Jambo everyone!

Wow! Can you believe how fast 2023 flew by? It seems like each year passes more quickly than the year before! When I stop and realize that we have been in Kenya for more than twenty years, I can hardly believe it! And when it occurred to me that we came to Kenya when I was a bit younger than my daughter is now… where has time gone?

I hope your holiday season was as wonderful as ours was! Christmas Day included all the normal In Step Children’s Home Christmas festivities: worship, feast, drama presentation, dance party, etc. The weather was perfect for grilling the chicken and sausages; the kids were happy and excited, and not one of them was down sick! It was a great day!

These days, we have so many high school kids who are eager to do the work, I mostly just relax and enjoy the day! We had a team of kids making chapati, a team cutting up chickens, a team grilling, a team making fruit salad, a team cutting vegetables for stew, a team peeling potatoes for mokimo (mashed potatoes with peas and carrots mixed in), a team making peanut butter fudge with Beth and several teams taking turns making cookies with Tamara… many hands make light work!

It’s actually quite a feast! Our Christmas grocery shopping list included 60 chickens, 400 sausage links, 35 pineapples, 50 pounds of bananas, 50 apples, 60 pounds of mangoes, all the grapes we can get our hands on, 60 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of stew meat, I don’t even know how many jars of peanut butter or how many pounds of sugar, and the list goes on! Feeding three hundred people is no easy task, but we pretty much have it down to a science!

Most of you probably remember me mentioning, for several years now, Tracy and Tamara Tripp. They are good friends of the ministry and have done lots of very useful and meaningful projects over the years. They usually arrive here in Kenya sometime before Christmas and stay for a couple of months. They always come with lots of neat little projects for the kids to do, plus a big project which they have raised the funding to complete.

This year, they came with a huge inflatable movie screen, so the kids have been enjoying multiple movie nights! They also came with looms and taught the kids how to make their own marvins. (I’m not sure why they call them marvins here. Most of us would call them stocking caps.) Their big project this year has been something I have dreamed about for years! They are pouring a driveway!

For those of you who have visited during rainy season, you know the muddy mess that our driveway becomes! Slick, gross, sticky, red-soil mud! When it rains for several days in a row, as is normally the case during certain times of the year, it becomes impossible to walk across the driveway without “growing” by about three inches! Vehicles spin their tires! The kids in wheelchairs are confined to the Stepping Stones building! It’s a mess!

Tracy and Tamara have both been on the job from morning to evening, every day for weeks! It is a huge project and they have worked so hard to make sure it’s as perfect as possible! You probably never thought you would hear me say, “I can’t wait for rainy season!.” LOL!

(In between writing and sending this update, Tracy suffered a serious stroke! He is presently admitted in a hospital in Kitale as Tamara works with his insurance company to have him transferred to Nairobi Hospital. Obviously, getting back to the states for treatment is the ultimate goal, but is not likely to happen right away. Please pray for Tracy and Tamara! It is very scary to be hospitalized in a foreign country!)

Our four high school graduates have finally received their exam scores and all of them did well! I am so proud of them! These four kids have not had it easy, being that they have always been the “big kids” of the home! Even when they were eight or nine years old, they were the biggest kids! Consequently, they have always been the first to experience new things, with no older siblings to guide them. Now they, along with Jessica, will be our first group to transition into the community as adults! (I’m so thankful they are a small group, as once again, they are the trailblazers for the next steps in life, with so many others to follow!)

We would sure appreciate your prayers as we move forward with helping get them settled into their own places, enrolled in college, and facing their fears! They have never been alone in a house alone, not for even a minute! They have never had to figure out what to cook for dinner (and most of us know that’s a real challenge in life)! They have never even had to wake themselves up in the morning… there has always been an auntie, uncle, or school matron or patron there to drag them out of bed! This is not going to be easy for them, but I know they will all embrace the challenge and, with God’s help, they will be okay.

We are now in the process of getting our sixty-eight high school students off to school. Oh boy, are things going to seem quiet around here in a few days! LOL! Maybe I’ll get some work done! I’m too embarrassed to send you a picture of my desk at the moment! I wish I had the plaque that sits on my mom’s desk at home: A Cluttered Desk is a Sign of Genius! Having the plaque wouldn’t make it true, but it might at least fool a few when they come into my office and see the mountain of papers! Haha!

Anyway, continued prayers for all of our high school kids are appreciated! As you know, being a teenager anywhere in the world is hard! That time in life when you’re not a kid and not an adult… so tough! Then to go away to various boarding schools where things are far different than they are at home… it’s not an easy time at all. Thanks for praying for them! God has such wonderful plans for their lives, but sometimes, in the midst of your teen years, it’s hard to remember that!

We have a busy month ahead with lots of visitors coming to bless us and the kids! I’m very much looking forward to it! I’ll tell you all about it next month!

Thanks so much for remembering our kids in your prayers! God is moving in their lives in mighty ways! We appreciate you all!

God Is Good All The Time (GIGATT),

Mama Carla

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