My first goal is to try to keep this report from being overly dramatic or full of exclamatory words. However, this is not possible. I believe I speak for the entire team when I say this was the most incredible series of events in my experience. Not because God was evident or present nor because He provided examples of His Grace, but rather because what He did reveal was how long and how thoroughly He has scripted this series of events and how complete the understanding He has left.
First let me say, ALL THE BAGGAGE ARRIVED. Some of you may be aware that the airlines left more than half of our baggage in London overnight. We left one of the team in Nairobi to secure them as the balance of the team plus a newly hired videographer, Chris Rohio, set off for Rionchogu.
The ride is a long one and took more than 8 hours. Noted the roads are not what we might call highways, but get worse the closer we get to the village. Ending in very poorly maintained dirt roads, except when it rains and then the dirt turns into a slick clay like, very slippery substance. So as we arrived in the rain, it was with some ‘Indiana Jones’ efforts that we finally disembarked, including a fall on my part which resulted in one of the most illustrious splats, yes there are pictures of the outcome of this and I am sure Ecar will make them all very available. Before the splat we were greeted by many children and adults singing and praising and laughing and celebrating that we had finally arrived.
This was just the beginning. During the three and 1/2 days we were in the village we had many meetings with teachers, head masters of schools, the village elders, the local Chief and the inevitable multitude of children, of all ages, everyone completely eager to make us at home, and they did. I can not possibly relate all the events and individual circumstances, but, here are a few highlights.
We attended three midweek worship services, each day they gathered, thanked their God, praised Him with song and prayer and Word. Chris captured much of the sound and we will make this available as the days go by. Most importantly we lived in the village for the entire time. I had thought this to be important, I was correct. We were accompanied for the entire time by our driver, David. Both he and Chris have had many experiences with groups in Kenya and Christian groups as well. Both are Christian, David told us he had fallen away and asked for forgiveness and re-dedicated his life to the Lord, right there in the village. Each of these men remarked how this was the most amazing time they had experienced.
As I watched the events and heard the comments and listened to many it became apparent that Pastor Kiefa has been pursuing his vision long before I ever received his email. This man began many of the circumstances early in this decade including the Academy and the church, both of which he has supported in the best way he could find.Maybe the most difficult area of challenge for him is that of the long held customs and traditions which have resulted in the current situation they face.
They have more work to do, but, they are willing to face ahead as Kiefa leads them forward. Many of the current circumstances identify some of the work he has already accomplished in this area. In line with this is the raising of the importance and the level of potential for the women. We knew this was a new understanding for the village and believed that the inclusion of Anastasia Hansel, who has a long history in this exact area, would be a great benefit for this awareness. We could not have been more right on. All the village were blessed by all the team but the women were lifted to a new understanding of life for them by the seminar and interaction focused on their needs.
We accepted the recommendations of the GAD Kenya board for an additional 10 students to begin Secondary School, plus one young girl who had left a school for the deaf due to her mothers death, and through her grandmother was seeking a way to return to school.
One of the comments Kiefa made during our many conversations was that to just feed a child was destructive, they had to be educated, just feeding children made them into thieves, thugs and beggars. He is very specific, the children MUST be educated.
There is need to make sure the elderly have food, so a fund has been established. A plan is being developed to allow for women to enter the economy through micro franchise opportunities. They must provide a plan to GAD Kenya which will make all decisions to loan for starting the efforts, all of which must be repaid, plus interest, back to Gad Kenya. A plan was set forth for the expansion of the Neema Nuru Academy which will including facilities for this to become a boarding school. This has replaced the need for a dormitory for the orphans, who will remain at the Pastors house for the near future. The ‘Cow’ project was demonstrated, defined and explained. A thorough paper will be presented, based on our conversations, our plans are to move forward on this quickly. Two very important aspects of this are investment and accountability. The investment is that any recipient of a cow must first provide the acceptable shed, feeding and shelters necessary for success. As the cows reproduce, each group will continue the same requirements until all involved have a cow producing. Each cows production will be tithed back to GAD Kenya to provide milk for schools,orphans and elderly. All the cows will belong to GAD Kenya until the program is complete and all costs have been recouped. Gad Kenya has identified 10 groups of five core recipients, we will begin with five cows and increase to the 10 as they work out any issues which come up.
There is much more, including the needs for water, power, other energies, sanitation, and others on and on. It is very important that we not get ahead of their willingness to change the things that caused this. There are no gifts, through hard work, changing values and new hope, the road is very bright as we continue ahead with our new brothers and sisters in Christ in Rionchogu, Kenya.
Enough for now, we are blessed that you will continue to pray for this, Watch for the video and photo works which will come. Just one add on, the Grandfather, 94 years old, still the authority in the village supports his grandson Kiefa , he speaks to his sons that they must change and follow the young man. By the way, Grandfather told us, we were the first white faces ever in the village. He also brought out his favorite chair for me to sit on, that is an entire story. So much, our God is; exceedingly, abundantly able to accomplish more than we could ever think or imagine.