Thursday, September 18, 2014

Living A GOD-Given Dream

Hey, everyone!!

I know, it's been awhile... But things have been really busy since I last wrote.

For instance, our family's mission in Kenya has ended for now. GOD'S timing was amazing, and we finished everything in 6 months!! We are all back home, safe and sound.

Summer is over, and school is back in session.

And I have discovered that my calling in life is to write. I know, it sounds kind of fanciful and impractical, but I truly believe that GOD has given me this passionate love of words for a reason. What other reason would it be than to use them?

This is a dream that I have had since I was a child; a dream that I am already living out!

Over a month ago, I ended up connecting with the Editor of Crown Of Beauty Magazine through Twitter. She sent me a link to the website, and said I ought to check it out.

I did. And I liked it. A lot!!

I sent in an application to train for a writing position, and was accepted.

Over the past several weeks I have connected with the different young ladies who work on this online magazine & blog together and have been so very blessed with their encouragement and sweet words. They have done nothing but fan the flames of the dream GOD has given me...

The newest edition, the Mission Issue, will be coming out very soon!! I am currently writing an article about my time in Kenya for it. I also had the amazing opportunity to send Christian Music artist Matthew West some questions via Email about his ministry, which might possibly be featured in the next issue, as well...

I am so pumped about this new opportunity to serve with this wonderful group for awhile. I cannot wait to see what GOD will do with each of us and this ministry!!

Stay tuned for more info about Crown Of Beauty and my adventures there!! :)

~Hannah Wilson

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Question Time: (Retainers, Boyfriends, & Homeschooling)

                Imagine sitting in a group of five to fifteen orphans from a third-world country, and they were all asking you questions.

What kind of questions would you expect?

For the past few months I have been asked a ton of crazy questions, and I think it’s about time that I write a post about them.

The children and I usually sit in a tight circle, until it just becomes a tight knot with all of them leaning over in my lap and braiding my hair. This is when the questions are brought up. Many of the questions are the usual ones you ask when you first try to get to know someone. ‘How old are you?’ or, ‘what is your favorite food?’ and even ‘what grade are you in?’ But these kids also wonder about things you wouldn't expect.

One of the funniest conversations I have had with them concerns my retainers. (I got my braces off shortly before coming here, so I still have to wear my retainers all the time.)

One of my buddies named Elizabeth, age 12, (not our Elizabeth,) had her head in my lap. As I was talking with one of the others, she jumped up and opened her eyes wide.

“What is that in your mouth?” she questioned.

I didn't know how to explain what they were, so I just stuck with,

“My teeth were messed up, so the dentist had to put them in my mouth to fix it.”

She looked confused, and told all of the others had to come and see the “things in her mouth.”

Then the questions started rolling.

“Is it glass?”

“What do you do with them when you need to eat?”

“Do all of your teeth come out with them?”

I explained again, and they seemed to partially understand.

Then finally the big question came.

“Can you take them out and show us?”

I said no at first, but they were truly very curious and kept asking. So…I popped my top retainer off.

I guess it must have scared them…

Because they all screamed!!

They sat still for a moment after I put it back in, and then Elizabeth quietly said,

“Do it again?”

Another favorite convo I've had makes me laugh every time I think about it…

A different group, mostly of girls, were sitting around and visiting. One of the youngest in the group grabbed my hand, (where I always wear my favorite ring,) and said in Swahili,

“Is this a wedding ring?”

When the others had made it clear what she had asked, I informed her that no, it was certainly not a wedding ring.

Then Susan, aged 11 to 12, tossed me a funny look and asked,

“Well, do you have a boyfriend?”

“No,” I answered.

“Have you ever had a boyfriend?” she questioned.


“Why not?”

“I’m not old enough.”

“You are 16!”

“I can when I’m 17.”

“Oh…okay,” she replied, seeming fairly satisfied.
Susan has seemed very concerned about me being single for a while now, though I don’t quite understand why. They way her mind works cracks me up!!

“Hannah, where do you go to school?” Steyncher asked me.

