Sunday, December 29, 2019

Wildly Successful Youth Retreat in Mikinduri


In 1990 Saint John Paul II wrote an encyclical titled Mission of the Redeemer in which he declared that "the Holy Spirit is indeed the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission."  In this mission that Jesus has called us to, we depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us every step of the way.


After returning to our little village of Mikinduri, from Nairobi where we were taking language classes, we began talking as a family about what ministries the Lord may be calling us to. Katelyn and Anna expressed a strong desire to lead retreats for the young adults, but acknowledged the difficulty of establishing credibility among their peers. Little did they know...

At the November parish council meeting representatives from all seven of our parish's outlying communities gathered to talk about upcoming events.  After discussing the activities already scheduled, a gentleman raised his hand and said, "It would be nice if we could do something for the youth during their break from school."  All 25+ people in the room nodded and agreed that it would be nice to have something, but then the conversation moved on to other topics.  I sat quietly trying to follow the conversation in Swahili, but found my mind wandering ~ maybe we could organize something for the youth.  After whispering my thought to Chris, he and I prayed silently that the Lord would send His spirit to inspire us if there was something that He wanted to do through us.  Almost immediately we got the idea of hosting a retreat for the young adults.  We quickly scribbled a note to our parish priest who was sitting nearby, asking for permission to suggest the idea to the group.  We also sent a quick text to Katelyn, who was with Anna, to see if they were interested.  Within 10 minutes we were enthusiastically presenting our idea to the council.  Strightfaced, they bombarded us with questions and seemed unsatisfied with our non-specific answers.  We talked a bit about the retreats we led in Peru, told them about our reliance on the Holy Spirit, and assured them that it was going to be great.  They didn't look convinced, but agreed to consider our plan after it was more developed.  Given their expressed desire to "have something for the youth", we were surprised at their reluctance...until we learned that at the parish's last retreat a participant was raped by a local man in his mid twenties who sneaked in unnoticed.....ugghhhh! 

Confident that this is what the Holy Spirit was asking us to do, Anna and Katelyn began brainstorming ideas.  The retreat had to be fun, emotionally engaging, and inspirational.  They wanted games and songs as well as adoration and teachings on the faith.  Day after day they worked and worked to find that perfect balance. All the while, our girls continued attending the youth group meetings here at St. Massimo.


Slowly, they became friends with the three guys who serve as the young adult leaders of the group: George, Moseh, and Godfrey.  As they continued to plan, Katelyn and Anna solicited the guys' advice and invited them to critique their drafts.  All praise be to God, George, Moseh and Godfrey were willing and available to meet on several occasions to fine tune the schedule.  After the plans were complete Chris and I had to meet with a representative from the diocese to have it all approved.  The gentleman was incredibly impressed with our thoroughness and felt confident that it would be a great experience for all that chose to attend....Come Holy Spirit!!

During the planning phase we were told that pretty much all of the kids attending the retreat speak English; however, during registration we discovered that less than half were able to understand what we were saying to them.  So, during the retreat we intentionally spoke very slowly and used the British English that we've learned.  Thankfully, we also could rely on George, Moseh, and Godfrey who translated what we were saying into Kimeru and also helped out by leading many of the activities.

As the kids were arriving Katelyn, Anna and Michael engaged the kids with fun and silly icebreakers.  One of the group's favorites was learning the Cotton Eyed Joe dance.  To see a video of the group dancing, click on the following link:

https://youtu.be/fsGo0ETNrZc

Thinking back to my career as an instructional designer, I talked with the girls about strategies for getting people into groups and the value of making even the simplest of tasks fun.  They took all that I said and ran with it.  After the icebreakers each participant was given a piece of paper with his/her name along with the name of an animal.  S/he had to wander around the hall making the animal's noise until all of the group members had found one another.  It was interesting to listen to the sounds that they made for various animals.  Also, it was surprising that they didn't know what sound a horse makes because there aren't many horses in Kenya.  The kids told us that horses are weak compared to donkeys, and that they aren't worthwhile for anyone here to buy.   To see a video of the kids wandering around making their animals noises, click on the following link:

https://youtu.be/SS7ekrjUv_k

This is a picture I found on the Internet, but it's
exactly like what we ate - minus the strategically
placed green onion slices.
After everyone found their group, we compared our registration records with who was actually standing before us to make sure that everyone was accounted for.  We closed registration and locked the doors.  There were 88 kids in attendance - HOW AWESOME!!! 

