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Archive for the ‘mission trip’ Category

For whatever reason, I didn’t get to meet my sponsored child while I was in Kenya.

There are over 600 students at the primary school, and it was a joy and a pleasure to meet children for the first time and to recognize children I had already met each day. But, there were a few children I was searching the crowds for, my own sponsored child and the sponsored children of a couple of church friends.

I learned midway through the trip that the mother of my sponsored child was ill, and the family had gone to stay with relatives outside of the city. I knew that this was a call to prayer. Yes, I wanted to meet him and hug him and get to know him outside of a picture and a piece of paper. But, I also wanted to be a blessing to him even when I couldn’t be beside him.

That was all I got on the trip — the idea of somehow being a blessing to him, the hope of being a blessing to him, and the opportunity to leave a few small things behind for him to receive upon his return.

20120917-174414.jpgThree months later, I did receive a beautiful letter from him, and some new pictures of a happy boy that I continue to get to know as the Lord allows. I trust that his mother is well, but I honestly don’t know. I trust God to fill any void he feels if she’s not. I praise God that he was able to return to school. I pray that school is a place he will learn to be the person God created him to be. I pray that God will honor the connection between us and that we will continue to be a blessing to one another. Abbey reminds me often to pray for him because she knows that the children in Kenya pray for their sponsors every day.

Currently, there are over 140 children waiting for sponsors through Kenya Children’s Fund. KCF has recently taken in a second stream of 9th graders who have passed the difficult 8th Grade Exams, but whose families cannot afford secondary school fees. Their education would stop at 8th grade without KCF’s intervention. There is also an incoming class of nursery students awaiting sponsorship.

I invite you to visit KCF’s website if you feel led to pray for these children by name or even invite one into your life through sponsorship.

I know I know, you are thinking “Great, she goes on this mission trip, and now she’s gonna guilt me into sponsoring cute kids…and she’s gonna keep asking me for money…why did I ever respond to that first request?!” I am learning to trust God to soften the hearts of those He wishes to be involved. Maybe you can’t get these kids off of your mind. Maybe you see things everywhere that remind you of Kenya. Maybe there’s some other burgeoning connection between you and this place or these people. If so, God might be trying to tell you something.

I promise you, you will be a blessing to them. And I promise you, they will bless you in return. It’s a beautiful thing.

My boy’s favorite animal is the cow, so Abbey & Sam have drawn lots of pictures of cows for him…

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This is my boy’s art work:

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This is Sam’s from when he was younger:

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I like the similarities.

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OK, by now, I know you are thinking “Yes, but what did you DO?” The two most popular questions about my trip…1. What will you do? 2. What did you do? Followed closely by “Will you go back?” We live in a culture of doing, a culture that places value on accomplishing tasks. But Kenyan culture is a relational culture, a culture that places value on relationship and consensus.

You will be glad to know that I did however accomplish some ‘stuff,’ stuff we can all feel good about. I worked with a team of 4 that supported the school nurse, who for 20 years has daily supported not only the 600 students at the elementary school, but also their extended families and all of the students at the secondary school. Two of us took a look at her current record-keeping system and set them up on computer so that going forward, she could keep her records in a spreadsheet on a laptop, which would allow her to easily follow trends over time by student name or by diagnosis. This meant that we got to see a power outlet installed in her office, Kenyan style.

In addition, we helped her complete her monthly health assessment of all 600 students at the elementary school. Each month, she weighs, measures, and deworms all 600 students. We put all of this information in a spreadsheet, and set up the system for the remainder of the year, so that she just has to enter the data each month. Our team did the weighing, measuring, and some of the crowd control, freeing her up to focus her attention on the health education she does with each class when they come in (“We keep our nails short and clean.”) or to¬† see individual patients who came in for treatment during this time. Before the trip, I was told it would be a miracle if we actually accomplished all of this, and we did. (Or, should I say God did.) So, there it is. Miracle. Praise God. (“Praise God again!”)

But do you know what also happened while we were there? The nurse’s mother passed away unexpectedly. God placed a team of four compassionate Christian women around her to pray for her, to distract her, to ease her burden, to be her hands and feet and occasionally voice, to minister to her, to grieve with her. In my mind, this feels more significant than all of that other stuff.

I pray that our doing was a blessing to her, I pray that our work will be something that continues to be useful to her and that she will be able to continue going forward. But I know that our being was a blessing to her, and to me. I thank God that He let me share in walking beside her during a difficult time.

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