Greetings from Kenya Wow, we can't believe that it has been almost a whole year since arriving in Kapsowar. We are so thankful for what the Lord has allowed us to do and see during this time. We could not have done it without the prayers and support of people like you. So thank you very much. This Christmas we are also thankful to be celebrating the opening of our new newborn nursery at the hospital. This new space is going to help babies like baby Cynthia whom some of you may have heard about. She was a very special baby that was born severely premature at only 29 weeks (normal is 40). Plus her mother is HIV positive. She weighed less than 1kg which is a little over 2 pounds, the smallest baby I have seen here yet. She struggled and struggled for a long time, but the Lord sustained her and miraculously after 101 days in the hospital she was able to go home. We praise God because we really didn't have the right equipment to keep a baby of her size alive, it was only God who did it. Everyone had been praying for her and when she was discharged we had a party for them. I praise God for her and her mother whom we saw yesterday in follow-up and they are doing great. Cynthia is now 3.3kg or about 7 pounds. We were so happy to pray together and thank God for this miracle. Because of your support we were also able to give her some money to restart her little shop/business that had dropped off while she was in the hospital.
Community Home Visits Another excited thing that we have started doing at the hospital is community follow-up visits in patient homes. I recently had the chance to visit a girl named Faith. She lives in a nearby village about a 15 minute drive away. She had been in the hospital with rheumatic fever. On follow-up we were able to see that she was improving physically with her treatment. We also addressed her spiritual state and found out that she had never accepted the Lord Jesus as her Savior, but after hearing the gospel she was eager to pray and invite Him in. We also became aware of the many challenges facing their family. The fa- ther told me that he had 9 children and he was unable to meet all the family's financial needs such as school fees. This is a common request for us and it is difficult to know how best to help. In this case we decided to help him start a new gardening project where we supplied seeds and a special sprayer to help him grow some vegetables that he can use to sell and to better feed his family. Please continue to pray for this family and many others like them that are struggling to make ends meet.
Exciting Opportunities Among Pokot People We also want to give an update on the Pokot trips that we have been doing. We have done 5 trips now down into the valley to see these precious people that have been unreached with the gospel. We always visit a small growing church among them and take about 16 people to do a one day clinic and lead their church service. The last time we went I had the privilege of bringing them the Pokot Bibles that I had promised them. They were so happy to be holding the whole Bible in their hands written in their own heart language. Praise God for that and pray that God's word would trans- form them and the gospel would spread among them. They are also very much wanting us to help them start a permanent health clinic. They even do- nated to the project 10 acres of land to be used for the clinic. The community has formed a committee to oversee it and I have met with a Kenyan man named Willy Komen that has been helping to start clinics like this among the Pokot people before. This however would be the first clinic for his or- ganization among the East Pokot people. It appears that things are coming together for this, but of course our biggest challenges at this point are finances to build the clinic and proper staff to manage and run it. It is possible that our nursing school could help in some of the staffing needs and I am looking to become more involved in teaching there as well. As far as the cost to build the clinic, I talked to my friend Willy and he said that they have been able to build other similar clinics for around $10,000 which is quite small in comparison to what it would cost to build in the U.S. This is something we feel excited and led to help out with. If any of you would like to help out with this particular project please send me an email and send the money to our Samaritan's Purse account then we will send a gift to Willy Komen's organization which will spearhead the building project.
Family Corner When I was a young girl I used to daydream that I was Laura Engles or Anne of Green Gables and sometimes Christy and every once in a while Dr. Quinn Medicine woman. I now feel like I am living some of those dreams here in Kapsowar. We have a small farm complete with a goat, rooster, barn cat, a tortoise and every once in a while a chameleon. I have the most amazing little “shamba” or my garden. We grow most produce that we need in our backyard. We don't go to Lowe's to get the supplies needed to tend this garden all we need is here in the land. I have my one room schoolhouse which I am the teacher of. We are now creating all of our Christmas decorations. We will have garland from bushes here, poinsettias from the backyard tree, gingerbread ornaments and stockings bought at a local market. We often have family game nights by lantern. And our Thanksgiving was by candlelight due to an unexpected power outage. It often feels like we have stepped back in time to a simpler time in life. We are truly thankful for God's creation and our friends that help us learn the details of living life without many modern conveniences along the way. Through this year we have seen our family grow closer and be united under one purpose to share the good news of our Savior, Jesus, with the people of Kenya. It is such an honor and privilege to be a part of God's work here. Thank you for being our partner. We are humbly grateful for you allowing us to be your hands and feet to God's children here.
May God Bless You and Merry Christmas, The Jones Family Kyle, Vanessa, Hudson, Jude and Isaac
From the moment of conception a mother's life is changed. I have learned so much from my firstborn, Hudson. From an early age he displayed a tenderness for the Lord and the things of God that truly bring me to my knees. Here are a few stories that may touch your heart for God's kingdom.
~One day he and I were having lunch together. He was probably 2 1/2 years old. For dessert we were having oranges. His favorite fruit. We had been talking about heaven and what it looks like. He was describing his tree house and what my house would look like right next door to his. Then he asked, "Do you think there will be oranges in heaven?" I replied, "Of course, the best oranges you've ever tasted!" He then stood up on his chair, raised his hands in the air and said, "I just love you God! Thank you for making the oranges!"
Lesson: To praise God without shame for the smallest of blessings.
~When Hudson was about 3 1/2 years old our church had a day of prayer for the persecuted church. We were on our way to lunch and he was asking lots of questions. We tried to explain to the best of our ability to him what it was that was happening that day. He then suggested we should pray right away. He was the first to begin to pray, "Dear Lord, will you please help the bad guys that are being mean to the Christians. Help them be good and know You."