“I’m homeschooled.”

She wrinkled her forehead.


“I do school at home.”

“Oh, you mean you get a tutor?”

“No, my mom is my teacher.”

“At your school?”

“No, my mom teaches me at home.”

Steyncher opened her eyes wide.

“She teaches all of you?”

“Yeah, all eight of us!”

“Wow! That is very interesting.”

She seemed very interested in homeschooling. It isn’t done here in Kenya; all kids go to day-school every weekday, and the highschoolers go to boarding-school for three months at a time, with a month break in-between. The idea of learning your lessons at home is a very strange concept.

Her next question was,

“Does your mother punish you if you don’t learn your lessons?”

“No, she just helps us to correct the mistakes we made and has us do extra work to re-learn the lesson.”


The next time I went to visit, she grabbed one of her friends and said,

“Hannah, tell her about where you go to school!”

I explained again, and the other girl had a similar reaction.

“See, I told you she is taught at home!” she said in triumph to her friend. 
She turned to me and smirked, “She wouldn't believe me, when I told her.”

These are only a few of the fun things that the children have spoken with me about… Every visit holds something new. I just love it! And I’m sure I will have much more to laugh about in the future.

Thanks to everyone who reads my Blog!!

Blessings, Hannah

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Early Christmas Gift & Lessons On Faith

Here it is, less than two weeks until Christmas…

On Friday, we sort of had an early Christmas celebration at the Home.

A very generous woman visited the children a little while back and was majorly blessed by their singing and dancing…
So, when she left, she began to send money so the children could eventually get musical instruments and sound equipment.

The children have been dreaming and praying for instruments, and for someone to teach them how to play them.
Well, on Friday those dreams and prayers became reality.

We showed up at the home and all of the children were in the house waiting anxiously.

We unloaded box after box, and began to unpack them.

We pulled out a keyboard, a set of drums, speakers, amps, many microphones, and (my personal favorite thing,) an electric guitar.

The kids went crazy, squealing and laughing with delight.

After we set everything up, and tested it to be sure it was all working, Mama Helen spoke to the kids.

She told them about the kind woman who donated all of this to the Home. She told them that God had heard and answered their prayers for instruments. And she told them that God has truly blessed their prayers.

I was so tickled, because she told the kids that Dad and I would be teaching them how to play some of the music and how to use the equipment.

I am so happy to begin teaching and investing something I love into people I love.

Mama Helen told the kids that anyone can learn how to play music, even the girls! She said,

“Any of you ladies out there who are thinking you cannot learn how to play guitar. Perhaps you are thinking, ‘Oh, guitar is for men!’ Hannah plays guitar! And she can teach it to you. So do not disqualify yourself.”

To that, the girls all clapped and cheered.

And I just laughed.

I didn't think about the kids having funny stereotypes like that…

After all of this, we had a great time singing and playing music. 
I didn't want it to stop…
We all seemed to lose track of time. All we could think about was how God had blessed everyone.

We praised and worshiped until we were worn out. And it didn’t matter that most of the songs were in Swahili.
I could just feel the joy emanating from everyone in the room.

And to top it all off, little Ian stood up to give his devotion.

He read the Scripture about when Jesus calmed the storm. And the verse that resonated with me was when Jesus asks His disciples, “Why is your faith so small?”

The answered prayers of those children make me ask the same thing.

“Why is my faith so small?”

If these kids can pray and see their deepest hopes answered by the mightiest King and Creator, why can I not pray with the same faith?

Such faith and such joy is priceless… and so touching and humbling.

I believe that these little moments are tiny glimpses of what Heaven will be like.

Hannah Wilson

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks and Belonging

Thanksgiving is tomorrow…

It is an American holiday meant for remembrance of the pilgrims, their long journey, their friendship with the Indians, and the celebratory meal they shared together.

But nowadays, most Americans just spend this day stuffing their faces, trying not to think about their weight, and debating if eating that third piece of pie was worth it or not…

In short, we forget what the name of the day actually means.

