Author Archives: Kenya Team

First Day in Nairobi 

Our team flew in this morning at 4:30 AM (after flying Friday evening via Chicago to Saturday morning in London, did a quick bus tour in London during a long layover, and another overnight flight to Nairobi).  We were pleased to be greeted by TPCC missionary Mark Firestone at the airport.  Mark directed us to a local coffee shop just steps outside the airport while we waited on the team bus where 12 of us grabbed cups of coffee for the ride to the hotel.  The positive aspect of landing at 4:30 in the morning is no traffic to the hotel. 

We were able to get breakfast, some of us a short power nap, and showers and a change of clothes before we headed to church.  The worship service was filled with fervent praise even though the keyboard was not working.  Pastor Kevin, an apprentice pastor for Outreach Hope Church, preached a great sermon on “forgetting the past” from Philippians 3.  Our team thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we were greeted warmly by Pastor Stephen and the congregation after the sermon was complete.  Speaking of warmly – most of the team succumbed to some quick shut eye during the sermon due to the jet lag and warm temperatures in the church, but we worked as a team to stay alert. 

Upon returning to the hotel, we had a quick lunch and naps. Some of us briefly went next-door to the local market where one of our team members Jennifer wanted to visit a man she met last year at the same market.  Andrew was selling his products and Jennifer inquired about the past year.  (As studious blog readers might recall, last year when Jennifer visited the market, Andrew began a walk following Christ.). Jennifer and Seth had a long conversation with Andrew, learning about his struggle with alcohol and depression. He said that he did not desire to drink, and that he regrets things in his past. We thought this was incredibly poignant given Pastor Kevin’s sermon of the morning.  We encouraged him to come to church and hope to see Andrew next week.   We also encouraged him to participate in Celebrate Recovery which the outreach hope church is starting. 

When we got back to the hotel we surprised our missionary Mark Firestone with gifts from the team. Mark loves macaroni and cheese and we brought him 99 boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese. He was ecstatic.  Team members Kelly and Paul have known Mark since childhood and were excited to bless him. 


We had a quick visit with Mary Kamau and she greeted our team. After dinner, our team debriefed and discussed the many interactions with people we had met during the day. Our team also encouraged one another with ways we had seen team members serving the people Kenya. We look forward to telling you more stories of service in the days to come. 

Seth

PS – (Monday morning) on the bus ride to Missions of Hope this morning we found Mark Firestone’s hundredth box of macaroni and cheese. 


Reflections

Kenya – September 2015
Team member reflections on our recent STM activities

Jennifer B.
This is my fourth trip to Kenya. I am amazingly blessed. Each year I get the incredible privilege to work with the disabilities team of Isabella and Ammon. Yesterday I was able to do Physical Therapy with 2 precious girls I had never met before, one with a traumatic brain injury and the other with Cerebral Palsy. More importantly I was able to love on them and to pray with them and their families. Today I saw three boys I was able to work with last year. I have prayed for them every day and they are loved and doing well. For those that don’t know, children with disabilities are seen as a curse on their families. Many are hidden so the community doesn’t know they even exist. Tomorrow I will see the girl that changed my life. She became sick when she was a little girl with an encephalopathy. She lives in a shanty by herself because her step father won’t allow her in his home. Her mother does everything she can to love her and take care of her, but my girl is still alone, in a shanty, a paint can for a toilet, with no light. If I can bring just a little light to her life, a little love, a little encouragement to her mother to never give up, and a lot of Jesus then the entire trip is totally worth it.
This year has been different in that this trip has had a strong emphasis on evangelism. I am with my kids in the morning and I get to help evangelize in the afternoon. It’s another incredible blessing to share the Gospel with the people of Nairobi and to see lives changed. The Holy Spirit is working in the Mathare Valley.
My heart is full and overflowing. The people of Kenya have changed my life. I pray I can be the blessing to them that they have been to me.

Jeff M
Just getting to know the Pastors and workers has blessed me so much, especially Pastor David. We talked and did ministry together the entire past two days. He would even introduce me to people as “Brother Jeff or Pastor Jeff”. Pastor David told me that next year I need to make it out to his part of the country in Northern Kenya and we’ll do home visits together in every home. I think home visits and sharing Jesus with the people here have been my favorite part. I love watching the Holy Spirit move in each one of the people we shared Jesus with. We get to pray for each person as well as people on the streets that we approached and some even came to us asking for prayer not knowing that we were doing ministry. The team this year has been amazing and the Lord has used each one of us in powerful ways! I’ve had a blast and we’re only half way through the week. I’m looking forward to what Jesus wants to do the rest of the week!

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Blessed by Mary

Kenya: Mathare Valley
Tuesday September 15, 2015

We have a small but powerful group. Powerful because the Holy Spirit is on our trip with us. Today we spread the Gospel story visiting people in their homes in a process called “Bring the Light”. This is where a hole is cut in the roof of the home to let light in, if the occupant will listen to us share our message about the Light of the World.

