I will be going to Nairobi, Kenya for 8 weeks during the Summer of 2011. Please pray for myself, my team, and ministry going on there currently.. God bless <3

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Heart

I'll be honest with you, God is doing a lot with my heart right now, a lot of which I do not understand. God has and still is breaking me for the people of Mathare. I'm broken for the beggars who are physically handicapped in some way. I'm broken for each of the glue boys (and even girls) that I encounter every single day. I'm broken for the fact that I stereotype the glue boys as "glue boys" because I know they are each God's child and they have a name. I'm broken for my mom who may have cancer again.

I'm not going to lie and say my heart is fully here in Mathare because it's not. My heart is BROKEN for the thought that my mom might have cancer again. The hardest part about this is that I have no way to contact her. God is teaching me a lot through this brokenness--He's good at that :) He is teaching me to trust in Him to be with, to protect, and to heal my mom. 

One thing I have realized since being here is that I am a leader and I REALLY like to be in control. Step one to releasing this need to be in control is trusting that God will heal my mom. Step two is to put my heart and focus to Heaven. 

I've realized that I treasure America. I treasure the food, friends, freedom, and, well everything. I know my treasure is not here on this earth, but it is in heaven. 

Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

My treasure is in heaven. My treasure is in the power of the gospel. My treasure is in Jesus Christ, my redeemer.

As you can tell my heart is in a few different places, but I know it needs to be set on Jesus.  Please pray with me as I seek, serve, and love Jesus with heaven in mind.  Also, please join me in praying for God's healing hands to touch my mother. I pray that God sets your treasure and heart on heaven so you can see earth in a new light.

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Update from the field

God is so good! I have been settling in here and adjusting to the culture and life in Kenya. I have 5 blogs that I need to post, but I need a wifi connection in order to do that. Tomorrow I may be able to go to a cyber cafe to post them. 

So far, this experience has been a roller coaster ride. From the highs of realizing I am really in Africa, to the lows of being overwhelmed with culture shock. The good news is that God has been here throughout all the bumps and He continues to be faithful to me. While I walk through Mathare I can literally feel the presence of God among me and the people I meet. Five years ago it would not have been safe to walk throughout Mathare, but God has worked much that you can feel Him there.

Simply walking through the slums is a roller coaster ride. Having children chant "Muzungus" or "How are you?" can bring so much joy and sorrow to my heart all at once. Muzungu translated means "white person." The kids will crowd around me asking for me to take a picture of them and wanting to simply hold my hand. I have had the opportunity to go on several house visits where I am able to sit and talk with families and learn about their lives in Mathare. The meetings can be very encouraging or discouraging. I have met with people who have seen God provide for them and their family in so many different ways. I have had the opportunity to meet a lady that makes 50 Kenyan schillings a day selling wood, but needs 1,000 schillings a month to pay for rent. (Please note that 86 Kenyan schillings equals 1 US dollar.) With the expenses of food and school fees, she needs another source of income. My heart was broken to know that she resorts to selling her body for additional funds. My teammate, Kiersten and I were able to encourage her in her pursuit of Christ. I could see her face light up when we shared about how God has provided for us in tough times. God is moving.

I have been placed under the microfinance area of ministry with Missions of Hope International. Being placed there was totally not my expectation, but that's what God is trying to teach me. I have been saying for a couple years now that I will never use my major with ministry and well, that's what I get for saying that. I have been able to sit in on loan meetings, crunch numbers, and sit in the office with no work to do (hence why I am writing this update). Starting next week I will be in the office most of the time doing data entry and filing. One perk about being in the office all the time is that I will be able to keep everyone updated on the ministry here. My team leaders are allowing me to work with evangelism on Thursdays. I will get a break from the office and be able to use my spiritual gift in ministry. :)

That's all for now, but I will write again soon. :)

Prayer concerns:
Pray for sick teammates.
Pray for God to heal the sick in Mathare.
Pray that the revival would continue to prosper in Mathare.

Thanks in advance for the prayers!

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Random Facts :)

I have watched a woman breast feed her baby at least once every day while on the field.

