Saturday, 26 November 2016

WHERE DID ALL THE SNOW GO ?


I JUST CANNOT RESIST a good photo of Elephants.    These are from Tanzania just in front of Mt. Kilimanjaro.    Wonderful beasts, and still being destroyed by poachers.    These are in all probability DEAD and those wonderful TUSKS either turned into some Chinese Aphrodisiac or just Burned by the Government after being taken from the poachers.     It all seems so very sad and totally without any reason.    SO MANY of our animal species are becoming, or already are, EXTINCT!! We,( Mankind), are supposed to be so advanced in our intelligence, yet it this generation most of all that is ploughing blindly ahead ignorantly - and even knowledgeably - destroying our environment. This is madness, and not the kind of wisdom that comes from God.     It comes from the selfish heart of Man himself.
THIS WEEK, has been rather an ordinary week - a lot of RAINY and sunless days.    As if to compliment this sudden greyness, with the children forced indoors, and staff a little over stressed, troubles tend to also occur.     BUT, life continues and the Lord walking with us helps to disperse the clouds of discontent and and dullness..      For me, with a very active two + year old, demanding attention, the week has been fairly full, and I have taken on a new calling as a Day Care Companion to Baby Abigail Green.     She is a doll, but she sure puts me to the test of physical endurance.   Can I endure to the end....?    Only four more weeks.......!***
THE FORM 1V NATIONAL EXAMS have now finished, except for a few special Subjects which will come late next week.      Then we shall have their Farewell Luncheon - and yet another Parting Word from yours truly, the Guest of Honour..     This time I have a mixed 10 minute bag.   I shall start with a word from Marcus Aurelius  -
'When you arise in the morning
think what a precious privilege it is to 
TO BE ALIVE,
TO BREATHE, TO THINK, TO ENJOY, TO LOVE!

And to close to short quotes from Sir Winston Churchill -  Both are well known.  The first says -

'Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
If you are going through hell KEEP GOING!
You have enemies?  Good!
That means you are standing up for something, sometimes in your life.'

The second is an excerpt from a Speech given by Churchill in October 1941, about eighteen months into the 2nd World War - a Speech also given to College Students -

'NEVER GIVE IN!  Never give in.
Never, never, never, never, NEVER!
.In nothing great or small, large or petty, NEVER GIVE IN!
EXCEPT in conviction of honor and good sense.'
Sir Winston Churchill  1874-1965


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IT IS ALMOST A YEAR since the Testimony House Family moved out to make way for those BOYS who were over 18 and spread in each of
the then FOUR families.     It was not to our liking that this had to happen, and this year we had to also move all the over 18 GIRLS out of their family homes to the NEW Jean Potts Hostel for Girls.   This, as you remember, in order to comply with Government policies regarding how Children's Homes have to be run.     Testimony House ceased to be a Children's Home in December 2015 and became a Hostel for Boys only,      All the children, under 18, who had lived in Testimony House as a Family of all ages and sexes suddenly found themselves shared out in different families with new parents and new siblings.    It was a huge change and many found it very harrowing.     But we Thank God, who helped both them and the parents to cope with the situation, and to within a year, bring peace and harmony.      The  Government had wanted us to billet all our over eighteens in hostels or rented accommodation OUTSIDE of our own accommodation entirely, in the town; an arrangement so destructive of all we had tried to build up that we could not agree.     We again Thank God that when we laid our hearts and concerns in front of the Kenya Children's Office they quickly saw the good sense of keeping our young adults with us still, on our own property, but in separate accommodation.      It was for them a compromise, and for us a very definite answer.      So far it has worked well, and 'families' have not been completely torn apart.
We are still all together, able to fellowship, and worship together.

