from Julie Rhie
Participating in the Frontline-Global Impact Medical Missions team to Kenya was a remarkable experience and a blessing. It is incredible to see how God is working around the world and to experience a glimpse of His power and glory. I learned a great deal from meeting and working alongside the Kenyan Christians who are living by faith and full of joy. Thank you for your prayers, our team remained relatively healthy and even when we found ourselves in precarious situations, God provided and protected our team. I am thankful for the opportunity to share in the work for His Kingdom and for your partnership in this endeavor. I believe the Kenyans experienced the love of God seeing that we came from across the world to partner with them and that it was in God’s intent for our paths to cross.
We worked in the infamous Kibera slum of Nairobi, which is known worldwide for its poverty and substandard living conditions. Approximately 1.3 million people live in 600 acres of land and more than half of the residents are children under 15 years old. AIDS has orphaned many children and there is constant ethnic unrest and economic hardship within Kibera. Amongst the condensed living conditions, garbage and sewage strewn streets, the nauseating odors, poverty and apparent hopelessness, Pastor Timothy started the Calvary Evangelistic School where they educate and feed hundreds of children. I initially felt discouraged in that any contribution we could make was insignificant in proportion to the magnitude of the problem but I was reminded that although we may be unable to see the full fruit of labor here on earth, we can trust that God uses it for His glory and that we can look forward to seeing its full impact in heaven. I was also encouraged by Pastor Timothy who shared with us Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” He does not deny that one can observe much suffering, but that he triumphs by choosing joy. Although he may feed and educate hundreds of children and desire better a future for them all, what he wants most for the children is a relationship with God and the assurance of salvation.
We camped 8 nights in the Kenyan Bush with the Maasai (Ewuaso-Naivasha in the Rift Valley) working with the African Inland Church.Dry thorny bushes cover the landscape with an occasional acacia tree. Cars are nonexistent, a few had bicycles and trucks would pass infrequently through town to deliver people or goods. Families live on secluded compounds called a minyattas in mud/dung huts, which are sectioned off by gangly cacti. People walk great distances to reach school, “town” or church. Door to door evangelism takes on a new meaning when you walk 2 miles to the next home. The Maasai speak their own language but those generally 40 and under also speak Swahili and English. The Maasai are encouraged to live traditional lives by the Kenyan government but there is a progressive movement against polygamy and female circumcision. The church is faced with challenges of proximity and lifestyle.
Many Maasai live isolated nomadic lifestyles which makes discipleship and fellowship difficult. The clinic created a great deal of curiosity, many had never seen foreigners in real life and it was a great opportunity for the local church to introduce the Gospel to new believers and to encourage Christian Maasai to learn more about the church. We treated bacterial infections, parasites and malaria in addition to less serious cases in addition to health education on AIDS, dehydration and personal hygiene.
- Children following you everywhere and asking “How are you?, How are you?” and wanting to shake your hand. They would tell me their name and quiz me later to see if I remembered. It meant so much to them if you remembered their name. I find it difficult to remember my own name =)
- An evening of Maasai Christian praise and worship; dancing and singing according to Maasai cultural norms. It was amazing to participate in this unique expression of praise and we agreed that it was a preview of worship in heaven.
- Witnessing five people accept Jesus Christ: 3 during home visitation (both men were named Julius), a woman walking on the path into town and a middle school student participating in the children’s ministry.
In addition those with medical backgrounds, God composed a team with talent in teaching, drama and music and most of all the desire to see people come to know the Gospel. Thank you again for partnering with me in this opportunity.