The word "pole" in Spanish means chicken, but in Kiswahili it means sorry.

On the way home one day I was in one minor wreck and about five minutes later I was almost in a head on collision.

While walking through the slums, actually while walking anywhere, it is not abnormal for children to shout "Muzungos." the literal translation of muzungos means white person. :)

Children everywhere want to touch a white person because they think we are celebrities.

Apparently because US currency has "In God we trust," some Kenyans think all of America is Christian.

No one in America has as much faith, trust, and reliance on God as the Christians in Mathare.

Rent for many "homes" in Mathare is equal to almost $13.00 or 1,000/= (1,000 Kenyan Schillings)

I can feel the presence of God and His hedge of protection over me as I walk throughout the slum.

Street boys sniff/eat glue used to repair shoes. The glue makes them high so that they forget about their hunger and to essentially forget life. They crowd around us as we wait to catch the matatu (bus) every day.

Their is A LOT of sickness in Mathare.

With blessings from Nairobi,
Brandi :)


I know some if you are curious as to the work I am doing while in Nairobi this summer. I have been placed in Microfinance where I will be assisting my coworkers in various ways.

What is microfinance?
Microfinance is one section of ministry that Missions of Hope International has where they are reaching out to those of Mathare. They enable people in the community to get together in groups and they provide loans for them. Most of the clients have students at one of MoHI's schools which is how we get connected with them. I'm not certain of how the beginning of the process looks, but I have had the opportunity to sit in on about 10 of the group meetings. I have been with two coworkers for each of the meetings, Priscilla and Josef. Meetings are held in churches, homes, or random shacks. Each group meets once a week to pay back a portion of their loan and to put some money into savings. Similar to committees and groups in the US, they have a chair person, a treasurer, and members. Clients take out a small loan and they have between 3-9 months to pay it back depending on the size of the loan. Once they have paid the loan back in full, then they have the opportunity to take out another loan. They are able to generate money to continue providing loans because of the money they have been saving and with assistance from group members. All of the meetings are conducted in Kiswahili which makes it very hard to understand and learn when I don't know the language. One of the meetings was in English which was very convenient. One of the group members asked me if I would rather deal with an active group member or a stubborn group member and I told him an active one. I then continued to ask him if he was stubborn and if we needed to kick him out of the group. Everyone was laughing. :) Later, that same guy stated that he was Barack Obama's cousin and he was telling me about their family. Oops. Haha

My job this summer is not going to include going to the meetings every day. Instead, I will be working in the office with data entry. Being behind a computer for 7 hours a day is not what I had dreamed my summer in Nairobi would be like. God has something to teach me with being in microfinance and I know He is going to use me in big ways there. My first day in microfinance I shared my testimony to one of my coworkers and we were both able to encourage and lift up each other.

I will be getting a break from data entry on Thursdays. My team leaders know that my heart is evangelism so they have asked the outreach leader if I could join their team on Thursdays. On Thursday's all of the social work team and community outreach team go into one of the villages (there are ten villages that make up Mathare) and share the gospel openly. Today is Thursday, but I did not go out because there are a couple short term teams here and they did evangelism yesterday.

Please be in prayer for my heart as I take on the task of using my major with ministry. Also, pray for the health of my teammates and myself (6 people stayed back on Wednesday due to sickness). Pray for safety as we are traveling throughout Nairobi.
Thanks in advance for your prayers. Please let me know if there are any ways which I can be praying for you. God bless.

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Today was day 2 of actually being on the field in Mathare. God has shown Himself to me in so many ways! I was able to be a part of 4 different areas of ministry at Missions of Hope International (MoHI). Yesterday I worked with teaching and community outreach. My teammate Kelsey and I were placed in class 3 yellow. Class 3 means they are each at the third grade level, but that does not necessarily mean that they are all the same age. The age of each child depends on when they first joined the program at MoHI whether through a sponsor or their parents supporting them. Yellow simply distinguishes one class from another. It was amazing to see how well behave each of the students were. They were very joyous and eager to learn. I was blessed with the opportunity to see how God is moving in their lives and giving them hope and joy.

