Monday, September 12, 2011

The dreams of the forgotten

One afternoon, I spoke with two 9th grade level girls. They were so sweet and asked many questions about life in the U.S. One of them told me that she wants to go to university to study medicine to become a doctor. The other girl has hopes to become an engineer. I thought to myself, "Becoming a doctor is ambitious in the U.S., but in Kenya? I can't even imagine!" I quickly realized that this was a trend. Every high school aged kid I asked about their after high school plans had similar answers: doctors, lawyers, engineers, journalists....all very ambitious goals. They see their situation and they want to make it better. I don't know why, but even though my first thoughts were that these are unrealistic goals, I now truly feel that this isn't unrealistic. This can happen. These children have a chance I just feel it!
This is when I discovered that the average cost for tuition for an entire program at university in Kenya is around $800 USD. That's it? $800 and you can be a doctor? That is monthly rent or a mortgage payment for one month of someone living in the U.S.! And it can give these children the chance at a better life. Even if I have to work extra to pay for these children to go to school out of my own pocket, I will do it. I grew up being told I could do whatever I want to when I grow up. I believe from the bottom of my heart that these children deserve the same chances. They were dealt a different hand than we were, but it could've easily been us in their shoes. They are handling their situation with grace, believing that someway, somehow they will achieve thier dreams. This is true inspiration.
This is Julius, he is just entering Bible college, we brought him a backpack and he was overjoyed!

Psalm 9:18, "But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish."

Friday, September 9, 2011


Gathiga Children's Hope Home is the 2nd orphanage that we helped at during our time in Kenya.
This orphanage is pretty different to Kihara.
Some of the differences are obvious:
  • The orphanage is bigger (they have about 3x as many that is expected)
  • There are a lot more buildings (Kihara only had one building and a small "kitchen" structure")
  • They have cement, not just dirt
  • They have a kitchen, complete with a stove
  • They have animals (1 cow, 3 pigs, and some bunnies)
However, some of the differences also lie in the children. At Gathiga, the children were much more timid at first. They didn't really warm up to us until the 2nd day we were there. Compared to Kihara where we could barely get out of the van the first day because of the flock of children waiting to greet us. I think most of this comes from the fact that there are older children at Gathiga. Kihara is mainly 3-8 year olds--when they want attention they have no problem running up to you, grabbing your hand, or sitting on your lap. Gathiga has children from 2 all the way up to 18 or 19. There are a lot of middle school/high school aged children, who have the same feelings of wanting attention and wanting to feel cared for, but they aren't going to come sit on your lap. 
Once they felt comfortable enough with us, we had some great conversations and memorable times with the children at Gathiga. The younger children are very playful and sweet. They love getting their picture taken and actually it is one of the only English words the little kids know: "peecha! peecha! peecha!" :) One thing I soon realized is that a camera brought even the shyest child out of their shell.
The women that run the orphanage work so hard! They rotate between cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry (by hand for over 160 people)! I will never again complain about doing laundry!

 On any given day there are between 3-8 women working at the orphanage. Unfortunately, the women are always soooo busy that it doesn't give them much time to spend time with the children. A majority of the day the children left to entertain themselves (except for during school times). While we were there we did see a few children getting in fights which really broke our hearts. Of course, if you have 169 children living together with very little supervision there is bound to be some problems. There are a few children under the age of 2 (who are sooooo sweet) and they are at an age when they still have a lot of needs to be cared for. This responsibility is left to other children. I saw a girl who couldn't have been older than 7 or 8, giving a little boy (maybe 18 months old) a bath, changing his clothes, helping him get his food, and carrying him around. When I could, I relieved her of this duty, I would carry the little guy around and play with him, I sure didn't mind! She would happily skip off and play with her friends. As soon as I had to leave and put the little guy down I would see her come check on him right away. She is a very caring little girl. She wasn't "assigned" this duty of taking care of him, she just chooses to.
This is the girl carrying around little Mwema--you can see they are quite fond of each other :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

