“At a minimum, the principle of participation implies that the community, church, or organization that receives the STM (Short Term Mission) team needs to be the primary entity deciding what should be done, as well as how it should be done.”
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself. Second Edition. Steve Corbett and Brian Finkkert, Copyright 2012. Page 160.
Our team got to experience part of having MOHI be the primary entity deciding what should be done during our visit, even if only on a small scale, yesterday when we talked through the scheduling. In short, there was a miscommunication about what, exactly, our group was going to be doing while on the ground in Kenya. What we came prepared to do and what MOHI had planned for us to do were similar, but didn’t quite match up. Fortunately there was enough wisdom from our experienced team members that our united approach ended up being more along the lines of, “Use us as you need us.”
Today was the first day for many initiatives our group has the opportunity to participate in. Microfinance, Food Safety, bringing light into shanties, home-visit physical therapy, as well as health and wellbeing round out the list. All of it happened today, which spread the team out a little bit, but it also forced us outside of our comfort zone—we had no choice but to trust that God’s will would be done through us and at the end of the day He would be glorified.
Today was also the first time in our trip that our individual experiences were so varied. The physicians experienced different situations than the nurses, who experienced different situations than our people in microfinance, who experienced different situations that the people in the community, who experienced different situations than our teacher on food safety, who experienced…. you get the idea.
It was Expertly planned out for our team to join Vince and Stephanie Brooks, along with their family, at their home for dinner tonight. The conversations that happened on the bus, then carried into the house, and then over our meal, and into our team meeting—it’s unreal how close our team is and how much we have been used in the relatively small amount of time we’ve been here. Today was only the end of our third full day here, and we have five more days to go with MOHI!
Take a look at a glimpse of our diverse experiences from today:
How was Bring the Light impactful? by Tandi Foster
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do to people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
This photo of a Grandmother shows not only the physical result of the “Bring the Light” program, cutting a hole in the top of a shanty to allow light to come inside the residence, but also is a constant reminder that Jesus will be our light in our times of darkness.
How did you see Jesus at work today? by Patrick Griffith
First of all, I am answering this question because the team decided I should. Today I was in the prayer room for the entire time we were in Bondeni. My partner in the Prayer Room was a pastor named Henry who has a powerful story of his own, but is too humble to share much of it. After exchanging names and greetings, the following questions, roughly translated, were, “Where do you go to church?” “What’s your phone number?” and “Have you accepted Christ into your heart?” The first two questions are important to allow follow-up for the third. If a person had not accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, our main priority (responsibility?!) was to try and fix that. Next in the line-up was to find out more about them and what we can pray about for them. I am very happy to share that a very large number (percentage based, of those who didn’t have a relationship with Christ) were added to the Kingdom today. It’s not about the numbers, but the relationships, and Jesus was definitely at work in the prayer room today! Also, one of the children asked me to take a picture with him on my camera. I wasn’t surprised by the results, but I’m glad I have his picture to remember today.
What is a take away for today? by Jake Capito
One of the biggest take aways from today is the cultural contrast of the concept of time. As our first day of clinic approached we were anxiously waiting to open the clinic doors and see patients. We wanted to meet the demand and start immediately. However, this was the exact opposite of what was planned. Before starting we sat for chai, and in the middle of a busy day we broke for lunch. How often at home we arrive as early as possible, skip lunch, and leave late in the day. In America we posses a monochronic view of time meaning every minute is limited and valuable. In contrast, Kenyans occupy the polar opposite—polychronic view—which focuses on the group, not the individual, and strengthening relationships instead of productivity. Nevertheless, I feel we satisfied a healthy balance of American and Kenyan time, loving and caring for over 180 patients while deepening relationships between the group and Bondeni, and most importantly, God and all of us.
Describe a quality of another team member. by Jennifer Boston
Dr. Bopp. I’ve never met someone with so much passion for a people. His love for Kenyans seems almost palpable and is infectious. He has taught me how to interact more personally and compassionately and to ignore the cultural barriers. He is definitely a favorite of the Kenyans and our team.
What pictures can you provide from today? by Mary Bopp