After teaching, we were able to help out in the community outreach department. Kiersten and I went with Regina to visit Mary, one of MoHI's students and another lady. Mary's mother was telling us how her husband had left her (a common theme throughout Mathare) and she had to provide for her 3 children alone. She sold wood each day which gave her about 50 schillings each day (equivalent to about $0.60) and she needed 1,000 schillings each month just to pay for rent. 50 schillings a day for 30 days is equal to 1,500 schillings a month of income. She explained to us that she had to find another way to have income for her children. She sells her body to make up for the rest of the money. My heart was broken for this lady. I wanted so much for her to have hope and love through our Savior Jesus Christ, but she is at a lost in knowing how to provide for her family. My teammate and I were able to share about Gods provision in our very own lives and I could see her face light up from how God has provided for us. The second lady we visited was born again, but she has been going through a very rough time in her life. Two of her kids go to MoHI, but she has been unable o provide funds for them to go to school. Her husband was sent to jail last year and he will be there for 7 years. She needs God's divine intervention in her life to see Him provide for her.

Today, I was placed in spiritual development in the morning and Microfinance in the afternoon. For spiritual development, one of the staff ladies, 4 of my teammates, MoHI's pastor, and myself were able to go and make some house visits with people the pastor knew. We were so blessed and grateful for the opportunity to be encouraged by each persons faith in Christ and how He has provided for each of them. I definitely saw God at work today. For those that know Christ and live in Mathare, they have experienced more of God's provision than what I will ever experience. The amount of faith they have is like a watermelon compared to my mustard seed. God is absolutely working in the hearts and lives of those that know Him in Mathare. God is crazy good.

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Culture SHOCK

Well, I'm experiencing culture shock big time. It has been really hard for me to adjust to the food and building relationships. I'm a very picky eater and so far I have found about 3 of 10 things that I have liked. As a person who normally eats a lot, this is very new and different for me. Another aspect of culture shock gas been with my relationships. Basically, I have completely shut off myself from my teammates and stopped being the extrovert that I am. I have noticed myself skipping hang out times and distancing myself. Honestly, I feel like that is how I am reacting to the culture shock.

I'm so thankful and grateful to know that my God is and will be with me throughout this entire summer. Last night I was in need of some encouragement so I opened my Bible randomly. I opened to Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." After reading that verse is was an awesome testimony for me to know and acknowledge that God is here with me & He is going to give me all I need to get trough this experience if culture shock.

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In The Air

I'm currently sitting on the first leg of my 3 legs to Nairobi. I am with 6 of my teammates and two guys that are going to Turkana, Kenya for the summer. I have a window seat on the plane and I'm almost in tears because of the joy I have from this opportunity. To sit here and look out over the state of Ohio (maybe). It's crazy to think that the God I am going to Kenya to serve created this earth I am overlooking.

I'm blessed to have this opportunity.
I'm blessed to have so many people support me financially.
I'm blessed to have over 300 people lifting my team and myself up in prayer every day.
I'm blessed to be able to see the continent of Africa.
I'm blessed to be able to serve in the name of Jesus Christ to a slum that is home to over 850,000 people.

Orientation information:
For the past five days I have been learning more about CMF, Kenya, and many other life lessons. I want to share with you some of them. :)

