Friday, July 27, 2012

What Kenya means to me...

So I've told you about my trip, I've told you about how you can help, I've shown you pictures, but now I wanna tell you exactly what Kenya means to me...

When I was ten years old, I went to G.A. Camp at Circle 6... Mrs. Tammy a missionary from Israel was there and talked about missions. She said something I will NEVER forget... "Sometimes you have to get a q-tip and clean out your ears, because they are so full of your own ear wax (our own thoughts) and not not God's wax." So as a ten year old, I did a lot of praying that week and answered God's call in my life to missions. I knew at that moment I was going to serve God around the world.... little did I know Africa was my location...

So how did Africa get set in my heart?! Honestly, I couldn't tell you, but I know it's been in my heart to go serve in Africa since at least High School, could be before that. I wasn't sure what country but I knew I was called to Africa. Well I have a childhood friend who is a missonary in Kenya, so I began looking for trips to Africa when I got into college.

THREE YEARS in college and every trip I had planned or looked into (probably 5) kept getting pushed down, parents said no, funds weren't there, DOORS SHUT!!! Then one day my mom found a trip with Servant Life to work at an orphanage in Kenya, but SMALL WORLD, the orphanage is run by a family who use to live in Peaster (outside of Mineral Wells) and now live in San Angelo (where I go to college), churches i attend sponsor them, but here's the big catch, the little brother of the couple who run the orphanage is a friend of mine and I was on BSM leadership (the little time i was on it) with the nurse at the orphanage.

so i applied for the trip in January and by March I was totally funded! 3,000 dollars PAID! I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket for the trip. It was all God! It was insane how the trip just played it's self out....actually it was all God. I'd like to share something my mom wrote and gave to me when I got back to America, it gave me chills and brought me to tears.

My Trip to Kenya: By Lesa Burgeson
I remember praying over and over during my pregnancies the prayer of Samuel's mother. 1Samuel 1:27-28, "For this child I prayed as long as she lives she shall be lent to the Lord." After all of these years I still remind myself that my daughters are mine to love and care for and nurture, but their ultimate purpose is for the glory of Jesus Christ.

When I was nine years old I felt called by God to some sort of special service. My immediate thought as a young girl was that I was Africa bound. Trouble was I didn't want to go to Africa. God eventually revealed to me what He wanted me to do in this life and to my relief it wasn't to live in Africa. But years later that call to Africa would be placed in the heart of my daughter, and I would be part of Africa after all.

My oldest child has been given a heart for missions. She truly desires to Go and share the love of Christ to all people. Of course her heart's desire has always centered on Africa. As a college student she traveled to Peru twice, but Kenya was shouting her name. She had an opportunity to go to Kenya, but I felt under the particular circumstances she would not be safe, so she obeyed me and traveled to Peru for a second time. I should mention that both of her trips to South America she was accompanied by her father which means no worries for me.

During her junior year in college I cam upon an organization called Servant Life. This particular organization sends groups to Kenya to work in an orphanage. I researched for three days before I told my daughter Ashlee. I felt pushed by God to tell her. I can assure you I didn't want to tell her. The moment I showed her the website I could tell she was already there. She wasted no time in organizing all the details that would have to be taken care of, and what would happen over the next months would be nothing short of miraculous. Money was raised, shots were endured with no ill side effects, prayers were prayed and answered, and like a puzzle, piece after piece fell into place. It was my piece that I worried about, how could I possibly put my piece in that puzzle. It was at that moment my journey to Kenya began.

Control is an issue that I have dealt with my whole life. I especially feel the need for control when it pertains to my children. I must protect them, teach them, nurture them, listen to them, and love them.  The months that would lead to my daughter leaving would be my time of learning to let go and trust God to take care of my daughter.

I prayed for every imaginable detail, I prayed for safe travel, that all those awful shots wouldn't make her ill, that she wouldn't be kidnapped, I prayed fro her health, that she would be filled with courage, that God would use her, that she wouldn't be afraid, and the list goes on and on. With each prayer I prayed, God answered and assured me. I would let go of a particular worry with the assurance of my Heavenly Father only to grab that worry back again and the painful process of letting go would start over.

As the week of her leaving finally arrived I can tell you that God had done quite a number on my heart. I had let go of my daughter, His daugher, a piece of painful piece. But I knew that if I truly begged her not to go would reconsider. I still held the last piece of the puzzle. Only by God's grace could I place my piece. Months of spiritual ups and downs, letting go and taking back, questioning if God really loved my child. With each doubt, I was always reminded that He loves her more than I do, a hard concept to handle when you have control issues. My journey to Kenya had begun the moment I said, "Ashlee you can go," and was going to end the moment I let go. God had convinced me she needed to go to Kenya and that there were great days ahead. 

