Today was our last day in Maasai Mara. We went on a sunrise safari game drive. As a team we were grateful to experience God’s beautiful creation.
Today was our last day in Maasai Mara. We went on a sunrise safari game drive. As a team we were grateful to experience God’s beautiful creation.
With the ringing of the alarm clock, a long and exciting day stars at 4:00 a.m. After 3 days of VBS and serving, I was exhausted, but my excitement could not be contained. The flight was so special. We took a small plane with the capacity of only 12 passengers, and we could sit next to the pilot. The place where the plane landed in Masai Mara could not even be called an “airport”, it was just an open flat area. The journey started with such a special flight, and more interesting and exciting things were yet to come!
After landing in Masai Mara, we got in our safari jeeps to head to the camp. On the way to the camp, completely new scenes appeared before my eyes. I saw some wild beast aside the road. As the car continued going, I saw many other wild animals. The most exciting part of the journey to the camp was crossing the river. It was truly an experience.
Tipilikwani Camp, where we’re gonna spend our next two nights at. It was a beautiful place set inside of a savannah. The ecology is unparalleled, with greenery all around. While we were waiting to check in, I was lying comfortably on top of the hammock. With the music and birds chirping in my ears, it became one of the best and most relaxing moments of my trip!
After lunch, we went to visit a Maasai village. People from the village were so friendly and enthusiastic, and they danced to welcome us. They first danced a “welcome dance”, we also joined them to celebrate together. After the welcome dance, they started a competition dance, which was the contest between two people who can jump higher. Their bounce was amazing which made their feet so far from the ground. I competed with Eman; I couldn’t tell who jumped higher, we just had so much fun from it.
Lastly, we went to visit a home in the village. The host told us that people in the village drink cow blood, which shocked me a lot. I also learned that the village usually move to another place around every 10 years as a whole, and they have been living in their current place for 7 years already. At the end, they showed us how to use pieces of wood to make fires. It was really amazing to use the friction of two pieces of wood to make fires. Overall, the first of Maasai Mara was amazing and I enjoyed it a lot! –Jeremy L.
We have now come to the end of our week on our Missions trips, as well as the ending to our work at Kiamaiko. It was such an amazing experience being able to interact with the kids at both Kiamaiko and Angaza camp. Kiamaiko gave me engaging time to spend with the kids as I worked in the crafts station. On the first day, there was coloring with the youngest set of kids, which allowed me to sit and engage with the kids as they colored. For the second day, the craft was a mosaic of Jesus walking on water. This craft required less guidance as the kids were older, which gave us more time to talk with the kids about their time at VBS and answer questions about us. For the third and final day, it was the most laid back day out of the three. This day consisted of the oldest level of kids. They didn’t need much help with braiding their bracelets besides a few pointers, but this gave us a lot of time to engage with them. I was able to answer so many questions throughout the day and got to talk with the kids from Angaza camp. After each of the days we had the opportunity to do home visits, which allowed us to spread the word about the Lord to the Muslim families around Kiamaiko. On the last day of VBS, the kids gave us a farewell in the form of speeches, dancing, singing, and a cake-cutting ceremony. It was so much fun to experience and it was very sad to leave the children as they hugged me on the way to the bus. We then made it back to Grace House after an amazing time with the kids and as we prepared to leave for the Maasai Mara in the final stretch. –Denzel D.
This morning the day started with a team breakfast where we all gathered to eat together and wake up for the day. After our breakfast we had our morning meet up where we got the plans for the day and a great devotion time by Matt, Eman, and Brandon. They reminded us that gratitude is key when interacting with God. Then we loaded all of our team and supplies onto our bus and headed off to Kiamaiko where we would be doing our third and final day of VBS!
When we arrived all the kids were singing in their lines waving and welcoming us as we walked to the boardroom to drop our bags. We dropped everything and went out to go have an amazing time dancing and singing with this kids. This led into worship which was a blast. At first some of the kids around us were shy to sing in front of us but after they saw myself and other from our team singing and doing the hand motions they we all about it and joined us. Following worship Mr. West had a message for all of the kids today on making peace which was fun as there was audience interaction.
