You Saved Walter's Life

Your faithful partnership continues to relieve suffering through God's Word and deed. Recently, your gifts provided the Mlango community with a much needed medical clinic.

Due to the construction at Open Arms Village(OAV), the medical team held the latest medical clinic near OAV at the African Inland Church.

The medical team treated long-lasting injuries, infected wounds, and various ailments in over2,400 patients in 4 days. In addition, 220 individuals received salvation, and 36 patients were miraculously healed in the prayer tent!

Thank you for your part in this mission.


Walter Kirwa

 A life saved at Open Arms International's 2016 Medical Camp

In 2010, Walter was a good Samaritan assisting victims at the site of a car accident. Another vehicle, brakes failing, slammed into the already-wrecked cars and Walter; his leg suffered a serious break at the thigh. 

Walter underwent a surgery where a metal rod was placed in his leg. Unfortunately, the rod was too short, causing Walter to fall and break his leg again. Walter was told he needed a second surgery. Sadly, this second surgery also failed and an infection began in his leg. In 2012, the rod was removed, but his infection never left.

Walter was shopping for vegetables when he learned about Open Arms International's medical clinic. Four years after the infection had started in his leg - yes, four years - Walter came and was seen by the doctors and nurses who deeply wanted to help him.

The medical staff found that the leg was severely eaten away by infection. It was so destroyed that bare bone was showing. Staff and volunteers knew immediately that Walter needed serious medical treatment or he would die.

The team members, moved by Walter's condition,  agreed to collectively raise the funds to give Walter the care he needed - a surgery to save not only his leg, but his life. 

We are happy to report that since the medical camp, Walter has received the care he needed. According to our co-founder, Rachel Gallagher, "Walter's graft is taking well and his leg is healing quite nicely."

WAlter's Leg at the Medical Clinic | Walter's leg After Surgery | Walter's leg a few weeks post-surgery.

WAlter's Leg at the Medical Clinic | Walter's leg After Surgery | Walter's leg a few weeks post-surgery.

Fun in the Rain-forest of Kenya!

We love all the teams that come to Open Arms Village - without them we could never accomplish all that is needed for the Village and the community. Each team is unique in what it brings; all are very special to Open Arms International. Mission teams have provided medical ministry, Vacation Bible School and training for pastors. They have provided family conferences and training for our teachers. Most recently, a special team provided a youth retreat for our older students that live at the Open Arms Village.

Milestone Church from Keller, Texas organized and facilitated a three-day retreat for teens at the Rondo Retreat Center, near the Open Arms Village. The teenagers were in great anticipation of this retreat. In preparation, each was given a bag, a jacket, a Bible, flashlight and other personal items. During the retreat, they were taught how to deepen their relationship with God and with their peers. At the close of each day, all were allowed time to spend with God.

The Rondo Retreat Center is located within the Kakamega Rainforest. The teens had the opportunity to walk the paths and see a variety of wildlife. There was time for play and for worship during which the teens danced and sang to the Lord. At the close of the retreat, each young lady was given her own crown. The young men were given a "belt of truth." The retreat experience left all profoundly affected and looking forward to other retreats in the future.

Our thanks go to the Milestone Team for their hard and heart-felt labor. We appreciate the time, talent, and creativity that went into making a life-touching experience for the teens of Open Arms Village.

An Inspiring Store from our Medical Camp

Meet Isaac

Any good parents would go to great lengths to stop their child from suffering.  That is why eight-year old Isaac Kiplimo's parents traveled over six miles to bring him to the Open Arms medical camp. Six miles might not seem like a long way to those of us in the Western world, but in a society where hardly anyone owns cars and one must get around on foot six miles is an enormous obstacle.  

Isaac was born prematurely in 2008 with five holes in his heart. He also has Down syndrome and is autistic. He has suffered from his physical conditions and from inadequate medical care his entire life. To this day, he cannot walk and can only say a few words. He is unable to feed himself and relies entirely on his mom and dad for survival.  His parents love their little boy beyond words and call him their miracle baby because they lost two other children before he was born.

