Come Travel and do mission work in Kenya Africa - - - Sunday February 17, 2013 - through - Thursday February 28, 2013
Written Reports, there are four reports on this page
Seeing From With In - 2009; So Much From So Little - 2011; If Not For You - 2012; The We Factor - 2013
Kenya 2011 Full Report
So Much from So Little”
2011 Missions Trip
Kenya, East Africa
(Written to Say Thank You!)
The front cover picture of the school at Githurai, says a thousand words without writing any. Before leaving to go on this mission’s trip to Kenya, East Africa I was asked many questions as you could well imagine. However, there are two little questions that linger in my heart: 1) What do you do with the money that’s donated for the missions work? 2) Why do you go on the Africa Missions trip every year? As I prepare this abridged report entitled “So Much from So Little” I will try to describe the indescribable and seek to answer these two questions.
Every year the first place we visit is the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. Truly I could just tell of the visit to the hospital and that alone would answer every “why”. The Government in Kenya does not run any hospitals; all hospitals are privately run. The Nairobi Women’s Hospital does so much with so little. It was started in 2001 by a donation from Deloris Jordan (Michael Jordan’s mother). It is a beacon of hope in the middle of a sea of trying waters. Like any third world male dominated society women do not enjoy equality. During this trip we stopped in the midst of one of the largest slums in the world called Kibera. “WHY”? The women of the slums live with and know all too well the looming threat of gender violence and abuse. The 2009 population of Kibera was nearly 1 million people. The Nairobi Women’s Hospital has an outpost clinic in Kibera, and follow up care and first response is an important part of the mission of the hospital. “WHY”? There were eight in our group including four who were visiting Kenya for the first time. By their own admission the experience was life changing. The hospital representative that guided our tour showed us how so little can accomplish so much.
We were overwhelmed by the compassion of a staff member named Joshua as he described what it’s like to provide daily care to children and adults who have been victims of gender violence and abuse. The compassion in his voice said more than his words. As we reached the room where we would gather to receive the final briefing I thanked the hospital official for the tour and for her gentle approach in sharing the hospital’s mission and outreach. We were especially appreciative of her approach given the fact that none of the 2010 team escaped the tour/briefing without shedding tears. Last year the team saw a three year-old baby girl that was a victim. She was abused and her mother later found her as she had been thrown in some bushes. We visited the room of an eight year-old boy that was severely burned by his father and a nineteen year-old girl that was victimized by a gang of eight men. When I thanked her for her gentile approach of not showing as many gripping victims she said, “Why should one have to see to believe”. This year we saw enough to understand and have compassion for the work and workers at the hospital. WHY do I go every year? One reason is that for Pastor Jimmy, Minister Lisa and Pastor Josh this was their first mission’s trip.
At the hospital it was not the four hundred US Dollars that we gave from the funds donated to the missions trip that mattered so much, but the fact that others cared and took time to visit. The fact that we visited their hospital meant so much more than any donation.
After praying for and thanking the hospital staff, we were off to visit the Langata Women’s Prison. My contact there for prison ministry had worked for three months arranging our visit to the prison, and just as the year before, when we arrived we were initially refused access. This is not new to me and I knew it was not the final word. Every year when we visit the prison it is difficult for our team to get in. Yet every year the ministry work that we do touches our team and the prisoners in a way that cannot be adequately expressed or fully depicted.
Though we had to reschedule the visit we were ultimately allowed access. While we waited to gain entry to the larger prison yard, I asked the head chaplain if we could visit the children’s center, and she agreed. In Kenya, if a mother is imprisoned, and her child is aged newborn to five years, and no relative agrees to care of her child, the child will be placed in the women’s prison children’s unit. When the chaplain saw that we had bags of candy and cookies with us, she suggested that before entering the children’s unit we should visit a unit of women that were kept separate from the larger population.
These women had confirmed cases of AIDS and HIV. Lunch was being served when we entered their area, and the ladies of the unit received us with gladness and expressions of sincere gratitude for us taking our time to visit them.
There were approximately 80 prisoners seated outside of their unit. We greeted them, prayed with them and distributed the small bags of animal cookies and candy we had brought. A prisoner, a young woman of about 25, was given the task of responding to our greeting and being the spokesperson for the unit. She said “welcome to our family.” She spoke of the group as being a family and she spoke of the togetherness that they shared as sisters in prison. It was in her greeting to us that she shared how what seemed to us to be so little could mean so much. Though we had only given them a handful of cookies and a few pieces of candy, the young woman said it meant so much to them because they had something from the outside world to brighten their day and visitors to show them love and concern. I had used $115 at the dollar store here in Maryland to buy the candy, cookies, Frisbees and jump ropes for the children, and it cost an additional $88 to bring the extra bag containing the items with us on the flight. We then visited the children and gave them the candy, the cookies and the love.
At the main prison unit before we shared with the prisoners, they sang gospel songs to us, and later Pastor Jimmy shared how his heart was filled as they sang and how it sounded like angels were singing. There were about 250 people packed in a small outdoor courtyard. Only half of the prisoners had seats while others stood for the duration of the message and still others were leaning and calling out from the window of their cell. Though they were not allowed to join the general population in the court yard they also sang and praised the Lord. Minister Lisa Dozier shared the gospel and called for Pastor Jimmy to share some words and help sing the song “I Am Not Forgotten, God Knows My Name.” That was the point and theme of her message. There is something special about sharing the gospel in that women’s prison. We left two full suitcases of gift bags with the chaplain that were a part of the collected donations at our church. They will be given to women who have nothing and no family or visitors. So much good is done from the little we gave.
Wednesday, February 16 was the beginning of the Pastors and Women’s Conferences. The meeting is held in two buildings and the intent is to minister to the pastors from the slums. The total cost, including renting the building, providing lunch for everyone, plus two other meals for the boarding pastors from near and far, including gifts and give aways cost about $6,000 US Dollars. But with so much from so little, what dollar amount could be placed on bringing needed encouragement to pastors who labor to preach the gospel in the slums. The pastors offering from their church may only be up to $65 on a good month. No, that’s right… you did read correctly. Not $65 a day or $30 a Sunday, but try pastoring a church where the monthly offering is $65. From that $65 the church rent and utilities have to be paid, as well as purchasing equipment and supplies. From what is left the pastor must pay his house rent and feed his family – for the entire month.
When the Pastors and Women’s Conferences began seven years ago in 2004 on my first trip to Kenya, we had only 34 pastors including the women pastors. The highest turn out for the conference was reached in 2007 where we had a record attendance of 531 male pastors plus 200 women which met in another building. We have not yet reached that level of attendance again; but understanding the “so much from so little” concept means there is no price or cost you could place on helping one pastor stay in the work of ministry. This year as part of our encouragement and equipping the church, we gave away two brand new quality keyboards, two new cordless microphones and an electric guitar. A financial seed was also given to each of the female senior pastors in the women’s conference. The keyboards cost about $275 each and the microphones cost nearly the same. If you do the math you realize that it would take forever for a church in the slum to raise enough money to buy a new keyboard.
In the post-trip reports we have never spoken of the dollar amount or cost associated with the trip, but I felt compelled to share the dollar amounts in this report because one of my best contributors asked, what do we do with the money. Each year when this contributor and her group of ladies give a donation I am always touched and encouraged by their love and compassion. They do not ask me for anything, not even receipts. They just trust that I will use it for the orphanage or where it’s needed most. Thanks to their generosity and the generosity of a special couple from the Severna Park area, every year we are able to do so much from so little.
Another special treat this year were the two visits to Pastor Wyclife’s school at Githurai. He started the school about three years ago with just a few students and some money we donated. Now his school has 83 children. Without his school in the slums there at Githurai many of the kids would have no school to go to, no safe place to learn while their parents or guardians go to work or go seeking employment. The unemployment rate in Kenya is about 75%. The official minimum wage is $3.00 per day but people from the slums will work for whatever they can get. On the first visit to the school Lisa and Terry left the conference and took gift bags to the seven teachers that are now employed by the school. The gift bags came from the church donations and the teachers were surprised and greatly appreciative of the gifts and items. On the following Saturday the entire team visited the school. Again we totally shocked and surprised the six teachers, the cook and the director of the school. Because of your donations we put the equivalent of more than a month’s pay in an envelope and gave one to each of them. So much from so little! Again, there appreciation and gratitude was off the charts. That is how much the money meant to them. Because of the school these eight ladies now have employment. Twenty seven of the 83 students are on the cover of this report standing in front of their school of tin walls, a dirt floor and homemade benches.
The school serves meals that are funded by Terry and I on a monthly basis. We also give as needed for special projects at the school. Parents of the children pay a small tuition according to their ability. We often say you may not be able to change the whole world but you can change the whole world of one child.
We hope to build a good solid building for the school within a year. To buy land for the school and build a nice building for them right next to the slums of Githurai will cost about $18,000 us dollars. We are believing God to be able to do it. We took a free-will offering and also the day before leaving we gave a special gift of $400 to the school.
We also stopped at the Happy Life Children’s Home for abandoned babies. The youngest baby was three weeks old. Due to the high cost and quality of care required for an infant, most orphanages will not accept infants. But this center specializes in taking in abandoned babies off the street. We gave them a nice free-will offering. We also gave gift bags to the ladies that care for the orphans. So much from so little; they will use the money to provide for the orphans and the gift bags are real encouragement for the workers.
