This article was written by Rilee on her blog. Visit her blog at https://rileespenceblog.wordpress.com/.

Everyday I am reminded. Everyday I see the smiles of my kiddos that just aren’t the same as they used to be. Every single day I cry out to my Father in Heaven and ask that this could all be over. I pray that this is some crazy twisted nightmare that I could wake up from…

People warn you about evil slipping into your life. Most of the time evil is masked as something good and even holy; sometimes it’s one of your friends. That’s how it was for me at least. For my Upendo kids, it was someone they trusted and looked up to.

A year and a half ago I experienced the worst day of my life. Maybe that sounds a little dramatic, but trust me when I say my heart was shattered into a million pieces — I prayed over and over again for that day to be over.

On that day I found out that someone I used to trust, and once called a close friend, was sexually abusing some of the children at Upendo. The very kids that I hold so close to my heart and would do absolutely anything for. The kids that came to Upendo for safety, shelter, and love—seeking to rid themselves of the terrible lives that they were living before. Upendo Children’s Home was supposed to be their safe place. And then someone came into THEIR home and ripped it from their lives, just like that.

Since tragedy struck some 18+ months ago, things aren’t the same. Our world was flipped upside down, not only for the children living at the home, but also for everyone involved with Upendo. I think I speak for most people involved when I say it changed almost everything about us.

It is now harder for me to trust, harder for me to love, harder for me to let people into my life and so much more. From the outside it may not seem as if it has changed me that much, but that’s because I am the kind of person that keeps everything bottled up. I put a smile on my face and keep everything to myself no matter how much it hurts. No matter how well I play the “all is well and wonderful” game, the hurt is still there. The pain doesn’t go away and the emotions have only intensified since I face the daily reality of the little faces who continue to suffer. Despite what I’ve been through, what we have ALL been through, our God is still good. Jesus is slowly picking up the pieces of my heart and weaving them back together. Slowly, but surely.

Today, I am happy to say that we are one step closer to getting through this. The judge has declared NO NEW TRIAL! Praise God!!! As the Upendo family, we want to move past this rough patch in our lives. We want the best for our kids, and we want them to be able to move on from all of this. Unfortunately, this is difficult for them when they are reminded daily of what happened to them while living each day in the same home that it all took place. This is why we are so desperately trying to relocate. And it’s why I am asking for your help.

We need to get our kids out of the home where Upendo is currently located and into a new home with a fresh start. SO in order to brighten the future of our kids AND have room to change the lives of even more precious kiddos, we need your help. If you would like to help make the future of Upendo brighter you can donate atwww.upendokids.org, purchase a “Block of Love” to help fund our new home atwww.registrationfactory.com/v3/default.cfm?EventUUID=C24D2850 or speak to me (rileespence@yahoo.com) or Eunice Menja (405-405-8868 –emenja@gmail.com) about others ways to help.

Lastly, sorry to friends and family that wanted an update on what I have been doing in Kenya (one will be coming soon), but this is what’s on my heart and what needed to be shared. I ask for prayers for healing, bright futures, and so much love to be poured over these precious children. Thank you to everyone for supporting me on this journey, none of this would be possible without you.

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!” Psalm 31:14-16

“For I know that plans I have for you, “declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

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