Mission to KenyaAdd Comment
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At the beginning of the Heritage Missions group’s 2005 trip to Kenya, I constantly asked myself, How will I help change people’s lives? What do I have to offer them? During the next three weeks God truly answered my questions.
I learned that the children of Kenya were grateful to our group just for coming, talking to them, and making them our friends. The first friend I made on the trip was Esther, an 11-year-old girl who just walked up to me and started talking. Within two hours she’d written me a letter, telling me that I was her first good friend.
Esther showed me that the people of Kenya are so much more grateful and humble when it comes to life. They have so little, yet they still find reasons to praise God for the blessings that He’s given them.
The second child that truly touched me on this trip was a little girl at an orphanage in Bamburi. She was the first person who caught my eye. By the time I got off the bus, she was right by my side, holding my hand.
About 10 minutes into our tour of the orphanage, the little girl just ran off. I had no idea where she was going, but I let her go. About two minutes later a little girl walked over and grabbed my hand. I didn’t know at the time that it was the same little girl. It wasn’t until I saw the purple flower drawn on her hand that I recognized her. Then I realized what she’d done.
She’d gone in her room that she probably shared with about 20 other girls and changed her clothes. She put on a green dress so she could look like me—I was wearing a green dress! She didn’t even know my name, yet she already wanted to be like me.I realized that God was answering my questions. He was showing me that I could help change people’s lives by displaying the love of Christ and by offering the love and affection that comes from a friend. I never would’ve guessed that just by being the normal friendly person that I am that God could use me as a witness for Him!Not only was I able to help the people of Kenya, but they also helped me. Now I’m more grateful every day for the blessings that the Lord gives me.
Insight: Why would you go back to Kenya?
Shanice: I would go back to Kenya because now I know what the people are looking for and what they need. I’d take flip-flops for the kids there and school supplies, papers, pens, chalkboards, stuff like that, and money for food—a lot of people didn’t have food. I’d also go back because it’s beautiful there! The scenery, the city, the country, it’s peaceful!
Insight: What was your most difficult challenge?
Shanice: My biggest challenge was going to the slums and seeing how poor the people were—seeing how much they needed and knowing how much I have. Being there made me feel like I have too much in life when they don’t have anything at all.
Insight: How has your life changed since you went to Kenya?
Shanice: I will never say the words “I’m starving” ever again. I will never say I need anything again, either, because I don’t. I have everything I need—I have food, clothes, a home, a school I can go to, and I have money to buy little things that I want.
Insight: What one item from home did you miss while you were there?
Shanice: I didn’t miss anything.
Insight: What did you miss most when you returned?
Shanice: I missed the Kenyan people—they were really friendly. They were always like, “Hey, how ya doin’?” They just were always talkin’ and having a conversation with you. When I got home—even at the airport—it was back to normal. People here just aren’t as friendly as the people in Kenya.
Insight: What did you learn about Jesus while you were there?
Shanice: I learned that Jesus can help you through anything. We had lots and lots of transportation trouble. Once we were stuck in the middle of nowhere when we ran out of gas. All the people on one of our buses had to crowd onto the other one. But we got to the place where we were going to do our revival. The people had been waiting for us for hours, because we’d had bus trouble. But we had the greatest revival service!
We shared gifts and funds with 300 deaf students at the Zwangi School for the deaf in Mombasa.
We preached to 3,000 people at the Nairobi New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church. Many there took their stand for Jesus and were baptized in the Global Evangelism baptism of 1,000 on July 27, 2005.
We gave clothing and 7,700 shillings to the orphanage in Bamburi. This is equivalent to $100 US dollars. This amount will feed the children for about 30 days.
We prayed with and encouraged 15 HIV-positive women who’d been removed from their jobs and isolated from their communities and churches. We gave them 2,000 shillings to help them buy a little food and to get back into their homes.
We gave 212,000 shillings to the Naroke Seventh-day Adventist School. This amount is equivalent to $1,500 US dollars. We found out that the teachers at this school hadn’t been paid for six months! We also gave them 16,000 shillings’ worth of school uniforms and school supplies, which will help approximately 120 students.
On the trip we preached and prayed with 300 Adventist youth at the University of Nairobi.Shanice Aiken, 16, is a junior at Carson High School in Carson, California. She’s also a member of the Normandie Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles, California.Add Comment
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