Kenya 2024

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Day 10

Day 10 Tuesday March 26

Today was our final day in Kenya! We spent the morning in the Mara and traveled back to Gracehouse to pack and rest before our trip home. We are so blessed to have had the opportunity to be on mission with your learner. Please join us in prayer for safe travels. See you soon!


Day 9

Today was such an amazing day! I had been looking forward to this part of the trip because it has truly been one of my favorite experiences. Getting to see all of God’s beautiful creations including so many awesome animals in Kenya for the second time has been such a blessing! Even though we weren’t able to do a full day safari, we still saw a lot of animals like Lions, Buffalo, Antelope, Zebras, Cheetahs, Elephants, and more. This year we split up the safari into two sections; a sunrise safari from 6am to 12pm and then a sunset safari from 4pm to 7pm. We also had a very delicious breakfast out on safari in the morning which was super cool to do again! I am overall super grateful to have been given the opportunity to enjoy this missions trip to Kenya for the second time as I have truly enjoyed using my skills to serve the Lord. 

-Peyton C.

Today was incredible!! It was our first day of safari and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. We started off with an early morning, leaving at 5:30am. Right off the bat we saw hyenas and antelopes. About an hour into the safari, we saw a herd of elephants! They were absolutely breathtaking. There was a beautiful baby elephant that was the smallest thing I’ve ever seen. Our amazing Maasai safari guide, John, got us so close to them. He let us know that the baby was only 5 months old! I cannot even imagine that baby being any smaller than it was. Shortly after, we saw a large pride of lions! There were over 20 lions in this pride, some being the cubs that last year’s team had seen! They got so close to the car that I could have reached out and touched them. We saw them stalk a herd of buffalo, though they did not end up attacking. We ate breakfast in the bush and watched the lions from afar. As we were driving back to the lodge, some special occurrences appeared. The best driver ever, John, was able to help a van that was stuck in mud get out! Immediately after… we got stuck. But John, being the best ever, got us out without help from another car! As we continued our journey back, we came across two cheetahs! They were two of the triplet cubs that last year’s team had seen! All of these connections made this years trip that much more special. 

After the first half of the safari, the team had a rest time at the lodge! We had lunch and then had one of our final debriefs. The leaders talked about each of the learners and shared how each of them shined throughout the trip. Each learner also shared how the trip has impacted them and taught them something new! It was so special hearing how this trip impacted each individual, and what they learned! As a returner, this year I was trying to discover something different. This year I really landed on the idea that though these trips are short term for us, Crossroads has truly been making an impact out here for years and now we are apart of Gods much bigger plan for Nairobi! After break we went into the second half of the safari! 

The second half of the trip was a lot of fun, and specifically John just continued to be incredible. He is the best! We stopped and saw the coolest tree and then continued on our hunt for animals.  We saw a bunch of buffalo, and then at the very end of our safari, we saw giraffes during sunset! It was truly the most incredible image of Gods creation that I have ever seen. He is truly the ultimate creator and painter! It truly made me appreciate Gods creation, beauty, and might. We serve an amazing God who is capable of glorious things, and this entire trip has taught we truly how mighty he is. 

-Sienna T. & Emma G.

Day 8

Today our morning started at 5am where we met and got ready to head to the airport. We got to the airport and went in these cool small planes and headed our way out to Maasai  Mara. We landed in the middle of nowhere and we were greeted with our drivers for the trip. 

We then headed on our hour drive to our hotel. While on the drive we got to see so many different animals and so many things that most of us have never seen in real life. 

When we got to our hotel we got to go to the main area and just spend time together while looking at the beautiful view. It was a time where the team got to hang out and relax and get some rest after a long few days of vbs. 

Later on in the day we got to go to a store and get to pick out some fun blankets. After the shopping we went to a Maasai Village where the people there put on a little performance and showed us some of the things that they do in their daily lives. It was such a fun experience. 

Overall today was an amazing day full of relaxation, learning new things, and spending quality time with each other. This trip so far has been so amazing and something that I will never forget. It is truly a blessing to be able to do all the things we have gotten to do and have experienced truly life changing things. 

