Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 5 - With John Kisia and Beacon of Hope

Another big and hectic day here in Kenya. We're heading home tomorrow night and I think everyone is pretty worn out. The sun has been hot, the emotions intense after seeing so many things... but it has been amazing.

I traveled with the team today to minister with Pastor John Kisia in a church planting effort. We did street evangelism in a rural area called Thicke (pronounced Thicka). Basically, two of us went with two to three translators and spent time sharing the gospel and inviting those who listened to attend a service at 2 pm. But you have to understand this is not a church as you imagine it. In the middle of the field, on land paid for by the day, a temporary tent holding maybe 15 chairs has been erected. At 2 pm we worship with about 10 people. We sing Swahili songs, have one of our team members share a testimony and another a short message. And it is amazing worship. This Sunday, the new church plant will launch its first service.

Our other team today traveled back to Beacon of Hope. They set out in the morning to do home visits to HIV positive patients. This was apparently a very draining time as they met woman after woman affected by this disease. Our teams were able to hear the stories of these believers and clients of Beacon of Hope as well as praying with them. The impact was great as they met a woman with an infant named Rebecca. Rebecca is six months old, but looks like she is only a newborn one month old. She was tested for HIV and found negative, but the nurse from Beacon of Hope (Grace, who is also HIV positive) believes that the test misread as the baby was too young. She believes the mother is breastfeeding the baby and has passed the disease on.

You can imagine the weight of these situations as our team's hearts continue to be broken for the people of Kenya.

It has been an amazing time seeing God's work and praying for wisdom day by day. But the mood has also changed and we want you to be aware that the intent of this team is not merely to let this be one week. These adults and students are dreaming up dreams and laying out ideas of how to continue to make an impact here in Nairobi. We are hopeful the people of the churches supporting this trip, as well as the families, will be willing to rise up and continue God's work here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another day...

The team has seen many things this week. It has been a mixture of joy, fun, and excitement facing off against compassion, heartbreak and injustice. The slums are a place of desperate poverty and sheer contentment. Yesterday was our last time in Mathare on this trip.

This was an emotional time for our students and adults as we spent a time with the 15-16 year old students at the Polytechnic School (a technical school teaching hands-on skills)interacting in small groups and praying together. Our team of girls has LOVED being able to speak to the women here about their beauty and God's love for them. In a culture where women are not as valued they are shy and often hesitant to accept this, but for sure they are smiling more since we've been here.

From the school we went for a quick visit back to AIC Zion, where we met with the 260 children and their 5-6 teachers for the last time. We took with us two suitcases of donated stuffed animals. One was full of little green turtles with handwritten notes from the children at the Bible Chapel. The other was all donated from the Red Boxes we did. You would not believe the joy these animals brought to the children. Then... as we had extras left we gave some to the teachers. I watched our students emotions run high as the teachers walked with a sense of pride over their new possessions. We left Mathare with a very emotional group of students and adults, dreaming about how we can partner in long-term ways with a school where children could be sponsored for education, given three meals a day for seven days a week, and provided medical assistance for about $60 a day.

Also yesterday we spent the morning in the Chapel service at NIST. NIST is the Nairobi International School of Theology where Wayne and Dee Johnson teach. Wayne and Dee have helped us set up this entire trip as our contacts from the Bible Chapel, and they are doing an amazing work through NIST. I believe the school has about 150 African students from all over the continent. We have met Nigerians, Sudanese, Tanzanians, and of course Kenyans. It was a beautiful service as a few of our team joined the campus worship team to lead worship. Kristin Momyer, a student from Penn State, shared her testimony before Dee (also a Penn State grad) preached on the Great Commission.

Last night was also a special time. We came back to our hotel--a very nice place--and had dinner with the staff and students of the Campus Crusade ministries on the colleges of Kenyatta University and Nairobi University. There were probably 30 students and ministry leaders as we took dinner together and then held a roundtable discussion sharing testimonies and stories of college ministry in the US and Kenya. The missionaries the Chapel supports, Wayne and Dee Johnson, work with Campus Crusade as missionaries, and though they are teaching at NIST they continue to disciple many of the leaders of Campus Crusade in Nairobi.

As always, we appreciate your prayers! Today half of our team will return to a rural area to do evangelism with John Kisia. The other half will go back to Beacon of Hope to do home visits to HIV positive families in the area of Ongata Rongai. We will share as soon as possible!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 3 - Proud.

I am sitting at our hotel with a table full of our team members. And I feel like for the past 3 days I have been given the privilege to watch 15 college students and adults be transformed--to be ruined from ordinary things. I have watched children in the slums of Mathare be touched by white American students. When these college kids walk into a place with 400 children, the children scream with glee and swarm us shouting, "How-are-you!?" The teachers of the school have found hope from our students. The youth of Mathare--grades 7-12th have been encouraged. They have danced with us in their church services. They have taught us their songs and we have taught them a few of ours. We have worshipped together in amazing and unbelievable ways.