We arrived at the airport, did the necessary airport things. We recieved boarding passes, baggage inspected, and finally the trip through security. I touched her one last time and she began the security process. I stood and watched every movement, every gesture, she collected her things turned around, smiled, waved and blew me a kiss. At that moment my piece had been placed in the puzzle, and my journey to Kenya was over. Ashlee's journey to Kenya had just begun.

As we left the airport God spoke softly. It was a gentle reminder of a prayer I had prayed twenty-one years ago. For this child I prayed as long as she lives she shall be lent to the Lord.

DANG! So, I'm sure you are wondering why I posted my moms story... Well you see, I live 3 hours from my family and 80% of the time I am homesick, but the moment I laid foot in Kenya, I wasn't homesick at all... I missed my family, but I realized I was home.... However I got really discouraged throughtout the week. As I was holding baby Blessing, playing futbol with the boys, leading worship during VBS, or playing peak-a-boo with Chumba.... I questioned myself a lot... Was I doing enough? These kids need more... Is loving on these babies for a week, really going to make a difference? Well a childhood friend of mine, who I haven't really spoken with in a few years, messaged me on facebook, and I'd like to share it with you.

From Katy Miller
Hey sweet friend,
I hope you are doing well! So, on Sunday during church I was praying about a few things and you were brought to my heart. I began praying for you and your trip to Kenya and the Lord spoke to me and I feel like I am supposed to tell you! (Love when that happens) So while I was praying for you this song was playing: "you are stronger, you are stronger, sin is broken, you have saved me. It is written, Christ is risen, Jesus you are Lord of all!" For some reason I saw you holding a sweet orphan and being so burdened over him or her. Your heart was broken for them and there was a struggle in you. God kept saying "I am stronger" so, here's what I am bringing from this, I think its important to remember that the Lord IS stronger and death has been conquered. Some of those children live in a world that seems so unfair. It seems that just simply loving them and meeting temporary needs is not enough. But the battle has already been won...there is hope for those sweet babies. In Christ, all things are made new! They will be made new! Don't feel are doing a beautiful thing and our God is stronger...and victorious! 
I don't know what this means to you but I hope it brings you some kind of encouragement. I will continue to pray for you as you are on your adventure in Kenya. Please let me know what specific things I can pray for. 
Love you Ashlee B! 

So why do I share these? Because I want to show you how God was in the midst of this trip and my heart... A little over a month ago, Mattaw Children's Village got a new baby girl from the hospital. Abandoned and abused the three year old, was the size of maybe a one year old, she was too weak to walk, and her legs were tiny.... I began praying for her and was longing for the moment I arrived in Mattaw to hold her. I saw her, a guy from New Mexico was holding her, and I went over and asked if I could hold her, as soon as I got her out of my hand, she was taken away...DISAPPOINTMENT. Well we went to eat lunch, and i randomly picked house three to eat in. I looked over at the table, and there sat Blessing! After lunch and doing the dishes, I went in and talked to Baba Joseph and Mama Grace, I told her about the connection I had with Blessing... Mama Grace went to get her, and the moment she was placed in my hands, I felt God answer all the prayers I had prayed for that little girl. I repeatedly prayed 1Samuel 1:27-28 (I had no idea that s what my mother prayed for me). As I spent the week with her, I became discouraged I wasn't doing enough.... Then received Katy's message. Little Blessing is now walking, talking, smiling, laughing, and LIVING! THANK YOU JESUS!!!

This is  the child, and I was literary praying over her 1Samuel 1:27-28.

As we left Kenya, if a 21 year old could throw a fit kicking and screaming I would have. I did not want to go, and then God spoke softly to me as I was boarding the plane. "Ashlee, you aren't done here." I don't know if that means I go back for a summer or I go back for a while. I am still praying about the duration of my next trip, but I do know that once I graduate I will board a plane back for Kenya. Until I get back I will love on the people in America....

Last story:

A 14 year old boy at Mattaw, named David, has a very stern face. He has been at Mattaw since 2009. He was a big help to me with the little kids, but he broke my heart. He didn't smile much, kept to himself, but at one point he said, "You're my friend". We created a secret handshake and on the last day, minutes before I got in my van, we did our secret handshake and he gave me this letter.
 A child who was an orphan, but given a second chance realized that you have to tell everybody God loves them....  I am on my way back to Kenya, but until then I am serving here in U.S! My heart has been left in Kenya and I miss them greatly. :(

So you want to help?

So you've seen my updates on Kenya, and would like to help?! Well I wanted to provide substantial amount of information on helping the country of Kenya.... (FYI: anything in the light red is a direct link to the pages you will need)

First and foremost! PRAY, God does a lot with prayer.

If you want to help the children on Kenya:

Sponsor a child, you can pick a plan that fits your lifestyle and your budget. When you sponsor a child, it helps support the child. Here are a few websites you can check out, if you'd like to help sponsor a chlild.