-Aryana A.

Today was the first day that we entered the Maasai Mara to experience life throughout. We started the day off by flying out on small bush planes which was a super cool experience, as I am normally used to flying in larger planes. We landed on a dirt strip in the Mara which was extremely quiet and very peaceful. After landing, we split into a few groups between different cars and drove through the Mara to Tipikiwana Lodge. It is super cool and gives everyone the opportunity to stay in tent-like rooms. We dropped off our stuff and had lunch in the lodge after settling in. We then drove out to the blanket shops in a local town where we bought Maasai blankets for each of us, which are super cool and comfortable. This was then followed by driving out to a Maasai village where we got to experience the life of the Maasai people. Here we saw a tribal dance as well as the types of homes that the people live in the Mara. This was super cool to see how they built their villages and did things such as make fire with two pieces of wood. We were also able to experience a Maasai market and were able to negotiate for different things after visiting the village. We then went back to the lodge and finished off the day with diner and debrief.

-Denzel D.

Day 7

The last day of VBS was definitely so impactful for me and hopefully for the students today. We started off our journey with a great worship set that had a lot of the students being extremely excited and energetic. After that, we had our first four rotations and when I was in craft I was able to interact with a young girl who actually decided to draw me on the scratch paper which definitely made my day. Later on we continued to have our second half of rotations and during our last rotation we managed to have a ton of the students ask us questions and be super interactive with Denzel and I! Being able to see the kids be so passionate with worship and asking us questions definitely made me feel so fulfilled. After that, we had the privilege of getting a VBS farewell which included worship, a message, cake cutting, cultural dancing, and getting massai blankets as a farewell gift. Being able to see how grateful and happy the MOHI team was with us during the past few days made me feel more certain about the impact we made with the MOHI Kiamaiko School!

-Katherine H.

Today we started the day off with a 7:15 call time! We went into the day knowing it was our third and final day of VBS with the kids at Kiamaiko. We got to Kiamaiko around eight o clock this morning and were instantly welcomed by the sixth graders of the school! We started the VSB around 8:15 with worship. First with worship from the kids at the school and then worship from our team! We sang Praise, I thank God, and Joy. All of the kids were excited once we started singing joy and started singing along. This is because most of the kids remembered the song from last year’s VBS. Once worship was over we got to our stations and got ready to start! 

      For the first set of rotations all of the kids were sixth graders and we had them do rainbow scratcher papers in the craft room, which is where I was! After the first set of rotations was over we took a quick break for chai! After chai time was over we got ready to do the second set of rotations. These rotations were with the seventh and eighth graders! Once again we started with worship and when that was over we moved on to our stations! In the craft room we braided keychains with the kids! It was super fun! Since most the kids already knew how to braid the craft took no time at all, leaving us with a bunch of leftover time! We used this time to get to know the kids better and for them to get to know us more! We asked them questions and they asked us questions! The kids also sang us a couple songs! After one of these rotations all of the kids I was saying bye to as they left looked at me and told to come back to Kenya soon and that they would welcome us back anytime! After we finished the second set of rotations we moved on to lunch! 

       After lunch the MOHI staff and kids threw us a goodbye celebration! During this celebration the principal of the school told us that the Kiamaiko school would be known as Crossroads Campus. Throughout the celebration the kids preformed for us, there was worships, and a small sermon! They all presented us with Massi blankets and then waved goodbye as we got on the bus! The entire VBS was a truly life changing experience! Thank you to all of the people who made it possible! 

-Autumn B.

Day 6

Today was the second day of VBS at Kiamaiko and it was so amazing. We left Grace House around 7:30am and once we got to the school, we started worship. We sang two of our worship songs then we had the children sing theirs. During this time, I danced around with the children and showed them the dance motions. I loved seeing them all dancing and being so happy. 

After worship, we started all the activities. Today we were with 3rd-5th graders and they were so cheerful. I was in the craft section and today we gave the children coloring pages. The paper had two sides. One of them being a Bible Verse and the other was the story of the Widows Offering. We passed out crayons and paper for them to color. Once we were done, we had them sing a song to us while we collected the crayons back. Each time they entered or left the classroom, they would hug or high five me and it would make my day. 