1st stop--- Kihara

We arrive in Nairobi at 10:30 pm, our hosts pick us up at the airport and we take the 40 minute drive to Gathiga to the house we are staying at. It is dark so it's hard to get a good look at anything. I can only tell that the roads are dirt and extremely bumpy due to the fact that I am bouncing so high at some points that I have to be careful that my head won't hit the ceiling of the van! :)
The next morning we awake to the sounds of dogs barking, babies crying in the distance, workers conversing in Swahili, the bustle of the people we are staying with and breakfast being made. We learn that we are quite lucky because the house is scheduled to get running water! So on day 2 we are able to shower and flush the toilet normally. This is quite the luxury in Kenya!
The first thing I notice outside is the red dirt roads that lead everywhere in Kenya. We see huge clouds of red dust kicked up from passing vehicles. The dust covers everything, including us.
Our 1st full day in Kenya, we head to Kihara, the smaller of the 2 orphanages with 49 children all affected (meaning not all of them have the disease, but may have a sibling or parent with) by HIV. When our van pulled in, we were greeted by a crowd a children yelling, "Mzungu!" Which, affectionately means "white person!" Once we were out of the van, I was amazed at how outgoing and how hungry for attention all of the children are. They all wanted to touch our arms, hands, hair, and face. They would fight over who got to hold our hands. When they saw how tall Nick was, their jaws dropped and I could see that to them he was a human jungle gym. They would line up and 2 would latch on to his arms and giggle as he lifted them up. It was a precious sight to see. Needless to say, Nick's arms were very sore by the end of the day.
I was shocked at the great need that the orphanage has. No running water, no toilet (simply a hole in the ground), no electricity, no stove (cooking for 50 people over an open fire twice a day is a full-time job)... I saw a couple of children with their foot in a plastic bag because they had cut it on something and were bleeding but there were no bandaids or gauze of any kind.
Judging by the attitude of the children you would never guess the extremely difficult situation that they live in. They are all beautifully joyous. They love to play and give hugs and just be kids.

This is Kezia

 This is Jane, I love her smile. :)


Many more stories to come!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I'm so excited I could burst! I've been trying to tame down the excitement because I don't want too many people to think I'm strange, but I'm pretty sure that on an excitement scale of 0-10 I'm at a solid 100! God has come through tremendously for this whole trip to work out and I'm just so anxious to see what he has in store while we are there.

We are asking for prayer!!! Please pray with us that God would give us a safe journey to and from Africa. Please pray that lives would be changed and that God would use us to be a blessing for the people we meet along the way. Also... please pray for RAIN! There is a severe, horrible, unimaginable drought going on in Eastern Africa right now (Kenya included). People are walking over 100 miles just to find WATER! Parents having to bury their children along the way because their tiny bodies can't handle the stress of the long journey and the severe dehydration. God bring the rain!
"Jesus answered, "“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” " John 4:13-14

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We're back in business!

I haven't written a post in awhile and honestly there wasn't really anything to write about. I felt like our trip wasn't making any progress and honestly wasn't positive that it was going to happen. Things kept popping up in the way of the trip and making it soo much more difficult for everything to come together.
I received my passport about 3 weeks ago and Nick received a letter. A letter that said that they needed more information from him before they would issue him a passport. What information did they need, you may ask? They wanted 3 more documents proving his identity that are 5 years or older. Well, he is only 22 so he doesn't have many things from when he was 17 lying around. One of the funniest things they suggested that we send in was a copy of a yearbook page with his name and picture! That sounds official! We found his old driver's license but that was from only 4 years ago. We also sent in the copy of the yearbook page from when he was in 6th grade. We sent in our marriage license (only 2 years old), a picture of him as a child and his social security card (which they said would not work). We sent in everything we could think of but in the end we only had 2 items that we thought they would except. After waiting patiently for about a week and a half, we called them yesterday and they said that it is being processed! He should receive it in about two weeks! That is amazing!!!! :) We are so excited!
Another snag we hit is money. For awhile we had all of the money that we needed to purchase our airplane tickets in an account. For some reason we just didn't buy them at that time. Not too much later (about 2 weeks ago) I was laid off from my job, which was a blow for us financially. That same day, our car stopped running. It cost almost $700 to fix. Needless to say, our account quickly dwindled.
We just sent out support letters today now that we know Nick's passport is going through. We are confident that God has brought us this far that he will provide the rest of the way as well. If everything had been easy for us we wouldn't have needed to rely on God for the trip, I truly believe this is the reason that everything happened. Our planned departure date is now only 42 days away and I don't have a doubt in my mind that God has it all under control!

