Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Visible Grace Newsletter Nov 2009

Hello everyone!

I hope you are having a wonderful autumn. Here's what's going on with Visible Grace:

Our 5th Annual Auction was held on October 24th and it was a great success. We raised over $24,000! Because of the economic climate this past year, I was not sure what to expect, and I am very pleased and very grateful for the outstanding results. Photo of our live auction.

A huge thank you to everyone who played a part in this fundraiser. Without people to donate items, volunteer their time, and attend the evening, we wouldn’t have an event!

THANK YOU for donating your resources so generously!
We are looking forward to an even more successful auction in October 2010. Stay tuned for a date!

Our goal:
Our current obsession is doing everything within our power to get a school and children’s home started in Kenya. We have been working toward this goal for a long time, and we pray that God blesses our efforts and makes this a reality.

We are currently discussing the best way forward with our team in Nairobi. We are thankful for the money we raised from the auction, and we want to spend it as wisely as possible. We are excited about what this next year contains for us.
We need your help to make this happen! Please consider partnering with us financially on an ongoing basis. We are always thankful for your generosity.

Coming up:
~We are putting together a Christmas list. Would you like to make a donation to Visible Grace this holiday season?

~We are rescheduling our concert for early February of 2010. Please consider attending! It will be a great evening. We’ll let you know as soon as we have more details!

~Our T-shirts are still for sale through my travel blog: ashbyinkenya.blogspot.com

~I will be traveling to Kenya this May!

New developments:

~Our website has been updated! Check it out: www.VisibleGrace.org

~Portland videographers Jon Rosing and Chad DeHart are planning to travel to Kenya with me in May. They will be shooting video in Kenya and helping us put together a video that can be used for fundraising and promoting Visible Grace! Let me know if you are interested in helping support them financially!

We need your help:

~We are always looking for monthly donors. Please consider giving to Visible Grace; your support is very much appreciated. A year-end donation will be tax deductible for 2009.

~We are looking to start a grant-writing team. If you have any experience in this area, please contact me. We are also in need of volunteers of all kinds!

~Coming soon: our Christmas wish list!

Thank you for your continual support.
Peace to you,
Ashby Rauch

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

5th Annual Auction this Saturday!

You are cordially invited to attend our 5th annual benefit auction, this Saturday at 6pm at the Crowne Plaza Hilton in Lake Oswego. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds go toward our building and well-digging fund.

If you did not receive an invitation, and or have not yet RSVP'd for this event, and are interested in coming, please let me know! It will be a fun evening and we'd love to see you there. Your support means a lot to me...and you'll love some of the items we have for sale. (For example a week's stay in Hawaii!)

See you there!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

t shirts are here!

order your Visible Grace t shirts today! they look great; we've received tons of compliments on them...order one for your friend, your dentist, your bus driver...

(please note: youth white t's with teal ink are on back order)

choose a shirt

Friday, August 14, 2009

Benefit Concert CANCELLED

Well. Because we never like things to get dull around here, we have decided to cancel/reschedule our benefit.

Burlap to Cashmere was in a car accident this morning. They are fine, but they missed their flight, and were unable to get another flight in time for the concert.

We have decided to reschedule for another date, because we were really looking forward to this event! If you have already purchased a ticket, you are entitled to a refund, but we really hope you will hold onto your ticket and attend the concert when we reschedule.

We will let you know more details once we have them.

Please let anyone know who may have been planning to attend this evening!

Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Giving to Visible Grace

Hello, friends!

There are many ways you can help Visible Grace right now:

~You can select the 'donate' button below to give us a flat donation through PayPal (this is tax deductible!)
~You can go to our Facebook page and make a donation there
~You can select our 'buy now' button to buy a t-shirt. (select your size, colour etc)
~You can go to www.brownpapertickets.com and buy a ticket to our benefit concert on August 14th, and we'll see you there!

Please contact me if you have questions or are interested in planning your own fundraiser.


Thank you!

Donate to Visible Grace:

Buy a Visible Grace T shirt:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

last one. but it's a good one.

Alicent, Lavenda, Esther, myself and Faith.

I mean one at a time.


baby steps: I'm just going to upload a couple at a time. PATIENTLY.

flower girls!

attempt no. 4,503

1. Gladys and myself. Gladys is awesome.

2. Kim and myself. I am not even going to attempt to turn this the right way. you win, Blogger, okay?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kim says hi, internets

...he is currently bouncing on Susan's bed behind me and rattling off stories about his computer and his emails. I'm serious.

so, I managed yet again to fit a ridiculous number of things into a very (seemingly) small space. today I'm visiting the land again, visiting another friend, and then heading to the airport.

after thirty six very long hours I will reach Oregon and once I've recovered I'll be posting pictures on this here blog. I apologise for the recent boringness of my posts.

