Our Kenya Mission Team Has Been Doing Some Amazing Things.
Below you will find videos and daily updates about our mission team in Kenya, sent to us by CJ White.
If you are interested in joining a Summit Church mission trip, please email our Next Steps Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our church office at 970-247-4213.
The March Kenya Team has safely arrived in Nairobi and is currently checking into a hotel for a good night’s sleep after a long journey to see our extended community across the ocean. You can follow along with updated posts and videos as we continue this journey together. Thank you, Summit Church, for all your heart felt prayers and financial support. Without you, this mission trip would of never came to life… THANK YOU…
Today we went to Mukuru Kwa Njenja Slum (please don’t ask me to pronounce it if you see me in the church or in town) located in Nairobi. Pastor Jonathan Wombua noticed there were kids that were left home alone at very young ages when their parent(s) went out looking for work or went to work. The families that live in the slums make equivalent to about $1.00 a day, if that, and there is no childcare in the slums. The parents don’t want to leave their children alone when they go out to work, they don’t have a choice, they don’t have enough money to feed their kids throughout the day let alone pay for childcare when they go to work. Pastor Jonathan saw that these children were on their own during the day, so he started a school/day care for the kids in the church where the people gather on Sundays. The teachers that educate the kids volunteer their time and the smaller ones are being watched by volunteers also. Pastor Jonathon, through his ministry, is reaching more than 1,000 children. Right now, Pastor Jonathon is able to send three kids to college and two kids are in secondary school, which is like our high school. One of Pastor Jonathan’s main priorities is to feed the children one meal a day, praying that, through God, he will be able to increase it to two meals a day. Pastor Jonathon gets help through SERV International, which is a non-profit organization, that helps people around the world, by getting food to the people that need it most. Right now, SERV is also helping out in Turkey and Syria, where the recent earthquakes occurred.
Even though these children have nothing, most of them eating only one meal a day (which they get while they’re in school / daycare) and they do not have any toys to play with, they are happy, smiling, kids with joy in their hearts. When we arrived, they sang a song to everyone, welcoming us and continued with music while inside the church. Children of all ages were involved with singing and their voices put a huge smile on my heart. I believe that one of the most beautiful sounds is the sound of children giggling, laughing, playing and singing. Something about the pure innocence comes pouring out of their hearts and fills the space around them. I can’t help to open my heart and let in all of what I’m hearing, experiencing, and seeing. The kids also sang a song about God and the devil. It went: the door opened, and the devil came walking in I slapped the devil in the face and the devil cried and left God is so great. This is the type of joy these kids have in their hearts and the starting point was when Pastor Jonathon saw a need in the slum and through God children are now being fed one meal a day, getting educated and also taken care of when the parent(s) are out working or looking for work.
Thanks to all of you, the children were fed, and they have more cases to food, from SERV International. These kids will have more meals in the coming weeks ahead. Thank you, Summit Church, for the gift of food, which the kids received. Some of the mothers of the children were also given a packet of SERV food which will help feed their families good nutritious food. This is your tithes in action, helping to feed people, in Mukuru Kwa Njenja Slum, halfway around the world.
Today we woke early for the long drive to Obaga. We started the drive with a beautiful view of the moon setting. There was some gorgeous colors and a halo circling the moon. It was a clear morning, so the team spent about 10 minutes at the Great Riff Valley taking in the amazing site then back on the road. There were multiple things to see along the way. One of these sights included a few herds of antelope and zebras. Once we passed up Nukuru we drove through a part of Kenya’s tea plantations, which are harvested several times a week by workers hand picking only the top of the tea plants and only a few leaves at a time. They only pick the tea leaves that are in the right stage of growth then the pickers go back two to three days later to pick the ripe tea leaves again. This looked like very hard work and long days for the people picking the leaves and the way they do it, it leaves the tea plantation looking like perfectly groomed hedges. We were able to get out of the vans and spend about ten minutes, while Berry, explained to us some tidbits about tea plantations then back on the Road again. We finally made it to Obaga a little after 5:00PM. Tomorrow we will focusing on prepping all the medications for the medical clinic and of course visit the Jewels to pick up where we left off in January 22, which seems like such a long time ago.