Sure, we say a prayer over the crazy-big spread we lay out. Sure, we take turns sharing what we are thankful for. Sure, we enjoy those warm, fuzzy feelings we get around the holidays.

But why can’t we do this year-round?

Why do we suddenly decide to “be thankful” at this specific time of year?

What makes this day different than any other day?

Since we moved to Kenya, my family has been missing a lot of things.

We miss some of the comforts we had back home. We miss people, (far too many to number,) that we loved and who loved us. And there are some days we just plain, “miss home.”

And with the holidays coming around, we are discovering just how much we miss our dearest family and friends…

But as much as I personally miss home, I wouldn't change where I am for the world.
It would take far too long for me to explain every detail of why I feel this way, so I will try to narrow it down into one word:


The feeling of belonging is such a curious thing…

It is a feeling we all desire from the very beginning of life.

Usually this feeling shows up when we are in the company of people who are like us.

People who are from the same family, people who have the same interests, people who have the same accent, who eat our favorite food, who dress and act like us; these are the people we feel comfortable with. And our human nature tells us that these are the people designed to be with.

But have you ever dreamed that you could feel this sensation with people who are unlike you?

I do.

And it just doesn’t make sense!!

When the pilgrims landed, they were strangers in a strange land, living with strange people.

They were from a different country. They spoke a different language. They were a part of a different culture. They dressed differently. They had different customs.

According to what the world would say, they did not “belong.”

(Not unlike my family right now…)

But the Indians saw the pilgrims were in need. They looked past what the pilgrims looked like, and stretched out an arm of friendship that would go down in history.

They shared their time, energy, and food with these strangers who had entered their homeland, and treated them like brothers.

(Not unlike the people of Kitale, Kenya right now…)

I don’t believe that true belonging is what the world defines as “belonging.” I think the true meaning of belonging is being able to look past the things the world looks at in a person, and chooses to see people for who God has made them to be.

I think it is accepting your brothers and sisters in Christ as you would your real “brothers and sisters,” along with all their flaws, differences, and oddities.

I think is allowing people to become a part of your life; discipling, ministering, and just sharing with each other.

That is the beauty of the Thanksgiving story…

This was a single act of kindness that has made an impact on people of hundreds of years later.

We usually just think of it as a story.

But I think that this story is a beautiful example of brotherly love, how God can bring people together, and how people can belong anywhere as long as God is guiding them.

Thankfulness, joy, and contentment are choices you must make.
And they are choices we should make all year.

I wish all of you the best Thanksgiving yet!!

Hannah Wilson

Friday, October 18, 2013

Awkward Moments...

Our visit to the Children’s Home on Tuesday was absolutely wonderful! We were really able to spend some quality time with the kids.

But before I talk about the time we spent there, I have to tell you about our trip there…

Pastor Richard and Mama Helen drove us through town and down the dirt roads to get to the home. The scenery was beautiful!! The grass is always so completely green. Hedges were growing on both sides of these back roads. I noticed the colorful Lantana flowers blossoming, too! (I grew them in my little flower-bed, back in the states. They grow EVERYWHERE here!! They remind me of home…)

And as we are driving through this lovely place, a large bird decided to drop its…… um…….leftovers on the window shield.  The window was totally covered!!

It was at this point that I was reminded once again of the 9,999 reasons guys and girls are so different.

Dad and Pastor Richard were roaring with laughter.
 Mom and Mama Helen were screaming with disgust. 
Mary and Lydia were making grossed-out faces.
 And then all of the boys, (Caleb, Samuel, Noah, Jonah, and Erick,) were in the back screeching, laughing, and shouting,

“That is so awesome!!”

And me? 
I just sat quietly, shaking my head.

And then my dad grabs his cell phone, takes a picture of the window, and posted it to Facebook…

Once again, guys and girls are so totally different….

We got to the Children’s Home, soon after.

Pastor Richard and Mama Helen wanted to get there before the children got back from school, so they could show us some of the new facilities they had added.

We got inside, and Lydia (age 3) told mom she needed to use the restroom. Mom asked me to take her.
I walked down the hall, knowing all of the rooms had restrooms attached, but not knowing which room I should go in.

