Monday, July 7, 2008

Long Overdue Update

It has been too long now since I last updated. Time has flown by with busy days, and then we ran out of units for our wireless modem and we did not have a chance to get more until today. So, allow me to recount the past week for you, so that we can all get up to date, and then I’ll share with you our upcoming plans.

This past weekend, we received a team from the states who would lead the women’s course with me. We took them to the village to visit the family and orphans who are there, and they were received with a very warm welcome in traditional Luo fashion.

There were many people from all over the village and surrounding area who had come to greet us, there was a Word given, there was music, song and dance, and then there was food. Lots and lots of food. It was a great afternoon!

These are all the brothers, sisters, mother and father of the Okongo clan. Yes, that would be 13 siblings. There were 16, all from one mama. She is an amazing mama.

The Okongo brothers. Good men.
The Okongo women. In the kitchen.
On Monday we began the Bridges for Women course on Biblical storytelling. We had 10 women who are all key leaders, pastor’s wives, and influential women in their communities, and most were overseers of several other churches.

They were all very excited to be a part of the training, and were even more excited to put it into use in their communities. Each of the women could remember sitting in large groups as children listening to their grandmothers tell stories about their heritage and their tribes. They could recall to this day stories about jackals and hyenas, lions and tigers, each story containing a moral for life. They were excited to put these stories from Scripture into the mouths of women, equipping them to bring more than just good morals, but power and biblical authority to transform lives.
One woman so rightly stated that she was looking to replace the gossipy stories on the tongues of women with the truth of God’s Word. Women will always talk. They will always tell stories to each other. That’s just the way God wired us. The question becomes, which stories will we tell?

Are they not the most beautiful women you've ever seen?

The course ended on Wednesday with a beautifully simple time of commissioning and prayer. We are excited to hear the report of what will be done with this and how it will be used. We are also praying about pulling another group of women together to do another course in August after we return from Ethiopia. There has been such an amazing response to the first one, and several requests from other leaders to go through the training, so we are asking God for the direction and timing. I will keep you updated on that.

Thursday evening we said goodbye to the team who come, as the next day we were going separate directions. They headed off for a safari to take in God’s wonders in Africa before they headed back to the states, and we headed off to visit some folks in Nakuru, which was a hotspot during the post-election violence.

The drive to Nakuru was….exhausting. To begin with, there are only certain parts of the road which are good to drive on, and the rest is horrible, full of potholes, unpaved in portions, rough!! But then we also passed several camps for folks who had been displaced during the violence, whose homes had been destroyed and had no other place to go. They are now referred to as IDP’s (internally displaced people), as they have no where to go. They cannot return to their previous homes (most of them have been destroyed) and are unable to travel back to the tribal land for whatever reason. So there they stay in tents. We saw evidence of violence in every village and town that we passed through. Ashes that used to be home, buildings that were once shops or businesses that have been looted, torn down, or burned.

There is a lack of humanity here that is born out of desperation and hopelessness. One that would allow a human being to stab a child with a machete and dance victoriously around it. One that would say nothing as families are burned alive inside their own homes. One that says that there are no boundaries, no act too vile to commit, no line that cannot be crossed. That is why we are here now. The leaders and churches that we are working with have a vision for transformation, and we are working hard to empower and encouragement them in that. We have been told that some of the things we desire to address are not polite. Such things as prostitution and sexual immorality, polygamy and/or wife inheritance, rape and female circumcision. It seems that this is a culture that is slipping away from Christianity and moving back toward tribal ways, and that can be a challenge to go after without offending the culture. Please pray for our wisdom, that God would open ears and prepare hearts, and that He would provide the avenue to release the power of His Word.

The rest of this week, we will be meeting with community leaders, both men and women, to brainstorm ways to walk forward and mobilize resources for transformation, and then taking a bit of a rest as we prepare for what lies ahead.

Next week, we will be heading back to Nairobi and on the 18th we leave for Ethiopia. We will be in Ethiopia from July 18th until August 5th, and during that time, Rev will conduct 2 training sessions and I will do 2 women’s courses. Those are the future plans for now. Please be in prayer about that.

That’s the update for now. The girls are doing well. Juju is speaking more and more, though most of it is still her own conversational tongue with God. Toria has been wowing the people here by learning the various languages and being a great ambassador for Christ, even at her tender age.

OOOHHHHH….and I left y’all hanging for quite some time about Mary, but I do want to give you a quick update about her. She did come back to the Obongo land, within a few days of being taken back to the other home. She has now been given a room and a name among the Obongo family, which has restored a sense of dignity to her. She was told that she now has a home and a people to call family. You should have seen her beam. She has been given clothes and shoes, which she wears with great strength and pride. She has been given tasks and chores to do around the land, and works alongside the women in cooking, cleaning, and gathering water. She is slowly opening up, talking, smiling, and even laughing. Healing has begun, and we are praying for Jesus to be huge in her life. I cannot thank you enough for your prayers for her precious life, and challenge you to keep it up. God isn’t done with her yet. Redeeming days are ahead.

Blessings to you all, with the grace and peace of Christ.


  1. Shauna,
    Your time here on Earth is so powerful!. I love that about you. I am following your blogs and praying for you and your family. My husband and I have both been agreement that Africa is both on our heart to serve. If God confirms our desire, we will be going with Heidi & Rolland Baker's ministry, (Iris Ministries) out of Mozambique. I will defenatly pray that the Holy Spirt will be with you as you address those tough issues. Love you.
    Desi Goodwin

  2. Wow... it is so nice to meet you. I have a love for anyone serving in Africa.

    My two sons are from Africa. Before they came home they were cared for and loved by missionaries.

    Thank you for the work you are doing. And I feel incredibly honored that you read my book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God."

    Please give my African sisters in Christ a hug from me.

    Much love and many prayers..


  3. Hello,
    Dear One,
    Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety
    or the handle of Faith.
    You have chosen Faith.
    Glod Bless

  4. Wow, y'all. Thanks so much for your encouragement and kind words. Obedience to God is by far the coolest thing I have ever done, and it began an adventure that my mind never conceived. Thank you for standing with us and for your love. It acts as a reminder for me in harder times. Grace and peace to you all.


Thoughts? Feel welcome to share...