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July 11, 2014

Strangers no more..but fellow citizens



“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”   Ephesians 2:19


Not long after Mike and I moved to Kenya, we learned there was a community of FMC Congolese refuges living here in the greater Nairobi area. Last year, through some of these FM connections, we met Emmanuel. In 2009, Emmanuel was at home in his village with his mom and dad and 5 siblings..when their village was attacked. He ran…hid, ran some more, hid again. After a week of constant movement..he and 4 other friends from his area, ended up in Kenya. Emmanuel doesn’t know the status of his family—where they are or even if they are still living. He lives in a community here in Kenya, where many refuges are living, from several different countries. Since he’s a refuge, he really can’t be employed, but manages to make a little by selling “cloth”/material.

I’ve been to several UNHCR offices with Emmanuel, mostly to provide moral support & encouragement and prayer…as he’s trying to work through the process of being relocated to another country. It’s not easy. I can hardly imagine how he manages.

I am trusting the Lord will make a way for Emmanuel ….though I’m not sure what that way is! I have appreciated Emmanuel’s faith, humble attitude, and his many expressions of appreciation for the little I can do, and especially for the way the Lord has been with Him.

Please pray for Emmanuel. The easy prayer to pray is that the Lord will open doors for him to be relocated…and that would be great. But, I’m mostly praying that the Lord will continue to be faithful to Emmanuel…and that his life will be a testimony to the Lord, no matter where he ends up!

March 29, 2013

Highlights of Ethiopia trip

Hello Friends! Happy Easter! Not sure about you–but the first three months of this year have been incredibly busy–but extremely fun! Some of this would be considered “Old” news…but since you’re hearing it for the first time (maybe?!)’ll be new to you!

Ashley Woods, daughter of the famous FMC couple, Dale and Dawn Woods–and sister to the amazing Brandon and Savannah Woods— :) blessed us with her company for two months!  Her day job was teaching at Kawangware Free Methodist Academy….and the students loved Teacher Ashley!  We Reynens loved having her here too…and Ashley–you are welcome back anytime! You make a great house guest, traveling buddy, Bananagram opponent..and FRIEND! Thanks for coming!

Ashley and I modeling our beautiful Ethiopian scarves–gifts from Pastor Mekebib’s family.

Teacher Ashley–kids love her!


I needed to make a trip to  Ethiopia, so invited Ashley to come along. While there,  I had the chance to meet our ICCM Sponsored child, Merci.  Mike has met Merci and her family before–on his previous trips–but since this was my first time visiting Ethiopia–:) it was also my first opportunity to meet Merci. Now..I have been with sponsors visiting here in Kenya–when they met their sponsored children…and have seen how it impacted them emotionally. Having been around ICCM so much of my time..I really didn’t expect to have that same reaction…I mean, I’m with sponsored children a lot! BUT…it is quite different when it’s “your” sponsored child. Yep…I choked up. I enjoyed being with Merci…she’s a smart student..and is now a “big sister”…! It was truly a blessing to meet her and her family. And I am believing God for big things for Merci’s life! Not because we sponsor her–but be/c  He’s faithful to all His children!

Meeting Merci and her family….!


Ashley and I also attended the first Annual Educational and Sports festival (competition really) between our ICCM schools.  Every school sent teams to compete–both in the academic competition and for the “football” tournament.  The kids really put their all into competing…on and off the field.

Best seats for watching football tournament!

Working the problem before giving the answer!

Ashley awards one of the trophies at the closing ceremony for the Festival.

It was so fun to meet Pastor Mekebib’s wonderful family..wife Tigist, sons Berekat and Shalom!


October 19, 2012

This time last week….

….I was in Mombasa, attending the FMCK Women’s seminar (Highland Conference).  I enjoyed teaching, and learning as others taught. We had a great time together–and those women certainly knew how to dance! :)

The conference ended with the Sunday Worship service…and afterwards, since we were on the coast…there were several of us who headed to the beach. For many of the women it was their first time to be at the ocean..and though they didn’t come with their “swimming costumes”..that didn’t keep them from jumping right in! (They could actually hire swimming attire). It was so fun to get to know them better in such a relaxed, fun context…and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Margaret Okoth, Margaret Kinandi and myself guard the “stuff”!