Shortly thereafter, some local women arrived to serve everyone a delicious dinner of rice and beans, which the kids loved!





Immediately following dinner Chris gave the first talk on the universality of the church and the mind-blowing reality that we're all one body in Christ.

Striving for that perfect balance, talks were followed by games and dancing; so, when Chris was done, Katelyn and Anna got everyone up again to dance.  When it was time to settle down I led a handful of volunteers in an impromptu skit which illustrated God the Father's role as our only judge.  I had kids acting like runaway cows, and pretending to fix broken fences and water spiquets, which made the whole group laugh really hard.  It was fun!!  After the skit I talked to them about the importance of living for the Lord, and not allowing ourselves to worry about the petty criticisms of others.  Given the fact that adolescents all over the world worry about what others think of them, we knew this topic would hit close to home.




Around 11:30PM the local women returned to serve the kids a snack to keep their energy up: homemade African donut chunks and sweet drinking chocolate (which we would describe as watery hot cocoa).


When we were planning how much time each activity would take, we alloted 20 minutes for this late night snack.  However, it took more than double that amount of time because the kids ate and drank sooooo slowly as to savor each bite/sip of sweetness.



We obviously weren't going to tell them to hurry up and enjoy their special snack...

So, we had to just wait patiently for them to finish.  It was definitely eye-opening to witness their tremendous  gratitude and desire to make this moment last for as long as possible.




To get the sugar pumping through their bodies, Katelyn and Anna taught the kids a dance to the song "Wavin' Flag", which was an immediate hit.  After little instruction the whole room was stepping, clapping, spinning and singing in unison.  To see them dancing, you can click on the following link.  This video clip is actually of them doing the dance the following day, but it's one in the same.

https://youtu.be/vPTPrAN4qR4

After Katelyn wore the kids out dancing all around, I gave a teaching on what it means to be free using one of my favorite scripture verses as the basis: "The truth will set you free."  (John 8:32)  Although the kids were getting tired, they remained engaged which was encouraging.

The next activity on the agenda was adoration.  Before bringing out the Blessed Sacrament, Katelyn gave a talk on the life changing encounters that she and her friends have had during adoration.  She explained that there is nowhere in the entire world that she'd rather be than with Jesus in a candle lit space where worship music is playing.  After Katelyn's talk we filled the room with candles and turned off the lights.  Chris processed in with the montrance and asked for a moment of silence.  The kids were so respectful.  Shortly thereafter he began playing the guitar quietly and singing our family's favorite praise songs; Anna, Katelyn, and I sang along.  We had distributed copies of the worship songs so that the kids could see the lyrics, but didn't necessarily expect them to join in.  At one point, I opened my eyes, looked out at the crowd seated on the floor and realized that practically everyone was singing along.  It was really, really powerful.  Another thing that seemed to impact the kids was when Katelyn and Anna sang their favorite praise songs acapella and with TONS of emotion.  I'm not sure that they've ever witnessed someone their own age proclaim their love for Jesus in such a bold way!

Around 3AM, as adoration was ending, Chris slipped out with the guys and took them to the dormitory at the boarding school here in our compound.  It sounds like they quickly and uneventfully fell fast asleep...unlike the girls who took forever to get themselves ready for bed, to decide who they were going to sleep next to, and to arrange their belongings.  After lights-out, we prayed as a group.  I foolishly thought that the girls would go to sleep since it was about 3:45AM, but that wasn't the case. There were hours of chattering, giggling and conspiring about the practical jokes that they were going to play on one another. 
Most of it was typical teenage girl stuff; however, I was surprised when some of them pretended to be large cats (like lions and tigers), prowled about in the dark between the church pews making ferocious growling sounds, and then pounced on the unsuspecting girls who had fallen asleep.  The awakened victims screamed and everyone else busted out laughing.  I guess I never really considered how one's culture would impact the types of practical jokes that they would play.  There were a few times when I got frustrated with all the nonsense, not because it was keeping me awake because I knew I would be up all night, but because I imagined there were girls who wanted to get at least a little bit of rest before sunrise.   All in all, it was fine and I'm happy that the kids had so much fun together! 

As you see in this photo, Chris is sitting with all of the guys. 
Here in Kenya the men and women sit separately to eat.
Morning came early after such a long night.  At 6AM the kids cleaned up their sleeping spaces and got themselves ready for the day by one communal spicket outside of the outhouses.  Then, we all attended Holy Mass together.