Today the team walked down to the pond, which was Obaga’s only water source until the well was drilled in 2014. The pond was shared by everyone, it was where their cattle would drink their water, the women and kids would wash their cloths and the village would use that same water for drinking and cooking. More than once when I was at the pond some of the cattle would go to the bathroom while in the pond drinking. Right now Kenya is suffering from a drought, where the villages have lost over one million livestock, which for those families, is their main source of money to earn a living. Due to the drought the pond in Obaga is extremely low and rain is needed soon. There is a short video of the pond so you can have a visual. Merab is standing at the edge of the pond and I’m videoing where the pond water use to be during the rainy season. From the pond the team went to see the Jewels. It was the first time two of the team members seen the Jewels and three of the team members were reunited after a long time away. It was so great to see all of those women again after such a long time apart. The Jewels welcomed the team with songs of praise, which is their custom. These women have no instruments and yet their voices seems to build on one another, along with their faith and the words coming deep within their hearts, that place that some people are scared to go, creates both a beautiful and overwhelming experience within me. Once the team visited the Jewels we went back to Thomas’ home and prepared the medications for day one of the medical clinic on Thursday. This will be the first medical clinic since COVID and I’m praying that we don’t run out of medications. The doctors will also be testing all the kids for Malaria, the number one killer in children five and under. Malaria is a very big problem here due to both the availability and cost of the medication. It is heartbreaking how many parent(s) bury their children from a disease that is curable. Tomorrow the team will be starting early to get ready for the first day of a two day medical clinic.
Today the team had an early start in preparation of the medical clinic. When we arrived the tent was already full of people waiting for the clinic to open. The team got right to work bringing in all the medications to the pharmacy then organizing them so the pharmacy can run as efficiently as possible, getting intake set up with what they needed and helping out in any way we could. Just before the medical clinic opened everyone involved with the clinic gathered and prayed for the day. With a small team of five people we were stretched pretty thin with two team members working intake, two helping in the pharmacy and one helping the dentist. It was so busy I wasn’t able to get out and take any videos once we opened, I was able to get a small video of the pharmacy before we opened. We weren’t able to fit all the medicine on the table at once so there was more in boxes under and behind the tables. The Pharmacy did run out of one medicine they use for stomach issues, thankfully we were able to get two more boxes on our way back to Bondo. Its not much but it was all the pharmacist had. Hopefully tomorrow we can find more. We were told that we saw 600 people in one day and with tomorrow not being a market day we are expecting to be busier, but we don’t know for sure. I can tell you that the people in Obaga and the surrounding villages were very grateful for the medical clinic. The problem isn’t that they don’t have any doctors, Obaga has a dispensary with a doctor and a nurse. The main issue is the dispensary doesn’t have the meditations to treat the illness that the sick people have. They are very short in medications, so when a medical clinic comes, the people know there will be medications to treat their illnesses, along with a dentist. Could you imagine God giving you the gift taking care of and helping to heal the people that come to you for help and not being able to help due to the lack of medications? It must be really hard on them. Well, the people that came today were able to receive the medications to help heal their bodies and that is because of all of you. Yes, your tithes paid for a medical clinic where many people came, were seen and received the help they needed. Thank You Summit Church for making this medical camp happen and helping so many people. Tomorrow is another early day, day two of the two day medical clinic.