After VBS we had lunch and then went to do home visits. We had two Kiamaiko children in my group that we were dropping off at the houses we visited as well. As I stepped into the home, I could see that the family was so happy even if they did not have a lot. In the first home, I got to pray along with my team for the mother and her children. I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to visit and pray for them. 

After home visits, we went shopping in the market for a little over an hour which was super fun. Overall, this day has been a blessing and so impactful to me. I am so grateful for everything that has happened to me and others on this trip. 

-Saramarie M.

Today we woke up pretty early to put on our second day of vbs which was amazing. To start, they loved our worship so much it was almost deafening once they learned the lyrics to our songs. For the rotations, I was a part of the games team and we had a great time playing with the 3rd-5th graders, they were so energetic and competitive so it made the games that much more fun.  We built great bonds with the kids and had such a great time. They especially loved limbo and red light green light.

After vbs we went to do our home visits for the day, where we went inside the home of a Kenyan citizen in Kiamaiko and spread the good news of God and His salvation. My home visits were very nice as we visited two Christian mothers who were running their own business to provide for their children and family. We then went to the market where I was able to get some very cool items to bring home. We ended the day with a very special dinner party that is amazing as I am writing in the middle of it, the dancing is super fun and the food is amazing as usual.

-Brennan G.

Day 5

It was an early morning, waking up around 6 to get ready for the day and be on the road by 7:30. We were served breakfast at Grace House which was with no surprise delicious! We heard a great devotional by Madi on how to stay relaxed in irritating situations. Then we were off. 

Today was our first day working at the school in Kiamaiko. The welcome that we received from the students as we walked into the school was like no other! There was singing and dancing and it really raised the spirits in the school. Soon after our great welcome, the work begun. I was working in the craft room today and had a great time working along side of Denny, Katherine, Autumn, and Sara. As a team we did so well working together all day. We tried things that didn’t work but eventually found our rhythm. I would probably say that the first day of VBS is one of the most difficult. It’s hard as we are working with grades preschool to 2nd grade and a very small amount of them speak english, we had to rely on our translators to get the message across. At the same time though the 1st day of VBS is one of my favorites as the little preschoolers do everything with such a huge smile on their faces. The craft that we did today with everyone was coloring, and even if the smaller grades did not understand us speaking english as we passed out coloring sheets, a lot of the kids were saying thank you. 

During lunch I had the opportunity to meet my second sponsor child who had traveled over an hour from his high school to visit. We got to talk for 30 minutes about what has happened between my last visit a year ago, our families, and our futures. I also got the opportunity to bring him a bag with gifts which he was so appreciative of and had a smile on his face the whole time he was opening it. 

After my visit with my child sponsor we started the get into our home visit teams. We circled up, found our teams, and met the social workers that would be walking us to homes. One thing that was cool is that one of the social workers in my group, his name was Washington, was who led me around last year while doing home visits. One of the other leaders in our groups was actually a MOHI alumni who had gone since preschool and made it all the way through college thanks to MOHI. While we were out in the community we got to walk home some of the kids that attended the VBS and we got to see where they lived and meet their families. The visit that made the biggest impact to me was our last. It was a mom who had several children living in her house. One child attended MOHI all the way through and she had one other currently attending, but she was praying that all her others would be accepted into the program soon. The way she welcomed us into her home was so amazing. She was so excited to have us in her house and she couldn’t stop talking about how MOHI has done so much for her life and the life of her kids. She was so welcoming and you could truly tell how big of a difference God had made in her life. 

Once we had finished home visits we started heading home to Grace House. Once we got back we had 45 minutes to relax then we got the opportunity to go to yaya center to get milkshakes and look around. That was followed by hanging out with everyone in a comfortable fun way which was a nice reset after a long day. We had an amazing dinner and then went to debrief. Our debrief today was a little different as we were able to split guys and girls and talk about everything that has happened on the trip so far and how we are all growing from it. 

