Thursday, July 09, 2009

Jump for Joel

Some of our college students from the UIS Christian Student Fellowship have been in Kenya with Jump for Joel for the last week or so, and our friends David and Lindsey will be taking another team of students to join them in just a few days.

Just a few years ago, a student returned from a 2 week mission trip to Africa with the idea that her experience shouldn't end there, that she needed to continue to think about the street kids there. Jump for Joel was born, and now, 2 years later, this group of college students and people recruited from a few country churches have raised over $25,000 for things like new toilets, a cooker, beds, and a chicken coop for the orphanage. I am amazed at how these students have chosen to take seriously the cause of the fatherless...and how God is blessing this ministry to the kids at Gathiga Children's Home!

Amelia is there now....
So here is my second up date which goes over what’s happened here the last few days.

So Saturday, we worked with our friend Steve who runs a feeding program that we incorporated into the goals of Jump for Joel last year. I had gone with him last year to the same place we went on Saturday. The kids we worked with there live in the nearby slum, many of them are not in school, and for many the meal we served on Saturday, would be their only one for a few days. I connected a lot more with the kids this year, due in part to the fact that I spent more time there this Saturday, and will be going back in a couple weeks.

Sunday we went to church at the orphanage. So interesting to see how this one building at the orphanage is utilized for a nursery school, church, and tonight-party hall! After church we went into the city to get a bite to eat before going to Maddison House, an orphanage started by Fadhili, a ministry that also serves as our volunteer agency. Some of the kids who used to live at Gathiga have been moved to Maddison House. It was really good to see their facilities, not only because this is a project of our close friends, and we are happy to see their visions coming to life, but also because they have facilities that we hope Gathiga will have some day.

Monday we spent the day at the orphanage, we have been constructing a chicken coup, so we worked on that and played with the kids.

Tuesday, I got up early L and Lucy, Ryan (one of the volunteers on this team), and I went to the hardware store which by then I had become quite familiar with. We spent 3 hours there picking out the supplies we would need to construct a bookcase with doors on it, to store the 474 books that had been donated and brought by this first team. At some point during this 3 hours at the hardware store I found myself sitting on a wooden box having a heart to heart with Lucy. We talked about how she is overwhelmed with all that goes with running this orphanage, overwhelmed by all that Jump for Joel has done so far, and overwhelmed by all that lies ahead. It is little moments like this that remind me why I’m in Kenya, not to be the designated construction supply buyer, but to encourage a woman who has dedicated her life to a bunch of bedraggled street kids. After this we went shopping as a team, we bought souvenirs at the Massai Market, food at the Nakumatt, and books in Swahili for the kids at a bookstore.

Yesterday we spent the day at the orphanage, building the bookcase, sorting the books, mixing concrete for the floor of the chicken coup, and of course playing with the kids after they got off school. I was able to talk to some of the girls, and here how they are at the top of their classes. I think that is a good report to bring back to all of those who help pay the kids school fees, that they are excelling in their classes. I’m not gonna lie I felt like a proud parent beaming over their assignments, showing them off to the other volunteers!

Today we got to sleep in, which was needed! After coming into Nairobi for the Cyber Café, we will grab a bite to eat, maybe visit Kabira the second largest slum in Africa, and then head out to the orphanage. This is the last day this team of volunteers will be at the orphanage, as they leave tomorrow for Safari. So we are having a little party tonight, after the high school kids get home. There will be soda and good food, the kids will dance for us, and we will pass out donations this team has brought, like clothes, pencils, etc.

Then the team leaves tomorrow for safari, and Shana, Vicky, and I are going to Mombassa, which is on the coast, for the weekend. I can’ wait!!!

I also want to thank those of you who have been sending me encouragement through texts or direct messages through twitter! Especially when I was sick a couple days last week, I really needed that encouragement. I continue to depend on your prayers and encouragement! Hope you all are doing well!!

Well I guess that’s all for now.

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