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Jambo – Kenya

P1000048Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Pope Francis: “Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to ‘God’s surprises’?”
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Everyone wants to know about my recent trip to Kenya.Did you contract ebola? What was the highlight of the trip?  Did you feel safe? What was the food like? the weather? Did you go on a safari? Did you see any wild animals? It’s natural for friends and family to be curious about my 10,000 mile excursion.
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A good friend asked me to describe the Kenyan mission in one word. Without much thought, I replied, surprise. Surprise after surprise after surprise. I was surprised by the waves of destitute Kenyans roaming the streets 24/7. I was surprised by the overwhelming smells of diesel, human waste, sweat, and garbage. I was surprised by the graciousness and humility of the Kenyan people. I was surprised by the singing and dancing of women who slept on mud floors in 10×10 ft. rooms with their children. I was surprised by my own CRS (caucasian rhythm syndrome) dancing. I hutwas surprised by the tearful testimonies of once infected HIV women who are now thriving because of the compassion and care of H.E.A.R.T volunteers and staff. I was surprised by the joy of wallowing in mud and packing that same mud into makeshift walls. I am surprised by how much I miss Kenya. I am surprised how easy it is to transition back into the passive Christian life of squandering time.
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Henri Nouwen writes, each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. I need not be 10,000 miles away in a foreign country to receive God’s surprises. Surprise me today, O Lord. Amen.

Bayside Church Team – June 22-July 5

Team Leader: John Johnson

Team Members: The Brown Family, Mary Content Burns, Judi Morales Hernandez, The Johnson Family, The Perkins Family

Bayside Church again returned to Kenya this summer under the experienced leadership of John Johnson. The team was made up of some veteran friends of HEART and some new marafiki, (friends). Their days were packed with serving, building, and embracing the Kenyan culture. Throughout all of the hard work they enjoyed fellowship with the Kenyans through eating, singing and dancing together. A Ngong WEEP woman, Mercy, was especially blessed by this team as they brought additional funds to build a home for her.

Below is an excerpt from the post about Mercy’s home…

heart team

We traveled back to Ngong today to dedicate Mercy’s new home. We began construction on the home last Tuesday and it was finished this Monday. As with almost all of our visits in Kenya, the ladies from the Ngong WEEP Center greeted us with singing and dancing. If you like singing and dancing, you will have to come to Kenya next year and enjoy it with us! The singing and dancing then moved inside the new home and then it continued outside as we began to celebrate what God has done for Mercy and her family. Mercy stood up and thanked God, HEART, and our team for how her family had been blessed with a new home. After a few more people spoke, we laid hands on Mercy and her home and dedicated it to God. It is very humbling to see the joy and thankfulness flowing from Mercy’s heart and know that you had a small part in it. Thank you to all of our supporters back home who took part in the $1,000 challenge. HEART knew that we had raised an extra $1,000 and asked if we could raise another $1,000 to make this dream of Mercy’s come true. People back home responded and hopefully, you can rejoice in the difference you have made in this family’s life! After lunch we started saying our goodbyes and noticed that Mercy’s son, Paul, was not using his right arm. Come to find out, it looks like he broke it playing soccer last Sunday and has not gone to the doctor. Something we take for granted, going to the doctor for a broken wrist, is a luxury in Kenya because of the cost. After discussing the situation with him, his mother, and the HEART staff, we decided to pay for x-rays and his cast so that he could go to the doctor. This is also something all of our supporters helped to pay for. Thank you once again for making a difference in Paul’s life.

Please follow the link to see more photos and read more from their trip!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/132643313539711/

Jubilee Fellowship Medical Missions Team

Written by Pastor Johnathan Merle

Team Members: Johnathan Merle, Dave Donley, Jessica Gillesse, Elizabeth Nordquist, Adam Olson, Jennifer Olson, Rich Penaloza, Peggy Smith, Nancy Wolfe, Lindsey Bodenhorn

May 18
After nearly a year of planning, training, prayer, and preparation, our medical missions team is on their way to Kenya, East Africa to work and minister to women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. We are working with a terrific ministry called HEART, www.africaheart.com while we are there. Stay tuned for pictures and updates on a regular basis of all that is happening. It’s going to be an awesome trip and we’ll look forward to sharing about it when we return. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts!

965071_132010410328171_2000621546_o965609_132010380328174_162100365_o976128_132010173661528_1496876014_oMay 21 Here are some pictures from our first few days here in Kenya. We went to a slum, the 2nd largest in all of Africa called Kibera. I’ve been all around the world and seen a lot, but this was one of the roughest. Still, the women we worked with we’re happy, had hope, worked hard…it was awesome. The team is doing great. Tomorrow we’ll go to another community called Ngong.

May 26
KENYA UPDATE: Hi Everyone! We’ve been in the villages of Kenya (called “Up-Country”) and have had an amazing few days. The other day, we saw nearly 50 women in clinic, all who were HIV+, all without husbands for various reasons, and all lovely in so many ways. Our amazing team is doing TERRIFIC. We’re having the time of our lives seeing and experiencing the culture and people of this terrific nation. HEART (www.africaheart.com) is an incredible organization with some truly terrific initiatives to teach and reach the Kenyan people. Take a look at our photo album and enjoy!
May 27
474163_341329609327467_1736368017_o 977316_341329702660791_706456939_oHere’s a couple of pictures of me in clinic one day when we saw about 50 patients. It’s been YEARS since I did any clinical practice so it was fun to get back in it. The second picture is a cool story. Our group raised about $1400 to seed a micro finance project for this group of women. To receive this amount of money is a literal miracle for them as it is not feasible without help. Here’s the cool part though…The organization we’re working with has other groups of women that have received seed money like this and they’ve turned it into something amazing. One industrious women turned her 14,500 Kenyan Shillings into over a million Shillings. Another has hired 4 women in her enterprise. The goal is to instill business skills, values and training to empower them to not only survive, but to thrive. I challenged these women to make their seed into a tree and that we would be following up on their progress. It’s really neat to see. Thanks for following and praying for us

June 2
966676_133523170176895_832928982_o965710_135819933280552_1252946624_oAfter a long journey back traveling on 3 continents, the 2013 Kenya Medical Missions team is safe and sound back at home in Colorado. During our journey, we met many amazing people as well as really bonded as a team. We were told that our team left it’s mark on the ministry and those we worked with. The truth is, Kenya and those we met have left their mark on us. We are so grateful for the opportunities with an EXCELLENT organization, HEART www.africaheart.com, the American and Kenyan staff, and Vickie Winkler. We are also grateful for the support of those that gave to help us go and for our wonderfully supportive church and Pastor at Jubilee Fellowship Church.