Thursday, August 31

kenya: the story of Peter

I first met Peter outside the gates of the Deliverance Church on the outskirts of Kitale. It was a Saturday morning, and occasionally on a Saturday, Deliverance Church has a ministry washing and feeding the street kids of Kitale. The word was out that the mzungus (white folks) were in town, so there was quite a crowd.

Peter spoke pretty good English, and surprised me at first as he immediately asked for my email address. “Homeless, but has email?”, I thought, as I scribbled my email down as best as possible on a scraggly piece of paper. Peter was pretty tall and though it was hard to tell, he looked even skinnier than me. He told me he was 22 years old and had been on he streets for around 8 years. It was a warm day, yet he was wearing jeans and a pretty thick jacket. Mind you, this was his only set of clothes…

I only talked to Peter for a minute or so, long enough for him to ask me for my shoes. I obliged, figured out how I could get them to him at the end of the week, encouraged him to get washed and fed, then moved on to greet others of the multitude waiting outside the gates to get in.

About an hour or so later I saw Peter again, this time inside the gates, looking kind of hesitant about the whole goings on inside the church property. There were kids running everywhere, lines of guys and girls waiting to be washed, people preparing food… it was a beautiful chaos. I made eye contact with him and then walked him down to the join the line where the guys were being washed. I left him in the line and went inside the bathroom area to survey the craziness. Kids everywhere, clothes everywhere, water everywhere, and a few of us white guys pretending like we have some kind of organizational structure happening!

Peter pulled me out of the guys bathroom block and told me the girls were finished in their side of the bathroom block. I told him he could go in and use their showers, and he replied, “I would like you to wash me.” I was puzzled! We walked over there, and while all the other people were “clothes off and into the water” in front of everyone, I could tell there was an uneasiness with Peter. After helping him take his layers of clothes off, I found out why he was uneasy.

Even though Peter’s ribs and hips stuck out from his skin, they were of the right proportion, as opposed to his torso, which was about 15 inches in diameter. His arms were super-thin and he didn’t have the strength to raise them above his head. His spine was literally popping out of his now hunched-over back.

Water was barely dripping out of the shower head, and formed what could be best described as a cold constant drip. I began to scrub Peter’s back with a remnant of left over soap and a hand-ripped section from a potato sack. As I washed, we chatted. He told me about his family, and how some bushmen came to their village and had killed his parents when he was younger. He then moved to Kitale to live on the streets and got a job loading and unloading trucks. He suffered different illnesses from both the work and living on the streets. I am not exactly sure of the spinal condition he has, but I know he has a combination of different illnesses. He told me he didn’t have HIV, he had been tested five times, and was very proud of the fact he was negative. As he talked he occasionally had to spit out some blood. I think I might have been scrubbing too hard. He mentioned it had been about eight months since he had been able to bathe, as he needed assistance to wash because of his spine and arms.

I had Peter wash his own face, but I had to hold his elbows up by his chest in order for him to get his hands on his face. The soap was running out, but he asked to be scrubbed some more. Skin was coming off faster than soap was going on! Even though the water was cold, I know he was being refreshed by this experience.

Obviously, washing another person is not the most glorious task, and I am not trying to pretend that this was a comfortable action for me to undertake. But, I was surprised at what God taught me in that moment.
It wasn’t about pride (no one knew I was doing this except Peter).
It wasn’t about feeling good about myself for “doing good.”
It wasn’t about how the story woould make an awesome blog.
I think God taught me about the real meaning of doing ministry. All I was doing was “meeting needs in love.” There was no need for a reward for my actions, as the action was a reward. Peter could have thanked me a hundred times, but serving him was the real reward for me.

Eventually we rinsed off, and I helped Peter put back on those same grimy clothes we had just taken off twenty minutes before that.

This was not the last I saw of Peter, as I have had several encounters with him since then, both in Kitale when I was there, and now via email. Side note: I still have trouble with the fact he doesn’t have a roof over his head, but he has an email account and visits an internet café!

I will post more about my interaction I have had with Peter, including how I have been trying to figure out the best way to “support” him now that I am back at home. I am learning plenty from this experience too!

Monday, August 28

speaking of london bridge

I almost forgot to post some pics from my short stay in London before heading off to Kenya... most of my shots were kind of abstract, pictures of drain pipes and so forth, but I did manage to take the odd touristy shot when the sun was in the right spot, and not behind the clouds. You can view London pics here

london bridge - the critics' penmanship

If you want some light reading and if you have iTunes installed on your computer...
Go to the Music Store and click on "London Bridge" by Fergie.
There are 5174 pretty negative reviews, they are fun to read and it looks like some people have put in the due time and effort to craft their reasoning on why they think the song is terrible.

