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An Update Without Emotion.

We have been here for four months. This fact is hard to believe, in part because it feels MUCH longer, and in part because where have the weeks gone? Four months is one third of a year, longer than any vacation I have ever taken. I keep telling myself we LIVE here. Living here is wonderful and heart breaking and tiring and exciting. My goal for this blog is just to tell you some information and keep the feeling stuff to a minimum. I know my mom is writhing in agony at that statement, but really, there are just some things you need to know.


  1. We are good; really, really good. I am not going to lie and say that some days I do not dream about a leisurely stroll through Target with a Venti Starbucks. But most days, we are all really happy about being here. There are things that are harder and there are things that are better and in the end there is balance. Both Matt and I are happy about working at Neema House. It is evident how God is using our different talents to serve and make Neema a better place to be for the babies, staff and even visitors. 2014-02-18 11.53.46
  2. Our girls are happy here, too. The life they are living is crazy. They are meeting people and going places and eating foods that most kids cannot even contemplate. They have held tiny abandoned babies and questioned about love and family and their own purpose at Neema House. Nothing has thrilled me more than seeing my sweet babies jump into this new life with enthusiasm and questions and delight. When we talk about the differences between here and Texas they never think of anything bad about either place. They are learning by leaps and bounds, both in school and life, and it is awesome.

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  1. Neema House is good; really, really good. We are full to capacity plus one and it is so obvious that what we are doing is changing the lives of the most helpless in a real and tangible way. We have gotten six(!) new babies into our family in the last month: Dawson who was abandoned on a road side, Dorothy who was abandoned at a vacant building site, Doris whose mother died from a misplaced epidural which paralized her lungs, Bakari who is five months old and whose mother died, little Matilda Grace who was delivered in a hospital and her mother left her on a bed in an empty room, never to be seen again, and finally Zawadi, which means gift, a baby of eight or nine months, whose mother had a mental breakdown and left her baby. Six babies, six families known or unknown who are forever changed, because we are here doing what we are doing. It has been an emotional process trying to come to an understanding about a culture that has women who are so lacking in hope and full of suffering that they think that abandoning their baby is the best answer. I have been blessed by the women of wisdom in my life here who have let me see that these mothers are hopeless and desperate and want something better for their babies at any cost. I am glad that they chose to abandon their babies instead of kill them and then themselves, which is talked about and attempted often in this area. These women need hope and grace and way out of the suffering that shackles their lives. I am so hopeful that someday Neema will be able to offer them that, so that they will chose to keep their baby because they see hope and a chance at a future. This is my/our/Neema’s dream.

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  1. The things that were weird four months ago are normal today. Everyone said it would happen, and thankfully, it did. Driving, shopping, talking, money, greetings, weather, cooking…all of a sudden it just became normal. Thank you Jesus!

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  1. God is providing friends, but we still miss the old ones. I am an introvert, Matt is an introvert, Tabitha is an introvert, and Camille is crazy. In spite of ourselves, God has put some amazing people in our path that are blessing us with their openness to friendship. What is so hard is not being able (or just being too tired or over-socialized) to keep up with the people at home. This is my whole-hearted apology. I have been AWFUL at keeping in touch with friends back home. I love you and I miss you and I wish we could have you all here for chili and good conversation. Sunday is the hardest day because you just do not come by community like The Vine very often (ever)!

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  1. We have some things you could pray about….What I see as the biggest goals for our first year is to establish relationships with the nannies, the babies and the people we see often in the community. This takes time, and eyes and hearts open to opportunity to build relationship. This is not easy, but so important. Please pray that we can continue to build trust with those that we serve and interact with often. To truly build relationship we must speak Swahili which is FRUSTRATING! I am so looking forward to the day when I can understand what I hear and respond with the vocabulary of a five-year-old! Satan has been pretty aggressive on attacking us personally with doubt and fear and strife in our marriage (we are good, no worries, just saying, it has not been easy). Please pray that we are protected and able to be each others closest ally and not yet another obstacle. You can always pray for our health. Africa is heck on the immune system. Also, the crate that we shipped before we left Texas is now here, please pray that it is easily cleared through customs, and they do not figure out a neat way to charge us enormous fees.


