Our Kenya Story


April 2016

1) I have dear friends who are resident missionaries at a medical clinic, orphanage and school in Migori, Kenya called Kenya Relief (Devry and Curtis). We have partnered with you (our amazing customers) to send money for their fantastic programs and efforts 2 years in a row at Christmas and I just love them and what they do for the least of these.
2) Then last fall, God up and tells me to go to Kenya and get embroidery machines there. CRAZY-town. I laugh at God and say, “OK! Let’s figure out how to do that!” Ha. Ha. Ha.
3) I go to visit Kenya Relief in March on a mission trip- still not really telling people outside my mission trip team and immediate close friends about this embroidery machine dream because IT. DOESN’T. MAKE. SENSE. There are so many obstacles that it’s insane.
4) While at Kenya Relief, I realize they have a location, a need and a training program set up that would work with an embroidery machine and sewing room. I call the director (Steve James) as soon as I get home from the states and he says, “We’ve been praying about this call for 3 years.”
5) I was speaking last weekend at The Everything Applique Conference about fundraising and the friends who are directors of that conference asked me to present my current (Reminding you- NUTSO) vision of getting an embroidery machine to this huge crowd of people. They end up walking up to me and giving me $1137 in cash. After they have spent 3 days eating out, on hotels, shopping, etc.
6) We partner with our local store (S&R SEWING & VACUUM CTR) and they offer me a machine at their cost. AND they are throwing in ALL KINDS Of extras.
7) Kathy and Jefferey from Applique Corner and their entire team rally more support and funding. Everyone from vendors (Blanks Boutique) to dozens of participants from the conference to the amazing hosts of the NEXT embroidery conference this coming weekend (Everything Embroidery Market) ALL DONATED. There are SO many MORE people to thank and I don’t even have all their names, yet!!
8) Y’all. I got the call today that we surpassed the donation goal for the amount needed. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
9) I will be taking a brand new embroidery machine to load onto a container to be sent to Migori, Kenya this week. THIS WEEK.

10) I sit here and cry at God’s faithfulness. There is absolutely nothing- NOTHING- that makes sense about this crazy journey. It’s out of a story book! I am so shocked, yet not at all surprised at how this unbelievable tale is being written! To God be the Glory! There are no words! I can’t wait to update you all with more pictures this week! OH MY GOODNESS!!

August 2016

Sunday, August 21st- We had arrived at Kenya Relief that Saturday night before (after leaving the US on Thursday) and couldn’t wait to get started on our big project! I really had to keep pinching myself that this crazy God-inspired dream was coming true! Sunday morning we had church, then went on home visits to see where a few of the orphans came from (and to meet their extended families) and THEN we got to see our new office!
They named it Hillary’s Hut! AGH!! I cried! I couldn’t believe it! So very sweet! {Picture here is of me in front of Hillary’s Hut}

On this trip, Kristi Coulson (whose family owns our local sewing store) came with me to help train and be there in case there were any issues with repair. Kristi and I unboxed the machine, set it up, turned on the generator to give it power… and it did NOT work.
We tried every test, different threads, different needles, bobbins, every setting you can imagine. But it kept coming up with the same sensor error and after about 10 hours of us punching buttons, we gave up for the night.
I posted a request for prayer on my personal Facebook page and was so frustrated. We couldn’t get a hold of any professional tech help in the US because it was a Sunday and we were exhausting every option you can imagine. Thankfully we got some numbers of technicians to contact at home, but the 8 hour time difference made everything difficult.
We were supposed to have interviews and start training on Monday morning. But did not have a machine that worked. And could not think of anything at all to show or start working on.
Day 1= major frustration and disappointment.

Monday, August 22nd- While our machine wasn’t working after day 1 (late Sunday night) in Kenya, we still had people coming in to interview on Monday morning. At the time that the US (and our possible technical help) was still sleeping, we were chatting with some amazing women. Two were a perfect fit for the job and I can’t wait for you to know them!

I’m so delighted for you to meet Lucy and Jackline (Lucy on the left and Jackline -pronounced like Jaclyn- on the right). They are the MOST amazing gals you have ever met! Jackline is in charge of the shop and Lucy is her back up- they work together seamlessly and I really think God just put them right there for us!
Jackline is an orphan who grew up at Kenya Relief.
Read that again, because I couldn’t believe it, either.
Talk about an amazing God moment! She just graduated from a sewing technical school and is the only one who knew what the embroidery machine was. She speaks fluent English and needed a job! Isn’t God’s full circle story amazing!?
Meanwhile, Monday afternoon around 5 we were able to contact every technician at Babylock headquarters (machine manufacturer) and STILL nothing would work. We had employees, things to monogram, a fully set up shop and STILL nothing was making the machine work. This is when I started to think that we might have to come home without a working machine and my stomach started to churn.
Monday night, August 22nd- We started to get desperate. After dinner, Kristi and I went back out to the hut to try more options. We had talked to several Babylock technicians in the states who suggested every thing that we’d already tried- but we tried it all again. Every test, button, restart and idea we could think of. We had the machine taken apart and even unplugged/ re-plugged things on the motherboard. {I didn’t even know what we were unplugging, but we just had to make something work.}
We had tested the voltage that we had connected and it was working/ performing fine (Did you know there’s an electrical difference in the continents? Yes. I can tell you all about it! ha!)
As a last ditch effort, Kristi had the idea to slow down the machine (which usually runs at 1000 stitches per minute) and do a test for the speed/ accuracy. And all of a sudden it worked! IT WAS WORKING at 200, 300, 400, 500 (we were jumping at this point), 600, 700, 800. At this point Kristi said, “Should we try 900?” and everyone in the hut screamed “NOOO!” {Several amazing team members from the Dental Team we accompanied and Curtis- the resident missionary and my long-time friend- were there helping us and they were all just as excited!} For some reason- we’re guessing the electricity/ power/ current- the machine couldn’t keep up at 1000 stitches/ minute, but it was working just fine at 800! PRAISE GOD! It was working! We were in business!

I was frustrated and mad for losing a day and a half, but I had learned several lessons. 1) It’s very hard to wait 8 hours for an answer in the US. I think this lesson is invaluable. 2) Every thing you expect and know to work in the US is different in Kenya. 3) We had amazing people praying all over the world and I’m so glad God showed up to answer this prayer. I knew He hadn’t given me this dream, sent me around the world, had hundreds of people involved and two girls’ lives set to be changed without coming through. He did. We got it working! Hillary’s Hut is in business!