Kenya Mission Team A, Day 5
“I am so happy. Thank you so much. I have never felt so, so happy.” – Phoebe, Zone 2
We spent today focused on the youth in Zone 2, a region about 30 minutes from the center of Naivasha. We were met by Margaret, Joseph and David, the awesome mentors for Zone 2. Their groups had so much to share. The Fashion & Design Youth showed off custom dresses and curtains from their new businesses. Hairdressing & Salon graduates were excited to provide tours of their new shops. We heard about new motorbike repair businesses, new electrical repair and plumbing repair businesses and several new hospitality graduates eager to open their own cafes.
We captured as many stories as we could on video and took many pictures. One member of our team, Loran, got to meet her prayer partner, Francis. It was awesome to witness their joy. There was singing, dancing, hugging, smiling and love shared all around.
Mixed among the Cycle 3 graduating youth were a few prospective Cycle 4 newcomers. Meeting them made it easy to contrast the challenges of youth not in the program with youth in the program. Inua transforms lives, this we can be sure.
We got an in-depth walking tour of the neighbor and visited with a few of the youth’s businesses including the Florida Salon & Cosmetic, owned and operated by Rose, a Cycle 3 graduate. We popped in on Paul as he was working on a painting job and stopped by Phoebe’s Café where we all enjoyed her freshly baked mandazi (a sweet fried bread). We later enjoyed a delicious lunch at Lily’s Café, an Inua graduate from Cycle 2 who will also be catering Friday’s graduation reception. We are filled with joy and happiness to see so many youth who have transformed into healthy, happy young adults able to provide for themselves and others.
We filled the late afternoon with meetings with Inua’s Kenya Staff about an expansion to the agribusiness program and graduation preparations.
After much prayer and deliberation we have decided to hold Sunday worship services as normal. Should our region be placed under a Tropical Storm Warning at any time following this communication, services will be cancelled.
Traditional Service – 8:00 & 11:00am
Contemporary Service – 9:30am
As we watch and anticipate Dorian’s landfall in Florida, please continue to be vigilant in your preparations. Are you ready? Here is a simple checklist of things to have.
Kenya Mission Team A, Day 4
“Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.” John 1:16
It is another beautiful day in Kenya… beautiful weather, beautiful people, beautiful souls. We spent the day immersed with Inua youth. We started back at the church with a Zone 1 meeting. (Zone 1 is comprised of 4 separate groups.) Roughly 30 youth proudly shared their stories of transformation and success. A highlight was Philip W., a young man who gave thanks to God for allowing him to not only start his own video production business, but also form his own outreach to help drug users.
They each received their last letter of support and congratulations from the prayer partners in the US. There was much singing, picture-taking and capturing video messages of thanks to bring home to Florida. We can’t wait to share story after story with friends of Inua back home.
After a mission-team lunch at a local coffee shop, Sammy navigated some tricky roads through an area named Kayole. Here we met over 20 teens and young adults hoping to join Inua’s next cycle. This was an info-session of sorts. It served to give the youth more information about what Inua is all about while giving us a quick contrast to the morning’s group – those not yet in the program vs. those about to graduate.
We were struck by their honest, heartfelt expressions of hopelessness as well as the familiar aloofness of teens we know back home who have no clue what it takes to live on their own. It was in this meeting that Inua’s program stood out as the much-needed guide to usher youth, with no parent or role model, through challenging years toward sustainability and adulthood.
The grace of the Lord is continuing to open doors and shine upon this program, its mentors, volunteers, youth and staff. Thank you, God.
Kenya Mission Team A, Day 3
After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we were in Sammy’s spiffy passenger van on the way to Naivasha – our final destination. The shoulder of the road to Naivasha was brightened by grazing cows, donkeys, sheep and goats. There was even a wildlife sanctuary along the side of the highway and from our van we got to see zebra, wildebeest and giraffes!
