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Molo Continued

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While I was in Kenya, I got to spend two weeks in a town called Molo with some really awesome kids. Here are some of my favorite shots of the beautiful people there. My favorite thing about this blog post is that every person in every photo has a name and a unique story, and God’s great redemption and relentless grace is a common theme among them.

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neema house

Finally.

A post about the babies I have so fallen in love with the past 7 weeks.

Neema House is a ministry of Project 82 that rescues babies out of really tough situations (parents with mental illness, parents passing away, abandonment) and gives them medical care and works to supply any other need they may have with the hope that after some time, they will rehabilitate them back to their families if possible, or find another family to care for them. Right now there are five precious babies–Caleb, Lily, Alice, Hassan and Isaac.

This is a house full of dedication and love. This staff works tirelessly to make sure these babies are so loved, cared for, nourished and challenged. On top of that, they spend countless hours working with families to prepare them to reunite them with their children if they are willing, or find the best situation these babies can be in so that they grow healthy and happy and loved. They firmly believe that children belong in families, NOT institutions. It’s hard, hard work. But it’s beautiful work.

So now, meet the babies. I have three weeks left here and I am already dreading leaving them–I can’t begin to describe all of the things their tiny little selves have taught me. The resilience of these kids is incredible, but even more incredible is the greatness of our God for rescuing them and working wonders in them and the people around them.

Caleb

20140201-DSC_7974 20140201-DSC_8040 20140201-DSC_8137 Caleb is the big brother at Neema–he just turned 3 about 2 weeks ago! He loves taking care of the younger ones–sometimes a little too much (bossy-pants).  He has a giggle that will melt your soul, and is extremely ticklish. He can watch the movie Cars and listen to the song The Wheels on the Bus about 12 times a day on average (so I’ve calculated). He loves to learn words in English,and is extremely observant and smart. I love to watch his big heart care for his family and the people around him!

When Caleb was found, he was living on the streets with his mom, who they found had a mental disability and was not able to care for him in a way that was best, although she loves him dearly. His mom has been receiving health care and has been doing very well (despite a recent setback with TB–something you can be praying for), and we are hoping Caleb will get to go and live with his mom again soon!

Hassan

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Hassan loves to laugh…and get into trouble:)He can be such a delight, and loves to be held. He always makes quick friends whenever visitors come! He also loves to dance, swing, and play on the slide in the front yard.

He has also come a really long way, and has improved drastically since he got here. When he was a tiny baby, he was abandoned multiple times until one day his grandfather came in and found him alone on his bed, malnourished and ill.  Since being at Neema he has learned to walk and talk, and his nutrition continues to improve!

Lily

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There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not having a good laugh about something this precious girl is doing. She is so vibrant, giggly, and mischievous. She’s the one who has to turn everything into a game, or into something funny! Just looking at her silly faces and seeing her curious nature puts a smile on my face every day. Gosh I love her and her goofy self!

Lily came to Neema with her twin sister Alice–their mother loves them, but had not been able to care for them properly due to a mental disability. Lily and Alice both were about 18 months and severely malnourished–they were so skinny, they could support their heads but not sit up, and both had rickets in their legs due to lack of Vitamin D.  However, they’ve both made incredible transformations–Jesus loves them SO MUCH and has taken care of them in a way that only He can. They have gained lots of weight–Lily is such a chunk! She is wearing 3T clothes now, which is amazing. They are walking and talking and jumping and dancing just like other kids their age. Thank you, Lord!

Alice

20140201-DSC_7995 20140201-DSC_8134 20140201-DSC_8124 Alice. Without a doubt the most loving two-year old I have ever met. This is the girl that will hug your neck for seemingly no reason at all. Any bump, scrape, or tear on anyone and she is the first to say “Pole, pole” (sorry, sorry) and will gently pat the injury and stroke the face of the one injured. She is so caring, and loves to laugh. She’s absolutely adorable, has taught me so much and I’m blessed to know her.

Like was stated with Lily, Alice came in with a lot of challenges, but God has been so good and has helped her grow in so many ways!

