A People Carrying the Hope & Joy of the Lord
What a day in Irigithathi, Kenya. Today we worked at the school, repairing one of the classrooms, and we had the privilege of sitting in on one of 410 Bridge’s Business classes with some students in the community. Today would be seen by many as a “work” day. It was a work day, as so much work was done on our hearts through the people of Kenya.
We arrived at the school and were given a brief introduction of what was expected of us while repairing one of the classrooms. The #1 rule was not to work all day, which was odd because that is what we thought we were there for. The expectation was to work a little, and then go play with the kids or go hangout with some of the leaders. The heart of the Kenyan people is so pure, never focusing on what has to be done and always leading with the hope and joy given through connecting with people.
Following the work at the school we got to sit in on a Business Startup Training class that 410 Bridge provides through one of their 5 pillars of a community’s development. This Class is focused around the spiritual, economic, and social approaches to business. The greatest moment in the class was when people began to share the breakthrough they have experienced when they put God 1st and take hold of seeking knowledge and the resources around them to pursue success. There were stories of people getting off of the streets, begging, and coming together to be a blessing to their community through investing in what they already have. The hope and joy of the Lord that these people embody was so inspiring to us.
My heart is fully captured by the Kenyan people. The way that they trust God, the way that they love people, and the way that they care for not the success of themselves but the success of their people. From our view they don’t have much, but from their overflow of hope and joy they show that they have everything they need in the Lord’s provision and timing. I have been filled up way more than I could ever pour out to the Kenyan people. Each one of them have been preparing for us, I believe before we started or even thought about preparing for them. The Kenyan people are passionate and purposed, truly believing and living in Romans 15:13.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13
– Brittany (Brooks) Pollard
Today’s experience was an amazing one to say the least. We attended a local church in the Irgithathi area called the African Church of Kenya, ACK. The service was a life changing experience full of music, laughter, deep prayer, and thorough sermons on Isaiah and 2nd Timothy. Though we couldn’t understand the local language we enjoyed the sound of their native tongue and loved the thought and time that they put into the entire thing. The music was sung by the locals and consisted of songs about God and the amazing power and love that He shares with the world. Half way through the sermon everything was stopped for the auction of a chicken and a bag of beans. Those in the local community were thrilled to see such items up for grabs, but we were looking in awe as a chicken hung from the hands of the auctioneer. It was definitely something you wouldn’t see on a normal day in America.
Our group leader, pastor Kyle Wall, actually bought the chicken to much of our amazement, but kindly donated it back to the church stating,” I don’t think I can take this on the plane.” The sermon continued as if nothing had happened and afterwards Kyle gave a quick sermon and we concluded our service. The church they had was an amazing thing to see. Just a run down, tin shack with plastic chairs and cheap metal on the windows, but the great truth that made it so amazing was that it was a place of worship.
With faith you don’t need a fancy church and a huge audience. All you need is the gospel and the love in your heart for Jesus Christ. This trip keeps getting better and better with all the people I am meeting and all the members I came here with from Faith Promise.
– Chase Perry
Day 1 was travel, travel, travel. We left Knoxville after a flight delay at 5:30 pm and arrived in Kenya on Friday night at 10:20pm. After going through customs and getting our baggage, we finally left the airport and traveled about 20 minutes to our stay for the night. We got to bed around 1:00am.
Day 2 started early at 7:00am with wake-up followed by breakfast and devotion then traveling 3 1/2 hours to our location. We had an incredible opening/welcome ceremony at the Primary School with the local community. Then we took a tour of the school grounds and followed that with a meeting from the Leadership Council. After the meeting, we drove to our accommodations for the week and had dinner and some time to process and talk about the day. We are still very tired and going to bed early tonight!
– Katy Creasman, Global Missions Administrative Assistant
Today we began our morning at the station for 91.5 Dominion Radio. Pastor Brandon (headphones in pic) from Caribbean Christian Fellowship (CCF) gave up his weekly radio show for our team to share and play some live worship.
Ben, Tucker, Alex, Aaron and Pastor Brandon
After our time at the radio station we spent most of the afternoon at the New Horizon Juvenile Rehabilitation Center where we purchased and installed a basketball goal and a pole for net ball.
Tonight we are having a true Persian dinner. One of the medical students (Mena) is cooking for us as a special treat.
Ben, Pastor Mike and Alex
Our team arrived in St. Kitts on Saturday and enjoyed a home cooked dinner at the Comer’s. We then spent the evening preparing for Sunday services.
We started bright and early on Sunday morning at Caribbean Christian Fellowship (CCF), the local church the Comer’s attend here in St. Kitts, with worship rehearsal and a time of prayer. FP Worship Pastor Tucker McGinnis and Ben Baker led us in worship with an acoustic worship set, and Pastor Mike shared from Matthew 14.
Our team met several students from the medical school and veterinarian school from different nationalities. We were overwhelmed at how hospitable the people at CCF were to our FPC team.
After church service our team rehearsed with several members of the CCF worship team for an evening worship event. Then, Sunday evening we had a special worship event.
Tomorrow morning we will go live on the local radio station, then build a basketball goal for the local juvenile detention center.
– Mike Baker, Mission Trip Leader and North Knox Campus Pastor
While the rain had put a damper on some of our activities, it has also opened up some opportunities that we have not had in the past.
Monday we started out visiting Dexia school. When we have visited in the past, there were five small classrooms with 20 to 40 students per room, and we got to spend about 5 to 10 minutes in each. Today, because of the rain, there were only about 25 students total, all in one classroom. We got to spend quite a bit of time with them, and got to give them a lot more individual attention. In the photo above, the children were singing Happy Birthday Josie, who celebrated her 16th birthday today.
After Dexia, we headed to Bambou. When we got there the school was closed. Instead of being disappointed, we toured the school, and probably got a better opportunity to get a feel for the size and lighting issues that they deal with.
And as if they had not impressed me enough, we went out back to find the students who have come on the trip with us praying over the school. Can’t wait to see the impact these young people are going to have on their own schools when they get home and share their experiences.
Since we usually attract attention everywhere we go, many local Haitians came to see what we were doing, and we ended up gathering all together and praying for the school together.
Then Tonja and I got to spend a few minutes talking to Charles, the Haitian child that we sponsor through 410 Bridge. He has grown so much since we first met him. If you are looking for a way you can make a big impact, child sponsorship not only changes that child’s life, but has a ripple effect through all the people that child will some day impact. In addition, when a school gets enough children sponsored, then there is also a benefit to the rest of the school as programs will be implemented for all the classrooms.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I stopped counting at around 160 kids when we visited Reno in the afternoon. And once again, the team impressed me with their willingness to jump into the chaos. If you look closely, you will find them scattered throughout all of the children.
At the end of the day, we got one more chance to celebrate Josie.
– Dave Breaux, Haiti Mission Trip Leader