Hello from Kenya. Today the team became acquainted with Mission of Hope, the Pangani School and section 1 of the Mathare Valley. Shortly after arriving at the Pangani School we drank Chai and met with Justina, Erin and Bethany. The team was anxious to begin to serve, but very little moves quickly in Africa. Erin and Bethany are interns who work in the child sponsorship office of Mission of Hope. When asked what is the biggest challenge for the sponsorship office, it was stated that the sponsors want much information about their children and it takes time to respond. Though Erin and Bethany enjoy providing information it does take time to respond to all sponsors. The interns stated that they will be finishing their internship within the year and are asking for prayer so that they can finish strong and remember to see the situations they encounter with fresh eyes.
After the interns spoke, we were served Chai. During this time we met with Keith Ham and Mary and Wallace Kamau. Upon finishing the Chai and exchanging pleasantries, Mary provided the history of her mission in the Mathare Valley. It should be noted that this is Trader Point’s third trip to Pangani in 2011. Many of us are familiar with the facts that Mary started Mission of Hope, the Pangani School and many other schools in the Mathare Valley. Did you know, however, that the schools that Mary administrates serve 6322 students and will open three new schools this month; that the volunteers her staff have trained educate their communities about Aids and have started support groups for those living with Aids; that through Mission of Hope the citizens of the Valley are learning how to care for the sick and ill people are rising from their sick beds and leading productive lives because of the care they are receiving; that Mary has started a micro finance program that is self-sustaining, and; six churches have been started with two others in the making. The micro finance program has 1400 people who borrow from it and this program along with several others are self sustaining.
Today it rained. When it came time for us to visit with the community it was still raining. Imagine walking along slick, mucky, muddy paths littered with trash, broken pipes and smiling young children. Children who only want to say hello and have their pictures taken. Children who need to be educated when they are of the age to be educated and know nothing of a world without mud and trash. Did the team encounter crying children? No. We only encountered smiles. Most school age children are being educated, but there are 700 children in school this year that still need sponsors and more will be entering school next year. In October the Traders Point congregation will have another opportunity to sign up to sponsor children. Don’t miss this opportunity and – if you ever have the desire to come to Kenya, do not think that God and His people cannot provide you the resources to meet that calling. God provided a woman called Mary the opportunity to start educating 50 children in 2000. Since that time she has changed the Mathare Valley in ways she could not even imagine. He continues to work through His people no matter where in the world they are located and that includes you!