It amazes me the joy I find in people who have been through such incredible suffering.
But before we get to today, lets talk about yesterday.
Yesterday was a relatively easy day. After breakfast and devotions in the morning, we had our orientation to HEART and our time in Kenya (even though we’d already spent two nights here!).
After getting tips and language lessons for our time here, we had the opportunity to visit Rift Valley Academy. Rift Valley Academy is the premier international boarding school in the world, located in Kijabe, Kenya. The school is a part of the missionary organization Africa Inland Mission, and is staffed by teachers and administrators who are not paid, but raise their own support, so as to keep tuition reasonable for missionary kids.
While there we had the opportunity to speak with the principle of the high school, talking to him about his experience bringing his family to Kenya, and all the wonderfully students and staff they have. Since my dad came and stayed at RVA on previous trips to Kenya, he and my mom have talked bat a sabbatical to go teach there. Now, as I go home to start a credential program in the all, I think about doing the same…
After returning to the HEART compound, we had a great evening. We were able to have the director of International Justice Mission come and talk with us about the great work they are doing with the oppressed and vulnerable in the world.
Without much to debrief from the day, we spent that time worshipping together as a team, which was a really special time.
Today was truly something amazing for me, and if you helped with our $1K Challenge, it’s special for you as well.
Mercy is a woman who is part of HEART’s WEEP program in Ngong.
She had three children with her first husband, who died of AIDS.
She remarried, having two children with the second husband.
The second husband did not accept the children from the first marriage, and has been very abusive.
So, Vickie Winkler, the founder and director of HEART, wanted to do something to protect these young adults. She asked if we could raise the funds to purchase land and build them a home, away from the abuse they have known.
Your support is making that dream a reality.
Today we drove out to Ngong to meet Mercy and her children, and to break ground on their new home.
After driving the hour and a half to Ngong to pick up the WEEP director who would direct us to the home site (which was, in her words, “not far!”), we arrived at the building site.
I don’t know if I can express to you with words what it was like arriving there.
As we arrived, the WEEP women who had made the hour trip from Ngong (not far!) approached our bus singing and dancing, praising The Lord. These are all women who are HIV positive, most of whom were close to death before they came to the WEEP program. And here they are, the boundless joy they have in Christ overflowing from them in song and dance.
As we got off the bus, we were embraced by each one as they continued to praise God.
It was truly incredible to listen to Mercy as she thanked God for how he had heard her cry. Her desire was to see her children taken care of when she was gone, and God, though us (and you!), was answering that prayer.
The gratitude expressed by her and each of her children was tangible.
This was the same as the rest of the WEEP ladies introduced themselves, praising and thanking God for how he rescued them, thanking Vickie and HEART for taking them in. I was overwhelmed by the incredible sense of joy these women were so clearly experiencing, to have seen God move it their lives in such a tangible way.
They have such a trust in the Lord and a reliance on Him, it strikes me how much I rely on my own strength, my own wisdom, my own will. And yet how much more joyful are these women than I usually am? As Vickie said in devotions yesterday, true maturity is dependence on Christ. Just look at all the hope and joy that comes with that kind of trust and dependence.
After meeting all these wonderful women, we started work on the foundation and frame for their home.
Now, construction on Kenya is significantly different than in the US. To dig the holes that would hold the main posts for the home, we used a piece of rebar. And our hands.
It was amazing to see how hard these men, and even some of the women, were working to get this home built.
The greatest joy for me was getting to work alongside Mercy’s three sons, for whom we were building this house.
While I had some time to work with all three boys, Moses, Paul, and James, getting to know each of them a bit, I spent the most time with Moses. As another eldest child with two younger brothers, I figured we could relate, and we did.
In Mexico, I would come build a house, and have very little interaction with the family. Here, getting to work alongside them to make this dream a reality, was truly a blessing.
At the end of our day, the goodbyes with more songs and embraces were not difficult, knowing we would be back the next week.
I cannot wait to be back in the presence of these amazing people, filled to overflowing with the love and joy that comes only from Jesus Christ.
Prayer Request: Tomorrow we drive out to Kissii where we will spend a few days building homes. It is a long trip, so pray for safety while we travel. We have also just heard news that the Brown parents will not be able to join us. Please pray for them and their children, as they expected to share this wonderful experience together.