We truly thank God for the outpouring for gift bags from Living Waters Worship Center and the donations that helped to pay the shipping cost. In all we had 9 additional suitcases containing supplies and gifts, and paid an additional $88 per bag ($528 total) for 6 of the bags to be transported. The bags contained everything from personal hygiene items, to school supplies, toys, candy, clothes and shoes. To answer the question “what do we do with the money that is donated”? My reply is “We do so much from so little.”
Pastor Amos’ school in the slum of Kibera was also another place where we blessed and gave offerings. So much from so little. From the team his school received much needed school supplies, a lap top, bags of candy and much more.
We also gave a full suitcase of gift bags and an offering to the girl’s home in Nakuru. The girls at the center in Nakuru are ages 12 to 18 and some of them have AIDS. The center gives special care to the young girls with AIDS, even raising goats for their milk which has proven to be of great medicinal value.
Time prevents me from writing about all the people we were able to help while in Kenya, like the young girls on the streets who strap their babies on their backs as they walk the streets and intersections begging for money that they and their baby may be able to eat that day.
So much from so little. All of that and I have not yet even started telling about all that was given to the Living Waters Children’s Center. The center is an orphanage ran by Duncan Miano and his wife Jane. The center has a total of 14 children, 3 of whom are adolescents and are away at boarding school. The center is one of the best administered centers in all of Kenya. The funding for the center is provided by the Living Waters Worship Center congregation in Odenton, Maryland. Bishops James and Varle Rollins are the Senior Pastors, and this year Executive Pastor Jimmy Rollins along with Staff Pastor Tommy Stoudt, Pastor Steve Harris and Pastor Josh Rollins were all in attendance on this trip to personally see to the needs of this center. Plans are being discussed to buy land and build a bigger center for the kids. There is a multitude of others Items that the Pastor Jimmy and his team brought for the center, like new blankets, mattresses, flat screen TV, DVD player, toys, shoes and much, much more. We also contributed $300 towards three large celebration meals for the entire center including staff, visitors and the team.
Why do we go every year? BECAUSE ONE YEAR YOU WILL GO WITH US!
What do we do with the donations? SO MUCH FROM SO LITTLE!
Prepared by: Minister Noland L. Henson
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Full 2012 Report
2012 KENYA MISSIONS TRIP REPORT
If Not For YOU!!!
It is with great joy and much anticipation that I share with you the highlights of our 2012 Kenya Mission’sTrip. I am grateful for the responsibility of co-leading our mission’s team, along with Pastor Steve Harris, to change lives in Kenya East Africa . But,
If Not For You, we could not have done it!
If Not For You
Jane received a new kitchen with a new propane stove, a microwave and a refrigerator. To get the full impact of the makeover you need to know that Jane cooked for more than 20 people every day on a charcoal burning open flame on the floor. But thanks to you those days are over, now she only has to turn the knob on her stove to get a flame.
Because of you and your donations of cash and the outpouring of supplies, we were able to bring suit cases of school supplies, shoes, toys, candy, cookies and tee-shirts. A birthday party was held for the center and every child was celebrated with gifts, games, love, hugs and fun. We were also able to pay the school fees to ensure that Stephanie, Julius and Maureen could remain in high school. Keep in mind that at the high school level students must pay to attend school in Kenya. For this reason, most high school aged kids don’t go to school. The larger majority of the population can’t afford to pay these fees.
we would not be able to report the incredible things that God did at Living Waters Children’s Center, Kenya. This is our own children’s center, with Pastor Duncan and his wife Jane as the primary care givers. Our team was there to give the center a total make over. This project was led by Pastor Steve, with the help of Tim Carlisle (a maintenance technician by trade), Michael Johnson (a licensed electrician by trade) and a group of 7 ladies. The team did a spectacular job repairing and beautifying the center. Tim and Michael’s description of the girls reaction as they walked into their newly refurbished bedroom tells a story in itself. They reported that the girls, with tears in their eyes, threw up their hands and praised God out loud for what He had done. Before the renovations there was a hole in the roof and the ceiling in their bedroom leaked. Now the roof has been repaired and they have a new ceiling. But that’s not all, thanks to the work of the team, the room was completely painted with custom art work hand painted on the walls. The make-over extended from the kitchen to the bathroom, the garage to the front gate, everything was either repaired, replaced or painted. You could say "no stone was left unturned".
If Not For You,
The team spent countless hours with the children and staff at the center. During our evening debriefings Pastor Steve emphasized that we must get up close and personal with the children at the center, as well as with Duncan and Jane. Ask any member of the team and they will tell you that their life is forever changed.
If not for you
The home is capable of housing and caring for 40 girls, currently they have 27. Some were orphans because their parents died from AIDS, and others were victims of abuse. But, it is the story of a 13 year old girl that was taken from a situation of forced prostitution that really accentuates the need for the home. The center also acts as an emergency care center for the western district child care service of the Kenyan Government. Girls in need of temporary protection and care are brought to the center until they can find other family members to care for them.
The home is operated by Pastor John and his wife Rahab. Many of the team members had an opportunity to sit with him as he shared story after story about the home and some of the girls that are housed there. In addition to the 27 girls that live at the home, 4 girls are being provided with foster care services as well.
we could not have experienced the highlights of this year’s trip. One of those highlights was our visit to the Moses and Mary Mwangi Girls Home. This home is located in Elburgon Kenya and provides a safe refuge for girls between the ages of 13 – 18 who have been orphaned, or who are victims of abuse and devastation. This center was originally started in early 2004 by Pastor Moses and his wife Mary, whom I knew personally. This center is certainly a legacy of their love and care for the young girls in crisis in Kenya. In its beginning, the center was just a little home in a slum supported by meager means. Moses and Mary were suddenly killed in a car accident in Nakuru. My last time meeting with them was during a dinner I shared with them and their two children in late 2004. After the tragic accident, Life Celebration Center (the parent church) operated the center and was blessed to have a ministry from England (Eagles Wings) build the large beautiful center they are housed in today.
If Not For You
It was by divine appointment that we were made aware of the center. Although I knew Moses I did not know about his fledgling work. Every year when organizing the trip I would request that the hosting pastor not assign anyone to minister outside of the Nakuru
we would not have been able to bring ministry to the girls home at Elburgon. Me, Dana and Janel set out that Sunday for the nearly two hour drive, mostly on dusty rural roads, to minister at the home. We carried three suit cases full of items which included lotion, hair care products, personal care items and school supplies. 3
township and to ensure all who were ministering did so within the local area. Pastor Paul Mwakio of the Life Celebration Center in Nakaru, Kenya always graciously grants our request. However, by the providential plan of God I omitted making that request during the 2010 trip and Pastor Steve Harris of LWWC was assigned to preach at the Deliverance Church in Elburgon where the girls home is located. Minister Terry along with two other team members (Sharon and Barbara) accompanied Pastor Steve. Later that evening when they returned to the hotel, with passion in their voice they told us of the girl’s center. My heart was overwhelmed by what I was hearing. After all, who would not be touched by a center that helps young girls regain hope and a future after suffering a life of devastation that had stolen so much from them.
When we came the following year (2011) I had reserved one suit case full of supplies and $100 for the center. They were certainly not forgotten. In fact, my wife and I committed a $100 monthly donation to the home. A $100 donation may not seem like a lot, but in a country where a person will work for $1 per day and the official Government minimum wage is $3 per day (not $3 per hour) you begin to understand that $100 can go a long way in helping to meet the need. While making the long dusty ride this year I told Pastor John that my wife and I would again commit to send $100 each month for the next year.
The God that we serve has many plans that are far beyond our knowing and understanding. Case in point, one of our team members, Dana, was not feeling well when she awoke the Sunday morning we were scheduled to go to Elburgon. Dana was excited about going to the girl’s center, but it seemed like she was coming down with some type of illness. With all of my fatherly and pastoral instincts kicking in I insisted that Dana stay behind and rest, but she was not having any of that. Another team member, Janel, offered to stay behind with her but she was determined to go to the girl’s home. After all she had travelled on a 7 hour flight from Washington, DC to London, followed by a 4 hour layover and another 8 hour flight from London to Nairobi. Once in Nairobi she had endured the fast pace of the teams 4 day schedule; there was no way she was going to be told that she could not make the 2 hour trip to the girls home. After a while Janel and I could see that there was no way we could convince this missionary to stay at the base camp while we went to the summit. As we drove through the outback of Western Kenya Dana’s condition didn’t seem to improve. Like a true team member, Janel stayed close to Dana and all the while I was feeling like we should cancel our plans and head back immediately. Once again, Dana insisted that we stay and do the work we came to do. God gave me a message of prophetic declaration for the pastor and his church, and the power of God came in such a way that I knew the assignment was complete in a way that brought Glory and honor to the Lord. After ministering to the pastor and his congregation I had an opportunity to meet with the girls at
the home and pray for each of them. Dana’s condition continued to deteriorate to the point that we took her to a local clinic for medical attention. We were blessed to find out that the nurse at the clinic was a member of Pastor John’s church. She performed a preliminary malaria test which came back positive so we knew we had to get back to Nakuru immediately. Once we arrived back in Nakuru we made contact with Pastor Steve and transported Dana to the local hospital.
