Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Christmas in Tharaka" by Senator Kyle McCarter

Our organization, Each One Feed One supports 40 orphans. Everyone of the orphans that we care for in Tharaka, 40 at present, were invited to a special Christmas lunch today. They walked from as far as 8 km away. We sent picki pickis for others. One driver with 5 kids on the back. I know it is not safe but it is also a sin to waste space on a well running motorcycle in Kenya. 100 KS (kenyan shillings/$1.25) per rider to go 15 km. I drove the Nissan pickup to collect others farther away. The plan was to start at 10:30am, arrive by 12, eat by1pm. Just a plan, only that. TIA – this is Africa. Solomon, the evangelist/community organizer who coordinates the orphans went with me to give me directions. They are far from mapquest, believe me. “It is just there, over there” he would say. How much farther? I would ask. Oh, just up here, maybe 2km. 10k later, over a river and two turns later we arrive. This is the same guy who told me once when driving into the bush to visit an orphan’s home that our destination was 5km away by car, 10km on foot. ???? really??? God bless Solomon, he means well. While those who arrived at Little City on time were waiting they were served Chai. Dorcas, our nurse, and Jane, our pharmacist, more so our friends who work for EOFO yet have servant hearts, waited to greet the children. There is no way they would be allowed in the gates otherwise. This was the first time any of them had been in a restaurant, especially one like this. We arranged the tables under the tent in a U shape like a banquet. They dressed up the best they could. Some were our new orphans and we saw their needs. Many are afraid since they come from abusive homes. The family, aunts and uncles and grandparents, are obligated to take them in once orphaned or abandoned but this does not mean that they receive good care. In some cases they are abused. Victoria made labels with their names on them and had them place them on their chest. This was a big deal. Their name was placed on them for everyone to read. A child abandoned, forgotten, told they don’t matter, told they don’t have a future, and that they are destined to be impoverished gets excited that someone knows their name. Our motto for the people is “Tharakan but not forgotten.” Then Victoria set up tables for groups of the kids to gather around and play with Tinker Toys, Bristle Blocks, foam blocks, color large bible pictures, and set up a kid’s manger scene which we brought over with us from the states. Imagine never seeing anything like this or being able to play with it. As they were playing I had the owner of the Bata shoe store come over to measure their feet for new school shoes. We then at 3pm, remember TIA, served them goat stew, chicken, chapattis, mashed potatoes, goat stomach and liver, cabbage & sakuma weki. Sakuma Weki means to push the week, make ends meet when you have very little. We also had pineapple and mango slices. You should have seen how big their eyes got when I opened the pot of stomach. They started jumping. Oh boy, I was glad they wanted it because I did not. This was a feast. Most had never eaten like this. They live on githiri – boiled maize and beans. After the first serving we had the servers go around and fill their plates up again. They ate and ate and ate. The place was quiet. Surely they could not eat any more. Then came the sodas. A soda for everyone. A 17oz sprite, stoney, fanta, or coke. I asked how they could even drink it after eating so much. The reply from Dorcas was, “it is Christmas, they can”. They may only get one soda in a year. What more could we do for them? A gift! Victoria put together tote bags and clear plastic shoe boxes with crayons, sweets, pencils, headbands, soccer jerseys, biscuits, rubber balls, plastic plates forks and spoons, cups, water bottles, deodorant, dolls, gum, notebooks, and more. I gave the older boys graduating from form 4, 12th grade, a special knife imprinted with Senator McCarter on it. We prayed for them, blessed them, loved on them, and reminded them that God had a great plan for their lives and that they were not forgotten. We told them to never let anyone tell them that they could not become someone great. They left Little City full, a little less afraid, and with more hope that God has a future for them. We loaded up the Nissan with 5 in the back seat & 8 in the truck bed, stacked the boxes and kids on the pickis, and headed to their homes. What a Christmas Day!
Luke 14:12 "Then He also said to him who invited him, "When you give a dinner, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the lame, the maimed, the blind. And you will be blessed , because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hope for Tharaka

Hope for Tharaka! I recently had the privilege of traveling to Tharaka, Kenya, to teach at Mama Linda's Excellent Academy. The elementary school is part of Each One Feed One, Kenya, an organization that began working in Tharaka to provide relief during a severe famine and drought. My husband Kyle and I  built a health care clinic in Tharaka 25 years ago.  Each One Feed One, Kenya, is a ministry that provides clean water, food, medical care, and quality education to the people of Tharaka, Kenya.   Our team had the opportunity to bring medical supplies, doctors, and a dentist to work at the clinic.  The clinic is a vital part of the community since the nearest hospital is two hours away.  The clinic treated everyone including those suffering from malaria to Tharakans who were in the final stages of Aids. It was a a tremendous blessing to see the fruit a project I was involved in twenty-five years ago. Seeing the smiling faces of healthy children was priceless!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