Then the team all broke into our rotations to start getting prepared for the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders that we were going to be serving today. I was in the craft team today and our craft was making braided bracelets. We had a couple complications in the beginning, but we rolled with it and it eventually all worked out perfectly. Working with the older kids today was really fun since we could talk to them and not need a teacher to help translate. We were able to teach a lot of the kids to braid that had never done it before. It blew me away that we could do a 10 second demonstration to these kids and they would listen and completely understand and be able to repeat what we were teaching them. With most of our rotations today we were able to finish pretty quickly and then we got to talk with all the kids and got to answer a lot of questions they had for us.
A common question was if we had pets and that was always fun because we got to take out our phones to show photos that we had and they would all laugh and giggle when they saw the photos. Out of all of the rotations I could definitely say that the last rotation of the day was my favorite. It was my favorite for a couple of reasons. First, that one of my families sponsor kids, Anold, was in the room and I got to have fun doing crafts and talking with him. Second, I had a couple kids in the room that I was in a group with when we were at Angaza Discovery Camp a couple days before in Kalifi and the fact they all remember me and my name and all of the things that we did together was really heart warming because in my mind at Angaza I was just doing a craft and playing some games with the kids, but to them it was so much more and it really created that connection between us that I will remember forever. Finally, the energy that these kids had was insane especially for being the final rotation of many action pact rotations they came in with this exploding energy. They finished their bracelets super quickly and the questions started flowing, Emma and I had a lot of fun answering all these questions with them from what our favorite bible verses is to what our favorite movie is and by the end of the rotation we had about 15 kids either surrounding us, on top of us, or playing with our hair while we continued to talked with them and learn more about them as they got to learn more about us.
After this final rotation we picked up quickly and went to the boardroom for lunch and talk about our VBS experiences and stories with the team. When lunch was over there was a farewell presentation for us. It started with worship where I had fun singing along to the songs and then we had a message from the director of the school, after that there were a couple different members of MOHI staff that spoke. The staff then brought out a cake for us that said thank you and that we are welcomed back to Kiamaiko anytime in Swahili. West, Luna, Faith, and Lisa cut up the cake and it was distributed to the kids and staff of the school that were still there and then to our team as well. The smaller kids then came out and danced for us to music as we clapped along, it was super cute cause they were looking at us with the biggest smiles on their faces as they got to dance for us. Trailing them was the older kids who invited us up to dance with them which was a lot of fun as we were dancing up their not only as a team but as a giant family with everyone just giving it their all. While we were dancing up front some teachers from the school also handed out gift bags to us as a thank you. When the presentation was over we went into the boardroom to get out stuff and to do one more important thing. We got to sing happy birthday to Cyrus, one of Lisa’s sponsor kids, as he turned 18. He had been at Pangani with us and also helped all around VBS for the past three days. Then we took a large group photo with everyone, packed up, and got loaded onto the bus. While getting to the bus it was hard saying goodbye to all the kids as they were hugging us and asking when we were coming back to see them again. Some of the students of Kiamaiko were crying that we were leaving too. After all our final goodbyes we got on the bus and were off. We got back to Grace House in time to get some chai and relax after a long eventful day. –Wyatt M.
Today was our last day of VBS and as usual, it was with great excitement that we boarded the bus to Kiamaiko School, which we had become somewhat familiar with. We started the day with a sense of sadness for those people we are going to leave and a sense of anticipation for the safari tour. Since we already had some experience, today’s VBS went very smoothly. We had a wonderful time working together with those children in the craft team to make those little bracelets and bookmarks, and it was a lot easier to communicate and go through all the process with older children. At the end, the students and the staff sang goodbye to us together. We still can’t forget their bright smiles in their faces and the innocence and simplicity they have been resembling throughout the trip, which reminds me of a quote from the promotional video of this mission trip, that these people are a lot richer in Christ than many people from those developed countries.
