Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sensible Shoes Ramada-Mariani


As if Ramada isn’t far enough off the main road, which is it, Mariani is even farther after turning of the secondary road. So much so that I began to wonder if there were any people in this place at all and how on earth we would find 100 children to serve with Sensible Shoes ministry. Hidden behind tall bushes along the narrow trail were stalks of already-harvested maize waving in answer to my question. We soon found a tree under which sat a dozen people, eventually accumulating to more than 50, gathered at the last minute to hear an encouraging word from the white woman.

Mariani Baptist Church has been active for almost 25 years in an area where people live beyond what we would consider a reasonably walkable distance from any other church or school. This separation from urban life made the people of Mariani-Ramada the perfect recipients for our Sensible Shoes ministry.







How could we possibly say no to shoes and prayer for
an old woman who'd done nothing but serve others
for her entire life (and had no shoes).

In this place, both young and old received the gift of foot washing, prayer, and a new pair of sensible shoes. The true blessing came when the first young man whose feet I washed and over whom I’d prayed took a basin, filled it with water, and began washing the feet of younger children. And when I looked up, the oldest man in the group sat next to the pastor who were both washing the feet of the children and praying fervently over them. To understand the beauty of this act, it’s important to understand that in African culture women serve men and older men or men of high “status” (such as pastors) are particularly catered to. So to find these older men alongside the youth washing the feet of children with me simply filled my heart with gratitude.

Baraka, which means blessed, immediately began
serving other children and stayed throughout.

Pastor Raymond invited me to visit this church, which is not his,
and quietly began serving the children.

Mzee also began serving with any pomp. I could hear
him praying in whispers over these children.

Pr Isaac (right) served by matching shoes with children
while Onesimus (left) translated for me as well as aided
in shoe matching.

Gathered together after foot washing, shoe fitting, and individual prayers, we prayed corporately over the distant future of these children. We prayed they would be spiritual leaders in their families and churches, that they would be leaders in business practicing Christ-like character, we prayed that they would consumer government positions and make decisions aligning with Scripture, we prayed that they would one day become presidents of nations. We continue to sow these prayers into coastal Kenya believing that God is faithful and will answer our prayers in the days to come.

Your gifts make this Sensible Shoes ministry possible and your prayers make our vision for these children possible. Thank you from the depths of my soul.

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Mariani Baptist Church


As if Ramada isn’t far enough off the main road, which is it, Mariani is even farther after turning of the secondary road. So much so that I began to wonder if there were any people in this place at all. Hidden behind tall bushes along the narrow trail were stalks of already-harvested maize waving in answer to my question. We soon found a tree under which sat a dozen people, soon accumulating to more than 50, gathered at the last minute to hear an encouraging word from the white woman. For a moment I’d forgotten where I was and thought this would be a quick meeting between the pastor and me simply to see and pray over construction progress.


An invitation to visit a church under construction always leads to the greater responsibility of providing a word of encouragement for the church. First Chronicles 29 is always an excellent choice for it tells of when King David gave of his personal treasure for building the temple and then invited the people to do the same. Typically we walk around the church to pray, but in this case we joined hands together in dedicating this land and the building of the church structure to the Lord. What a lovely opportunity to remind people that THEY are the church, not the structure.

Pastor Isaac testified that, after 25 years of pastoring this church, he is finally constructing a permanent structure as a result of what he learned from our Kingdom Business teaching in Hadu a few years ago. We give thanks that he is a faithful servant of the Lord using the resources of the church wisely.

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

BibleWorks Short-term Ministry


Not unlike the western world, East Africa has a vibrant spiritual world, false teachers, misinformed church leaders, and people who are not well trained in using their Bible in Sword fighting (Ephesians 6:16). In response, we organized a single-day lesson for ten coastal Kenya communities to uncover how the Bible came to be and how it can be used to reveal the truth about who God is. Click here to learn more about the program and the seven questions we answered.

A short-term ministry team of three traveled to each location and ministered what participants told us was a very simple and essential training necessary for equipping believers to mature their understanding of God’s Word.

  • We ministered at 9 churches (1 church rescheduled for September).
  • We ministered to 264 adults, dozens of youth, and even more children (some of our content is child friendly).
  • We provided 87 Kiswahili Bibles for those identified as being most in need.
  • We received a total of $71.45 as a sacrificial offering from BibleWorks participants for Bible Translation & Literacy in Kenya.



A special note about the offering we received, add to that $24.00 that was given to Emmanuel Baptist Church for lunch food and returned to us because they catered for their own expenses. Praise God for Pastor Raymond's wisdom and understanding (and application of what he's been learning).

Christ Formation Church Kaloleni

Jesus Jubilee Church Bamba

PEFA Church Ganze

Light of God Evangelism Centre Tandia

Reconciliation Evangelism Centre Kanani

Emmanuel Baptist Church Hadu

Faith Gospel Pentecostal Ministries Langobaya

Kagombani Baptist Church

Mountain of Glory Church Ganda

As a result of this ministry opportunity, we believe people were not only equipped to navigate that great big book for themselves, but they also received freedom from ignorance, cultural strongholds, confusion, and oppression. Thank you to each one of you who made this ministry possible.

If you would like to match the sacrificial offering of $71.45, you may do so at https://www.btlkenya.org/ or at https://giving.surprisedbyhope.org/


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Sensible Shoes Mkondoni

Our Sensible Shoes program for today was nothing short of a divine appointment. Another program was delayed and I was determined to get some time with the little ones whose feet needed some sensible shoes. Who but Pastor Emmanuel is online at 6:00 in the morning. And, he already had an appointment to pray for Standard 8 leavers at Mkondoni Primary as they prepare for upcoming exams. Head Teacher Christine urged him to bring me and arranged for the lovely teachers to serve the children together. With this mass of children, I don't think we've ever been so well organized.