Most of the women returned home either Sunday night or Monday morning, but Jill Parsons and I hung around. On Monday we traveled with Supt. Rev Hawkins Mugaya, Supt. Daniel Chanzu, ICCM Kenya Coordinator Rev. Daniel Shanzuh, and Parish Pastor Rev. Roseline Kennedy…to visit a small school in the village of Rumish. It is very “interior”…and we had quite the adventure getting there. There are about 40 children who attend–though because of many difficulties for the families..the children don’t come consistently. Sometimes teacher Esther has to teach the same lesson two days in a row because different students show up for school than were there the day before. It makes for slow progress in learning. We’re hoping that as the school develops, the parents will see the value of sending their children to class every school day.

The school we visited in Rumish

The classroom ..there are about 40 children that attend.

On our way back to Mombasa from Rumish, I saw a “new” food—-Squid on a stick! Okay, it may have really been octopus—–but regardless…. I couldn’t really bring myself to eat it. Would you??

Hmmm….should I or ???

Have a great weekend! And keep checking back for updates!



October 10, 2012

Music to my ears…

Baraka Designs Sewing Center (Baraka means Blessings)

I couldn’t help but smile as I approached the big blue container at church a few weeks ago. As I got closer, I could hear the humming of machines..sewing machines that is! And it was music to my ears—praise music! Earlier this year, we received a very generous gift to help fund setting up a Sewing Center for women in the FMCK. The container, which used to belong to former missionaries, would now be used by women in the Central District to run a small business and a training center. The women will be partnering with ICCM Ministries to sew uniforms for the 9 ICCM schools in Kenya—as well as providing tailoring services to the local community. In Jan., they hope to begin a training program for others to learn how to sew or do fashion design. There are several of us working together to provide oversight for this project and we’re taking turns leading devotions every Friday morning. Please pray for God’s blessings to be with us. We desire that this will be just the first of several small business projects for the women in our FM church.

Priscilla, Irene, Me, John (just because it’s a women’s project doesn’t mean all the tailors have to be women), Velma and Lillian


Priscilla is our Project Manager and will also be one of the trainers of the new students in Jan.

Most of the orders right now are uniforms for our ICCM schools.

Irene is happy to have work to do!

July 2, 2012

Rebuilding the Walls

A few weeks ago, I  (Vickie) had the opportunity to travel w/a team from Moundford FMC in Decatur, Il., to the town of Meru.  Our ministry there included rebuilding the parsonage of the church which had been totally destroyed by fire. Though I’m not a “construction” person, per se, I did in fact, help with some of the manual labor–moving stones, shoveling gravel/sand, etc. (look for pics in our newsletter coming out this week!). It was fun and I think I surprised some of our Kenyan friend.

This past weekend I had another opportunity to do some rebuilding..only this time it was spiritual rebuilding and specifically with the women in the FMCK’s Central District.  A number of topics were covered, all with the focus on rebuilding walls–and good relationships with the Lord and with each other. I felt the retreat went well, and the Ladies all took time to “add” stones to our “wall”…including some comments on areas they sensed God was speaking to them about.

We capped the retreat off by “Launching” the Tumaini Women Kenya NGO…which will be the structure by which we establish and manage several Holistic projects addressing the needs of women.  We are praying for the Lord’s blessing as we move ahead. Thanks for praying with us!

Letty Myers, FM Missionary to Kenya, joins the women in singing.

Rebuilding the Wall—women adding “stones” to the wall.

Associate Missionary, Jill Parsons, teaching on Hinderances to rebuilding. Eunice Otieno interprets for her.

Letty teaches on how to have a strong family–with Neddy Dingili interpreting.

Bishop Nixon Dingili receives the Official Certificate for the Tumaini Women Kenya NGO from the National Women’s Leader, Rev. Margaret Ingaitsa.

I did teach, but, :( No pics were taken.

Happy 4th of July!


Our women can drum just as well as the men! Way to go Joyce and Rachel!