  Senator's Wife Joins Outreach to Geylang's Street Girls

I'd like to use my blog to share the below article It was published by The Christian Post and written by Edmond Chua on June 5,2012 during my trip to Singapore.   Senator's Wife Joins Outreach to Geylang's Street Girls What good could possibly come out of the death of a loved one? The tragic loss of a young daughter to accidental drug overdose was surely painful for U.S. state senator Kyle McCarter and his wife Victoria. Even so, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the sovereign God of grace He has revealed to humankind, the McCarters and their friends have channelled the pain of that unforgettable memory into a deep empathy for and a passionate service of other hurting young girls around the world. God's inspiration travelled as far as Singapore, where a pastor and former schoolmate of the McCarters', the Reverend Gerard Seow, on hearing about the death in 2006 of their daughter Amber was moved to start the Geylang Bless God (GBG) mission to help girls like her. As Victoria recalled Saturday in an interview with The Christian Post, the Rev. Seow, who was one of the McCarters' groomsmen at their wedding, on learning about Amber "was very touched in his heart and looked outside his window and saw the Amber Glory hotel and went out and started to give ice-cream to the girls who were on the street and decided that he needed to do something; it spurred him to action to help girls who were like Amber." For this reason, Victoria, together with her son Austin, is currently visiting with the Rev. Seow to "continue to support him in the work that he's doing here in Geylang and particularly with the girls behind the Amber Glory hotel," she explained. The McCarters, who are longtime friends with the Rev. Seow and his wife Lianne, had previously visited the mission in 2007. Since then, the American couple had been supporting the Geylang mission through their prayers, financial contributions and friendship. "When we came out the last time we brought gifts for all the girls on the streets, and we would like to help to raise even more funds to help the work that Pastor Gerry's doing with the girls," said Victoria, adding the Rev. Seow and his wife, and she and her husband Senator McCarter, share "the same vision for helping girls." During their five-day visit this time round, Victoria and Austin has been scheduled to speak at a number of meetings organised by the Geylang mission, as well at the Sunday service of the Oikos Fellowship led by the Rev. Seow. They have also been scheduled to participate in an evening walk through the back lanes of Geylang "asking God to touch those who are desperate for help but feel there is no hope" and distributing cookies, handing out roses, and giving hugs. In Victoria's view, the significance of the Geylang mission lies in its outreach to those in need who are often neglected by society. "I think that what's so special about it is that when you go out and you're with people who sometimes may not seem significant to others but God sees them as significant to others and when girls are doing things (like) prostitution or selling yourself on the street, it could be something that you don't want to get involved in," she said. "But for Pastor Gerry and his team to come out and say no, this is what Jesus would have done, we're going to be the hands and we're going to be the feet of Jesus, Jesus would have went right out there on the streets and done the same thing, and it's not with a finger of accusation or condemning; it's love, we're bringing you cookies, and we're bringing you some fresh baked goods, and we're praying with you." Victoria remembered how on an outreach during her previous visit to the mission, "all the women on the streets knew who Pastor Gerry and their team... were already in advance and they are eager and they loved having prayer." "And it's a very beautiful thing because that's what we're commissioned to do, that's the very thing that we are called to do, it's to go out to the hurting and that's why Jesus came." The McCarters have been very much involved with Christian missions and ministry work. Upon their marriage, the couple worked stateside for a year or two for an organisation called Each One Feed One, which was founded by Senator McCarter's father, before moving to Kenya to help build a healthcare clinic there. Senator McCarter's parents were already living in that country. While in Kenya, the McCarters welcomed the birth of two children: their daughter Amber and son Zachary. The couple have been active members of their church, Faith Family, for nearly 20 years now "doing just about everything from teaching in children's ministries to ushering," according to Victoria. "We started that church from the ground level," she said. "The very first day that church started we started there and we've been active members of that church now for 19 years." After Amber's demise, the couple became involved with Mercy Ministries, where they serve on the community board. Mercy Ministries helps girls between the ages of 13 and 28 who are struggling with life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, unplanned pregnancy, depression, and those who have been rescued from human trafficking and prostitution; by bringing them into a home and teaching them about God and biblical principles for living and showing them that God has a purpose and a plan for their lives. The depth of Victoria's involvement with the work of Mercy Ministries is evident in her familiarity with the difficulties many young girls face. For instance, those with drug addictions are trapped in a vicious cycle of low self-esteem followed by a temptation to use drugs followed by guilt. This is why the ministry emphasises teaching the girls 'God' beliefs to counter 'ungodly' beliefs about themselves. Giving an example of how this happens, Victoria said that a girl "might think... 'I'm not worthy', but the Bible says that I am 'fearfully and wonderfully made' and that I am created in His (God's) image." She considers it a "beautiful opportunity for us working with Mercy Ministries to see girls overcome life-controlling issues, transformed by the power of God, girls that the world sees as hopeless or helpless but God; they fall into a pit, they think they can't get up and then God comes in, and heals, restores, and redeems them." Often after the girls graduate from the programme, the McCarters will have them live with them. "The programme they're in, they're in a home, they're with 30 other girls, it's kind of like a bubble, but then they get out onto the streets and sometimes they need a little bit more structure until they can go out on their own again," said Victoria. "So that's where we like to have girls live with us." On what could be done to inspire greater Christian involvement in ministering to hurting girls and other needy people, she highlighted a need to "understand that to honour God, we need to serve other people." "And when you get the opportunity to serve you may not always at first, share the Gospel with them; you need to earn their trust and you need to let them know that we don't point the finger of judgment at them, but God can heal, restore and redeem them, can transform their lives," said Victoria. "But first we need to see them as people and we need to do what we can to meet their needs; if they're hungry we need to bring them food, if they're thirsty we need to give them drink, and then through that we earn their trust." She feels that kindness is what really 'speaks' to people. After all, people can sense and feel that they are being judged. So Christians, she said, "need to show the love of Jesus - it's unconditional - that we're not judging them, we're not criticising them, but we know a God that can give them a future and a hope and transform their lives." "And that's what the Church does, what we have to do; we have to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a non-judgmental way," said Victoria.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Use It!

