Back in the USA

 Hello all! 

We have landed safely back in DC after our 16 hour flight from Addis Ababa.  We’ve already hit Five Guys and Ben n Jerry’s, and we get on our plane flight home to Pittsburgh in about 45 minutes.  

We thank you for all your prayers this week and we apologize for the lack of posts while we were away.  The internet service where we were was spotty at best.  Thanks again for the prayers!

We love you all!

Day Two (Tuesday)

Today started with another warm welcome (cheers, screams and clapping included) from the children, followed by praying over each class for the day. Next, we headed deeper into the slum where the youth hall is located and picked up where we left off from yesterday. After carrying large pieces lumber through the narrow paths of the slum, we continued to work on the walls and roof framing. Today we finished the roof trusses and about half of the corrugated metal wall construction. Crystal, Laura, Kari and Steve spent time constructing and painting a back wall (made up of corrugated metal) at the church site. Kathleen, Jamie, Sharon, Mike M. and Alison spent time playing with the kids during their break (including basketball, soccer, hula hooping, jump rope, hand games, Hokey Pokey and more). Alan, Mike B., John, Kirk and Scott spent the day working hard on the youth hall, from hammering to sawing (and some pull-up competitions in between). Later in the afternoon, Alan led a music lesson with the Mzungu Nguvu Choir, along with Crystal directing and Kathleen and Sharon writing the phonetic spelling of the words on the board and coming up with corresponding hand motions. Many sacrifices were made in order to make significant progress on the youth hall and complete the other projects asked of us for the day. After a long day of sun, work, and play, we ended the night with a revival at the church, and Steve sharing his testimony and the impact three specific Bible verses have had on his life. Towards the end of the revival, the electricity at the church went out…just another reminder of life in a third world country (for those that have electricity, rolling blackouts are a common occurrence in the slums of Kenya).

Day One: Pictures

We’ve got service!!! Here are some pictures from our first day in the slums!

Day One: Welcome to Mathare Slum

Our day begins as we arrive to the slum and the children are making their way to school.  They greeted us with songs, poems and bright smiles.  We then were led down a narrow path (with many strong scents and heart-wrenching sights) to an area where some demolition had begun and before we knew it, we had demolished several walls and started building the frame for the new youth hall.  Sharon and Laura had the opportunity to meet with and pray for the pastor’s wives. While Laura and Sharon were encouraging them, they learned the challenges the women face are the same as ours, only theirs comes with fewer resources.  Crystal and Mike taught math for class 6 in the school. Those kids are so smart and it’s incredibly encouraging to see God’s work through this school here and just the willingness and desire the kids have to learn! We worked on the construction of the youth hall until it was time for the Revival!  Great day!  Everyone is worn out, ready for bed and ready to get up and do it all over again!

We took lots of pictures today, but are having extreme difficulty getting them to upload with the spotty internet connection where we are staying. We hope to update you all with photos soon! Thanks for understanding! We love you all!!

We Have Arrived!

Good afternoon for us and good morning to you all! We have landed safely in Kenya! Most are exhausted, few slept well, but we are so excited to finally be here! We landed in Ethiopia around 8 a.m. and took off to Kenya around 10 a.m. (our time…FYI we are 7 hours ahead of you all)! We are currently working our way through customs and getting our visas! We will be posting again (with the daily batch of pictures) when we get back to the hotel! Thanks again for your love and prayers! We are excited to be heading into the slums for day 1 tomorrow morning! We’ll be writing again soon!

Mungu Ana ku penda sana (God bless you…in Swahili)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Well good morning friends and families! We have woken up and are gathering our stuff at the hotel, ready to head to the airport and board our flight to Ethiopia (and to Kenya from there). Last night after our plane landed in D.C. we rounded up our 29 checked suitcases (not including our carry on bags!) and took a shuttle to our hotel…please note the shuttle read “VIP Scott Arvay,” and we all got a kick out of that! After checking into the hotel, we dispersed to our rooms for about an hour…some showered, some did not, others napped and watched TV! We met back up for dinner (the hotel shuttle took us to a nearby strip mall with several food options). Half went to get sushi – which ended in Alan eating lots of huge fish eggs (we have it on video to share at a later time), and the other half went to Lil’ Italy…the name itself was good enough for us! After the people sitting next to us were brought out TV dinners (black plastic container with the clear plastic still on top) we were not sure what to expect, but apparently they brought those in themselves to have the heat up…random, but at least we were served real food! Thanks for reading…check back tomorrow our an update on the flight and getting all situated in Kenya. We won’t arrive there till 2 p.m.-ish Kenya time (7 a.m. U.S. time). Until then, enjoy some pictures from yesterday!

Thank you Kirk for the fisheye fun!!

Cancelled Flights

Wow! What a whirlwind of a morning! We arrived at the Pittsburgh airport at 4 a.m., followed by the news that our flight to D.C. had been cancelled, meaning that we would be missing our flight to Ethiopia. After some prayer, negotiating, and many phone calls made, we got a flight to D.C. this afternoon and confirmation that there are 14 open seats to Ethiopia in the morning. We will be spending the night in D.C. (thank you United Airlines for paying for our hotel) and ready to rock and roll in the morning!

Throughout the morning, we kept reminding each other to “stay joyful” (as Jamie would say) and that there is a reason we were delayed. And it was evident that God had our team at the airport for 8 hours for a reason! After a young man (late 20’s probably) fell face first due to an apparent seizure, Kari (our nurse anesthetist on the team) went running to help. She was able to come alongside him, checking his vitals and comforting him until the EMT came. She was AWESOME. and it was so cool to watch her immediate reaction to come to his side and help!

It’s been a long (yet fast) morning, and the team continues to grow closer together as God prepares us to serve together in the slums! We are currently grabbing lunch at the airport before we head out and want to send thank you’s out for keeping us in your prayers! We look forward to keeping you posted! We love you all!

God bless!



Hello friends and family of the 2012 Summer Keny’inz team! First of all, we want to thank you all for your overwhelming love and support through this entire process of planning and preparing for our quickly approaching trip! As we get ready to head to Kenya, we’d like to ask you to be praying for safe travels, team unity, the families we are leaving behind and prayer that our hearts will be softened and prepared for the weeks ahead. Thank you again and we are looking forward to keeping you posted throughout our trip via pictures, videos, stories and more!

We will have WiFi where we will be staying, but it can be “spotty” so if we skip a day, don’t assume the worst…chances are we just didn’t have good connection that night and will be back on to share the next day!