The Stay at Home Mom

IMG_2292You’ve probably heard the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child…”  This proverb is very close to my heart in so many ways. In Kenya so many of us are working together to raise and impact the lives of 50+ kids on a daily basis. But it probably doesn’t look like what you think it does…

I kinda love that so many people are confused on who or what we are/do. They can’t put their finger on it :) Some would say that’s not a good thing, while I on the other hand think it’s a wonderful thing. Are we a children’s home – absolutely not. Do we care for kids, provide shelter, warm meals, and love – yes. What about a school? Well, we do provide education and after school programs that include tutoring in all subjects, but no, we aren’t a school. We partner with top local schools and send our children there.

Are you a church or bible training institution? Well we like to say we are THE church and we do offer Bible “training” but it looks more like worship, community service, and relationship building than tests and class time – although there are multiple classes offered each week.

But you’re a missionary, so you just go around preaching the gospel, right? Actually more of my days look like grocery shopping, paying school fees, parent teacher conferences, resolving conflict, hospital and doctor visits, fixing things like the car or broken water pipes, and the list goes on and on.

Maybe I’m closer to a stay at home mom than your typical idea of a missionary.

*The moms are currently sympathizing with me while the single dudes are probably wondering why they would support someone who doesn’t do anything…

But the truth is I’m not alone at all. I have a wonderful team around me that makes our ministry happen on a day to day basis. They’re more than my “village” – they’re my family.

So when you support our ministry know that the little it takes to support this ministry is empowering ten “stay at home moms” to love, care for, and raise 50+ children on a daily basis.

And also know, that YOU are a part of our village and we need you to help raise these children. Every cent that comes in makes an impact on us! Would you consider becoming a monthly supporter of this ministry?

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I haven’t posted a blog in some time and I thought what better way is there to send a Christmas card from Kenya than on a blog. I’m also thinking about praying about committing to a New Years Resolution of blogging again… but we’ll see.       : )

Christmas is a bit like a snowy version of Thanksgiving. It just seems like a time to be thankful. So the boys and I would like to share some of the things we are thankful for…

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Martin: “I am thankful that I don’t get in trouble at school… a lot. And also for Christmas and being able to be with family.”

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Joseph: “I am thankful for my bicycle and having fun.”

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Ken: “I am thankful that I have a nice home and a new phone. I am glad I get to hang out with Mary and the other kids who come to play.”

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Simon: “I am thankful that I am able to go to school, having a good family that takes care of me, my bike, and happy days everyday.”

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Matt: “I can’t begin to explain everything that I am thankful for. From the tangible things like a new reliable vehicle or a new bike to ride with the boys to the people whom I get to do life with each and every day. The family that I’ve been given here in Kenya who push me each and every day to look more like Christ and the friends and family I have at home who keep me here in Kenya through so many prayers and a lot of support. I literally can’t thank you enough.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Seriously, it’s 1:00 AM and I need to go to sleep.

 


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I Want To Be A Good Man

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The day was winding down when Boniface, a skinny little fella probably around 12 years old came into my house and looked me into the eyes and with a humble yet demanding tone said, “Matthew, I’m here to speak with you. I want to be a good man and I can do that by going to school. I don’t want to go to [the government school] either. I want to go to a good school so that I can really learn and become a good man one day.”

I asked him “Why don’t you go to school then?”

“My mom works all day at a [restaurant] and cannot pay the fees. So I can’t go. Matthew, I want to be a good man. I can do really well if I have a chance.”

(The average worker makes around a couple dollars a day)

I encouraged Boniface that regardless of his…

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A Lesson From a Child

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I used to be a child who learned from adults. Now, as an adult and I find myself learning from children.
Most recently I learned a little bit about giving. Wait! Stop! Don’t exit out! This isn’t a fundraiser that’s going to attempt to convince you into giving to 61, your church, or anything else – that’s not what this is about (that blog will be out next week).
Twice a year we do vacations. We started this to keep our team sane and to get away from our 24/7 outpouring in order to get some rest. Now, it’s a little of that, but also it’s a time to take the boys to see and experience their beautiful country.
This past week we took them to the coast. They’d never seen the ocean and can’t really swim – so I was full of excitement as well as “What am I doing?” thoughts.
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Before we left I emptied out a jar that I always put my change in from that day. I had the boys count it, divide it equally among the three of them, and then explained that this was their spending money for the week. They were responsible for keeping track of it, and it had to last the whole week. They were pumped to have some money in their pocket!
It was time to go.
The ten hour drive wasn’t that bad. Besides the one puking incident in which I was prepared for with bags strategically placed within the car and the  reoccurring “Are we there yet” question that legitimately started 45 minutes into the trip and was reworded and asked every 15-20 minutes from then on – it was a great drive!
We arrive.
The first day we of course went out to the beach. It was hot- so hot that the boys were getting holes burnt in their pockets. I laughed and shook my head as I watched Martin go and start spending his money within 15 minutes of a weeklong trip.
As I shook my head and told the other boys to be more wise with their money and save it, Martin comes running back with a big smile on his face. I quickly tell him he’s going to spend all of his money and regret it.
He just looked at me and said “I bought this for you (hands me a necklace). Thank you for taking care of us.”
A sandy size 13 foot doesn’t taste so good.
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The week goes on and we had an amazing time. Within a few days the boys were diving for coins in the deep end of the pool and riding the waves. We took a boat out and found shells and starfish (which I made them throw back- don’t hate, they’re living creatures). They had an absolute blast. My favorite things were ice cold drinks and ice cream.
Fast forward to when we get home.
We get back and the boys quickly show off their prized shells (some of which they bought and the others that we found) and as the onlookers attempt to hand them back the boys simply say “they’re for you”. I started to jump in to tell them to not give all of their stuff away- but why? I was convicted right then and there.
It’s in our nature to give. Trust me, I wish I had taught these boys to live like this. It’s a full-time job for me to make sure they don’t give the shoes they’re wearing and the shirt off their back away to the kids in the neighborhood.
Every time I hand them something, the first thing out of their mouth is “can I share with —–“.
I know. I’m bragging. I love these kids, because of who they are and because of who they challenge me to be.
The world tells us differently and somewhere down the line we are told to give what little we can to make us feel good.
Their most prized possession is who they are with, and everything else is just stuff. Growing up shouldn’t mean losing our nature to give freely and love deeply.
This makes me miss the boys, so I am going to hang out with them now. But I hope they challenge you too!

