Monday, October 14, 2013

Perseverance. Day 4--Kibera slum.

Today we woke up at 5am to go on a morning game drive at the Nairobi National Park. So, basically a mini safari. It was a beautiful morning! The first time I was in Kenya, one of the locals told me, "do not visit our country and only see the poverty and violence, you must see the beauty too." I'll never forget that. I almost did not go, simply because I have experienced a safari before but the entire team was going and I knew we were about to experience a tough day so I decided to go. I'm so glad I did. Our team shared a lot of laughter. We were sll in the same bus, with a pop up roof. We saw buffalo, rhinos, giraffe, hippos, birds and a few other things. It was truly wonderful to start out the day seeing God's beauty and creation. 

From there we went to Nairobi Java House (my favorite) for breakfast. It was delicious of course! We traveled to the Kibera slum next. It is the largest slum in Africa, and one of the largest in the world. They have just recently started an Academic Center with 45 children, so at this point, none of the children are yet sponsored. Maryanne on our team is a photographer and Brenda Kean asked her to take pictures of the children so that their profiles can eventually be on the website as they develop a sponsorship program for them. We played all afternoon with them. Its amazing how something so simple as blowing bubbles can bring so much joy & laughter. There was this little angel Sharon with the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen. They are all so incredibly beautiful!

We went on a few home visits. The testimonies the women gave were so powerful. One in particular was when we visited Margaret's home. She had to be one of the strongest women I've met so far. Some of the women have been more reserved and quiet with soft hand shakes and hugs, but Margaret spoke with strength and confidence. She seems very in tune with God and is believing that better things are yet to come. She was so grateful that we would come visit her, it was as if God may have been using our visit to show her that he has not forgotten about her and loves her so much. I will never forget the way she grabbed my hand and squeezed it as though she was saying, "I hear you God. I won't give up. I know you are with me." I just pray that he'll continue to use me and that I'll be more in tune when he is. 

We went on to visit the women that work at the Kabira Jacaranda Creations branch. They moved to a new location since last year. What a blessing it was to hear each of their testimonies of how God has provided for and looked after them. Such beautiful examples of Gods faithfulness in our lives. Many of the women are HIV positive, so they have really difficult days, but still smile and praise God in the midst of it all. I hope and pray to live my life more intentionally and to trust and believe in God's timing and provision. 

Overall, it was a hard day, but I certainly have a full heart ♥

"The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." --Psalm 145:14-18

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Change. Day 3--Kayole slum

In today's morning devotion, we discussed the book of Acts and how one of the Apostles was given divine appointments and was very in tune with the voice of God. It was a good challenge for me to start thinking about the moments that God places before me each and everyday. I think this is especially important to pay attention to during these moments we are walking through the slums and the women are asking for prayers regarding their health, job opportunities, financial provision, etc.

Then today's question was, what is one thing that you will change in your daily life as a result of this trip?

Have power over my attitude and thoughts.
Be more intentional & find the lost
Relying on prayer
Putting our hope in Jesus
Talk to neighbors, strangers
Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you- health, finances, etc.

Today we headed out to Kayole slum. It was a longer drive across town through the busy streets. There was not much conversation on the way over, simply because there was so much to take in and
process as we witnessed "life on the streets in Africa".

We arrived at the Jacaranda Kayole branch. Rose is the Branch Leader. She is such a sweet woman with such a servant heart. She shared her testimony with all of us. She is a single mother who was in an abusive relationship and by God's grace, she met Brenda Kean, works for Jacaranda and has a passion for other women. She is someone you know is going to do great and mighty things.

Next we visited the Academic Center next door to the Jacarenda Creations branch that just 1 year  ago, was not there. There were approximately 30 children. They sang for us--cutest thing ever. The innocence and sweetness of these children just melt my heart. We ate lunch and split up to go on home visits.

Our group visited Jane's home first. She is a single mother of Jack and Sharon. Like many of the homes we've visited, hers was small but you could tell she was making it as comfortable for her children as possible. She shared with us that her husband was a drunkard and would sometimes urinate in the bed they all shared. There was even a time he urinated in a water container and she did not know it, so she drank out of it. My heart sank. Jack was in school but Sharon was there and I could not get over how much she smiled. There was so much joy in her. After listening to their story, I wanted to ask myself how? Why? This beautiful, innocent child has probably seen so much and yet she still finds joy as these American Muzungus come to visit them. This was a complete eye-opening moment for me. Jane asked for prayer for her finances and that doors would be opened for a job opportunity so she can provide for her family. Pretty basic but crucial needs.

We walked to two more homes. The needs are almost all the same. They are in need of prayer for provision and healing. They don't have stable jobs which means they are unable to provide food for their families and/or rent. It breaks my heart that so many of them need so much of the same thing.

We wrapped up our day at my favorite coffee shop, Nairobi Java House, for a snack. What did I order? A double expresso shake, of course! We traveled back home and rested for a bit and had a team dinner at the Keans home. Delicious. It can be so very hard for me sometimes though to eat an amazing meal after hearing from families who are desperate for food, especially the children. I realize how much I have been blessed but every part of me wanted to take my plate of food to someone in the slums.

Come, Lord Jesus. I know you see these people. I know you feel their pain and suffering. Be near to them. My heart breaks for these women who've been abandoned or abused. Raise up these children to worship and live for you. Hear their cries. Provide for their needs. I ask these things in your name!