When Isaac's parents heard about the Open Arms medical camp, Isaac was having difficulty swallowing and was having stomach problems. The Open Arms medical staff diagnosed Isaac with tonsillitis and H. pylori. H. pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach problems, such as pain, bloating, and ulcers. 

The Open Arms medical team was able to treat and help Isaac with his tonsillitis and his H. pylori infection. In addition to this, Rachel Gallagher was able to coach and offer some help to Isaac's parents on how to raise a special-needs child like Isaac. She was also able to refer his parents to a school nearby that works specifically with children like Isaac to make their lives much, much better.

We can't fix all of Isaac's problems, but with your help we can certainly treat some of them and help him to have a better quality of life.

Would you please consider a gift today? 

YOU can bring relief to more children just like Isaac!

Steps in Sustainability

'Steps' might be a slight understatement. Our staff at Open Arms Village (OAV) has made giant strides in sustainable practices and have taught them to our children living at the Village. We received this wonderful update from our amazing missionary couple living at OAV - Ted and Brenda Whiteman. 

"When my wife, Brenda, and I first began living in Kenya, we regularly visited a local posho mill (grinding mill) to grind our maize (corn) into flour. As I considered the expenses we incurred transporting the maize and paying for the grinding (not including the manpower it took away from the Village), I was led to pursue building a 'posho mill' on site at Open Arms Village. In addition to serving our needs, I also thought this would be a great resource to our immediate neighbors. 

Maize is such an important part of the culture here - it is drunk as porridge for breakfast, eaten as a snack, and part of every evening meal. Due to this focus on maize, posho mills are as common as coffee shops in America.

Our vision was a three-room building to expand our current Open Arms Kiosk (store) to include a grinding room and a room for storage. Brenda and I then brought the vision to our home church, Grace Point Community (Tigard, Oregon), who joined in our excitement and quickly raised the required funds through an Advent giving project. With funds available, the search began for a qualified contractor to do the work. After a lengthy search, we were blessed with a fantastic contractor and the building was quickly and professionally finished.


Open Arms Builds a Silo

Our focus, initially, was to use the posho mill to serve the grinding needs for the Village and community. As we were installing the machinery, I was considering the best way for storing maize in our storage room. 

Traditional maize storage in Kenya involves a small, loosely built wooden structure. Maize cobs, dried in the field, are loosely tossed into the structure to dry further. When they are deemed dry enough, the maize is laid out on the ground and covered with pesticides to reduce losses to weevils, rats, and other pests. Then cobs are shelled of the kernels and the maize is returned to the building in sacks. It is well known that losses to pests, even with the pesticide treatment, range from 12-24% of the initial harvest throughout the storage season. These losses are traditionally accepted as part of maize storage.

Silos

I happened to come across a maize storage project, introduced to East Africa about 10 years ago, using silos. 

When the silo has been loaded with shelled maize, lit candles are place on top of the maize. Then both the inlet and outlet are sealed with rubber straps, making the silo airtight. When the candles use up all of the oxygen, they go out and in a few days any bugs that might have survived the cleaning and sifting will die. 

This is a radically different idea to traditional storage.  With a local craftsman and a couple of friends from Grace Point who came to Kenya to help kick off this project, we built the first silos September of 2015.

The advantages of Silo Storage Systems:

  1. Eliminating the cost and health risk of buying and adding pesticides to your primary food source.
  2. Only needing to build one storage structure that requires very little maintenance.
  3. Reducing the loss to pests from 12-24% to nearly zero.
  4. Increasing security by storing your maize in your home - maize theft is a very serious problem in Kenya.
  5. Low cost: only 5,500 shilling ($55 USD)

Another exciting by-product of this program is the potential for vocational training - not only our own young people, but those from the community who might have the skill to develop their own business.

There has been a great deal of interest from Open Arms staff and local community members as these large, shiny structures have taken shape and begun storing our maize. In addition to large-scale silos, which hold  1,800 kg (1.9 tons) of maize each, we have also built home-size silos, which hold  525 Kg (.57 tons). 

