Audrey’s Story: Learning Made Fun

Written by lauren. Posted in Education, Missions, Stories, Women's Community

Audrey Armstrong visited Makutano in 2008 and shares her experiences working with women in the village to increase their literacy. 

LearningWhen we walked up the path approaching the Grace House, we heard chattering and laughing.  Terror gripped my heart.  Who was inside and what was I doing here in this place?  Were those inside eager to be here or did they want to be in their homes caring for children and tending their gardens and fields?  Would they like me or would my lessons planned to help them recognize and write the letters in their name be too juvenile for these African  ladies?  I had prepared material for the fifteen women who had agreed to come, but when we entered the room, I saw the benches were filled with beautiful, happy, eager ladies—not fifteen, but nearly thirty had come.  They were there early and were prepared to stay all day.  This would not be the 45 minute lesson I had envisioned!  

Learning lettersWe learned a lot about improvising on the run that morning, but what fun!  We sang and prayed and wrote and talked and played and laughed.  The women practiced The Alphabet Song, The B-I-B-L-E, and B-I-N-G-O in English.  I practiced John 3:16 in Swahili.  And to my amazement, they came back every morning that week to do it again!

Linda’s Story: Discovering Something New and Wonderful

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Missions, Sponsorship, Stories

Linda Svec traveled to Makutano with the mission to share her experience as a pre-school teacher with the teachers in our early childhood development program at Heritage Academy. She took just as much away from her trip as she left behind with the teachers!
 
I think back on my trips at Makutano often. I still can’t believe I’ve had 2 visits, the first in June 2011 and the second in February 2012. Growing up as a minister’s daughter, the idea of doing mission work has always been part of my life. However, the idea of ME doing that work was not part of my thought process.
 
The purpose of my trips was to work with the early childhood program, sharing what I know about teaching and taking materials to the teachers and showing them how to use them. It took months to prepare and collect everything we might need. 
 
Several times now I’ve been able to speak to groups about my trips. Recently, I found myself speaking again at a small church in Eastern Kentucky. I displayed pictures and items I’d brought home, told about the children, and shared stories about the new friends I made.  I enjoy telling my stories to others. The time spent in the classrooms, playing with the children, meeting other teachers, sharing meals, home visits, and so many other things are all cherished memories for me.
 
One of the highlights for me was meeting a little boy, Job. Job is 9 years old and the same age as one of my grandchildren. He had a horrible home life and is now thankfully in the dorm. Job is now my sponsor child. I think back on my first visit when we were just getting to know each other—he looked at me without much sparkle in his eyes. The second trip, however, showed a different boy. I saw him playing with his friends, running, working hard in the classroom, and SMILING.
 
I think back on these trips and can only think of what this has changed in me. The Lord has shown me new and wonderful work to do. I look at pictures now posted on Facebook and search for the faces I know. I recently received an email with an updated picture of Job, and I love it. I can’t wait to see the changes in store for these wonderful new friends and how I can be used. I can’t wait to go back!

Judy’s Story: God’s Love Shines Through

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Missions, Sponsorship, Stories

Judy Princell visited the village for the first time this past summer and was immediately drawn in by the people and the way she saw God working around her. Here she shares some of her thoughts on her experiences.

Judy with childrenI wish everyone could have the paradigm shifting  experience of visiting the village  and knowing, even for a short time, these wonderful, bright, courageous people. Ten of us were blessed to spend two weeks with Margaret and Davis and the children, families, and teachers in the village.  We were met by some of the children on our first afternoon with bouquets of flowers and special songs they had rehearsed for us. We were blessed to be guests at Pastor Joseph and Mary’s wedding the next day—an all day affair and a truly unique experience. We were able to visit with some of the children in their homes, and this was one of the times God used us for one of his miracles. There was a badly burned  baby girl in the compound, and  because we were there and met this family, Margaret and Davis took  her to the hospital and her life was saved.

The most precious memories I have of the village are the amazing stories we heard
from some of the mothers, from Pastor Joseph and Mary, from Davis and many others. God’s love always shines through. I could tell you story after story about the miracles
that we heard and saw in the short time we were in the village—all because of God’s wonderful timing. 

My two little sponsored girls, Mercy and Joan, are bright, beautiful children who I pray will have a better chance to grow up and achieve their goals because of Heritage Academy!