Today was one of the most impactful days that I have had since I’ve been here. It was full of situations that I’ve never been thrown into before. This morning was my turn to give a team devotional. I decided to share about what it is truly like to love one another and that love is an action and not a feeling. I reshared some of the key verses that we hear throughout missions such as Matthew 22:37-39 and John 13:35. I pointed out the key difference between hearing the verses that are common within christian communities and listening to them. We often overlook key verses because they are popular and we are taught a lot about. We tend to overlook them but instead we should learn to apply them in our daily lives which is the listening part. Hearing is different from listening.

Once we arrived to Kiamakio MOHI I was informed that there needed to be an impromptu message before we started worship with the kids. Mr. West asked me to join him in front of everyone to share a summarized version of my devotional. This was very scary because a lot of the younger children do not speak english. 

After that we started worship and it was one of my favorite parts of the day. We were able to get kindergarten students to dance sing and clap to the songs. I started to hold hands with a young girl and eventually everyone wanted to join in. By the end of worship i was holding hands with a circle of girls while dancing and jumping. One of the sweetest parts was receiving hugs from everyone one of the girls I was with. 

My VBS rotation was art and we decided to give them temporary tattoos that said “Jesus Love you”. It was the best moment to watch the children’s faces light up after they saw their cool tattoo. As the grades got older we were able to make more conversation and receive more hugs. During down time children were able to share their favorite memory verses and some class songs. One of my favorite parts was receiving thanks in the form of “wows”. 

We ended our day with home visits where we were able to see a new community. Before we had been in Pangani but this time we were in Kiamako. The area was much cleaner due to the impact of the missions work done by crossroads. Although all of my home visits were born again christian’s the community is primarily Muslim and many others were able to plant seeds in that community. 

This has been the most impactful day so far. I have grown so much and been pushed out of my comfort zone for the better. I’m so proud of the work that we did today to make the kids so happy.

-Madi G

Over these past few days we have had the opportunity to be impacted by so many people like the kids in Kiliifi, the people in Pangani, and everyone else that we came in contact with. But nothing was like the impact I had while serving the kids during VBS today. 

Today was a day that I will never forget. We started the day heading over to Kiamaiko where we were greeted by all the kids in such a special way. We got to start by singing worship with all the kids and the joy on all their faces was very heartwarming. All the kids were so happy and they were singing and dancing and had so much passion, it was inspiring. After worship the kids got into their groups and they went through each rotation. I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the tattoo station. It was so cool to see their faces light up so much when they saw the tattoo on their arm or face. It was truly a moment I will never forget. 

After we finished VBS for the day we got to go around and do home visits. I got to go into 2 different homes where the family’s were both Christian’s. While doing those home visits it really reminded me to be grateful for everything I have. To see the joy and positivity from these families who are struggling with jobs and live in a small house with multiple kids has truly taught me to never take anything for granted. 

Overall this day was an incredible day and one that I will never forget and always look back on. Even though I came to serve these people and these kids and touch their hearts, they are touching mine and impacting my life in a way I didn’t even think was possible. 

-Aryanna A.

Day 4

Nothing could have prepared me for how impactful today would be. We started off with a beautiful breakfast at our hotel overlooking the ocean. After this, we took our bus to the MOHI Angaza Camp to spend the day with the 6th grade boys! 

We were welcomed kindly and immediately began interacting with the kids. Never have I ever seen so much joy on a child’s face. These boys were so excited to just be around us, which was so encouraging. We played a few team building games, then began our craft that we had prepared led by Emma! We helped the boys make an origami craft which they absolutely loved! They had questions in them that they could ask each other to break the ice. I asked one of the kids the question “What is your favorite praise song?” and the answer was surprising. He began dancing and started singing “Baby Shark”. I could not contain my laughter and was just full of joy watching his performance. After this, we took chai and cooled off before heading to the beach!

The beach was by far my favorite experience here so far. The water was warm and perfectly clear. Watching all of the kids run into the water holding their floaties brought the biggest smile to my face. One boy named Elvis stuck out to me. We had an instant connection and didn’t leave each others side after we met. This boy was full of so much fun and energy. He had never been to a beach before and was blown away at the sight of it. I’m 95%  sure he’s part fish because he did not

leave the water even once. I had mentioned to him that I stepped on a stick and he immediately dove for it to give it to me (I’m never letting that stick go). That little gesture showed me how much he already loved me and cared for me. And I loved and cared for him too. We played with all of the kids and swam for what felt like forever. But forever wasn’t long enough, as it had to come to an end. 

