Sunday, November 9, 2008

Prompted by Love

Dear Family and Friends,

This past summer I was able to travel to Kenya as an intern with Mission to the World, a missionary sending agency, to experience a mission trip overseas. It was unlike any other mission trip. I was able to spend two months building relationship and sharing the love of Christ with the Kenyans living in the slums. Since my return, I have not stopped thinking about Kenya and the brothers and sisters I had to say good-bye to there. After much prayer by myself, my family, and my friends, I have decided to return to Kenya as an intern this summer.

I believe God is calling me to do medical missions and I am currently studying nursing at Samford University. Thus, my internship with MTW will be more focused on the medical aspect of this street child ministry. When the medical teams come in from MTW, I will become a part of their team in order to gain more experience in the medical field. I will also be working closely with a woman at the Kibera Church to learn more about HIV/AIDS related care programs and their feeding program. I am so excited to have this new experience. I will still be involved in the street-children ministry in which we participate in Bible studies, classroom work, and door to door evangelism in three different slums of Kenya.

Not only will it be incredible time to grow in the field of medical missions, but to continue to build on the relationships and friendships I formed last summer. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of the incredible boys, girls, women and men whom I met. I have so much more to learn about this culture and about God through the Kenyan’s lives. God continues to show me what true forgiveness is through the lives of the boys and girls at the Shuname shelter who have been abused. While they have suffered so much they are able to forgive those who have hurt them, only because of the love and forgiveness Christ offers them. I was able to become closer friends with the girls, and they told me of dreams to become doctors and teachers. Even in their own words they have even encouraged me in my own studies and to work for the Lord and not for man. There is so much I look forward to doing when I return and I know I have so much yet to learn.

I would love for you to participate in this ministry. Most importantly, I need your prayers. There have been so many times when I have truly seen the power of prayer while in Kenya. Safety, health, and, more importantly, open hearts to the word of God have been clearly by the working of God’s power. As for funding, I will also need to raise roughly around $6,000 to minister in Kenya. Prayerfully consider what God would call you to. I would love to talk to you further about any questions you might have and how else you can get involved. My email is Thank you and God Bless!

Grace and Peace,

Joanna Haas

1 Timothy 4:9-10 “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the Living God, who is Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”

1Thessalonians 1:3 "May my work be produced by faith, my labor prompted by love, and my endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

Reflection on my summer in Kenya 2008 and Final Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

God has used your prayers and your encouragement throughout my time in Kenya, and I want to thank you for that. It is hard for me to summarize all that I experienced this summer in a brief letter, but I can tell you that my time there has left me desiring more missions and more Africa. I hope to share more of my stories with you all over time but for now I will briefly tell you what I was involved with.

My team mates and I helped organize several Bible studies, Vacation Bible Schools, and gave our testimonies on several occasions. Through the sharing of our struggles and God’s work in our lives we were able to encourage them. Most of our days were spent in the Kibera slum, where around a million people live within a square mile. I helped out in the Baby Class of the Kibera Christian School connected to the Church Imbumi Makuku began. Through this I was able to build relationships with the incredible teachers and students. I saw their desire to glorify God in their work and lives.

Once a week we would go to the Muthiga slum for Vacation Bible School with the children and an AIDS support Bible study for adults. Christ was lifted up and praised through the loud songs and prayers filled with thanksgiving of His people who are suffering with AIDS. We were also blessed with the opportunity to participate in door-to-door evangelism in the Kawangware slum. There we prayed for families, encouraged them with Scripture, and fellowshipped. Not only did we visit with Kenyan families, but also refugee families from Sudan.

We were also able to build relationship with the children and house mothers at the Shuname Shelter. These are kids who have been taken away from abusive parents or who have been orphaned. I especially enjoyed the time I was able to spend building friendships with them and singing praises together.

My heart aches for the family I have left in Kenya. The struggles and constant, daily work they have is beyond my comprehension. Here I am comfortable and secure, knowing they are struggling to survive through another day of trials and are constantly reliant on God. I can learn so much from their faith I have met men and women who have no job without a way to provide for their many children. All they have is God and the faith that He will provide for their every need.

The Kenyan’s love of one another and sacrifice of themselves is so evident. They give and they share all they have with one another. When we would go on home visits the women were so anxious to make us tea or give us something to eat. Rarely did we enter a home where that wasn’t offered. I have to ask myself how often I open my refrigerator, closets, or doors to people to fellowship and give of what I have. As a “poor” college student, it is so easy to hold onto what I have and not want to share, while there are so many around me who are in the same position as me. Think of the difference there would in this world if we were all willing to open our doors and share all we have.

In the midst of these tough circumstances of immense poverty, disease and death I have to hold onto the hope I have in Christ and His return. God promises that someday he will make all things new, wipe away tears, and make things right and good. Until then I pray for His kingdom to come on this earth.

Mungu Akubariki(God Bless)! Joanna Haas