This provided another "God" moment. Not only did the team uniting in prayer for Dana’s health solidify the team bond, but while we were waiting for the test results and strategizing about what steps to take next, God had a plan! As we sat there in the hospital with Dana for 7 hours, Pastor John remained with us and just out of general conversation God opened a huge door for him to share more of the intricacies of the girls home with us. We were full of questions and interest about the center, and we were equally all ears to hear what Pastor John had to say in response. We dialogued for hours and absorbed the information like a dry sponge absorbs water. So much information was shared that we felt as if everyone had visited the girls home. Shortly thereafter we received a good report from the doctor. They had conducted a more extensive test and determined that Dana did not have malaria, praise God!! Little by little Dana began to regain her strength and was released from the hospital.
When I saw Dana in the hotel lobby the next morning I realized that God had used the unfortunate situation of her illness to provide an opportunity for the team to learn the history and details of the girls home and to breed compassion and financial support from members of the team for the home. I am delighted to say that by the next day Dana was fully recovered, had 100% of her strength restored and thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of the trip. We left Nakuru that morning and headed back to Nairobi to catch a flight to Masai Mara for our much anticipated Sarafi.
If Not For You
who helped to support this trip, this next miraculous endeavor would not have been possible. Your generous donations provided many supplies and the means to ship those supplies. One of the locations where we distributed supplies is the Happy Life Children’s Home. Happy Life is a rescue center for abandoned babies ages 3 weeks to 4 years old. Many of these babies were discarded in the most unimaginable way (i.e. on the side of the road, in the trash pile, left to die on the street, etc.) We were able to provide them with 3 suit cases of needed supplies and 15 gift bags loaded with personal gifts and supplies for each of their workers. The founder and director of the center Pastor Peter Dungu later told me that the ladies were appreciative of the gifts we gave them. In fact, they stated that donors generally provide gifts for the kids but we were the only group to bring a 5
gift for them. There are many, many kids ranging from 3 weeks to 4 years old at the center, and the staff takes time each day to not only meet the physical needs of the kids, but also to hold and make physical contact with each baby to ensure they become familiar with a mothers touch. This center had so many babies it seemed almost overwhelming. Room after room was filled with baby cribs. There were play rooms set up for teaching the kids how to walk. Everything imaginable to care for babies was found at this center. There were 4 floors in one building, a play yard for the older kids and the biggest play pin I’ve ever seen. Not all orphanages will accept infants because of the level of care they require. The Happy Life Children’s Center specializes in caring for infants. We tip our hat to them and applaud them for their love and care for the abandoned infants and toddlers in Kenya.
During our visit to the Happy Life Children’s Center one of our team members inquired about their procedures for adoption. At that moment God dropped a wonderful thought in my heart. I began to ask about adopting one of the babies. My thinking was that my wife and I would sponsor a Kenyan family that will adopt and care for the child. We will provide the needed financial resources beginning with the adoption and continue until the child is 18 years of age. I could tell by Peter’s response that it was something they would be willing to do but had not yet fully developed the process. When I got back home to America I called him to further discuss the possibility. During our conversation we began to put the plan in motion for my wife and I to adopt a baby through this process. The initial adoption fee, including the legal process, is $1,500.00. The cost to support the child is about $75.00 per month for the first 3 years. This cost will increase by about $50 per month as the child begins to progress through elementary school, and increase again for the middle and high school years. Basically, my wife and I will make an 18 year commitment to care for this child. To further solidify this process Pastor Peter will be meeting with his board to set everything in motion.
If Not For You I could not have made this 2012 missions trip and this one child would not be going to a new home.
If Not For You
the team would not have experienced the Langata Women’s Prison – OH MY GOD, what a place to minister and be ministered to! Sherrie Harris was chosen by the group to be the speaker at the prison. Before she spoke each team member had a chance to share a greeting with the women. Immediately after Sherrie began to minister you could sense that her words of passion and compassion literally melted the hearts of the women prisoners, the guards and even our team. Perhaps she should write the book on how to minister in that type of environment. I have been in that prison many times and have even spoken there myself, but I can honestly say that I have never heard a word spoken there that was more passionate and inspiring than the words Sherrie spoke. At the conclusion Kashonna led everyone in the song "Hail Jesus" by Donnie McClurkin, followed by a 6
powerful testimony from Dana. Sherrie came back and closed with an altar call, praying for generational curses to be broken and hundreds of ladies responded. They laid hands on as many as they could as Pastor Steve prayed. This year we were allowed to hug the ladies and were able to give them cookies. One of the prisoners gave us a heart felt "thank you" on behalf of all of the others. We were also able to bless the chaplain with a gift and left 7 suit cases of much needed personal items for the women in the prison. We also blessed Pastor Caleb, our prison ministry point of contact. I explained to the group that in Kenya, prison ministry is not an easy ministry to be a part of because the prisoners don’t have anything to give you in return for your time and service to them. The free-will offering we took up for Pastor Caleb was enough to sustain him for months. He could hardly believe the generosity of the team.
In addition to all that took place at the prison, I must mention the kids. Children ages 1 – 5 are allowed to be with their mother in prison. Generally, there is no one to care for the child if the mother is incarcerated. While we were there the kids were treated to a puppet show put on by Janel and Dana, then Uncle Tim read a book to the kids. We gave them candy and played games with them. What a joy to see their faces light up as we shared love with them.
After leaving the women’s prison we headed to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. When we first started visiting the hospital they had one location. To our surprise they have now expanded to 3 locations and have grown exponentially. Because of this we were not able to quickly connect with our point of contact at the hospital. At this point we were pressed for time because it was the last day and we still had another stop to make so we didn’t have an opportunity to make a presentation at the hospital.
If Not For You
the kids at the children’s center in the slums of Githurai may not have experienced the love of the God through the gifts that were distributed to them. The New Life Children’s Center ran by Pastor Wycliffe and his wife Elizabeth was started in 2008 with a donation from my wife and I. The center is now mostly self supporting and we send only a monthly donation of $100 and a special donation at the end of the school year from Terry and I to help offset the cost. We also meet the need when the school falls into emergencies. This school as well as the school in Kibera provides hot nutritious meals in a safe nurturing environment. It also provides affordable education for the kids whose parents would otherwise not have a means of educating their kids. A toy and some candy was provided to each kid, and each teacher at the school received a gift bag full of personal items, a small cash gift and a beautiful tee-shirt. To top that off, Kashonna and Lisa prayed for Elizabeth (the school co-founder) till tears streamed down her face. Experiencing this was incredible, but it was seeing the look on Sherrie and Vencellia’s face that really let me 7
know that all the planning had paid off. If I never get another reward, I got it that moment as I watched the joy on their faces if not for you that would have not been possible. Before we departed we gave a big free will offering and four suitcases of school supplies to the school to help ensure they could continue their mission of educating the children from the slums.
If Not For You
During one of the conference sessions a Masai Tribal Team led worship in their tribal celebration attire, and it was truly spectacular. The experience was equal to something you might see on the National Geographic channel. Choirs from different nations led worship in their traditional style. In one instance we were worshipping with the ladies in beautiful African attire and the next moment we were being led by a soloist singing a Michael W. Smith song in their native tongue. Yes, it was truly worship overload!!
Lisa Dozier and I had an incredible opportunity to minister during the 2
On the last day of the conference, as we flowed in the midst of worship Pastor Kashonna took the platform to minister. She began by singing a song proclaiming Christ as the risen King. This song electrified the atmosphere and the presence of God filled the room. At that point all we could do was worship. The building was filled with about 400 men and women with their hands raised in worship as she sang the song. As Kashonna ministered in the main meeting before all who were in attendance, she shared a message for the nations. This was definitely a moment of fulfilled prophecy for her, as she had received a previous prophetic word that she would minister to the nations. Praise God for the fulfillment.
In addition to the dynamic praise, worship and ministering that occurred during the 3 day conference we were able to bless 3 Churches with a brand new keyboard. One was
our participation would have been lacking at this year’s Pastors and Women’s Conference, a conference that was truly an international worship experience. The conference had delegations from several countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, America and surrounding townships. Teams of pastors and choirs traveled many hours from neighboring countries to participate. For many of them it was their first time in Nairobi, Kenya. In fact, the experience for those who travelled to Nairobi is liken unto a person who has only lived in a rural area and then travels to New York or L.A.. nd day of the conference. We decided to have a breakout session in which I ministered to the pastors (male and female), and separately Lisa took the others (male and female church workers, ministers, etc) and provided ministry to them. The pastors and church leaders/workers were blessed by the break-out session because it provided an opportunity for dialogue and exchange that’s not available during a session where one person is standing and preaching to the group. 8
provided to a female pastor from Tanzania, one to a male pastor from Uganda, and the other to a male pastor from Kenya. It was an extra special moment when the keyboard was presented to the female pastor, as they are sometimes not given the same opportunity or resources within their country as the male pastors.
I know I can’t write about every aspect of the trip but I’ve got to mention the school that Pastor Amos runs in the slums of Kibera and the computer that Pastor Steve presented to him and his school. Also, Janel’s heart of love and compassion led her to pay for one of his workers to receive the necessary certification credentials he needs to teach.
