A Kenyan Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This year, our Christmas has been quite different from years past.  While we have certainly missed family and familiar traditions, we are so grateful for the many new joys that God gave us here to make this season special.  We thought we would share some pictures to give you an idea of our Kenyan Christmas…

We enjoyed hosting a Christmas party for the surgical residents.

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The residents playing “reindeer games!”

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This year our gingerbread houses had to be made from scratch.  I think we have a new tradition!


The MKs made decorations for the pediatric ward at the hospital, then spread some Christmas cheer by decorating the ward.

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One of the girls’ favorite times this season was Christmas carolling though the hospital wards.  Instead of carolling, I was busy on call that night.  These babies were serenaded moments after their birth.

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Christmas carolling on Maternity

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These babies are not relatives…just sharing a warmer (a regular occurrence here!).

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I’m not sure that he liked the carolling!

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We were grateful to have a visiting OB-GYN here to help over Christmas. Here she is teaching interns OB Ultrasound.

The kids packed 265 backpacks to give out at local orphanages.  On Christmas Eve we were able to help host a Christmas party at one of these children’s homes and give out some of the backpacks.  We all had so much fun celebrating with these sweet children!


Packing backpacks


The kids singing us a greeting


Helping the kids with Christmas crafts


They loved jumping rope!


Just some girl talk…


They jumped and jumped!


These girls just loved playing ball with Heath!


Don’t you love the joy on her face?!


No party is complete without cake!


These mamas LOVED the cake!


We presented the Christmas story through Jesse Tree ornaments, then decorated the “tree.”


The kids were so excited about the backpacks!

On Christmas Eve we worshipped at church, focusing on God’s gift in His son Jesus that gives us such cause to celebrate.

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Candlelight service

On Christmas morning, we learned that “Santa” doesn’t just come from the North Pole…This year he came to us from Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Colorado!  Who knew?!


Yes, she is really this excited over gum!

And anyone who knows MT knows how she is about stuffed animals!

And anyone who knows MT knows how she is about stuffed animals!

We walked across the river to a friend’s house for chai (hot tea) and mandazis (a sweet fried bread), which is a traditional Kenyan Christmas treat.


MT and Cherono enjoying chai and mandazis


Pouring chai…Isn’t she a doll?!


Our girls were obsessed with the baby kittens!


Our sweet friend, who exudes the Joy of the Lord!

On Boxing Day (December 26th) we got to welcome some dear friends to Tenwek for a visit.  Debbie and the Newman Family did pre-field training (MTI) together with us in May.  It was wonderful to reconnect on this side of the ocean!


Taking a walk to the river


Happy to have another girl around!

Christmas hair!!  So an interesting change takes place around these parts at Christmastime…all the girls and ladies get fancy hair-dos for Christmas!  This especially transforms the little girls, who the rest of the year have super short hair (like at their scalp), but now have long pony tails and fancy styles.  Rees begged for some Kenyan Christmas hair…so here she is!


Braiding took place on the front porch


Rees and her Christmas hair!

Living on the equator means sunshine and warm weather and lots of outdoor play, even at Christmastime!


Christmas break on the equator…sunscreen required

And last, but most certainly not least, I brought in the New Year by bringing this miracle baby into the world.  She was delivered shortly after midnight in the ICU to a very sick mama who has a skeletal deformity of the chest causing severe pulmonary hypertension and respiratory distress.  The decision was made to deliver this baby at 32 weeks gestation due to the mama’s worsening condition.  At this state of prematurity, many babies here don’t survive (we don’t have ventilators designed for premature babies), but she came out crying and kicking and is doing great!  

Happy New Year indeed!


Tenwek’s New Year baby

6 Comments on “A Kenyan Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for sharing your holiday experiences…such an inspiration for the new year! Continued blessings for you and your family while doing the Lords work!

  2. Praying for your family!! Love seeing how God is at work!! Eternity difference makers!! God is awesome!! We will be going on our first missions trip to Guatemala in March! Your family is such an encouragement….

  3. I was not working in the OR at parkwest much while you all were there, but i had heard through the pw grapevine of your mission. I believe that God puts people where he needs them. And with that i know God put you in Kenya for great work to be done. God bless you both!

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