After Mass we had breakfast. The local women prepared sour brown porridge, which is what most people in our village have for breakfast each day.  I thank God for allowing me to drink it without throwing up.  That may sound ridiculous, but each time I swallowed, my gag reflex was working overtime to try to prevent this liquid from entering my stomach.

Katelyn began the second day by explaining the relevance of all we had done together since their arrival.  She connected each talk and activity to our faith and the journey that we're all on.

She transitioned into a group activity in which each team had to use paper and tape to make a warrior costume for one of its members.

We've been told that the kids here in our area don't have many opportunities to do group work or hands-on activities in school.  They spend the vast majority of their time just listening to teachers talk at them.  So, it was challenging for them to complete this task altogether.  Chris, Anna, Katelyn and I circulated around the room to help out.  Following are some photos of this activity:


We've done this activity in the past, but this time it was very different because of the culture here.  The kids that
came to the retreat don't think of women as warriors because they don't have female warriors in this part of Africa, 

so this was difficult for them.  It seemed that as they were making female warrior costumes, they resorted to the local folklore of mythical warrior princesses who petition the gods on their tribe's behalf.   All of the kids are very familiar 
with male warriors because they are still a part of the culture here today, so this part was easy for them. 
The challenge was helping them to grasp the concept of invisible enemies. 







After the activity Anna explained the purpose of making warrior costumes and spoke to the kids about spiritual warfare.  It seemed to be a topic that they had never heard about before so I'm super thankful that Anna felt inspired to cover it.  I was also thankful that she talked about the unique challenges that adolescents face trying to live out their faith.


Next, we prepared for our final activity.  The kids got into their animal groups one last time and organized themselves for relay races.  Here are some photos from the games:

Pairs of kids had to run to a table and back while keeping a balloon
between their heads. 

The kids had never heard of wheelbarrow racing.  They were
laughing so hard they couldn't hardly even do it. 

When we were done with the relay races we wrapped up the retreat by talking to the kids about how the spreading of the faith is like a relay race.  As the baton is passed from one person to the next, so is the faith.   We pray that as they fall more and more in love with Jesus that they'll feel inspired to pass that on to others.


All of the kids left to go to the other side of our compound where the local ladies 
had lunch waiting for them.  Katelyn and Anna collapsed.


Katelyn and one of the kids in the youth group swept the whole hall
with reeded hand brooms which are the norm here.

After resting for a short bit, we began the task of cleaning up the hall for the church group that would meet there later that night.

As soon as we all got back to our house we fell fast asleep. It had been a busy, busy, busy last few days.

When we awoke and talked about the retreat, we all agreed that the hard work was well worth it.  The retreat was wildly successful on many different fronts: everyone was safe, it seemed as though they all had fun, our kids got to know many of the youth in this area, the local women were able to earn some money for their families, and hopefully the young adults encountered the Lord in a new way.  In the days and weeks following the retreat many of the kids that didn't participate have asked when we're having another one because they heard that it was so awesome.  Thank you Jesus!!!  We attribute our success to the Lord, of course, and praise Him for giving us such an incredible team of mission partners who provide us with the financial means to preach the gospel in such creative and life-changing ways.  We humbly ask for prayers, that we're able to remain docile to the Holy Spirit, who is in fact the principal agent of missions, just like Saint John Paul II said.

We'd love to hear from you via email:
carmodyfamilyonmissions@gmail.com

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:


or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thank you and God Bless!

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Rain Can't Stop Us!

In 2 Timothy 1:8, St. Paul says that we should "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."  We beg for the intercession of St. Paul, that he would petition the Lord to give us the strength we need to not just endure the rainy season here in Kenya, but to enjoy it and have His praises ever on our lips. 

Our little town of Mikinduri is located in the eastern foothills of Mt. Kenya where the climate is said to be "extremely mild". 


When we arrived in July it was sunny and dry.  Daily temperatures hovered around 90°F and at night it dipped down into the 60s.  This trend continued through September and we felt like we were in heaven.  Little did we know, that with October would come the rain...lots and lots of rain!



In November Mikinduri got 17 inches of rain and December has been even wetter.  To put this in perspective, I read that during the rainiest part of the year Detroit gets an average of 3.5 inches in a given month.

The people here are indifferent to the rain, which I suppose makes sense since they've been living with it all of their lives. 

In this photo the locals are wrapping a body that was found in the debris
after a bad storm had passed through our area.

On the news there are regular reports of flooding and landslides which have destroyed communities and taken lives.

We praise and thank God for allowing our troubles to be so minimal.





Here in the foothills the terrain is very hilly...










This is one of the roads we travel on often
to get to the prayer houses in the remote communities.

