In less than 2 months we will be here:

We are also still collecting backpacks for the children at Gathiga Children's Hope Home which is where we will be helping for the 2 weeks we are in Nairobi. Please help us reach our goal of 50 backpacks! :)
If you would like to donate a gently used or new backpack please email me at

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Well, there hasn't been too much to blog about lately. School started 2 weeks ago and is already in full-swing (I've already had 2 exams, with another one on Monday). I guess when I signed up for a 20 month program I should've guessed that it would be pretty intense!
My passport came today! That was exciting.... Ohh and we are Skyping with the volunteer coordinators for Gathiga tomorrow!!!! :) Praying for blessed conversation and that we would be a good fit for their ministry.
We already have a few backpacks collected for the kids at Gathiga! We know God will make this all come together in His time. The next step is buying plane tickets (this week) and getting immunizations (I might be getting sick so I want to wait and see before I get some shots).

Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts! Less than 3 months and we will be in Africa!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beauty of the cross

We've been making progress...
we sent off all the paperwork for our passports
our support letters are written
God has already started to provide financial support is starting to get REAL!

If you are a praying person please pray for-
  • a surplus of bookbags/school supplies for us to take with us
  • for me to be able to stay focused during this semester of school
  • financial provision for the trip
  • for the children and staff at Gathiga Children's Hope Home
I have been listening to the song "Beauty of the Cross" by Johnny Diaz a lot lately, it's so pretty! I love the lyrics:
Only through the cross that I'm made clean to draw near to you
Saved so that you would receive all glory due Your name
Everlasting God from age to age you never change
A true love story remains for all eternity
That all the world would see

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New (or Old) Look on His Death!

First off today is Easter. That is exciting. My wife and I were talking and I realized that I am such a theological nut! I love talking, discussing, debating, and just finding out new things that I never realized before. So...makes a perfect spot to just tell what I am finding out. I found this out a long time ago but it is just so awesome. Here comes an absurd statement but just keep reading because I just like the shock factor.

Jesus died for two words and I am saved for it.

The fact is that Jesus was a High Priest and by the order of Melchizedek. Now this Melchizedek guy was the real stuff. Abraham even gave a tenth to this guy, and on top of that He was a king.(this is why I said wealthy) Melchizedek was not from the tribe of Levi so he was not entitled to the plunder that Abraham gave him. Then Jesus becomes King and High Priest. This is going to be a problem for the pharisees because now Jesus is not only a King/Priest, but a priest by the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:20-8)

Now Jesus is a King/Priest from a order where Abraham would tithe to! The pharisees could possibly deal with this, but Jesus kept preaching. Then Jesus says "I AM". Then the pharisees decide to kill him. (John 8:58-59, John 19:7)

Then He was crucified. This always brought a new meaning for me to the sign King of the Jews above his head. This is why Pilate washes his hands of this and is sure that the people knew what they were doing. The people did not want to see that He was King, but Pilate was made sure that they knew. (John 19:19-22)
He would not be responsible for killing the King of the Jews.

When this was happening soldiers began to cast lots for his clothes. These were seamless garments, and this is important. Only the High Priest had these garments. Jesus was not only the Priest and King but had the evidence to show it. They were not bidding for some new clothes but they were casting lots for power and power through Melchizedek kingship. (John 19:23-24)

In summary a King said "I AM".

