Jambo everyone!

I pray all is well wherever you are and that you are excited about what 2019 holds in store for you! Here at In Step Children’s Home, we are praising God for giving us another year to rescue and give new life to kids in Kenya!

Jeff and I recently visited the US – what a blessing! Jeff was only able to stay for a couple of weeks, but during that time we were able to get away with our kids and grandkids for five days of awesome family time. I was then able to stay for another month, which was amazing! I got in some quality time with the kids and grands (never enough), visited my snowbird folks, took a mini vacation with the girls and connected with as many friends as I could in the time I was there! I am now refreshed and renewed – ready to get back to work! LOL!

In Step Academy has just opened the new school year! (Here in Kenya, the school year corresponds with the calendar year.) Our school now has grades pre-k through seventh grade! (For those of you who have followed our story from the beginning, can you believe that Rehema is now in 7th grade? Where does time go?) As the number of students grows every year, so do the challenges in meeting all of the needs of the school. We now have a total of 179 kids attending ISA! Twenty-four of the students are kids of employees….it is such a blessing to be able to offer quality education to the children of those who work for us! We are very proud of our school and the excellent education it provides! After all, education is the best hope for a successful future, especially in a third-world country!

Speaking of the school, we are so thankful for our donors who have a heart for education! As I mentioned, the challenge of keeping up with the necessary growth is real! Every year we add another grade, which requires a classroom, desks, textbooks, an additional teacher, etc. Because of the generosity of those who partner with us, we have also been able to add a library, complete with over two thousand books, and a computer lab! These are luxuries that few Kenyan primary schools enjoy!

For the most part, at the moment, our 186 kids are healthy and happy! However, I cannot say that about our sweet little Linda. My heart is heavy 24/7, thinking about the pain and misery she is going through! Linda is two years old and has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Talk about the terrible twos! She is in pain and has no appetite. She can’t sleep well lying down (I think it puts pressure on the mass in her abdomen), so Auntie mostly holds her throughout the night. Let me back up and tell you the whole story…

Around the first part of November, Linda began to get really grumpy! She was ridiculously picky about what she would eat, always wanted to be held, was showing signs of a weak immune system (oral thrush, runny nose, etc.) and was just generally miserable all the time. Nurse Abby, our onsite nurse, was doing all she could; treating the thrush, cold, testing for malaria and typhoid, etc.

Around the first of December, Abby noticed that one side of Linda’s abdomen was swollen. She decided to take Linda to a specialist, who ordered all sorts of tests and scans. The doctors thought that Linda’s intestines were twisted, so they scheduled a routine surgery to correct the problem.

When they opened Linda up for this “routine surgery”, the doctors were shocked to see a huge mass in her abdomen! They very wisely took a biopsy sample from the mass and closed her up.

We waited more than two weeks for the biopsy results, which was frustrating and maddening! Everything, I mean absolutely everything, shuts down for Christmas in Kenya, even when a baby’s life hangs in the balance! We finally got the results last Saturday (thanks to our Administrative Director basically camping out at the lab, awaiting the results) and were disappointed but not shocked to learn that the mass is cancerous.

Monday, we took Linda to a highly recommended oncologist who finally got the ball rolling for her treatment. Wednesday, Linda was admitted into a children’s hospital to start chemo. The plan is three days of chemo then three weeks home and repeat for as long as necessary.

Over the years, we have seen and been through some crazy, sad, unfortunate, maddening circumstances with our kids. But this is the first time we have had to deal with the “C” word. It’s scary anywhere in the world, but in a developing country, it’s even scarier! Please pray for Linda! Pray for wisdom for the doctors! Pray for peace for all who love her, as we do all we can to save her life! Pray for her to tolerate the treatments well! Pray that our Master Physician would see fit to heal her!

Thanks to all of you for your support! We could not be here helping these kids if it wasn’t for you! Your prayers, thoughts, donations, etc. are what keep us going! This is a team effort and Jeff and I want to personally thank you for being part of our team! May God pour out his blessings on all of you!

GIGATT! (God Is Good All The Time!)

Mama Carla

Posted in