...so, when it rains the water flows down the dirt roads like water slides.





Michael loves driving through the mountains on the crazy muddy roads and thinks it's exciting when we start sliding into the ruts and ditches.  He's laughing and yelping while the rest of us are praying fervently that we don't roll down the hill and crash to our death.

This time Chris led the formal part of the service by reading all
of the prayers in the Missal - IN SWAHILI...and I shared a reflection after
the gospel - IN SWAHILI....which is totally awesome! 
Each weekend we switch roles.  Some people at the service that
speak English told us that they could understand our Swahili perfectly.
THANK YOU JESUS!!!


Last week we traveled to an outlying village to celebrate a communion service.


When we finished we decided to go check out another village nearby that we had not yet had the chance to visit.  Unbeknownst to us, the recent rains had made the route between these two communities impassable to most vehicles.

If you look really, really close you can see the blue roof of the prayer house that we were headed to.
It's on the right at the base of the hill.  Although it doesn't seem so far away, there were many challenging obstacles
that required incredibly skillful driving on Chris' part to overcome.

Michael always enjoys the bumpy ride, but he was especially excited when we "got to" cross a river of sorts. 

Although the rushing water wasn't very wide, it was deep because the rain had filled a shallow gulch that wound this way and that through the earth.

As we made our way through the current, we thought of St. Paul telling us that we must "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."

Following are three video clips that kind of capture our drive, although the craziest moments remain only in our memories because the battery on my camera died.

Approaching Obstacle 1:
https://youtu.be/b0aZDswLqas

Crossing the River on the Way to the Prayer House
https://youtu.be/ASToh8dTu5A

Successful Navigating Through the Flooded Area:
https://youtu.be/6MZdg-XUocM


Perhaps by divine intervention, we arrived at the second prayer house just as they were doing the offertory.  Normally, their Liturgy of the Word service would have ended shortly after each person put their donation into the collection box; however, we were able to continue the service and share the Holy Eucharist.  The members of this community were not only suprised, but visibly elated because they receive communion so infrequently; given their remote location, the priest is unable to visit but a few times a year.

As we were headed home the sky became dark and it started raining (yet) again, which made the already terrible roads even worse.  Thankfully we arrived safely and in enough time to lead the Small Christian Community meeting at St. Massimo that evening.



The non-stop rain makes travel difficult, but it also makes the tasks of day-to-day living more challenging.  We walk to town (in the rain) to go to the open market where all the ladies are sitting on the side of the street selling their fruits and vegetables (in the rain)....


Thank you Jesus for allowing us to "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."





Our neighbor uses her cell phone as a light, but only sparingly
because nobody knows when there will be power again
to be able to recharge the battery. 
 





Our electricity often goes out for long periods - sometimes even days.  So, after the sun goes down at 6pm we do everything by candlelight.

Thank you Jesus for allowing us to "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."






Another challenge is that the things in our house that we don't use daily get moldy from the high levels of humidity.  After being gone for a few days we opened the cupboard where we keep our games, only to find many of them covered in black, fuzzy mold.  We wiped them off with bleach water, but such a practice sure is hard on cardboard boxes.


Thank you Jesus for allowing us to "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."




We try to burn our trash in between storms, but it's hard to time it so perfectly.  We've noticed a huge increase in the amount of trash that lays around town because others are having the same problem.



This is the view out of our front door.  This is the elementary
school that is located inside of our compound. 

Here are a couple of videos that attempt to show what it looks like outside of our house on any given day during this rainy season:

An Example of the Rain at Our House:
https://youtu.be/2d3ikWFEOmo

A Close-up View of the Rain
https://youtu.be/FJpzKW1asiM



The most challenging thing about the non-stop torrential rains is trying to dry our clothes. Some days, after washing our clothes, we hang them up in our little backyard to dry.  Shortly thereafter it starts to rain, so we rush outside to take everything off the line.  An hour later, when the rain subsides, we go back out and hang everything up again.  Before they're dry, the sky opens up again, so we run outside again.  There are days that we repeat this routine three, four or even five times.



Here is a photo of Anna trying to keep a good attitude after hanging the same clothes up four times.  If you listen closely, you may hear her saying,

"Thank you Jesus for allowing us to 'bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.' "


I think it's most frustrating when we're hanging the clothes up on the line for the umteenth time in a given day and before we even get the last item re-hung, the clouds move in and it starts to rain again.


