Tag Archives: Kenya

it’s getting close, but we’ve got a long ways to go.

On July 21, Sonya and I will be leaving for Kenya.  We’ve been on mission trips together before but not with 5 kids and not for 2 whole weeks!  We are both anxious and excited.  God has provided for our kids.  We have no worries about where they will be or how they will be cared for.  Praise God!

In Kenya, we will be working with a group of around 200 kids in the village of Machakos and the tireless woman of God who ministers to them, Monica.  With little to do and little supervision after school, the kids of Kenya get caught up in drugs, violence, and sex.  They are attracted to anything that seems to meet their needs.  It sounds like inner city America but it happens all throughout the continent of Africa with the neediest of kids.  These are the kids that Monica ministers to.  She works to meet their needs while sharing the love of Christ and hope we have in Him.  We will help her set up an after-school program to keep these kids off of the streets and share the good news of salvation in Jesus.

Before we return, we will also visit the Heart of the Bride orphanage in Uganda to teach bible to the kids and minister to the workers there.

But we need help to get there.  My trip is covered but Sonya still needs to raise about $1,700 before July 10.  That seems huge but we know God will provide.  If you would like to donate I have given the details below.  Don’t feel pressured to give a big gift or anything at all.  Only do what God leads you to do. If God leads you, whatever He leads you to give will be just the right amount.  Here are the details:

If you would like to financially support this trip, there are two ways you can give:

You can donate online by going to http://heartofthebride.org/donate-missiontrips.  Please choose “Kenya short term mission trip”, indicate the dates as July 21 – August 4, and put “Sonya Crisman” in the team member field.

Mail a Check:
you can mail a check to:

    Heart of the Bride Ministries
    P.O.Box 786
    Niceville, Florida 32588

Checks should be made out to Heart of the Bride Ministries accompanied by a note designating the check to Sonya Crisman for Kenya/Uganda STM Mission Trip.  All financial donations are tax deductible and you will receive a donation statement at the end of the year.
You can also get more information about Heart of the Bride on their website,www.heartofthebride.org.

Thank you so much.  Please keep our team in your prayers as we prepare, travel and minister in His name!



mr. mom//day 9

Yeah, I’m writing this Monday morning.  Yesterday was the hardest day so far.  I think everyone is feeling the absence of Sonya with increasing intensity.

I am really struggling not leading worship right now.  How can I not sing to my God?  That’s what He created me to do.  I am trusting Him with my voice.  He’s knows what’s up.

Kate and Ellie woke up from their naps in bad moods.  I mean bad moods.  Then I was glad I wasn’t leading worship  because we didn’t make it before the service started!  They were so tired and hungry on the way home and we were out of diapers.  So thankful that Taco Bell is on the way to Schnuck’s.

It’s 5 days until Saturday.  I miss my best friend and my mate.

But there were some bright moments in the day.  Kate after the morning service:




Brotey enjoying chocolate milk at our friends house:


Lunch with friends, complete with magic tricks and balloon animals.  And, of course, a call from Sonya.

I was so good to hear her voice.  They started the camp yesterday and their most intense week of ministry.  175 kids, 24/7 until the day they leave, which is this coming Friday!!!  Pray for Holly Johnson, a friend of ours not the trip.  She is sick with a stomach virus or a parasite.  Sonya is taking care of her as well as a really good doctor.  She has medicine and is getting better.  But, like I said, this is a really intense week.  Pray for healing, pray for strength, pray for stamina, and above all, pray for God to move.

Can’t wait to hear about all that God does.



Mr. Mom – Days 2, 3 and 4//Kate report

There is so much going on right now. It’s hard to describe it all. Sonya’s gone. I’m on vocal rest. Kate possibly has arthritis. And, Monday was my birthday. So, summing it up is difficult. Here are some highlights:

Day 2

Ellie is “calling” Sonya a lot on her play phone. And she also asks, “Where’s mommy?” all the time. We say, “Africa” and she says “Oh.”