The most memorable thing for me was my friend Jessie, who was the first friend I met in Africa. I have been talking to him and have been inspired by his stories, especially how he was inspired to assume himself as the man of the house to provide for his mother and brother. I was also inspired by his dreams. He has told me that his next generation will not live the same life as he did and that he wants to return to Kiamako and make this community a better place for people to live after he succeeds. These qualities he possessed and his impressive story made me feel that making him a friend was the biggest takeaway of my trip. –Charlie C.
Today was our second day of vbs so we had a quick breakfast at Grace House and then drove over to Kiamaiko school. When we arrived we joined the students in some worship and prayer before starting the vbs rotations. I am on the snack team, so for our rotation we pass out milk and biscuits. I have loved doing the vbs, I never knew it could be so fun to just give snacks to kids! We are able to talk to and get to know the kids while they are in our rotation, and we even sing songs and do dances as well. Overall, the vbs here has been amazing and it is so good to see the kids so happy. Today I was even able to see my family’s sponsor kid again, as she is the grade that we were doing vbs for today. After our vbs, we partnered with some MOHI social workers in small groups and did a community visit. We were able to visit two different houses today. During our visit, we talked with the residents of the house, asking questions and getting to know each other. We also shared the gospel story with each of the houses, and prayed for them and their families. These home visits have been very eye opening for me, as I see how the people we visit live and have their daily lives, and especially the stories and details of their lives are so interesting to me. After the home visits we went to a market for shopping and had some dinner at Java, and that was all for the day. Many things are different here, but I’m enjoying experiencing everything I’m seeing and doing. –Dean M.
We left for the MOHI school in Kiamaiko at 7:30am. The kids there welcomed us with a few great songs and dances. It was an awesome thing to experience! After that we started to set up for VBS. I am a part of the stenciling team, so we stenciled crosses onto the kids with paint. The kids loved it and even though we tried to limit them to only having one cross painted on them, they all tried everything to get multiple. We stenciled the designs on their hands and heads. After that we did worship. A bunch of kids grabbed my arms and started dancing with me. I had to have at least ten on me! After VBS, we went out into the Kiamaiko slums and visited the homes of families who had children that attended the school. My group met a kind elderly woman named Esther who has a grandson that attended the school. She was very kind and offered to make us a meal from what little she had, but we unfortunately couldn’t stay. Last night when we were getting ready for what we thought was a normal dinner, when we heard loud music coming from the courtyard. It turned out that the Grace House staff had put together what was, in a sense, a traditional Kenyan party! The day ended with laughing, singing, eating, and dancing! –Micah T
The day I saw God everywhere. We started off the day early back at Grace House. The first thing I did was pray for the day ahead of us, prayed that VBS would not go according to our plan but that it would go according to Gods will because one thing that many of us including myself struggle with is going with the flow sometimes. In the morning I felt the Lords presence in a way I’ve never felt before. It was so strong and so pure and inviting. In the midst of it I heard the voice of God say “let go” and as soon as I said let go my Bible app gave me a verse. The verse was Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When we arrived at Kiamiko my goal went into having the perfect 1st worship set and once again I heard a voice say “let go” I asked God once again that my mindset would only be devotion to the lord and we had an amazing worship set, the reward was seeing the childlike faith in these kids while they worshiped, it brought tears to my eyes seeing the true authenticity the kids had to worship. Immediately after we split off into our 2nd rotation, I was part of the story and puppet team for one of the rotations. I asked one of the kids to tell me their favorite memory verse. That kid proceeded to say Philippians 4:13, I was speechless. I knew God was trying to show me something but I still couldn’t make it out. VBS finished for the day and the team got news that we were going to do home visits and the home that we visited had a family of 5 living there. The homeowner had her grandchildren living with her and her grandchildren said nothing but what an amazing woman she was, that she was a mentor to them and has sacrificed so much to get them where they are. I immediately thought of my grandma and started remembering all the times she cared for me when I really needed it. After the home visits one of the locals named Jessie came up to me and Wyatt and started talking to us and saying how much he loves people and that people are the representation of how creative our God is with us. He proceeded to explain how he wants to start his own business in the fashion industry and I told him Philippians 4:13 and there I realized how much God was working through the day. The Lord is so great and I can’t wait to see how else God works. – Matt S.
