Archive for the ‘Kenya 2011 Team’ Category
God is good. All the time God is good. Amen. There is nothing more fulfilling in my life than the sounds of the sweet harmony of the children of Bondeni’s voices. Today was our last day with them, and yes I was Ms. Waterworks. You can’t help but be overwhelmed and filled with the spirit when you see the gratitude of the social workers, teachers, staff and children of Bodeni school. As I listened to James, the head of the teacher’s fraternity, speak at the closing ceremony about the Snyder team giving their all and how much they learned from us, my jaw hit the floor. I see them give their all everyday of the year to these children. These children are so blessed, so blessed to have compassionate teachers and social workers surrounded them in a tight circle of love. They started the closing ceremony with prayer. Then the poetry club (one of the children’s after school clubs at Bondeni) recited a poem dedicated to their “Snyder family”. Bring on the tears! Of course I was patiently waiting on the edge of my chair for the dancers. I am in awe of traditional African dance. It is not about who you are, girl or boy, if you have good feet and a good turn-out, its simply all about passion. All week long that is what it has been about. In everything they do, it is whole-heartedly. They called us by name, just as Jesus did, to come up and join them in dance. Oh yes, each one of us, all eight. I think the rest of the children and staff really enjoyed watching the American women break it down with them. If nothing else, we were entertaining! The staff presented us with a MOHI shirt, a wrap/scarf, and a wooden salad bowl and serving spoons. The whole week it has been difficult to let these wonderful people of God serve us. I am a server and I felt guilty letting them serve me. They are literally the hands and feet of Jesus. I never felt like a stranger in Nairobi. I feel at home and the relationships I have built with these servants of God will last a lifetime. It won’t be long before I am back! James said, “let us begin with God, because if we begin with Him we must end with Him” Amen! That is something that I have been reminded of all this week. Materialistically they have hardly anything compared to us, but they are richer in the Spirit and we should all yearn and strive to be rich like them.
What an exciting first day at Upper Bondeni school. We drove up and the first thing we saw was their huge water tank purchased by Snyder and the 2010 mission team!! As we drove up Alice, the principal, greeted us with her huge smile and pointed at the tank immediately. We settled into the new 3-story school for our customary Chai before VBS. We enjoyed talking with the teachers and social workers. We then began our VBS day. Much to our surprise, we learned that 3 of our 4 teaching teams had to split up because of the small rooms and 400 kids, leaving many of us with a 5-minute planning period.
Our next home belonged to Joseph. He seemed to be a cobbler or tailor based on the equipment in his home. From the moment we walked in, he was talkative and seemed like a kindred spirit I had the privilege of sharing the Evangecube with him, and he made a decision to accept Christ. Of course, most of the conversation was in Swahili, but he seemed genuine.
Our next home belonged to Rosemary. She had an amazing story about the love a church had shown her and her husband when they lost a young baby and paid for all the funeral expenses. It was because of that love and care that she eventually came to know and love Christ. She was such an encouragement to me, and I was glad to be able to be the same in return.
As we’ve gone into these homes, I’m saddened by how all of these beautiful people are packed into such a small space. Yet at the same time, I am amazed at their resourcefulness and the ability to have their life in such a small space. I am also amazed by the faith that I see, and the bright and excited eyes when people like Rosemary share their stories.
Tonight’s post was written by Sara McDonald:
Monday and Tuesday we did VBS at Bondeni lower school. The kids seemed to be anywhere from 3 or 4 years old to 7 or 8. The first day, I went around making pictures and video so I was able to see what was going on in each class. The kids loved the milk song in music, wore stickers from their prayer journal on their head out of crafts, screamed for joy during relays at recreation, and enjoyed acting out Daniel and the lion’s den in Bible study.
In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to meet the kids sponsored by Snyder members. The kids were on their very best behavior, and were so excited about the book bags full of food and schools supplies! They especially liked the colored pencils! I got to deliver a note to one of the children from a friend of mine. To see the joy on his face, and watch him treat the letter with such pride just made me smile.
We also got to go shopping at the Pangani Center where women are taught to sew and make jewelry. It was truly guilt-free shopping, and such wonderful quality stuff! I was absolutely amazed at the talent of these ladies.
