Written by Juanita Fox
On Wednesday, February 23, at 6:30am, a group of residents, family and team members began their long-anticipated journey to serve with Missions of Hope International in Nairobi, Kenya. After a 13-hour flight, they arrived safely in Nairobi on Thursday, February 24, where they were greeted at their guesthouse, Gracehouse Resort, with dancing and fresh mango juice.
The following updates were provided daily through Thursday, March 2.
Friday, February 25
“Wow, today was such a blessing as we visited the Pangani center which Garden Spot has been supporting. While there, we had orientation where we dived into the history and mission of MOHI, visited several of Pagani’s classrooms, walked thru the neighboring community, visited a few homes praying over each family and saw the top notch medical/dental/skilled clinics. MOHI is making such a difference in these family’s lives.” – Brandon Adams, Graphic Designer and Trip Co-Leader
Saturday, February 26
“Saturday was an amazing day we had a Long bus ride over rough country roads to reach the MOHI boarding schools. The boys school presented us with a Kenyan dance to greet us. Then we were welcomed by a large assembly with a typical Kenyan greeting and singing, after which, Jodi and Judy gave their testimony to all the students at the boy’s school. The testimonies served as a valuable lesson, to show that others endure hardship, but preserver when they put their trust in the Lord to help them through. I lead a group of boys in the “Chicken Dance” and the “Cupid Shuffle” line dance. A good time was had by all.” – Tony der Kinderen, Garden Spot Village resident since May 2018
Sunday, February 27
“It was an honor to preach at Outreach Hope Church Pangani and partner with resident, Nancy Heckman, as she shared her personal testimony. Through suffering and loss God shapes who we are to build a contentment in us that can only come from God (The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12). The church celebrated their teenage youth as they graduated from one grade to the next. They invited us into the celebration with them by sharing their chocolate cake with us. The adventure continued as we met up with Alicia Stewart, MOHI’s Partnership Engagement Manager, and her husband, Tim, for lunch at a local Ethiopian restaurant. God’s Blessings are abundant!” –Karyn Nancarvis, Chaplain
Monday, February 28
“It’s hard to put into words how emotional today was. We were blessed to interact with all 17 of the Garden Spot sponsored children. Gifts were given out from each sponsor and we sat with them while they explored the items received. Our team handed out dresses from Dress a Girl Around the World to each of the girls. Tony provided neck ties for each of the boys. We had the opportunity to show the kids videos from their sponsor back home and recorded messages to bring back. Home visits with our students rounded out the day. We had the opportunity to pray with each family. I will never be the same!” – Jeannine Perry, Infection Preventionist
Tuesday, March 1
Today we celebrated JOY!
JOY comes when you put
“We had an exciting day at the Giraffe Centre with the Garden Spot sponsored children, allowing us in this casual setting to experience the joy of friendship. There were lots of firsts for the kids today: riding on the bus thru town, meeting and feeding giraffes, lunch at KFC (Yes, those are here too) and experiencing life beyond their day-to-day home life. Holding the hands of the children, seeing their smiles and hearing our laughter echoed the JOY of new-found friendships developed during our time together.” – Jodi Lefever, Volunteer Services Administrative Assistant
Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 & 3
Thursday, March 3 was the last day at the School in Pangani, Kenya. Wednesday and Thursday, they taught VBS to the students in the school with lessons on Jonah and Jesus. As fruitful as it has been to see updates from the team, it has been far more rewarding to be there as Vanessa, Edna Jean’s daughter, reflected on her day with VBS yesterday.
“Today was the first day of two days of VBS that we are doing with the 4th graders at Pangani School. I taught the bible lesson on Jonah. The focus of the story was not just the big fish—but about God’s big love for everyone in the story. With Judy as the sea captain and Tony as Jonah, we brought the story to life. In another station, they made a craft based on the story. The theme of love continued with a time of singing and dancing about “God’s Deep Deep Love.” At a final station, they played games. It was a privilege and pleasure to be able to share about God’s love through the story of Jonah. But it was even better to be able to give them love through smiles, hugs, and our kind words.” – Vanessa Moore