I participated in four home visits in which for one we visited with Mary. She is somewhere north of the age of 70 and has heart and sight problems. She is taking care of her five grandchildren, the oldest being 18 and the youngest perhaps four years old. She is a Christian, and as we shared the salvation story with her she rejoiced.

We were asked to give her a word of encouragement. I shared how I have a very special Aunt Mary in the States and that she reminded me of. I told her I would be praying for her health. Of course, as you probably know, I said a little more than that. After we prayed for her she took my hand and sang a song of blessing to me. I indeed felt very blessed. Those living in the Mathare Valley have very few material items and live in horrible conditions, but each time I come here I feel so blessed.

In your prayers please remember this Mary, from the Mathare Valley, that God would provide health and provisions.

Blessings, TM


Are we well prepared?

Well prepared?
We are a small team, contrasted too much larger teams in the past. So we did not have as many meetings. But it seemed each time we did get together, most of the team members were in a state constant spiritual warfare. The battles began early on and continued through the summer.
But, things changed as we got to the airport. We had two different traveling teams and both were the smoothest trips from Indy to Nairobi that we can remember. Both made the one-way journey in less than 24 hours. What a blessing!
Today, after church, we had lunch and then decided to go to the Masai open air market. We went to shop but we now know that God had other plans. Plans that He had been preparing us for.
After a while, one of our team members had enough shopping and sat down near the exit to the market. A conversation was struck up with some locals nearby and they asked her why she was in Kenya. She proceeded to tell that she was part of a short term mission’s team and was there to tell people about Jesus and what He had done for her. A crowd began to form and questions were asked.
Questions were asked and discussion ensued. Some said they did not need Jesus, but a man nearby, Andrew, said he needed help and wanted to talk. Andrew stated, and confirmed by many nearby, that he was an alcoholic, and was not sure Jesus would want to help him.
With a large audience, two team members engaged Andrew a discussion of his condition, and Jesus’ desire to help in change. With tears in his eyes, Andrew never wavered from the conversation, and did not seem to notice the attentive crowd. Not only did Andrew give his heart to Jesus, he gave his name and telephone number to the team members so that a local Pastor could get in touch with him. Additionally, Andrew asked if he could call his wife and would the team members talk with her. Andrew’s wife was thrilled and excited about his decision for Christ.
Other team members had made a purchase that required going back to the hotel to get money, and the shop keeper sent a person to go with them. As they were leaving they too watched Andrew’s discussions and final decision. As the second group walked back to the hotel, the shop keeper’s person, James, began to tell his story and started by saying he was a Christian. He went on to say that he was very unhappy and unfulfilled in his current job and with life in general.
As the team met around a table under the trees outside of the hotel, he join in on a discussion on what it means to give your heart to Jesus. That none of us are worthy, but through the shed blood of Jesus, we can become a child of God. James, in that sitting and discussions, recommitted his life to Jesus and the joy on his face was evidence of his internal decision.
This team is small, only numbering five, and has wondered if numbers will hinder our effectiveness. We now sense that God has been preparing us for His purposes, and that maybe, as with Gideon, the numbers needed to be more in line with what God has planned.
Pray for us as we seek to be His hands extended to His people and that lives will be forever changed and His Kingdom increased. For as John the Baptist said, He must increase, and we must decrease. We seek to fulfill the works that God has prepared for us.
Bwana Asifiwe!


It’s All About the Monkey Business

Today we went to Joska, and to put into one sentence, all we can say is “It was amazing!” MOHI has two boarding schools one in Joska for girls and the other in Ndivoini for boys. We were able to tour them both. It is incredible to see how MOHI and their schools are blessing these students. They come from crowded and difficult situations to open-aired and beautiful campuses. God is surely touching their lives in so many ways.

Whenever we would meet the students, whether in the classroom or outside, they were so curious about us. They really wanted to learn about us. One question was common….”what is your talent?” We had singing and dancing…and some other unusual ones…including a monkey/chimp scream. Our fearless leader, Eric, surely created a new source of entertainment for the kids, that’s for certain! Soon they were responding with monkey calls of their own.

To conclude our day at Joska, we saw a presentation from the girls. They started with praise and worship. Four girls led all of us – it was beautiful. The mass of voices gave us a taste of Heaven. Seeing the young teens step up and lead in that way was so encouraging. All of the students know Jesus in such a deep way – just being around them was a light.

After a week of getting to know the students and staff of some of the MOHI schools, we are looking forward to spending time with them at church in Bondeni tomorrow.


Unfortunately It’s Friday – But We Still Thank God

It seems surreal that it is already Friday and we had to say our goodbye’s to the children and staff of MOHI’s Bondeni Center. Just a few days ago, we sat in orientation class with Lynn “the lovely one” as she prepared us for the work we would be doing in the Mathare Valley.

In our last few blogs, we have tried to share with you glimpses of what we have experienced as we walked the streets of Bondeni. We have been greeted by the children’s choruses of “how are you”; we have shared the gospel with souls hungry for the word, brought the light to families in darkness, and bonded with teachers and CHE workers over Chai tea and mendazi’s.