Erick opened one of the rooms for us, and Lydia ran right in, not slowing down for a moment.
As she ran in, I heard Mom calling me to bring Lydia back. But what could I do? She was already at the restroom door.

Erick opened this door for her while this was going on, and Lydia ran in. When she was inside, she stopped, looked up at Erick, and said,

“The toilet is broken!”

(I think I have explained this before, but I will explain it again… Most of the toilets in Kenya are holes in the floor with porcelain inserts. Some of you may remember my story about these toilets from my last trip…)

Anyway… Lydia had never seen one of these before, or used one. So, she said,

“The toilet is broken!”

Erick turned away and started laughing.

I jumped up, and ran into the restroom, explaining to Lydia that this is kind of toilet people in Kenya use.

After coaxing her over and over she finally went.

Only then did I remember that we didn’t have any toilet paper!

I dug through my purse, and discovered a tiny sheet of tissue wadded up in the bottom of it.

As I was handing the sheet to her, Lydia’s foot slipped and plunged down into the hole…

Her foot emerged from the hole, covered in a nasty sludge.

She just looked at me, with a disgusted look on her face and said,

“That is so gross!”

I told her to wait, and I ran back out into the hallway to find my mom.

For whatever reason, when I entered the hall, I began to laugh, hysterically. It’s just that the whole situation was embarrassing, I felt horrible for my sister, and the entire thing was so utterly gross.

When mom asked what was wrong, all I could manage to say was,

“Lydia fell in the toilet.”

(It turned out Mom was calling us back because Mama Helen was going to unlock a bathroom that had an “English toilet,” but Lydia hadn’t waited long enough…)

We went back, and mom sent me out to the van to find the baby wipes.

I ran back down the hall, all the while telling myself,

“Get it together, Hannah. This is NOT funny. You shouldn’t be laughing. This is just so wrong!”

I got outside, and all my siblings and Erick were playing together.

Erick looked over in my direction, and as soon as we made eye contact, he busted out laughing again!! This made me start laughing once more, but I felt so terrible about it!!

After that little episode, we had a quiet evening with the children.

I got to be reunited with some of the little girls I hadn’t been able to spend time with the last time. I also got the chance to spend time with some of the new girls that moved in.

A group of girls claimed me, and talked with me for a long time. Two leaned over on either side of me, one sat in front of me, one sat behind me and played with my hair, and we all just talked about my family. My favorite question they asked me was,

“Are you the firstborn child?”

(I thought that sounded so cool!!!)

And Elizabeth was so happy to see us!! She sat with us, took pictures with us, played with us, and just spent some much-needed time with us.

It has truly been a blessing to play a part in her life. I cannot wait to watch her bloom into a young adult!! She is so precious to our family…

Monday, October 14, 2013


Yes, I know I haven’t updated like I was supposed to… We have just been so busy!!!

We have finally started to get into a groove. (School, chores, playtime, etc.) And we hosted our first team!

Mike Curry and a group from Tennessee came and stayed a week in Hospitality House. They were very pleased with our services, our food, and their rooms.

They were a very friendly group! The kids and I occasionally had the chance to visit with them.  One of the members of this team entertained us for hours with magic tricks. (And from that time, I now know how to tie a knot in a string without letting go! Lol!)

With us being so preoccupied and not having transportation of our own, we haven’t had the chance to visit the Children’s Home since that first night…

As I have told you before, our Elizabeth was thrilled to know we were moving to Kitale! And I think perhaps she had envisioned us being at the home every day.

When we saw her at church two Sundays ago, instead of running to come sit with us with a smile beaming on her sweet face, (like she did the week before,) she quietly sat next to Dad and hardly said a word. When we asked her what was wrong, she wouldn’t tell us.

After talking with her, we realized why she was so upset; we hadn’t seen her since that first night! In her mind, we had forgotten about her.

We very quickly explained how much we wanted to see her, but we had no vehicle.