Well this was fun! I think I will do more of these. My wife is almost home from working at Life Kids and then we need to go grocery shopping to get stuff for an Easter dinner! I am so excited for this.
Nick Hughes

God died a few days ago, but today He is risen. When God died He opened the veil between us and Him. This "Man" laid his life for us. All because of this...three things have come to be. He has defeated sin, death, and secured our eternal life. Sin has no more chains, death no longer has a sting. I know that I will be with my Savior when He calls. Praise be to God for the life He has given.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I've decided to start highlighting a ministry on our blog each week. I love reading other people's stories and experiences in missions. So I thought I would help spread the word about some really great things that God is doing! These people truly are SUPERSTARS! Seriously! They deserve to have paparazzi following them around and fans trying to get their autograph! Wouldn't it be amazing if the world worked that way? Imagine if more people were recognized for the good works that they do and the lives they change than the movies or TV shows they've been in! :)

Our first SUPERSTAR is .....*drumroll please*.....

This is a grassroots organization operating in Kampala, Uganda. They provide not only education to children who normally would not have the opportunity they also provide meals for these children. Education is something that is near and dear to my heart and I truly believe that everyone deserves the chance at an education. In Uganda, the people do not have to pay to go to school, but they do have to provide their own uniform, backpack, school supplies, etc. which many simply not afford.
Here is a picture of the children at the school enjoying their lunch:
{Photo credit to Christian Upliftment Nursery & Primary School}

Get this! For $3.00 they can feed 2 children for an entire month! For many children, the meal at school is the only meal of the day. This is a great organization with a great calling put before them and I believe God is up to something amazing at this school! Please check out their website here: and say a little BIG prayer for them today!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beautiful Dreamer

I posted a new item in our etsy shop today! It's an original mixed media painting called, Beautiful Dreamer. Hopefully there will be many more new items added very soon! Please check it out and buy some ART FOR AFRICA! :)

You can see it here:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Backpacks for Gathiga!

In August (Lord willing) we will be headed to Kenya. We will be helping out here:

Gathiga Children's Hope Home
Gathiga is home to 120 children who were orphaned or abandoned and lived on the street with no one to look after them. After our applications had been accepted to stay here for 2 weeks, I emailed and asked what the immediate needs were and what we could bring with us to help them. They did mention shoes, underwear, and socks. One of their greatest needs, however, are school bags. Starting in 4th grade, students need to have a good backpack for their school work. There are 12 students this year at Gathiga that are advancing to the 4th grade and will need bags. Imagine a child having the opportunity to go to school, but not being able to because they don't have a backpack. This is not ok with me. Nick and I will be raising money to buy backpacks for those 12 and hopefully have a few more we can bring with for the students over the next year. I would also love to be able to provide some school supplies: 
pencil sharpeners
If you would be willing to donate to help us buy these items for the children you can click donate on the right hand side of the blog. If you live in the Milwaukee or Jo Daviess County area and would like to buy supplies and donate them, or if you have a backpack, in good condition, that your child will no longer be using, please consider donating and email me at: or leave me a comment below.  I think it would be easier just to donate money if you don't live in those areas because the money spent on postage could be used to buy more supplies! :)
 They also let us know that for $30(food) + $20(gas money)=$50 we could organize a feeding day at one of the nearby slums and feed over 100 children. Many of them are lucky to recieve one meal of rice a day.
If you are not able to give monetarily we ask that you please keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

my pity party

I'm getting discouraged.
I knew that this step in the journey would come, but so soon?
I know this trip is totally up to God, because it is way too big for me to handle.
Maybe it's because it's finals week and I am overwhelmed. I think I am giving myself a stomach ulcer. Everytime I think about how much has to be done for the trip in such a short period of time I have a mini-anxiety attack. Maybe it's not a "mini" one because I don't know what a "normal" anxiety attack looks like. Sometimes I feel like I was dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have no idea which way to turn or what the next step is. In these times I need to remember to lean on the Word and the promises that have been made.
I have prayed about this anxiety, but I once heard someone say, "Why do we pray small prayers to a big God?" Meaning that God is capable of things so much bigger than we believe is possible. That question is something that has always stuck with me. So I am constantly thinking, "Why pray for myself and my needs when there are people who need hope and healing and people who have never even heard the name of Jesus? I should pray for those people!" Why can't I do both, you may ask? Well...I guess that would be a good solution, huh? ;) I am working on this daily. I feel like a dork for being this anxious when deep down I know that God will make it work.