With only 100 pair of shoes, we agreed the first served would be those without shoes. Classes kindergarten through primary 3 were loved on today, because of you. Though we couldn't serve everyone, the teachers and children were grateful. While the exciting part of our ministry time for the children is receiving the shoes, our favorite part is praying over them.

We provide sensible shoes because it opens doors to talk about what it means to walk in love (Ephesians 5:1-2) in a very practical way. Every place you set your foot, remember to walk in love. But for Surprised by Hope, our vision is much bigger. Our vision goes beyond 20, 30, and 40 years. We pray freedom from poverty of body, mind, and spirit. We pray the future of these children into reality. We pray they would be trained up in the Lord, that they would become mentors to others who need the Lord. We pray they would have healthy families who do what is right, that they would become leaders in the churches guiding many toward Christ-likeness. We pray that they would have good jobs and influence many people, and we pray that one among the would become president and lead the whole country in the ways of the Lord.

Please take a moment and pray the same prayers for these children who are growing up under some very difficult circumstances. God bless you for making this ministry a wonderful, fruit-filled reality!


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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sensible Shoes Gede

A gaggle of children were waiting at Festive Praise Church in Gede when we arrived, well more than the 100 who would fit the shoes we brought in our giant sack. Five lovely ladies from Sanctuary of Praise Watamu joined Pastor Christine and several church mamas to love and serve the children with me.


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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Mount Kilimanjaro




On my recent trip to Amboseli National Park in Kenya, I was blessed by the breathtaking view of this mountain. She stood before us in all her glory and majesty, peeking through the clouds that surrounded her. I stood in awe at the sheer beauty and splendor of God’s masterpiece.

Because my adventures included stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro, I decided to do a little research about her and share some of what I found with you.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the northern portion of Tanzania in East Africa near the border of Kenya, not far south of the equator within the Kilimanjaro National Park.
  • Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain (not part of a mountain range) in the world and rises 4,877 meters (16,000 feet) above the surrounding plains. It is made up of three volcanic cones and is itself a dormant volcanic mountain last erupting 200 years ago.
  • Approximately 35,000 people attempt climbing Kilimanjaro each year, with only about two thirds being successful. It is estimated that 3 to 7 people die trying to climb Kilimanjaro each year. The causes vary from altitude related sickness, to accidental falls, to hypothermia.  
  • Mount Kilimanjaro boasts nearly every kind of ecological system: cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.
  • Africa’s tallest tree was discovered on Mount Kilimanjaro in 2016 measuring an astounding 267 feet in height. It is suspected the tree could be up to 600 years old!

 What a blessing to witness God's creation up close.

Guest blog writer: Cindy Faber

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Boabob--Africa's Tree of Life


Another post from guest author, Cindy Faber.

The majestic baobab tree is an icon of the African continent and lies at the heart of traditional African folklore. Baobab trees grow in some of the driest, remotest and poorest parts of rural Africa. There is no such thing as a baobab plantation; every tree is community or family owned and wild-harvested.



They can live for up to 5,000 years and can grow to a huge 50 meters (approximately 164ft.) in circumference and the trunk can hold up to 4500 liters (approximately 1188 gallons) of fresh water, which is enough for 100 showers or 10,000 glasses of water.

The baobab is an intrinsic part of the culture for many African nations. Legend has it that a mighty god had a baobab within his gardens in paradise. He grew annoyed with the baobab arrogantly displaying its beautiful foliage and flung it from paradise to the earth below. It landed upside down, with its roots jutting into the sky and its beautiful foliage buried beneath the earth. This taught the tree and those who witnessed it humility, and this is why it’s also known as the upside down tree.[i]

While many people know of the baobab tree, not many people know that it has a fruit. Baobab is the only fruit in the world that dries naturally on its branch. Instead of dropping and spoiling, it stays on the branch and bakes in the sun for 6 months - transforming its green velvety coating into a hard coconut-like shell.



[i] https://www.treeaid.org.uk/baobab-tree-life/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA05zhBRCMARIsACKDWjd29m0_EsZ1r7Oop5IZKtG6QmHTzrOPwAaDLft--3vqfLXYKjKkv8caAjHlEALw_wcB

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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

100 Christmas Dollies 2018 Ceremony



Our seventh annual 100 Christmas Dollies ceremony was held at Sanctuary of Praise in Watamu. Meal preparations began well before the service in a giant cooking pot. Chicken with rice and stew, pilau, and sweet fruits would fill our stomachs after the service. As the cook quietly prepared for our meal, we praised and worshiped our loving Father on this special day. 





















Fifteen girls from Wings of Compassion, a rescue (emphasis on rescue) home for pregnant teen girls, led us in worship and introduced themselves. Some were sophomore girls with two-year-old children  through no fault of their own. We were blessed to have enough sponsored dollies to send home for their children (photos coming later).



Our guest preacher reminded us that knowing God comes through revelation not intellect. A thought-provoking and important message. Cindy shared the story of Jesus's birth as seen in the book of Luke in a child-focused way and made a great connection between the gift that Jesus is to us and the gift the dollies are to the children. With the help of some awesome women from the church, we served the children with your dolly gifts.



































































The funds raised through these dolly gifts were used in dolly-making, the Christmas meal, and will be used to construct a children's classroom on the church. Read the beneficiary announcement to learn how the Sanctuary of Praise church qualified for the gift. Expect to read more about the progress of constructing that classroom as the project begins.

God bless you for your generosity. Please pray for these children throughout the coming year.
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