There was also the puppet show that was so eloquently executed by Janel and Dana at 4 different locations, and who could ever forget "Uncle Tim" and his joy in reading books to the kids. We gave them about 5 suitcases of school supplies. I must also mention the gift bags that were given out to the ladies who teach, cook and care for the children. We gave cash to the men who work at the school. There were also the free will offerings and the cash donations that were given at every center we visited. And I must mention again the multitude of suitcases full of supplies that were distributed and the three brand new keyboards that were given away at the conference to the pastors, one from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The trip was filled with many, many more memorable and noteworthy moments, in fact, too many to mention in this abridged report. So here you have it, just a glimpse of the wonders of this 2012 trip. I hope you plan to join us in 2013 or at least prepare to support the work through your continued generous giving. Remember
, If Not For You this trip would not have been possible, so on behalf of the team and the people of Kenya,
Rev. Noland L. Henson
our children at the Living Waters Children’s Center would not be able to attend high school. 2
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2009 Full Report
SEEING FROM WITHIN
2009 Mission's Trip Report to Say THANK YOU!
If God had placed eyes in our hearts they would see Kenya.
When my eyes saw the lights of the city, the work of missions came alive in my heart. We came into Kenya flying over its northern most border with Ethiopia.
The previous year’s trip of 2008 combined with the changes in ministry here at home had left me uncertain about the work of missions to Kenya. The 2008 trip was blessed and we were a blessing to the nation. For the 1st time, other than ministering from the pulpit of the 15,000 member NenoEvangelismWorshipCenter, we were given significant national T.V. air time. We were invited to the studio of the national T.B.N.Center and were granted an interview with the studio owner. We were able to give the nation a message of healing as it was being rocked by the post-election violence of that year. I am told by leading pastors of the nation that plans of restoring peace back to the nation was immediately accelerated after our broadcast was received throughout the nation. The owner of the studio played the interview several times while we were there. Pastors from the northern and southern most regions of the nation would call the hosting pastor, Pastor Duncan Miano and say “they are running the interview again” and again saying how great they thought the words of healing were.
The 2008 trip was marked by so many wonderful events like that, but yet the personal work of guiding my church through a major transition had consumed my time and I did not publish a post-trip report to update and thank those who had contributed to the success of that trip. Please allow me with this next paragraph to comment on our 2008 visit to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital.
Our team arrived at the hospital with cash donations and much needed medical supplies. We were received by the hospital’s Chief Director and his senior staff. After a small meet and greet ceremony we were given a tour of the hospital. To understand the significance of our relationship with the hospital you must understand that in Kenya there are no state-run hospitals open to all. The system there is one in which you must prove you have the means to pay the bill or you are not treated. One of the Nairobi Women’s Hospital’s major contributors is Michael Jordan’s mother and the donations from grass roots organizations like ours allows the hospital to be open to all regardless of there ability or inability to pay. The hospital specializes in treating rape and domestic violence victims. At the time we were there, they were totally overrun with patients because of the post-election violence. They were very proud to tell us about their outreach clinic in the slums and about their counseling and on-going education concerning “Not Victimizing the Victim.”
Like most third world nations Kenya is a male dominated society and when a woman is raped or abused it is common for her to be mistreated by law enforcement, even to the point of telling her it is her own fault and sending her home, instructing her to say nothing. However, one major part of the work of this hospital, through its outreach efforts, is educating law enforcement officers. They are making progress in the city by changing the way victims are handled by law enforcement. The news agencies like B.B.C., National Geographic, and others reported an epidemic number of rape victims during the post-election violence. The hospital now has a clinic and counselors in the major slums so that women may have access to help. Counseling, which helps to restore the victims to a sense of self-worth, is also a landmark of their after care program. Let me say here that any American woman, including my wife and the other wives that travel with us are NEVER even remotely in danger of such action.
From the time we land at the JomoKenyattaInternationalAirport until the time we return for our outbound flight we are treated as foreign dignitaries and this year was no exception. We took off from DullesInternationalAirport on a 6 ½ hour trans-Atlantic flight to a 4 hour lay-over at London’s HeathrowInternationalAirport. After London we traveled over the European Continent, down the Mediterranean Sea for a total of 8 hours of flying. Roughly 4 of those hours was a day time flight over the Sahara Dessert. Every year I brief the team to do their best to sleep on our overnight flight to London, but to stay awake on the flight down to Nairobi. When we land in Nairobi it is at night. There is always a large delegation of pastors, their wives, friends and well-wishers at the airport to meet us.
Because of special relations that we have established we are treated as foreign dignitaries and are taken to a special area to clear the international customs. I thank God for giving our team favor. The huge Boeing Jumbo Jet we traveled in was packed. Thank God that Kenya is again being restored back to the pearl of East Africa as she was before the post-election violence.
We arrived at the hotel about 11:30pm Kenyan time after traveling for nearly 23 hours. Not since our first 3 trips to Kenya had we stayed at the down scale Six-Eighty Hotel. During the last trips we stayed at the 5-star Hilton and the 4-star Pan-Africa Hotel. Still, I must say that I found the Six-Eighty Hotel to be very accommodating. Neither the 5 or 4-star hotels offer you the staff and service of the Six-Eighty. Bishop Thomas, Bishop Palmer and I are recognized by many at the hotel and several Kenyans (hotel workers) said to me “Welcome back, Pastor Henson!” I answered them back in Swahili “Habari-Gani” which is “How are you?” They reply “Mzuri Sana,” which is “I am well, thank you.”
We had two guests with us (Pastor Shawn Murphy and Evangelist Mary Hughee) who were visiting Kenya for the first time though they both have experience traveling with foreign missions work. They quickly adapted to the teams operation and both expressed a desire to return with the team next year.
Up at the first full day of missions work was at hand. Three of us went immediately to minister at a Pre-Impact Conference and Bishop Thomas, his wife Belinda and team member Anita Weaver were off in the opposite direction to prepare for the main conference. Bishop Antonio Palmer, Apostle Matthew Evans and I arrived at our first meeting in a slum called Githuria. As we drove down one of the main streets we saw a big direction banner for the conference pointing the way. In the slums of Kenya addresses are not used, the way you announce the location of your conference is by naming the landmarks. After turning off the main street on to a small rough street we noticed the open sewer water from the poor drainage ditch with trash and stagnant sewer water, to me this says “welcome to the slums!”
Nairobi is a big city and there are parts of the city that would rival some of our upscale gated communities. However, God has not called us to that part of Nairobi. We turn from the rough little street to an even rougher smaller street, then we heard the sounds of praise and worship, we had arrived. Most of the praise and worship team recognized me and I knew them, this is my 7th trip to Kenya. We are greeted with smiles and many welcomes. The pastors from the local Githuria Pastors Fellowship had gathered to receive ministry. A beautiful colored banner was hung over the back of the stage. The stage is a raised dirt floor and the main setting area is an open dirt floor. The church is made up of rounded poles nailed together as the frame for the building and the walls and the roof are made of metal sheeting. None of those things matter to us because the spirit of the Lord transformed the place into a sanctuary. The host pastor, Pastor Wycliffe Otieno is proud of what the Lord has allowed him to do. There is something that must be understood, if Pastor Wycliffe is faithful to use the resources that God has given him and Joel Olsten is faithful to use the resources that God has given him, they both shall receive the same reward. The 35 members that Pastor Wycliffe leads are no less important to our Lord than the mega church Pastor Olsten leads. As one of us was speaking it began to rain. We praise God for the rain because it has been a dry year in Kenya and the rain was needed. In the back corner of the church some of the metal sheeting was missing and the rain was coming in. Hukuna Matata- meaning no problem, we all just packed in closer and moved up on the stage and continued the meeting.
The conference lunch was delicious, the food was hot and on-time. The meal consisted of cabbage, beef stew, chapati (which is a pan-fried bread) and several other Kenyan dishes which were set before us. Personally, I could not wait to eat. I love the meals at the conference. Everyone gets to eat including people that were near the church but not necessarily part of the conference.
By then, Pastor Mathew Evans was suffering from the 23 hours of travel from the two previous days. I offered to have my driver take him back to the hotel but he refused, by that time it was late in the afternoon and he just wanted to stay in the presence of the Lord at the conference. The first speaking session after lunch started a scene that would repeat itself over and over again throughout the whole 2009 trip. I called all the female pastors up front and gave each of them a financial blessing that was more than equivalent to a good Sunday’s offerings from their church. Now just imagine the joy of receiving the equivalent of one weeks pay. My church, The Living Waters Worship Center in Odenton, Maryland, following the lead of our Bishop, Bishop James Rollins was a tremendous and overwhelming blessing to me along with the others who help me every year. I felt an obligation to be a good steward of the donations that were given to me and of my own resources as well. I had already paid my hotel and air fare so I was at liberty to be a financial blessing.
At each of the conferences I called the female pastors up and blessed them financially. My sister Charlene who lives in Columbus, Ohio sent me a donation to help with the trip and she asked me to bless one of the female pastors she had met last year when she traveled with us to Kenya. Partly because of my wife Terry, my sister and my Bishop, Bishop Varle Rollins and the love I see in the ladies like Mrs. Barbara H., Mrs. Myrtle W., Mrs. Constance W, and Sherray Miller and her team, and the Maryland Missions Association Team of Ella, Sharon, Cecelia, Antoinette, Helen, Alma, Vicki, Emma, Anita, Belinda, Dorethea, Barbara P., every female pastor that attended the meeting was financially blessed and many of them received a double portion of blessing.