DARYL was in Nairobi again this week, on Thursday.     We have had to add two more Trustees this year, and it takes usually a long time - this Application began in 2005!!!     Endless papers had to be signed, and this week, the Lands Office demanded Daryl went himself personally to Nairobi to sign one more document.    We now hope to see Registration completed sometime in January 2017.  Phew.
BUT it is good since the Trustees are responsible to hold all the Titles to the Land we occupy and without their consent no land can be sold, or used for any alternative purpose other than for children's services including education.    There are FIVE Trustees.     Daryl is one, Esther and I,  plus Anthony Ndungu, Principal of the School, and Rev Francis Wainaina, who is currently resident in the UK.                      
It has rained heavily again this afternoon, so we may not run out of water just yet.   God hears all our prayer.     We Think of you all so often.    Thank you for just being there with us on the road.    A dear brother in Christ and God's kingdom passed away this week.    Frank Ford and I were students together in I.B.T.I for our Bible training.   We were good pals,    He married another student called Carol, and they have been ministering in Spain for as long as I have been here.    May the Lord comfort the family, and sustain the fruit of Frank and Carol's  ministry.
AGAIN our love to you always in His Mighty and All :Prevailing Name

John, Esther and Daryl Green

Saturday, 19 November 2016

WITHOUT FAITH IN GOD NOTHING IS POSSIBLE

NOT A SIGN OF REPAIR WORK!   Last week we showed the damage to the Pool floor, which caused us to drain off some of the water in order to replace tiles.      This week, the work having been done, there is not a sign of work having been done.    Once more perfection, and the Pool is in full use.     We are thankful to Daryl and those who assisted him in getting things attended to so quickly - and by the Grace of God!   When we began the repairs the County Water Dept., began RATIONING water due to the poor precipitations over recent months.   When it came to refilling the water taken out we could not do so.      BUT little by little water came, on and off, and at last the Pool was full once more.  But rationing continues.
We are very glad of it, since it has provided good recreation and exercise for our children during School Holidays.
TO THE RIGHT a view of the FIRST planting of our Tomatoes in the Greenhouse.   They are doing well, but we think there is room for improvement on the way they have been planted. The 'support' has not been done well enough, and perhaps also the plants were a little too close together in places. Even so the crop looks good, and plentiful..     Strings were set but I think the twine was not strong enough and in fact they are almost invisible in these photos.
below LEFT is a small picture of the SECOND planting which takes up the second half of the Green House..   the BIG factor now is the flow of waster through the DRY season which we now expect to be with us until March/April.      WE ARE looking into the cost of putting in a Bore Hole to assist with a more secure water supply.
One of our major vegetables eaten all the year round is known as Sukuma Wiki here (its proper name being Colewort).   The loose Swahili meaning translates as 'Push the Week' as it is cheap and always available eaten with Ugala (boiled Maize flour) with chicken or meat, or even on its own.   We have planted it all around the exterior of the Greenhouse as shown below, Right.


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WE DO THANK all those who have been supporting during the last month and a half.     I have sent out Notelets to those who actually did so, and also Updates to EVERYONE including those who do not have access to the Blog at this time.      I have also been trying to update and improve our Address List of all our friends.    Thank YOU for replying to our enquiries as and when you could, and we feel glad to feel more up to date with you.       My Computer Address list was hacked into earlier last month, and I have had to become more vigilant and also regular in changing Passwords and so on, although we have so far not changed our E-mail address and it remains as it was.    We do apologise if any have been receiving material as from me which has been offencive or trying to solicit or obtain  funds in any way.     
DAUGHTER HELLEN & granddaughter ABIGAIL are currently with us till after Christmas.    Hellen still teaching in Nursery School Nairobi.    Abigail is now 2. 8 yeas, and growing to be quite a personality.    Lovely to have them with us though it certainly does liven things up - a real couple of Sweeties!!
Hoping to also see HENDRIKA our daughter living in America, soon - she hopes to arrive here for Christmas with us on the 14th December.

HOW QUICKLY the days go by - at least they do for us.    Seems almost impossible that it can be Sunday again tomorrow.     Yes time goes by unnoticed - and all the while we are being brought closer to meeting the Saviour face to face.       So easy to forget.  So easy NOT to be READY to meet him, and perhaps to be embarrassed?     I pray about this quite a lot relative to 1.John 2v28 & 3v3 taken also with Philippians 2v1-18 in the New Testament of the Bible.     Tomorrow afternoon I am to lead a Bible Fellowship for our staff on the topic of Imitating Christ's Humility.    Baring the Scriptures above in mind I am already feeling very challenged about my own discipleship.
God BLESS and be with you all in Jesus Name

John, Esther and Daryl Green

Saturday, 12 November 2016

MARCHING ON!

