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Friday, December 30, 2011

December 23, 2011

This is probably the hardest day to share with anyone because it was so special to our hearts. It was wonderful and yet so terrible and sad. I’ll try to explain. Please take the time to read this.
The cooking room, pots and pans in one corner and a corner that they do laundry and store wood.
Steven and his family

At the Kenya Nairobi Mission Office, we have got acquainted with a member of the church who occasionally works as a driver for the mission. His name is Steven. He has served a mission and now has a wife Florence, and 2 living children, Derrick and Rita. Their first baby died after living only a few months. He had a brother who died and left 2 children orphans. His mother was old and unable to help with raising another family. Steven and his wife decided they would raise them as their own. In time they felt they needed to help other children that had been orphans in the slums, many whose parents had died of aids. Slowly the number increased and he was able to rent a building and start an orphanage.

Today, Steven has over 70 children in the “Nazarene Children’s Home” in the midst of the Soweto slum, which is the second largest slum in Nairobi. He does not live in the orphanage but he is trying to fund the over-head, teachers and care takers with 70% of his profits from selling his carvings. Note: the teachers and care-takers live in the slum and some of their children attend the small school area.

As missionary couples visited the orphanage, we could see that Steven, a wonderful, quiet member of the church, needed some assistance. The conditions are clean but impoverished. The children’s living area has no latrine facilities and the small school classrooms were muddy and wet because the tin roof had so many holes. Never at any point did Steven ask for any funding. In fact when we inquired about helping, he told us that if we did too much to the building they would raise his rent. Bruce shared this information with the friends he works with at HAFB. They surprised him with collecting $500 dollars and wanted to help Steven. Other mission couples joined in and we were able to put together some school supplies, hygiene items, and bought tin to cover the roof of the classroom. We spent the day with the children, Steven and his family, and some of the teachers. President and Sister Broadbent along with six couples, watched as they put on a short program for us. We then played games, shared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and even had a visit from Santa. Most of these children have never experienced a Christmas of any kind. They were delighted with their bag of goods, their oranges, and loved having their pictures taken. We plan to visit again but we will not take items. We will go and play and love them. Steven doesn’t want white people to be associated with bringing gifts. This he says causes begging. We will however give Steven maize, rice and beans. We have funding to also help with some better cooking pots and cooking fuel. Although it was a place of much poverty it was also a wonderful, wonderful experience to be with them that day.

The school was a short way from where children eat and sleep. They sleep 4-5 to a small bed and they put down foam on the floor for others. Some chldren sleep in other families shacks and then return in the morning. They are just over crowded with so many children.


Fox said...

This is so touching. You guys are my heroes! I can't believe how lucky you are to have an opportunity like this. I love your guts! xoxoxoxox Leann

Austin & Shawnee said...

What an amazing experience! It makes me cry just reading it. What an amazing couple Steven and his wife are to help all those children.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great couple! And so wise! What a neat thing to be able to support them!
Sister Hyde
MM to Elder Maxwell

Maddie (The Favorite Grandchild) said...

Wow what an amazing and touching thing. That is so amazing he has started all that and has helped all those children. I bet that would not be comfortable to sleep 4-5 to a bed. Is there any way I could help with bringing supplies for that over? I love you both so much and looks like the Lord has been blessing you and putting people that need your warm smiles and amazing spirit in you life. I love to read your post and hear and see all about these people they are amazing. Love you!

Emilee said...

Wow! We take so much for granted. What a great example of service. (both you, dad AND steven)
I am sure that this is one of many humbling and sweet experiences. Thank you for sharing.

Stacy Aldridge said...

So incredible!! You guys are having so many amazing experiences! I love you both so much!

Don Tucker said...

This is such a good reminder to be grateful to Heavenly Father. I'm sure the appreciate your love more than the gifts you bring. Thank you for sharing.

Aly said...

I know that I am in a bubble of bliss here in my little life in Plain City. We have more than we need, and are so blessed. I can only imagine how your heart breaks for those sweet kids that need your love. I know that your spirits have touched their lives. You are such amazing examples.

Unknown said...

Bruce and Sharon,

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. You guys are awesome and you will cherish your experiences (and the people of Kenya) for the rest of your life. It's been 6 years since my parents have returned from Zimbabwe. I can tell you that their mission change my life and the life of my family. We have so much. We see these pictures and we want to help. At first we send money and things. It's helpful but with the help of our parents, our family realized that the way to really help these people is to proclaim and spread the gospel. To serve them and teach them. God's children all over the world need us. That's an amazing realization that my parents gave to us. As we participate in small projects here and there, hopefully we are learning to serve one another and even preparing ourselves to do what you guys are bravely doing.

Giving this gift to your kids and grandkids is a priceless gift. The money and the supplies are used up fast but can you imagine if we could send 100,000 couple missionaries to the African people, teaching them how to build, farm and manage their resources. Hopefully you and my parents are the beginning of such a movement. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your hard work. I know that what you are living is at the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for reminding me of all the feelings and emotions I felt when my parents served.

Now I got to pull myself back together and get back to my life of happiness and luxory. Hopefully with a healthier perspective. Thanks again for your service.

Matt Shupe