Now there are some things about the trip that we do not share because we never want the Kenyan pastors who follow our conference to see us only as a financial resource and I never know where this report will travel to. Most years we pick 2 pastors and sow a blessing into their church each month for one year and give them some simple instructions. They receive a donation each month for one year and they must make good wise use of it, and give us a report of how the money was used to help their church serve their community. This year I am sharing it in this open report for 2 reasons. One reason is because a group outside of our normal team has agreed to sponsor a pastor. The Brother-2-Brother men’s fellowship of LivingWatersWorshipCenter has agreed to sponsor a pastor for one year. Each month he will receive $65 U.S dollars. Now that may not seem like a lot of money to you but in Kenya it is equal to more than his month wages. Because of the sponsorship that pastor can get things that may have taken years to get for his church. The other is a female pastor, she will receive the same and use it to build her community work. There is an outline of their life stories included in this Thank You Post-Mission Report.
The next day the whole team was together ministering at the Impact 6 Conference 2009, it was so wonderful to see so many people we know. Early in June of 2008 at the crucial time of planning, I cancelled going and when I cancelled all of the team cancelled except for Bishop Larry Lee Thomas. He was the one man whom knew that the work the Maryland Mission Association was doing in Kenya could not stop! After all, over the years we have accomplished so much, including opening orphanages, building churches, helping with building schools, donations to hospitals, prisons and there are countless individuals whose lives we have enriched, so I must take pen to paper and thank him for seeing from within. The main conference was very successful, though the number was down from the 2007 meeting where we had over 500 pastors and over 250 women attend. The country and the churches there have not yet fully recovered from the post-election violence.
We do so much more than just a pastors conference, but the conference is a tremendous blessing to them. The center with the 15 kids I started in 2006 is doing great and you can see it on the DVD. Apostle Matthew Evans was with us this year to begin the work of building a school using a $10,000 donation that was given to him to start the school.
Happy Life Children’s Center with Pastor Peter Ndungu is but one of the works we provide financial donations to. He has 35 kids, none are older than 9, 12 are infants and the youngest only 2 weeks old. His ministry specializes in rescuing and caring for abandoned babies. He is in the midst of a building expansion to accommodations 35 more abandoned children.
Mwuimutoni is one of our main children centers that we help year around. The center provides lunch to the orphans of the village so they no longer have to go to school hungry. They have a medical clinic and a water-well that is there to provide safety to the village.
The work is not just done when we come in February. We sent donations to start a preschool in the slums of Githuria and now 12 kids (and a place for more) have access to early education.
Don’t ask me how but the Pipeline Refugee/ I.D.P. Camp shall be the newest work we will take on. As you will read in the following pages the camp and the people have real needs, but because of you we can make a difference.
I am learning to see from within. Open the eye of my heart Lord I want to see you in 2009. -Amen Written By Noland L. Henson
SEEING FROM WITHIN
As seen by Bishop Antonio Palmer, PIPELINE
INTERNAL DISPLACED PERSONS (IDP) REFUGEE CAMP
The post-election outrage of tribalism and violence prompted many once stable residents of Western Kenyan to leave their endangered environment in desperate hopes of finding a safe haven and place of refuge. To assist them, the government of Kenya gave Moses and Peter, the leaders of the fleeing families, $10,000 Dollars, which led to the purchase of 16 acres of land that rest just a few miles outside of the city of Nakuru. The families have stationed their camp in this area, which is known as Pipeline IDP Camp. It was given the name Pipeline because it is built over underground pipes of crude oil chained throughout the entire camp acreage.
Food is supplied by the organization WFP (World Food Program), Red Cross and direct USA Food AID Programs. Unicef has put together a tremendous educational assistance, even helping to raise up a school. The Kenyan Government has helped also in providing water sources of tanks and pipes throughout the camp for irrigation. The land was subdivided into 27x24 feet plots. Each family owns a plot of same size no matter the size of the family.
Pipeline has a total population of 6,500 people, consisting of 1,250 families, from four tribes (Kikuyu, Luo, Kisii, and Turkana), 1,098 children 5-18 years of age, and 538 below the age of five. Makeshift homes of tarps tented over non-fabricated, natural timber provide shelter for the families. Some of these tents are badly torn due to the heat of the sun. These people are really in need of help. The tents begin to show significant signs of weakening after approximately one year. The camp functions internally with a team of elders, the chairman, Peter, and secretary, Moses are the main leaders. Concerning medical assistance, I was told that there was a doctor from Switzerland who has dedicated his time to provide healthcare for all the residents of Pipeline. I asked how the people get medication. The answer was simple but unimaginable to my western mindset. Without hesitation, Moses replied, “If you want medical attention there is a hospital about 30 kilometers out (18 ½ miles). Most people either walk or ride a bicycle. If you ride a bicycle it will take about two and half hours to get there.” Although healthcare and medication is provided for, the mode of transportation makes it sometimes unbearable to obtain it.
The most striking thing about our visit to Pipeline was not the overwhelming needs but the overflowing of unity displayed among the different tribes. This is startling knowing that the very reason for their displacement was due to devastation of tribal warfare. In addition, the warmth that Pastor Henson and I received was unbelievable, as we were not treated as merely two strangers showing up on what we may have prejudged to be a depressing situation. I am convinced that we were the ones who received the greater level of encouragement.
Though much progress has been made, there is still so much more to be done to assure that these families have a brighter future ahead of them. In fact, I am told that Kibera slums, was once a Sudanese refugee camp before it became the largest slum population in Kenya with over one million people.
SEEING FROM WITHIN
THE STORY OF 19-YEAR OLD EUNICE WANIJIKU FROM
THE I.D.P. CAMPPIPELINE, NAKURU
As Written by Rev. Olang Issac
Looking in the distance, you may think they are fallen clouds, or a swamp but at a closer look they are tents, tents of the internally displaced persons on the way to Nakuru,
the headquarters of Rift Valley Province, about two kilometers from the town centre. This place is called Pipeline I.D.P. Camp. This is where I met a young lady, an athletic, brown youthful woman with a registered tiredness that robs her of her true beauty.
The lady I am talking about is Eunice Wanjiku, daughter of Susan Wanjiku Mwangi a single Kenyan mother. Eunice is only 19 years-old. She and her siblings have survived with their mother since their father’s death in the 90’s. Eunice dropped out of school in 2004 in primary grade seven due to her hard life. At the time, her mother used to roast maize (raw corn) and sell it to roadside passersby as their only means of income. The family lived in Kapsabet, an area populated mostly by Kalenjin’s (a local tribe), but Eunice’s family was Kikuyu (another tribe).
In 2005 Eunice moved alone to Kisumu to stay with an aunt. She succumbed to an early marriage to a Luo (another local tribe) man and had two daughters. Her husband was employed by an Asian trader and life seemed improved for her. However, in December 2007 the atmosphere began to change, the Kenyans had just cast their votes to elect a new president but the results were delayed. The town of Kisumu became tense causing the Kikuyus to scamper for safety fearing a dangerous uprising. Eunice was wise enough to flee to her mother in Kapsabet, but she was not lucky because when she arrived the results were announced in favor of the man from her tribe. This made the Kalenjins go wild! Straight away they began to attack the non-Kalenjins, especially the Kikuyus. Things moved fast, none of them remembered to collect the children, it was a race for survival, they ran with empty hands. All the bridges were demolished to trap them; it took the intervention of military choppers to rescue them from the raging warriors with poisoned arrows.
This is how Eunice found herself at Nakuru showground. She later found her mother within the crowd but had to wait for several days to find her children. Some time later they were moved from the showground to their present camp, Pipeline I.D.P.. Here Eunice lives with her mother, her two children and her three siblings; life is hard because they depend on donations that come sporadically.
Eunice tried to go to Mombasa to work as a maid but the burden of the children became too much and she had to return. She desires to go back to school but the responsibility of her children, which she gives priority, has made her change her mind from school to business. She wished she could get enough capital to start a clothe or shoe business. Her dream is to own a retail shop that could also serve as a home for her and her children. Her prayer is for someone to come to her aid and rescue her from the refuge camp.
SEEING FROM WITHIN
THE STORY OF PASTOR CECILIA KIAMBUI
Re-typed From Her Own Hand-Written Transcript
I was born June 13, 1972 in Nyeri district, Chinga location. I attended MuchalagePrimary School from classes 1though 8 and Muchalage secondary School up to 4th form receiving high marks.
I got married in a church wedding March 12, 1994 and was blessed with 2 children now ages 14 and 11 years-old. One day in May of 1998 my husband walked out of the marriage. He married another women and never showed up again. I got saved June 1992 while in Nyeri and was a member of Christian Church until 1996. While there I was committed in women’s leadership where I was appointed by the Pastor. At the same time I was active in evangelism within the district. In 1997 God spoke to me and said “I have called you to bring healing and restoration to the lost church.” Since then God has brought many desperate, destitute and broken-hearted my way whom I have been ministering to in church and in my house, I see them healed!