Today, we all knew what to expect at the start of the day. I taught the Bible study where we talked about Esther being brave in order to save the Jews. I think I will remember the memory verse very well after repeating it a dozen times in 5 different classes! (Genesis 28:15 – “I am with you and I will protect you everywhere you go.”) The kids were very excited about the crowns they made in crafts. We saw them continuing to color on them even out in the streets after school!!
This afternoon, we split into groups and went to visit in the homes. We went armed with 3 cubes- one for evangelism, another for AIDS education, and Malaria education. I met Julianne in the first home. She is a Christian so we took the opportunity to encourage her in her faith. We also shared the community health cubes, and a method for purifying water by placing bottles in the sun.
The next house belonged to Salome, Julianne’s sister. She is 19 years old and is having some health problems. My heart just broke for her. She’s so young, and struggling so much. Her husband is off trying to find a job.
I have been very impressed with the work the Mission of Hope is doing. I am also impressed with the selflessness of not only the teachers and social workers, but even the children. There is such a sense of community, and the kids take care of each other. I have a lot I can learn from them!
Tomorrow, we start VBS with the older kids at the upper school. I’m also looking forward to doing more home visits the rest of the week as well. -Sara
I didn’t get any written thoughts today from the team, but did receive a few pictures. The team started Vacation Bible School today at Bondeni primary school. From the looks of the craft they did, the Bible study was on Daniel, a praying man. The craft was a prayer journal that the children made to learn to write down their prayers and thoughts. Myra Parker and Sara McDonald are leading the Bible story time, Caroline Wheeler and Jessica Satterfield are leading the music, Susan Walters and Sarah Thornton are leading recreation, and Sheila Abe and Laurel Thornton are leading crafts. The team was suppose to meet with the 45 children that Snyder members are sponsoring and give them each a backpack filled with food and school supplies. No pictures of that but hopefully they got some! Susie Enjoy the pics!
We are doing awesome, a little bit of jet lag catchup today but still great! On Saturday we had orientation at the Pagani center-the first school they set up- and we learned a ton about Mary and Wallace- the people who started the school. We had chai tea which was sooo yummy and toured the center. We went out into Area 1 of the mathare slum. We walked through and then were ale to visit a home of one of the children that attend the Pagani school. They were very welcoming and so happy to have us pray with them.
What an incredible time we had today worshipping and visiting the students at the Joska school. We took a long bus ride to the outskirts of Nairobi, and after about an hour and a half arrived at the school. I was overjoyed when we stopped along the way to pick up three beautiful little girls who were walking to church. Since I had a empty seat beside me and was right next to the door of the bus I was the lucky recipient of two of them siting beside me! I absolutely adore children and was very eager to meet them and talk them. I found out that they were sisters who live close to Joska and go to school there. I had the best time just smiling with them and asking about what they are learning at school. They love math and Ebony, who is 11, showed off all her multiplication facts for me. I am a third grade teacher, so I was overjoyed to see the connection between what I teach my students and what students are learning in Kenya.
Laurel Thornton was having some jet lag and was still awake so I asked her to write down her first impressions:
Meeting with Mary and Wallace (Directors of Mission of Hope) and hearing their stories today was incredible. I have truly never seen such faith. It is so obvious that God is performing miracles through them daily. They as well as the staff of Mission of Hope radiate with the love they have for Jesus. I so wish we could get Mary to come to speak at Snyder. Touring the slums was overwhelming to say the least. It will take a long time to process. As we talked about it tonight though we were each struck by some things besides just the unimaginable living conditions. We were all overwhelmed by the children. Despite their circumstances they seem happy, loving, and they take care of each other. Also, by force of their living conditions, there is a bit of a sense of community within the slums.
There is so much to be done here. While 6000 children are now attending then schools, there are 90,000 more who need sponsors. Seeing the miracles that have already been performed here, there is still hope! Laurel
Received a short email and pics from Sarah Thornton today:
First of all, Mary (Mary Kamau who is the Director along with her husband of International Mission of Hope) is one of the most, if not THE most, amazing person I have ever met. Her work and passion and FAITH in God is so inspirational. What a beacon of light she has brought to the slums of Mathare Valley. We are going to church at Joska (boarding school for 4th-8th graders) tomorrow. VBS is now with 900+ children! May God bless!
Here are a few photos from today. Trying to get our team in the pictures. But we walked through the slums in pairs.