KENYA 2010

Gap Youth Services

Kenya Testimonies- August
2010

Scripture for the trip:

John 14:18 “I will not
leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”

Kenya was amazing. I didn’t know really
what to expect with the Purity First training. But man was I blown
away! It was fantastic to see the change in people from the first
day to the last day – especially in the young man, Kelvin. At first
he was pretty nervous and you could tell he wasn’t really confident
in his answers. But by the last day he was giving a speech about
how we blessed him. It was also really amazing to see the change
in thought when we talked about telling the truth and being honest
with people. You could see they really started to get it, that they
could stop HIV at them and they didn’t have to spread it. Also that
HIV can’t stop them from doing anything…including having a family.
Mike, age 19

I met a girl named Florence who was
infected with HIV due to a blood donor. She thanked the donor for
saving her life, and called him a blessing. Others would have thought
of this as a curse, but she found it to be good thing. I was amazed
at the forgiveness that these kids carried; it is really outstanding
and taught me a lot. Nicole, age 16

Through this entire trip we were all
blessed with many life changing experiences. For me I was able to
help this girl named Teresa who was in my three day Purity First
training. In the beginning of the training she would not talk unless
I really poked at her and coaxed her talk. The second day of training
she was a little better; she would stand closer to me and talk a
little more. Finally on the third day, after jabbing at her and
just talking to her not caring if she responded, she gave me a huge
hug and would not leave my side. She wrote me a note saying how
thankful she was that I came to visit her and how she would never
forget me. Jordan, age 20

The event that stood out to me in Kenya
was when Kelvin stood up to thank our group for the training. He
was very timid and had no apparent confidence about him when the
training started. He shared very short answers and didn’t delve
deeply into anything. By the third day, he was very confident about
who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. He clearly had
the confidence to rise up as the group’s leader and thank all of
us. The transformation he made in only three days was an incredible
example of what we accomplished in Kenya. Jeff, age 18

In the training before the trip to
Kenya, we discussed gifts and the act of giving. I have never really
thought about this, but at that point God put on my heart that I
give with the idea of receiving, which is not a true gift at all.
He made me realize what I was doing and showed me that it is as
simple as wanting a “thank you” or just wanting to know
that you are doing something affective and worth-while. So going
into the trip I put that mentality aside and focused on giving myself
entirely without expecting anything back. The night before we left,
God gave me a sentence. He said, “You’re ready.” I woke
up anxious and a little annoyed at the fact that I was not sure
what I was ready for. I thought it was just ready and packed; but
God doesn’t work that way, he has so much more meaning to everything
he does. So I went on this trip apparently, “ready.”

The first 3-hour training we did at
Makarios was a blast. The girls were so receptive and loving. It
was exactly what I needed to get the trip started. God started to
reveal that he is giving me the desires of my heart, just as soon
as I was giving them up. When I gave myself entirely, that is the
point in which God almost said like, “Well done, here you go.”
Psalms 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will
give you the desires of your heart.” It was so exciting seeing
how God was working.”

The second day was tough but God was
still telling me, “Be patient.”

The third 3-hour training at the Nyeri
Children’s Home was amazing. After the craziness of having 19 girls,
one of the shyer ones named Teresa pulled me aside and asked if
I would be her friend. She said that I changed her whole attitude
and she was so grateful that I took my time to come all the way
across the world to see her. She said that her heart hurt from how
much love she was filled with for me and from me. She said that
she really loves me and that this was her happiest day; that I changed
her life and she would always remember me. Not only did I change
her life in some way, but she changed mine in a way that means a
lot to me. In that moment I could almost feel God smiling and saying,
“Now that you have obeyed me through your giving, now here
is the affirmation that you really wanted.” It was such an
incredible moment in which I realized what God was doing and then
what came next was incredible. Teresa brought up how earlier when
we talked, I said I wanted to be someone’s hero some day. She looked
at me and said, today is that day. She started crying and said,
“You are my hero.” There was this moment where I flashed
back to a prophetic word I received over two years ago which mentioned
that I would be a leader to the younger ones, in particular the
girls. In that moment it was almost like God was saying, “This
is what you are ready for, this is me molding you into the leader
that I want you to be. You are ready for it.” I have never
felt so confident about something. This is a feeling that exceeds
all others, the feeling that my time was well worth it, life-changing,
and profitable. It was a feeling of pleasure, of complete and utter
satisfaction that I was fulfilling the will that God had for me.