We went back to the camp and served the kids ice cream! It was most of their first times having ice cream, and watching their faces light up as they took their first bites was so much fun. We had asked the camp director how often the kids get ice cream there, and he said “Once a year when Crossroads comes”, and boy it was such a blessing to be a part of that this year. When we were all done, we had to say goodbye. This might have been the hardest goodbye ever, as Elvis asked me if I would be back tomorrow. I told him no, but that I had lots of pictures of us to remember him. He told me to be careful on my travel back to America, and that he would be praying for me. He let me know that I was his favorite part of camp. I can confidently say that he was mine, too. We left and hopped on a plane back to Nairobi, where we ended the day with dinner at Grace House. I’d like to think I impacted a few precious lives today, but nothing compares to how much I was impacted. 

-Sienna T.

Today has been my favorite day yet! Today we went to the Angaza Discovery Camp in Kilifi and it has been the highlight of my trip so far. We started off the day by playing some team building games with the boys at the camp and we did an activity that we led out. It was super fun getting to know the kids better and getting to talk to them. Then we went on a tour of the camp. I didn’t know what to expect but it was actually so cool. The guy who showed us around really turned the whole tour into more of a conversation than a tour and by the end I think he learned just as much from us as we did from him. After the tour we ate some lunch and hung out which was amazing and then we went to the beach. We went swimming with all the kids which was a wild experience. I met this boy named Franklin who was so funny and told me he didn’t know how to swim and wanted me to teach him. So for pretty much the whole time we were at the beach I was teaching Franklin how to swim and carrying him on my shoulders. I made a friend today and I’ll never forget him. When we got done with the beach me and the rest of the team got ice cream for all of the kids and I talked with one of my friends who I made yesterday. His name was Raph and he was one of the leaders at the camp. When we were talking, he wanted to give me a word. He told me that when times feel hard or I feel discouraged, not to worry because God will always be there for me and will be there to take care of me. He really spoke into my life and touched my heart, and I really hope I can see him again. The last thing I got the opportunity to do was meet with my sister Ava’s sponsors child, Sammy. The last time that I saw Sammy he spoke pretty much no english and was so extremely quiet that I wasn’t sure that he knew how to speak. After spending a day with the crazy outgoing boys at the camp I thought to myself “maybe Sammy will be super outgoing now.” I was wrong. He was still just as quiet, but it was still so so exciting to see him. I loved being able to give him all of the gifts we picked out for him and we ate tootsie rolls together. We also made a video for Ava where he said he loves and misses her. After a little while it was finally time to fly back to Grace House. Today was such a blessing and it might even be my highlight for the entire trip, but who knows what Gods gonna do next. I’m really excited because tomorrow we’re going to be putting on a VBS at Kiamaiko school. Anyways, today was really wonderful and I’ll for sure remember it forever.

-Caleb R.

Words cannot express the joy and happiness that was seen all throughout today. Yesterday was a little more difficult for us due to the massive weather change, however God stood right by us and today we had one of the best days ever. We got up around 7, ate breakfast, checked out of the hotel we stayed at in Kilifi by 9, then headed over to Angaza Camp. 

The massive smiles on the kids faces as soon as we walked in is something that I’ll never forget. We started our day with them by joining in on the games they were playing. They had different groups and were doing different activities that represented key teachings of the Bible. For example, we all interlinked arms and sat in a circle. After, we had to try to stand up off the floor without unlinking our arms. One of the Angaza Camp leaders explained it is like how we need to surround ourselves in a good environment with good people to uplift us. 

After that we then walked the kiddos through an origami craft. They absolutely loved it. In the beginning due to all the folding it took them a little bit, but in the end once they got it their faces lit up and they were so excited! 

