About Impact

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FAQ about California

I've heard a handful of questions several times so I thought I would share some Frequently Asked Questions and their answers with you. Impact's Development Team released this letter that may answer some questions as well.

Q: Why California?
A: A majority of America's college students are in the states of California, Texas, Florida and New York. Impact currently has a presence in Florida and New York and has been praying about expanding into California and Texas. We believe God has answered these prayers in huge ways by bringing us this opportunity to partner with the Christian Church in Thousand Oaks (CCTO).

Q: Why California Lutheran University (CLU)?
A: CCTO is located a few blocks from CLU and has a huge heart for reaching college students. CLU has a large population of international students, which is exciting as we think about our vision. (Impact the U. Impact the World.) As we've discovered from our ministry in South Bend, even at private Christian colleges there are many students who have not experienced the love of Christ.

Q: When are you leaving? When do you start in the new position?
A: If all goes as planned, I'll be leaving South Bend, IN on August 23rd and arriving in Thousand Oak, CA on August 30th. The new position officially starts on September 1st, but I've already started preparing and training for it.

Q: What about South Bend? Will ministry continue at St. Mary's?
A: Absolutely ministry will continue at St. Mary's! The student leader team we put together for the 2013-2014 school year is incredible and we are already planning for the fall. Tom Neyhart, a fellow Associate Campus Minister on our South Bend team, recently finished his support raising and will be joining the team full-time. The team has hired an intern who is raising support to be on campus this fall and talking with an individual who is considering an official volunteer position. The staff is committed to sharing Christ with the St. Mary's campus.

Q: Do you have to raise more support?

A: Yes! The cost of living in California is very different than South Bend and additional funds will need to be raised both for personal and ministry budgets.

Q: Can I see you again before you leave?
A: I hope so! The South Bend team is planning a party on August 16th at 6:30 PM at the campus house. (850 Lincolnway East, Mishawaka, IN 46544) It would be great to have you join us then. Please RSVP HERE or e-mail Lowell Kosak at lowell.kosak@impacttheu.com.

Q: This is exciting! How can I be a part of it?
A: Thank you for your willingness to join the journey. Here are some ways you can get involved.
  • Pray! Change always comes with challenges. Here are some specific ways you can pray.
    • Pray for the transition to California, saying goodbye well, the moving details, and an openness to the Spirit in the process.
    • Pray for housing in Thousand Oaks. 
    • Pray for the additional support needed. 
    • Pray for my car to survive the long drive. There are a few minor repairs that may need to be tended to before I leave if funds become available. 
    • Pray for the following trips I have scheduled.
      • July 17-21: Support raising in the Detroit and Lansing, MI area. 
      • July 26-28: Family trip to Indianapolis, IN
      • August 23-30: MOVING WEEK stopping to visit with supporters and potential supporters along the way.
  • Donate items for the "Sarah is Moving" yard sale on August 2 & 3. All the money from this sale will go towards moving and launching the new ministry. If you have items you would like to donate, contact Lowell Kosak at 574-245-0142 or lowell.kosak@impacttheu.com.
  • Become a financial partner by giving a monthly gift of any amount. You can give online HERE.
  • Give a special one-time gift towards the start up costs of the ministry. You can give your special gift HERE and invite friends to do the same. 
If you have a question that isn't so frequent and would like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact me at sarah.koutz@impacttheu.com

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Kenya 2013 - Food

Back in March I had the privilege to have meet with several missionaries who worked or are working in Kenya. They had warned me that the food was rather bland and not anything amazing. While this was true, I didn't expect to be eating so many other types of foods. During the course of our trip I had Kenyan, Ethiopian, Indian, Italian, Lebanese, Mexican, Thai and American food.

Kenyans eat a lot of rice and ugali, which is like a super thick cornmeal porridge similar to the consistency of mash potatoes. Each meal usually had some sort of greens as well, usually kale, and a meat such as chicken, goat or beef. The meat is fixed different ways but you almost always eat it with the ugali and a thin bread. I can't tell you much about what the bread tastes like since I can't eat it, but our team seemed to enjoy it.

And because I know there are some of you who love food pictures, here you go! (Thank you Jeff for most of these pictures!)

The ugali is the white stuff on the top plate.

This was the wonderful meal we had at Erus' house, goat and rice.

Yes that is two pieces of goat and massive plates of fries.
Indian food
Ethiopian Food is my personal favorite! The bread is gluten free and the flavors are amazing.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Kenya 2013 - Some more pictures

I thought I would share just a few more pictures from the trip just for fun.

Morning lessons and prep for the day
We spent a lot of time in vehicles.
A taxi in Nairobi
Our vehicle in Turkana
Another Nairobi Taxi that became our Safari vehicle
Our plane to Turkana
We nicknamed the Mennonite Guesthouse in Nairobi our Base Camp. We had plenty of fun there.
Teaching our driver, Phillip, how to play American football
One of the coolest swings ever
Frisbee! We were always trying to get our drivers to play.
Breakfast was one of the meals we girls enjoyed the most. I know you are thinking, "They hate mornings. Why would breakfast be one of their favorites?" We discovered Bill tells his greatest stories and is the most funny at breakfast time. So we were never late for that meal!
 A random jaw bone we found in Turkana. We have no clue what animal it came from. Any guesses?
Several of you have asked about Erus' house so here are some more pictures.
Click to enlarge this picture

This is what we woke up to the next morning while when we stayed with Erus.