Bicycle Jesus.

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I’m trying to figure this whole parenting thing out…

Some days it’s so easy I forget that God has put me in this role, while other days I’m like what the heck is happening. My boys are good – too good, sometimes. They teach me lessons and God uses them all the time to show me stuff.

Yesterday, I had to go to town… for you country folks, you know what town is. For the rest of you, it’s the slightly bigger town about 30 minutes away that has stuff besides the bare necessities.

Sometimes, I just like to walk around town looking at different things and eating food that we don’t have here. As I was walking around I found myself searching for bicycles, comparing prices and seeing which one was better, “Made in India” or “Made in China”.

Some had baskets or rear carriers. There were red ones and blue ones. Some had pegs or mud fenders. I caught myself getting excited trying to figure out which one the boys would like and completely forgetting the price tag because I just wanted them to be happy.

I realized I was more excited about them getting a bicycle than they were, even though they ask about it everyday.

Then two things hit me.

1. It wasn’t time for them to have a bicycle yet.
– They’re still learning responsibility and how to take care of their things.
– Also, we made some goals for school that we’re waiting to see them reach.

2. This is how God feels about me.
– There are so many things that I desire… and in reality God desires many of those things for me too!
– God has His timing with me just like I have timing with the boys. They may think I am holding back or don’t want to make them happy, but in fact it’s just the opposite. It’s harder for me to hold back!

God has bigger than life plans for you and me. Trust Him. He’s not holding out on you, He’s planning the perfect time. There are things that he’s preparing you for now. You’re being equipped to receive His blessings.

* The above picture are rental bikes… I didn’t give in!

There is Power… just not at my house.

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“There is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood of the lamb… ” Samson quietly sings as we sit by our kerosene lamp waiting for the sun to rise. It’s completely quiet except for that song…

It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and in a few minutes the boys will come break the silence and the day will officially start, but for now, I’ll just listen to Samson.

Samson doesn’t speak a whole lot of English. He tells me that he learned this song singing with missionaries who he joined doing evangelism in the village. I asked him what the song meant to which he responded “You know, Jesus… he has the power.”

Amen, Samson.

There is something sacred about the morning.

The Boys and I

My Davion(s).

*If you haven’t read the article on Davion, then you need to read it before you read this. Read it here.

davionMy heart breaks for the church. It crumbles when I read articles like the one on Davion. I can just feel the Father’s heart break.

As you read the article, you hear a boy cry out for a mother and father, someone to love him – anyone. He heard the church would be a good place to go, but it didn’t work out.

As the church we can’t look at this particular group (church body) and have any kind of judgement toward them… because Davion’s story isn’t new. It’s not unique.

There are 123,000 orphans in the United States alone, and over 200 million world wide.

If Davion can’t go to the church, where can he go? If the church isn’t listening to – no, we listen. If the church isn’t acting on and living out the words we hear on Sundays then why go? Why fool ourselves and others into thinking that we follow Jesus?

I used to be ashamed of “the church” like I could somehow put myself above the body of Christ (that was so dumb – and I needed to repent). I can’t put myself above myself.

I am the church. We are the church.

It’s time to walk into our calling. The church is the body of Christ, intended to mimic the man who walked the earth 2,000 years ago. It’s our identity. It’s who WE ARE if we call ourselves Christians. Would Jesus have just walked out that Sunday morning when a young boy asked someone – anyone to love him?

Today there are 123,000 kids asking the church – you, to love them.

… So, five months ago we took in four boys. 

It’s incredibly inconvenient. I live off of support, well below the American poverty line. Waking up at 5:30 AM is not fun. There are 7 of us in a modified 2 bedroom house. I don’t always get to eat what or as much as I want to anymore. My schedule isn’t the priority.

Not a day goes by where I don’t wonder how we’re going to make it, or what this is going to look like….

I would never ever… ever… do it any other way. These boys are loved and I in return get loved back. It’s so good.

The joy of a child that comes home who is so excited that he’s no longer “number last” in his class, or having 4 boys come into your room when your sick in bed asking to pray over you makes it all worth it.

This may come off as harsh, but I’m not going to apologize for it. If you are thinking, “well, this just isn’t for me…” then maybe following Jesus just isn’t for you either.

Church, this is our calling.

Be inconvenienced. Be Jesus. You aren’t in this alone. I couldn’t raise these boys without the love and support of the church – no way. And while some of you guys are called to give and pray, there are some of you that are called to take in a Davion.

Can we do this together? Please.

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(A huge shout out to my parents who birthed, adopted, fostered, raised and loved the crap out of so many children. You continue to challenge me at 8,000 miles away)