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After the kids and I had decided to come to Kenya, we found out that June 23, is International Widow’s Day. We decided we needed to do something special for them. Yesterday, Nikki, Jennifer, Tracy and I (and others on the Go Near Trip) went to a local market and bought pounds and pounds of fresh produce to give to the women in training. We had so much fun imagining how surprised the women would be when they were told they would get to fill their bags (donated by Kathy Hudson) with the produce! We bought 27 bundles with 5 each of carrots, potatoes, avocados, onions, garlic, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, apples and pineapples!

Several of us went to the James 127 Foundation sewing and jewelry training center today to help celebrate the women. We sang some Swahili songs before handing out the produce. Some of them were shy, some were all smiles, but all of them were so grateful as we helped fill their bags. They were the perfect size! Everything just fit. We then enjoyed some chai tea and a local breakfast pastry.

After we filled their bags, I spoke a few words about International Widow’s Day, about how I had become a widow, how my heart had been captured by them, and then I sang one of my favorite hymns, “It Is Well.” Tears welled up in my eyes as they joined with me in song. Karman Fegtly shared some inspiring words and scriptures. We then went around the room for the ladies to share their names. Unbelievably, every woman shared her heart wrenching story. Some were able to speak in English, but most spoke Swahili with one of the women translating. The most common theme was single motherhood, due to being widowed or the father just being out of the picture

There were many tears shed, but I believe they were healing tears. They all were so thankful for Melody, Anna and Jennifer who had given them hope. They all expressed a deep and sincere love of God that was evident in their words. Before leaving, we were given a tour of the center and were able to see the women as they were training.

I feel so blessed to be able to share with them and see the work they are doing. It is so inspiring!