Today was day two of the two-day medical clinic. Since everyone was familiar with what jobs they had yesterday we all went to the same areas to work today. The medical clinic ran very smoothly and again the people that came to it were very grateful for the medical clinic and they were able to receive the medications that were needed to heal their bodies. We don’t get many kids in the Dentist, but today we had two. They looked so small in the big chair and when they saw the instruments their eyes went so big. The dentist took his time reassuring the kids that it will be ok. The dentist cared so much about his patients, especially when he was with the two kids. Both the kids had one tooth pulled and took it like champs. When the tears started to flow, the dentist was there for them. It was beautiful to witness how much compassion was given to the two kids. At the dental clinic they can only offer to pull the bad tooth or teeth. Cavities cannot be filled and there are no teeth cleanings due to the lack of instruments that are needed to carry out these procedures. For several of the patients it was the first time they had seen the dentist and even some of the adults were nervous or fearful about what was going to happen. Picture what it would look like if La Plata County had no dentist to care for the population’s teeth. This is what you have here in Obaga and the surrounding villages. The Dispensary is hoping to have a portable Dental Clinic that can come several times a year to offer more services to Obaga and the surrounding villages. The medical clinic closed a little early today, the medications were pretty slim, but nevertheless by the end of the second day the medical clinic saw a total of 1006 patients in two days. Once all the remaining medicines were put away and all the tables were back where they belonged, two of us were able to slip away and have some fun with the kiddos with the aid of two bottles of bubbles. They enjoyed chasing after the bubbles, trying to catch them and blowing on the stick themselves so they could make the bubbles. There was so much giggling and laughter my heart had a very big smile on it. Be sure to see the attached videos. The medical clinic was so busy I didn’t get a chance to shoot a lot of footage but there are a few short clips that hopefully will bring the medical clinic to life for you. Thank you, Summit Church, for supporting this medical clinic with your tithes and prayers. There are now 1006 people that were able to receive the care they needed to hopefully get their bodies healthy soon. This is your tithes in action, helping people around the world that don’t have access to medications to heal their bodies… THANK YOU!!!
Today we were able to leave one-hour later and some of the down time was much needed. Once we had devotion and breakfast we were geared up for the day. Four team members went to Obaga and worked beside the Jewels in the garden while Merob and I bought all the supplies for the Jewels Group A gift bags, which are full of the basic necessities. Once that was done, I was able to join the rest of the team in the garden.
When I arrived at the garden, I was able to see three of the team members working in the field right beside the Jewels helping with whatever needed to be done and I was sent to the tomato greenhouse since I had long sleeves on. When I went in, I saw another team member in there and saw the height of the main lines the tomato plants were tied to, to keep the tomatoes growing in the upward position and new I was in trouble. There was two team members, two Jewels and Samson. While I worked with Jane the other team member worked with Caroline (I hope that was her name) and Samson was by himself. I’m so short I didn’t even come close to reaching the main line where you tie all the other lines off on, I even tried going on my tippy toes and the isles between the tomato plants was pretty small, so I didn’t even want to chance jumping for the main line and landing back on a tomato plant. It was all good though, all of us had some good laughs then back to business of securing up the tomato vines. Thankfully, Jane was patient with me, and I tied all the lines at the bottom of the plant while she tied all the lines at the top. After the first couple of plants the both of us started to work well together and all of us got the job done. Out of all the crops the Jewels have, Kale produces the largest income and tomatoes are the second largest.
All of working in the garden stopped around 11:30 or 12ish and we went inside the Jewels building to get some much need cooling off. When I arrived, three if the team members were going through all of the jewelry that the Jewels make by hand. They are made out of clay, fired, then painted (glazed) and fired again. The detail on the Jewelry is phenomenal with even leaves and flowers pained on each one of the beads or they are glazed different colors. Once all the beads are done firing for the second time they are put on the ground and a circle of Jewels are around the newly made beads putting all of them together to form beautiful necklaces and earrings. I wish I was there to see the glazing stage to watch them put the tiny designs on the beads, maybe someday. The Jewels that do that piece are truly talented artist for sure. The Jewels also make plates, bowls, coffee cups, creamers, etc. out of clay to sell them in the market. These are all different ways they bring in the income that helps them to survive. Some of the Jewels also have their own jobs. For example, Grace has a small tailoring shop (she took my measurements and is making me a Kenyan shirt, which I know I will love) and Mary makes soap.
Some of the team members were able to catch up with some of their friends while two of the team members were able to form some new relationships, especially with the kids. Relationships are forming and others are deepening with this amazing community across the ocean. It is such a sight to see, my heart doesn’t have the words to describe it.
Then it was back to Thomas and Merob’s home to pack all the basic necessities into cloth bags to give to the Jewels tomorrow (Sunday) as a gift from all of you at the church. I know they will love it. Once we were done for the day the team loaded into the van and headed to Lake Victoria, which a part of the lake is also in Bondo. Lake Victoria is so big it honestly looks like an ocean. We were able to spend about 30 minutes there which was the perfect end to a hot day in the sun. Tomorrow we’ll be starting our day going to the church and then off to spend some quality time with the jewels and their kids.