BACK TO THE SWIMMING POOL AGAIN!!     Remember we planted this Pool in 2013.    We have had a lot of trouble with it, due mainly to the inexperience and 'know-how' of the so called 'Contractors' that laid it down in the first place.    But a year ago we found tiles breaking, or just lifting, on the floor near the shallow end.   We thought this was just going to need a few replacementd tiles, but more continued to break - and all along a particular LINE across the Shallow End and just above our name 'TESTIMONY'.

This is also just where the shallows begin to dip progressively to the DEEP end.      On investigation we discovered that the contractor had not laid a 'gradual' gradient downwards but an abrupt one which began midway between a line of tiles thus providing a kind of 'see/saw' effect on that row of tiles; they kind of 'pivoted'.   Thus water got between the tiles and the pool floor - and the glue diluted and the tiles began to come away and crack. The photo to the left just shows the situation to perfection.
To finally - we hope - fix this problem we hav, this week, had to lower the level of water in the pool to below the area of need, and adjust the pool bed along the line of fracture, relay with new tiles, and refill the pool water to the proper level.     Not a very BIG job, and only three days work.

I thought to share about it because it demonstrates the kind of thing that can crop up extra and often unexpected within a few days.     It had to be attended to quickly because it is in use a good twelve hours a day, and to Shut Down for just a day causes untold inconvenience - even now with the School Shut, for the Homes still use it, and also it is open to outsiders to come in to enjoy it.     Life is full of unforeseen events that add to or interrupt our plan for the day or week ahead.


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AND, OF COURSE, DONALD TRUMP has popped into the Last Days possibilities.    He who is a 'Friend of Israel'.      Gave me pause to consider National Leaders, and I found myself briefly thinking about the Emperor Marcus Aurelius who died around 180 A.D.    He was known as the "Philosopher King'  and considered the best of all the Emperors.    A man who lived for what he believed as a disciple of Socrates,   One of his sayings to the left says
'WASTE no more time
arguing about what a good man should be.!
BE ONE!
And even further ' REMEMBER who you are, WHAT you are meant to BE, and let your actions be done with dignity, gravity, humanity, freedom and justice.\
Let every Action be done as if it is your last - (AND do not act as if you are going to live for ten thousand years - death hangs over thee).   While you livest, while it is in they power, be GOOD.  Put it out of the power of all men to give you a bad name, and if anyone reports you not to be an honest or a good man, let your practise ( your deeds) give him the lie.    A Man or Woman of integrity and good nature can NEVER be concealed.'

Aurelius was followed by his son COMMODUS, a weak though not an ignorant man who took up his position as Emperor only to degrade it, and spoil it.     Indeed it is said of him that he took the Roman Empire 'from being a kingdom of gold, to one of iron and rust.'     And Gibbons, writer of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, believed that it was from the time of Commodus that decline BEGAN.
Commodus rejected his father's example in every moral way and lived only to please himself and the appetites of his own body and flesh.      He also deceived himself into believing he himself was a god, trusting in his own fallible wisdom and weak character.

Any one of us can be leaders, or have the ability to lead, but not everyone has what it takes to lead.
It takes Moral Excellence.   (read the Amplified Bible translation of 1. Corinthians 4v20).    Leaders without it, or without striving for it in their own lives, will lead us all downwards into chaos, but those who struggle to achieve and hang on to it will lead us up to sunlit lands of peace, prosperity and moral integrity.

Mr. TRUMP has trumped all the other competitors for the job, but does he have the Moral Excellency needed?     Will he BE a GOOD man?      JESUS says there is none good only God who made us, and thus only those who have turned their lives over to God in Christ can pretend to BE GOOD.   Who and What possesses Donald?      It will be by the Answer to this question that we shall see him succeed as a true Leader or not.

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THE LORD has today provided our needs, and although daily necessities continue to progressively, moment by moment, be used up, yet we are filled.     

