Welcome to Maisha International's Blog
Lily and Her New Friends
I’m sitting upstairs in the Maisha community center as final preparations are made for our departure. Part of the team is finishing the job of distributing donations here as part of the team worships with the Maisha community downstairs. We sang, Blessed Be Your Name and You Never Let Go of Me together and my eyes filled with tears at the lines, “I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on. There will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes, still I will praise you.” As I looked out across the faces of my new Kenyan family, my heart rejoiced in knowing that I will never forget them. There will be a day when their earthly troubles will be no more and Christians will rejoice together in heaven. Pray for our Maisha friends, especially the leaders and staff as we depart. Pray that God will encourage them each day of the year – not just the days that we labor side by side. They are incredible people with incredible faith in Jesus and work ethic that continually amazes me. It has been an honor to meet them and to join alongside them in the work God is doing in Kisumu. Thank you for sending us. Thank you for praying. See you in America!
Hanging Out w/ Friends at The Tree of Life
Today has been a day of blessings, smiles, laughter, and adventure. Over half of the team hung out at Maisha community center and played with the kids while Mark Gunnels and I joined the Maisha team in the slums. First, we delivered a bag of maize to Teresa, a young woman suffering from AIDS, so that she can sell it and begin to sustain herself. Then, we had the privilege of delivering a mattress, pillow, sheets, and blanket to a refugee with AIDS named Joseph. We talked of God’s provision and faithfulness with him and rejoiced that he is our brother in Christ. By the time we left Joseph’s house, we passed Teresa on the street and she had already set up selling the maize! What a testimony to her desire to make it on her own. In the meantime, Chuck and Liz Lewis, Linda Lumry, and Helen Monday took two of Maisha’s brightest students shopping for much needed school supplies. Afterward the two boys were so thankful. After discussing it as a team, we were able to combine our funds to have enough to buy another piki-piki (motor bike) for Maisha and place a down payment on a tuk-tuk (local taxi) which we will purchase in full as a team by June. Both vehicles will provide much needed transportation for Maisha programs and the tuk-tuk will create an income generating program to promote self-sustainability. When we returned to Maisha, Mark Gunnels and Jeff Brown baptized over 15 women in the river. To finish the day off, we showed the Jesus film in Luo, the mother tongue of the Maisha area. Please pray for us as we worship tomorrow and say our goodbyes. Pray for peace for our hearts as we miss our new family and health and safety for us as we begin to travel back home.
Team Purchases Piki Piki!
450 Treated This Week!
Day five has been full of praises and visible movement of the hand of God. Our sister Rosalind (see day 3’s update) went to be with the Lord, but we rejoiced as a team to know that she is with Christ. The workers finished the walling of the ground floor for the permanent clinic and it was reported that the temporary clinic treated over 450 patients over the course of the week. In the women’s Bible study, Helen and Sherry taught over 1 John 5, the last verse of which commands us not to create idols. Upon reading this, the women began to explain to Helen that many of them have been praying to a rain god because Kisumu has not had rain in over two months. Sherry suggested they pray to Jesus for rain, as the Oklahoma team had been all week. Within two hours, enormous storm clouds billowed above Maisha and rain began to fall. Some children danced and laughed and we had the joy of saying, “See! We prayed for rain and God has brought it!” Please continue to pray for our team here, both Oklahoman and Kenyan, as we see God bringing himself glory through His work in Kenya.
God Through Whom All Blessings Flow
Pastor Gunnels Ministers With Team in Nyalenda
On Thursday, nearly half of the Oklahoma team went into the slums to visit victims of HIV/AIDS. Several members of our team who had been sick were feeling much better and were able to join in the work, which we rejoiced in! We visited Teresa, James, and Joseph – three of Maisha’s proudest success stories. Each of them has accepted Christ because the Gospel was shared with them by a Maisha team and as we met them, the light of hope shined so brightly in their eyes. Back at the community center, the temporary clinic served over 120 patients as the construction workers worked hard to complete the permanent clinic’s ground floor, Helen led a Bible study for the women, and members of the Maisha staff were busy enrolling students for the new Maisha nursery school to be opened next year.
1st Floor Maisha Clinic....Check!
Tonight, our team reflected on what a privilege it is to be a part of God’s work here in Kenya. Many recollected today’s events with tears in their eyes as we rejoiced together in the ways God is making Himself known. As the temporary clinic served 105 patients and the construction team made even more amazing progress on the permanent clinic, Helen and Tiffany led Bible study and fed lunch to 450 kids in a half hour (a daily occurrence at Maisha). The team in the slums visited five homes, the last of which bears an astounding story. There they visited Rosalind, a 21-year-old woman dying from AIDS. Her body was so frail, they believed her to be within days, perhaps hours of death. As they met with her, Rosalind became a Christian and was baptized on the spot. Then, the team called for a Tuk-Tuk (local taxi) to rush Rosalind to the hospital. The group tearfully shared how each of them were so broken to see a young woman in such devastation and how God shined his light and eternal life into her life as she was literally on her death bed. Also, Helen Monday is continually having spiritual conversations with a cook at Maisha named Suleman, who is a Muslim. We have gradually seen her become more and more willing to reach out to our team and be willing to talk about Jesus. To finish the day off, Pastor Mark Gunnells had the privilege of baptizing two of the girls in the river who became Christians yesterday in the slums! Please specifically pray for Rosalind and Suleman – Rosalind’s physical life and Suleman’s eternal life.
Widows Bible Study
Lets Go Down to the River
Working Side by Side
As one member of the team put it, “It’s only our second day here and it’s already been a life changing experience.” Whether it was hugging the precious Maisha kids or toting cement blocks beside Kenyan construction workers, today was a day the kingdom of God was furthered in Kisumu. While Linda treated 97 patients in the temporary clinic, a large group of Oklahoma men worked hard alongside native construction workers to build a permanent clinic – to meet the needs of hundreds more in the future. Helen and Sherry had over 30 women at their Bible study and soon will be delivering Bibles to all of those who do not have one. One team joined Maisha workers in their daily trip to the slum to visit individuals with HIV/AIDS in their home. They were ecstatic to report that they prayed with four women who received Christ! Also, we gained a new member of our team, Wycliffe. He is a beautiful orphan who Lance West had the privilege of meeting just as the team was leaving the slums. Please be specifically praying for our team as we engage in more kingdom work here, for our new brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially little Wycliffe as Beatrice and the Maisha team pursue the best opportunities for him.
We Welcome You Visitors
Today, the Oklahoma mission team met our Maisha family for the first time. After running to greet us, singing and smiling as we pulled into the driveway, all the children, widows, and staff gathered together and put on a magnificent show for us. After introductions and a brief orientation, the Oklahoma team was divided into work groups that will be meeting 5 needs while we are at Maisha – ministering to HIV/AIDS positive individuals in the slums, the orphan feeding program, building the medical clinic, painting the newly constructed girls home, and hosting a makeshift medical clinic. After discussing our tasks for the upcoming week, we spent some time just getting to known the children, who love to hug, play games, and speak English with us. After an encouraging and humbling day, the Oklahoma team returned to our guest house exhausted. Please pray for us as we begin work tomorrow, that we would listen to the Holy Spirit and be willing to be used by God in His work here. Please pray for opportunities for us to talk about the Gospel with our new friends and lastly for health and rest as we overcome jet lag.