P.S. - my favorite part of the song is that on the Single (EP) Graphic, it has a picture of Fergie with a bridge in the background. It's not even London Bridge, it's Tower Bridge! Classic.

Sunday, August 27

hungry hungry hippos

Actually, horny horny hippos... I forgot to mention that last week in the Mara River two hippos were doing it Hippo Style. The only thing missing was the bow-chicka-wow-wow music.
This isn't an official story forn Kenya, just something I needed to share with the world.

Friday, August 25

more pictures... no stories yet

I have not put paper to pen yet, but I have downloaded and sorted some more photos from the Kenya trip... these updated pics are from serving in Kitale at various orphanages and development projects. You can view these photos here
Some stories will come soon, I promise! As will an update at

Thursday, August 24

stories from Kenya - part 1

The main story for me since returning from Kenya is that I have been sick as a dog and haven't posted a blog... I have many stories to share and are excited to tell them in the Dear Bloggery format. Stay tuned!
In the meantime I have some Safari pictures online... click here

Thursday, August 17

in kenya, and still alive!

This has been the longest hiatus from the internet I think I have had since it was invented by Al Gore back in the 80's.
We are in Nairobi on our way to a safari in the Masai Maraa. Things are great, I will write more about my whole experience when I get home next week.

Tuesday, August 8

9:32pm - London

Well, my sleep cycle is looking better, the dogs (feet) are tired, but we are having a great time here... time for another highlight list...
-going back to sleep after being on the internet at 5am the other morning
-cruising around Soho taking pics
-finding refuge at the movie theatre during a mid-summer rain downpour
-Beverly Hills 90210 dubbed into Italian on the hotel TV channel
-making fun of a Kiwi (person from NZ) working at a pub in Soho
-making fun of Todd for being American
-walking around town and stumbling into a Nandos restaurant
-bringing 14 other people back to the Nandos for late lunch
-taking a long walk back from Abbey Road, we cruised past Lords Cricket Ground and there was a county test match happening. 12 pounds and 3 hours later, got to watch some cricket, including Shane Warne playing for Middlesex
-meeting up with the rest of the crew and hanging out in Hyde Park till 9pm

well, we are off to Kenya tomorrow evening... even more excited about this!

Sunday, August 6

4:19am London - Wide Awake!

Well, we made it across the Atlantic and have been having a good time in London so far. I am excited for what today holds... Allison Hibbard has given me a little list of the less-touristy traps to visit and my camera is ready for some cool London images. I was just reading Louie Giglio describing St Pauls Cathedral, so I am excited to go there and spent some quiet moments.

Some highlights of today:
-Sleeping for 8hrs of a 10hr flight to London
-Getting reaquainted with European customer service (or lackthereof)
-Drinks without ice. I love it!
-Getting lost around Oxford Circus and finding Carnaby Street
-Minding the Gap
-Saying "Hi" to Bella on the phone
-Going to "The Chapel" pub with Todd and the Fields clan
-Being in a grocery store/internet cafe at 4:27am. I can update my blog, by laundry detergent and stock up on Cadbury chocolate all at the same time!
-Oh, and internet is 2USD an hour. A far cry from Tahiti

Friday, August 4

dear bloggery is going on the road!

Well, a trip to Tahiti wasn't enough, so it is off to Lond on for four days, then venturing to new soil... Kenya.
I am not sure of how much bloggage I will be able to get up to in these far away lands, but the less blogging means even more material for when I make it back to my computer...

I wil try using Matt McGill's satellite internet hook-up, but he might need it for important stuff, like writing his own 757 word blog.

Blog Voyage,

Tuesday, August 1

back from the 'hiti

Once we were back on the 405 heading south and dodging traffic, the reality had set in... we were back! It was so great to see Bella again and give her hugs and kisses, but we wish we could just grab her and head on back to our vacation spot.
I have listed a few trip highlights below and have more pics for you to view here

-It seemed like averyone was on their honeymoon. With Jana being 7 months pregnant we just assumed everyone thought that we had a really late shotgun wedding and were on our honeymoon.

-The airport speaker system in Moorea had "More Than Words" by Extreme on repeat for about an hour. It was awesome.

-We watched such classic movies on the flight such as She's The Man, Big Mamas House 2, Eight Below, and Match Point.

-We ate lots of tropical fruit and unprocessed fruit. Jana mentioned that I had a lot less gas this last week...

-Jana ate an $85 lobster, and thought it was "so-so".

-I forgot to take my wet swim trunks (bathers) out of my bag until this morning. They stunk.

-When we left our first hotel in Bora Bora (there was construction happening there), Jana mentioned that they were doing construction due to the large swell that hit and destroyed parts of the hotel. Information that would have been handy before we booked there!

I will think of more and randomly blog when I remember...