Lesson: Pray for your enemies and those that persecute you. (Not just for your own well-being or the protection of those you love.)
~Recently when we came back from America he was really missing all of his cousins. We were writing letters asking them to come and visit. Praying for them at every meal. Out of no where he said, "I really miss my cousins and I wish they would come. And I really wish we could live in Oklahoma again. But I would really be sad if none of my Kenyan buddies were in heaven. So I think we should stay and keep telling them about Jesus."
Lesson: You must deny yourself and leave those that are dearest to your heart sometimes.
~We have been listening to the Adventures in Odyssey series by tape on our many long road trips to Nairobi. We were listening the the story of Esther. After Haman was executed Hudson said, "Wow, that's really sad. Haman died without ever really knowing the one true God."
Lesson: Vengeance is the Lord's, but shouldn't we be seeking to find one lost sheep and bringing him to the saving knowledge of Jesus? Again, loving our enemy.
Kyle and Hudson worked through a devotional Bible called "God's Mighty Warrior". Hudson loved it. It talked about being a gentlemen, a man of God, fighting for God's glory and doing lots of cool boy things. I could see the lessons really taking shape in his life.
~One weekend Kyle was asked to "compare notes" at the local mosque. The elder men were in town recruiting new members. Kyle bravely accepted the invitation. The boys and I prayed all weekend. Before bed, (when we knew Kyle was there) Hudson said, "Mommy I can't wait to go to battle with Daddy someday with my Bible."
Lesson: Do not fear. Speak boldly. Put on the full armor of God and go to battle.
On Halloween Kyle knighted Hudson. He also had a little Kenyan ninja sidekick aka Jude. Each piece displayed the armor of God. And we prayed for him to continue to be a mighty warrior for Jesus.
~Just yesterday we were finishing the story of Moses. They had just crossed the Red Sea. Hudson's Bible talked about the song of praise Moses sang after they had been delivered to the other side of the sea, but it did not say the words to the song. He wanted to know what the song said. I got up to get my Bible, but then he began to sing his own song of praise for the mighty work God had done for the Israelites. I looked at him in amazement and saw he had tears in his eyes. I asked him if he was ok and he said, "Yes, I just wish God was here right now and I could see Him." If he only knew how present God was in that moment. I could feel Him smiling at His servant.
Lesson: If you want to enter the Kingdom of God you must become like a child.
May your heart be challenged by the faith of this child. God's mighty warrior.
Today I got back from my fourth trip to visit the Pokot people down in the valley. As you may know we have been going there doing medical clinics and gospel work. I know many of you were praying so I thank you for that. The trip was a great success in many ways. For one, we made it there safe and sound with no major car problems. (Last time we were stuck multiple times and it took 3 times as long to get home.) When we arrived we were warmly welcomed again by the community. They are really getting excited about our visits and about the possibility of a permanent medical facility being built there in the future. They had organized themselves and formed a committee to oversee the project. They even donated 10 acres of land for us to use to build the clinic. We would love to see this happen because there is only so much we can do on our 2 day trips that have been occurring about every 6-8 weeks. For some, we found out this time, it is too late. During the clinic I heard the devastating news that a 3 year old boy being brought by his mother died while on the way. They think that he had malaria which is easily treated with the right medication. Many people delay seeking care because there are no health facilities nearby. The news broke our hearts, but we were glad that we had brought a pastor along who could go to comfort the mother. Please pray for the family of the child and for this desparate need in the community. Men discussing at the proposed site for the new clinic
For other patients we found that our arrival was just in time. There was a boy that had been having behavioral problems and had even burned down his grandmother's house/hut. The parents didn't know what else to do. They had taken him to a witchdoctor and to a medical clinic. He was given large doses of anti-psychotic medication. I warned them that with that big of a dose he could start to experience side effects, which are mostly strange uncontrollable movements like extending his neck and such. Well, not 2 hours after we had talked about it, the side effects started happening. Fortunately, we had brought medicines that would help him. I also talked to him about the likelihood that his problem was also a spiritual one. I explained to him about how his anger and acting out was sin and shared the gospel with him. He seemed to understand and expressed a desire to receive Christ. We knelt together and prayed. 2 other older men in the community also prayed to receive Christ during our time there and we are praying that there will be more that decide to follow Christ.
Another really exciting thing about our trip was the dedication ceremony for the new Pokot Bibles that I was able to bring to them this time. 2 visits ago it was the weekend of my Grandfather Smith's funeral and I could not be there, but I told them about how Grandfather had been a Bible translator and how someone had translated their Bible for them as well. There was only 1 Bible in their whole village and none with Old and New Testament. So this time we brought them 40 new Bibles and we handed them out in church and had a dedication ceremony. It was so wonderful. People gave testimonies about how much it meant for them to have a Bible in their own language. I challenged them to read and meditate on God's word as it says in Joshua 1:8.
We feel so privileged to be working among these people and we are excited to see what God is going to continue to do. They are truly becoming dear to us and they seem to like us too. This time they decided to give me a gift so they gave me a live goat! We brought it home in the back of my car. It was pretty quiet for the most part and clean, thankfully. Please continue to pray with us for the work being done among the Pokot. When we get more information about the details of the clinic we would like to build I will let people know, but be praying about how the Lord may lead you to get involved. Thanks.
Visiting a Pokot Home Can you find the hidden goat in this picture?
Vanessa and the boys didn't get to go with me on this trip, but I had to get some pictures of them too so here are a couple from last Thursday after I got back from a community home visit where we went and followed up on a patient that had been admitted to the hospital. The father decided to give me this rooster. It has been waking us up pretty early so we think we are going to eat it soon:) Love you all.