Today is Sunday so we all had a special treat going to church with some of the local people. Most of the service was in Lou, the language of the village, and what verse that was about to be read was in English. I personally like the singing the best. Almost all the songs were played without instruments except for the offering song, which had a single drum in the background of all the amazing voices that were being lifted up to God. Their singing comes from deep within, which helps me go a little deeper with each song until my heart is accepting which helps me go as deep as I can. I love that about music, how I can understand and relate to a song at a level that is usually scary to go. There was a lot of the service I didn’t understand, but when it came to the choir singing, even though I don’t speak the language, my heart understood and that is all that matters to me.
Once the service was over we all walked back to Thomas and Merob’s home to get ready for time with the Jewels and their kids. First came feeding the kids lunch, which consisted of rice, ugali, fresh cabbage, chabati, meat, (beef, fish or chicken) and of course greens (Kale). Ugali is one of the staple foods here and is ground corn mixed with water and cooked until it becomes firm. Chabati is unleavened bread which is very popular here. I learned something new today, If the kid says no meat, then they get either fish or chicken and if they say meat, it looks like either sheep, goat or beef. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many kids that all of you fed today I can tell you that there were a lot of full bellies and smiling faces, especially when the lollipops came out. Any kind of sugar is a special treat here. Sometimes the only time the kids get some candy, which they call sweets, or something like a soda, is when a team comes to visit Obaga. Once all the kids were fed the team ate and then it was off to get some much-needed kid time.
One of the team members hit it off extremely well and so many kids were flocking around her. It was really cool to stand back and watch this team member create relationships with kids of all ages. She just knew how to interact with them in a way that the kids felt like she was an old friend coming to give them a surprise visit. Some of the other team members were talking to the Jewels to deepen the new relationships or taking their already established relationships even deeper. I had two kids that wanted to video so I showed them how to video and off they went videoing so many things. They didn’t care what they videoed. They wanted to see what they created by just pushing the start button and moving my phone form one place to another. I was just following them around saying go for it and they kept shooting away. Two of their videos are posted and Junior videoed the one with the kids sucking on their lollipops up against the white van, and Newton shot the one that starts at the jewels gate and shows some of the older kids finishing up their lollipops and hanging out. I asked them if it was ok to post their videos so all of Summit Church could see it and I would tell everyone who shot the video footage, their faces lit up. I think Obaga has two future videographers. It was fun for me to follow them around and seeing what piqued their interest and how much they went from place-to-place videoing adults, kids, plants, bugs, and whatever else they could find.
Once the kid time was over it was time to give the gift bags to the Jewels Group A members. There are 60 within the group and they are the main ones. They needed to divide the Jewels up by where they live since they were growing in numbers very fast. Today they have about 600 Jewels coming from Obaga and the surrounding villages. Once the Obaga Jewels knew what and how to do things like growing a garden, run a savings and loans program, raise chickens, cows, and goats they went to the surrounding villages and started teaching those widows how to do what they have learned… anyways back to the gift bags from all of you. Each gift bag had oil, loose tea, rice, sugar, bisques (like a cookie but not as sweet), a matchbox, body soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a lotion bar, and laundry soap, which is a long hard soap that is also used for dishes. I want to thank all of you at Summit Church for making today happen. You fed a lot of kids and gave gifts to 60 Jewels which consisted of their much-needed basic necessities. Without you none of this would have ever been possible. It amazes me how God works through people to help someone across the street or across the world. THANK YOU! Tomorrow is kids time and I’m so looking forward to spending time with all the children.
Well today was one of the days I look most forward to, yes, it was kid day. The team was up and ready to go so we could all get some much-needed kid time. When we arrived, the kids greeted us with lots of big smiles some laughing and of course the high fives, fist bumps and handshakes. Once the games for all the kids were set up, one of the team members took over and all the fun began. The games were for team building and some of the kids were able to play while the others cheered the players along with lots of laughing. The water games received the most laughs.
I know I have said this before… but I can’t say it enough… one of my most favorite sounds is the sounds of kids giggling, singing and laughing. I don’t know… it’s a sound coming from a pure big heart, and it has never failed to put a big smile on my heart and helps to open my heart a little more. I do have some video footage of the games, but honestly, I was having too much fun being involved so my phone went into my pocket.
