Friday, June 5, 2009

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Monday afternoon we went to Pastor Makuku’s house in the Ngong Hills and it was beautiful and a great time to spend with the Kenyan team, Pastor Makuku, Martha Makuku, Pastor Wycliffe, Purity, and Caroline. We spent all afternoon asking questions and learning about the area we will be serving in.
On Tuesday and Wednesday our team went into Kibera. I attended an AIDS support group and a women’s Bible Study in the morning. This consisted of singing, prayer, testimonies, and a message from the Pastor. In the afternoon we were able to help the teachers of the Kibera school. On Tuesday we were given the tour of all the classes and introduced to the students. Many of the children remembered me and I’d hear my name whispered or see smiles of recognition when I entered a room. I was incredibly happy to see familiar faces and to be able to still remember names. Teacher Josephine told me it showed the teachers and the children that I loved them that I had returned, which was an incredible encouragement to me.
I made it a goal to do my best to learn everyone’s name in the school. There is baby class (pre-k) to 5th grade. Around 150 of the kids are sponsored in the school and in the Shuname Shelter. The sponsorship takes place through Mission to the World’s street child program. I would highly encourage you to consider sponsoring a child. There are few ways for children to get out of the depth of Kibera’s poverty, and the main way is through education. I learned that at around the ages of 13 and 14 boys and girls can be kicked out of their homes to live on their own. It is a reality that is foreign to me.
I experienced another reality of Kibera, and that is abandonment. I was sitting with Carol and Purity one morning when a woman came in with two children. One of them she had been taking care of for a few years, but had been abandoned when she was born. Now there were problems in the family and the woman was trying to see if she could stay at the Shuname Shelter. During the conversation, the little girl sat on Carol’s lap and I heard Carol say, “mamma Carol” at one point to her. Carol told me that now they would do home visits to see what the family life was like before they took the girl. She was just 5 years old and a precious child of God.
Thursday we went to the new property where one day a new home for children, a guesthouse, and a retreat center will be built, along with other things. We set to work digging holes for a fence. I became the “dirt girl” and my job was to pull the loose dirt out of the holes. We sang songs while working and just laughed a lot. We all enjoyed it and can’t wait to return on Monday to dig more holes! We are the first MTW team to work on the new property, so it was a real privilege to be there and to see the start of this dream they have had for this land.
Today we had a free day and spent our time walking around the downtown of Nairobi. It was crowded and we saw much of the city as we walked around with Purity and Pastor Wycliffe. I held onto Purity’s hand for the day and she described the buildings we’d pass and we talked like old friends.
Caroline, the other house mom with Purity, could not come with us because two of the kids from the Shuname shelter were sick with malaria. Pray for Philip and Sandy to be healed from their sickness quickly.
Continue to pray for safe travels, health, and team unity. My team has been incredible, but I can tell we are beginning to experience some differences in culture. So please pray that we might adjust quickly and be able to work for the glory of God. Pray that God might show us where he wants us to serve and that we might better love the people. Praise God for the first week we have had and the time we have been able to spend getting to know the School staff and children. Praise God for safety and good health!
Love to all!


  1. I miss you back here, but I'm glad you made it safely to Kenya! It sounds like everything is off to a great start. :) I'm praying for you! Love you!


  2. Joanna, I'm so glad you are keeping a blog. I loved reading this post; it sounds like you are surrounded by amazing people, and I know the kids are thrilled to see you again. :)

  3. I'm so excited to hear about the new property and the plans for it. I bet those kids LOVED seeing you again! How fun for them and you too to meet up with some familiar faces. Is the staff at the school pretty much the same? I'm praying for you :) xoxo

  4. The staff is the same, except Peter is gone and a teacher named Philip has replaced him.