Towards the end of our day at the camp we went to the beach with the camp kids! It was so much fun the kids loved it, the team loved it, it was perfect! There was this one little boy who I met yesterday when we interacted with the camp kids for the first time. It was funny because I went up to the group he was part of when we first got to the camp without even realizing. Once we got to the beach and in the water he found me and kept wanting to play! He would grab my arm and have me follow him to different places and he would show me different games he wanted to play. Whenever we would lose each other another team member would bring him to me and tell me he was looking for me chanting “Layla! Layla!”. Denzel gave him a piggyback ride to me twice in the water because he lost me, it was the cutest thing ever! We began talking for a little bit and he told me he wanted to be a pastor when he grew up. A few minutes after that he ended up pretend baptizing many on the Kenya team and even prayed over Emma and I. This little boy had such a bright soul, I know God has big plans for him. 

After the beach, we ended our day at Angaza Camp by giving the kids ice cream! They absolutely loved it and were so excited. Everyone had a specific task whether it was putting on the chocolate syrup, adding the sprinkles, putting the spoons in, or serving the ice cream to everyone. 

Today truly was an amazing day and I’m beyond proud of this team for pushing through and giving these kids an amazing memory to look back on! 

-Layla B.

Day 3

Today we got up super early to get ready by 5am. We went to the airport as the sun rose and got on a flight to Kilifi! After an hour we got to the coastal city and felt the heat. Between the heat and humidity we got quickly got in our vans and started on our way to Angaza Discovery Camp. As we got there we had chai time and got to relax before we started to hang out with the 6th grade Kiamaiko Boys. We started an Ice Breaker of a dancing and clapping game for around 30 minutes as we met the kids and got to be around them. Soon after we were getting ready for our field trip with them and we were off. We got to the nature center and got to walk around a mangrove forest as the guide told us and the kids lots of fun facts.  After, we went on a bridge around 200m long that was wobbly before we got to do a little shopping. Then we left for the falconry after. Once we got there, we had a quick pizza lunch with juice and sodas. We then headed inside to see lots of birds and reptiles and a 150 year old tortoise named Elvis who is actually only a baby. Soon after we left and got to head to our new hotel. When we arrived we noticed there was a pool and access to the ocean. So as soon as we could, we went swimming! It was a great way to cool off from the intense heat we had all day. We all had loads of fun in the water as it was super warm the whole time even as the moon started to rise. After we went to get ready for dinner. We had a wonderful traditional Kenyan food dinner with deserts.  It was a very tiring day but worth it with the little cool off at the end.

-Echo E. 

This morning started out with a 4am wake up so we could leave Grace House by around 5. We went to the airport and got on the flight to Kalifi, about an hour flight. Once we landed and got off the plane we immediately felt the humidity; our leaders were saying that this is the hottest that they have ever felt in Kenya… the temperature was 91 but with humidity it said it was around 113. Then we got in some vans that drove us to the Angaza camp where the 6th graders go to spend time with friends and learn more about the Lord. We ended up going on a field trip with them to the mangroves and learned so much about the different kinds of trees. 

Then after hanging out with the boys all day we went to the new place that we are staying at for the night on the coast of Kalifi. It is the most beautiful place ever! We had a few extra hours before dinner so a big group of us decided to go and swim in the ocean and in the pool. Dinner was incredible again and I ended my night hunting for frogs with sienna.

Timmy M. 

Day 2

Monday March 18

Today we had an amazing breakfast at Grace House once again. They are all so kind and welcoming to our whole team. Once we finished our breakfast, we headed to Pangani. There we went through a Missions of Hope orientation and had the privilege of learning about how MOHI was built from the ground up. Then, we were all able to break off into groups to do home visits in the slums. It was so humbling to be able to visit the slums again this year. We visited a mother who had a newborn and a 2 year old. She was a stay at home mom whose husband works in construction in order to provide for the family. The whole home was very small, but the mother was content. Walking through the slums, kids would run up to our team members and embrace us with hugs. They were so excited to see us and it warmed all of our hearts. 

