2013 Kenya East Africa Missions Trip Report
The We Factor
Changing lives, helping people, and making a big difference could have not been possible without the WE FACTOR. When Neil Armstrong took the first steps on to the moon he understood that it was not something that he did alone. When I looked for the first time into the eyes of Loise Amani, the nine-year-old Kenyan girl that Terry and I adopted, I knew it was the we factor that gave us that opportunity. When Neil took that small step as a man, if he had not realized that those with him made it possible, he would have missed the reality of the moment. Together, with all of you, I get to enjoy caring for Amani. When others believe in your dream sometimes that’s what it takes to make it possible to reach your dream. I would like to say thank you for helping me reach my dreams. It is okay to dream big and shoot for the moon. If you miss, you may land on a star like Loise Amani.
i5 Church Children’s Center
Thirteen of us landed at the i5 Church Children’s Center. When we walked into our own center it was better than when Neil said, “Houston, Apollo has landed.” The eight new members of the team and the five returning members were ready to make a big difference. i5 Church had landed and thanks to Luwanna, there was one with us from Granite Baptist Church in Glen Burnie, MD, he could say “Granite has landed.”
So many had gathered supplies for our center, some had donated money, some simply sent love and greetings. We knew that we were only a very small part of the landing party, while you were the ones that made the landing possible.
When we walked into the women’s prison with many bags of needed supplies, I knew it was because of the we factor from the many ladies back at i5 Church in Odenton, Maryland that were halfway around the world that made it happen. When Neil said “a giant leap for mankind” he knew that those back in Houston, Texas were the we factor. One of the primary needs of the women in prison was feminine hygiene/personal items. Because of you, we had several suitcases full of the items they needed.
The Moses & Mary Girls Home
“America, the team has landed.” We arrived at the girls’ home in Elburgon, Kenya to bring them the many, many, many items made possible by you back at home, items which included a new computer with Microsoft Word, and a new music keyboard. The ladies on our team came ready to minister to the girls at the center there. Prior to departure, we met once a month to plan for the many centers that we were helping. At this center, The Moses and Mary Girls Home, we had a big event called, “Girls Rock.” When Michael and I, After ministering at the Life Celebration Center (the headquarters church in Nakuru, Kenya) joined with the team they were fully in the middle of the event. “Girls Rock” looked to me like a combination of a big birthday party combined with sister-to-sister counseling sessions. The we factor had landed. Dana, Janiel, Belinda, Erica, Luwanna, Jasmin and Teresa formed teams and were running breakout sessions. Pastor Steve was capturing it all on camera. David was down at the church building preaching, and Mario and James had stayed with David. I knew it was not just the thirteen of us that made a big difference in Elburgon at the girl’s center. Because of the we factor many people back home in, Maryland, DC, and Virginia, our families, co-workers, friends and well wisher that donated to us helped change lives and make a big difference. The Moses and Mary Girls Home at Elburgon was full and had even amended their age requirement to meet the needs of younger girls whom were orphans or in abusive situations. The center now has 41 girls from age 6 to 18 and had already starting laying the foundation to put up the walls for the next building. Every month Terry and I send a donation to this center. Together we make a difference.
Kibera School- Pastor Amos
The school deep in the slums of Kibera… When the Apollo 11 touched down on the moon there was a cheer heard around the nation. When we walked into the school in the slums of Kibera the cheer of the 250 children that enjoyed the candy was as heartfelt as any cheer that has ever gone out! The thirteen of us got to see their faces light up like a 100 watt light bulb, but it was the we factor of your candy that made it possible. Our team was there to transform the building and bring much needed school supplies. Because of you we had countless army-style duffel bags packed full of school supplies for every child in the school. We had two suitcases and 18 special gift bags for the female teachers. The school in Kibera, which is the second largest slum in the world, is operated by Pastor Amos. Amos was one of the Pastors from our small inaugural conference in 2004. Now, he along with a team, brought a way out of the slums to 250 children. Education is the most promising way out of poverty. The vision statement of our church is FOOD, WATER, CLOTHING, and INVITATION & CARE. Here we were halfway around the world fulfilling Pastor Jimmy Rollins’ vision.
This school was jam-packed with children and had grossly out grown the meager, two-story, metal structure they occupied. The ladies on this team painted, fixed, cleaned and repaired that school like a military delta force. I am use to seeing men work but, I take my hat off to this team of ladies. We were a 13 member missionary strike force.
This is the first time our host thought we needed armed guards so two members of the Nairobi police force escorted us in and stayed with us the two days we worked there.