Later on I joined deliverance church in Githurai and served my pastor there. I was active in evangelism, was a leader in praise and worship and in intercessory prayer. While in this church God spoke to me again in May 1997 and gave me a word, Ezekiel 47:9.
In 1999 after my husband left I was praying and God spoke to me and gave me a word again from II Kings 4:6. While seeking God at this time the Lord told me to open a church which I did not do immediately due to the pain and hardship I was going through.
I started going out on missions preaching the message in Ezekiel 47 until 2003. At this time while seeking God for cover over the ministry God spoke to me in a dream July 2003. I saw a hand writing on a wall “Rivers of Life” and a voice told me to note it down. I woke up and wrote it on a piece of paper. I finally opened the Rivers of Life Ministries in August 2004 in Githurai. The ministry currently has 30 committed members. From April 2007, we have been holding conferences and crusades annually in September.
Early this year in January God spoke to me again and extended those crusades and conferences throughout the country. I sat down with the church leaders and gave them the vision and they supported it when we planned for this year 2009.
Our main objectives for this year are a conference in Githurai April 21-26, conference in Nyeri August 25-29, crusade in Embakasi December 16-20 and we are trusting God to enable us to open a home for destitute children in Githurai. Apart from this, I have been going out for missions in Uganda and Tanzania through invitations from various ministries and throughout Kenya.
I believe the master of the vineyard will enable me to achieve those goals and remain faithful to his call. My vision is to bring healing and restoration to the lost church of Jesus Christ and also to equip the church (saints) for the work of the ministry. To accomplish this I intend to open churches throughout the country in order to reach out to the orphaned, desperate, destitute, widow.
SEEING FROM WITHIN
THE STORY OF PASTOR WYCLIFFE OTIENO
As Told By Himself
My name is Wycliffe Otieno Adera. I was born October 20, 1975 the third born to the God fearing family of Mr. Jeconiah Adera Awino and Mrs. Claries Atieno Adera in Siaya district, Nyanza province of Kenya. I am a brother to the late Pastor Samuel Odhiambo, to Richard Omondi and Alice Akoth. I am married to Elizabeth Mukami and have two sons, Brian Adera born October 3, 1997 and Solomon Ng’ang’a born April 1, 2004.
I did my primary education at KaminogedoPrimary School in Siaya district from 1983 to 1984. I stayed with my grandparents when my parents moved to Nairobi in search of greener pastures. With my grandparents, I experienced poverty first hand. Many days I ate mangoes for lunch. Sometimes we would go for two days without supper. Before the end of 1984, my parents came to take me with them to Nairobi. I joined Ndii-iniPrimary School from 1984 to 1991. After primary education I attended UthiruHigh School in Kiambu district from 1992 to 1995.
It was in UthiruHigh School that God taught me a lesson. Because of peer pressure I was running away from Christ and was calling myself a Rastafarian. UthiruHigh School was a boarding school for girls and a day-school for boys. Since it was far away from Githurai where my parents lived, my parents were forced to rent a house for me near the school. Little did I know that the childhood experiences would happen again. Things went wrong at my father’s place of work and he did not have enough money to give me for food. As a result, he only gave me enough money for my house rent and about 200 Kenya shillings for bus fare and food for two weeks. I had no option but to feed on wild leaves, pumpkin leaves and ugali (African cake made from maize flour) because the money given to me by my father could only feed me for 3 days and by the end of the two weeks I had to walk more than 40 Kilometers from Uthiru to Githurai.
One day when I was walking home, and I had gone for three days without food, I saw a man begging dressed in tattered clothes and almost starving. Even though I was also starving and tired because of the long walk this scene touched my heart and I had compassion. From that day I made a prayer that if God blessed me I would care and share with the poor, needy, the old and the orphaned. Unfortunately in early 2000, my own parents died of poverty and I was not in a position to help them. This challenged me to work and pray harder.
When I gave my life to Jesus I understood my vision clearly and decided to serve God in praise and worship and as an evangelist. I started a ministry called FLECAM (Fear of the Lord Evangelistic and Care Ministry) in 1997 and worked with pastors to help in crusades, seminars, conferences and other evangelistic missions. This is because, I realized that I had no silver or gold, but I had the word of God that if shared could enable me to care for my brother’s spiritual life.
In 2003 one of my former classmate’s, Pastor George Diang’a invited me to help him organize a pastors and leaders conference with some guest preachers from the USA. He was looking for a pastor who would agree to host the conference since his church was too small and in bad shape. I advised him that if the man of God coming from America was a true man of God, he would minister regardless of the condition of the church.
Indeed, February 11 to February 13, 2004 Pastor Noland Henson and Elder John James came and they ministered to about 30 pastors & church leaders in the Balozi slums of Nairobi. Later on Pastor Diang’a introduced me to Pastor Henson who agreed to cover me and our ministry. March 20, 2005 I, my wife and our two sons began the New Life at Githurai Praise Centre. The church membership has since grown to over 35 adults and 50 children.
In January 2009 we started a nursery school on the church compound (New Life Children Centre). Our vision is to offer quality education for the needy and the orphaned. Most parents are not able to take their children to early childhood school since the fees are too high, we charge half price and for some who cannot afford even that we are considering educating their kids for free from May 2009.
I know most kids are passing through the experience that I had when I was a kid. We are praying that God will open financial doors for us to start a feeding program in the school, lease all the 11 rooms in our church compound (at the moment we are leasing 4 rooms), extend the free education for those who are not our church members and start a home for the orphans. We believe that this school is one powerful tool for evangelism since the school is less than 2 months old and it has so far attracted 12 pupils and two parents have joined our church because of it. Currently, our classrooms can accommodate 45 pupils which we believe we will achieve by May.
Besides ministry, I also work as a cartoonist & graphic designer with Nation Media Group one of the leading media houses in Kenya. Though I am not permanently employed but a casual worker I give glory to God because I am not formally trained but by his grace I work with university graduates. I got this job miraculously when I went for the interview in 2003 on faith knowing that I did not even know how to use a computer. The managing editor asked me if I had computer knowledge, I said “No” and he wondered how I would do the job, but I assured him that I would. By the grace of God he assigned a graphic designer to help me. Within one month I had learned a lot and was doing my work comfortably. This job is helping me take care of my family and support the ministry but the vision is big and people are in need.
At the moment the church has an average income of $140 U.S. dollars per month. To achieve our goals for 2009, we need an average of $550 U.S. dollars per month. In evangelism we are targeting 100 souls this year and we have a number of activities including, person-to-person evangelism, outdoor crusades, special Sunday invitations, community activities, environment cleanings and sports activities for the youth.
I believe that by God’s grace and your support we will achieve our goal for 2009. God bless you abundantly!
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Touching the Toucher
This 2007 missions report is being published to give thanks to allwho made our trip to Kenya, East Africa a phenomenal success.
Twenty-nine Americans from our group, the Maryland Mission Association, and 13 from Pastor Matthew Evans’ group stepped onto the soil of Africa to touch lives.However what we discovered is the street named Touch is distinctively a two-way street.Sixteen of the 29 in our group were first time visitors to Kenya, and for many of them it was their first missions trip to a third world nation.Looking into their eyes and hearing their voices as they spoke of how their lives were touched lets me know that the trip was a phenomenal success.Without doubt many of them will return over and over again.These first timers were touched by missions work, from ministering in the slums to seeing the beautiful people of Kenya, to witnessing an entire village dancing and singing in celebration of our arrival. Tuesday February 13, 2007 our missionary coalition landed in Nairobi, Kenya.
In past years it has taken nearly a full eight hours to make the trans-Atlantic flight from the United States to our lay over destination in London, however this year the travel duration was just a little over six hours.After a wonderful fellowship time at London’s Heathrow Airport, we were off again to make a flight across the European continent, out over the Mediterranean Sea and across the Sahara Desert.I’m not sure if it was the open prayer and praise our large circle of excited mission-goers gave at the Washington Dulles International Airport before leaving American soil, or it may be attributed to the prayers of the many people from around the world whom prayed in support of our trip.Whatever the reason, our two flights traveling to Kenya were some of the best flights I have ever taken.We were all filled with anticipation, so filled in fact that the 22 hours of traveling seemed just like a trip to grandma’s house.
This year, at the Kenyatta International Airport two Kenyan Pastors, whom helped us navigate what could have been a very trying experience, greeted us inside the airport.The process of clearing customs in Kenya can be very intimidating, to say the least.However, the aid of these two made it a pleasant experience.
I thank God that some of my colleagues insisted that we upgrade our hotel accommodations. Waiting for us was not the rough, sparsely accommodating Six-Eighty Hotel we have experienced on previous trips. We were delighted to check in to the Nairobi Hilton Hotel.
After checking in, I set a wake-up call for 6:00am, knowing that by seven thirty we would need to have finished breakfast and be on our way to the conference.Mission work can be very intense, keep in mind we had just checked into the hotel late the night before.I must say, I was a little apprehensive about the schedule of our missions trip, but when all of the team assembled ready to serve the people of Kenya early Wednesday morning I was pleased.It was very empowering for the Maryland Mission Association to see so many people ready to serve.Some had less than four hours of sleep, yet all were marvelously wide awake and ready to do their part.