Mattaw Children's Village (please sponsor those sweet babies, I've met them all and they are so amazing and a gift from God.)

Compassion (one of the guys who works at Mattaw now was a Compassion child, and he will tell you, he got out of the slums due to Compassion)

Instep  (this is a baby house with 117 children, although it is not limited to babies, 75% of the house is under the age of 5.... You can look on their website and read each and every child's story)

If you want to go to Kenya to serve. Here is some links to check out.

Mattaw Children's Village : They currently have around 70 children, with the oldest around 14 and youngest at about 2.

InStep : Instep is a "baby" house. They currently have 117 children 75% of the children are under the age of 5.

Kenya is always in need of water solutions, bug nets, and men ministries. If God is calling you to work in Kenya, do some research and look up these two places I have posted.

If God isn't calling you to do a monthly gift, but a one time donation there is plenty of opportunies:

1. We are selling t-shirts for Berundi which is a local (in Kitale) rescue center. Children come straight off the street. On any day they can get 0-20 kids in... They are doing God's work to the best of their ability and changing the lives of the children, but we'd like to assist them by supplying clothes, mosquito nets, and bibles.

2. You can donate straight to Mattaw, Mattaw has their own school and are in the process of switching curriculum, so you can help buy new books. You can also help support the children by donating or even future builds at Mattaw.

Mattaw Children Village

Each Link, is a direct spot to where you need to go to make donations, sponsorship, or mission trips. I hope this helps. Even if you can't go across the world to help, God can use you RIGHT here. He can use you to change a life in Kenya. A few have expressed curiosity about being a part, so I thought I'd write this up, to answer some questions! Much love!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. - John 18:14

D.B.A is how the people of Africa describe life in's really chill and laid back, so whenever something crazy, bizarre, kinda weird, out of the ordinary, and etc... they say...D.B.A. meaning DIS BE AFRICA! :)

We are raising money to send to a rescue center in Kenya. When we visited, we were all very convicted to raise money and help them out.

If you buy a t-shirt, here is how the money will be used...

1. We will be buying the children underwear, panties, and t-shirts.

If money permits we'd like to do some other things such as,

2. buying mosquito nets for the rescue center.
3. buying a few swahili bibles for the rescue center.

4. and any money we have left over we plan to send to Mattaw Children's Village to help with future builds they have.

We thank you for helping us raise money for God's children across the world. They impacted our life for the better and we'd like to do the same for them.

None of this is possible without Jesus Christ, and two verses come to mind...

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. - John 18:14

You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them.
-Psalm 10:18

Here's how it works! We have five teams.

Team One: In Abilene, Texas headed up by Roger Stafford and Wylie Baptist Church. 
Team Two: In Corsicana, Texas headed up by Alyssa Moore and her family
Team Three: In New Albany, Mississippi headed up by the Robbins family
Team Four: In Mineral Wells, Texas headed up by Lesa Burgeson and Brazos Pointe Church
Team Five: In San Angelo, Texas headed up by Ashlee Burgeson or by

You place the order and pay for the shirt ($20)...  Cash is better... We place the order September 1, 2012 and you should get your shirt a few weeks later. 

Ashlee Burgeson

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jambo Yall!

Jambo yall! I am home from Kenya, unfortunately. I can honestly say I'd much rather be in Kenya than back here in the states. God did a number on my heart while in Kenya and I'd like to share my trip with you and the things God showed me....

I'm not sure where to start, but I think the best way to start it is, I am answering God's plan. I have been called to missions since I was 10 years old, and Africa has always been on my heart. I have been to South America twice and I thought that was the plan, but then God opened up a door to Africa, specifically Kenya.

The moment I signed up for the trip, money started pouring in and my entire trip was paid for in a matter of months. Nothing came out of pocket for this trip. (I knew that was a gift from God). To top it off it was to work with children (i love children)!! I was so excited and was ready to go months before the trip....

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. -1 Samuel 1:27 

Thursday/Friday: We left DFW to head to Kenya..... approximately 19 hours in a plane... 6 hours of layovers...disgusting plane food.... throwing up on a plane......but eventually arriving in the beautiful country of Kenya. Once I stepped foot in Kenya, I knew I was right in the midst of God's plane for my life.

Saturday: We woke up from about a four hour sleep and missed our plane to Eldoret. Luckily the team from Artesia New Mexico made theirs. We had to wait three hours before loading buses to head to Kitale (8 hours in a bus).... that wouldn't be so bad, if the roads weren't so terrible. By the end I was so car sick, but knew it would be worth it... I went to bed early that night, but was so pumped about church the next morning. We stayed in Karibuni Lodge. It was beautiful and Theresa was such an amazing hostess.

