A Risk Worth Taking

April 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Did you see the news on Facebook?  We’ve raised $30,000 so far.  Wow, guys…that is AMAZING!  We still have a ways to go to reach $500,000, but I’m encouraged by the progress as we’re moving forward.

Most mornings when I wake up, this goal seems too big.  But then, just when I need it most, God speaks words of encouragement to me.  This week the pick me up came through an old college friend that I hadn’t spoken to in years.  But she sent me a beautiful letter about my God sized dream of a school in Kenya.  She had just heard a speaker talk about taking risks.  My friend wrote in reference to this speaker:

We live with the perspective to not take risks, to stay safe, but life is risky!  Then she (the speaker) got to the part that made me think of the school you want to build.  She talked about Noah and how he was willing to build something that hadn’t been built before, for a flood like he had never seen before.  It was risky.  It looked foolish to the people around him….But if we are willing to look foolish, we will see the same results that these great heroes of faith did throughout scripture.

Friends, I know that this vision looks foolish to some.  I have seen a few eyebrows popping when I try to explain, and even I myself realize how big of a task this is.  But God is bigger.

And I always bring it back to the kids.  I see their heart and passion for learning.  I keep visual reminders of the kids hanging on my fridge.  One of the little girls named Valary, wrote me a letter filled with beautiful marker decorations, that said, “I hope your baby Ellis will be sliping well.”  I smiled at the spelling and her thoughtfulness, and then I realized that this same girl herself might not be sleeping that well.  She might go to bed every night on the dirt floor of her home, as so many kids in Kenya do, or likely sharing a twin bed or wooden seat with multiple other siblings.  This is the reality that I know so many of our kids in Kenya face.

I want to build a school for Valary, and all the other kids like Valary out there.  I want to change the opportunities for their future, to level the playing field from the start of their learning.  Because when I think about Valary and the other kids, suddenly this feels like a risk worth taking.

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The Start of 2018!

January 21, 2018 | 1 Comment

It’s been great to start off 2018 in Kenya with all of our Grain of Rice team.  I arrived in Kenya on January 2, and quickly jumped into all that is happening.  We began the first day with a New Years party for all of our artisans, children, footballers, and staff who are a daily…

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Cultivating Beauty from the Dirt

November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

It may be November, but this week, I’ve still been uprooting carrots and vegetables from my garden.  If you live in Northwest Indiana, you know that this is nothing short of a miracle.  Fall has pushed itself in, and as much as I wish I could be one of those people who walk around proclaiming…

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Living in a Truck

October 25, 2017 | 2 Comments

I’ve been living in a box truck for a week. Yes, you read that correctly. My last week and half was dedicated to a big outdoor event selling for Grain of Rice Project, where most people camped in rather nice or at least decent RVs, while my friend and I spent 10 days living the…

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Full Circle

September 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

“I can’t believe I finally made it into the basement,” I happily told The Bridge store manager, Sara. Fourteen years ago, an art teacher, whom I was observing throughout the semester for one of my education classes, had gifted me a checkers set made inKenya with African fabric and Coca-Cola bottlecaps—my first fair trade gift, and…

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Our Concern Is For Peace

August 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Abandoned streets, boarded buildings, closed shops…this is not the Kibera that I know. The Kenyan election was a week ago, and still our workshop has not re-opened and many of our friends are still in their homes, too afraid to return to work, to afraid to go anywhere. This is not the Kibera that I…

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July 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

Town…such a small word for such a crazy experience. “Town” is how people refer to downtown Nairobi.  “I’m going to town today,” they’ll say.  But to me, town is not really a place but an adventure.  I started having dreams at 5 a.m. this morning about going to town.  I’m blessed and have nothing to…

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Mix Matched Socks

July 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Last week it was the toxic smell of burning plastic drifting in our windows at 5 a.m. that just about drove us to the edge.  When it starts to become a daily occurrence, which causes a choking fit that cannot be stopped even when smothering a pillow over your face, I can assure you that…

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Retreat Reflections

July 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

This morning we returned from our 2nd annual GORP Retreat.  To say that the workshop, kids program, and football team programs are busy is an understatement, and some time away to bond, reflect, and rejuvenate was definitely necessary.  We’ve added four new people to our team in the past 6 months, and we wanted to…

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June 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you’d arrived at our house this morning, you’d have wondered why Edwin and I were jumping for joy and praising God at 9 a.m.  It certainly wasn’t because of the bleating goat that someone is literally keeping right outside their house in this urban area, nor was it the squawking chickens and roosters that…

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Hard Stuff

June 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

The workshop is calm and still right now.  I can hear Charles snipping fabric in the small sewing room behind the main building and the ticking of the clock on the wall behind me.  The neighbor’s gate across the street creaks as people leave for work.  A rooster is crowing in the distance and there…

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