The past several days have been anything but what I expected them to be, and that is a great and beautiful thing. Truth be told, I tried to limit my knowledge of Kenya and ask little questions about the ministry at work so that I would keep my expectations low; it worked beautifully. Kenya is nothing like I expected it to be aside from the poverty and heat. It is very green, mountainous, busy and full of life, nothing that I thought it would be but it is very beautiful and welcoming. These passed several days God has been showing me many things that include new ministry and a growing passion. I never expected to be a part of such a powerful service that specifically seeks to help suffering women and children feel loved and cared for. It never fully occurred to me how important widow and orphan ministry was until my service on this trip. I have seen so many women this week with more drive and ambition than I could ever dream of possessing. I have seen more orphan children with despair and pain in their hearts but yet they do not lose hope. The history behind Kenya leads to Englishmen colonizing the many people and cultures of Kenya in the goal of helping them to become more modern with society. They have left a noticeable impact but there are still many things left that the Kenyans are recuperating from such as the economy and the politics. As we have ridden in the back of jeeps and vans to and from widow house locations to build houses and give supporting gifts I cannot help but observe the cultures and how everyone has to live their lives here. Life is very hard in Kenya, it is a very unforgiving country with little opportunity and much responsibility. One of the things blossoming here is Christianity and the love for Christ which is found everywhere and in nearly everyone here. Through these passed several days I have witnessed a multitude of people seeking and worshipping God as though it is more than a cultural fad but that they each know God Himself. There is much pain and suffering here and it breaks my heart because there is no visible limit to the end of how the people here suffer. Everyone is affected by the constant calamity and yet it is in the culture for people to take advantage of one another. In the midst of all of these selfish endeavors there is a fight to be more like Jesus and to love without reason, hope without dreams, and community without direction. The people here know more about love, worship and faith than I ever had before and despite everything that these widows, orphans, and relatives there is a fight to live a Gospel centered life that is growing within the hearts of many people here. It is a place of growing love and conflict and in an imperfect world the two will always run side by side, but Christ is working in the details as there are many missionaries here that love and serve the people for their own sake and sustenance. Before coming to Kenya I was a part of a masters class in Barclay College called Friends Missions where I was able to learn much about the Quaker movements and how the Gospel had been spread to other far off places in the world. One of these was in Kenya. As I read I began to see how English Quakers brought the word of God to this country in an effort to help people know Christ. It was a different time then and despite the best of intentions not everything was successful and there were many hardships that resulted from the evangelism. However, Kenya now has the largest population of Quakers in the world and it seems to have a unique humanitarian focus that is much needed and deserved here. Our team leader has lived such a life as she selflessly gives her time, prayers, and money for the simple betterment of suffering families and women who are left with little to no regard otherwise. That is where our Junior’s Global team has come in. We have helped to build six mud houses for suffering widows and given the supplies as well as aided widow groups who have been praying for months for God to save them. We serve a God of faithfulness and through His love and grace we are blessed to be able to be a part of that plan that fulfills His promises. To me, I certainly feel as if I could do much more but I must not forsake the efforts that have been done already and how impactful they are in a world that I do not yet understand. I am growing a heart for Kenyan culture and as its radiant beauty grows so does its pain and turmoil. Hopefully some day soon the culture and country will change in a way that accommodates women and children to a higher status and the widow and orphan count drop in record numbers. God is on the move in Kenya and I feel that I will be drawn back her soon by Him. As the rocks cry out in silence so does Christ and his aching heart for everyone finding their way in Kenya. There is much hope, love, and hospitality here but they need more people willing to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, such as our team leader. For the future, no one knows; but may it be in a prosperous direction where everyone is equal and pain is hard to find.
In Christ,George Jackson