Every trip has a defining moment that encapsulates the true essence of mission work, and this trip would be no different.Later in this report I will share that moment with you.However, now I must find words to describe the way the first timers looked as we started the van ride from the hotel to the conference site.Downtown Nairobi is a collage of experiences.Their first daytime van ride through the streets of Kenya was nothing short of fantastic.They saw boys pushing homemade street carts looking like something you might see in a remake of a Flintstones film.Then the scene shifts to a very well dressed businessman headed to work in a luxurious sedan.Some, for the first time, experienced seeing women with children tied to their backs with nothing more than rags begging for money to get their daily meal.In Kenya your emotions run the full gamut, as you see things like street children, some as young as five years old, begging.Kenya is able to mix both the wealthy and the poor into one melting pot known as Nairobi.
This is my fifth trip to Kenya and there is something that always amazes and baffles me about Kenyan people from the slums.I have visited several homes in the slums, many are no more than just tin sheeting, old box crates and cardboard covering the dirt floor of a two room dwelling.I have noticed each time I have been to Kenya, how the Kenyans emerge from the slums with meticulously clean clothing as they head to work. During this particular trip, a young Kenyan girl with a pristine, well-pressed, bright white shirt, emerged from the slum headed for work. Being African-American I am always proud to see this.I cannot for the life of me figure out how they do it.
After experiencing their first van ride in Kenya we arrived at the site of the conference.Praise and worship was already underway and the atmosphere was full of jubilation.Many in our group have participated in the conference and know many of the Pastors and the praise and worship leaders.We greeted one another with great joy.Some things you hear about Kenya are true and some are not true.One thing that is true is the spirit of “Hakunamatata”, a Swahili word that means “no problem.”What I’m saying is when we first arrived at the conference site one would have thought the conferences would not enjoy full attendance, but no problems, this is Kenya.As the day progressed, both theIMPACT 4 Pastor’s Conference and the Women’s Strength -2-Strength Conference were well attended.
The second day of the conference, after lunch, when my teaching session had concluded I had the opportunity to visit the women’s conference.The venue was packed with women.The women had broken out into four or five break-out sessions and every chair was taken.I walked around to each group and as I stopped to listen I was extremely impressed at what I was hearing.The women who had come with me were doing an outstanding job at teaching and sharing the love of America with their new Kenyan friends.The sisters have a saying “Share the Love” and I had the opportunity to witness that for myself.The women’s conference was anything but normal.Babies were healed, demons and witchcraft were cast out, people were set free, sisters were delivered from lifelong family oppressions. By virtue of the fact that I had very capable men with me to facilitate the Pastor’s conference I had the chance to witness what the women were teaching.I came back again a second time to see what the women were doing.I do not know if it was coordinated that way or if each woman in the session was lead to do it the way that I witnessed it, but on my second trip to visit each of the break-out sessions the women of Kenya were sharing what they had received from the morning session.Because we have a saying “what is shared in the meeting stays in the meeting,” I cannot tell you exactly what the Kenyan sisters relayed, but I can tell you that sister after sister shared about healing, deliverance, salvation and freedom.
There are two extremely important highlights of the Pastor’s conference and women’s conference that I must share.Every year God uses someone from our group in an amazing way.Pastor Shanklin was led to call an altar call before he was to give his last teaching.To the glory of God many of the Pastor’s responded to the altar call, lying on dirt and gravel, they cried out to God and implored the Lord for help, in that, they all gave glory and honor to God.Oh what a sight that was to see, Leaders of the church falling on their knees and crying out to God!Bishop Larry Lee Thomas, (who is one of the leaders of the conference, along with myself and Apostle Kerry Jones) delivered a powerful soul-stirring message of empowerment to the men.He clearly demonstrated that the believer has power over the devil, and if you get knocked down get back up and keep fighting.During the women’s conference God showed his love and power by healing a baby that was very sick.The women described the baby as being about two years old.One of the Kenyan women had made it known that one of the sister had a very sick child.They reported to me that the child looked severely ill.Evangelist Ella Green leading, along with the rest of the women that came with us took charge of the child and set the child and mother in the middle of the room and began praying for the child.Before long they stood the child on its feet and the child was able to stand.Shortly afterwards the child’s eyes, which were gray and had receded, began to regain normalcy, and his limp body began to regain strength.The child’s face became normal and clear, and by the time they stopped praying for the child he was walking around and by the end of the day the child was completely healed and running around with the other children.There is far too much to write about that took place in the first three days of the conference meetings.By the third and final day of the conference both the Americans and the Kenyans from both conferences were thoroughly satisfied.
On the fourth day of our trip we set out to do more missions work.Our first stop was at the Happy Life Children’s Center, a center that specializes in caring for infants, many of whom are abandoned at birth.Some of the infants that are abandoned at birth are not abandoned because their mothers don’t love them, but for many of the women in Kenya to take the child home would mean certain death for they have no food or means to care for the child.Pastor Peter, a local Kenyan Pastor, manages this orphanage.Happy Life Children’s Center is a well-run, organized grassroots organization.His orphanage is ran by faith and supported by donations from donors like those accompanying us on our trip.Pastor Peter’s brother lives in Delaware and their church gives a large portion of the support.Pastor Peter is a compassionate man who knows what it means to go without.In September 2005 during one of his trips to the U.S., he sat in my home and shared with me what it was like to grow up in Kenya.He described what it was like to have only one pair of pants, one pair of shoes and one shirt, and that you wore them until they were of no more use.Then they were replaced, often times they were replace with used or second-hand items.He told me they would wash and dry their clothes on Saturday because the next day they were to wear them to church.He told me something that day that has always stayed with me, they grew up having only one meal a day and that one meal was the family dinner in the evenings.He told me how they went to school hungry.As Americans we can hardly imagine what it is like to live on only one meal a day, and to go to school hungry each day.As we visited his orphanage ladies from our coalition were forever won to Kenya as they held the little babies and heard the stories of how they were abandoned.One of the ladies in our group named Kim was there to visit the little child she and her husband are trying to adopt.Her husband Jeromy traveled with us in the 2005 missions trip and she.While she was there another child won her heart and they are now trying to adopt both kids.We all gave a generous offering and we left Kim at the orphanage and climbed aboard our vans to head for the next center.The offerings that we give on these trips make up and expected part of their annual budget.Pastor Peter and the other centers that work with us know that we will be there each year.
Our next stop was the Center Of Hope at Mwuimutoni.This center is in reality responsible for the mission work of Kenya that we are involved with today.About ten years ago Minister Clyde Johnson asked me if a student from Kenya could give a presentation on the needs of his home village in Kenya, and as Pastor of the church I gave permission.When the presentation was over, one sisters of my church, Belinda Wimbush, was committed to helping the orphanage at the Center of Hope in the Village of Mwuimutoni.She obtained permission from me to start what she called the “Kenya Club” to gather donations (most of the time in the foyer of the church after service) to be sent to the center. Then one day she gave her letter of resignation and left the church.At that point we made the mission to Kenya an official entity of the church and on Sunday moved to standing and asking the congregation just to put something in the Africa Mission Offering.From those humble beginnings we now find ourselves today sending support regularly and visiting yearly.
As we pulled into the village of Mwuimutoni I was so blessed to see what God has done there.Just like the year before, the village people had come out to greet us.But this year all of the village must have come.Thanks to the insight of Mother Alma Murray and Sister Belinda Thomas we brought gifts, toys and books for the children and special gifts for the grandmothers of the village.Last year there were 18 grandmothers so this year I came with 22 gift bags for the grandmothers.But this year I looked and there were more grandmothers than I had ever seen before.After counting about 27 and knowing that I had only 22 gift bags for the older ladies I stopped counting and asked my wife “What I should do?”I thank God for her and the Holy Spirit.I called the two leading grandmothers and presented them their gift bags, but told the rest that their gifts would be distributed later.The scene at this center is always very emotional, but Apostle Jones and I made it through this year without crying.Every year this center adds something new, they are well run and well organized.Because of this center the whole community is safer, they have a fresh water well and it is the only one for many miles. Well water during the drought years is a life-sustaining commodity.
The reason why this center is so important to our mission is that they provide lunch for the orphans of the village and continued education when they go on to high school and a few now to college.Donations we received from people like Sherray Miller and the group of ladies that work with her, and donors like Mr. & Mrs. Houck go to support missions work like this.When we come it is a special day of celebration.However the 2004 trip was a day of some apprehension for the people running the center, as they knew I was coming to see how the missions money was being used.They knew that if I did not see that it was a good work that we would not send funding every month.Now they no longer are apprehensive or concerned about our group ending the funding, it is just a day of celebration. From the first day I saw the village, until I leave this earth I will always help to feed those kids. For many the lunch that the center provides is the only nutritious meal they will get that day.From one group’s donation we were able to pay for the entire celebration, in addition, we had enough surplus funds to purchase a three-month supply of meals for the center, and we took a generous offering from our group.Even the annual yearly offering that is gathered when our group comes is a part of the overall budget to run the center.The people there know that by the grace of God we will be back next year, and each year our group gets larger.Every month my church, New Life Church sends a mission offering to this center.
