What a trip July 31-August 16 was! I, along with 7 other people (who didn’t really know each other very well), spent many hours traveling and 10 days at Hope Community Center together experiencing Kenyan life at the large home for former street children. We were all stretched and challenged, and very blessed! It always warms my heart exceedingly when I hear the children playing and
laughing with each other. There is love and security for the children at HopeCC.
We were involved in gardening, carpentry, library setup, uniform sewing, and playing. Because of the gracious donations of many, we were able to provide 139 blankets, school book curriculum for grades 1-8, 197 pairs of runners, 155 school uniform sweaters, 2 Singer sewing machines and material to sew uniforms for the girls, wood to build shelves for the library and girls’ dorm, 25 sheet sets for the new boys’ dorm, and of course ice cream for everyone for our Sunday party. As you can see, we were busy!
The new boys’ dorm is slow in progress because of the unexpected amount of rain and the frustration of getting the needed material transported to HopeCC. But by October, it is hoped that it will be completed. Since the High School has not yet been started and the school year begins in January, Lucy (the lady in charge) is planning on teaching the then 43 high school students on the 3rd floor of the new boys’ dorm. It will work. The water reservoir has been completed and now the tower on which a water tank will be placed, is about half way completed. The children now eat all their meals with spoons and are enjoying their tables and chairs in the dining room. All meals are being cooked in their kitchen and
the children continue to drink runny porridge for breakfast while beans and maize along with potatoes or rice for the other 2 meals. We were very surprised how much food each child can eat at one meal.
Since the purchase of the additional 10.4 acres, HopeCC has enlarged their garden area. Besides, cabbage, kale, carrots and potatoes, they are now planting peas and French beans. The ground feels very good and so production will improve as they set up some irrigation. The head school master has
researched gardening and is applying his knowledge. August is one month in which there is no school, so many hands made much progress in preparing the land and planting it.
Two highlights for me these 10 days in Kenya were: the Saturday night that we gave each child a stuffed animal. They were sooo excited, chattering as they compared their animals and hugging them. They were throwing them in the air in excitement! They each went to bed with THEIR own animal. It was their first. The other highlight for me took place on Sunday when I baptized 38 children in their fast-running “creek”. Some of them were threatened to be swept away in the current but all went through with their choice of following Jesus. My daughter, Meagan, who was one of the 7 who came, was also baptized there. Wow! How exciting! Quite the memory of seeing everyone on the river bank witnessing commitment to Jesus.
I spent many hours praying individually with 19 girls who painfully remembered their struggling days as street girls. It is common for the younger street children to be beaten and stoned by the older ones. They were all hopeless as they wandered in tattered clothes, searching for rotten food in garbage bins and drinking stagnant water. Some said that sometimes they didn’t eat for a week at a time, making them very weak. Since there was no one to take care of them, they slept under vehicles and sniffed glue.
Some thought that they were going to die and others were cursed that they were not going to prosper. – As I talked and prayed with them, Jesus was invited into their memories, He brought healing and peace.
It truly was a miracle as their painful memories became peaceful.
Each of the 8 of us were very aware of the children’s gratefulness to God. Every morning, noon and evening, they gather together to sing praise to God, pray to Him, and hear a thought regarding God.
Their singing was full of energy! Their prayers were earnest. Even while playing, there is singing on their lips.
Every time we provided something to the children, Lucy emphatically stated that it is God who provided to us Canadians who in turn provided to HopeCC. Their future is one of hope and goodness because they trust in God. One song that was sung continuously and still rings in my ears is as follows:
Come and go with me to my Father’s house
Come and go with me to my Father’s house
It’s a big, big house with lots and lots of rooms
It’s a big, big table with lots and lots of food
It’s a big, big yard where we can play football
It’s a big, big house,
It’s my Father’s house.
Now that we are back in Canada with so many good memories, we reflect on the many things that we take for granted = hot water, electricity, access to good products, laundry facilities, information, and many opportunities. We also reflect upon the valuable trait of Kenyan life = having time to interact with others on Kenyan time. Though we have so very much here in Canada, we tend to miss out on the most valuable part of living and that is building relationships with others and with God.
I think of a saying = A man living in poverty is prone to curse God while one who is wealthy is prone to ignore God. – By experiencing and supporting HopeCC, we increase their worship of God; and by us experiencing them, God becomes an increasing reality that cannot be ignored. Thank you to all who have in some way reached out and touched HopeCC. It is a great privilege!