Kenya

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The Girl’s Boarding School

Hello Friends,

I am so delighted to finally have the time to write and share one of the biggest adventures of my life and the most dearest memory to me. I recently wrote about how God can help you achieve the dreams you’ve always wanted. As of November 2015, I was so incredibly honored to be part of a team to go to Nairobi, Kenya.  We were partnering with Missions of Hope and able to put on a vacation bible school for the students at one of the schools in the slums. We also visited several other places and were able to observe the culture.

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At the school praying before snack time

I went with a team of nine incredible people from my church. It was such an amazing team! He put us all together for a reason and specifically designed for this trip. The entire time, we sought to encourage and uplift each other. The dynamic of the team really held everyone together. It was amazing to see how we all worked well together. It was such a blessing to personally get to know each team member and see their faith rise. God had intentionally and purposefully placed each of us together to come together for a cause near and dear to His heart. They were truly a blessing in the time we worked together.

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Some of the beautiful and talented people on my team.

We flew to Amsterdam for nine hours then, on to Nairobi for 11 hours. The flight took a total of about twenty four hours each way. Flying was hard but it was so so worth it.

Arriving in Africa, it is a whole different culture The first thing that hit me was the weather. It was humid and warm when I stepped off the plane. I noticed that people were looking out for each other and many were waiting to help with luggage for a little bit of money. I am usually the type of girl who needs to know where she is going and gets anxious in new places but the Lord drenched me in peace the whole trip.

The first couple of days, we were able to take some time to get used to the surroundings. Malaria pills were taken daily and the side effects were minimal.  I struggled with dizziness but because of the Lord’s strength and the prayers from back home, I was able to get through each day. We lived in a hotel for two weeks in the city. It had electricity and warm water and delicious food. It was similar to the hotels of the United States. Tea time was popular and so cute! Lets make tea time a routine in the U.S. from now on. Okay? Tehe

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The VBS At the School: One of the Classrooms

The next couple of days we were able to be put into action. First, we visited the Missions of Hope Headquarters where we were able learn how it all started. Then that same day, we were able to visit the slums right next to the headquarters on a community walk. On community walks, we toured the slums, enter into several homes, talk with the hosts of the homes about the Gosple, Malaria and Aids, then we pray for them. Seeing the slums for the first time was a shock. There was one paved road and buildings made out of sheets of tin packed tightly on both sides. I asked the social worker if the buildings were stable and discovered to my shock that the tin structures collapse but the people just build them right back up. I saw a crippled man crawling in the dirt. I passed by young kids wading through trash and later learned that prostitutes leave their babies in the trash because they don’t have the means to take care of the baby.  Trash and mud was all around. The thing that hit me the most was the kids. The kids had worn and tattered clothing and some were missing shoes but they were so open and welcoming to strangers. They literally ran up to us, grabbed our hands and held on to our legs in joy and amazement of how different our skin color was. The camera was like a magic trick to them and the pictures were shown with squeals of delight. Two boys and one girl at about the age of four or five, latched on to my arms and we just started skipping and they broke out in the biggest smiles ever. Even though the kids did not know english, we were able to share the same smiles, laughs and more importantly, the same love. Each place can be different but love is universal and it not only lives but it thrives.

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The First Community Walk in the Slums

 

The next day, we were able to visit an all girls boarding school founded and sponsored by the Mission Of Hope. Arriving at a huge multi-purpose church, gym building, we were able to join in on their worship time.  All the girls perked up and sang songs performed several skits and we were able to perform a dance with them. When assembly ended, a group of girls led me to the field where we sat under blue sky with puffy clouds and chatted about every possible subject. They played with my hair as we talked about boys, school, dreams, Jesus and family back home. My hair was braided several times and they enjoyed touching my white skin. The girls were shocked that I was blushing at one point and held my cheeks as they chatted excitedly at my red cheeks. Their skin is dark so they are rarely able to see one blush. It was such a sweet and beautiful memory with them.

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The Precious Girls at the Boarding School

Then we were able to host a vbs. for the kids at the school for five days. The school was found in the middle of the slums. Our route from the hotel to the school took about twenty-five to thirty minutes depending on the traffic on the roundabouts. Driving in Kenya is so much crazier than in the U.S. Thanks to the skills of our driver, we never had an accident. However, some strange things happened while on the road. We had the windows open in our vans sometimes and one time, a guy we passed by on a bus, reached out through the window and touched my friend’s face. It was a shock and happened so fast we weren’t sure what really happened. We also spotted zebras and camels on our routes. Kenya is a place of lush green landscapes with the city and slums are intermingled into one big community.

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Zebras Are My Favorite!

The school in the slums had seven tiny classrooms that were jammed packed with students from pre-kindergarten to about fifth grade. The first time we arrived, the students sang a welcome song for us and gave us signs with each of our names and danced with us. It was such a warm welcome. At the school, the teachers are so dedicated and so patient as they work from seven in the morning to six at night. The principle of the school was explaining that the kids do school all day till five or six at night because it is safer to be in school than on the streets.  As the vbs. went on, we split up and focused on different things and went from class to class teaching these kiddos. Some of the team was put on crafts, some were sports and games, some were teaching the bible and some were song. I was part of song and was given the task to make up signs for the four songs we focused on. All the kids were so darling and we had a lot of fun!  They were quick learners and always presented a song of their own as we walked through each doorway.  On the last day of vbs., several classes sang the songs we taught them and presented us with a cake and a scarf. Saying goodbye, the kids were sobbing in our arms and we all had a dance party. I think this was a little glimpse of what heaven is going to be like, dance parties with lots and lots of love. They are our brothers and sisters even though they are on the other side of the world. We all worship and praise the same God who loves each and every one of us, including you and me.

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Learning a song at VBS

I quickly discovered how much love and hope these kids have in Jesus. They have nothing yet they have everything.They are rich because they have the One True King on their side. The lesson I brought back home with me is that as long as you have Jesus, you are going to be okay.

Over all, going to Kenya taught me that God cares about each of our dreams. I also learned that love is the strongest language. Looking back, I realized all you need to do is trust God. He will provide and get you where you need to be. He is with you, where ever you go. Also, when you have Jesus, you are rich because He gives life, hope and restoration. I am so thankful I was able to experience and see the love of God at first hand. This trip taught me that sharing the Gosple is just as simple as saying hello, giving a helping hand and praying with a stranger. It inspired me to want to take the time to help the people back at home. When you take God’s hand and go, He shows you things you have never comprehended before. It is truly an adventure. All you got to do is take His hand and go.

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One of the desks the kids use at school. Notice the worn clothing and old shoes. The students wrote on paper with pencil just like here in the U.S.

Thank you for letting me share this experience with you dear friend. If you ever want to talk or need to share something, my email is up there. I would love to connect with you! Comment please! I won’t bite.

I hope you have a beautiful day!

xoxo

Bri

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We got to see some animals on the Safari! Giraffes are pretty neat to see in person!
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