Some things have been hard to see and hear but God’s grace strengthened our hearts through it all. Today, we met a wonderful mother whose son has been wrongfully imprisoned for the past 11 years. We were able to pray for her and her son and listen as the MOHI social worker talked with her about how to help her family. Also, our prayers and yours for God’s work to be accomplished continue to be answered in a mighty way. As a result of our evangelism walk, four people gave their lives to Christ. MOHI workers will be following up with each of them and they have been invited to Sunday service at Bondeni Church. We hope to see them there.

As we mentioned previously, at the end of each day, we share our roses and thorns with one another. Today more than any other we were blessed with so many roses that we can’t share them all here. But here are just a few:
– seeing the social workers love on the people developing trust that cultivates fertile ground for planting seeds of faith;
– our team working together to share the gospel working as the body of Christ is meant to;
– our farewell from the Bondeni family – There was fellowship, celebration, cake, dancing, singing, laughter and tears.

It is hard to explain how it happened so quickly but each of us have fallen in love with the people of the Mathare Valley. Our only thorn today is that our time at the Bondeni Center has come to an end.


We “Wrecked the Roof” today – Kenya

If yesterday was a day of hope, today, Tuesday, was a day of amazing fellowship.

The best part of the day was when we went to 2 homes in the Bondeni community to “Bring the Light”. This is when we go into a home to share the gospel and add a skylight to their dimly lit homes. The first home we went into, there was a woman, Beatrice, who was already a Christian with 2 small children, one of them a newborn. After talking with her and doing some health education, we were just about to leave, and then her husband Ron showed up. Kevin, the social worker, talked with him some before he came into the home. Ron had been going to church but was not saved. When he entered the home and was asked if he wanted to be saved, he readily agreed that he was ready if we would pray with him. What a joy it was to pray with him and for him and his family. Not only in celebration of his decision but also for their struggle finding work. So we can definitely say we wrecked the roof for Ron today (reference the sermon series).

This morning we spent time with the Bondeni teachers sharing teaching techniques and struggles, which at one point turned into singing the alphabet song, as well as others, which was entertaining for all.

Then we got to meet and deliver gifts for the younger sponsored children. By the time we had played jump rope and got to eat lunch, the ice had definitely been broken.

After going out into the community that afternoon, and paying a visit to the Brooks’ dogs while they are on furlough, we then went to Wallace and Mary Kamau’s home for dinner. After dinner, we were sharing our thoughts on our experiences so far and what had brought us here. It was such a blessing to share with them the wonderful time we were having, as well as how dedicated and talented and loving their entire staff was. The staff of MOHI is truly beyond amazing at sharing the love of Jesus with these communities who need that hope. Mary made the point that we are all a piece of the puzzle, as we made the connection that one of our team members was here because of Emelio, who introduced Mary to Mathare Valley, giving a talk last Father’s Day at our church.

Another aspect of the fellowship today was that Westside Church from Springfield, IL who are 1 of the 3 churches that sponsor Bondeni and are also here serving this week by doing VBS. So we have gotten to know them, particularly at the Kamau’s.

A long, but amazing day.


A Special Visit

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of spending the week at Camp Allendale helping out on the worship team. For a lot of the time I tagged along with a group that Jada and Mason Brooks were in. It was fun getting to talk to them about Kenya. They live there with their parents as full-time missionaries, and right now are spending some time in the United States and then are returning to Kenya. Jada told me how much she missed her dogs, Hoosier and Indy, and requested that if possible we go see them….and we got to!! It was a blast. Definitely a bonus to our day. This is for you, Jada!!

-Kelly

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Our Friend Lynn

For those of you that have been to Kenya befor, you will remember Lynn who was the Center Manager in Bondeni. She is now the team leader for all of the social workers at MOHI.

She also shared with us that she is getting married next year!!! And yes, she give us permission to share the good news.


We Saw Hope

As we completed our orientation on Monday, we were given a tour of Area 1 (aka Pangani). Our team was split into to two groups to go out and walk thru the community. Here are some of the things that we observed:

There were large groups of people from the community wearing green shirts picking up trash. We had the chance to talk with a few of them and they shared how proud they were to be working in their community to clean it up. They even had us help them plant some trees and shrubs, which was part of the government effort to put students to work by cleaning up and improving their area. Where there was once a mound of trash their Is now a clean walk way and even a road for cars to drive on.

We were able to go into a home and pray for a woman that had just lost her mother the prior day. She was so thankful that we took the time to pray with her.

Our guides were MOHI Social Workers. As we walked along it was clear that our Guides were highly respected in the community. They represented hope in the community.

We also were “mobbed” be groups of small children. They just wanted to hold our hands and in some cases our legs, hands, or part of our clothes they grab on to and then walked with us for most of our tour. They never asked for anything they just wanted to walk with us.

We were able to look beyond their living conditions and see joyful, happy and hopeful people living in the Pangani community.