How is it possible to sum up the events of today? How is it possible to adequately explain the power of what is happening here in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya in a blog post? The simple answer: It’s not possible.
Today was the day when the rubber met the road. Our team of 31 split into three groups focused on micro-finance client training, leadership development for church pastors, and a medical clinic held in the Bondeni community. In numbers alone, the micro-finance group lead two sessions to over 30 clients. The leadership development team engaged with over 60 church pastors and leaders, and the medical clinic saw over 200 people. Tomorrow, these three teams will continue with more training sessions, further engagement and discussion with church pastors and leaders, and more patients at the medical clinic.
At the end of our day, we were blessed to spend the evening with Vince and Stephanie Brooks and their family at their home here in Nairobi. The Brooks’ are long-term missionaries originally from Trader’s Point, now serving in Nairobi. Not only did we enjoy a classic American meal (pizza!), but we also were treated to the story of how Vince and Stephanie felt called to serve with MoHI and CMF International in Kenya.
After hearing their testimony, we entered into a time of devotions and reflections of what we experienced throughout the day. The medical team lead this portion of the evening with stories of various patients that were treated throughout the day. But, while treating the medical conditions is important, it is clear that the true power of the medical clinic lies in the prayer room. After seeing the doctor, but before getting their medications, patients visit the prayer room where members of our team talk with them, pray with them, and make sure they know that Jesus loves them and sent his son to die for them.
Gut-wrenching stories were shared by the medical team of the condition of some of the patients. Tears flowed throughout the evening from both previous Kenya team members and first-timers alike. At the end of the evening, it was obvious that God is working both within the members of this team and within the inhabitants of the Bondeni community.
Mathare Valley is one of the worst slums in any part of the world. The community of Bondeni, where the Trader’s Point teams work, is literally in the bottom of the valley. Even the word bondeni means “valley” in Swahili. But, while it was once one of the worst and most dangerous places in Mathare Valley, Bondeni continues to improve – bit by bit – through the transformational hands of Jesus Christ!
At the end of the evening, Pastor Aaron summed up our work best by reading out of Ezekiel 37:
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And as he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O LORD GOD you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.”