Isaac

20140201-DSC_8050 20140201-DSC_8081 Adorable–the first words that come to mind when I think of Isaac. Those chubby cheeks and four front baby teeth are to die for! He is so sweet and can be so snuggly. Like Lily, he is also a chunk, but it is too precious for words. He just started walking a few months ago and is all over the place! He has learned to jump, and is talking as well. I have so much love for this boy!

When Isaac came, he was very sick. He was extremely skinny due to malnutrition and had scabies, pneumonia, and perforated eardrums. Again, God has worked wonders in this life. Isaac, after many doctor’s visits and intense care, is chubby and happy. He has overcome so many things, and I am so grateful to get to see a walking miracle in front of me.

If you want to know how to pray for Neema House, here is how–endurance and patience. Working to reunite these children with their families or finding places where they will thrive is difficult, tiresome work. But it is worth it, and the staff here knows it. They want, more than anything, for these children to have full lives–and they are willing to do anything to make it happen. Pray that Annie, Elly, and the rest of the P82 team would not grow weary. That God would continually sustain them in fighting for these children and for their families, and that this ministry would grow. I am SO thankful for this team and how the Lord is using them to change these kids’ lives.

a glance at Molo

My first week in Africa, I got to go on a little expedition with Annie and my Dad to Project 82′s program in Molo. What an experience! Hopefully I will be going back there in a short time, so really I just wanted to take in what I was seeing.

However, since it’s me, of course I grabbed a few shots. I couldn’t help it.

We started out at the Saturday Program at House of Hope 2. Essentially, this program exists to give children first and foremost the gospel, as well as a good meal and community. The children learn, sing and play together, while their guardians prepare a meal for them, and also learn various skills that they can hopefully turn into a business. The goal here is to give guardians a way to stand on their own two feet and provide for their families! Here are a few of the sweet faces we saw.

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We also had the blessing to go check on a little baby girl named Caroline. She has some of the biggest, most adorable eyes I’ve ever seen! Caroline’s mother passed away, and some of her extended family have stepped up to care for her. When they last saw her, she was a tiny newborn who deeply needed nutrients. P82 is helping the family out with formula and diapers, and thankfully, although still itty bitty, she is doing great! She seemed much better and stronger, and we were blessed to get to rejoice and thank God for that!

20140124-DSC_7690 20140124-DSC_7702 20140124-DSC_7715 This is the beautiful aunt now taking care of Caroline. It was amazing to see how much she has grown to love her, and her enthusiasm in caring for her.

20140124-DSC_7716 After the Saturday program, we also had an opportunity to go and visit my Dad’s sponsored child, Elijah, and his family. This has been one of my favorite experiences so far! I love the sponsorship model in working with children in poverty–being able to send letters back a forth and focusing on individual children creates a personal relationship between a child and a sponsor, and it makes all the difference in all the lives involved. I could go on and on about how much I love sponsorship (and I am planning to in a later post), but for now, here are the photos of Elijah’s family, and two links to organizations I know and trust to help you know more about and hopefully commit to sponsorship! www.compassion.com and www.project82kenya.com

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sophie + jackpot

Reasons I love to shoot with Sophie:

1. She is one of my very best and dearest friends.

2. She’s absolutely stunning. She’s got a lovely heart that loves Jesus, plus…that curly hair and those blue eyes?! Swoon.

3. Whenever we get together, we get to go play with horses.

Enjoy!

jana

Jana is one of the most loyal friends I have ever known. We bonded instantly over a shared love of photography, visually beautiful things and music. I can always count on her to listen to me ramble on and on and genuinely care about me and anyone else I’ve seen her come into contact with. Her compassion and steadfastness is such clear evidence of God’s mark on her life.

Jana and her precious family are some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, and I’m so glad I had the blessing of staying with them in Birmingham again a few weeks ago! Of course, when Jana and I are together we obsess over photography blogs and all sorts of fun things for hours, and we usually end up going out and taking some photos. And let me be the first to say, she is a total babe.

I love you, Jan! God blesses me richly through you.

 

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