There was one day in particular that I had run outside to hang, collect, re-hang and re-collect our clothes multiple times.  In the early afternoon we were called away from the house for a short amount of time.  I considered taking the clothes down, but the sky was blue and there weren't any clouds in sight.  Plus, the clothes were still damp and the last thing I wanted was to end up with a pile of mildewy-smelling clothes that I would have to rewash....ugghhhh...image how discouraging it is to start this nonsensical process all over again!


Anyhow, as we were driving back home it began to sprinkle so Chris started driving a bit faster.  As we were pulling into our compound buckets of rain began falling from the sky. I couldn't believe it!  By the time we reached our house the clothes that I had worked so hard to get dry were totally drenched....uggghhh!!!



Thank you Jesus for allowing us to "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."


Sometimes there are so many consecutive days of rain that we have to try to dry our clothes inside the house by hanging them on chairs, buckets and cupboard doors...which isn't very effective because of the humidity....but it's the only option we have.

Thank you Jesus for allowing us to "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."



We've learned that the part of Kenya in which we're living has two rainy seasons: a short one which begins in October and ends in December....that's the one that we've been enjoying these last few months.... and a long one which typically begins in February and extends into June.   I can see why the locals feel so indifferent; torrential rains that last for months are just a regular part of their lives.  I pray for the grace we need to praise Jesus even when we're feeling challenged.  I pray that we're able to embrace the words of St. Paul and joyfully "bear [our] share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."  I humbly ask for your prayers as well, that the rain doesn't stop us from loving this place in which we've been called to serve.

We'd love to hear from you via email:
carmodyfamilyonmissions@gmail.com

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:


or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thank you and God Bless!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Bringing Christ to Homebound Elderly & AIDS Patients by Chris

As we have shared about earlier, we have struggled with how to get out to homes of the people without starting a tidal wave of demand for material things from the people that live here that need so much.  So, we prayed about it and God answered our prayers and sent help.   One day, I was in our market here in Mikinduri and I saw a nun.  So, I went up and introduced myself and she did the same.  Her name is Sister Anna Mary and she is originally from neighboring Uganda and is living at the next closest parish to us.  I shared the struggles that we are having with how to get out to visit people without causing a flood of requests for material things.  She shared how she has her ministry during the week to go out to visit the home-bound elderly and AIDS patients to pray with them and administer the Eucharist.  She invited our family to accompany her to see how she does it and we gladly took her up on the offer to "Go and See" what exactly she does.  

We headed out early one Wednesday morning in our Land Rover and since it is rainy season, we had to use 4x4 low to climb up the steep slopes on the muddy roads.  We climbed and climbed and climbed and finally arrived at our first destination.  We parked alongside the road and then hiked a short distance to our first visit.  The first visit was a bedridden woman who could no longer speak.  We don't have a picture of her but we have a picture of her mother who is taking care of her although she is in her 80s.  
Sister Anna celebrated the short communion service and then we had time to visit with the people.  The bedridden woman showed us a small photo album of herself when she was younger....photos of her only son.....lots of fun photos of days when her health was better.  We had a nice visit with her and we agreed to get her a new mattress as hers was very worn and soiled which Sister Anna will provide to her.  We visited quite a few houses in the morning, stopped for lunch and then continued in the afternoon on the other side of the highway with about 6 or 7 more visits.
Sr. Anna Mary & Karen - Sister told us that "These people grow tea, when you touch the tea leaves you can better understand the people and their lives."

Here is a woman with all of her grandchildren.
Here is Karen with this woman who is in her 90s and who had traditional ear lobe holes where gauges once resided.

We found one man laying on a mat outside of a small wooden hut.  He was very thin and moved very slowly.  Sister Mary greeted him warmly, gave him some advice to "Eat what he is given and to not give up fighting and not to lose hope!"  


The man on the mat receiving communion....you can see how thin his ankle is!
Here is a video of Karen and a 103 year old woman that we visited.  She later got up and danced with Karen!



We had a super blessed time doing home visits with Sister Anna Mary!  One of the men that we visited was dying from AIDS and he actually passed away the next week.  Anna crossed paths with his son at a youth group meeting and he told her how moved he was that we came to bring his father communion when he was dying.  We never know how the little things we do in life will impact the lives of others.  I know Anna was blessed to be able to hear from this young man about our day of home visits.  We are working with some people here at the parish to coordinate doing our own home visits the way The Holy Spirit is guiding us to do them.  Please pray for all of these people that we go and visit!