Do you want to fulfill your God-given destiny? I encourage you to take the gifts and talents God has given you and help someone else. If you're passionate about running, help someone else learn to run. Don't limit how God can use you to minister to others. Ministry is not just leading worship or preaching from a pulpit. Ministry is using your talents to serve Him and meet the needs of other people.
I recently led a running group from Faith Family Church. I had six runners complete their first half marathon, all in times that far exceeded their expectations. There is greatness in using your gifts and talents to serve other people. Whatever talent God has given you, use it and expect God to show up big! Read the story of the widow in 1 Kings 17:8-16. She overcame her fear and gave the only food she had in her house to the prophet. God used her little bit if meal to save her and her son. So use what you have an expect God to move!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What is Important to God?

What is important to God? People. We honor God when we serve people. Life is not just about self; it is about dying to self. While it's good to improve ourselves, we need to constantly refocus our priorities and daily schedule so we can live a life of servanthood. Ask yourself, "Why am I doing what I am doing? Is my attitude and motive for doing this pleasing to God?" Proverbs 16:2 " All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but his motives are weighed by the Lord".

I enjoy running. It helps me keep my flesh under control and teaches me areas where I am weak. During a group run a few weeks ago, I ran for the Gatorade at our pit stop. I put my hand out, grabbed the cup and poured myself a drink. The next runner grabbed a cup and passed it to the person next to her before getting a drink. The Holy Spirit spoke gently to me, reminding me that I did not put others first. A subtle, gentle reminder that crucifying the flesh is not just about running long distances, but serving others while I'm doing it!

God's heart is for helping people. I challenge you today to live your life selflessly, not selfishly. Phil 3:7 "Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord and master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant. I encourage you today to prioritize your life, check your heart attitude, and put serving and giving to others first-

place in your life!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9-11 Prayer "Double Portion"

My prayer for anyone suffering from loss, especially the loss of a loved one, is Isaiah 61:7-9 "... and so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”

On September 10, I completed my second Bradley Smith Memorial 5K Run. Bradley's parents have taken what the enemy meant for harm and are turning it around for good. The Smith's have raised thousands of dollars to help young people with college scholarships. They are receiving a double portion of God's grace, love and mercy as they give to young people in honor of their military hero and son, Bradley. In the above photo, you can see God's grace shining through the Smith's faces; they are people that the Lord is blessing with a double portion!

(In the photo, left to right, me, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, my husband, Kyle and son, Zach.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Be Strong!

How can we overcome intense trials and traumatic experiences? By clinging to and trusting in Jesus. God can cause good things to emerge from adversity, difficulties, and trials. Don't yield to the tendency to be paralyzed during difficult times but rise to the occasion and fight! Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, casting all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.
Confess God's word out of your mouth. Say out loud, "Romans 8:28 says that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose, and I believe that this trial will work out to my benefit because I put my faith, hope and trust in you Lord!" When we overcome adversity and overcome the trial, we become mature, complete and stronger!
Take what the enemy meant for harm and use it as a platform to propell you to the next level in your walk with God. Genesis 50:20, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good for the saving of many lives." Are you ready to go to the next level? Now stand up and fight!