To the left: Our first smiling customer had his silo delivered just yesterday, and promised to order more, larger silos to start his own storage business. We've also had inquiries from large-scale maize growers and local schools for the larger commercial silos. It would appear that we are on the verge of as much business as we want and can manage.  

Lastly, silos are not only good for Open Arms and the surrounding community, but they're good for our children. As they grow and we consider their lives and prospects beyond the Village, we need to give them skills to make it on their own. We need to give them contemporary technology, contemporary thinking, and opportunities to make an impact on the community and Kenya as they provide for themselves and their families. Silo building is just one of many opportunities we can offer them to begin their own lives and careers beyond the fences of Open Arms Village."


Through your generous partnership, we are able to take these steps in sustainable practices. Together we are teaching  our children and anticipate seeing them shape the next generation of Kenya. 

We often experience a decrease in our summer giving. Please prayerfully consider partnering with us through a one-time or monthly gift. Together, we will transform Africa, one life a time.

Training without Boarders

Our Village was recently blessed with a team from the Hillsboro Fire Department called Training Without Borders! It was one of the most unique teams we've had at our Village. Their goal was to train our students to stabilize, rescue and bring to safety, people who find themselves in crisis situations. 

Open Arms Village is located by the Kipkaren River. While this a beautiful location and can be a great place to relax or fish, it can also be treacherous if you aren't paying attention to your surroundings or footing.

In just two weeks, the Training Without Borders Team, trained a group of twelve students on rope and water rescue and industrial/auto extrication. They started learning with theory classes and then continued their learning through mock rescues. They practiced at a well, by the river, and at the waterfalls. The entire week was filled with enriching hands-on experiences. At the end of the training, all students received certificates for their hard work and success.

This type of training is vital to our entire community, since this area is prone to various kinds of accidents and incidents. Thanks to Training Without Borders, we now have a team of twelve students with rescue skills who will be able to help those in our Village and surrounding community who find themselves in crisis situations requiring rescue and immediate help.

Stories from the Open Arms Medical Clinic

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Our first team of 2016 left Portland, OR on Saturday, January 16th. They arrived to Eldoret and began working right away! 

After settling into the Village, they began preparing for a huge medical clinic in the Kambi Teso slum. Open Arms has not been able to host a medical clinic in the slum for many years, and we anticipate that it will be heavily attended by thousands of patients who would otherwise go without medical care!

We've collected a few stories from our team members and hope you will keep the team and the patients they see in your prayers as they continue to minister to people who are devastated by poverty.


"This morning I was awoken very early by the Kenyan birds, on my one day to sleep in (today we get a day of rest and exploring). As I lie here in bed under my twisted mosquito net, reviewing all my photos from our medical clinic yesterday I find myself smiling. 

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I love sitting down with each patient, sitting across from them at their level, grabbing their hands, making eye contact with them and saying "Hello, my name is Brooke; what is your name?" Then they state their name shyly. I continue to look in their eyes, the window to their soul, and say "I am a nurse, I am here to take good care of you, to try and make you feel better. I am happy to do that for you." Then they smile, and their shoulders relax. I read parts of their registration/triage/diagnosis paper aloud to them and then say "I see you have a fever and fatigue, I would like to draw a small sample of blood to test for Malaria, is that okay?" Then they nod and their eyes light up. They're being heard. They're being valued. After the test I hug them, or gently rub their arm, squeeze their hand, and say "thank you for coming, thank you for letting me help."

Every day we cross paths with "strangers," often times just briefly. Maybe they're helping us at a grocery store or coffee stand, maybe we are helping them at our job, maybe we are just passing them on the sidewalk. Make eye contact, show them that you see them, that they're not alone on this crazy planet where we can often be made to feel like we are just next in line, or invisible among the crowd. I give you this challenge from Kenya.  

You'll transform the person you see....
And you'll transform yourself."

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