Friday, April 8, 2011

the road to Africa

Our Etsy site is up and running! Please check it out! There are only 2 items available right now but there will soon be more!

If either of these beauties catch your eye please help us get one step further on our road to Africa! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The Kibera slum outside of Nairobi, is one of the biggest slums in the world. It is about the same size as Central Park in NY (about 1.5 square miles) and there are 1 MILLION people living there. Over 50,000 are orphans. This is more than just a tragedy, these are people whose lives matter.
                                       Nick and I hope to get the chance to visit this slum while in Nairobi.

The average size home in Kibera is 10 ft x 10 ft and anywhere from 6 to 12 people live in each. That's about the size of the rug under your dining room table.

At any one time in Kibera 50% of the population of women aged 16-25 are pregnant. Are these the kind of conditions you would want to give birth and raise your child in? Many of these women choose (or are forced into) an extremely dangerous abortion.

These pictures are hard to look at. They make me uncomfortable. I hope they make you uncomfortable, too. Even though there is immense suffering here I feel that there is hope for these people and that there is a plan for each and every one of their lives.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

lazy Sundays....

Filling out passport applications.
Making some cute rosette headbands.
Making chicken taco chili to warm my belly.
Studying for an a&p quiz on Tuesday.
Being thankful for the blessings that God has given me and the burden he has placed on my heart for the people of Africa.

What does your Sunday look like?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Search me, Lord

A verse that has really been sticking out to me lately is Psalm 139:23-24,

"Search me, God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting. "

God knows what is in our hearts better than we do. He knows our weaknesses and our faults. Sometimes it is scary for me to honestly say "Search me, God, and know my heart." I guess I'm afraid of what he might find.

The Bible says that God cares so much about us that he knows the number of hairs on our heads. Isn't that amazing? God knows all of the good, bad, and just plain dumb things that we have done and he STILL loves us! This week my prayer is going to be to bodly ask God to search my heart and point out the "offenses" that are on my heart that I need to change. Some of them I may not be able to change, but He can.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Children of God

Above is a beautiful video by Third Day called "Children of God." I love this song because they sing not only about the joy of adoption on this earth, but also about how we have all been adopted into the family of our Heavenly Father.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

So you can know who I am

This is my first blog that I have ever done, and because of that I found it fitting to just let you know who I am. My name is Nick. My wife is Brittany and we both crave to be used for Jesus. We want to be full-time missionaries, if God wills. We have our heart in Africa and we are nervous to be used in this way! It is more exciting than anything else.

Today was a great day! We live in Germantown,Wisconsin and this weekend we had Brittany's family come into town and we went to the Wisconsin Dells. All I can say is WOW! There is so much clean water. We were in a indoor waterpark at the top of the building looking down and all we thought was "we swim in this water and some people don't even have drinking water." We really do live in a incredible country. I would love the opportunity to explain a water park to some tribe in Africa!

Now about a little bit more about where I come from. I really became a Christ-Follower when I became active in a youth group. I travelled in a small worship group for a tiny youth ministry. I love music and I play guitar (I think that will be used for ministry some day so I need to practice more). I really enjoy discussing the Word. I think that this is enough for now. Thanks for your time to read a little bit about me. I want to leave every blog with something that is on my here it is:

 "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15


{P.S. You should totally follow this blog}

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Send me!

Some people may wonder, "Why would two 22 year olds want to spend their vacation in Africa?"

I want to go for her:

and them:

and this little guy:

And most of all I am going The truth is, God doesn't need me or Nick to make a difference in the lives of these children. He could use anyone. The fact that we have the chance to go help these children is a blessing for us.

'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"' ~Isaiah 6:8

Let me just say....I am completely humbled at the opportunity to be able to travel to Africa to help out at an orphanage! I absolutely cannot wait!