Sunday: My favorite day by far!!! We drove to Mattaw and as soon as we got there we were greeted by the children. They sang to us and welcomed us with a parade. We walked into church and let me just tell you folks..... we are doing church wrong. We sang a couple songs, like we'd do in America, then Baba Bud told us to move the chairs.... I was like WHAT!? So the chairs were moved and the drums were brought out and we danced for about a hour and a half. Then Kim and Bud preached and one of the house dads.... all together church lasted about 2 and a half hours, but you wouldn't have known it. I cried from the moment I walked in till I walked out. Spirit (God, but the Kenyans say Spirit) was there and working BIG time. I remember being so in awe of the children and their love for the Lord. At one point they prayed, and during this prayer I almost had to sit down because of the amount of emotions running through my body. 67 children, 8 house parents, numerous volunteers and staff were all praying out loud in Swahili and English........ DANG! That's whats up! From a distance I saw the little girl I had been praying for, for a month. She was being held by a guy from New Mexico... I went and asked if I could hold her, I felt bad because I didn't give her up much the rest of my time there..... but the moment she was in my arms,  I felt God assure me that she was going to be okay in this life. Here are some pictures from Sunday.

Meet Noah


Bud preaching


Kimberly preaching

House Dad Preaching

Baby Blessing


Silly girl

House three family

Chumba and Claire
Monday: We spent the whole day at Mattaw. I got to spend some quality time with Mama Grace, who poured words of wisdom in my life. We just loved on the kids all day... It was very relaxed and we had a blast. I think it was on Monday when God started stirring my heart....

how they sweep


my best friend....Emmanuel

getting my hair braided!

Our Mattaw Family

Abbey, the house three girls, and myself

our babies

Tuesday: Was probably the hardest day...... We went to a Rescue Center and it broke my heart. We walked in to see children without pants, holes in their clothes, malnourished, and scared. I believe these children needed the love the most. Once they got attached to someone they didn't let go. My fingers hurt from how tight they grabbed on. At one point, I had to walk away because I could no longer hold my tears in.... Caleb asked me if I was awesome, and I thought..yeah I am awesome, because God is showing me where he needs me. I remember just loving those babies so tight... Leaving was so hard because you had to pry their little hands off your neck and it broke my heart. Please pray for them.... they come to the rescue center straight off the street. Some will go back to their homes, others will stay there, and some will be placed in an orphanage. We went back to the orphanage after the rescue center to do VBS with the kiddos!

The girls showers

The toilet

Can last a family of 3 for one month

Foot eaten by jiggers.

Jiggers are a flea that buries into a foot and lays eggs . They have to be cut out of the foot and then the foot has to be placed in a cleaning liquid. 

Caleb trying to figure out what children had more than one sucker! haha

This is Kevin who desperately longs to go to school, but secondary school in Kenya isn't free, and there is no money for him to go.... A few men on our team are trying to get him to secondary school.

My awesome helpers! Daniel and David. They helped translate for the smaller kids!

Wednesday: We went to a primary school of 600 kids. It was a bit overwhelming. I got asked to lead worship and teach them some songs. They were quick learners but my throat was not too happy with me. We had a blast though! Then we went back to Mattaw to do VBS with the children.

Grades one and two

Future teacher at a Kenyan school!! SO COOL!
leading worship 

Wednesday was also one of the saddest days of my life......I had to tell those sweet babies good bye. It was my biggest nightmare. I cried like a baby, but so grateful I had a chance to meet those sweet babies and amazing adults! 
This is Mama Grace.  A lady who impacted my life so big! She helped me realize God's plan. She spoke words of wisdom and knew I needed to be slapped a couple of times with words of wisdom. She is an amazing woman! 
House three kids

boys room

girls room

Thursday/Friday/Saturday: Were fun days where we went on Safari and headed home... Check the Facebook for pictures there....

To sum up my week in Kenya in one word is OBEDIENT. I have to be obedient to God's call in my life. I know he is calling me back there. He wants me to serve him and the children of Kenya. I am praying for more clarity but as of right now, I know that I will most likely be spending next summer there. It is a scary thought to collect the funds and find a place to live for 3 months in Kenya, but I know that if it is God's will then God will equip me. God equips the called. My heart longs to be back in Kenya so bad. It longs to hold baby Blessing and to play with baby Chumba! My heart longs to sing with the children and to visit with Mama Grace. Thank you to anyone and everyone who sent me to Kenya! You are a huge part of what God is doing there!! Here are some pictures of the children. Thank you for reading this! Love to all!

 Here are some random pictures from the trip! Enjoy!
Caleb getting the car ready

My bed for the week! I want a mosquito net!

on the streets in Kitale!! :D

streets of Kitale

At the equator

the girls!

Girls and David on Safari

On Safari



My friend David!

On the Safari!

Coolest car in Kenya! I didn't drive it! Just a picture!