Wednesday, June 29, 2011


My intentions were to be able to blog daily about our trip, however, as it has been with all my trips to Africa and Asia, internet is severely limited.

So I apologize,there is too much to try and pack into 2-3 blogs, so I summarize. These trips are so full of action, reaction, emotion, thought, awe, inspiration, etc. Usually the trips blur by and there is little time to sit down and unpack most of it, prior to coming home. The trip home is usually not a good time for reflection, as I am usually spent. This trip is a bit different, as we sent the team off to the airport on Saturday to return to Texas, but our family and the McKowns headed down to the Masai Mara game park to “holiday” as the British world says. We spent 2 nights at a beautiful lodge called Mara Simba which was on the banks of a river, where we could eat our meals and watch hippos and crocs frolic in the river. The place was amazing and serene, as we drove across the savannah and saw some of the Creators amazing work. The landscape and animals were very beautiful, being 10 feet from an elephant and a cheetah is cool. Our stay there also included some family time and some down time; where I was able to start unpacking the journey and what impact it has had on me and my family. More on that to come.

After our safari, we went back to Naomi's Village and took the McKowns to the IDP camp to meet with Joseph and see his new “house” and his old “house.”  His old house was a UN white tent that was about 10x15x8 and he had lived in it since 2008.

His new house which was completed last month by Habitat for Humanity is a block and concrete house with a metal roof and has 3 rooms. All in all it is approx 400 SF and he calls it his mansion! Joseph is so proud of his house and the extra rooms, and we were so happy for him, because it represents dignity and hope. The families at the IDP camp are slowly getting real shelter, safe from the elements and dirt floors, which were prone to flooding and bugs. They now have some privacy, raised concrete floors, walls that will not sway in the strong winds, and locking doors and windows for a since of security. It is humbling to realize all that we take for granted. I have said it before and so have others, but to see what it is to have almost nothing; to wake everyday and have to fight for what little you can call your own, and to try to scrape up enough to feed and cloth your children is a feeling that I can not identify with. As a husband and father, it overwhelms me to think what the fathers and mothers must feel as this is their reality, and they have it relatively good compared to others in Africa and the world. I am overwhelmed by a mixture of gratitude, guilt, compassion, and sympathy; its so hard to know what to say, coming from me it sounds trite and hollow. Paul says in Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things though Him who strengthens me”
Most of us, including myself have always had more than we needed. So what is the proper response?, and how should I react?, what would I do in their situation? Would I call it a blessing as Joseph does? He describes losing everything, but finding everything in Christ as a result. I know God does not call all of us to this, but He does command us to be willing to give all up for Him. It is easy to say I/you would, but it has never been asked of me, so its all speculation and hope. Paul states we can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens us, that is the only way. We must seek Christ and pray that we would yearn for him, “As a deer pants for water.”
All together, this is one of my top 2 favorite trips ever, putting it together and getting to Kenya was stressful, but the team was amazing. The kids were inspiring and brought out the best in us. The medical team helped to heal people physically and spiritually. Kenya is a special place, it is a place of great beauty, but also much tragedy. The statistics ready:700 kids a day orphaned, 5000 babies a year abandoned, many more than that neglected and abused. I am hopeful and inspired buy what is going on at Naomi's Village and am humble to be part of it. Asante Sana

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Finally we have internet here in Kenya! The team had a long arduous journey to get here. We left Friday night out of DFW, but our plane was delayed 2 hours, which in turn caused us to miss our flight in London. Not the worst thing in the world, but it took about 7 hours in the airport to sort out our options. We ended up spending the night in London and heading out Sunday morning. Surprise our flight out of London was delayed almost 3 hours, which put us getting to be in Nairobi at around 2:00 am Monday morning! It was a crazy journey, but the team was awesome and rolled with the punches. It gave us time to gel as a team and get to know each other.

Monday morning we were picked up in Nairobi and drove out to Maai Mahu to Naomi’s Village. All the craziness of the journey was worth it. The home looks very different than when we were here last year. There is grass everywhere and it is now a home. We toured the facility, while the kids were in school. Around 3 the younger kids came out of school and we got to meet them. The rest of the day and night we played with the kids and had a blast. The medical team headed straight out to the IDP camp to begin working the medical clinic.

After a few hours the kids really warmed up to us and we began learning all their names. We ended the night eating with the kids followed by hanging around and talking as a team.

Day 2 was the start of the swing set. Several of us worked all of day 2 & 3 to get the smaller swing set completed. It was a challenge, all the wood was an actual tree about a week ago, so it was wet, heavy, and had to be milled to make the lumber here on site. The medical team had their first full day and had approx 300 patients. I was extremely proud of Emily and Kaleigh as they did the evening devotional story with the kids. They walked the kids through the story of Jonah. It was really cool, to see them pass on what they have learned.

Day 3 was amazing. The medical team again had a great day, at the end of the day they saved a baby who showed up malnourished and close to death. The baby was being fed with a bad bottle, the medical team had a proper bottle brought down and then showed the mother how to feed the baby properly. It always amazes me how much we take the little things for granted.
We also finally finished up the swing set, and hung the swings. The kids by now had figured out what we were building and they were so anxious. The look of joy and wonder that was on their faces as they began to swing was more than worth the effort. They were so happy, it was the first time some of them had ever been on a swing. It was moving to know that we were able to make a difference with a swing set!

Galatians 6:9-10


Saturday, June 18, 2011


Well it was too easy, I kept telling myself as we got 19 people and 57 bags checked in at DFW in around 30 minutes. It was awesome smooth...but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Once we got through security and found a snack, we got to the gate only to find our plane was delayed 30 minutes. No big deal, well that turned into 2 hours and me standing at the ticket desk desperately trying to re-book 21 people because we were told we would miss our connection in London to Nairobi.