On the third day, without escort, Michael and James went back in again and completed the electrical work. By your donations we purchased many gallons of paint, the we factor. Your donations allowed us to make several trips back to the hardware store. Having a master electrician on the team meant we could put adequate lighting throughout. i5 Church and our missions team is trying to come up with the funds needed to purchase the land that Pastor Steve (our team leader) and Amos saw. Changing lives, helping people, and making a big difference; when the need is so great and the resources are so few, much is needed to be accomplished mission. There is an old ancient proverb that says “the way to eat and elephant is one bite at a time.” Each year, by what you do, we bring in more and more supplies– yes, you got it the, WE FACTOR
Happy Life Children’s Center
The Happy Life Children’s Center, is a mountain of help surrounded by many valleys. When the astronauts planted the flag on the moon it was a monumental moment, as we walked into this center for abandoned babies it was an apex moment. Belinda, Ericka, Luwanna, Teresa, Jasmin, Mario, James and David saw their first orphanage for abandoned babies. Together, with all you sent, we were there to changes lives and make a big difference. You may never truly understand your impact upon the lives of these babies. Because it takes a lot to care for them almost no orphanages will take infants. But this center not only takes them, they specialize in infant care. One thing an infant needs for proper bonding is the touch of a mother. This day, Janel and Teresa could fulfill that need for some of the babies. For most of the day, Janel and Teresa stayed there at Happy Life. Together with your donations we gave a large cash gift to the Happy Life home for abandoned babies. We also gave them the much need rubber pants they requested. Together, we also gave special gift bags to the ladies working at the center. The we factor, I need you to understand what it was like when you gave the i5 staff workers these special gift bags. The ladies from the Happy Life staff work hard. In a third world country like Kenya, these same ladies who give to others have to feed their own families. Rarely will they have money to spend on anything more than food, clothing and shelter so the gift bags with the special things you gave them were priceless. When you, through us, give to the staff at Happy Life and the other centers you show them love and most important you tell them they are appreciated.
I first visited Happy Life in 2005. They had 18 babies and rented a small house. Happy Life has since built on to the small house and purchased it. Today they have 89 babies. Plus, they have built a four-story second building and have a big second campus outside of town. They are no longer renting but now own both centers.
Our daughter Amani, that we adopted through sponsorship lives at Happy Life so Terry and I give a monthly donation. Some people say they do not want to give to missions because funds are misused. While that may be true about some organizations, it is evidently not true about this work that you sponsor.
For everything else there’s Master Card, but your love for missions is priceless.
The School & Feeding Center at Githura
I so enjoyed seeing the looks on the faces of Wycliffe and Elizabeth, that run the School in the slums of Githuria, as the team painted the walls of the class, put electric in the school for the first time ever, they also planted flowers outside and made a flower bed, then repaired the damaged concrete floors. I was proud of how hard our team, especially the women worked, their self-sacrifice was amazing. At one point Pastor Wycliffe called one of his neighboring Pastor’s over to see the work the Americans were doing to his school. On top of all the physical repairs to the school, the team did a puppet show for the children. The day we worked on the school was a special day. After that, every child got a back pack.
Elizabeth also operates a feeding program as part of the school. As poverty and hunger go hand-in-hand, feeding the children is very important. On this day, all the children from the school were fed and our team had eaten. The children enjoyed a big meal with meat. Most Kenyans from the slums don’t get to eat meat every day.
After we ate, I noticed that there were children not wearing the school uniform outside the gate looking at the food. First I asked Elizabeth if we could feed them, she said “yes.” As I rounded up the children outside of the gate and got them a meal there was still more food left. I noticed their parents outside the gate looking at the food. First I asked Elizabeth could we feed them too, she said “yes.” I was happy and so were those women. That day, everybody ate. It was clear to me that these families of about seven ladies and a dozen or so children lived just outside of the school compound. I asked Wycliffe why these children were not a part of the school. He explained to me that their parents were too poor to pay even the small tuition the school charged. Every month my wife Terry and I send a donation of $100 to offset the costs and make-up the school’s budget short fall. I told Wycliffe we would double our contribution to the New Life School to $200 monthly and I wanted those children in school and a part of our feeding program starting March 1st.
At some point during this trip, I began to speak these words, “I am responsible for what I see.” I know that I can’t change the whole world, but I can change the world of the children I met. As President Richard Nixon congratulated NASA for landing on the moon, together with the thirteen of us that landed in the slums of Githuria, I want to say to you “congratulations” for your help. When Pres. Nixon congratulated the astronauts not one of them took credit for what took a combined effort to undertake. I feel that if the thirteen of us on this Kenya team take credit for the work and not include you it would be like the astronauts not including the team at Houston.
The we factor changes everything and paints the true picture of the work. Vincelia who took Erica to Dulles International Airport and came back again to pick up her and Jasmin was as much a part of the team as us on the ground in Kenya. When we cleared the U.S. Customs Vincelia Ward welcomed us home and greeted us at the gate. The team working at NASA to strap the astronauts in at take-off, and the ones working out in the ocean to recover the re-entry capsules were as important as the ones that planted the flag. Through the TV we could see what happened on the moon making every taxpaying American a part of that moon landing. Through our printed reports, Pastor Steve’s blog www.stevesjourney.com, our postings on Facebook, and our web site www.kenyawithlove.com we want you to see what you are doing in Kenya. The person that shopped for the school supplies at Wal-Mart, and the person that gave out the bags in the slums are all a part of the mission’s team. The we factor, S. Miller and her group, along with B. Huck whom give every year, and everyone that gave big or small to me or to other team members are a part of missions work. My office staff that worked twice as hard without me, Kashonna and Sherrie that took care of the family without David and Steve are a part of the missions work.