I hope you all are well!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mbita and Eldoret

visiting the village looks like this:

I enter a friend's home, I take off my shoes, I sit on the couch, chair, whatever. I shake hands with everyone, I accept a cup of tea, and I either talk, or listen, depending on the dominant language. I stay until it's time to leave and then I move on to the next house. and repeat. and repeat again.

some of my friends speak Luo, Swahili and English fluently. any two of the three and we're golden- I can get by. but the ones who only speak Luo- well, gestures help, and I know a few key phrases. sometimes the children translate. sometimes we just sit in silence.

I honestly think I could make a living of visiting friends. just going from house to house, giving and receiving stories, drinking tea, taking pictures, praying together (in any language).

from Mbita I took a ferry, bus, van and taxi (note that the vehicles got progressively smaller as I got closer to Eldoret) and then I was at the home of the Ollimo family. I taught with and roomed with Gladys in 2004 and it feels like we've lost no time since then. I had a lovely weekend with them. then it was time for a looooooooong bus ride back to Nairobi. and here I am.

I wanted to upload pictures of my trip, but the internet connection is too slow. I'll post some soon. I'm sure you all are interested in seeing all 89000 pictures I've taken in the past few weeks.

peace to all...

Monday, April 20, 2009

stories, stories, stories.

I wish I could bring you here. I wish the pictures, stories, words, sounds and smells could reach you in your homes, your comfortable, warm, dry homes and I wish I could begin to make you understand Kenya. What the rain sounds like as it falls on aluminum roofing. What sweat, trash, roasted goat, oil and laundry soap smells like when it mixes together in the air and comes into your kitchen in the evenings, through the open window. I wish I could continue to learn every detail of this country and I wish I could carry it back to the States with me.

Though I always return from Kenya with a few souvenirs and a million pictures, the thing I have begun to collect with enthusiasm is stories. Not to be used to raise funds, not to be placed in the center of a bleeding heart slideshow (though it happens), but to teach, to learn, to remember.

I sat today in a small cafĂ© with my friend Christine, who makes jewelry and other things for us to sell to raise money. She told me about her niece, who has lost both parents to AIDS. The niece now stays with a relative, or maybe a neighbour- the details are fuzzy. But what Christine knows is that her niece needs an education and a place to stay. She needs, above all, an advocate. As we sipped on our mango juice she told me, ‘these are the kids you will be teaching. You need to hear their stories and understand their lives. I will take you there. You will see.’

These stories are innumerable. The names and details change but the bottom line is always, always HIV. Always, always a child left behind to face this world alone.

It is hard for me to find a balance between telling these stories as a means to an end (the end being a successful non profit which is funded in the US and operating in Kenya) and as a means to…to…a beginning.

I do not want to meet these children, visit their homes, take their pictures and drink their chai in order to bring their stories back to the States for sponsorship. That I will do this eventually is inevitable, but it is not my main motivation. Hearing their stories is what makes me love Kenya. It makes me understand and it makes me want to scream and cry and it makes me want to never leave. It is these children who grab my heart, my hands, my senses- they are captivating.

It is these stories that I must learn to carry home. The eyes and the smiles and the stories. These stories make me anxious, desperate- I will do anything and everything I can to raise the money to build a classroom to provide these children with a future which is better than the ones they have now. (hint.)

I will be spending the next six days traveling the country; from Nairobi to Mbita to Eldoret and back to Nairobi. I will come back here Sunday evening, doubtless with more stories and pictures and words.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

no pictures today.

I have tried twice now to update my blog and blogger won't let me. I also tried to upload a cute picture from last weekend (we went to a wedding), but it refuses to upload.

anyway, not a lot to report, but I just wanted to let everyone know that things are going well! I have been visiting people, collecting stories and ideas, taking pictures, and having a good time in general.