From there we headed off to the next visitation site in Nakuru, Kenya.The roads in Kenya can go from a paved, relatively smooth road, to no road at all, and is like that leading into major cities.After we survived the road to the city of Nakuru part of the group rushed into the hotel, changed clothing, and off we went to the next leadership teaching.I knew that the road to Nakuru was very bad and by the time we reached the hotel the members of our coalition would be very well beaten.Due to this I arranged for only one Pastor to go out that evening with me, as going out meant another long journey on a dirt road.In the lobby of the hotel others noticed we were up to something and began saying “I am going too.”Off a team off us went to minister and sing to a group of church leaders whom were so grateful to have us come.We chose Dr. Shanklin and Apostle Jones to speak at the meeting and Sister Antoinette to sing.The power and presence of God surprised us all.It truly was one of the best church services I have ever attended.
That Sunday ordained ministers from our group spoke in churches all over Nakuru, many churches filled to maximum capacity, possibly because they knew our ministers from the years before. The preachers who spoke that Sunday really touched the churches where they ministered and were in-turn touched by the churches. God moved with signs, wonders, healing, salvation and deliverance.Two reports from the churches stand out more to me than others.One was that of Sister Helen Ryan, a seasoned Christian, but not an ordained minister.The venue’s where we were to speak were all scheduled two or three months prior to our coming to Kenya, thus the congregations were eagerly anticipating visitors from America.As I went over my itinerary I noticed a scheduling oversight.We had more churches awaiting American guest speakers than we had ministers to send out.I began to look over the group – by this time we had become a team, and I know the spirit of the people that were with us.If your spirit is right God can do the rest.So rather than disappoint an eager congregation, I asked sister Helen Ryan the night before if she would speak at a church that I had no minister assigned to.Her first look was that of are you serious, then her response was if you think I can then by God’s grace I will do it.Whatever her message it must have been supreme, the Pastor of that church reported that he would gladly welcome her to speak next year.The other outstanding report was that of Dr. Abraham Shanklin, an American Pastor. Seeing the face of Dr. Shanklin and hearing the passion in his voice as he relayed his experience with the power and presence of God ministering through him as he spoke was priceless.Receiving the debriefing from him truly was a great delight, in part because I knew this meant another permanent team member for our work.
Monday morning came and nothing could have prepared even the veterans of our team for what was in front of us as we left Nakuru headed for the safari site.While I knew it would be a six hour drive over bad roads,I had no way of knowing that the roads would be extremely worse than the year before.Our four touring vans would go down inside of one pothole and back up out of the opposite side.I was delighted when we made it to the Samburu Lodge in the middle of the Maasai Mara safari area, rated as one of the best in the entire world.But it was the spirit of Mother Alma Murray that really blessed me, she is over 70 years of age; she said that we must always give thanks to God for what every place we are in.Not only had mother safely made the cross country trek, but she was setting the tone for being thankful.My heart was overwhelmed to know that once again God saw us through.
No one can sufficiently tell you what it is like to see a full pride of lions standing less than eight feet from the van you are in.No one can tell you what it was like to see two big, full-mane male lions within eight feet; or what it is like to be on an early morning safari drive and see a heard of big elephants cross the road right in front of you.To see one big male elephant stand and eat grass so close to your tour van that as he raised his trunk in the air to eat the grass, some would float down to the van where you sat; or the giraffe that was so close to our van that he could stick his neck right into your window from where he stood if he so chose.Only those who got up early the second day of the safari got the experience of seeing the king of the jungle himself, a full adult king male big lion.Everyone in the group on the first day saw the two adult male lions that were in the pride, but the King of the pride was only seen early in the morning by those of us who got an early start in the safari van.
On the second Tuesday of our two weeks trip, after breakfast at the Maasai Mara Safari we headed for the next experience of traveling back to the city of Nairobi, this time not by bus but by a propeller-driven plane.We stood out on the edge of dirt, gravel runway as our plane landed.No one seemed to mind that dust and dirt flew all over us as the pilots brought the small plane in for a landing.I think the only thing on our mind was our flight back to Nairobi, especially as those who were with us from last year assured the group that the six-hour trek down to Nairobi by land was over rougher roads than we had experienced from Nakuru.Next year, needless to say, we have decided by unanimous vote to fly both ways to and from the Maasai Mara Safari site.
As we flew back in to Wilson Air field in Nairobi you could see the largest slum in East Africa.Over 850,000 people crammed into a place about the size of Brooklyn Park (a neighborhood on the border of Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City), if even that big.
Now we come to the two defining moments that encapsulated the true essence of mission work, the highlights of this year’s trip.Each year God is expanding our trip and this year was no different.One highlight happened when we visited the Nairobi Women’s Hospital for Rape and Abuse Victims.I know how things are based on money and the “good old boy” male dominated society of Kenya, it was a highlight for me to hear from the hospital spokesperson that all rape survivors are treated regardless of their ability to pay.I was blessed by hearing that. They shared with us how Michael Jordan’s mother is a major contributor. We asked them to give us a system where by we as a grass roots organization could make contributions to their work.We will stay in touch with them and build from our initial contact.
The greatest touch that we received on this trip I believe was equal to the touch we gave.That wonderful experience happened at the Nairobi women’s prison.At the prison we were briefed that we should not hug the inmates, but even with no physical contact we were deeply touched.About 300 female prisoners gathered around to receive us in an inner courtyard seating area of the prison.The women in this part were dressed in all white prison uniforms, many of them appeared as if just one compassionate hug would solve all of their problems.The scene in the courtyard was so ironic.Everywhere in Kenya we traveled hugs were given and received, but in this place where it seemed a compassionate hug from one human to another would do so much good, circumstances in the natural prevented it.Nothing, no nothing, can stop compassion.As we stood to minister and pray with the group of women the power of compassion touched every one of us.We must never let anyone tell us that the power of touch can be blocked by any human rules or regulations.I know I can speak for the portion of the group that went with us to the prison that they have rarely touched a life like those touched that day and rarely have their lives been touched like they were that day.
As I stood to speak at the prison I saw a miracle that I have not yet shared with the group.In public speaking in any setting that may seem hostile you are taught to find friendly faces in the crowd and keep speaking to those who seem friendly toward you.This seemed like a good place to utilize those skills.As I started to speak I looked for a friendly face, but to my dismay my eyes happened in the beginning of my speaking upon a woman’s face that was extremely contorted, she was very angry looking and her face was twisted.Her face looked like something from a bad late night movie, but as I spoke my eyes kept going back to this unfriendly looking woman.I know the people with me and the crowd including the prison guards, could all sense that we were having a breakthrough.We could sense that the prisoners were really listening intently to the sharing of the Gospel.The momentum shifted to my favor, I looked again and again at that woman’s face.Then I saw her face begin to change.By the time I finished speaking and began engaging the sisters in our group to participate, this woman was clapping her hands and praising God with the rest of the prisoners.When I asked those of them that would really, truly like to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior to raise their hands, about eighty percent of the women held their hands up high into the air. As I stood on top of a bench to look at them (because by this time they had all stood up) I could see that lady’s face and it was bright and shining and her hands were raised high into the air.
The day I spent in the prison courtyard was truly one of the greatest days of my life.Whenever I think of prison ministry I will always reflect upon that day.When I asked all the ladies with their hands in the air to openly pray with me and ask Jesus into their lives the sound was not at all what I was used to hearing.Instead of hearing people barely open their mouths and barely asking Jesus anything these ladies were loud, with voices raised, asking Jesus to forgive them of their sins and to come into their lives and be their Lord.I tell you we were all touched that day.
Some of the sister with us had brought gift bags with socks, soap, hair care items and other valuable commodities.Before leaving the prison we gave the chaplain the gift bags to disseminate.We did not have enough to give each woman a gift bag so we could not experience the joy of giving out the gifts.When we learned that the seventy to eighty gifts bags would be given to women who never received a visitor because there is no one left that cared enough about them to visit them, we were deeply touched knowing that what someone had donated would be used to encourage a forgotten woman.We are making plans for the second week of the February 2008 trip to have a gift for at least seven hundred of the women in the Nairobi women’s prison.That will cover every woman in the upper prison level.
After we left the prison we all went to lunch and then some went shopping.Those in the van with me went to visit the 10 orphans that my church has committed to care for.The strength of the children of Kenya is amazing.We have visited children in orphanages who have been abandoned, and left for dead, yet they still possess the capacity to smile and show love.God opened a tremendous door for our 10 orphans and we were able to transition them to a new facility.This facility has a front and back yard, lots of green grass and trees and plenty of room to grow.Our long range plan includes providing them with computers and other equipment that will aid in their education and development.We recently received updated pictures of the children and many of them were wearing some of the clothing items that were donated by Sherray Miller and her missions support group.Their lives will be forever touched by the generosity of those who give to our missions work.
Written By Pastor N.L. Henson
In conclusion, I think back over the hundreds of hours of planning leading up to this years conference, countless emails, letters, phone calls and meetings; fasting, prayer, obtaining passports and visas, contact with the travel agent, juggling time zones to make contact with the folks in Kenya, coordinating the conference and preaching schedule, and the sheer complexity of coordinating international travel for 42 people.I think I speak on behalf of the entire team when I say that planning is 80% of the task and execution is 20%.God is so faithful to us, and his commitment to this mission was obvious every step of the way.On behalf of the 2007 missions team, we thank every one of you for helping to make our trip possible.You have truly touched more lives than you will ever know.
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2013 Trip Report
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.” TheWE 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 sayThank You By: Noland L. Henson J