Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feeding the Chamus

Recently we were asked by a Christian brother to help him feed some very hungry people in his little church, located two hours north of Nakuru in Baringo County. The people who live there are called the Chamus (pronounced Sha-mas) and are a tribal people much like the Masai or the Samburu.

You wouldn’t think that a two hour drive could make such a huge climatic difference. Yet, because Nakuru is at a much higher elevation and has plenty of rain the contrast is remarkable. Bringo County is arid, extremely hot and very dry. When it does rain… it usually floods.

Only two percent of the nineteen thousand Chamus know Christ, the rest are believers in nature worship. A brief history of the Chamus can be accessed from Wikipedia Here

Our first hour of the journey was pleasant with pretty good roads and we even got to see some very large birds.

But soon the roads became narrow with large rocks which made for a very bumpy ride.

The further we drove the hotter and dryer it got.

The roads became even smaller and turned into a painful ten miles of huge ruts.

The last ten or so miles, most all of the green foliage disappeared and even the sturdy Acacia trees had turned brown. (Although… that didn’t stop them from being used as Kenyan clothes lines.)

As the terrain became more and more colorless the round huts became more and more colorful.

We finally arrived at our destination, which was a little village where we would dispense the food and as always, the children were the first to greet us.

Soon the women came outside and invited us into their ‘house’.

There had to be three or four women with babies and five or six children who slept there. There was also a round hut for the local chief and another for the Morans (the young warriors).

We were also amazed to see the women were preparing us a meal. These people who had almost nothing to eat were preparing us lunch and not with just beans or rice, but with a prized young goat. We were truly humbled by these simple believers and their sacrificial love.

This small round building is the kitchen where all the food is prepared. Sometimes its hard to believe we complain about not having enough kitchen counter space when so many in this world have never even seen a counter… or a sink, or running water, or a refrigerator, or a stove, electricity, grocery store, etc. etc. .

A few of the women strapped ten gallon water buckets on their backs and headed down to the almost dried up brown creek bed to obtain water to cook the meals with.

While the women were preparing lunch, our two Kenyan brothers took us to where they held Sunday services at their ‘church’. As we walked through the bush, I started to feel a bit overheated. Keep in mind the temperature was around one hundred degrees outside and it wasn’t even the hottest time of the year. 

When we stopped I asked… “where is the church?” They said you’re standing in it. I thought about these women and children sitting on those hot stones with no shade for two or three hours and wondered would I be half as dedicated to ‘hearing the Word’ under such adverse conditions?

We did find someone who didn’t seem to mind the heat and was resting in the church sanctuary. He was slow moving, very heavy, carried around his own ‘shade’ and never came out of his house.

Soon the neighbors (both Christian and non-Christian) began to arrive and were sitting  around waiting for us to distribute the Unga (flower), Maze and beans we had brought.

 We had collected over four hundred pounds of food stuffs.

The women formed a line, holding their bags open and smiling at the huge bags of Unga. As we began filling them with the food the children were eagerly looking on.

If any food was spilled, each kernel was carefully picked up and put in back into their bags. 

After we finished, the women began to praise God for His provision. It was humbling to listen to their faith and gratitude. One dear sister smiled and said… “We were almost completely out of food… but the bible says we must wait on the Lord and we knew He would come!”

How awesome is our God… and how awesome it is to serve Him! Needless to say we returned to Nakuru very tired… but very, very fulfilled.

The trip for me was but another revelation of how much the rest of the world struggles just to survive and how wonderful it is when we get to help them. Seeing where and how they live makes me wonder… why do we ever complain about our living conditions?  We know one thing for sure …the more we see here in Kenya the less we complain.  

Help us … help them.   Much love, … David and Cynthia 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Last year we started learning how to do a sewing school in Kenya. Most all of the clothing people wear in Kenya is either from the ‘matunda’ (thrift stores on the street) or made by tailors in their shops on treadle machines. 

I really wanted to be able to teach women how to use an electric machine and patterns for several reasons. The quality of the garments would improve, they could produce more garments in less time, and they could make ethnic clothing to sell abroad thereby increasing their income. My hope is to enable them to improve their life by moving out of the slums and providing for their children food, clothing and schooling. So the vision of a sewing center with a sewing school and outlet for sales of their products began.

I didn’t know how I would ever be able to have enough machines to start the school so when one of my friends incidentally heard about a ministry called “Threads of Hope” I immediately contacted the director, Al Barrett. After a phone conversation or two and emails we made a connection. I was able to obtain several machines through the gifts of sponsors.

After a visit to the Threads of Hope center in the Masai Mara last week we now have 6 machines and 3 sergers….. a good start! The trip was great. 

We met Deb Duren who manages the center and we became fast friends. I was able to help there by instructing the teachers on how to use the electric machines. They were so excited to be able to make a button hole on the machine rather than having to do it by hand! Learning to use the serger brought smiles and laughter! They got so excited! The potential is limitless for these ladies to advance and change their desperate lives of poverty.

This week, here in Nakuru, we started our second semester with 2 beginners and 2 intermediate students. We are using James and Beatrice’s small living room for classes so we can’t accommodate as many students as we have machines. We’re looking for a place we can rent or build so we can have at least 9 students at a time. We have classes 4 days a week. It’s a lot of work but a labor of love.

We’re investing in a business that can employ widows, single moms, and high school girls and encouraging small businesses that will enable families to become self sufficient. We need to raise funds to cover cost for the machines, tables, chairs, student fees, and rent. This is an investment that will really pay off. The goal is to train teachers and eventually the center will be totally run by local Kenyans.

One of our sponsors decided to give a complete set up – including the machine, table and chair, to his mother in law as a Christmas present. He told me later how she cried when she read the card explaining her gift and said it was the best Christmas present she had ever received. It is truly better to give than receive.

Please help. We need your prayers and donations. No amount is too small.

We also need workers. There’s so much to be done in StoneHouse Ministries to establish our churches, our school and the sewing center. Consider a trip to Kenya. It will change your life. You won’t regret it. J

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