We started today off at 7:00am with breakfast to prepare us for the busy day. After breakfast we went to Kiamaiko to do some VBS work. This ranged from crafts, stenciling, stories, snacks and games. We did these activities with kids ranging from preschool to second grade. The kids were so lively and full of energy which made the experience even more meaningful. During the activities we got to know the kids and learn more about their culture and personalities. Each of them had their unique sense of humor and way of showing love. After our VBS activities we visited people’s homes and prayed for them. These people were so kind and even gave us snacks for us to have and helped give us a new perspective on what it meant to live a life of serving others. This experience helped us understand the world better and how we can serve others. At the end of the trip we had to do a heart wrenching goodbye. One I would add, was quite insane. These kids weren’t afraid to show love. They did things like dog piling and grabbing onto us which made the goodbyes even more sad. With the day coming to a close, we debriefed on what we experienced and all agreed that every moment was perfect. –Brandon R.
The sound of intense pounding on my door filled my room. As I swung my head back from my pillow a chill of fear throughout spine.
“Who is at my door?”
“Did I oversleep?”
These thoughts flooded my mind like a raging sea. I watched as Reagan, confused as I, open the door to find Emma alerting Reagan about the beauty of the rising sun. I checked my phone to see 6:30 am. Two hours before we had to be ready and one hour before I planned on waking up. I got up due to the adrenaline my rush had given me. I peered out the door gazing at the view of the rising sun glistening on the sea. After putting my self together and eating an amazing breakfast we got on the bus to ride to Angaza camp.
After arrival Mr. West began to tell us the next course of action. We would be doing an activity where the kids would color a draw-string bag with four sections: the name of the camp, their favorite Bible verse, their favorite sport, and their favorite activity that they did at camp. Then the final detail: we would be the ones to lead a group of boys through this activity. I felt my stomach whirl.
“Their all going to be looking at me”
“I’m no good with kids this age”
“I will probably just forget everything and completely mess up”
Again the wave of anxious thoughts filled my mind. After our briefing, we began to walk to the sector of the camp where the activity would be conducted.
“Camp, verse, sport, activity,” played on loop in my head as we walked to the next location.
We entered the room from the day before, which had and remained to contain an extensive amount of excited young boys. After a couple games Mr. West made the announcement that we would be starting the activity. I chose my group and went through the activity. At one moment a boy had asked to use another boy’s marker. He agreed, but then wanted it back. I was scared of the angry yowls I suspected to come out of this boy’s mouth. Though , I was pleasantly surprised the original owner of the marker waited patiently and the borrower worked hastily and the marker was returned with no scuffle at all. The activity ran well with no hindrances along the way. In fact Mr. West had later complimented how smoothly I had run the activity!
After the activity, the boy who spoke to me the day before found me again and answered some icebreaker questions we had been given. I was nervous that he would come up to me because I could not at all remember his name and I didn’t want he to think I didn’t remember him, because I did. I remembered his face, our conversation, just not his name. After we spoke some more he admitted to me that he forgot my name. It relieved me that he did because it allowed me to ask for his name again. His name was Morris; he told me goodbye and that he would miss me at the end of our talk.
Later, we got the opportunity to serve the boys ice cream. Something that they did not have the opportunity to ever taste. We had to move quickly as we served, because of the rate at which the ice cream was transforming into a liquid. It all ran smoothly. We got everyone their ice cream in a timely manner. It was such a nice moment with the team, they sang and assembly lined through the sticky process.
Then we went to the beach. The one thing about the day that we knew prior. We walked to the beach and prepared ourselves for the water. The first section of the water had thick layers of seaweed that we would have to walk through to even be able to swim. I hate seaweed. It’s scary; there are so many creatures that live within it and with how thick it was, who knows what could be just below the surface. So, I moved as swiftly as I could through it and made it to the clear part of the water. Toward the end of our beach day the boys and some of our missions team had a seaweed war. It was funny to see something that I loathed brought joy to these boys. They weren’t scared or nervous, they just went along with what was presented to them, which was seaweed, which of course resulted in a battle that covered so many members of the team in the slimy plant.