The End.


I would love questions. Is there anything you wonder about our life here? Do you want to know more about our big dreams for Neema now that we have been here for a few months? To the people that read this, we miss you!

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04/10/2014 at 12:21 pm

I miss Matt. It’s kinda of weird when a guy misses another guy because typically we are just fine not talking about feelings but I miss having him around to just be around. Our trip to the coast is in just a little over a month and I think of him wading in the surf just taking it all in, fishing pole in hand and a catfish on the line. Things are good here of course but it’s starting to sink in you guys live across an ocean now and aren’t just on an adventure from which you’ll soon return. Missing all of you guys but wanted Matt to know specifically he is missed.


    04/12/2014 at 5:56 am

    I miss you also Chris. Sundays just aren’t the same. Of course none of my days are the same, but you know what I mean. 🙂

    I made it to the coast of the Indian Ocean, but no fishing. You should come over and we can try it sometime.

04/10/2014 at 1:03 pm

The information was good. The pictures were great. Emotion in a story is awesome also. I love you ;I don’t need to say how much I miss you and I can’t wait until august. I love every word you wrote. I felt every word even though you said no feelings. Thank you for the update.

Jennifer Williams
04/10/2014 at 1:30 pm

I’m so happy to be able to catch up with you through this blog. We love you and miss you terribly. Summer just isn’t going to be the same.

Donna Hohm
04/10/2014 at 7:25 pm

Hello my name is Donna and I am Dave and Audrey’s neice also from the other side of the family. I know your parents well as I lived in Huron with them also. I have been following and praying for you as you began your journey. I am a nurse and am interested in doing a mission trip. Do you allow or have a need for people to volunteer and come over and spend some time with you?

    04/12/2014 at 5:58 am

    Thanks Donna. We are happy to have volunteers. Just send me an email (it’s in the contacts page), and I can send you all the details.

Joy Erdman
04/10/2014 at 8:42 pm

This is an awesome update! I really miss you! The cool pictures and detailed news things helped! Love you so much and are praying for you often! May God continue to bless you and help you!

04/11/2014 at 11:05 am

Loved the update and the pictures. Always so good to hear from you and to catch glimpses into the life you are living. Can’t imagine the challenges and blessings between the lines and am praying with thanksgiving for the strength and joy in each new day for you.

04/11/2014 at 8:35 pm


04/12/2014 at 6:01 pm

Your update brought tears to my eyes…….we all are so human and incapable except for Christ. Are you in a different home? You are such a blessing !!

04/13/2014 at 3:32 pm

Beautiful update. I miss you all. Love the pictures. I share about Neema house every chance I get with whoever will listen.

Tamie Stansbury
04/13/2014 at 3:46 pm

Kelly and Matt, I’m trusting that Michael, Dorris, and/or Sherry have told you that I’m coming in June. My brother planned a trip to Tanzania and Kenya to visit several missionaries that his church supports, and there was no way I was going to let him do that without me tagging along. Tickets are bought and paid for, shots have been suffered through, the packing list has been started, and the shopping has begun. I have been collecting thrifted clothes to wear there and then donate when I leave. I also plan to bring other things to donate, but am undecided as of yet what exactly what that’ll be. (Must meet and plan with Michael and Dorris. One idea is sterile birth kits.) I’m so looking forward to seeing you and Matt and especially my two blond former nursery babies, who are big enough now to help you with the actual babies. I am beyond excited to have two and a half weeks of loving and caring for babies. I don’t even mind diaper-changing duty. I do hope to get to do a “Dollar Store Safari,” as Sherry calls them, while I’m there, but I mostly want to do baby duty. I arrive on June 19th at KIA, and will depart on July 7th. Please let me know what I can do to facilitate my visit so that it’s help and very little hindrance for you. Love in Christ, Tamie

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