While the older kids were playing the games along with cheering for the teams they wanted to cheer for, one of the team members noticed that one group of kids seemed liked they were being left out. This team member saw a hole, got up, gathered the kids and filled the hole. There was also a teacher helping to fill two holes, one is the games with the tiny kids and of course the language barrier due to the ages. These kids were around five years old and up. I heard laughing from beyond where the bigger kids were competing in their games so I went over there with my phone in my hand to shoot some footage. What I saw melted my heart. These tiny kids were learning to play duck duck goose. The team leader was leading the game the teacher was interpreting and the kids were learning. Quite a few of them were confused at first, but they were still having fun. Soon after I arrived at the little kids’ games, some of the older kids that were cheering for the older kids, heard all the giggles and laughing, which made them curious, and they left the older games and watched the tiny kids learn new games. Pretty soon I was also having a great time, along with the other team member, playing games with all these kids. I’m so grateful that, that team member saw a hole and acted. We learned a game that they play, and they learned to games that we play: the hokie pokie and duck duck goose. I’m very grateful to the head teacher that allowed us to come and have fun with the kids during school time. Although the time with the kids went by too fast, I will have everlasting memories marinating in my heart for years to come. I also watched all of the smiles on each of the team members face while both watching and playing with the kids.
Once the games were over all of the kids lined up for a lollipop, a very special treat for them. Some of the kids also received a pencil. Unfortunately, we had 280ish pencils and there was about 1000 kids so not every child received a new pencil. Pencils, pens, rulers, paper and so on, are all very expensive for these families, especially on top of the child’s tuition fees, so bringing items like that also helps out the kids and their families.
After the lollipops and pencils were handed out, the team gathered with some of the girls and talked about their bodies and what it goes through when they start their menstrual cycle. The girls are really shy about this topic so to get them laughing we start with an overdramatized skit then that topic is discussed. Once we are done talking about it, the girls then write down questions on a piece of small paper, all the questions are gathered and then the team members that want to answer the questions stand up and answer away. The teachers really don’t teach the kids along with their parents. This is the reason Thomas asks us to have a talk with the girls and the males have a talk with the boys every time we come. Our team is all females so Thomas took the boys and talked to them.
When it was time to leave, I felt my heart become a little heavy and my eyes has a little water in them, knowing that I will not see these kids again until 2024, as long as it in line with Gods plan for me. Once we left, we visited an open market in Bondo, where we are staying. Three of the team members never been to a market and it was a new experience for them. There are live chickens to be sold, different kinds of fish and other meats along with minnows. There are booths on both sides of the walkway with people trying to sell their products.
Once we left the market it was time to go back to the Don Hotel for the evening. Tomorrow is also one of my most favorite things to do here, we are helping to mud a new home, which would not be happening without all of the support from you and Summit Church. Thank you for living out our mission by Being Jesus Christ to the World… THANK YOU!!!
Last night we had a very good storm and it lasted through the morning. The rain was much needed since it’s very dry here. People’s livestock are dying due to lack of water and the pond was extremely low. The storm was to have a break and start back up in the early afternoon, around the same time the team will be helping with the mud home. I didn’t know if they would cancel the mudding and was grateful when Thomas informed me that the mudding will happen even if it’s raining out. When we left, the storm was staring back up, thankfully everyone on the team had packed their rain gear.
When we arrived, we walked in about 200 meters before we arrived at the home of Benta, who is a very strong woman. Her husband died 18 years ago and in this culture the husband’s family will take the land and home away from the widow, leaving them with nothing, even if the widow has a child or children. This is against the law, but the government turns a blind eye to this injustice and allows the villages to sort it out. The women have no rights and are abused in so many ways. This doesn’t happen every time though. Sometimes the husband’s family may get along or at least tolerate the widow so they can stay on the land and in their home. At some point the husband’s family will force the widow to marry someone within the family and if the woman refuses the husband’s family will either chase the widow and her children away, leaving them homeless or the widow will run away. Benta was in this situation, and she was chased off into the brush. She had no place to go, but she not only did she survive, Benta found a way to purchase a piece of land. Along with another woman’s help, Benta built herself a very small mud home. It takes a lot of courage and strength to do something like this and Benta has it.