April 29, 2012

Pedaling with our hands…

On Friday, four of us (Daniel Shanzuh, Benard Kimanzi, Jill Parsons and myself)  made a “quick” (NOT!) trip to Gilgil area (about 1 1/2 hours from Nairobi) to visit a school where they are using the Better Water Maker as a way of providing clean water for their students. We (ICCM) are considering purchasing some of these for our schools here–and we just wanted to see it in action. The students at the school LOVE being able to provide the necessary energy to pump and purify the water through the filter. They take about 10 minutes at each break (4 breaks in the day) , to purify enough water for all of them to have throughout the day–and some even fill bottles and take clean water home.

As you can imagine, this can become a competition–so I challenged Benard to see who could “pedal” faster. I started out pedaling faster, but Benard definitely won the endurance award!  I think the students got a good laugh out of it!

The school we visited is a private school, but not a Christian school. Daniel began talking with them about Jesus and discovered that some of them, did not know who Jesus was! So during our “introductions, both Daniel and I shared Jesus with them…and are hoping that in some way the Lord will use that to draw them to Himself. What a joy it is knowing that at our FMCK ICCM Schools, the children are hearing about Jesus on a daily basis. :)


April 11, 2012

You think my life is different? Meet Pastor Peter….

This past weekend I traveled with Bishop Nixon Dingili, his wife Neddy, Rev. Hawkins Mugiya, Rev. Javan Kinandi and his wife Margaret, and Jake Sebok (Visa Volunteer). We went “up country” to a place that you certainly won’t find listed on FB’s 100 places you should visit before you die..a little bush village called Lorian in Samburu.

We have two churches in the Samburu area and the pastors from those churches were being ordained. We also had a chance to meet with the widows from those churches…some of whom I had met when they traveled many hours last October, to come to Nairobi for a conference. It was fun to see them again and see how they were doing.

Samburu is about 7-8 hours from Nairobi–with the last  hour and 45 minutes of traveling being on pretty tough roads. (Thankful for the prado that is built for such a drive as this). We arrived mid-afternoon at Pastor Peter’s house. Pastor Peter’s “house” is a mud/stick/rock structure, 3 rooms (2 bedrooms, one room to entertain guests), in the middle of the “bush”. In fact,  some of the driving included making our “own” path–just pick a spot where you think the car will fit and drive through it. There are usually not many (or any) cars that come out this direction.  Peter’s compound or yard is surrounded by a thistle bush fence to keep unwanted animals from waltzing in. What kind of unwanted animals you ask? :) Keep reading….

While sitting and enjoying the customary cup of chai tea, (made with goat’s milk)..we noticed lots of children running through the bush headed to the little church building just beyond the compound. We finished our chai and headed over for service. It was a welcome service for us–the children were singing with their beautiful voices, and the women were standing behind them dancing as only Samburians and Massai can do! (the Samburu tribe and Massai tribe are like “cousins”..similar, but not quite the same). I wish I could demonstrate for you–but even if I did, it would only make you laugh and not give you the real picture of their traditional dancing. We were together for quite some time, singing, doing introductions and praying together. I loved it! Sometime in there it had started to rain…and though we were inside, the rain was coming in and some of us were still getting soaked. Such is life…in Samburu.

Samburu’s have warriors, called Morans (more-ran), who are trained from around the age of 15, to protect their communities from all sorts of dangers–enemies, wild animals, etc. Once they are trained, they do not live in their mother’s home again–in fact, they live in the bush..sleeping out under the stars, keeping an eye on things that might threaten their families. Once they marry, they live in their own home and start a family of their own. Our single guy on this trip, Jake, had a chance to become a Moran warrior–for a few minutes. His transformation into a Moran was enjoyed by all. I’m sure he would have loved sleeping out under the stars that night!

I stayed in Peter’s house, in fact, he and his wife gave up their bedroom and bed–which is typical when they have guests. Peter slept on the floor in the sitting room, Jake slept in the other room. Peter warned us that he would be getting up on occasion to patrol the compound and scare off any leopards and hyenas (remember those wild animals!?) who were after the goats! But he assured us we would be safe.  I slept well, but I did hear him get up! I was tempted to peek out the window and see what I could see. This was truly an unexpected adventure.