I always remember the Widow of Zarephath told about in the Bible in 1, Kings 17v10-15.    The flour and the Oil never came to an end until the 'rain' came.  It was NOT a short time - when she needed - something it was THERE!
Last week we ran out of maize flour (a staple ingrediant of our diet) - not just Esther and me - but the whole Family of Testimony; FIVE households of more than 150 souls!        In the middle of the morning someone came to OUR back door and left FIVE BALES of Flour - anonymously- and so ....... we continued to eat what we initially believed had come to an end.    God does hear our prayer, and He does answer and we are KEPT by His Power working in and through YOU, and by others who even come invisibly to our door and leave their gift.   Truly God is Wonderful,    I have sometimes wokndered if the Widow becae kind of 'used to it' and took it for granted.     To us here it is such an EVENT, such a wonderFULL thing.    We are for ever touched, with the Wonder of it, the Miracle of it.     Blessed BE the Name of the Lord, the Name of Jesus.

Our love to you all in Jesus Name

John, Esther and Daryl Green

Saturday, 5 November 2016

STARTING AT 13 AND ENDING AT 2, HAPPILY.

QUITE A BUSY WEEK has gone by, dominated by the 2016 Primary Graduation from the National Exams which commenced on Monday with a full day of Preparation, and then on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday the actual Examination, culminating in a Graduation Luncheon for those 65 of our students who sat the exam, and who now must prepare for the jump to Secondary School in January 2017.
The Luncheon took place in our School Hall, together with some forty to fifty invited guests from among the teaching staff, and others.   IN THE PHOTO above the invited guests are seated to the left and the students in the middle and to the right.    At the far end is the High Table where Head Teachers, Management are seated, Esther and I part of them.       We began at 1p.m. and concluded at 3.20p.m., having all eaten, and shared Words of Greeting and Congratulation ending in my short message printed last week in the Blog.
Dr. Bwombengi was one of those who Congratulated the Graduates, a parent who has seen all his children pass through Testimony, and thus a friend and supporter of the School over many decades. He is currently Chairman of our Parent / Teachers Association.       Also, The Students Representative of the 8th Primary Grade,   Helen Githambothi, shared a short word, on behalf of her Class, of appreciation and farewell.
Mr. Anthony Ndungu, Principal of Testimony School, (Nursery/Primary/Secondary,) and who has been with us since we started Primary School in 1983, was also on hand to encourage and motivate, as also the new Primary Headmaster, Mr. Benjamin Emojong.     Each contributor took only a few minutes, and were greeted with considerable happiness and excitement.      It is always an occasion looked forward to each year, and marks the end of eight years in Primary School, and the advent of a new chapter in School life.
Daryl was also at the top table with us, and was also one of those who spoke.    below a
photo of the occasion taken from the front of the Hall, looking to the doorway

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DURING the Luncheon we also were blessed to share in the 14th Birthday of one of our Islamic students who was also in the Graduating Class.     His parents had sent a Cake for the occasion for everyone to enjoy.    The cake represented a football set in a field to the glory of Manchester United.   The student, Luqman Shakil, came to the high table, and Esther assisted him to make the first CUT, and then went on to cut it ALL up for everyone to enjoy a small piece, and to wish  Luqman  a very Happy Birthday  -   a very nice and appropriate occasion with all his friends present.
To me this was indeed very special, and I felt also very glad that, as a school, we do not see divisions of any kind spoil the 'family' spirit that has always been in the School since we began.   Each child, and even our staff, is evaluated equally, and we continually teach that we need to love one another without making differences of any kind, no matter what others might say to encourage us to do otherwise.    With more than 66 ethnic groups making up the nation and being multi religious it is no easy challenge, but with the young especially it more who you support in soccer arena than what tribe or religion you are.      I believe the True and Only God LOVES everyone.

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DURING THE WEEK,  our son Steven, who is visiting shortly (he will leave for Nairobi this evening, to fly back to the United Kingdom on Sunday evening)  decided together with assistance from Christopher Kiptisia one of our old boys, to lay a Memorial Slab over the grave of Paul Ngugi another of our old boys who died in 2011.    Paul had been part of the Testimony House family since 1974.  His story is told in total in the Blog of 22nd October 2011.
Steve had been wanting to this for some time, and so as he was HERE he decided to just go ahead.     Paul was very loved and missed by all of the family in Testimony, and many attended his funeral when he died,  testifying to all the many years of his life had meant to them.

