Stories from Kenya: Day Three – Rest Day

For me, Sunday was a real pivotal moment in Kenya. We were approaching the halfway mark of our trip, and I was tired. It sounds awful, but I needed a break from the intensity of the trip, and this Sunday was everything I needed.

P1020238In the morning, we drove to a church that partners with Compassion, so we still had the incredible chance to see some of the Compassion-assisted children as they led us in worship, danced and recited scripture for us. The church also had a visiting speaker on this particular Sunday, and she gave a very powerful message. It was a privilige to sit under her teaching and worship at this church.

P1020242After church, we went for lunch (and I’m not going to lie..the only thing I can remember about lunch is drinking the most delicious strawberry lemonade I’ve ever tasted!) and then we headed off to the National Park for the afternoon. It was a wonderful day of rest, and it came at just the right time. There’s not really many words for this part, so I’ll leave you with some photos.

P1020266 P1020272 P1020275 P102028610941845_10152497755426557_567841446816102181_n

Stories from Kenya: Day Two – My Favourite Saturday

Let’s not even talk about how long ago my trip to Kenya was now. I remember when I came back from India, I had ALL OF THE WORDS ALL OF THE TIME. But for Kenya, I don’t. Today is the first time in months that I actually want to talk about it. That’s not because I didn’t love every single second I was there and I would actually like to go back tomorrow, please and thank you, but Kenya was so hard, and it was hard because it was so real.

I absolutely loved my Saturday in Kenya. There was so much energy in this little church, and the children were so delightful. I definitely think LOUD was a theme of this whole trip, which usually goes completely against everything this shy, introvert is. But let me tell you, I’d be there again in a heartbeat.

We watched these children sing and dance for what felt like hours (in the best possible way). One thing I love about travelling is being shown time and time again that the God that I know and love and serve and worship here in England is the same the whole world over. Hearing these children recite beautiful passages of scripture was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.

P1020106The main thing I remember from this Saturday, is the sheer amount of fun we had. I loved the energy of these children (oh how I wish I had that much energy on a Saturday morning!). Two of the older girls from this project “borrowed” my camera for a while, so I have some incredible (and slightly random!) photos from my time at this project.

These two beautiful girls spent so much time with me that morning, and it was a joy to just be in their presence. The more I look at these photos, the more I see their God-given beauty and potential.

P1020169Later on in the day, we broke up into groups again to go on more home visits. I was able to spend some time at Wilfred’s home.

P1020205Wilfred is the young boy in the white shirt, and the young lady behind him is his mum. She was one of the most incredible women I’ve ever met. She had built the house that her and her family lived in, and she was one of the most generous, most humble women I’d ever met. All of us who visited her house left with a small gift of a piece of jewellery that she had made ready for our visit.

P1020208P1020212Something else that always sticks in my mind when I think of this day is the time I got to spend with beautiful Melanie. Melanie attends this Compassion centre, and she sat with me for over an hour showing me the records that Compassion has on her. It’s so encouraging to see that Compassion keeps meticulous records on every single child in their program, and it shows just how much the staff members care for every one of these children. I was able to see Melanie’s records right from when she was first registered in Compassion’s program when she was small, right through to now, at fifteen years old.

P1020189This was probably one of my favourite moments from my week in Kenya. Melanie shared with me her dreams for the future, and what she wants to do when she grows up. Through looking in her file, I was able to see exactly how Compassion are helping her to achieve these dreams, and how she is progressing.

This moment here brought me so much comfort because it reminded me that each one of my Compassion children is known, loved and cared for in this way. So often I wish I could spend just a day with any one of them, and this moment reminded me that even though I can’t be there with them, there is someone there with them who has taken the time to know them and their family, and who genuinely wants what is best for them.

Stories from Kenya: Day One – Child Survival

Six months ago today, I was in a park in Kenya, in the presence of my sponsored child, Dorcus. In so many ways, I want to skip ahead of everything else that happened in Kenya and tell that story, but that would be like having a book and reading the last chapter first, so I want to go right back to the beginning.

I don’t really remember much about when we first arrived in Kenya, apart from feeling incredibly overwhelmed and being notably out of my comfort zone (something that made me think back to when I first arrived in India). If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t feeling excited. I wanted to go home before I’d even arrived and it took so much effort not to distance myself from everyone (and everything) there. I remember arriving home from India feeling empty and broken, and while God did some amazing things out of being in that place, I wasn’t prepared to be back there again just yet.