It was raining when we arrived, so some people pitched in and helped put up a tarp to help keep dry during the rain. This tarp had holes in it, but it still held back the rain. I didn’t hear anyone complaining and what I did hear was joyful singing. The mud homes frame was mainly done then the workers started on the roof. Once the mud was ready everyone waited for Benta to put the first mud brick on the bed side of the home. I asked why they does the mud brick need to go on the bed side but they didn’t really know, it’s tradition and I personally think it’s pretty cool. Once the first brick of mud was done we all went to work mudding the home. When your looking at an empty frame it feels like you’ll never get it all done, but with everyone pitching in the mud home is usually done with the first stage in less than two hours. The Jewels are wicked fast at mudding the home along with helping the team. I honestly love to help mud a home; we get to work side by side with the Jewels. Regardless of if it’s raining or incredibly hot, it doesn’t take any joy away from them. The rain did subside and before I knew it, it had stopped. Each one of the mud homes that God allowed me to help with has been ingrained into my heart and I don’t think I will ever forget any of them. Their names, the community that comes to help, the relationships that you build, the joy that you see and feel deep within, how could I ever forget.
Once the first stage of the mudding is done, a string is placed across the door the home is prayed over. The string is cut then everyone starts to go inside while singing praises to God, and the woman of the new mud home is presented with the gifts that everyone bought, and she will thank everyone for the gift. Sometimes the woman will start off telling their story while someone will interpret what the woman is saying. It is very humbling that God allows me to be a part of this and I’m so grateful for every home He has allowed me to help with. When it was time to go, it was very hard for me to say bye to everyone and just like yesterday my heart felt a little heavy while I held back a few tears knowing that I would not see any of them again until 2024, as long as that is Gods plan for me.
Right now we are driving to Kisumu and will spend the night in a hotel, the last evening of our mission trip. For me the time flew by so fast, maybe even too fast. My heart is filled with everlasting memories that will not be extinguished know matter how long I live. Tomorrow morning four of the team members will be starting the first day of a three day safari for some well deserved down time, and I will be going to Dominion School, which is Thomas and Merob’s school then finishing off at ITHM.
None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for all of you. This is your tithes and prayers in action, helping people that live both in your community and across the world. All of you helped make this mission trip happen. The two-day medical clinic, playing and feeding the children, the three mud homes, (the team had time to help with one, the other two will be built very soon), the gift baskets (filled with the daily essentials to survive along with a couple of items that are considered very special treats, like a mattress), the well-deserved gift bags filled with necessities for the Jewels, the extra malaria test kits and medications, all of it was made possible through your support. Thank you, Summit Church for all of your heartfelt prayers, your tithes, and your donations. All of you have impacted so many lives in a very positive ways… THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! from deep within my heart.
Well, the mission trip officially ended this morning, and my heart is filled with thoughts and memories. My words will not do justice to what I feel inside.
One of the team members ask Thomas and Merab “What do you say to someone who asks ‘why don’t you just send the money over instead of going on a mission trip?’” It became a discussion that we talked about for some time. Merab said “it’s not about the money it’s about the love.”
How do you even begin to explain that to someone that has never been on a mission trip?
With that question and what Merab and Thomas said I looked back at my prior mission trips and every one of them have a deep place within my heart for different reasons. Some of them are from the relationships I have built, some of them are from doing the projects with kids, adults, and the Jewels, some of them are from playing with the kids, some of them are from watching other team members bloom once they find their sweet spot and so on. I remember my first mission trip in 2009 to HOREC (Hope for Orphans Rescue Center). The team divided in two groups. One group did the painting, and the other group made the swing set. I was on the group making the swing set. During this time, the kids were out of school due to a teacher strike, and we were keeping the kids away from the outdoor project as we had some sharp tools and we didn’t want any of the kids getting hurt. So, we worked away and if it wasn’t for the two people that were driving us from point A to point B, I don’t think we would have ever gotten the work done. I learned many things while working with the drivers, like digging holes the Kenyan way, making cement from scratch and using mattresses as a wall to keep the wind from blowing away the sand, how to use a hose with water in it as a level, and finding even more uses for duct tape. I’m sure there are more, but I’m pretty sure you get the point. What really stuck with me as a huge lesson, is that we missed the perfect opportunity to build some relationships with the older kids. We could have taken the time to get to know them, showing them how to use some of the tools we had (especially the two power tools), along with learning from the kids. I’m sure they knew how to dig holes the Kenyan way, how to make and mix the cement, they could have pushed the wheelbarrow, and maybe even some of them knew how to use a hose as a level. I was so caught up in the work that I missed a lot of opportunities to get to know these children, show them some things about the power drill and saw, but most of all I threw away the opportunity to also learn from them and create relationships with them. You think at that point I would have learned that mission trips are not about the projects but know that it took multiple more trips for me to figure that out.