On the bus ride to the airport I reflected on my day. I noticed how each time I was nervous about something negative happened it ended up being the opposite. I have honestly been worrying all day about this blog and not having enough to write or not knowing what to write. Now, I feel as though I have written an abundance. Today has been an amazing day. God has been overly faithful, emptying the overflow of anxiety in my brain. He is showing me that it is not worth my energy and that He will provide as long as I do what He is calling for me to do. I am excited for all of my other anxious misconceptions to be squashed in front of my eyes. –Kaytlin P.
Today was one of the most fun days ever! It was our second day in Kilifi where we visited Angaza camp, and hung out with with about 130 six grade boys. These boys were filled with so much energy, creativity, and love to dance. The highlight of today was definitely when we got to go to the beach with a big group of them. As I saw all of them starting their walk towards the beach in their orange life jackets, I could see how excited they were to experience the beach for the first time. When the team arrived at the beach, we all jumped into the warm water without any hesitation and started to swim with the boys. Their faces were filled with smiles and curiosity as they figured out how to maneuver though the short waves and seaweed. I loved helping some of the boys swim out and back in, guiding them through the water, when they were scared or tired of swimming. I was able to make a little friend who kept swimming up to me and holding my hand so I could guide him out into the water. After, a seaweed fight started as the camp counselors, kids, and members of the Kenya team started throwing seaweed at each other. This day was one of those days that I wished it could never end, but I know this memory will forever stay with me as I grow older. I am so happy to be a part of this trip and team where I am able to share all these happy moments with them and see the lives of people change as they experience new things. –Erika O.
I can’t even begin to express the amazing experience I’ve had so far in this country. From going through the slums and seeing what it’s like to being able to swim in the Indian Ocean, every single moment was so special! Today specifically was a really awesome day. We flew out of Nairobi and flew to the coast of Kilifi in the morning and then headed over to Anganza Discovery Camp to join the kids in their field trip. We visited the falconry where we had so much fun looking at crocodiles, snakes, owls, hawks, turtles and a 129 year old tortoise and we visited a reserve where we got a tour of the nature. Seeing the joy on the kids faces to go see the things they were able to see was such an amazing experience! We also got to stay the night at Kalifi Beach Resort which was so cool! The whole team decided to go down to the water and go swimming in our clothes. The bonding, smiles and laughs that were shared was something that I will always remember as a great time spent with the people I love! –Peyton Clark
Today we started our morning at 4:30am! We packed a togo breakfast and left for the airport. We tookkk an hour flight to Kilifi. Once we got to Angaza kids camp, we met all the kids and then went to Mida Creek! We got to spend a lot of time with the kids and also learn about different Kenyan ecosystems. We then went to The Falconry which is a little zoo. Once again we got to hang with the kiddos and while we were there I met my sponsor kid. His name is Anthony and he has the sweetest little face. I will get to spend more time with him tomorrow, but it was absolutely surreal to meet him. During the zoo we got to see different birds and reptiles, but more importantly come alongside the leaders and counselors there and offer them support! It was amazing and extremely fulfilling. After the zoo we got on our bus and went to our beautiful lodge where we all immediately jumped into the Indian Ocean fully clothed. We ate an amazing dinner and then finished our night with worship and debrief. So thankful for today and the chance to support and serve among God’s people! –Emma G.