We’ve been blessed with some amazing friends who are helping so much this week. Each Saturday night the kids are staying with someone who then brings them to church on Sunday. Keeps them from having to get there so early with me and me from having to get them ready before the break of dawn! That made Sunday so much easier. Again, we are so blessed. We did discover, though, that Ellie can now climb out of her pack-n-play. Not sure what to do about that.

We ate at some friend’s house for lunch yesterday. While there, we told Ellie that she couldn’t jump on the exercise trampoline without shoes. So she walked right over to the fridge, grabbed a magnet shaped like a flipflop and tried to put it on. When it didn’t fit, she said, “It doesn’t fit.” and went about her business.

Day 3

Then, last night was crazy with Ellie. She was up forever and climbed out of her crib for the first time. Really not sure what to do about that. Any suggestions?

Today, we had Kate’s first rheumatology visit. The appointment was a 9am in St. Louis. We had to be there at 8:30. It’s 2 hours away. Once again, a precious soul took Ellie at 6:30. The rest of us headed up for the visit. The visit went well. It will still take another three weeks to diagnose her symptoms as arthritis, but if that’s what it is and it stays in the one knee, that will be a blessing. Much easier to treat.


I was reminded again of how bad I am at this Mr. Mom thing when Kate asked if we had any snacks on the trip. Of course we had no snacks. Mommy packs those!

After the visit we went to the science center and hung out for my birthday. We had a blast. It was so special.




I don’t guess I’ve ever gotten to spend time like that with our four older ones. In the middle of it all, we went to the Macaroni Grill for lunch. They treated me so special. They even snuck around and told the waitress that it was my birthday. Of course I could see what they were doing which made it all the more fun. They brought me the Ghirardelli chocolate cake. It was amazing! The cake is in a bowl and comes with a little bowl of chocolate dipping sauce and a blob of whipped cream with toffy and chocolate bits in it. A-ma-zing. It looks a little something like this:


But the best part of that day: Sonya called. I can’t tell you how incredible it felt to talk to her. I miss her so much. But I am so glad that she is there doing what she is doing. That God is going to use her the way He is. Still, I’m counting the days until she returns.

At the end of the day, they put four candles in a cupcake and sang Happy Birthday to me. It was a very special version.


All in all, it was a great day. A very special birthday. Only thing that would have made it better? Sonya here, of course!

Day 4

Everyone slept good through night so I felt a little better. Sarah Dodge kept the kids at the house and they all had a blast. While she was there she made homemade pizza for our dinner! It rocked! I mean really. It was good. The older kids went swimming with some friends while Ellie and I spent some one-on-one time. It was really nice. We sang “Ring Around the Rosie” and hit the ground more times than I care to remember. But her laugh and the phrase “Do it again, Daddy!” are all worth it.


Still, counting the days until August 6.




Day 1

This is the first full day without Sonya. She road to Gadsden yesterday, then boarded the plane in today. She flew to Atlanta (doesn’t everybody?). And now she’s on her way to Amsterdam.

From there, Nairobi!

I’m so proud of her. She was nervous about flying. But today, God gave her excitement. She was nervous about leaving us for 2 weeks, but God has provided so much love and help from our Lynwood family. She is awesome and I know that God is going to do tremendous things through her this week. I know that He’s going to do great things in her as well.

It’s hard sitting here tonight without her on the couch beside me. This would be our coffee time. Then we’d get ready for bed and turn in early because Sunday is an early morning. And I’ll miss her so much during worship tomorrow (especially since I can’t sing right now, post to come later). But I’m so glad she went. She heard God’s call and answered as she should have – obediently! I can’t wait to hear all about it. And I’m so thankful for the example she is to our kids. True courage not the lack of fear, but doing the right thing even when you are scared. That’s my girl. Courageous.

She’s also being a mentor to this sweet girl from Gadsden:

She’s my favorite person in the world.  Sonya, that is!  No disrespect to Holly.  She’s sweet too.

We all miss you, Sonya. I love you more than I can say.




Oh, and Bozeman was there to see them off as well.

Kenya Report # 11 – the last day

Week 2, Day 6 – Friday, June 19

Here’s the set up.  We had to bust one more layer of rock in the porch area.  We only had the morning to it.  We gathered together, prayed for strength, and went to it.  With God’s help, we did it!