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WHILE STEVE HAS BEEN WITH US he has also been taking shots of the School, and many of them have provided new and comprehensive views of the extent of this complex which has been in the building since 1983.  I want to include some here, but FIRST is a final glimpse of our Primary Graduates - only about half of them - taken after the luncheon when a number had already been collected by parents before we could get them together.    They all look a little tired and dishevelled after two and a half days of head work, and a heavy lunch.

Starting off with a view of the Nursery School with Secondary Classes just visible behind.  We started Nursery in 1981 with just a handful.  Today it has a population of 160, and feeds the 1st Grade of Primary which started in 1983,
This view is of the Primary School 1st to 4th Grades.    A Block of 8 class-rooms - two for each Grade.  Average classes take 36 students each.   This was built in 1987.

Again to the left, Part of the Secondary School building which comprises 4 classrooms, library, and dormitory space for 60 boys.   The School as a whole is for boys AND girls, and provides limited boarding space for 100 girls and 100 boys spread over Primary and Secondary independently and specifically for those in the upper grades of both school only.  to the right of this photo is a view o the School Swimming Pool which was installed during 2013, and is sited just to the left of the Secondary School.          It is also open the public at times.


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YESTERDAY,   The Children's Office called Daryl to the County Hospital.    A two year old boy had been taken there some months before, having been badly beaten by his grandmother after her daughter had dumped him on her.      The grandmother said she could not cope with him.      Daryl brought him home, and he is now part of the Jacaranda Cottage family where he has become everyone's darling!   His name is given as 'Sheldon'.      One can wonder where a name like that rises out of a very rural, and slummy area, from uneducated parents.      It just does not seem to FIT the child; it is somehow unlike him, and alien to his situation.   The picture on the left was taken in his hospital bed.   The one on the right was taken on Jacaranda Cottage veranda a few hours later.  










FINALLY,  Esther and I are just back from the Airport once more, Daryl driving us together with Steve and Tonia.    The week has rushed by, and before we got used to having them they are gone. Such is life.    They are now in Nairobi till tomorrow night when they fly home to England.   In between now and then they will be meeting with other members of our family and friends - a very busy evening and day.    We thank our Father in Heaven for letting us have them if ever so shortly just to ourselves.



Please remember us all here in your prayers as we look away to the Author and Finisher of our Faith. It has been quite a difficult month, yet at the same time FULL of victories and advances in the ministry here.     We give him all the Glory.
With Love as always in His Wonderful Name, the Name of Jesus

John, Esther, and Daryl Green 



Saturday, 29 October 2016

LET US WATCH OUR STEPS

THIS WEEK we admitted to Tyndale Cottage a young brother and sister.    The brother aged approx 3 named Gravine, and his sister Mavine aged approx 6 found themselves suddenly deprived of their mother and only parent when she was arrested and imprisoned for what appears to be a
minor offense.     The Children's Office, finding the children alone and at risk brought them to us - for how long we do not know since it is not known whether the Mother will be imprisoned for long or not.    She normally sells vegetables in the market for a living. Otherwise we have not yet seen any factor which might make her unable to take back the care of here children once released from Custody.      Just a little practical help might assist her to establish a small market business on a firmer footing giving her the chance to provide for herself and children. Putting her in prison seems to help no one, effectively orphaning the children.    This is also a rather difficult case for us since we do not know how long they may stay with us, and yet we must lay out and invest in their well-being and necessary provision whilst with us.    They came to be with us on Thursday of this week, and on Friday they had begun to look more settled, though still anxious for their mother.  Altogether, with their Admission, we have Admitted Eleven children this year.        We expect to lose 6 by the end of the year, and have current vacancies for about 10 expected by 31st December.      Our current population 137.

SCHOOL - except for the Primary and Secondary National Examination candidates (some 100 students) - has closed for the long summer break;   we expect to open again the first week of January 2017.   Primary Exams begin on Monday, and end on Thursday next week, and the Secondary Exams thereafter.      Fortunately the sun has reappeared in clear blue skies.     So now the majority will immediately be at home and holiday fun and games AND some remedial studies will commence running up  to Christmas.