God is writing my testimony as we speak,
He is working in ways that I cannot even see yet. He is so good
to provide the desires of our hearts. I am clay in the hands of
my Maker, and I’m ready. Dayna, age 16

The Sunday before we left for our trip,
a member of the SRCC came up to me after church and told me that
she had a vision of me making a different in someone’s life while
in Kenya. She didn’t know how, or with whom or where, she just felt
that I would make an impact somehow and that I’d make a difference.
I kept that thought in the back of my mind during the trip and wondered
if it would happen. It came down to the last day of training, which
was our last day with the kids, and I was still wondering if I had
impacted anyone or made a difference because no one had specifically
told me if I had. I later remembered that I had the girls in my
group write in my journal, so I quickly went to my journal and read
all five entries. Each girl had written about how much they appreciated
me, how much they loved me, that they will never forget me, and
most importantly, that I had changed their life. I was so happy
to read that because I never thought I could change someone’s life,
and I changed five lives. Amy, age 20

This trip for me was really rewarding,
however it took some time and patience to get there. During our
training, my small group of girls was extremely shy and did not
talk to me at all. I would ask questions, and they would not answer.
By the second day, they were talking more with each other, but still
not with me. I didn’t know if their conversations were making fun
of me, so I became a little frustrated. I was frustrated with God
that He wasn’t letting me do what I came to Africa to do. Then I
got frustrated with myself that I was even getting frustrated. On
the third and final day of training, we did an exercise where we
had the teens write out their legacy statements, and then read them
aloud to the group. My girls took their time writing theirs, and
I was really hoping they were taking it seriously. When it came
time to share, one of my girls was the first girl to share. One
by one all my girls got up and shared their legacy statement, loud
and proud. Afterwards, they each came up to me, gave me a hug and
told me I changed their life, and they would never forget me. I
learned that even though I couldn’t see my words being heard, or
my actions being felt, I was making a difference the whole time.
Carleigh, age 18

Contact me at [email protected]

Kenya Journal – August 2010

July 13-29, I had the privilege
of taking a group of 13 young people, ages 15-27 to Kenya for a
missions trip.

The first day we arrived, we went to
visit a private group home for orphans called Morning Star.
Morning Star
was the vision of a man named Phillip Githaig
who started the home six years ago. He too grew up in a home and
wanted to start a place for the children who live on the street.
In 2009, he married his childhood sweetheart, Reah. In November
of that same year, Philip died suddenly of a heart attack. Now Reah,
with their little girl, is carrying on the vision, with the help
of another couple. They have over 70 children in 2 homes and no
funding other than private donations. About half of their children
are from the streets.

We worked there during the day and
got the opportunity to meet the kids when they got back
from school around 3pm. We were struck by the fact that each and
every one, from the smallest to the oldest, greeted each of us with
a hand shake, eye contact and their name. Reah’s mother told me
that was part of Philip’s legacy, because respect was so important
to him. Many times, they run out of food and pray for provision.
God meets them every time and they live on faith in His timing.
We loved being there so much that we carved out time to come the
next day, Saturday, when the kids were out of school so we could
spend more time with them.

On Saturday evening we arrived in Tumu
Tumu. The next morning we got to enjoy church in
the local community, complete with dancing, singing and sweet fellowship.
We were assigned different units at the hospital to volunteer at
on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. The team worked in the
laundry, in the kitchen, in the pediatric unit, in the surgical
units and in admissions. We filed, held babies, assisted with sponge
baths, helped dress wounds, cleaned bed pans, folded laundry, cut
cabbage and carrots and even held the lamp for a root canal! Before
work each day, we would join their student union for prayer at 7:30am
at the chapel. Each afternoon, we visited a children’s home and
facilitated a three hour training with the teens there.

After
one of the trainings, a young girl, Stella, pulled me aside and
asked if we could come back. I told her probably not on this trip,
since we had the rest of our schedule planned. She said that she
wanted to thank me for bringing the team, that she struggles with
loneliness and losing hope and the team brought her encouragement
and love right when she needed it most.

We started the Purity First training
on Thursday with a group of 22 HIV/AIDs teens from
various children’s homes in the area. They were fairly quiet at
first, but soon opened up to the team and shared their heart-rendering
stories. Most of the teens had gotten HIV from their parents, either
as infants from their mothers or through sexual abuse. Some of their
stories were heart wrenching – one young boy was ‘outed’ in school
by his teacher, who told the whole class that he has HIV so now
he’s a pariah at his school. Another teen had just found out a few
weeks prior to the training that she was HIV positive, even though
she had been on the medications for several years, not knowing what
they were for. As I sat with the ‘house mothers’ of a few of the
orphanages represented there, I learned that it’s not uncommon
if the mother dies of AIDs for the father to rape all the children
so he doesn’t have to die alone. The revenge mentality in the culture
is staggering. We listened, cried, hugged, prayed and God met us
all powerfully. The testimonies were amazing – about hope and a
future, lives that make a difference and what it means to persevere
and rely on others. The staff at the hospital was delighted with
the results. They have asked the teens who graduated become peer
counselors for the support groups in the area.

I gave the team US$200 each to sow
any way they wanted to during the trip. Some gave to
Morning Star, some to the New Life baby
orphanage, some to the hospital in Tumu Tumu for their teen support
group and others to specific children’s homes that we ministered
at during the week.

Thank you again for your generosity,
care and investment in the precious lives of teens!

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Contact me at [email protected]