Tenwek and Ten Weeks


As many of you are well aware, we serve at Tenwek Hospital. The hospital had very humble beginnings decades before God called us here. The origin of the name Tenwek is uncertain, though several theories exist. One such theory is that Tenwek is a combined, shortened form of “ten weeks,” because it took a man 10 weeks to find his way to the location. These days, it doesn’t take ten weeks to find your way to Tenwek. (Praise God for paved roads and fast-moving, durable vehicles!) Even on our initial trip to Tenwek, when we didn’t know the way, it only took us a few days to find it. There may not be GPS to help us, but we’re thankful for the many people who have paved the way for us (and the many others who are serving here right now) to arrive at such a wonderful place!

I say all this to introduce an entirely different subject…In light of this theory on ten weeks, I would like to make an announcement: WE ARE TEN WEEKS PREGNANT!

Baby Kelley #5

Baby Kelley #5

When we first arrived to Tenwek, February 2, 2013, I had 4 beautiful children with me. Hannah had just turned 1 year old, and I was already having baby fever. I remember thinking that I wish I could have a baby in Kenya, but I wasn’t feeling a go-ahead from God. Logically, it doesn’t make sense for us to attempt a pregnancy and delivery in rural Kenya. I’ve delivered all 4 of my babies early; only Levi was full-term but just barely. It wasn’t worth the risk…unless God gave His clear blessing.

Well, you all know our lives turned upside down six weeks after arriving to our new home. Hannah got really sick and passed away. While this didn’t take my baby fever away, it did make me even more aware of the delicacy of life. Part of me wanted to fill my empty arms as quickly as possible. The other part of me was too afraid to make the decision to conceive and deliver a baby in Kenya simply because I was bored. I feared losing another baby. My emotions would sway from desperate desire for a baby to paralyzing fear of having another baby. I just prayed and poured out all my fears and feelings to God. I told Him that He would have to make the decision, because I was too emotional to do so.

In July, God made it clear to both Aaron and me that we needed to trust Him with Baby #5. We stopped preventing pregnancy and trusted that God would provide whatever was needed whenever it was necessary. Months and months went by with no conception. Sometimes I was tempted to wonder why. As I look back, I see how God used this time to heal our hearts a little more, to increase our desire for another baby, to decrease our fears as we learned to trust Him more and more, to show He loves to be involved in every detail of our lives. We are still trusting Him day by day.

On March 4, 2014, as we were anticipating the hardest week and days of the year when we would mark the 1-year anniversary of Hannah’s death, God gave us a little treasure to hide in our hearts. On the morning of March 4, I saw the faintest pink line on my pregnancy test indicating that we were pregnant! God, knowing our hearts and wanting us to feel loved and remembered by Him, saved this blessing to be revealed at preciously the right time, a time of deep pain. What an awesome God we serve! While the pregnancy provided great joy amidst a very hard time, it has also brought about new aspects of grief. More than anything right now, I grieve that Hannah is not here to be a big sister to this new baby. At the same time, though, I praise Him for blessing our family with another precious person!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God, for He is the Creator! Marvel at the way He knits new people in the wombs of their mothers!

2. Praise God for a restful, spiritually renewing time at the Coast. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf during this retreat!

3. Praise God for bringing us home safely. While vacation is great, it’s nice to settle back into our normal routine. Please pray for the kids and teachers as we begin school tomorrow.

4. Praise God for His passion and love for us. As we near Easter, praise Him for His sacrifice that saves us from hell. Pray that many will come to a saving knowledge of salvation this Easter season. Pray for our hearts, as Easter has a whole new depth of meaning to us after the loss of our only daughter.

5. Praise God for the way He has sustained and prospered Tenwek Hospital and the surrounding community. Pray that He will receive all the glory and honor He deserves for every blessing He provides.

6. Praise God for my health and energy! Thank you for praying me through a terrible 2-week sickness!! I was sick partially due to the pregnancy and partially due to the malaria medication I was taking. I still have 3 doses left to take over the next 3 weeks, so please continue to pray for me. Pray that I will be able to eat and drink, that I will have energy to take care of the boys and all my responsibilities here at Tenwek, that I will feel good for our upcoming trip to Greece, and that I can resume my exercise routine to keep my body as fit as possible during this pregnancy.

7. Praise God for this baby!! Please pray for a perfect, healthy, full-term baby. Pray for an easy pregnancy and delivery. Pray for our hearts as we miss Hannah more with each thought of another baby coming into our family.

Romans 3:25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Psalm 139

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.



10 responses »

  1. Awww Steph…Such a wonderful sign and blessing. When my son and his wife were trying and trying and working with fertility docs, things weren’t happening. Although our hearts ached, I knew it was in God’s hands and maybe with some other issues (my son returning from Iraq and back for a yr in the Middle East, PTSD) maybe this just wasn’ the right time. On MAY 3 we will be celebrating our 2 little miracles Second birthday. Not a day goes by that I don’t praise God for Jack and Lily!! We can’t always understand the way things happen. The path we are given….sometimes I don’t know how those that don’t have faith make it!!!! Hugs and Blessings. Marianne

  2. Praise the Lord! I’m so excited for you all! God’s heart for mothers never ceases to amaze me…I’m currently 14 weeks with our third baby. Baby number two went to Heaven on October 11th, 2013 when I was 11 weeks pregnant and Baby number three is scheduled to arrive October 11th, 2014. I think sometimes God just likes to see us smile 🙂

  3. Stephanie~I already wrote to Aaron and we will start praying for you in our Monday noon Bible study tomorrow! Yes, God is Great!

  4. Oh Steph, what wonderful news. Congrats to you, Aaron, and the boys. What an awesome blessing. God is so good and with perfect timing. Love and prayers for the family, especially during your pregnancy. Love ya and God Bless.

  5. Praise the Lord, I’m so happy for all of you.  God sure does work in amazing ways and everything happens in His time.  Praying for all of you.  God Bless.

  6. wonderful news about the new baby. I just prayed for you. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for serving God with your whole heart. Kelly in Michigan (fellow world medical mission RN, on my way to Liberia to help with the Ebola outbreak with S. Purse) I’ve followed your journey to Kenya and Hannah’s story since day one and pray for you often.

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