•Culture shock is going to happen.
•They have Taco Bell in Kenya, but I was told it's just not the same at all.
•I will have one roommate for the summer.
•God is going to do great things.
•Drinking chai tea will happen A LOT.
•No matter where I'm placed, God is going to use me.
(Random side note on that fact: I found out that Missions of Hope International needs help with their accounting department. I've been saying for years now that I don't want anything to do with accounting, well, we will see where God places me in Nairobi.)
•There will be some down time where I won't have much to do, but I will need to be intentional about investing in relationships with others.
•Swahili has similar pronunciation  to Spanish.
•Most people in Nairobi, not the slum where I'll be working, will speak English.
•My team is composed of lots of leaders (lions) and influencers (otters). I am a lion.
•My team is adventurous. The night before departure we called a taxi cab just to go through the drive thru of McDonalds at 2 am. $46.97 later, 13 people received the McDonalds they were craving.
•Each of my team members comes from a different walk of life and God has used each of them in crazy, good ways.
•Don't unplug a washing machine because it might (aka DID) electrocute me.
•Riding the Matatus (public transportation) to work every day will be an adventure, not only because I will basically have to jump on and off, but I could end up getting on with 30 other chickens.
•Team unity is going to be really important.
•I'm not the only one on my trip that has a problem with laughing and peeing their pants (& yes I did just admit that!)
•I am prepared to poop my pants while on the field.
•13 girls and 4 guys living and working together for 8 weeks is going to be an experience.
•God is going to do so much I can't even fathom it.
•During a culture exercise the game turned from bartering to stealing. As in, I was the one stealing other peoples cards. I'm not going to do that in Kenya though.
•THE hardest thing was calling my mom and saying goodbye. During our conversation, I found out that she is going to need a hysterectomy sometime soon. The surgery is minor compared to others she has had. Please join me in prayer for her health.
•I will be living a mile higher in altitude in Nairobi.

I hope to continue the random facts in future blogs.

I don't think I can say "Thank you" enough, so THANK YOU!

God bless you!

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Here goes nothing!!

I will be departing for the airport in an hour!! :) I'm so excited to get this journey underway. Thank you for all of your support and prayers. I will keep you updated as much as possible. Thank you for joining me in doing God's work throughout the Mathare Valley. I pray that God will bless you this summer!

In Christ,

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Thursday, June 2nd, 2011, aka TODAY, I will be departing for Indianapolis, Indiana at 10 a.m. While in Indy, I will be meeting my teammates, and training for the 8 weeks ahead of me. :) I am rather anxious & ready to go! My suitcase and carry-on are packed with minor alterations still needing to be made. It's 7 hours before I leave and I'm not so sure I can sleep tonight.  I'm ready to leave!!! :) 

Here's a glimpse at what my schedule is like for the next 10 weeks.
June 2nd - June 7th: Indianapolis, Indiana for training
June 7th - June 9th: Depart from Indianapolis and go to NYC/JFK, then to London Heathrow, then (finally) I arrive in Nairobi, Kenya at 6:30 am their time.
June 9th - August 2nd: Work in the Mathare Valley
August 2nd - August 3rd: Depart from Kenya  and go to London Heathrow, to Chicago Ohare, and back to Indianapolis at 7:25 pm.
August 3rd - August 6th: Debriefing in Indianapolis.
August 6th - August 10th: National Student Conference in Evansville, IN (not related to my Kenya trip, but to the ministry on my campus)

I know there are several people that are interested in sending me letters and/or packages. (Please note this is not a request to have either sent to me, but just information...)
To send a letter or package, please send it to:

Brandi Wilcox
PO Box 59322
00200 City Square
Nairobi, Kenya
East Africa

If you write a letter, please be sure to take it to the post office to have it weighed. A normal 44 cent stamp will not get it all the way to me :( Price will be around $1.00 to send a letter that is less than 1 ounce.

If you would like to send me a package, please be aware that sending packages oversees is not cheap. I do not know how much they would cost, but USPS does sell flat rate boxes that you can send for $13.95. That is just a random number I pulled up on the internet, I do not know how legit it is. Also, please do not feel obligated to send me a package. Several people have asked me what I would like in a package and the following is a list. Packages will take two weeks or longer to arrive. Please do not send any after July 15th.  

Package List
Gummy and/or hard candies
Notes of encouragement :)
nail polish (only if in a plastic baggy in case it breaks!)
Strawberry flavored gum
Any other random candy you find at Walmart (no chocolate or watermelon flavored please)
Anything dealing with Jesus, from a note card to a book
Any random item you would like to make me smile with
Really, it could be anything at all :)

Side note: I have been warned that packages may be looked through & picked through before they actually arrive to you. Therefore, if you send me a package, only half of it could actually get to me. Please do not send anything valuable because I may never see it.

Remember, please do not feel like you need to send me anything, but if you do, I will be ecstatic! :) 

In Christ,
Brandi :)

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”