ON FRIDAY MORNING, our son Steven and his eighteen year old daughter Tonia, arrived for a week's visit.    Esther and I so happy and excited to see them.    It would have been even better if Anji our daughter in law and son Eric could also have come, but finances are less elastic than ever before and we understand the restraints being put upon all our spending.     Anyway we hope to all make the most of this 'treat'. and I know you will rejoice with us at this special gift.    NB - Testimony House backdrops this photo, and this was home to Steven from when he was just six months until he flew the nest!

NEXT THURSDAY, I have been asked to say a few words at our Primary Graduates Leaving Party.
Very simple.    I thought you might like to see what will be said this year.    Most of our students will have been with us from Nursery School.....    Having concluded their papers they will gather in the School Hall, which will have been laid out with individual tables for 4-6,  together with their teachers and a few others such as Esther and me. Daryl, as Director and a few others.    We will have lunch together and then after a few presentations, choirs and speeches I will stand up..........
A

A man, - a poet called Robert Burns - wrote in 1785 these words
'The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray'.'

Not everything we plan to happen actually does happen the way we hoped!   Life sometimes seems to go astray, and just does not pan out the way we had hoped or believed for.
This is true for mice and men !
The MOUSE, for example, may be aiming at getting some cheese that it can see and smell, not far away.  But, instead of enjoying an expected feast, it finds itself the guest of a Mouse-trap - DEAD!    All the mouse could see and think about was CHEESE, and it did not consider where it was going carefully and realistically.

ONE DAY, President Daniel arap MOI had planned to fly to the USA.   HE was seated with all his retinue in the huge Jumbo Jet, with the rest of pilots ready for take-of.    Slowly they began to ease out of the boarding area.     THEN SUDDENLY things began to go wrong.   One of the wings, as plane moved toward the runway, somehow became entangled between two huge wooden flagpoles.   Nothing seemed able to be done to safely get the plane back on track without damage, and after more than hour the President had to get up and return to State House, all his plans having to be altered.
In the Poem by Burns a Mouse was busy building a house of straw in a hay field for itself and young.   It was a good day, everything seemed right - but suddenly all changed when the farmer ran over everything with his hay wagon, and the day had changed, and the future too - for the mouse as for the President also!
LIFE IS LIKE THAT !   It might be like that for you also.     Right now you will be thinking of how life will be for yourselves, now that the KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) is over. YOU will be making plans, and maybe your parents also!    Take Care!  Read carefully and prayerfully in the Bible, in the New Testament, and in JAMES 4v13-17.   We have need, in all our planning and human intentions, to first defer God, to find out His Mind about it!
Look at JEREMIAH 10v23 - it says  -  'It is not in man (even in a strong man, or in a man at his best) to plan his own steps, pathway, life.

Without GOD, without Jesus, in our lives, thoughts and plans, we shall achieve nothing at all.  We might try to fly, and be brought down by a piece of wood, or pursue some temptation and end up dead in a mousetrap.   YOU will be planning for your NEXT School.    Make sure it is God's Choice and not only your own.   Trust you NEXT step to Jesus.   Let Him be your guide and your future.
When I was a teenager I did just that, and I have NEVER been sorry.  Without HIM I would have missed my way many times and ruined my life as well.

TODAY IS THE END of a Chapter of life for you all.   Where and how you go from
here should be very carefully considered - both by you AND your parents or guardians.
Some of you will travel far from here,   Some may perhaps stay on in Testimony Secondary School. But wherever you go and whatever you do, make sure you talk to God first about it, and let HIM be the one to finally arrange you steps; your every move; your life.    AND remember He is interested in you, your life, and howyou use that life.  He gives us life, and finally we shall be accountable to Him as to how we will have used it.

May He ever watch over you and keep each one of you safe.   Most of all confirming His Reality and Precense with you moment by moment.    God Bless you - John Green.


Well I am through once more for this week.      Thank you all who have sent to us via AENON over the last month - I shall be in touch personally soon.    And also thank to those who have been updating us with contact information.   Bless you all.

John, Esther and Daryl Green

Saturday, 22 October 2016

OUT AND AROUND!

