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Familiar Faces

It was a late arrival and my daughters and I had never been in the Nairobi airport. We navigated our way through customs and baggage claim and headed for the door, hoping someone would be there to receive us at midnight. As I looked around, there she was. The beautiful blond-headed girl whose face was familiar to me. In an instant, I went from uncertainty to confidence, knowing that even though we were sojourners in a foreign land, we were safe. Allie (Passion Partners staff member & trip leader) had been in the country several times before. She was familiar. Although it was late, she greeted me, and I could easily identify it. There was Jesus, all over her face. We got to the van, and I was introduced to a young Kenyan man named Chris. Chris is on staff with Swahiba Youth Networks, the partner ministry of Passion Partners based in Nairobi. I greeted him and saw it a second time. Though well past midnight, he still had a certain sparkle in his eye. It was clearly Jesus. We reached our destination and fell into bed. The next morning there it was again when I met Peter Abungu, the Founder & Director of Swahiba Youth Networks. I spotted it almost instantly…the common thread…the look on his face. There was a glimmer...

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There are some days you’ll never forget…

and without a doubt, August 1, 2012 is one of those days for all of us at Passion Partners. On this sun-drenched Wednesday, deep in Western Kenya, the Ashburn Ohuru Clinic opened its doors for the first time. What had once been the God-given dream of a 94 year-old Kenyan widow (who, by the way, has lived almost twice as long as the average life span of a Kenyan woman!) became a God-ordained reality for a young widow from Nashville, TN, whose late husband, himself, was a physician. Walk back with us through this unforgettable day… Before our team even arrived that morning, hundreds of residents from the surrounding community had already gathered to celebrate the opening of this long-anticipated clinic and to receive treatment at the free medical camp.

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Loving from a distance

   Our vision… … to provide leadership and funding to existing ministries, as well as emerging ministries, around the world with the goal to walk along them in a collaborative effort, allowing them to be more effective in their call and in fulfilling their passion. I want to share something with you today that gives a unique glimpse into Passion Partner’s relationship with our ministry partners overseas. It’s a letter written by our Founder and Executive Director, Candice Ashburn, to our partner in Uganda, Fred Kaddu, and the girls of the Wakiso Restoration Home. To give a brief bit of background…we are nearing the completion of a new Restoration Home in Uganda that will house the current 16 girls, as well at 22 new ones. I can’t tell you how precious Fred and these girls are to us, and how honored we are to be building them a new home. For several months, we had been planning a visit to Uganda, (we would’ve actually arrived back home today) primarily to see the girls, love on them, encourage them, and see the new house with our own eyes. Unfortunately, a sudden Ebola outbreak hit Uganda just days before we were to arrive and we weren’t able to go. To put it simply, we were bummed. Very, very bummed. And our hearts were heaviest...

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Hope in the slums. We are all HIS beloved.

I pray this morning for the Lord’s provision and justice for ALL HIS CHILDREN after working in the slums the past few days. O how I find myself in a space of silence and attentiveness to anything and everything surrounding me while I am there. I see so many beautiful faces in such desperate need and yet precious smiles lighting up along the way! On the first day we had the opportunity to go deep into the slums and visit families with the intent to show them the love of Jesus in a tangible way be it through meeting their most basic needs: provision of sugar, beans, flours, peas, butter…etc. We sit together, share life and ask to pray for them, usually a widow, a sister, grandmother or a single mom…caring for multiple kids in the size of a small bathroom made with mud walls and tin roofs to secure their home. After visiting two families we went to a secondary school to participate in the Jitambue (“self-worth” in Swahili) Project and hear the impact it is having on their lives. It was so sweet hearing how these young girls have been eternally impacted by the Swahiba Youth team showing up, leading and educating them on positive reproductive health and the Hope of Jesus. We closed the day with one of the...

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An update “from the field” – Kibera

Jambo! I’m writing you tonight from Nairobi, Kenya – hoping to take advantage of some solid internet access and update you on just a bit of what’s been going on with us the past several days. Our trip started out with 2 days of ministering alongside Swahiba Youth Networks, our partners in Nairobi in the Kibera slums. On our first day, we visited some of the girls’ familes that are involved in the Jitambue Project. Most homes in Kibera are about the size of our bathrooms, with a dirt floor, a roof made of pieces of scrap metal, and everything the family owns packed inside—which is scarce. Our team of eight m’zungus (white people, in Swahili) wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, but we wound through the maze of small houses led by the Swahiba team. We met the families, brought them common, yet scarce items, such as sugar and rice, listened to their stories, and prayed with them. I’ve gone into Kibera several times over the past year. The first time, I was wrecked. It’s so much to take in. Each time after that, my feelings have shifted from being heartbroken for their situation to being angry and finding myself just a bit numb to it all. Kibera looked the same as it did ten months ago when I saw it for the first...

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We arrived!

FROM THE FIELD .  .  . Friday, July 27, 2012 We are here! (Departed Nashville Wednesday at 2pm to Chicago… onward to London by 6am and landed in Nairobi uneventfully at 9pm–though 3 bags didn’t make it, that was pretty good odds out of 16, considering the air traffic of the Olympics!) We arrived at our guest house at 11:30 pm Thursday night where dinner was waiting. And though it may not have been all we were craving after a long day of cuisine de la aeroplane, we were grateful for the hospitality, and I was reminded to take every opportunity to fill our stomachs along the way. However, the absence of a warm shower after 24 hours of travel, was the beginning of many more reminders to come that the expectations imposed on our lives by the western world are often times over-indulgent and can easily rob us of seeing the world the way God sees it.  Self-sacrifice is an afterthought, if even a thought–period.  So, we have set out as a team for the next 3 weeks by kicking our usual (blessed) standard of living to the curb and are asking God to trade filling our stomachs and fixing our eyes on material things, for filling our hearts with the things that break His and fixing our gaze on our roles in His Kingdom. Allow me to briefly...

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