Greetings from Kenya!
Perhaps you have not noticed, but things are a little odd this year! 😊
We have really missed being able to come back and meet with you in person to share what God is doing here in Kenya. So, since we can’t come to you in person, we wanted to share the newly updated MpM magazine!
Despite the chaos in the US, Covid, lack of travel, and just the overall craziness of the world, life and ministry has continued here at MpM.
As was predicted by many, the number of abandoned babies is on the increase. In a one-week period in Sept we received four new babies. And sadly, indications are that this trend will continue.
Ezra Nehemiah was dropped into a pit latrine moments after he was born. Thankfully someone hear his feeble cries and pulled him out.
He was taken to a govt hospital to be cleaned up and cared for. Due to his size (3.5 lbs), and the risk of infection, he was kept at the hospital for nearly a month.
His is yet another story of amazing survival, and we have no doubt God has some special plans for this little one.
Julia Michal is perhaps a better example of what we expect will be a common story in the coming weeks and months. Her mother went to a govt hospital shortly before she gave birth. A few hours after Julia was born the mother told the nurse she needed to go get the baby some clothes. She never returned. When the hospital tried to call the cell number the mother had given them on admission, they found the number was not working.
Sadly, it is not uncommon for a woman to give a false name and phone number when an abandonment is premeditated. We have never been able to understand why the govt hospitals do not take the precaution of confirming these things when admitted. But we have received many newborns under this type of scenario.
The hospital did a “rapid” test for HIV and determined Julia was HIV positive. For a newborn, what this confirms is that the mother is actually positive and the test on the baby reflects the mother’s positive antibodies. As soon as we picked her up, we started her on medication to protect Julia from being infected with her mother’s disease, and took her for a PCR, which is a DNA test to confirm if a baby is truly HIV positive, or just reflecting the mother’s infection. This test is costly so govt hospitals rarely invest in abandoned infants to confirm status. It takes about a week to get the test results, so we continued her meds and covered her in prayer as we waited.
We praise God that when the PCR test result came back Julia was determined to be HIV negative. She will remain on preventative medicines for six months to make sure her mother’s antibodies are out of her system, but all indications are that she will remain healthy and continue growing strong.
The stories of how and why babies are abandoned are heartbreaking, and we are constantly reminded of how we need to pray for a culture that puts so little value on a precious life. As of today, MpM has existed for just over eight years. And in that time, we have played a part in rescuing 243 abandoned, or neglected babies. Every single one is precious in God’s Eyes, and we are so honored to be allowed the privilege of playing a small part in their lives. And we are also honored to have so many of you making it possible!
The big news is that adoptions have started again. While the adoption agencies are just now getting their license to start taking new applications, a couple of them were granted permission to go ahead and start processing adoptions for those who applied before Sept 2019. Since the placements started in mid-July we have had 14 little ones go home with their Forever Families. What a huge blessing it is! And all indications are that we will have several more adopted in the coming weeks.
We have often shared that we only adopt to families that know Jesus as their personal Savior. And many have asked just how we determine that. First and foremost, we spend a lot of time in prayer over every PAP (Potential Adoptive Parent) that we approve. While the adoption agencies match a PAP with a baby, we have the final say on their approval.
Once the agency matches a baby with a PAP, we then have an interview where we ask many questions in an effort to get to know them better. This can sometimes be a challenge as culturally you don’t talk about your salvation, etc. So, we ask general questions and then lead into more specific.
Tell us about your family.
Whose idea was it to adopt?
Share about your faith journey.
Who is Jesus to you?
What does it mean to you to be saved?
Through these, and more questions we can get a good feel for where they stand in their faith.
There have been a few times when we have had to reject a couple at the final interview. This is very painful and hard to do, and usually leaves us with a very upset PAP, but this is one requirement that we will not back down from.
It has been tough not having teams able to come and serve this summer and fall. Thankfully, as we have shared in the past Brea Oravec came onboard and was a huge blessing during our most hectic times. (so far!) Brea was able to travel back to the US for a couple months after she was caught here in the lock down, but will be back in late Oct to jump into her full-time role again.
It was an added blessing for us to have Kaylen Armogum, from our home church back in Indiana, join us shortly after Brea headed west to help fill in the gaps for needed baby care.
Covid continues to make various things a challenge, but overall, we are grateful God has continued to be faithful and provide all our needs.
For the Bell family not being able to travel to see family and friends has been tough on us. There has been very little down time for us, but we did get to take a few days when we had to travel to Nakuru for some immigration paperwork and we snuck in a safari at the Nakuru Park. It was a nice and very needed break.
Many have asked what our travel plans are now that flights have opened back up. And at this point it looks like we will wait until next summer to make the trip back so our furlough lines up with our kids and grandkids “open” time.
Ethan and Selah have just started Grade 5, (as dad wonders how they got there so fast!) and for the most part are excited to get back into school again.
They, like their folks are really missing seeing our kids, grandkids, etc this year. And since March they can count on their fingers the number of times they have left the compound. Like many of you we are missing church and fellowship with the “outside” world.
But we are trusting that by the time next summer rolls around and the world opens back up, we will have lots of extra time to get caught up with all of you.
Until then, we will remain……..
Safely in our Fathers Arms,