A team of seven from Lakeview Baptist in Monroe, North Carolina spent 15 months meeting monthly to prepare spiritually through bible study and prayer, cultural sensitivity lessons and practical training. (demonstration of how to take a bucket shower 🙂 ) Lakeview Baptist and other supporters helped by collecting and sending multiple items that were on a needs list. Money was raised at several events enabling us to buy bibles, meet crusade expenses and provide for other critical needs. We collected so much that it was necessary to take 2 extra large suitcases along on the trip, for a total of 26 suitcases! Thank you to EVERYONE that helped us be the hands of Jesus! You played a huge part in making this trip a tangible blessing to the Kibera community. When it all comes down to it, prayer and trusting God was the crucial aspect of this mission trip. Breaking the fallow ground and combating the intense spiritual warfare that comes with huge leaps of faith for individuals, church, the community dynamics we were entering and physical safety. The enemy does not want the gospel to be shared and tried many different angles to disrupt and bring fear, but by God’s grace, we arrived in Nairobi, Kenya! Amazingly, the customs agent gave us favor and waved us through without charging any fees for all the goods we brought. That was really a miracle and needed encouragement after having to pay close to $1000 for the 2 extra bags we brought. (NEVER EVER TAKE MORE THAN YOU SHOULD, I tried for weeks to get those baggage fees waived, to no avail) It was so great to see the smiling faces of Monica, Cindy & her neighbor and Rose! Rose was the official representative from our school and greeted us holding a beautiful bunch of flowers, it really touched my heart to see that she had come to welcome us!
The team piled into the van with our tower of suitcases tied down on it’s roof and then got to experience the joys of Nairobi traffic. Our driver navigated the tangle of cars, matatus, buses, vendors selling all manner of goods and pedestrians darting through tiny wedges of space between vehicles. Over the years, it amazes me that no pedestrians have been hurt during these trips. The vendor selling sugar cane was hard to resist because we were unable to fill our water bottles at Jomo Kenyatta Airport. The small bag was enough for everyone to sample and whet our thirst until getting to Monica’s home in Jamhuri.
Monica and her team of helpers were very hospitable and prepared delicious, hearty meals while we stayed in Kenya. They extended a kind and generous welcome, often preparing things for us that they would never afford for themselves. They blended fresh fruit juices, cooked sausages & eggs, tons of wonderful fresh vegetables, fruits; along with typical Kenyan fare of chapati, ugali, mandazis, lentils, potatoes, etc. Our first venture out to Kibera was made somewhat difficult due to our arrival during the rainy season. While our summer fits well into school schedules, for making a mission trip, it is actually cool, rainy and overcast during the Kenyan winter, making traversing the muddy paths to the school sort of treacherous.
Over the course of the last 15 months or more, our team was asked to prayerfully consider what gifts they felt like God might want to use on the mission trip. We discussed the length of the trip, most saying they felt like a 10 day trip would be about perfect for their first (most) trip out of the country. Kibera has been on my heart for years and I strongly felt urged pray and declare that the churches there would come together in unity. After sharing with Monica, we began to believe and pray to God, for this to somehow come together. We also began praying for a crusade and all aspects of the mission trip, for God to aid us in planning. The next team meeting the vision was shared and how we were trusting God to help us with a crusade in Kibera. A rough draft of plans was developed for our trip. Gene wanted to help the children plant a garden, Phil would teach/preach, Jody would mentor and instruct the teachers, Kaden and Emily would paint a mural and play with the children, Jacquelyn wanted to work with the deaf and I would teach hygiene and infection control- with all of these things being entwined with biblical teaching, songs and as much love of Jesus Christ draping over each activity. It was thrilling to see the crusade actually becoming a reality! We had the pastors from 7 churches in Kibera come together and pray and plan for several months before we arrived. By the end of the crusade, there were more than 20 churches from all over Kenya and one from Uganda, that were involved in the crusade! That was God!! For that many churches, from different tribes and denominations, to come together for the purpose of repentance (main theme) and salvation, it was a miracle indeed. Phil had been praying and believing for 2000 salvations and shared it with us a couple weeks before leaving. Bold faith!! We know that hundreds came to salvation throughout the course of the crusade and we are still waiting on the final
numbers, but we trust that God will use the Word that was spoken during the crusade, to continue impacting lives for His glory and we do believe that at least 2000 and possibly MANY more will come to Christ! Not only were many lives impacted and changed, but many were drawn to a closer walk with God. Scores of folks stood out in the pouring rain, on their knees, crying out to God. Our team left early that night, no translators after Phil preached, having always been indoors before nightfall in Kibera. But those folks had church and much was accomplished for the kingdom of God!
Phil and Gene each had opportunities to preach and teach God’s Word. We all had opportunities to sing, read scriptures, pray with people, love on folks, take the children on a field trip to Nairobi Arboretum- it was so much FUN, teach children, plant seeds, plant a garden, build a shelf, paint walls, make a beautiful mural, attend the sick, prevent spread of disease, teach how to lesson plan, organize some areas in the school…the list goes on 🙂
We were able to do most of the items on our list, plus some other unplanned things ( Jacq played basketball with about 20 boys after school one day, that was a highlight!! and God even provided a basketball for us on the way to the playing field- HE is SO GOOD!!)