Arrived in Kenya! After a three day training session at Ridge Haven North Carolina, and a two day flight plan spanning three continents, our team is safely in Nairobi. Pastor Imbumi Makuku picked us up from the airport around 10pm Kenya time on Saturday night, and we took the long, dusty Langata road to Subiaco, a convent in Karen, south of Nairobi, which will be our home for the next two months. Sunday we woke with the sun—not because of our energy to start the day, but because of a rooster that so kindly decided to make it’s morning warblings right outside of our window! Around 11 Pastor Makuku picked us up and took us back to the city for Church at Kibera Reformed Presbyterian Church. Seeing Kibera, a square-mile home to thousands of rickety makeshift huts, was stirring. I was shaken by the poverty; Millions of people lined the mud and garbage filled path that led to the church. We were greeted warmly by some, cautiously watched by others. I have heard that MTW’s missionaries are the only white people that the people in this area of the slum have ever seen, as most humanitarians visit the opposite end, which was the set for the Nicolas Cage film, “The Constant Gardener.” I wish any who read this the opportunity to worship with our brothers and sisters at Pastor’s church: in a small mud and stone building, not much larger than an average classroom, atleast a hundred and fifty people sing praises and read scripture in their native tongue of Swahili. I have never seen such joy, and in their condition! For all of the pain that the residents of Kibera feel, the weight of their struggle daily to simply survive, they still are convinced in the love of Christ Jesus. That says a lot about God’s ability to work in a man, and about those of us who, despite our affluence and comfort, are still unimpressed by the Christian God. The most amazing thing about the church, is that atleast a hundred of its members are children. Many children, who have been left by their parents at a young age, or simply have parents that do not believe what they do, come to the church every day to learn, and sing at the top of their lungs on Sundays. The population of adults is small in the church, which is expected considering the church is only seven years old. Pastor envisions it as an investment: Imagine what the church community will be like in ten years, when the hundred plus children are all young adults. We are praying that they will grow and mature in their love for Christ, and when they come of age, that the Lord will use them mightly in extending the reach of the church in Kibera to bring in new people to the peace that is the one true God. This vision tells the other interns and I what we really are here for: It’s not about our ability (ha!) to save souls, it’s not about our ability even as Americans to provide better medical or social care. It is about encouragement. The church has wonderful Pastors who love their congregation, and a thriving body of young believers who are new to Christianity. All that the Church truly needs it has, and so we are here to encourage those young believers that there are people all over the world that are praying for them. They are not alone. That is to say, however, that encouragement comes with a lot of work: Today is Kenya’s Independence day, and so we will celebrate with the locals. Yet tomorrow the work begins: Building, praying, teaching English, leading studies, tutoring—all yet to come in the next few days. I ask for your prayers and thoughts for our team, and for Pastor Imbumi and his church. I hope I will be able to post pictures soon, but the convent computers are rather slow! God Bless all of you!
Bwana asifiwe baba mungu,