AT LAST OUR THIRD COW, so far unnamed, and here showing off her fluffy ears!   She is the first of her kind that I have seen with ears like this.     She is in calf, expecting any day, and is said to be an exceptional Milker.    We shall see.     So now we have THREE all looking rather like her but without the frill round the ears.     So the Dairy will soon be running on all cylinders so to speak.   We are very grateful to the Lord for finding this addition for us, and I know many have also been praying with us that we might find a really good cow to join our little 'herd'!!
TO THE LEFT  a view of our LAYERS just transferred from their initial premises to larger ones, and you can see they are no longer baby chicks, having now moved on from original fluffy yellow balls to brownish feathery youngsters soon now to be adults.    Still some time before they will commence laying though. We have some 340 of them at present plus 400 Broilers.
AND TO THE LEFT AGAIN, an update on the Tomatoes!     They seem to be doing well, and you can see a few blossoms already showing.
But the WEATHER is quite unstable.   After a week of sunshine and warmth, this last week has given way to CLOUDS and RAIN again!   Right now outside it remains a dull day with clouds, and it has only just stopped raining since early morning.   None too warm either which doesn't please poor Esther too much, as she is struggling to get over a cough and cold left over from the last 'cold snap' of a week or so ago.

Good to see things going on.    Even the Kitchen Gardens are doing well, and full of stuff growing and thriving.    We Thank the Lord for His Favour.

WELL this is getting like 'The Farmer's Weekly'!!     But it has been a rather quiet and pedestrian week here, and we thank God for it.    There are many times when daily routine is enough to actually cope with, without anything sensational happening as well.      ALSO one cannot always be inspired, and since there is very little 'feed back' on how our content is received, or suggestions on how we might improve our style and subject matter to create greater interest, we just plod on.    So far we have also had little response from our Contact Enquiries - only two.    Well we shall in any case continue hoping that slowly slowly we shall be led of the Lord for the future pattern of this Blog.

This week I am concluding with the photo opposite which made me remember that night, when shut outside in our backyard whilst my parents violently argued inside the house, I sat and looked up at the star filled sky, and idly asked out loud to myself  'What IS holding the stars UP?'   At six I had never been to church or Sunday School, but my Mum always made me say my prayers before I went to bed each night, and thus brought God consciousness into my life.     "GOD is holding the UP!'   I found myself answering, and with that settled in my mind, I also found PEACE in myself and in my situation.   If He was there holding the stars up there was no doubt in Him also being able to hold me, and my Mum, up too.      He has never failed to prove it progressively for the seventy years since then.   He has been a true Father to me, deeply etched in my soul by the Life, Death, and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Love you all, and have a blessing in the week ahead.

John, Esther and Daryl, Green


Saturday, 15 October 2016

WHO HAS A SAY IN WHAT HAPPENS?