We headed back from home visits and got to visit with our sponsor kids. I was lucky to be able to see my family’s sponsor kid Sunday. I got to see her last year and it was one of the most impactful experiences I had ever experienced. This year was even better. Being able to see how she has grown in the past year, hear her talk about her family, and even remember my name was so moving. She is the sweetest little girl and she stayed by my side. We got to hang out with all of the other sponsor kids as well and kick a soccer ball around. Seeing the joy on all of their faces was the best part of the day. Saying goodbye to Sunday was hard but she knows how much my family loves her and she left the school with a big smile on her face. At the end of our sponsorship visits, our team visited the MOHI store to shop for hand made souvenirs. So far the trip has been amazing and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for our team. 

-Reagan R.

Today was a very full day! We first sat through an orientation and learned all about Missions of Hope and how they have impacted the communities in Kenya! It was so amazing to hear how the organization has been a true blessing in so many families’ lives! 

After orientation we got to go into the community and do a home visit! Right when we stepped out of the MOHI doors, two little kids ran up to me and held my hands throughout the entire walk through! They were just adorable. During our home visit we got to speak to a young mom of three who had fallen away from her relationship with Christ! I encouraged her to seek out Jesus again and told her that his door never closes! He loves her and seeks a relationship with her. He desperately desires a relationship with her! She said that she will be praying about it and seeks a new relationship with him! Our small team of Jacob, Sara, and I prayed over her and then concluded the visit. 

I also got to see my sponsor kids again and meet my new kid who I recently decided to sponsor on my own! Seeing them again and meeting Jala was such a special moment that I will never forget! They were all so comfortable with me and thankful. The entire experience just warmed my heart more than I ever thought it could! I love these boys and they are truly a blessing. We talked, opened gifts, played games, colored, and shared our love for one another! Oh and took lots of pictures! Meeting your sponsor kid unlocks a love that is like no other. Two of my boys are older and speak english very well and it is so nice to talk to them, share memories, and ask questions! They were so so grateful and repeatedly said “thank you” and “I have never seen this many blessings”! My little boy hardly speaks any english and so it was challenging to connect with him at the beginning, but he said a few words to show me what he wanted to do as well as smiled more that I have ever seen anyone smile to show his appreciation! He said few words like ball, color, candy and a few more! I took what I could get haha! At the end when we were all saying goodbye I picked my little boy up and he uttered the words “I love you”! My heart was so full and also broke at the same time! I said I love you to all of them and then we prayed blessings upon each other and then parted ways! My heart is still so full and warm, but also broken at the idea of leaving them here! We will see each other later this week at VBS and I already cannot wait! Today was so special and impactful for me, and I can only hope that it was as impactful for them! 

-Emma G.

Today was such an eventful and impactful day! Beginning with a small presentation from a leader of the Missions of Hope International Organization, they gave our team a lot of insight on the history of their mission and where they plan to go in the future. It was amazing to see how much they have accomplished in the community, so I know the future is extremely bright. They will go on to do great things!

After finishing that up, we had the opportunity to go out and do home visits, which I was extremely nervous for. Going out into a place that is unfamiliar, especially a place like the slums, can be very intimidating but I went into it with an open mind. It began and there were a bunch of people saying stuff to us that kept me kind of scared. However, continuing to go deeper in the slums, there was a common trait found in most of the people, which was joy. Despite them living in extreme poverty with sewage running through the streets and not having clean food to eat, they never failed to smile. Adults, children, no matter the age, they all were so joyful which resonated with me on a deep level. I am so blessed to have everything that I do, yet I take it for advantage most of the time, so experiencing something like this was incredibly eye opening.

Lastly, I was finally able to meet one of my sponsor children, Ivyne. We have been sponsoring her for about 5 years now and I couldn’t wait to meet her. My family and I packed these bags of gifts to give her, which I was so excited for and she loved them. After showing her each of the gifts, we got to talk and know each other a little more. I found out that she loves to dance and sing, and that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. As the time went on, she started smiling more, laughing more and it just made me so happy. Coming in thinking that I was going to be the one to do the blessing was absolutely not true. Instead, she has left an everlasting impact on my life, and will go on to be an experience that I will never forget!

-Jacob F.

