The hallway is getting the final coat of paint; some gutters have been installed, and we finally put up some curtains in the volunteer house. The walls on the two new classrooms are done, welded roof trusses ready for installation, and after searching all over Meru, Edwin found some pretty beautiful rocks for the kitchen walls. We had friends over last week, and it’s only after walking around in the dark looking at everything with them that I've remembered to step back and take it all in. When other people see it, I remember the miracles.
Can I be honest?
There are days I have doubted. Seriously doubted.
It is easy to post positive pictures on social media and tell you all the good things, and act like I am always strong. But in the last 2 weeks, several times I have woken up, heart racing, cried, gone for a run, and repeated over and over out loud from Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” I believe all these loose ends are going to come together; I believe that one day I’m going to walk in the office and not breathe in dust and that they’ll finally be done painting so I can start putting books away. I believe that even though there are no high quality green metal roofing sheets in stock in the whole country, that somehow still there’s going to be a roof. And I believe that this water tank project, which has unexpectedly dragged on for months, is going to work when it rains in a few weeks.
But still, there are moments when doubt creeps in.
I’ve had way too much coffee in the last few weeks, as we’ve tried to juggle a lot of things. Let me break down to you some of the recent stressors: Teachers have shown up for training, and we can barely open any boxes of materials because of the dust. The training is nothing like the organized way I’ve imagined it, and we're squeezed into the tiny nurse's office space. We’ve found some housing to rent for teachers, but it’s less than adequate...We’ve patched the roof and stuck cardboard in the broken glass window, and suffered through the teachers’ vomiting kiddos, who are likely sick from the water.
Then there are the artisans who have moved nearby, and some are still without electricity 3 weeks in. We realized 2 weeks ago that there are 12, yes, 12 missing shipments stuck who knows where in the U.S., and so we’ve scrambled to put together a new Spring Collection in 2 weeks (which amazingly turned out pretty great). And at a time when there are limited sales, we’ve felt led to bring in 3 new local artisans.
I’ve been told that we have to dig another hole and get another pump and that the rocks that Edwin worked so hard to find will now be costing more because the giant hill nearby is consuming too much fuel on the delivery truck. Also, 3 of the sewing machines were broken last week and today I misplaced the classroom keys and still haven't found them.
Y’all...the problems just don’t stop. They really don’t. There’s a range of other issues that I won’t even mention here, but I’ll just say that running, deep prayers, and a lot of chocolate and coffee have been on my agenda lately.
But you know what?
God has showed up in big ways.
Last week, it became painfully clear to us that we had completely depleted our current resources for the school. Despite so much fundraising and a good job of staying on budget, there just wasn’t anything left. It was at this same point that someone unexpectedly contacted me to say they wanted to make a large matching donation of $40,000, a donation so big that it can help us keep going on Phase 2!!! I can only say that this is God and that the timing is perfect.
Around the same time, someone else also contacted us to say they’d like to place a large, very large wholesale order for some jewelry for our artisan team: another miracle with perfect timing. One of the items just happens to be something that another client custom ordered over 5 years ago, but never paid for or collected. I was so frustrated back then and remembered thinking how much time and money we had wasted and how hard it was going to be to sell them all somewhere else. In fact, we had to completely change the whole piece around and turn it into something completely different to get it to sell. And now that new item is being ordered in bulk. God redeems all things!
People have also been stepping up. We have artisans in charge of food and others in charge of story writing and picture taking. We have the banana bark collectors, and we’ve convinced several of the footballers to help teach Sunday School. Today the whole artisan team danced around the classrooms in fabric scrap outfits to stay clean from the dust (we do try to remember to have fun).
I don’t know how most weeks are going to work out. I don’t know if the painting is really going to be done tomorrow as they say, or if they’ll varnish the floors in time for the copy machine delivery. One of the GORP Kids told me today he was sure we are building a swimming pool, and while that’s news to me, when I step back, I can see God moving and working, and it is GOOD.
This would be the perfect time to join us in really praying for everything happening with the school. Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to pray for us each day. Pray for all of our leadership team in Kenya that God would increase our faith and we would trust when it is hard.
And finally, if you want to be part of the $40,000 match, you can: