I survived….thank you

My niece helped me blow out my birthday candles
Well it happened and I survived.  I suppose that’s the only way it can happen when you think of the alternative.  As you may have heard…I turned 40.   
As many who have been there before me can relate, there was some anxiety and sadness about what it is supposed to mean to enter this new decade….what “should be” by this time.  However, with your help, I was able to see the blessings in my life so far.  As my friend Carissa often says “good and hard often reside together”. 
My birthday weekend was full of so many people I love with overwhelmingly beautiful messages of encouragement from around the world.  Thank you so much to all of you who wrote!  Not only did friends and family celebrate with me here multiple times but there was also a giant cake and party in celebration of my birthday in Kenya!  There was even a little girl who was standing in for me because our assistant director thought she resembled me (see the picture to judge for yourself).  I was told they had a great time and learned the importance of celebrating life. 
I really do love these kids and am so grateful to be part of their journeys.  There is so much joy in seeing how far they have come.  Some of these former Kupenda “children” are now politicians, teachers, social workers, carpenters and more.  Kids once thought not to be worthy of life itself are now making the world better for others!  Additionally, our impact is rapidly expanding through other organizations, parents, government officials, and churches throughout Kenya!
Gede student chosen to be me                            “Kenya me” cutting amazing birthday cake        Gede kids getting cake at the party.  Wish I had some!

Just as the pain of what isn’t can block the view of life’s blessings, the same is true for our work in Kenya. Many who work in ministry and/or nonprofit work can probably relate to this.  We know there are hundreds of children with disabilities in Kenya who are better off because of what God has called us to.  However, we also know how many children with disabilities are likely hidden away, hungry, neglected, hurting, and without hope.  In Kenya we are now registered in Kilifi County which has a population of 1.2 million according to our Kenya director.  Based on worldwide statistics, this means there are likely to be 120,000 children with disabilities in this county alone!  Therefore, I often have a difficult time receiving admiration for our work because I know how little we have done in comparison to the need.

Although it sometimes feels a little lonely and overwhelming being the only staff person on the U.S. side, I know you are all a part of it with me.  This challenge is not for me or Leonard (Kenya director) alone.  I’m grateful for each prayer, dollar, and effort you put forth for these kids. Each one of you is integral to these beautiful lives.   You are Kupenda.
Thank you for unblocking my view to reveal the blessings I can reflect on during this milestone year!
With love and gratitude,

Cynthia Bauer
Kupenda for the Children

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