Day 1

 Sunday March 17th

Hey families, parents, friends, and everyone who’s reading our blog! I’m super blessed to be one of the first people sharing my Kenya experience. Even only being here for a day, I have had such an impactful experience. Our travel was no short trip, but it was well worth it. We had minimal delays and misfortunes praise God! Thank you for all of your prayer and support!

Today we jumped right into the thick of it, driving from Grace House through the middle of the city to get to church. For me the day didn’t start with church, but with viewing the world of Nairobi, Kenya. I was in awe, amazement, and heartbroken. It was beautifully jarring. When we entered church we were overcome with welcoming spirits and love. We sang and danced with all our hearts. I experienced worship in a completely different way then I ever have before. People were yelling and screaming, but it was all so clearly for their love of the Lord. The message was also about worship, and the pastor delivered it beautifully. He talked about how worship is not a song, or a dance, but worshiping is praising and glorifying God in everything we do. The thing that stuck with me from the service, and I think is very important for all of us on the trip, is when the pastor said that when we see those less fortunate then us, we must praise and worship the Lord for all He has done. I know how much of a toll seeing more of the horrible living conditions of a third world country will be. I know that there will be pain, and guilt, and so many other emotions. But I also know that in all of it, it is our duty to glorify the Lord. At the end of the service, with no warning whatsoever, the pastor asked Mr. West if we had a song prepared. None of us had any idea this was going to happen, but we had prepared for VBS worship, so he sent us up and we sang. I attempted to play a keyboard that turned off halfway through, but it was amazing. God truly threw us in the deep end. 

We continued the day around Grace House and ended up shopping in a Kenyan market. Another deep end experience. So many sounds, people trying to sell high, or get our attention. I had so much fun haggling and trying to get prices down for myself and others. Even in something fun like a market, I felt so much growth in a short time interacting with locals. I also truly felt like I got to start understanding the culture of Kenya. In a stressful and crazy environment, I saw every one of my team members step up and make the most of the opportunity of this trip.

Well that’s it for me! Thank you all so much for your love, support, and prayer. You are truly a blessing and please continue to read the blog to hear about everyone’s experiences! 

-Shane F.

So far this trip has been amazing. We left school at about 10:30 and took off for Amsterdam at 3. The flight went very smoothly and when we landed in Amsterdam we had an hour or two before we got on our flight to Kenya! I could feel the switch as soon as we landed in Kenya. I suddenly got this overwhelming sense of peace. I could feel it from all around. Everyone just seemed so at ease. It’s such a nice switch from the fast paced life we lead back at home. The process from then on was very uneventful in a good way, as we’ve been saying. Everyone got through customs, we got all the bags, loaded the buses, and headed for Grace House. The drive was so cool. Just seeing a different culture opened my eyes for sure. We pulled into Grace House and Mr. West told us to receive our welcome. I didn’t really know what he was taking about, then as we walked outside everyone working at Grace House was singing us a welcome song and greeting us with refreshments and a fresh meal. It was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. 

The next day we all got up, put on our nice clothes, and loaded the bus to go to church. This drive was so eye opening. Just the progression of what we were seeing and smelling was enough to play with my emotions. I can already tell I’ll never be the same after this trip in the best way possible. Driving through the slums was heart wrenching. I don’t think I’ll complain about things ever again. I just felt so bad for everyone in that situation and seeing the kids just makes you want to cry. Then we walked into church. These are seriously the happiest, most on fire for Jesus people ever. The energy in that room was unmatched. Standing there dancing and singing is the happiest I’ve been in a long time. My favorite  part, though it might sound weird, was when the keyboard and mics went out while our worship team was singing. They just kept going without missing a beat. The only noise was our voices and everyone clapping to the beat. It was just so powerful. We went to the market after church and I was super nervous. It was so cool though. It’s very overwhelming at first because you have so many people vying for your attention. But if you’re with the right people who know what they are doing, it’s super fun. I have some good gifts to bring back home now 🙂 We just finished up discussing what tomorrow will look like and I can honestly say I can’t wait! I am so excited to see what God has in store for me and the rest of this amazing team over this trip!

-Sophie M.