we didn’t eat turkey on thanksgiving day.  we were greeted at our ‘home’ in
Ilbissil with a grand, “Happy Thanksgiving!!” when pastor Kiroka came to pick us
up.  we had a busy day planned.  it was a thanksgiving day I will never forget,
mostly because of the people I met.  And also for the things I felt thankful for
as we took pastor and his family out to dinner that evening.

our first stop was to a rescue house.  many young girls in Masai culture are
married off to an elder husband--- often times because their fathers are seeking
a dowry.  we met five young girls, each with a story that you can hardly
believe.  I won’t offer up many details because I want to protect their privacy
and security.  As we sat down to meet them, they entered the room shyly one by
one.  a 14 year old bounced an eight month old baby boy on her lap.  he seemed
content and she seemed like a child herself.  I had to keep reminding myself the
baby was hers.  she told us her story and it is hard to imagine, hard to hear. 
my heart broke for her, and to this day I can’t stop thinking about her.  a few
weeks before she gave birth her parents circumcised their 13 year old pregnant
daughter.  and a few weeks later she gave birth.  this is a strong girl.  no one
should ever have to endure this.  it was hard to know what to say to them, our
own stories of pain or hardship are a trip to Disney compared to theirs.  I was
reminded of a verse in Genesis that says, ‘what man meant for evil, God meant
for good.’ 

in the afternoon, we met emily.  we crowded onto her couch and as we sipped our
chai more and more and more people filed in.  finally pastor said, “Kristin and
Ashley, these are some of the parents of the girls you sponsor.”  one by one
they went around the room telling us their names, their daughter’s names and who
their sponsors are.  all of a sudden our sponsor program took on a new reality! 
there were faces and lives we were investing in, instead of just sending a
monthly check to the other side of the world.  to hear them utter “my sponsor
is hope snyder,”  or “jacki and jake,” or “heather jackson,” in their thick
swahili accents---  we couldn’t help but beam.  we told them a little about
their sponsors, and one mom replied,

“you people are being so generous to children who’s faces you’ve never seen. 
our lives are different now and we just don’t know how to say thank you.”

we had kuku (chicken) and chips (fries) for thanksgiving dinner.  I felt
thankful for a family who didn’t want to sell me off for a few cows--- even in
my old(er) age   I felt thankful to not be subject to female genital
, and not come from a culture that believes in such an awful thing.  I
felt thankful for our quaint place to sleep that night, the welcome from this
place and people that won our hearts and continue to do so.  join us in praying
for girls like the ones we’ve met.  become a child sponsor.  it costs $1.40 a
day.  you probably lose that in the cracks of your car.  these girls are worth
it, and I promise it will change your life.  Email me for more info,