After hearing this, and after we had apologized, she perked up. She held my hand for a LONG time; and if I so much as loosened my grip, she doubled hers.

Thankfully, Pastor Richard and Mama Helen have made plans to take us for a visit tomorrow! So we will be able to see her again. We have been sending letters back and forth by Erick, but it really is not the same…

Now, that brings me to Erick.

Erick has just recently turned 18 years old. He grew up in Seed’s Children’s Home, has lately graduated agriculture school, and is now working as the gardener for Hospitality House. He is very kind-hearted, and a lot of fun to be around. All of us Wilsons love him to death.

He has been kind enough to carry letters from us, to Elizabeth, and back again. And every day, along with letters, he brings news from the Children’s Home…

Probably my favorite bit of news he has told me concerns my baby sister, Rebekah.

Rebekah was sitting in my lap one afternoon, and Erick was sitting across the table from us. Rebekah, as usual, had the addicting pacifier in her mouth.

Erick stared at her for a long time, and then he finally said,

“Hannah, what is that thing in her mouth?”

I pulled the pacifier out.

“This?” I asked.

“Yes!” Erick said, “All of the children at the Home have been talking about it. They all think that it is a sweet [candy] that she is always sucking on. But I told them that I don’t know!”

I started laughing, and explained that it is something we use in America to make babies shut their mouths. When a baby cries, we put the pacifier in, and the baby is quiet.

I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall when he explained that one to all of the kids!


The missionary community here has been very welcoming. There are people from Canada, Connecticut, Washington, and all over the place!!
It’s funny, because all of the missionary families know one another and where all of them live. It’s almost like an inner community inside the small community of Kitale.

Well, I have got to get to bed now, so I will wrap up with prayer requests.

We are still in need of a vehicle. We are praying for something that will fit our whole family to come along, and for it to be in our price range.

We are praying for our anti-Malaria medicine. We found refills of our medicine here, but it is REALLY expensive. (There was a bit of a communication error when we asked about the price…)

And last of all we are praying for all of us to adapt to our new life. Living here is very different than it was when we lived in Texas. We miss our friends and family, our church, and just the familiarity of home.

I hope to update more than I have been. It’s just that the first few weeks here have been so hectic. I promise I will try to do better!! So, until net time...

Many blessings, 
Hannah Wilson

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hello, Kitale!!

I'm sorry for not updating sooner, but we have been without internet for a few days...

But, we finally made it to our new home!!!

Things have been very busy for us ever since we got here. There is so much to be done! Unpacking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and visiting the school and children's home.

It made my heart so glad to see Melody, Pastor Richard, and Mama Helen waiting for us at the airport!! It was so nice to see some familiar faces after all of the traveling we had been doing.

Much to our joy, all of our luggage made it to the house!! It felt wonderful to eat breakfast in what we knew to be our new home.

The day after we arrived, we were asked to visit the school. When we drove up, the children saw us and began to jump up and down screaming out loud! They were all so excited to see us! We introduced ourselves to every class, and they sang songs to greet us.

We ended up seeing our Elizabeth while at the school, and she immediately knew who we were. She ran up to us to give us the hugs we had been missing for so long. Yes, I teared up a bit when we saw her, but what can you expect?

That evening we visited the children's home. It was quite a joyous occasion. There are many new faces at the home since my visit in July, instead of 86 children coming to greet us, around 165 came out screaming and shouting. 

I was reunited with a few of my old friends from my last visit: Veronica, little Cynthia, Beryl, Eric, and Amos. But most of my close friends are still in boarding-school; I will probably see them in December, when they are on break.

Everyone LOVES my younger siblings. All of the kids played with my little brothers and sisters like they had known them forever. Miss June, one of the cooks at the school, fell in love with Lydia and showed her the whole kitchen. The bigger girls at the children's home all took turns picking Caleb up and giving him rides on their backs. A swarm of girls snatched Mary away to show her their rooms. Miss Lynnette, from the school, did not rest until Rebekah gave her a "high-five."

We are all very tired, but very happy.

More soon to come!! :)