A HAPPY FAMILY REUNION,,,,. Yes indeed.   It was taken on the steps of our School Hall in in 1989, twenty years after we began to build homes and families for children who had lost them.  ALL adults in the photo spent a good part of their childhood with us,..  and to day many are now parents with their own children, still in touch with us and glad to have spent time with us without regrets.     More than 120 attended this Reunion out of the 220 that had come to be part of TFH.  In another three years it will be our 50th Birthday, and we expect an even bigger crowd to be with us to
celebrate!
THINGS ARE NOT THE SAME however, mainly due to Government policies regarding Child-Care, and the pressures upon it from World Organisations.       When God spoke to me to notice 'orphans' it was impressed upon me that I should try to provide family homes for homeless kids who had lost both home and family.    The idea was to have married couples with their own family come to be parents in any one of our family units, and to become Dad and Mum to another 30 odd boys and girls who needed home and family, and who were suffering due to the loss of them.    A unified Family extended to include more than ones biological children.       Then a slightly 'expanded' version of the old cultural 'extended family in the Kenya tradition.     We took in boys and girls between 0 and 10 years from any tribal or cultural background, trusting in the Kenya Children's Department, as it then was, to assist us to help only most needy, and completely orphaned.     We were welcomed with open arms and great deal of real interest in those early days.  
In 2015, after having avoided the issue for some years, we found ourselves facing an edict to remove all those of our children, eighteen and over; out of their 'homes' where they were still attending School or College, and into some kind of 'digs' or hostelry in Eldoret Town.      We had resisted because we had disagreed with the idea from the start.     We had taken young kids and infants into family home environments and brought them up together.     We could see no happy, normal reason to now tell them to get out of their family circle.     When we finally did so it was quite traumatic for some,  and even now having tried to make the break in continuity as little as possible, we see, if not heartbreak, at least bitterness in the hearts of many.       In order to comply with the now named Department of Children's Services, we made available two houses on our compounds to be used as Hostels for over 18 Boys and Girls.     When the day arrived for them to be occupied those over 18 left the home and family they had been brought up in and those who had acted as parents to them, and moved away into a sexually segregated and less homely atmosphere whilst they waited to complete their education and find employment so that they could finally leave us with dignity, and a little security.      It is working, but it is not the same as it was, and is certainly not an improvement but rather a setback in now being able to continue following our initial vision.     We are still able to be together, but the idea of 'family' has been raped and torn apart.    
THIS WEEK we have been again warned, with all those also engaged residential child care in Kenya, that we should expect to see all Residential Children's Homes closed down or severely regimented to accommodate Government needs within the possible next few years   -   and instead the oft failed practise of Fostering will take their place.  
TODAY, at the East African Orphan Summit 2016, it is stated that it is   'estimated' that 3.6 million orphaned and vulnerable children are in Kenya - of which 2.4 are orphans, some 350,00 or more on the streets of our town and cities.    Another 50,000 are said to be in 1,014 registered and regulated children's numbered.    'The number of unregulated and unregistered homes is unknown but expected to as high as that of the Registered ones - THUS the number of children housed in these orphanages is much higher than estimated.'     

This seems at serious odds with what the Government is admitting.     Nevertheless it IS saying that this year a million will be cared for through their OVC and Fostering Programmes.    It sounds good, but in practise the issue is a doubtful one, with a sizable number of 'fostering placements' finding their way back to the streets annually.

How do we feel about this?    

We feel that Fostering is not the ONLY way of assisting and securing children adrift in society.   In our own set up we managed to provide an ongoing, safe, and secure environment based on loving 'parent child' relationships.     We avoided situations and conditions that would further disrupt a child's security and normal physical and phsycological development.    Children who are fostered often end up being moved from home to home or just running away..    Children's Homes have been more able to give children an unbroken opportunity to conclude their walk from childhood to adulthood without interruptions of any kind, and FEW run away.  The latter scenario is obviously BETTER for the child than the first.   We shall continue to devote ourselves in assisting true and needy orphans, by finding ways and means of giving them back what they have lost, and sure foundation to begin their own lives upon.   We shall hope to keep you posted on how things develop as days go by.    
Finally as a postscript to the foregoing let me add this extract from a report made by the Institute for Research on Poverty:-
'Some agencies shave no more awesome power than the right -with the due process of law - to take children from their parents for an indefinite period of time and dispose of the as they see fit.   Although no one disputes the need for foster care, no one endorses it as a solution to the problems for which it is invoked.   When children are abused or neglected by their parents, or when the parents cannot - for any number of reasons - care for their children, someone must intervene to see that the children are adequately looked after.   That someone is usually the government, and the intervention is frequently foster care.'

BUT what IS good for the child?     What ARE the effects of foster care on the functioning of adolescents and adults.

'The authors raise the question of what we should expect from foster care..   Is it sufficient that the care doesn't damage children more than they  have already been damaged by the events that led to the break up of their family?    Should we rate foster cares as successful if it produces outcomes equal to those of adults in a comparable group in the general population? Or should we seek to devise a system of caring for these need children that enhances their future chances?'

Daryl spent three days this week attending a special Seminar convened in Eldoret.    He feels the Government is quite determined to follow through with its program but for the intervention of God.


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THIS WEEK,  I have been busy trying to put our Address Lists in order.   I think I have circulated everyone both on and of E-mail.    But let me again encourage those who have received any notice from us to do their best to confirm their contact addresses.       

We also had a Donation from many of you via AENON.    We do thank you all, and may He bless each and every one.

Lovingly from us all,

John, Esther, and Daryl Green