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Naomi's Village Day 4

Our team woke at 5am this morning to prepare for a 2 hour trip to Lake Navaisha National Forest – our Safari trip for the week.  WOW!  Beautiful, majestic, breath-taking, awe-inspiring day experiencing God’s creation.  We were able to see just about everything that could be seen – 2 male lions, zebras, flamingos, wilda beast, water buffalo, rhinos, beautiful birds, impalas, more and more and more.  It was just beautiful!  So thankful we got to go.

 

We returned to Naomi’s Village to a room filled with joy – children playing and so happy to see us.  I think the most precious event of the day is praying over each child before they go to bed.  I mean, it is truly God’s presence in that dorm.  Bob and Julie Mendonsa are raising up young girls and boys to be future leaders of this great area called the Rift Valley!  I am so honored to be here.

 

 

Thanks for reading – please pray for Joel tonight, one of the children, who had surgery this week on his eye.  Thanks.  Talk to you tomorrow.

 

On Mission Team at Cottonwood Creek

Naomi's Village Day 3

A day to remember...

Our team began the day off by reading Ephesians 2:8-10 together, understanding that today was not about us or the good works we do, but all about the handiwork of the Lord THROUGH us for His glory.  And man, did our team experience this in a significant way today.

Safe House in Naivasha with 23 kids honestly just broke our hearts.  Yet in this place of tragedy and heartbreak, a joy rises up.  Laura lead our VBS teaching today, sharing with all of the kids how fearfully and wonderfully made we are, and wow, she did such a great job.  We sang fun songs about the joy of the Lord and played games - I think the jump rope was the greatest hit.  It was all a great morning.  By the time we left, lasting relationships were build.  We get to go back Monday and Tuesday, so we are thrilled to have more time with our friends at Safe House.

After lunch at Ubuntu, where Boniface put on a comedy show for the team, we headed to Mwi' Hanguri to see the village we have invested with over the past 3 years as Cottonwood Creek.  One of the lead families that lives in the village, Grace and David, shared with our team the history behind the 24 families that live there.  By the end of our time, everyone was broken with the devastation and tragedy this community has faced since 2007; overcoming many obstacles and hardships, trusting in GOd the entire time.  They prayed God would give them a home one day, and today we sat in one of the 24 homes build with the help of Naomi's Village to celebrate the victory of the Lord and the HOPE this community has in the Lord going forward.

God has placed our team here for a purpose, and today we experience the true HOPE of Christ and how Naomi's Village involvement with these two communities are changing a generation forever!  It is a joy to be here and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve today.

Tomorrow - SAFARI!  Lake Nakuru!

Your OnMission Team!

Naomi's Village Day 2

Hello friends and Family,

Our second day as a team began by gathering together for our morning devotional remembering the reason we are in Africa - to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the humble fact that God would use us for His purpose - we are reconciled in Christ for His plans!  This time really focused our attention on the day and for sharing with those we encountered, and wow, what a day it has been.

We traveled to Cornerstone Preparatory Academy to lead chapel for the entire school - the younger kids at 10am and the older kids at 11am.  With the brand new sound system we brought from Texas, Chapel was LOUD and fun.  McKinley, Jeremy and Keith led with songs, Heather and Anna Grace shared their testimony and Patti went through the Gospel Beads and every child made their own!  It was a tremendous day of sharing, laughing and learning more about Cornerstone.  Lizz got an unexpected opportunity to assess some children for the teachers.  God used our team to share Jesus with EVERY CHILD today.  Thank you Lord for that opportunity.

Our afternoon met us with an unexpected surprise when we worshipped with the staff at Naomi's Village.  Bob and Julie Mendonsa joined us as met the staff and shared life with them.  McKinley led worship as Bailey shared her testimony, then Margaret from Naomi's Village, let us in worship - AND WOW - What an amazing experience.  God is at work in their lives and the entire campus at Naomi's Village.

Our afternoon was spent playing with kids, reading to them, holding them and laughing a lot.  Bob and Julie got to hang out for a couple of hours and catching up with them and hearing stories of these children just made our hearts melt.  It has been a great day.

Tomorrow, off to Safe House and then visiting our friends at Mwi' Hanguri - with lunch at Ubuntu!!!  Please keep praying for our team!

OnMission Team!

Naomi's Village Day 1

The theme verse for our trip is from the writings of the Apostle Paul, as he instructs the people in 2 Corinthians 5:20 to be an ambassador for Christ – to lead by your example and represent Jesus wherever you go.  It is our calling as believers in Christ, and it is our calling as an OnMission Trip Team to carry this calling to anyone and everyone we are encountering in Kenya.  We ask your prayers for us as we begin this journey together.
 