What made me realize that mission trips are about something else is when I injured myself just before I was to go on a mission trip. It wasn’t a small injury that I could wrap up and move on, this injury prevented me from doing some of the projects that I had already committed to. I was thinking about dropping out of the trip, since I believed I wouldn’t do what God sent me to do… to get work done. A good friend told me “I know you think mission trips are about the work but they’re not. Mission trips are about the community the friendships”. It was very hard for me to comprehend, but I decided to go anyways. On that mission trip, not one person said anything about what I considered “my limitations” and instead I did what I could. When the mission trip ended and the team left, I went to ITHM where I had committed to do some painting, which I couldn’t do, due to my injury. When I informed Jennifer, she didn’t mind at all, she told me to play with the kids. I could not believe that this was Jennifer’s response, I mean I was to work and to stick with my commitments. Not one word was said, no one suggested that I shouldn’t go on the trip. I wasn’t put down due to my limits. Honestly, I had no idea why this was happening. I was very grateful that I was still useful and yet I was confused.
While on that trip I did a lot of thinking and talking to God about mission trips. This is when I truly believed what my good friend had told me about mission trips. Mission trips were not about the work, but I still didn’t know what they were about for me. I would watch all the other team members making friendships knowing what to say while I was in the background not knowing what to do. This is when I realized that by surrounding me with these people, God was trying to show me how to open my heart just a little and accept the love that everyone was extending to me. This was very hard, but through all the mission trips God has allowed me to attend, I have grown closer to God and the people a little more each time, and I can never thank God or the people enough. With each mission trip, and between the mission trips I hope that I keep going in the right direction, toward God. I don’t know how much longer God will be calling me to go to Obaga, it could be for many years to come or maybe next year God will open a different door, and even if that door has just a slight crack in it, I will know that God wants me to go to another place in Kenya, Africa, or anywhere else. I both dread that day and am waiting for that day to come. If God does send me somewhere else, I believe I have grown in Him to trust and trust Him enough to lead me further, both with my walk with Him and how I extend and accept His love and extend His love and accept the love of others.
So, now that I have been what Brene’ Brown calls “vulnerable” let me ask you these question…
What do you think mission trips are about?
Have you been feeling a nudge from God asking you to participate on a mission trip or to help on one in some way? As a chaperone to help with the Summit Youth? To help out with Native Hope?
If so, and you haven’t reached out yet, what is preventing you from going on a mission trip?
As for me, I am convinced that mission trips are about God’s love flowing like a river through you, while God’s love is also flowing like a river through the people you travel to see. To learn and grow in each other and in God.
Thank you, Summit Church, for all that you have done so this and all the other mission trips are more than just a “maybe someday” or a “unrealistic pipe dream”. All of you have supported mission trips in so many ways. Summit Church has sent mission trips to different areas in the United States and throughout the world thanks to all of you… THANK YOU!!!
Lastly… attached are two videos one called Benta’s story (this one is hard to hear it, there is hammering in the background and there is wind and of course people talking in the background since it was a gathering to build Benta a mud home. It’s a celebration here.) and one called prayer over home (this one the prayer is in Lou and you cannot understand a word of it, but for some reason I can feel something inside of me through the prayer I thought maybe you would to).
Did this post inspire to join us on a future mission trip? If you are interested in joining a Summit Church mission trip, please email our Next Steps Director at email@example.com or call our church office at 970-247-4213.