After my airline delays, and rerouted flights, I finally made it to Kenya. I was picked up by my country director in Nairobi and taken to a hotel, where I promptly got into bed and slept for 7 hours. Not bad given the jet lag. This morning (Saturday, Feb 9), I was picked up at 7 am and we drove from Nairobi to Nakuru.
Along the way, we stopped so I could capture the magnificence of this country. The picture at the top of this post is the Rift Valley taken from Kiambu. Let me tell you, the picture doesn’t do this any justice. Seeing the vast valley was breathtaking.
After much needed coffee, our first stop was to a Life Center.
Bavuni School is a church where children visit on Saturday mornings to learn Christian Character Building (CCB) from a curriculum produced by Childcare Worldwide (CCW). They learn Bible verses to memory, sing songs, and then have a lunch of porridge and juice. Our visit was with the pastor, children and some of their parents. This was my first exposure to a program funded by CCW. The children sang and recited scripture. The pastor delivered a short message, then my colleague Peter Horne (affiliate with CCW since its inception) told a story on character that was quite animated. The kids laughed as Peter told them that God sees everything they do, and that because of Jesus Christ, they are forgiven. I stood up and greeted the crowd, sending well wishes from the staff at CCW. I loved meeting the kids and seeing their school.
After we said our goodbyes, we had lunch with a very special young lady named Emma Wanjiku. Emma contracted HIV at a young age, and has suffered from the disease for years. With medical help, she’s become healthy, but she is in need of further medication to test her blood to know how much of the virus is still in her. If the test produced a low enough or even negative result, she could have the hope of someday getting married. The medication she needs is a 30-day supply of pills, taken once per day. The cost per pill is 120 Kenya Shillings, or about $1.20 USD. For the months supply, she would need $36 dollars. She told me she could never imagine having that amount of money. It is simply impossible. $36 dollars is a simple dinner out for my wife and I. We do it without thinking. For Emma, that amount is insurmountable. This kind of need is everywhere in Kenya. Yet, inspite of her circumstances, she has the joy of the Lord in her heart.
After I said goodbye to Emma, we traveled to a second Life Center at Belbur church. This church and property was much more humble than Bavuni. The sanctuary was a small tin roofed building with tree limb rafters. The temperature outside was 86 degrees, and under that tin roof it was well over 90. Yet, there were the children, dressed in their best clothes to greet me and my CCW colleagues.
The children danced and sang songs, then recited scripture. Their teachers were very grateful for the support of CCW. We enjoyed a message from the pastor and a testimony from a mother of one of the children, and then a wonderful song as we exited the church. These people love God, and I felt their love in that humble church.
It’s been an amazing day 1 here in Kenya. I have already been blessed by the people, and humbled by their stories. It’s such a privilege to serve them through the work of CCW. God is doing great things here!