On the first morning of our trip, we had a beautiful opportunity to visit the Compassion Kenya office and share devotions. They were so welcoming and we had a beautiful time worshipping with them and spending time together. Hearing them speak so passionately about the work they do was so uplifting and encouraging – I wanted to find a way to bottle up their passion for the work they did and bring it home with me!

After spending a couple of hours at the office, we travelled to a Child Survival Program to spend time with some mums and their little ones. They greeted us with an incredible song and dance, and let me tell you, it was loud (in the best, Jesus-worship sort of way).

When we got into the church, we were welcomed with more songs, and one of the precious little girls went down our entire line where we were sat and shook everyone’s hand. She was so beautiful, and even in that little moment, she brought me so much joy.


(I also share this photo of her every chance I get – she’s just so beautiful!).

We then had an incredible chance to break up into small groups to go and visit the home of a family who are benefitting from the CSP. Rather awkwardly, I can’t remember the name of the mum, but I think the little girl who attends the CSP was called Ruth. She slept on her mama’s back for the short walk there and for the whole time we were in their house. I couldn’t believe how welcomed we were made to feel. We were given the sofa at one end of the house while the children sat on the floor and mama perched on a little stool with Ruth on her back. We also had the chance to meet two of mama’s other children, who sang us a beautiful song they had learned (in perfect English!).


Spending time with this family was so eye-opening, in the best possible way. It was so difficult learning of the struggles that families in this area face, but hearing of all the amazing opportunities they have because of Compassion was such a beautiful reminder that these children aren’t just names and faces on a website, or photos on my fridge. These children and their families have real lives and real struggles, but we also serve a real God who wants us to work alongside Him to rescue these precious little ones. This family is making a modest living through making and selling coal to those who live in their area, and mama’s dream is to own a house one day – one that isn’t made of corrugated iron. I loved listening to the dreams that she has for her children, and it was such a privilege to be able to pray for her too, that God would be her Provider.


After the home visits, we made our way back to the church for lunch, and for a chance to have a better look around the CSP. For your enjoyment, have some (more) photos of some of the most adorable littles you will ever see.






Having the chance to write this and think back to my day spent at the CSP, I’m reminded of just how vital their work is. The Child Survival Program is doing just that – helping these children to survive. It breaks my heart to think that programs like this even need to exist – that these children need a program to help them live. But I’m so thankful that God has equipped the men and women who work alongside the CSP to help caregivers provide for their little ones the best start possible, and it was so humbling to see this work in action.

Stories from Kenya: Five Months On

Five months ago, I was three days away from travelling to Kenya with Compassion to see the work they are doing in this beautiful country, and to meet my sponsored child.

Five months later, and I still don’t really have any words to describe my trip.

It’s not that I can’t remember anything. I think I have the opposite problem – I can’t not remember. There are so many things I want to say and so many stories that I need to share but once I start talking (or writing) about it, I don’t think I’ll be able to stop. Part of me wants to board a plane tomorrow and go back. Part of me thinks if I never go back, it’ll be too soon. When I think about my time in Kenya, all I want to do is smile. And then all I want to do is cry.

Poverty is such a paradox. These people have so little in terms of material possessions, but they have so much joy. And it’s so contagious. I don’t have to flick through my photo album for too long before my eyes land upon photo after photo of smiling faces. I can still hear the belly laughs of the children in one of the projects when we gave them balloons, or the joyful singing as the children in another project sang and danced for us.

P1020047I so desperately want to have the words, but I just don’t think I would give these stories the justice they so deserve. And the more time that passes, the more I worry I’m beginning to forget everything I experienced in Kenya. But the truth is this – God won’t allow me to forget. When I came back from India last March, I was so worried about signing up to travel to Kenya because I didn’t want poverty to become normal. I didn’t want to go and not be moved by what I saw because of the ‘been there, done that’ mentality. But every day, especially over the last couple of weeks, God has been breaking my heart, again and again.

It breaks my heart that we live in a world where poverty is normal, even made glamorous at times. I don’t want to turn away when I hear these stories and see the way these people live. Seeing and hearing is only ever helpful if it brings action, and I worry that because I haven’t told these stories, that I’m too late. But even though Kenya was nearly a whole half a year ago, it’s never too late to tell these stories, because I can’t believe that it’s too late for these children.

I’m so thankful that I serve a God who commands that we “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). For that very reason, I know I’m never going to be too late. The words might not be eloquent and the stories might not be from Hollywood, but they still need to be told. So that’s what I will do.


2015 and adverts of hope

This is probably one of my most favourite things on the internet right now. If you haven’t already seen this already, watch it. Actually, even if you have seen it…watch it again.

