Relationships are one of the focuses to short term mission trips. We all have made friends and connections here that we will take home with us (and bring back as soon as we can return). The tail end of yesterday and a majority of the day today were spent strengthening the friendships that developed over the week as well as the partnerships that have developed over time.
Over a 24 hour time period, we experienced a closing program at Bondeni (where we had been based for the week) and got to visit the boys and girls boarding schools in Joska, which is about a 2 hour drive from Nairobi, to pour into the 6th through 12th grade students there—many of the students in the upper levels moved up from Bondeni for a MOHI high school experience. Our relationships were unquestionably strengthened; it was extremely humbling to hear that many of the students, regardless of age, know and love Traders Point Christian Church, and therefore love us.
Aaron shared in his March 8, 2014 sermon, “You should go [to Kenya] because when you hop on a plane and fly around to the other side of the world, and when you sacrifice time, energy, and money, and you walk through there, and you touch them and you love them, and you pray over them, it makes a dramatic statement of Christ’s love for them.” Unquestionably, Christ’s love has been shared. Perhaps surprising for some, the sharing of Christ’s love was mutual—we received as much (or more?!) from them as they did from us.
Below, members of the team answered questions relating to our relationship-building experiences from yesterday and today. Enjoy!
How would you describe the student participation in the Bondeni closing program? by Sherri and Dan Crabb
Great skits! Smiles, enthusiasm, dancing and costumes, and they included the TPCC team at the end to dance! It was a reflection of the entire week where we worked, played, and partied as one group of God’s children. The overwhelming feeling was pure joy.
How would you describe the adult participation in the Bondeni closing program? by Tandi Foster and Sandy Lanning
Once the children’s program was over the MOHI staff did a recap of the week. TPCC team members then had the privilege of presenting the MOHI staff our team bracelets we have been wearing all week. Each TPCC team member found a MOHI staff member, and placed the bracelets on their wrists. Music started and our team was lead in a dance. While we were dancing, MOHI staff members presented TPCC women with purses and wooden giraffes for the men. The ceremony concluded with many hugs, photos, blessings and words of encouragement.
What did you most appreciate about the boys’ school? by Jennifer Boston
In the two years I was at Joska before, the boys performed in an assembly for us. This year there wasn’t a program so we went in groups of three into the classrooms. They were so respectful and were full of questions about our lives. They sang for us and quoted their favorite memory verses. They wanted us to pray for them. Their love for Jesus was widened. I loved meeting with them on a more personal level.
What did you most appreciate about the girls’ school? by Julie Crowe
Today we visited the Joska Girls’ Boarding school located in a rural area outside Nairobi. Most of the girls who attend the middle school and high school grew up in the Mathare slums. We were extremely impressed with how motivated the girls are to succeed academically and to pursue careers. They entertained us with a program in which each class performed a song and/or dance routine, and then they asked each of us to tell them about ourselves—they wanted to know our name, favorite color, favorite food, occupation and age. For those of us who are over 40, they clapped in appreciation that we have made it this far! We toured the grounds and observed their extensive efforts at sustainability…they grow most of the vegetables they eat and raise goats, chickens, and rabbits. They also have perch in their pond. Decorative shrubs and plants made the school grounds look neat and attractive, even though the area is dry and dusty. Joska Boarding School raises its students out of the slums and inspires them to succeed.
Describe a quality of another team member. by Patrick Griffith
Tandi Foster, also called Twandi. Through our meetings and the trip, I’ve been able to see that Tandi wears her heart on her sleeve and is happy to share it with others. She isn’t afraid to step out and reach people for good, both at home and on our trip. She definitely has a heart for children here, which is at the very least prevalent in her pictures, and boldly went into the slums for home visits. Her smile is contagious and she shines the Light for all to see.