We'd love to hear from you via email:
carmodyfamilyonmissions@gmail.com

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:

https://www.familymissionscompany.com/project/chris-and-karen-carmody/

OR

call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thank you and God Bless!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving in Kenya

As each American holiday approaches Chris and I have the same conversation, which includes the tough decision of whether or not to acknowledge the upcoming occasion or to just let it pass in hopes of our kids not remembering.  If we choose to celebrate, our options are limited since there aren't any organized community activities, related television shows, decorations and such.  Of course, we can make our own decorations and create our own fun, but is all the effort worth it?  Sometimes the answer is "yes" and other times the answer is "no".

This year, the decision to celebrate Thanksgiving was made for us!  

The two yellowish buildings on the right are called The Nyayo House
and are home to the Kenyan Department of Immigrations. 
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving we left Mikinduri and headed to Nairobi in hopes of (finally) obtaining the 3-year work permits that we've been trying for months to secure.  On the way to the big city we talked about what else we might want to do there, but agreed that our business at the immigration office trumped everything. 

All praise be to God, on Wednesday afternoon we had our legal papers in hand!  When Vivian, the immigration agent, gave us our documents we danced around, jumped up and down, and yelped (quietly) for joy.  She couldn't stop laughing and smiling.  She said that most people just take their envelopes and go...imagine that!!  After leaving Vivian's office we flooded heaven with prayers of thanksgiving for always providing for us.  Our hearts overflowed with gratitude and we excitedly shared those feelings of appreciation with one another.  As we walked back to the truck we spontaneously began recalling the countless occasions when the Lord has provided for us in such incredible ways.  Did we need to celebrate Thanksgiving the next day or was it enough to just embrace this moment?  It's so hard to know when to detach from our American traditions, and when to hang on.  We want to enter fully into this culture, but we also don't want our kids to lose their identity as Americans.  We decided to wait until Thursday to see how everyone was feeling. 


This is our friend Agnes, her daughter Juliette,
and son Delight.  We've been blessed to be able to
spend time with them during our visits to Nairobi.
Early the next morning the phone rang.  When I answered, a chipper voice said,

"Happy Thanksgiving!  It's your Thanksgiving, right?"  

I was amazed and humbled by my friend's thoughtfulness.  She lovingly insisted that our family go to her home that evening for a delicious Thanksgiving feast that her family was eager to prepare.  They'd heard about Thanksgiving and had even seen it celebrated in movies, but this would be their first opportunity to experience it themselves.

We were SO honored and graciously accepted their invitation.    A few hours later we were looping around the huge interchange and heading out to Kikuyu County on the Southern Bypass, one of Nairobi's largest expressways.




Kikuyu County is home to the Kikuyu tribe, which is centrally located.

They occupy the area just north of the capital city of Nairobi, as you can see on this map.





The landscape of Kikuyu County is hilly and a bit dry.  It has been divided into private parcels that people refer to as their "compound" or "homestead". 






This is an example of a typical homestead that is well established with crops, irrigation, composting, and livestock.








After exiting the expressway we turned this way and that on the bumpiest of roads.



Finally, we arrived at Agnes' family's compound.  She, her husband, and two children lived in Nairobi for many years, but recently decided to move back to the village in Kikuyu.  They built this beautiful home and have begun establishing their compound.  They've planted vegetables and fruit trees; created a suitable water system, and built an enclosure for the chickens and rabbits which are a sustainable food source.  In the years to come I anticipate them adding other livestock and increasing the size of their gardens.





When we arrived Agnes and her family were hard at work preparing a delicious Kenyan feast of chicken stew, mixed vegetables, chapati, and potatoes.







Anna jumped right in and helped Juliette make chapati (flat bread).




I was put in charge of making the mango juice and chopping up the veggies, which is my forte.










When everything was finally ready it was displayed on the table.  Agnes was SO happy to be able to provide us with such an amazing feast and our hearts overflowed with thanksgiving for her love and gracious hospitality!!

All praise be to God, we had an incredible Thanksgiving that was a perfect blend of our American tradition and the Kenyan culture.  Yet again, the Lord has blessed us in abundance.  He constantly provides for us in ways that far exceed our little imaginations and fills our hearts with confidence that He will continue to do so in the days, months and years to come.  

We hope and pray that you also had a blessed Thanksgiving.
Peace, joy and love!
Karen

We'd love to hear from you via email:
carmodyfamilyonmissions@gmail.com

If the Holy Spirit is nudging you to support us financially 
so that we can continue serving those in need, please visit:


or call Family Missions Company at (337) 893 - 6111.

Thank you and God Bless!