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