Cassidy’s Story: Reflections

Written by shelly. Posted in Missions, Stories

After Cassidy Clasen’s most recent trip to Makutano, she wanted to summarize what her experiences had been and what they meant to her. Here are her reflections:

CassidyThis is my attempt to sum up my trip this year to Kenya. Warning: I may cry. You won’t see it (lucky you!) but I hope you feel my heart for this place. Ok, here we go.

“How was it?” Oh my… How can I answer that? It was too good to be true—I cannot believe how blessed I am to see these beautiful and blessed people two years in a row. All I keep thinking is that I need to go back. How can I get back? Does God want me to live there? Is that why I feel like I belong there when I’m there, and that I’m just not satisfied here? There have been some really hard days coming home… But then I remember those kids’ singing voices and dancing bodies and can’t stop smiling. Do I really have the right to be mad that I have to go back upstairs to get something? I am blessed to be able to go up the stairs, and to have something to get from upstairs. But last year was such a life-changing trip, I never thought that I could love them any more, or another trip would be better. How wrong
I was.

You know how they say “the more the merrier?” Yeah, that’s how this feels. I just want to share it with the world… And yet, I kind of want to keep it to myself. This year, Margaret and Davis and me and Mom and Haley got to share this beautiful village with seven others. And so many things happened.

Fist bumpingWe got flowers from some of the kids that were sponsored, we got to see a wedding (dear friends of ours, no less!), we attended a church service, we saw people’s homes, we experienced what it means to have a car break down on a pot-holey road in what seems like the middle of nowhere, yet the middle of everywhere. We experienced the patience of children who aren’t on a tight schedule (at least until there’s rain), and the joy of one thousand Christmas mornings all wrapped up in one afternoon, in bags and pencils and washcloths and 400 kids’ faces. We read to kids and taught them, and we played with them. There were so many things that I can’t even describe.

I know that God is everywhere, but MAN I can see it in even the three- and four-year-olds’ faces. From that age all the way to 95 years old, everyone has UNSPEAKABLE joy. I began sponsoring another child… I don’t know how I will come up with the money, but all I can say is that GOD WILL PROVIDE. I will do anything I have to if it means that I will go to Makutano, Kenya again. As these tears stream Cassidy with kidsdown my face, I am confident that, by the will of God, I will now do whatever it is that He wants me to do. Because He can take me to the other side of the world in His hands, He can take me anywhere in His hands. I never imagined being impacted so much. But it does not feel different—this is most certainly my life now. My love and appreciation for Village Project Africa is growing, and can only do that.

I constantly miss the little kids I sponsor through VPA, and their sweet faces, along with the laughter in of the kids who see their faces on the display screen of a camera. That is how I remember them: by their smiles, laughs, handshakes, and hugs. Their sweet, lovely voices, and their quiet natures (or their smiley ones). 

Dear God,

As everyone here prays for the Kenyan people, please give them knowledge that we are praying for them. I think about them every day, and I don’t know if my longing can ever be satisfied unless You help me. I pray that I always look towards you in everywhere I go, and that You watch over all Your children. Thank You for a loving hand when needed, and a protective hand in all different journeys. I love You so much, and help me keep my eyes on You and You alone. Thank You for all of Your provisions– too long of a list for me to even think of them all. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray and believe, Amen.

Tim’s Story: A Witness

Written by lauren. Posted in Missions, Stories

Tim Parker shares what his four visits (and counting!) have taught him about generosity
and life.

Tim WorkingMy first trip to Makutano, Kenya was in 2008—a totally surreal experience. I never would have imagined that I would have such an opportunity, and now I have been there four times. I’m so blessed!  

While I have helped out and volunteered for various projects on each of my visits, I feel that I have not necessarily been a doer. Instead, I feel I have been a witness.  I’m a witness to God’s works, and the
generosity of family, friends, and strangers as they lay down their resources and time to help the people of Makutano.  I have seen God’s generosity in the American travelers, who give out of our abundance, but I have seen even more of God’s generosity in the people of Makutano who have nothing, but are willing to give you all they have.

I have had the privilege of meeting some great people in Kenya—Davis and Nixon, just to name a couple.  Their character and commitment to others is infectious, and I can’t help but feel recharged after being with them. They make me realize my purpose in life is greater than my own.  I believe God has great plans for the people of Makutano, Kenya because I have undoubtedly been witness to some of those plans being played out.

Tim playing with kids

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