Youth Kenya Trip – Day 2

Day 2 by Jon Nahlen

Today, we did a lot. We were able to tour the Pangani school, learn about Mission of Hope Int, and, after that, we made our first trip into the slums. So, Monday has been a day of new experiences, learning, and trying to take it all in.

Pangani school is far more than a school. Although being a school is a large part of what they do, they have many other things within the building. There is a small medical center, cosmetic training, training of new volunteers, a business center of Mission of Hope, and a small gift shop. The school is equally impressive. You move past the first few rooms, and everything opens up into a three-story school with a space to see to the ceiling. There are 10ish rooms on each floor, and all were bustling with kids. We had the opportunity to walk into a few different classrooms, and all the students were excited to see us. They sang songs and quoted scripture. The teachers were willing to answer any questions, and, above all, everyone was thankful. They continually thank us for the funds needed to run this ministry and keep everything working.

AND WHAT A MINISTRY IT IS! The first thing which stood out was the magnitude of the ministry. The mission of Hope goes well beyond education to minister to the families, providing food, medical, and training. There are fourteen schools in Nairobi alone, and they hope to have 100 schools and 100,000 kids in Kenya by 2030. They have social workers who find kids, medical staff in the clinic, a promotion team, teachers, directors, and partner pastors. Their commitment to sharing the gospel is incredible. They partner with churches (hope to partner with 100 by 2030) and share the gospel with families and give them a place to attend worship. They give kids the chance to have a much-needed—and otherwise unobtainable—education using this to connect with parents. There were plenty of success stories, and their reputation in the slums was excellent.

Their reputation in the slums was the first thing I noticed. We are a pack of Americans, wearing name tags, walking around in a group in one of the poorest places on earth. I was nervous, to say the least. However, we seemed to be a point of joy for most instead of being a target. They knew the school and loved what they did. I asked about the school’s reputation, and they said the school provides so much for the slums for free. These services included COVID help and food when the work stopped. The families in the slums are very appreciative of MOH’s ministry. This sentiment was echoed in the home visits.

We had the opportunity to go into two homes (however, “rooms” would be a more appropriate descriptor), and my group went to the home of a man named Paul. Paul told us about life in the slums and talked about his family. Paul is a “hustler,” but our translator was quick to tell us that it means he’s a day laborer and not what we think of when we hear “hustler.” Paul thanked us for sending money because his kids were in the school, and Mission of Hope also gave his family food during COVID. He had a large house, about the size of a master bedroom, and he informed us his rent was about two dollars a month. We also met Lydia and her baby John. She was sick and was planning to visit the MOH’s medical center. Her house was a little bigger than a king-size bed. She was noticeably worn out and asked us to pray that her husband finds a job nearby so he can move back home.

I cannot accurately describe the smells and feelings. The sour, sweet, and smokey smells which permeate the whole place, and the feelings of joy, sadness, confusion, claustrophobia, and confusion as you walk through the streets. All the children smile and wave, and the adults are very welcoming. They are overall content but also understand moving to bigger houses and leaving an inheritance to their kids. “Parents used to leave land to their kids, but now there is no land. Parents must leave education to their children”- Paul.

Last, I was overwhelmed seeing how God and people are working even halfway around the world. Yesterday we attended worship, but today we talked about the nuts and bolts of ministry. We saw how they shared the gospel and the plans to expand the ministry. We witnessed the incredible ministry in action as they prayed and made sure “the Gospel of Jesus Christ” was taught. We listened as they described having a school that is 90% Muslim and how these schools are saving girls from being married before ten years old. (If you marry your daughter away, you get goats, BUT if you let her have an education, she’ll get

 a good job and give you money. Ministry is messy sometimes.) God is being worshiped all over the world, AND God is active all around the world. God’s name is being glorified in one of the poorest places on earth because men and women are giving their time and money. God is casting visions
and raising leaders in Fayetteville, NC, and Nairobi, Kenya.

God Bless, Jon Nahlen