I watched Steve Hrvatin and Alison Moskal walk into two separate 8x10 foot steel shacks with over 40 children in each one. I watched them refuse to hesitate and begin teaching and LOVING these children. I watched the sadness on their faces when we had to leave.

I watched Eric Trier catch a bug for evangelism in these same shacks that serve as houses. Then I watched him celebrate getting to do evangelism again in a rural area today.

I watched Danielle Scott and Kristin Momyer as their hearts were broken for the patients and families at the Beacon of Hope HIV/AIDS clinic as Grace, an employee of the clinic shared her joy in God as an HIV positive woman.

I have watched the Kingdom of God be lived out this week. I have seen glimpses of Heaven in the slums and at the Beacon of Hope--and I have seen it on the faces of this team.

Tonight we went around our group and shared one word to describe our day. Mine was "proud".

**And as a sidenote--at this moment I'm sitting at a table with a few from this team listening to them share their hearts to go home and continue this passion.

This is a privilege.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

On the Faces of the Chlidren

I wanted to share a couple quick stories from yesterday with you... just a couple of highlights.

After our 4 to 4 1/2 hour church services, our team was whipped. Working against jetlag and a general sense of culture shock (the slums are a difficult place to begin a trip to Africa), we were told we were to spend a little time working with the children of the four churches. None of us had the comprehension of what that truly meant.

We traveled back from the AIC Polytechnic to AIC Zion. These are basically different sites of the church in the slum (think multi-site as a necessity) no further than a half mile apart. AIC Zion is a church which was burned down three years ago in the post-election violence and the walls are halfway finished with corrugated steel, and a brick substance. It is open air and one of the most beautiful houses of worship I've ever experienced.

Our team walked through the gate and saw probably 100 children lined up receiving a lunch of rice and stew. Two teachers dipped the food and the children waited patiently in line. Without a hesitation, Danielle, one of our students, jumped in and began serving. She was quickly accepted by the teachers as they fell in love with her servant heart.

The rest of us, overwhelmed at the mass of children, walked on into the church (feeling somewhat like celebrities at a red carpet premiere as we received handshakes and broken English "How-are-you's?" from the children). If we were overwhelmed at this point, we were shocked at the next.

Front to back, in the large metal church building, there was a sea of children. Probably over 300 kids lined the wooden benches, quiet and eyes fixed on us.

We were led to the stage area as honored guests and the children treated us to recited memory verses, songs, and dances. We sat with the teachers from the school and church--no more than 10--and watched the faces of joy at the sheer presence of our team.

After the classes were finished presenting to us we had the chance to share. We did a couple of humorous skits, and I threw Emily Trier into a "stretching moment" to share her testimony with these children. Literally, about 2 minutes before she was to share I told her she would be sharing.

God used her in a mighty way. Her words were tailored to the children and the translator connected it in a Swahili language.

I have an immense amount of pride watching this team of students and adults be poured out and transformed in the light of a Christ-loving people in the slums of Africa. We will continue to share the stories.

Day 1 - Sunday

It has been a busy day! At the time of this post, it's 5:30 pm in Kenya. We left at 8:00 am this morning and returned to our hotel about a half hour ago.

We spent the morning in the slums of Mathare serving at 4 different churches. In groups of 4, we preached, shared testimonies, sang, and worked with the kids for 2 services each. The first service was an English service, the 2nd in Swahili. Most of us preached twice each and we were in the services for about 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

After the services we took a quick break then returned to AIC Zion--one of the churches for a "children's rally". This was somewhat of a surprise and we walked in with about 300-400 children waiting anxiously for us. We were treated like royalty and the kids shared a number of songs with us. We then led them with a couple of skits, singing, and testimony.

I am BEYOND PROUD of the students on this team. They are functioning on very little sleep with amazing attitudes and servant hearts. Tomorrow half of us will return to Mathare and the other half will begin working with Pastor John Kisia in his churchplanting effort. We'll keep you posted!

I also uploaded some photos to facebook--be sure to check them out!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

We are Here! (or There!)

Quick update--we are all in Kenya! We arrived to the Nairobi airport at 8:30 pm their time (12:30 pm Eastern time)and reached the hotel about 10 pm. The hotel is beautiful, and the excited staff had dinner waiting for us! We are exhausted after about 28 hours total travel (including packing)! But we are also ready for tomorrow!

Please pray for our church services tomorrow morning as Bruce Herold, Steve Hrvatin, Joe Muckle, and I (Justin) preach at the services. Pray for the rest of the team as they work with the children (over 150 of them!) in 4 different churches!

We will try to post pictures soon!

Friday, March 5, 2010

At the airport!

Hello all!

Just FYI... we are at the airport in Pittsburgh waiting for the boarding! The morning went unbelievably well... Packing was fast and we were able to include all the supplise except for a few pots and pans and some books.

We checked in in about 30 minutes and had no problems. Students are very excited and ready! We'll be meeting Erica and Emily Trier in Detroit and then heading to Amsterdam!

Hopefully we'll be able to keep you all posted! Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This is the place to keep up to date with The Bible Chapel Keny'inz team as our trip develops March 5-13th! Stay tuned!