It’s only day two and so much has happened in just one day. This morning we started off with going to visit homes and wow that was such an eye opener to me, going to see a sponsor families home, with how small it is but the joy that they have is incredible to see. At first walking in the home we only saw one person but then we found another, and then a baby, and the mother of that baby. The fact a 6 person family lives in such a small home but can have so much joy is a reminder that we should always be grateful for what we have. With the mother giving her life to Jesus and getting to pray over them was so heartwarming. Then the second part of the day we got to meet our sponsor kids and I had the privilege to meet my facilitators kid. Samuel was only 6 and very quiet but over time he got comfortable and we played soccer, colored, and sat with me to play with his cars. It brought so much joy to get to bring him things and interact with him. Saying goodbye to him was very difficult especially since he didn’t want to let go of my hand, but knowing he has new toys and new friends there is a wonderful feeling to have. –Brianna Z
Shedrack is now a part of Jc and the Bois! Our weekly bible study back at home called Jc and the Bois had decided to group sponsor a child, and today we were able to meet him. Denzel, Brandon, Matt, Dean, Micah, and I were all able to meet Shedrack and hang out with him. We learned about his school, family, and what he likes to do for fun. Shedrack even watched the World Cup and his favorite player is Messi!
Throughout the day we also walked through the slums and visited many homes. Seeing their situations, it’s so amazing to see MOHI working alongside them and taking care of both the children and parents. I was able to visit a mother with Charlie and Jeremy, and she was very welcoming to us in her home. We learned that MOHI has helped her children go to school, and also they have helped improve her own health issues also.
Today was filled with experiences that couldn’t be described. When social workers asked if I had any questions, I was always left speechless walking through each place. However, the one thing that was always present was joy. Shedrack, along with every family we met, lives life filled with hope and joy, because they are a part of MOHI, and they know that God has His hand over everything. –Emmanuel Y.
Over the past six months Ms. Luna and Mr. West have told us how important being flexible was. I don’t think the Kenya team realized the gravity of that statement until now. We’ve experienced many unexpected changes the past couple of days. Our flight from LAX to Detroit went smoothly, but after that God’s plan brought us on a new path. The Detroit snow caused our flight to Amsterdam to get delayed for several hours, which meant we had missed our flight from Amsterdam to Kenya. We were unsure of how we were even going to get to Kenya, but that didn’t impact our spirits. The entire time while we were waiting in terminals or stuck in long lines to get through the airports; we remained positive. No complaints, joyful spirits, and memorable moments characterized every second we spent waiting for an answer. People around us noticed and pointed it out to our leaders. We eventually boarded the plane from Detroit to Amsterdam. Then, booked a flight from Amsterdam to Kenya as we stayed in the Amsterdam airport and explored the museums and shops. Finally, we made it to Kenya at 6am after 41 hours of traveling, and had an entire day of servant leadership, which continued to be unplanned. – Natalya M.
It was a short drive to Grace House where we are staying. Once we arrived, we realized that our bags didn’t… The box truck with all of our luggage had challenges getting out of the airport, so we ended up heading to church in our travel clothes after breakfast. We made it to church and it was definitely a surreal experience, that is until we realized that we were at a different church than the one we initially planned on attending. After worship we drove to the Kiamaiko church that was expecting us and everything fell into place after that. We were led in a time of worship and communion, and even got the chance to lead worship ourselves. The kids and staff all welcomed us and were extremely kind and fun. You couldn’t help but dance along with them.
At church, I also got the privilege and opportunity to meet one of my family’s sponsor children. Her name is Sunday!! She was super sweet and loving. She held my hand through the whole church service and didn’t leave my side. It was an amazing experience and it is so cool to see what God is already doing on our trip.
After church we headed back to Grace House and ate lunch. After lunch, we all went to a local mall/market and spent some time together there. Once we finished there, we came back and had chai time (where you literally drink chai and eat a pastry while sitting and intentionally talking to people)! Then, we did some VBS prep for the days to come. After prep, we had dinner and then ended the night with a team debrief.
Our team this year will minister to children in the Mathare slums using compelling VBS Bible lessons, enthusiastic games, meaningful crafts, evangelism, and house visits. At the end of the week, the team will take a short flight from Nairobi to Kenya’s beautiful coastal town of Kilifi to visit MOHI’s newest program, Angaza Discovery Camp. “This camp is a two-week discipleship program where our MOHI 6th grade students will learn how to live in alignment with God, others, themselves, and creation.” The team will come alongside the camp leaders and students to encourage and support them. In the latter portion of the trip, the team will venture into the Maasai Mara and embark on a breathtaking African Safari.