We have certainly discovered that a mode of transportation is one of the greatest needs among the Pastor's here. They walk everywhere and it is often very far & it limits their ability to minister. They often struggle to do visitations & care for their people as public transportation is expensive. Our Missionary host who has lived in Kenya for 36 years confirmed that one of the greatest ways we could bless a church here was to provide some form of transportation for their Pastor.
Today, we were able to bless Pastor Koli with his motorcycle! He was certainly excited and his giant smile was enough to fill our hearts! He was so grateful.
We were also able to bless Pastor Attita with a motorcycle! Pastor Attita was thrilled. Two Pastors have been blessed with a means of transportation--and our prayer is that these gifts will be a tremendous blessing and will give these wonderful men of God the ability to work more effectively for the gospel of Jesus.
It's like Christmas around here--except better. :)
We had another amazing day partnering with another incredible ministry. There are so many God stories and we are consistently learning and humbled by the work of Godly men & women here.
Today, we met Obadiah Karuru. He has an amazing story. Obadiah was a successful public transportation driver. He owned several vehicles and was a driver. He was able to make quite a bit of money and his success was driving his life. He lived a life of adultery & immorality. He was also greedy & prideful. The year 2003 was a landmark year for Obadiah. He was very sick and they could not find a cause. He never suspected for a moment that his illness may be HIV--but it turned out to be the case. He went around town and met Witch Doctors for treatment. It was all in vain. He eventually ended up at the hospital and at that time he was diagnosed with full blown AIDS. His CD4 count was zero!
It was during this moment that Obadiah was certain he would die. During his stay at the ward he cried out to God. He was truly sorry for the life he had lived and he repented of his sins and offered his life to Jesus. He prayed and told God that if he would allow him to live that he would spend the rest of his doing God's work. It was later in a dream that Obadiah was told to read Psalms 118:17. "I shall not die, but live, and declare the work of the Lord." It was not easy for Obadiah to accept that God was speaking to him bearing in mind that his health was quickly deteriorating.
Two weeks later Obadiah's wife, Lucy Njoki, passed away from HIV.
Obadiah-despite being weak in health, fulfilled his promise to the Lord. He began to adopt children who's parents had died from AIDS and care for them in his home. The sigma of AIDS in Kenya is great--and if you have AIDS and it known you are often shunned. Obadiah knew that these children needed great love and he was committed to do it.
He sold his business and bought a small plot of land. He built a house and began to care for orphans.
Obadiah remarried in 2004 to a woman who was also infected with HIV. Together they have adopted 22 children who are orphans because their parents have both passed away from the disease. They have a very small home and so they are all packed in--but love is free--and the home is bursting with love.
He also provides home based care for over 50 orphans who are living with other relatives or neighbors. He has started a school so the children will not be discriminated against & will be given the attention that they need.
We spent the entire day with Obadiah. He is healthy. He is active. He is energetic. God has truly answered his prayer & he is providing counseling & care for people who are infected with HIV.
We went to his home. We toured their school. We played with the children. We ate lunch. We prayed together. We marveled at Obadiah's life. He truly gives God the glory for everything. He is an incredible man.
When Jesus sets you free--you are free indeed.
Here is some insight from a few of our team members:
"Today we got the awesome opportunity to visit KIMPLWAS (Kimumu People Living With AIDS). There is both a school and an orphanage that are part of this program. We got to paint fingernails and play with the kids, and it was an absolutely amazing experience. I really love photography so I was taking pictures for a while (don't worry, I didn't hide behind my camera the whole time). ALL of the kids absolutely LOVE getting their pictures taken and seeing them afterward. This not only gave me the opportunity to take pictures like I love, but I also got to talk to the children and get to know them, which was huge for me. I am always the shy, quiet one, but this trip is taking me out of the comfort blanket that I am bundled in, and throwing me out in the open to figure out what it is that I am supposed to change about myself to be a more Godly person and to be the person that God is calling me to be. There's just something about this place that is speaking to me, and I'm still trying to figure out what it is telling me. One thing I am hearing and seeing constantly is that no matter who we are or what ailment we have, we are all God's children and we are all loved by one absolutely amazing and powerful God. That is just one thing about my worldview that is slowly changing, because before this experience I never thought about the global, I only thought about the local. But now I'm starting to see the world through the light of God and notice the things he has given me that I have never seen before. I wish everyone could experience something this great, because you really don't know what is out there for you until God sticks you right in the middle of it."
"When we arrived at the orphanage today, I was tired. I wanted to go home, but my thoughts quickly changed after seeing the 200 people cheering and laughing as we drove in. I realized that I can't be selective when allowing God to use me because He is involving me in His will, not finding room to fit mine in. It was only when I remembered this that I had strength to interact with the kids. A little orphan girl named Gerrono who was about 4 clung to me for most of the day. I'm not usually one to spend time with kids, and I've never even picked one up before, but little Gerrono stole my heart. I was also surprised to speak with the teachers. One asked if she could find a job in the United States if she could ever get there. I was stunned to realize many Kenyans see our country as heaven with everything they want. I didn't know how to respond. I am from that United States and I came to Kenya! Their perspective is so different than ours, but I bet if I was in their shoes I would think the same thing. I have loved this opportunity to come to Kenya and learn the many things God has taught me. "
God is doing amazing things all over the world. His name is great & is being proclaimed through out the earth. Our God is powerful. Our God is able. Our God reigns.
In Christ - First Baptist Kenya Team