There were a lot of things like this that were for me, “exciting” and adventurous, but then I remembered this is LIFE for them. This isn’t fun or exciting…this is how they live. Peter, who is a great story teller even if I couldn’t understand his mother tongue, told us how once a leopard snatched a goat and when he discovered the goat was gone, he tracked the leopard…all the way to the distant hills, found the goat in a tree (the leopard wasn’t around)…climbed the tree and took the goat back for his family to eat. Because he had also been trained as a warrior, I’m sure he would have fought the leopard if it had shown up to compete for the goat. This was food for his family and he wasn’t going to give it up easily.

There is a food shortage because there is a water shortage in the area. The women get up very early in the morning to go to a spring about 2 hours away, to get water (that’s a four hour walk for water!). The first water they bring back goes to the goats–then for the family. They do whatever they can to keep their goats alive be/c they are the best source of income. A goat can feed Peter’s family for two days–but if he’s able to sell it, he can feed his family for a week. Bishop Nixon told me even before we came on this trip that in Samburu, the children don’t ask for money or food from strangers, they ask for water.

It is a tough life and I don’t know many of us who could handle it. But the Lord is bringing change through Pastor Peter and his family. Peter is definitely a change agent in his community–planting corn to help feed his family, sharing the milk from his few goats with a family that doesn’t have any, starting a small preschool in hopes of educating the children so their lives will be different. God transformed Peter’s life 5-6 years ago, and Peter has a desire to see the lives of others be transformed as well.

I love the work/ministry I’m involved with in Nairobi–with ICCM/the Tumaini Women’s NGO, the teams and visitors we have—but something caught in my heart and mind while I was in Samburu. I don’t think God is asking us to move there…that really wouldn’t help them and I don’t think that I can cut it …but I believe God has a way for me to be involved and thought I’m not exactly what that looks like, I know I can trust God to show me.

I feel like I would write more and more about our visit to Samburu–but don’t want this to be too long (the word count is already over 1100!). Do pray for Peter and Charo–the pastors that are ministering to the Samburu tribe. Pray especially for the Lord to provide a viable source of water for them..and that they’ll be able to share the life giving water as well.

Thanks for reading!






March 28, 2012

Not just another piece of paper…

Yesterday–I headed down town with two goals in mind…get Kyle’s passport stamped at Immigration w/a pupil’s pass…(which only took 5, count them, 5 minutes!…a record for sure!) and..pick up the official Certificate of Registration for our Tumaini Women Kenya NGO.  That took a little longer than five minutes…but really wasn’t too long.  I happily showed my proper ID and filled out a form or two–and  before long–was headed out the door with said Certificate in Hand! :)

Bwana Asifiwe (Praise the Lord!).

In the next few weeks we, the board members, will be meeting to get things moving on this project. Will keep you posted!!!



March 21, 2012

Good news in the “In box”!

Opened my email to find this waiting in the inbox–

Greetings from the NGOs Co-ordination Board. I am pleased to inform you that the NGOs Co-ordination Board has approved the application for registration of “Tumaini Women Kenya ” as an NGO. Any of the organization’s three top officials can collect the certificate of registration at our offices in Co-operative Bank House, 15th Floor, during working hours (8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. and 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm) Monday to Friday. The official collecting the certificate is requested to bring his/her original ID or passport for identification. Thank you Joyce Y.

This is VERY good news! There are several projects the “new” NGO is hoping to undertake and having this official registration/recognition, will help us in the process.  One project we’re trusting the Lord will help us get started this year is to establish a Sewing Training Center for women of varied ages within our church and community. There are already several pieces in place for this project to go..just waiting on the Lord for what’s needed to “complete” the picture (and start a whole new picture–of women engaged in business and ministry!).

(by the way…Tumaini in swahili means HOPE!

Have a blessed day!




March 15, 2012

Pastor’s Prayer Summit

 On March 8th & 9th, approximately 30 FMCK Supts., District Pastors and Parish Leaders met for a Prayer Summit at the FMC in Karinde. Rev Doug and Margie Newton poured themselves out as they taught on Prayer–from Scripture and personal testimony..and the team members covered the event in prayer.  The focus truly was on prayer and there were several opportunities to pray for needs as well as praying for the Holy Spirit to help each of us apply these powerful truths. Please continue to pray for our pastors–that in every way, they will be available to the Holy Spirit and will allow the Living Water to flow through them.