It was so great to hear Peter say, “It is good,” in his beautiful Kenyan accent.  I don’t think we would have been satisfied if we hadn’t gotten it done.  The other guys finished the shelves and did a great job.

Then, we celebrated.  Joel and the orphanage hosted to a feast of roasted goat.  It was really good.  I think everyone enjoyed the meal and the celebration.

After lunch, I took little Julius in my arms to love on him one more time.  He was wet all the way through his two cloth diapers, one plastic one, and his outfit so I thought I would try my hand at the cloth diaper thing.  I did fine with the diapers but about halfway through he got me with the ol’ “yellow fountain.”  Yeah, with four kids you’d think I know better than to leave myself unguarded, but he’d wet so much I thought that there was no way he had anymore in there.  I was wrong.  But we made it through.  Despite the tragic start to his life he is full of personality and joy.  He has a part of my heart.

As we gathered outside to take a group picture, I picked up Ian.  He clamped onto my neck and wouldn’t let go.  He is a precious boy with a great smile but still so insecure.  He has a part of my heart also.

It was hard to leave.  We made some deep, real relationships.  The kids were crying.  The House of Hope staff were crying.  Some of us were crying (not me of course).  It was a great two weeks of ministry and team work.  The body of Christ truly has no geographical boundaries.

I will some up our last day in Kenya and our travel home in the next few days.  It is still so hard to describe.  You really have to be there.


Kenya Report #10 – the sum total of my masonry experience

Week 2, Day 5 – Thursday, June 19

More shelf building and wall construction for the men in the morning while the ladies ministered to the children.  Peter, the foreman, came by himself today so we were his only crew.  I felt very honored that he trusted me enough to mix the mud (concrete) for him – they mix it on the ground – and he even let me mortar part of the wall.  Here is my part of the wall:

May it ever stand as a beacon of freedom and support to all who step on its hallowed surface!

After lunch, more rock busting.  We hammered until 4:15.  Even broke another hammer.  All we had left was one metal handled mallet that sung every time you hit a rock.  It was like music to my soul!

Here is a pic of me with Peter and Drew (from Michigan, don’t hold that against him Southerners, he’s a great guy).  I really got to know those guys that day as we worked closely together.

The kids talked about Peter, James and John today.  Guess who they dressed up as?

So, who wants to go with us next year?


Kenya Report #9 – Deepening Relationships

I will admit, a two week mission trip is really difficult.  It is a long time to be gone.  But there are benefits that I did not expect.  The first week you just get to know people.  The second week you really get to go deeper with them.

Week 2, Day 4

For the men, two projects again this day – building shelves and digging a trench and pouring a foundation for a porch on the new building.  We were thrilled to hear that the next day we would be busting more rocks for it!

The ladies got to spend a lot more time with the children – teaching, playing, and building relationships.  On this day they took them to nearby Lake Navaisha.  Some of the children had never seen a lake before.  Jason, Joel and the ladies taught them to play baseball, golf, and fish.  They even paid a local boat owner to take the kids for a ride.  They saw Hippos!  It was a great day for all.

For me, it was also a day of deepening relationships.  One of those was with Peter, the forman for the construction crew that was actually building the building.  I worked closely with him and he had just as many questions about America as we did about Kenya.  I have discovered that he is a brother in Christ and has a great faith in the Lord.

At lunch, I got to spend time with Maina (pronounced with a long “i” sound like “Mina”).

Maina and his brother, Wamae, were abandoned by their mother and left with their great grandmother.  She mistreated them badly – leaving them in the house for days, giving them little food, and leaving them to lie on urine soaked bedding.  At age three Wamae could not stand or walk.  Maina, age 7 when they were rescued, was very withdrawn, afraid of adults, and did not talk.

Today, Maina is much less withdrawn and starting to speak.  I picked him up and he just hung on to my neck for awhile.  He is very affectionate.  Within 6 months of their rescue, Wamae was running all over the place.  They are flourishing under the loving care of the House of Hope.