I’ve seen this advert played on tv a hundred times in the last couple of weeks, and every time it makes me cry.

Last November, I graduated from Bible College and I got my degree. I guess like a lot of people my age, I thought a lot of my (employment) problems would go away once I finally had that piece of paper.

Turns out that degrees aren’t a one way ticket into your dream job.

I’ve been praying so much about the direction that God wants to take my life in now that I’ve finished my degree, and I feel desperate to move away and start my own life somewhere that’s not here, but it’s looking like this isn’t going to be possible for a very very very long time.

I’m not really into the whole new years resolution hype or anything like that, because I always forget about them, and then I spend the rest of the year feeling pretty rubbish and wishing my time away until the next January 1st so I can start (and fail) all over again. But at the beginning of this year, I really felt like God wanted me to be more hopeful. I want to be one of these people who isn’t afraid to get my hopes up over new opportunities or new adventures, and not feel completely broken when they don’t always work out.

The reason this advert speaks to me so much is because I’m reminded that sometimes all we really need is for someone to take a chance on us, and to see something in us that tells them that we’re worth investing in.Applying for jobs and pushing doors and trying to better yourself so someone will see that something in you is so hard, and it can be so easy to lose hope when you hear no after no after no. It’s easy to become cynical and afraid to take these new opportunities out of fear of rejection. But I also feel so frustrated and stuck and it can be hard feeling like being you isn’t really enough sometimes. It certainly doesn’t make me want to embrace the new year with hope.

Right now, I don’t have a group of lovely pink haired ladies waiting in the wings to encourage me or help me go on a new adventure, but that’s not to say that I don’t have a reason to have hope. I’m learning (and it’s a pretty painful lesson to learn!) that life is full of no’s, but they’re not always personal. I can often take these things a little too personally at times, which usually leads to more beating myself up and wondering why I’m not good enough, particularly when I’m spending most of my time applying for jobs (most of which I feel ridiculously underqualified for).

I’ve been reading the book of Joshua over the last couple of days, and I love that, regardless of our circumstances or feelings we are commanded to be strong and very courageous. Right now, I don’t want to feel this way (isn’t self-pity so much easier?!), but going back to God’s word over and over and over again, I’m reminded that God doesn’t become someone different because of how we feel. He doesn’t stop being good because I don’t feel like He is being good. He doesn’t stop being faithful or sovereign or any of these things because I can’t see the good He is doing in my life.

A friend once told me that on His weakest, most vulnerable day, God is still bigger than me on my strongest, most successful day. I can’t remember why she told me this, but it’s resonated so strongly with me over the last few weeks because I’ve needed to know, above all else, that God isn’t wasting my life right now. In this season of uncertainty and waiting and heartbreak and hopelessness, God isn’t wasting anything I do.

I’m learning if that’s the only reason I have to keep doing what I’m doing, then that’s a pretty good reason to keep going.

Stories from Kenya: Some Photos

I’ve been home from Kenya for a whole eleven days. In some ways, it feels like I only arrived home yesterday, and in other ways, it feels like I haven’t even gone yet. There’s still so much to process and think about, but I finally set aside some time today to go through the photographs that I took. There may not be many words here, but I’ll let these speak for themselves. For now, at least.


Kenya: 22 days!

I’ve failed a little bit at talking about Kenya over the last few months {unless you’ve been stood in front of me for more than about 6.4 seconds…I can’t seem to hold a conversation right now without mentioning this trip!}. So many of you have told me how you have been praying for me over the last few months, and I wanted to take some time to tell you that I am so indescribably grateful for all of your prayers and kind words and support.

So much has happened since the Summer, so I’m going to do my best to do a quick whistle-stop tour!

After my eating challenge, I had the chance to do a cake sale at church. Some wonderful people donated some beautiful cakes towards my sale. My church are some of the most supportive people I know, and I managed to raise over £110 towards my trip!

UntitledHalfway through September, I made my final payment towards my trip! This completely blew me away because two weeks before the payment deadline, I left my job. I ended up taking on another two jobs, but paydays didn’t line up with payment deadline day, but God is so much bigger than payday {which I am SO grateful for!}. The way God has been providing for this trip is just completely mind-blowing and it has been such an amazing faith journey.

At the beginning of October, I received my flight and hotel details, along with this beautiful tour guide and journal! It’s so exciting to be able to read about all that we will be doing in Kenya, and it’s definitely making this trip seem a lot more real!

This weekend just gone, I finally got round to applying for my visa {because I am Queen of The Last Minute}. According to the Kenya High Commission, the process should only take about three days {but I am also Queen of the Stressing Out} so I’m praying so hard that my visa and passport show up in plenty of time!