I have to commend British Airways, it hires the most patient and friendly people, I think Southwest employees are great, but BA might be my favorite.

They confirmed us on a Sunday morning flight (instead of our Sat flight) and put us on the plane and we headed for London, hoping that some way we could catch our original flight or get a couple of people on the 1 other flight to Nairobi on Sat from Heathrow. We landed just as our connection flight took of...30 minutes was all we would have needed!

So we trudged through the miles of hallways and escalators and the Amersons and I left the team (11:00) to head to the customer services to see what we could do and to confirm our re-booking. One hour and 3 minutes later we finally got to step up to the “lucky one” BA Customer Service Agent. Andriez, He was awesome and kind, but it took us another 2 hours to book 2 guys on a late night flight to Nairobi, and confirm the other 19 of us, issue vouchers for hotel and food. By that time it was 2:45 PM and the team had sat down for a late lunch. $350 and 75 minutes later we left for the hotel.

At this point many were at least hopeful to get into the city and see London, however after a 8 hour flight and 6 hours at the airport, only a few braved the chilly rain and hour trip into London, the rest grabbed a bite, a shower, and crashed. - Short lived; as tired as I am I find myself awake at 2:45 am on 6 hours sleep in 2 days blogging!

In a couple of hours we will head back to the airport, hopefully walk through security quickly and quietly, hope on a plane and head to Kenya. In retrospect, it was a long, long day and at time frustrating, but He is so good and it could have been so much worse. London is not a bad place to be stuck and in the long run, it is merely a small bump on the the journey.

Please pray for the rest of our journey and for health. A few are feeling a little under the weather and all are tired.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

24 hours

24 hours from now, 22 of us from Texas and Alabama will be on our way to Maai Mahui, Kenya to serve Naomi's Village and the kids who live there. We are going on behalf of Lost Orphans international, who works with NV and other child advocacy and rescue organizations around the world.
Naomi's Village opened up for kids in January of this year and currently has 21 children.

Our team is going to construct a wooden swing set and play ground we are also hosting a 4 day medical clinic for the children, workers, and people of the surrounding area.

It is going to be an amazing time serving our Creator and living out James 1:27 in the Great Rift Valley of Africa.

Please pray for our team

Mike, Jennifer, Emily, Paige
Bill, Chrissi, Cole, Kaleigh
Ryan and Elizabeth
Emily L
Gary and Debra
Steve and Alex
Emily M
Elizabeth S

Hopefully we will have good Internet access and be able to post pics and blogs

Galatians 6:9-10



Monday, June 13, 2011

This is the week

We leave Friday for Kenya and Naomi's Village. We are taking a team of 22 to support NV, live on the 21 kids they are caring for, build them a swing set and fort, and host a medical clinic at the 2 IDP camps. Pray for us as we get ready to go. I will be updating the blog on our trip.

James 1:27
Michael Henry

Thursday, June 24, 2010


At this time 3 weeks from today we will be soaring high over the Atlantic on our way to London for a 28 hour lay over...followed by a flight to Nairobi, Kenya. All four of us, myself, Jennifer, Emily and Paige are all going and leading a team of 11 others as we go to visit Naomi's Village.

Naomi's Village is a children's home that the Mendonsa family along with our organization Lost Orphans International is building outside Kijabe, Kenya.

When God laid this trip on our hearts 7 months ago, we were excited, but very unsure of if we were walking down the right path, but as is His way, we knew that if we followed His prompting all would come together. Making the decision to take our 8 and 7 year old girls was a major decision, one that we have and still struggle with at times; but ultimately we know they are meant to go. I can not wait to see how God reveals Himself to them and the experiences that will last a lifetime with them. I know God will use this trip and a corner stone in their lives that He will build upon and use to mold them. They will (as will we) get to see the "reality" of this world and to see what it means when Jesus said to love your neighbor.

I will be posting more as we get closer and while we are on the trip, you can also follow the official Lost Orphans International Blog at Go ahead and check out the blog from the recent trip to Vietnam.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

He Makes All Things New

...And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be His people and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

He who was seated on the throne said, " I am making everything new!"... Rev 21:3-5

Happy New Year!

I pray your new year finds you as blessed as I feel I am right now, we spent the day (New Year's Eve) in 2 remote villages feeding approximately 220 families who are extremely poor, we visited the home of a family who collected cow dung and sold it as fertilizer, as their primary source of income. They invited us into their houses and into their lives, it was humbling and uncomfortable. But through ut all we say Him!
We have had some guests with us on this trip, one couple from HCM and their infant son. Ester and Tuan, have blessed us in the short time we have gotten to know them. Today she started the day off with her testimony, Wow. She decribed a life of bitterness, despair to the point of the entire familiy attempting suicide, oppression, and pain. But as He promises, one day she found Jesus, and her whole family soon followed. The result is what I belive is the same result we have, though we take it for granted.....HOPE. See Jesus makes "All things new" He delivered Ester and her family from despair and gave them a forever! Their current lives show no resemblance to their past, I am not sure I have met a more joyful, loving, caring, warm person in my life. The radiance of Christ is overwhelming in her life and it is contagious and convicting, because we have all been offered the same salvation from our dispair and depravity, yet even those of us who accept the salvation, do not fully understand our depravity enough to accept the full glory of Chirst in our lives. Every where we went and with everyone she could, she shared her salvation and offered His glory to others. It was a blessing to watch.

We finished the day by playing with the kids and then taking the older kids out to eat ice cream, again what a joy to be part of His love to these precious little ones. Many have been saved from death, while others have been rescued from horrible abuse and mistreatment, and now have a chance to find The Hope and cling to the promise that all things will be made new and there will be a day of no more tears.