It was late in the evening that we found ourselves driving the winding roads up to an old building in a small town near the heart of the Swiss alps. We could see our breath as we got out the car and hurried in the building to meet the team that was going to come and live with us for a month in Kenya, later that year.
Many months later I was picking up that very same team at Nairobi international airport. I was so excited to see what adventures God would be taking us all on, how he would use us, and to see the growth that would take place in each one of our lives !
On area on my heart, was to expose the team to as many different forms of what being a “missionary” in Kenya could entail. We have found that many people have a narrow view of how God can use them on the mission field. So during the first week we took the team to several children’s homes, bible schools, a youth prison and then to the Samaritans Purse aircraft workshop where they service their fleet of aircrafts from all over Africa ! The team was able to hear from the leaders of these different institutions on how God had led them, and inspired them to follow the call of their life. You could see how inspiring this all was - It is my prayer that meeting these men and women of God and spending time with them would help foster longterm vision in the teams hearts. A wise man once said vision is not imagination, no vision is revelation from God.
Skipping ahead and after days on a bus we found ourselves in Turkana, a hot desert like county in Kenya bordering South Sudan Ethiopia and Uganda. We made our base in Turkwel village and began preparations for the large open air meetings that were going to take place that week. In the mornings we would have devotions then some of the team would help to set up the stage, lights sound and all the other bits that needed to be set up. In the evenings they would head out into the surrounding villages to show the Jesus film using a mini portable projector and sound system, share their testimony and inviting the village to come and take part in the meetings. At some of these cinema showings there would be upwards of 500 people crowded around and giving their full attention.
The team was sleeping out in tents under the stars at night with little to no shelter from the brutal sun during the day.
Once the stage was set and ready for the evening meetings the team would go and visit the surrounding schools, visiting 1 or 2 schools per day, sharing testimony’s and encouragement from scripture, acting out dramas and teaching the children new action songs from Switzerland. Peter (Jessies Dad) would go to one of the local churches and run workshops for 2 or 3 hours on leadership with all the local leaders and pastors, focusing on getting the local church to be more mission minded, pressing the burden we have for the unreached in the area and how well equipped the local church already is to engage these people.
In the afternoons Becki (Jessies mum) would run the children’s program, gathering all the children form the villages and running through key bible stories, acting them out with puppets, playing games to make sure they got the key points. I should also mention that in the mornings while Peter was teaching the the Swiss team were in the schools we were also running Sunday school training with the Sunday school teachers, giving them new tools, and techniques to reach and connect with there young, making use of every second we had there!!!
In the evenings the whole team was in action, musicians would lead worship in the local language, as the crowd would build the Go4It team would act out dramas, explaining them and sharing the need for a saviour. After the main talk the team would be busy in the crowd listening and praying for people needs, hurts, burdens and illness. There were many people that claimed to be healed, several from serious afflictions. There were two ladies on different nights who said they had been fully blind in both eyes for over 10 years and after being prayed for could see again ! There was a boy of about 10 who’s father said he was paralysed and after coming to the meetings could walk again and gained some healing over his hands, but not fully. I tried to get there contact details so that I could follow up with them later, wanting to interview there family and friends and get the full picture of what had happened to them, but as we were in a remote area these people had no phones or contact information, their villages had no names and after they left in the evenings they walked off into the night and try as I might I could not find them again. During this time many people came forward to make a first time decision to follow Christ - God is so good !
This is just a snippet of some of the things the team got unto during their month in Kenya. It was such a privilege to host them and have them work alongside us.
If you would like to come out as an individual or even a team to get a little taste of missions in East Africa do get in touch as we love having you out here, getting to know you and see where God leads us through this adventure.
I have attached a number of the teams testimonials, I hope they may be of some inspiration to you. *these have been translated from German.
"The time in Kenya with GFI has been a huge blessing to me. The loving kindness of the whole team and especially Peter, Becky, Josh, Jesse and last but not least Valour and their love for God impressed me a lot and had a massive impact to my life. They are fully on fire for the Gospel of Christ! This impressed me so much! As well as this they were so caring and were giving. Show us so many possiblilities in missions. That gave me a new insight to missions. The the time at GFI encouraged me to have a real and faithful relationship to God.
God bless you."
"Being on the road with GFI means looking for the presence of God every day! Saying YES to His adventure. In the shared month with the GFI team, our group not only gained incredible insight into the world and meaning of the missions, but also role models, role models that connect life with the Word God, loving people and people who love God wholeheartedly, giving your best to reach unreached people with the gospel. The journey with the GFI is not just an adventure to forget, but a time inspired by God that changes life in and around you."
"I was privileged to be with GFI for 4 weeks. We saw different areas in mission and were allowed to use our own gifts in the evangelization in Turkana and at the school & children's home.This time in Kenya was a tremendously enriching time for me, because my horizon on mission has definitely been expanded. It was the first mission of this kind for me, new challenges came to me, what I was able to learn is that I need to be totally dependent on God! I was surprised by God's action, when I chose not to control everything myself. Also getting to know the Kenyans was a so good for me, because they are really an example for me in their open nature and their joy ! Many thanks to GFI for this time and for your hospitality!"