The smallest donation that was given to me was $25. There was a lady with a baby strapped to her back begging at an intersection in Nairobi. I opened the van window and gave her the money that came from a lady in Texas. It could feed her and her baby for about two months. The WE FACTOR!
Teams… There were thirteen in our traveling group but there was an advanced team that met us at the Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Bishop Larry Lee Thomas and Justin were waiting for the team when we landed. Bishop Thomas’ wife Belinda Thomas and Anita Weaver, another team alumni member, stayed down in Tanzania at their mission’s house. On our flight there were also two other alumni team members Vicki Jones and Minister Mary Hughee. They were there to be a part of the Pastors Conference and do physical, spiritual and economic empowerment through their organization Bahari Sister. Together we with Min. David Holland made up the conference team. The first Wednesday we all ministered at the Pastors’ Conference. Many of the Pastors that came to our conference were from the slums. That’s our work and calling. There are rich Kenyan Pastors but our calling is not to them. We do speak and preach at the rich Kenyan churches as did Mary Hughee, she spoke at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, the most influential church in the city.
Our conference touches the lives of the Pastors in need. The people of the slums of Kenya are very needy, so needless to say the churches are very needy. A church in the slums will sometimes have a two year fund raiser to get instruments like those we gave them. Kenya is a country with 75% unemployment and underemployment. A person living in the slums will work for a dollar a day, that’s right, not an hour, but a day. People from the slums will often time walk an hour or two to work in the morning and walk back in the evening. Many of them survive off $30 a month or less. In Kenya, like most third world nations, there are no social programs. It is Pastors from that background that we help. We as a team gave away three new professional size music keyboards and two top of the line cordless microphones. Team members took turns presenting the instruments. We did the presentation, but you gave the donations. Together, like the astronauts riding the lunar rover across the surface of the moon, we leave a track in time that will last beyond our years.
This year I started funding a new program to bless a Pastor. One day a month on Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm a Pastor will come to the site of this year’s conference and lead a prayer meeting. He will be given $35. Thirty-five dollars may not seem like much but in a country where a person will work for a dollar a day that helps them a lot. For the next 52 Saturdays a lead Pastors will receive this donation.
Teams… On the last Tuesday, to cover three more activities, we split the team into three groups. Michael and James returned to the slums of Kibera to complete the electrical work for the school. The larger part of the team went off with Pastor Steve to see the second half of the work that Happy Life does. They have a facility way outside of town, for children whom may never get adopted, in an area called Juga. One of the children there is being sponsored by the i5 Church children’s ministry. Ericka Porter, our ministry leader of the kids church, was there to see this child.
Christian Provision Ministry
Belinda and I were off to yet a third slum area called Soweto. We were going to see a work that a 2005 mission trip alumni member Jerome Smith started by purchasing some land for Pastor Samuel Olweny. Pastor Olweny was one of the original 34 Pastors that came to our first conference back in 2004. Along with Jerome and Kim from Columbia, MD, Pastor Matthew Evans and his team from Maryland and New York also blessed the school and orphanage in the slums of Soweto. I had not personally visited his center because there were two teams blessed to do that work, but on this trip God laid it on my heart to go. Their center is called Christian Provision Ministry. They operate a desperately needed school with 168 children from the big slum of Soweto. Twenty-eight of the students were orphans that Samuel and his wife Pamela had taken off the streets or from abusive situations. The week before we came, Pastor Evans and his team had been there. One year, Pastor Evans’ team brought a bunch of suitcases full of shoes. The children from the school and orphanage were given those shoes.
When we arrived, all of the school, including the children, staff and teachers were gathered in the courtyard to greet us; the children sang songs and did a presentation for us. Their Orphanage was separated into dormitories for boys and girls. As providence would have it, spontaneously Belinda asked Samuel, “what do you need for these orphans?” Without hesitation he said “mosquito nets.” The WE FACTOR! Taking a line from the Apollo 13 movie, I often say, “Houston we have a problem.” But, I had your donations. The next day, Pastor Samuel met us at our hotel and we purchased 14 mosquito nets for the 28 orphans to cover their bunk beds.
Before our 2011 mission’s trip one of our primary donors asked me, “what do you do with the money?” My response to her was, “so much with so little”, that became the theme of the 2011 report. YOU with the team became the We Factor.
Because of your donations, so much from so little has been accomplished this year. On behalf of the entire team I say thank YOU, together we are the WE FACTOR!
CHANGING LIVES, HELPING THOSE IN NEED AND MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE! The 2013 Missions Trip Report, simply to say Thank You By: Noland L. Henson J
* Opening Clinics *Building Orphanages * Establishing home based centers for displaced children *Building Schools* Building Churches * Buying Property * Providing salaries for pastors (long term) * Providing salaries for pastors (short term) * Providing long term funding and support to already established missions * Shipping containers of medical supplies * Shipping containers to provide mobilization * Attempting to assist Americans who are seeking to adopt Kenyan orphans