September 2014 Kenya – No Hardhat Required.

Monday. The start of another week. The end of the honeymoon phase from the weekend. Back to reality.

Our Monday was no different than it’s simplistic definitions. The MOHI schools were back in session, all of the employees were present. Our arrival was welcomed by a group of children from the upper school in Bondeni, singing and dancing together, saying, “Welcome, welcome to Bondeni.//We love you, you are welcome in Bondeni.” It was such a wonderful and unexpected welcome!

We were introduced to many key people who work at Missions Of Hope International (MOHI) and challenged to know the names and faces of at least five Kenyans at MOHI.   We got to hear more about what MOHI has done, is doing, and plans to do, as well as hear and see some of the effects that MOHI has had with their schools and the Community Health Evangelism initiative. They also served us Chai and a pastry akin to a donut.

In the process of seeing what they are doing, our team was divided into five smaller teams and sent into the community (yes, the slums) with a pair of social workers to do home visits. We also got to see the schools, spend a short amount of time in a few classrooms with the students, and hear about what is happening right now for the future of Bondeni. At this point in the day, two of our team members had been pulled out for a strategic business meeting, which is covered, in part, by Tammie Morog’s response in the questions.

Members of TPCC might remember that we had a sizeable Christmas Offering with funds that went in part to MOHI and their school in Bondeni. Construction for the school started in January, and today we got to walk around on the floor of the third story—it was literally just the floor, though, as walls haven’t gone up yet, nor have the floors for the fourth through eighth story. It was eye-opening, and admittedly fun, to see the construction process, being allowed to roam around as the workers were being active with attention to detail on the masonry of the first and second floors. No hard hats were required. I thought it was SO COOL to be able to see, first hand, the ongoing effects of our church’s international impact. I could write a lengthy essay on this, but will refrain.

Our team went from the new construction site to the school at Pangani, where we had lunch and an orientation to the building as well as our schedule for the rest of the week. Our schedule discussion was…surprising. I’ll leave it at that, as a teaser for the rest of the week. After our time at Pangani, we got to encourage our necessarily aggressive driver for getting us back to Grace House in the craziness of practically lawless traffic and then have dinner. I got to use the dinner time to have people answer the five questions below, which ended up acting as table topics. Even in the small details, it is refreshing to see and know that God is using us to point toward Him.

 

What challenged you today? by Betty Baker
We went on a home visit today and asked another mother what could we pray for. She mentioned prayer for her husband to get a job, and her children’s safety and continuation of education, but she had no regrets for herself. As another mother (parent) on the home visit, it challenged me to put aside my needs in my prayer to our heavenly Father. I have seen pictures and heard stories from Bondeni for several years and thought I would be prepared for what I was going to see—but nothing really prepares you for being there and experiencing first hand what life is truly like in the slums.

What are your thoughts on MOHI? by Chris Wood
MOHI is an amazing collection of dedicated, caring, and godly Kenyan men and women who have responded to God’s call to bring the transforming power of Jesus Christ to the people of the Mathare Valley. I am amazed how God is using them to break the cycle of poverty in the slums of Nairobi and to bring Hope to those in desperate need of God’s love and grace.

What is CHE and how is it beneficial? by Jim Baker
Fearless, compassionate, relentless, and loving—these are the characteristics of the MOHI social workers otherwise known as CHE workers. Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is the process of helping a community become independent of poverty by identifying the community strengths and combining those strengths with the love of Jesus to build a strong self-sufficient community. The MOHI CHE workers are the catalyst for implementing these principals and growing this self-sufficiency in the Mathare Valley! They predominantly focus community members on Jesus Christ and their own strengths. These soldiers in God’s army are revered, loyal, and sometimes feared, but as we saw today, always welcomed into a community member’s home.

What is a “take away” for today? by Tammie Morog
I had a lunch at the Capital Club with Kevin Crowe, Peter and Ester (MOHI employees), and a representative from Prince Waterhouse Cooper (PWC)! We wanted to introduce PWC to MOHI. Ester is in charge of the micro financing for MOHI. As I was getting in the restaurant, I realized Ester and I were the only women customers in the restaurant. I am often the only woman in the courtroom, other than one of the clients, but I had never really thought about women “in the board room” in other countries. After the lunch, when I mentioned my observation to Ester, her face lit up. She said that in the beginning of her career, often men had a difficult time believing that she was in the position she was in. She made the observation that women are more and more accepted in business, law, medicine, etc.

Describe a quality of another team member. by Olivia Martin
Jennifer Boston. Jennifer has an impeccable eye for details. She remembers so many details about each MOHI team member: their names, what they do, how they started at MOHI, etc. I am always enthralled whenever I hear her talk about her experiences within the Bondeni community and the staff here at the mission. Her passion for these people is not only contagious, but also effective. The staff here loves her and I hope to be able to share her passion in years to come.


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