the children.  It is a great project, and it is already providing good education, as well as food and clothing, for some of the poorest of the poor children (aged 3 – 6/Preschool age).  At the moment one of the directors from the UK is visiting, and is in the process of working out how to go about extending the project further – when they built the existing building they put foundations in with the intention of building up at some point.  The project already provides for 70 children, but this is still a drop in the ocean of need.

This is the school grounds.  As you can see they have some fantastic resources, with a play area and new play house.  Around the outskirts of the land they are growing fruit and vegetables, and they are teaching the children and their mothers how to farm in a sustainable way – as you can see from the bananas, they are doing a great job!

A week last Friday we had our Salsa/Latino Night and it was a huge success – thank you all for your prayers.  We had 170 people attend (we thought we were aiming high with 100), and we had great feedback from everyone.   At least 120 of these people were from the community, rather than church, and from conversations that I, and others were having, people were very interested in the fact that we were organising these events as a church.  We announced an upcoming Alpha course, which we are still aiming for in May/June time, so please join us in praying that people will attend this.  (Photos to follow)

Karen Vineyard Church has been growing steadily and we praise God that we have now hit the problem of not enough space for everyone – at present we can seat around 400.   As a result, we will be launching ‘Two services’ from April 3rd, one at 9am and one at 11am, with an overlap of tea and coffee at 10.30am.  Please pray that all the practicalities involved in this move go smoothly, and that God will continue to bring the people to fill both services. 

Finally, and very selfishly we are also extremely excited to have my brother, sister in law and nephew visiting in less than two weeks time.  They are going to be with us for 3 weeks, and we are incredibly excited to see them and show them around.  We will be taking just over a weeks holiday with them, going to the coast and on safari, from April 11th.  Please pray for safety as we travel and a great, relaxing time when we can really recharge our batteries! 

Thanks again to you all for your continued support,

Su and Mark.x



Sorry it’s been a while again…

Okay… so been a little while since we’ve updated you all again! Sorry! Things have been so busy this end!

Heshima news….

We now officially own the ‘title deeds’ to the new land for the new building, which is soooo exciting! I went to visit the site this past week, and it is everything (and more) that we could have wished for! Thank you God!  

Victor is very excited and proud of the land!!!      Julius (our manager) pointing out the boundaries.

The location of the site is amazing… in the area between three of our local slums, and the fact that it is so beautifully GREEN, is just amazing!!! The first bit of work begins in the next week or so (African time remember), and will be the road going up to the land… The next job will be to create the outer wall for security!

We have a new little girl starting with us next week, which will take us up to 15 children. The weekly outings are still going extremely well, and it is such a pleasure to see the children having so much fun!


 The catalogue for ‘Dignity Designs’ (Heshima’s jewellery micro finance run by the mum’s) is now finally completed, and can now be downloaded at www.heshima.org  on the ‘Dignity Designs’ link. Please let me know if you want to make any orders (either personal or if you think you could host an event). ALL proceeds go straight back into the project, after giving the mums a wage!

Also, in case you are interested, a local school here is running a project to help support Heshima, and has utilised the creative talent within the school to do some beautiful artwork that they are selling to raise funds for Heshima. If you are interested in seeing the work they have produced please look on the following link https://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=11452&id=100002129752918 .


Turning Point, Kibera

 The work in Turning Point has been going incredibly well, and I have been so encouraged with the progress we have made in the creative room/teaching activities.  However, we have hit a problem with security lately… in the last 2 weeks , 3 muggings have taken place on the route that we walk, including two girls working for Turning Point. Thankfully no one has been hurt in these incidents, although the last time the perpetrators had a gun and were waving it around when local people tried to step in and prevent the incident. Due to this none of us went into the project last week, and I have just been notified by Jon Parsons (director of the project) that we are not to go again next week. Please pray for wisdom and guidance about what to do in the upcoming weeks, and also for protection when we begin to go back.

For those of you who are interested, last night (Thursday 3rd March) there was a programme on the BBC about Kibera, linked to Comic Relief… although this programme is not about ‘Turning Point’ itself, it will give a general idea of living conditions for those who live in Kibera. This programme will be on BBC iplayer for the next few days/weeks I imagine. The programme was called ‘Famous, Rich and in the Slums’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00z6dnn/Comic_Relief_2011_Famous_Rich_and_in_the_Slums_Part_1/

 (Just to clarify, that we don’t live here, but in a very comfy house, with security, 15 minutes away.)

Mahali Pa Watato

I had a brief meeting with one of the directors of this school on Monday past, and we discussed the next steps for the school. It was arranged that I will go with her on Wednesday coming to observe and then work out an action plan for the following weeks/months ahead.  Please do pray for guidance again on how much time and energy to invest in this area, as both are very precious right now!


Karen Vineyard Church

We have had a hard week as the church has been mourning the tragic murder of one of the worship band. Please remember the family left behind in your prayers – wife (Lora) and two small children, aged 3 and 4years – who have suffered such a traumatic time and witnessed atrocities that should never occur. They are a missionary family from Holland working with YWAM and living just outside of Nairobi. The family have now returned home with family, but healing will take a long time. http://www.bosnewslife.com/15691-christians-in-kenya-netherlands-mourn-death-dutch-missionary-wrap  .   The news as you can imagine has rocked us and the whole church, so please do remember us all and particularly the family as they grieve.

Life in the church is, as always, very busy. We had a great night of Worship and Ministry last week (the first of many we hope), and it was great to see so many turn up on a Saturday afternoon/evening to Worship.

We also have a ‘Latino Night’ coming up next Friday (11th March), which is a way of us serving the community and reaching out to them, instead of expecting them to come to us. The aim of these events is just to relationship build with people from the community, and to make ourselves available and relevant to them. We will also be plugging an Alpha course which will hopefully begin May/June time.  Please pray that people will come to the event, and that God will be Glorified through it!

In the next few weeks, I will officially be taking on leadership/overseeing of the ‘Youth’ within the church, and we have also just been made home group pastoral care leaders – for the time being at least. Please pray that we will be able to juggle these roles and do them justice!


General Areas

 No news as of yet on my visa, so we will be applying for a renewal in the next few weeks… think I incorrectly told you before that it ran out on 13th March, but thankfully I got this wrong and it isn’t until 13th April.

– Things at this end are very busy at the moment as you can tell, and it has been an emotionally tiring week or so. Please pray that we will be sensible with our time and energy so as not to burn out. Neither of us are very good at saying ‘no’, which does sometimes need to be said!!! :o)

– Please continue to pray for daily guidance and protection over us. 

With everything going on recently I have been challenged once again in my quiet times (reading Philippians) about my attitude and whether I can truly say with Paul … ‘For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.’  What a challenge for us… do our lives add up to this call… ?!  Philippians 1 v 20 – 21

I came across the Vineyard Song ‘Perfect Sacrifice’ the other day, and it has been such an encouragement as well as a challenge… if you can get hold of it, have a quick listen…

These are the lyrics….

Life could take, take every dream away
You’d still be my risen one
The place where my hope comes from
Life could break, You’d still be my saving grace
My Promise of all to come
The place where my hope comes from

I’ve been chosen by Your hand
Through forgiveness called Your friend
Now You’re here with me
Loosed my chains and took my shame
On the cross You bore my pain; Jesus died for me

It‘s a gift we don’t deserve
A treasure we can not earn
You paid the price
Now a life that offers more
A cross that’s said it all
A perfect sacrifice

All my hope is in You
My treasure and my truth
My hope is in You

Thank you all once again for your continued prayers, we appreciate them all so much! 

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