As Kenya is just 22 days away, there are some things I would love you to pray for.

  • Please pray that my visa and passport come back in plenty of time and that the whole process goes through without any hiccups. It would be so frustrating to get so close to the trip, and not have my visa or passport!
  • Please also pray that my health would stay as good as it has been. Please also pray that I won’t have any reactions to the malaria tablets that I’ll be taking (or reactions to anything else for that matter!). Please pray for general health and safety stuff too (I’d rather not come home with a broken bone this time…).
  • Please pray for Dorcus, my sponsored child. I’m so excited about meeting her, but I’m also beyond nervous. Please pray that the time we spend together would be all that God wants it to be, and that I’d be able to engage with her and offer her the encouragement she needs.

I’m secretly hoping that the next 22 days will go quickly, but then I remember just how much I have to do between now and then, so I change my mind pretty quickly. Please pray that I would find as much joy in the preparation as I do in the trip itself.

Eating for Kenya #7

I made it to the last day of my challenge to live on £1 for a week!

And let me tell you. It’s been a very long week.

Yesterday was the final day of my challenge, and it was definitely the hardest of them all. For the first time in my life, I was so hungry yesterday afternoon that all I could do was cry. I couldn’t have a conversation without bursting into tears, I couldn’t concentrate, I had no energy and all I wanted to do was sit and sleep. I think it also became more difficult because I knew how close to the end I was, but when you’re that hungry, 12 hours still seems a lifetime away.

Thankfully, I was able to keep busy yesterday because we moved Vicky back to university, so we were busy with helping her get settled in her new house, and then Mum and I were making cakes for the Church cake sale, so the day passed pretty quickly with only a few snappy moments of frustration and a few (okay…more than a few) tears.

But it’s now Sunday morning, and the challenge is over. My wonderful dad made me a bacon bagel and a mug of tea for breakfast, and even simple things like tea have never tasted so beautiful.

It’s one thing to think of poverty and hunger as a far off, “other-country” sort of thing, but this journey has also made me realise that there are people in our own communities, on our own streets, even sitting in our own churches, that have to go through this every day for real. My journey had a known start and end point, and I always had a way out, but for so many people here in our town, this is their real life, and that’s a lot harder to deal with than having to pretend to live off of £1 for a week.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported me over this last week – for sponsoring me, encouraging me and praying for me. But I want to put Kenya aside for a moment and again plead with you to put something extra in your shopping basket this week (and maybe next week, and maybe even the week after) and donate to your local foodbank to help support those people who are closest to us who have to do this day after day, week after week.

Thank you so much for following along with my little journey. It’s been challenging, but I’ve also been so blessed through it too.

Eating for Kenya #6

If I’m completely honest, I can’t really remember very much about Friday. Or about this week in general. I was really beginning to struggle with my energy and concentration levels on Friday, and I was beginning to feel the effects of not eating properly for nearly a week. The food that I have left doesn’t taste as nice as it did at the beginning of the week. This is mostly due to eating the same food every day for six days, but also because the cereals are starting to go dry and the potatoes and broccoli aren’t as fresh as they were at the beginning of the week.

To make this day a little harder, Mum and I started looking at the cakes we were going to be making for the Church cake sale, which made this journey even harder! There are so many things I want to eat right now! But, instead, here is my yummy dinner from Friday evening!


Eating for Kenya #5

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the lack of photos on this blog post. Rest assured that the things I’m eating look {and taste} exactly identical to the photos from the previous days. Nothing exciting going on here.

If I’m honest, I’m running out of things to say about this challenge. Today was a struggle. I have a lot less energy than usual because I’m not eating as much food as usual, I feel snappy and grumpy and I’ve gone to bed hungry nearly every night this week.

I’m over-the-moon grateful that there are only two days to go on this challenge {it’s got to the point now that there’s a joke at home that I’m staying up until Midnight on Saturday just to have some proper food!}. I’m also over-the-moon grateful that this has been self-inflicted, if that’s even the right term. It’s definitely made me realise how hard it is to live off so little, and it’s opened my eyes not only to the millions of people worldwide who don’t have enough to eat, but also to those living on my street who face the same struggles every single day. I can’t imagine opening a kitchen cupboard and there being nothing in it – praise God it’s nothing I’ve ever had to face before. But because God has blessed me with the resources to be able to adequately feed myself, I should be part of the solution for those who are unable to feed themselves and their families.

Something to think about for the next couple of days.