In mid-November 2022 Dr. Wallace and Mary Kamau visited Garden Spot Village, closing the circle on an international journey of friendship surrounding the work of Missions of Hope International (MOHI).
The Kamaus founded Missions of Hope International (MOHI) in Nairobi Kenya in 2000. MOHI’s holistic approach to community development includes child sponsorship, schools, medical centers and churches.
Garden Spot’s original connection to MOHI dates to 2010, when Garden Spot Village team member, Brandon Adams spent time working with the Kamaus in Nairobi, Kenya. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Brandon was prompted to reconnect with his friends to see if there was a way Garden Spot Village could support MOHI’s work.
In the months before Brandon reached out to the Kamaus, they were working on some long-term planning and envisioning for MOHI. They began to think about untapped resources and recognized that mission organizations often overlook people who are retired. They wondered, would there be a way to involve people who are retired in our ministry? Would they be willing to come for a month or more and teach something that is important to them? Could we teach people to quilt or cross-stitch?
Mary says, “In Kenya, when an older person speaks, we lean in to listen. When Brandon reached out to see if we were interested in connecting to Garden Spot Village, it was wonderful, because it was something we had already wanted to explore.”
The relationship with MOHI started small; Brandon coordinated child sponsorship opportunities and a fair trade pop-up sale in December 2020.
Over the following two years, the relationship deepened. Wallace and Mary invited Garden Spot Village to visit to learn more about the work of MOHI. In February 2022, a team of residents and team members spent two weeks in Nairobi, connecting with sponsored children, teaching bible school and learning about MOHI’s work. While in Kenya, the group invited Wallace and Mary to visit New Holland.
When Wallace and Mary planned a trip to the United States in November 2022, Garden Spot Village was on the list. Their month-long journey took them to 12 churches and communities in nine states from Pennsylvania to California.
They were very excited to learn more about Garden Spot Village and Lancaster County. Their whirlwind three days in New Holland included time sharing about their work, connecting with Garden Spot’s executive leadership team, enjoying Amish dinners and taking a buggy ride to a one-room schoolhouse in East Earl.
Mary says, “We know this is just the beginning of our relationship with Garden Spot Village. I don’t think it was a coincidence that in 2019 we believed we should work with retired people who want to keep giving. We can’t wait to see what else God has planned.”