I hope you all are well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

won't you help me sing this song of freedom?

problem: I didn't bring my computer/cd player/I don't have an ipod, so I'm stuck with whatever song I most recently hear playing on repeat in my head until I hear another song.

today's playlist: Bob Marley mix, whichever boy band sang 'Quit Playing Games with My Heart' (complete with a music video, thank you modern bus system), and, because of the book I just read, the entire soundtrack of 'Wicked'.

for Leigh: I just finished The Secret Life of Bees and Wicked, and now I'm reading Walden, Alice in Wonderland, and the gospel of Matthew. : ) you?

for Dixon: yes, I remember the things I'm here to do. I promise.

for the rest of you: it is hard for me to articulate the things I'm thinking and feeling and seeing. I learn more about Kenyan culture every day that I'm here (I counted and am 95% sure this is my 8th trip to Kenya). I'm not sure if I'll ever be fully assimilated. there are so many American things I miss. but when I'm in the States there are so many Kenyan things I miss.

but this is not the point.

the more I see of Nairobi's 'generation x', the more concerned I am for the future of this beautiful country. I've watched and listened and learned enough to be thoroughly confused.

they say they want peace, but their lives suggest otherwise. they are lured into the glamour of a flashy thug-esque lifestyle. they wear shirts stating 'Soldier Boy' and they promise violent ends to anyone who crosses them.

...okay, obviously not everyone. but enough. yesterday on the bus I sat next to a boy who was chewing leaves and seeds of some sort- I have no idea what they were called, but I know they are a drug of some kind. I see bus drivers chew them to stay awake. I see them sniff glue. I see them walk home drunk. the women? the women are working.

what hope is there for their kids, who no doubt never see their fathers? what hope do they have of a brighter future than this one? the rich look past the poor; they keep walking. people are still talking about the disputed election results and ensuing violence from 16 months ago. they vow 'never again' and in the same breath they blame a certain tribe, a certain group of people, for the problems. the same tribe they shop with, eat with, work with, sit next to every day.

how can we move past this? Nairobi is moving too quickly from the traditional African way of life which still permeate the villages to the fast-paced, materialistic culture of the Western cultures. they want things they cannot yet have and their actions rarely match up to their words.

in Susan's living room hangs a large wall painting declaring 'faith, hope, love'. these are words I've heard countless times. I have a necklace with says 'faith'. it is one of my gifts, I think. people continually tell me they are 'impressed' by the amount of faith it takes to do what I'm doing. (wrong, I tell them: stubbornness is not the same as faith.) faith comes easily for me, I guess.

but hope? can I hope in the future of Kenya? can I believe that we will find the right people to work for Visible Grace? that we will find parents who will raise up Godly children? that these children will be able to avoid the pressure to conform to the foolish action of their peers?

dare I hope that they really will make a difference in their nation?

I have to.

we have the faith to hope in love. this has become my mantra.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I think it's taken around an hour to upload these pictures. so I hope they're worth it. : )

today Susan and I visited our land! I cannot even put into words how excited I am about everything. (in case you couldn't tell from the huge grins on our faces). it's gorgeous. there's a fence going all the way around, and a cabin for our caretaker, and a bathroom/shower for him.

we spent some time walking all the way around the land (I took
about a million pictures). then we walked to the store and bought meat and flour, which I carried on my head like a good Luo. : )

we made lunch with our caretaker (it smelled like camping) and then headed home.

I wore sunscreen like a good girl, and we sat in the shade for most of the time, but I still got a really odd sunburn. lines on my arms and a triangle on each foot. go figure.

I have a loooooot more pictures, but at the rate of uploading one picture every four hours, I'm calling it a night.

I know it doesn't look that impressive from these pictures. but it is so exciting to see a building. a fence. beacons. the caretaker spends his days chopping up the smaller bushes (leaving the trees), and Susan's nephews (my little brothers) have been picking seeds (I don't know the name of them in English) and on Saturday we will bring them to the land. we're going to dry them and then, when it rains, plant them around the perimeter so we can build up a shrubbery fence. it will look really nice, I think.

all this to say, I am THRILLED about the land. I just wish we had the money to start building. (on that note- rather than spend a lot of money on a well- money we don't even have now- we are paying our neighbour and using his water.)

I'm having some trouble with Twitter. when I update from my phone, it's supposed to post on facebook, on my twitter site, on the left side of this blog, and to people's phones. it says I'm sending them but so far they haven't shown up on the blog or on facebook. (not sure if they're going to people's phones...anyone?)

anyway...I have been updating a couple times today (like I texted from the land today and said I was standing on Visible Grace soil!). so, if you're not getting the updates, I'm very sorry.

I hope you all are doing well. praise God for his faithfulness. I'm encouraged.

Monday, April 6, 2009

in a nutshell.

this is Kenya:

I was thinking how lovely it was to be in Susan's new apartment, with running water and a computer AND INTERNET.

then I was thinking, I shall go to the bathroom (did I mention indoor plumbing?) and then write a little something on my blog.

then while I was going to the bathroom the power went out.

then while I was looking for matches the power came back on.

then it took me twenty minutes to connect to the internet and now I have nothing left to blog about except how long it took to get to my blog.

the end.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

stay tuned!

I leave for Kenya March 31st. excessive updates to follow!