Such a beautiful place! Tomorrow I'll share some about the food we add. This has been another popular question.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Kenya 2013 - Day 13

At the end of day 12, we spent our last evening Kenya exchanging pictures and spending as much time together as we could. I'm not sure anyone on our team was ready to part ways the next day.
Our last day in Kenya did not disappoint. We went to the traveling Maasai market, which was very overwhelming for me. I'm not very good at bartering, nor do I enjoy it. I find it very stressful, but I bought a few gifts while I was there and helped barter a fair price for Megan's birthday present that made everyone happy.
Megan's Birthday from Impact Campus Ministries on Vimeo.

We also stopped at a few other stores and I was in charge of Mission Keep Megan Away From the Group So They Can Sign Her Birthday Card. That ended up becoming a great adventure in and of itself as it took the group longer than planned, we were given bad directions and ended up in a doctor's office. Somehow we were able to play it off well enough that Megan was surprised by her little birthday party.
Pretending to blow out candles we didn't have and the matches were already packed.
Happy birthday Megan!
Many of the trees in Kenya scream, "Climb me!" (Well, except for the acacias and their giant thrones!) This was especially true of a few of the trees at the guesthouse. I couldn't stand it any longer and finally asked Bill about how culturally inappropriate it would be to climb the trees. To my surprise he told us we could climb the trees at the guesthouse and you better believe I did! Also to my surprise was the fact that the bark on this particular tree is VERY slippery making it very difficult to climb. In fact, Eric was the only one who made it very high.

This is what Eric did while I was in the tree convincing him to climb it.
Finally our time in Kenya was running out and later in the evening we hopped on our taxi and started the long drive to the airport thanks to crazy downtown Nairobi traffic. It gave us plenty of time to share stories and that is exactly what we did. We were sure to make the most of every moment we had together. I'm so grateful for this team, a genuine community!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Kenya 2013 - Day 12

Day 12 was our last day at Africa Hope. We said goodbye to our new friends and then discovered we had to wait because our taxi wasn't there yet. So we did what all Americans would do...we pulled out our cell phones and iPods. Obviously there was service but we could play random songs and have some fun as we waited.
We took the long way back to the guesthouse in Nairobi so we could spend some time at the Nairobi Game Reserve and marvel at God's creation. Remember those Big 5 I mentioned in an earlier post? Well those Big 5 are not only pretty dangerous animals they are incredible to watch in their own habitat and some of the big animals tourist always want to see. Those five are elephants, cape buffalo, lions, rhinos and leopards. We were able to see three of those including some other remarkable creatures on our little safari. Here are just a few of them.
We saw 7 lions, two females with cubs.
This male cub is already starting to grow his mane.
We almost missed this cape buffalo!
We found this small rhino very entertaining, but I'm not sure it liked us.
Look closely. There is a young rhino with this momma.
We saw several different type of deer-like animals, including this gazelle.
This warthog walked right in front where we were going to drive.

This ostrich walked in front of our taxi too.
This trees isn't as tall as you may think but it was still fairly tall.
We saw lots of giraffes, including what I think is the worlds largest!
More baboons! They seem to be wherever people are.
Nature is one of my favorite ways to connect with God so you can imagine how much I loved our adventure on this day. The landscape, the animals, and the company were all such great reflection of God's creativity. He is so amazing!

After a great adventure like this it was sad to think it was time to head back to the guesthouse, repack all of our belongings and get ready to fly home after our last day in Kenya.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Kenya 2013 - Day 10-11

After a full night's rest and before heading out on our next adventure, we took time to do some debriefing as a team. As you can see I really enjoyed the desert climate. Nairobi was a little chilly!
After our debrief it was time to pack our gear again and hit the road for Narok to partner with Africa Hope. The trip there was a beautiful one as we drove past the Rift Valley and stopped to take in the scenery.
We arrived at Africa Hope, moved into our rooms and spent some time learning about the Maasai culture and hearing some more about the HIV/AIDS situation in Kenya. We met Rose, an amazing woman who is doing so many things for the Kingdom.
The rest of our time with Africa Hope is a bit of a blur to me. I was struggling with a big time sinus infection with lead to an adventure of finding and buying antibiotics from a chemist. I bought an entire dose of antibiotics for only 5 US dollars! No prescription necessary. Although I spent part of our time in Narok in bed, I did enjoy meeting a local shop owner, eating goat off a cutting board, and hearing from the rest of the team the fun they had serving at Africa Hope.
Our visit with a local business man at his restaurant
Our meal at this restaurant was served on a cutting board
Megan and her new rafiki (friend) who she served with at Africa Hope
I wish I wouldn't have been sick for this part of the trip. I really don't remember much of what I did do. I was much more sick than I realized. Fortunately my team took good care of me and told me lots of stories once I was feeling better. Community is important!