The long journey has given our team a great sense of familiarity and respect for one another. Need advice on how to pee in an outhouse, Loran’s your gal. Wondering what animals we’ll see on the drive from Nairobi to Naivasha, just ask Katie. Want to know how close we are to the equator, Ivor’s got that. We’ve connected with each other like old friends. We have a nice balance of “first timers” eager to ask questions and “returners” who can draw attention to changes and the evolution of the program, landscape, and people.
We travel straight to Trinity Methodist Church for their 10am service. Singing, dancing, praising and connecting. We scattered into seats among the parishioners and join in as if we’d been there our whole lives. Florence, an Inua staffer, takes the lead as our guide. We also get to reconnect with Paul, the Executive Director of Inua and Kenya’s version of a District Superintendent.
After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we were back at the church to meet a group of Inua Youth who are about to graduate. Ivor Singer facilitated a chat via Skype with their prayer partners and the Forum class back in Winter Park. Their stories are remarkable and the emotions shared on both ends are powerful. It is amazing how a series of letters and prayers connect them. The youth here consider their prayer partners as true family. We can all feel it.
What a powerful gift God has given us to meet these youth in person and more fully understand how the Inua program has helped guide their transformation.
Kenya Mission Team A, Day 2
Even though we’ve lost 7 hours crossing the ocean and our sense of day/night/time is gone, we are still a happy bunch. We gathered at 3pm Dubai time (which is what? umm, subtract 8… 7am Saturday in Florida) for a quick devotion before boarding our flight to Nairobi. A few more in-air meals and movies and before we knew it, we were in Kenya!
We were met at the airport by Sammy, our exuberant driver who has been a friend to Inua Mission Teams for years. Sammy had us laughing all the way to our hotel, where we said quick goodnights and headed to bed.
We are thankful for a safe and uneventful journey to Kenya. We are thankful for pillows, showers and bottled water. We are thankful Loran was able to get her Visa approval as we checked through customs. We are thankful for one another. We are thankful for a loving God who has opened this opportunity for us to learn, grow and share His love on the other side of the globe.
Kenya Mission Team A, Day 1
Eight team members gathered at the Orlando Airport this morning, greeted by the amazing Carol Smith with prayers for a truly blessed departure and mission trip experience. We were met with smooth check-ins, easy TSA clearance, and seamless boarding (except for one small hiccup of a temporarily misplaced cellphone…um, Ivor. Oops, was that out loudJ)
We each received an envelope filled with personalized notes expressing love and prayer for our journey and the mission God has planned for us. He has brought each one of us to this place at this time. We might not know our role or how the trip may impact us or those in Kenya, but we are centered on having open hearts and loving spirits.
We settled in, side by side, for the 14-hour marathon to Dubai. The “Sleep Winner” of that flight drifted off for a whopping three hours. We have nearly four hours to spend in the Dubai airport. We are tired and overfed on airplane food, but cheerful and full of anticipation.
Sermon Series: Aug. 18- Oct. 6
Our next sermon series will focus on activating the unique strengths God has given us to further the work of His Kingdom. In this eight-week series, we will spend the first four weeks talking about why we serve within our church family and the second four weeks considering our call to serve outside the church. Our prayer is that this series will encourage and equip you to live into your unique calling.
Save the Date:
- On Sunday, Sept. 29, we will be holding a ministry fair, showcasing serving opportunities both inside the church and out in the community.
- Following the sermon series, we will have multiple opportunities to attend a “When Helping Hurts” workshop. We highly encourage participation in this workshop for everyone serving within one of our ministries. Dates forthcoming.
Invitation to Engage Your Strengths:
- We invite you to take the Gallup StrengthFinders 2.0 assessment. The book, Living Your Strengths, is a resource that frames how God has equipped each of us for our calling. After you take the assessment, update your Realm profile using your computer. Tell us your top 5 strengths and interests. Login at onrealm.org/fumcwp and follow this clickstream. My Profile > Edit Profile > Personal Information > Skills and Interests.
- Our Faith Journey Roadmap offers some pretty cool ideas for you and your neighbor. As a vibrant family, we have opportunities for every stage of life. We have options for visitors and attendees, for people fully engaged and committed, and even for ministry leaders. Grab a copy of the Roadmap on Sunday, Aug. 18.