First of all, God answered so many prayer request for this trip already – safe travels, getting through customs with all the Christmas Gifts and donations for the kids and new sound system for Cornerstone Prep. Academy; to a safe journey through Nairobi until we arrived at Naomi’s Village for lunch.  God’s hand of grace has truly been extended to us already.  We are still in awe that we are in Kenya, Africa.  We have to pinch ourselves for sure at times.
 
Had the opportunity to meet Steve Sisler from Cornerstone Preparatory Academy today as we toured the school and learned the valuable and life changing vision Bob and Julie Mendonsa have for this area of the world.  This school is a true beacon for the entire community called the Rift Valley.  Its desire is to raise up the next generational leader in this area and change a generation one person and family at a time.  Tomorrow we will speak into the lives of every child as we lead in chapel time for them.  McKinley and I are leading music while Anna Grace, Heather and Patti share their testimony and the Gospel to the entire school.  Cannot wait to share with you tomorrow how that went!  Lives will be changed tomorrow for eternity.
 
Got to see all the Naomi’s Village kids tonight and hold, hug, kiss, wrestle, poke, laugh and smile with all of them!  What a joy it is to be here.  Chapata, Lintel Beans and veggies for dinner.  The mark of a true Kenyan!  We are definitely in Kenya, my friends!
 
All of us are somewhat jetlagged and going to bed really early – like 9pm here.  Our younger crew are still giggling, but us older and more seasoned group are calling it a night.  Thanks for reading and caring to pray for us.  Tomorrow begins our time to share Jesus with all of these amazing lives at Cornerstone.  Please join us in prayer!
 
Until then, have a great day – The OnMission Team at Cottonwood Creek Church

Ellen's Testimony

It is a wonderful blessing to know that the work that the Lord does at Cottonwood Creek Church touches so many lives. Some of those lives are on the other side of the world. Meet Ellen, a dedicated follower of Christ and one of our many viewers online.

Ellen has been living in Germany for the past forty years, although she has family residing in Allen, Texas. She has been a believer in Jesus since she was fourteen years old. Although she loves and follows God, living in a fallen world had caused her to walk a “crooked path”. However in the past few months, God had been speaking to her in many different ways, most prominently through Cottonwood Creek Church.

Ellen says she felt “desperate to find good preaching… and was very hungry for God’s Word.” That lead her to searching online where she found Cottonwood Creek Church’s website. She was excited to see that there were already a plethora of sermons prerecorded and she began downloading and listening to them. She then realized that Cottonwood offered online services which led her to “faithfully watching” them every weekend. 
“Pastor John Mark is a wonderful pastor. He explains everything so very well in simple terms. It makes me hungry for more… I can’t explain how blessed I feel having found Cottonwood and how blessed I feel having the Lord.”

The main quality that Ellen says Cottonwood Creek Church exemplifies is true, genuine love. Whether it be the topics of the sermons or the activities that the church puts together, she thinks the Cottonwood family has been true sowers of the seed. Ellen is completely grateful to be a part of the Cottonwood Creek family, even by just watching it online. She says, “I can’t stop watching. I can’t stop getting enough of God’s Word because of your church.”

Ellen has been extremely touched by different testimonies from Cottonwood Creek. One particular testimony struck her heart, however: Gail Williams. “Her testimony, I watched over and over again because it touched my heart. It talked to me directly in having the same kind of hardships… if she can get past her struggles with the Lord Jesus Christ’s help, so can I.”

Ellen says that loving and following the Lord has been the simplest thing to do. “What greater love do you need to see? Jesus loves you and your life can be so easy having faith in someone who loves you so very much. Life is so much easier and you’re blessed. Even though you have struggles… you’re going to have peace.” Because of this revelation, Ellen praises the Lord fervently and calls Him her Beloved Prince of Peace.

During this time, Ellen truly felt the call to show her obedience and faithfulness to the Lord through baptism. She was blessed with that opportunity just a few months later in December 2016 at Cottonwood Creek Church.

Ellen knows that even though she is only one person all the way in Germany who watches online, she still feels drawn to Cottonwood Creek. She says she would love to listen to the live music and live sermons and be a part of the congregation in person. “I want everyone to know how truly blessed you guys are to be able to physically come to a church like this and be able to hear good messages of God’s Word and music and praise to the Lord Jesus. I don’t know how to express enough how blessed I think you guys really are and I hope you guys know that.”

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