We are writing you with one last update/recap from Africa as our journey has officially come to an end today.
It was a true blessing to attend Sunday service with our brothers and sisters at Hope Baptist Church. It was without a doubt a great day of worship and celebration of our Lord and Savior in a place filled with His presence.
Our day was abundant with laughter, hugs, and goodbyes to the individuals we have grown so close to over the past 12 days. Although we said thank you one last time for now, we will be eternally grateful for the love and support that filled out hearts during our time there.
The men, women, and children of Nairobi, Kenya will be forever in our hearts and our’s in theirs as we shared an unforgettable experience together. May we always be united by His love despite being on the other side of the world.
Thanks be to God for having watched over us during our time away serving and a special thanks to you for following our adventure. We love you more than you know and will look forward to sharing many more moments and memories of the trip soon!
We had another beautiful day in Africa and here’s a breakdown of the happenings throughout the day!
The small girl down in the middle of this group selfie was the “daughter” that stole my heart (and my Kleenex) here in Nairobi. What a difficult story of trauma and triumph that can only find redemption by the power of Jesus Christ thru the helping hands of his people. Pray for Angel Elizabeth & all of the children at Shepherd’s Rod School here in Kahawa West. James and Elizabeth Kiningi (also pictured here) serve these children as founders and directors of the school.
This along with its teachers who receive very little; but have been empowered to provide so much love, compassion, patience and care for “the least of these:” children who were throwaways, orphans, vulnerable & other-wise “at-risk.” Powerful stories of terrible-beauty.
We had the opportunity to visit the Masai Market in the city center of Nairobi. If you ever wanted to test your haggling skills this is the place to go. Luckily we weren’t alone and had our friend Basil do our haggling for us. There were rows and rows of colorful stalls full of wares. Each stall vying for your attention. We weaved our way through what seemed like an endless maze, making the best choices of souvenirs we could possible.
Harry and Kathy
We had a two hour prayer breakfast in the old sanctuary of Kahawa Sukari Baptist Church. Afterward, we attended a basketball tournament in the church parking lot. There were over 200 kids in attendance and Harry shared pictures of his ministry from around the world on his iPad. In the evening, Harry and Kathy were part of a 5 family BBQ that extended into the early hours of Sunday where fellowship was plentiful.
It was a fun filled day from beginning to end and great to see the church in action and the mobilization of its members in the community.
Thank you so very much for following our adventures and there will be one more update tomorrow!
We had another action packed day of ministry throughout the city of Nairobi. Here’s a recap of our day….
Friday morning we started our day at Uhuru Kenyatta, a secondary school in the Kahawa Sukari Estate. We were greeted by the student body and staff with song and smiles. The team was introduced and Harry briefly shared an inspiring message.
We then made our way back to Shepherd’s Rod School in Kahara West. It was P.E. day and we participated in soccer, relay races and played fun games there where about seventy students ranging from kindergarten – 7th grade.
Debra and Fred members from KSBC came alongside us in interacting with the students. They were such a blessing to us.
Later that evening we attended Coffee night at KSBC with the mid to young adults lead by Somba aka Ezekiel the youth pastor. They are going through a series “Who is Jesus?” I was escorted as my host mom says to coffee night by Kevin.
Kevin is from the country and came to the city for school. He began coming KSBC on Friday nights for basketball in 2017 and as a result of the basketball outreach he became born again and has been growing in the Lord. It was a night of thoughtful and engaging conversation.
Coffee night was super fun! We watched a pretty engaging video talking about who Jesus is and evidence for not just his existence, but that He’s the Son of God. There were certain points where questions would come on the screen and we would discuss them with our groups. It’s a great way to engage people my age and I want to bring it back to Chicago!
We were blessed with another wonderful day in a place of hope and love that surpasses our comprehension. Perhaps, because it’s perfectly imperfect we have all fallen in love with the dear children and staff of Hope Baptist Church.
Day 2 and 3 at Hope Baptist Church. The women met separately from the men for the second half of our day together. Kathy shared her testimony Agnes and Mary from Kahara Sukari Baptist Church translated. We talked about raising children in the Lord and other topics that were specific with a women’s gathering.
Later in that evening we attended a monthly prayer meeting at KSBC This prayer meeting was exactly what I needed and didn’t expect. My time there was spiritual uplifting and encouraging. The Lord met me there in a special manner.
The day with the staff and children at the school was another unforgettable experience.
The children and teachers put together a performance for us and we shared much laughter in joy united in God’s love.
There is an incredible gift the people of Mathare have that we should all yearn for. They have hope, faith, and love in their lives that has purity, authenticity and humility from Above. Most of all, God loves them far more than we can understand which is why we love them so much.
Our lives have been forever changed and we pray that in some way this journey we have been on has touched you. We look forward to sharing our last few days in Kenya with you and hope that the story will long be told after our departure.
May the Lord bless you and your loved ones now and forevermore,
After having shared his personal testimony of how he came to personally know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior on Day 1, Mike shared from 2 Timothy 1 about the importance of guarding the truth of the gospel on Day 2. Though he emphasized why Holy Spirit-filled pastors and teachers need to “adopt” spiritual sons in their personal discipleship ministry (especially young men & boys who lack this from their own fathers); he also pointed out that mothers possessing sincere faith are critical to the spiritual development of their children.
Gladys shares with Mike that she believes he’s Luo, one of the Kenyan tribes/language group.
I met Johari Kay and Felix Amukoa, two young men who seem to have gentle spirits & need encouragement. Johari sings gospel music & serves at Hope Baptist. He was saved out of a community that practices witchcraft. Felix experiences abuse & abondonment as a kid but found Jesus.
One of the main goals of the Missions Trip is to teach and develop the local pastors to lead the community long after we’re gone. Harry and Mike have provided a tremendous amount of wisdom and guidance for the pastors and our prayer is that they can incorporate the strategies and teachings while building their ministry in Mathare.
Prayer Night at Kahawa Sukari
Prayer night at Kahawa Sukari Baptist Church led by Pastor Ezekiel was an incredible evening of focus on God’s direction and purpose in our lives. We sang songs of praise, prayed profusely, and listened to scripture readings together. It was a true blessing for us all and filled out hearts with joy, comfort and peace.
Today we travelled to the slums of Nairobi known as Mathare. The experience was fulfilling and life changing in so many ways.
Had the opportunity to go to Mathare for a leadership conference. Mathare happens to be one of the largest slums in the world and I was truly struck by the pure joy and humbleness I saw on the faces of the people I encountered. We were also blessed to spend some time talking to some women from the church and were able to break down with them how to study the Bible, it was truly an interactive and blessed time.
Harry did his first of two days of teaching for the pastors of a number of different churches today. The group was responsive and eager to learn. Praise God. He was kind of flattered and told he should come and be a missionary in Kenya.
Tuesday was the first day we went to Mathare, the biggest slum in the world. Before we got there I tried to picture what it would be like. I imagined a lot of metal shacks in a dusty, dirty area with very poor people. Having been in Kenya for a couple of days prior, I noticed that everyone seemed poor, and everywhere seemed dirty. As we stepped into the slum and walked thru it before we left, I noticed that things were worse than I imagined. Yes, I was right about the things I predicted I would find, but not on the scale I was imagining.
I found what surprised me the most as Adam, Pastor Wandera, and I walked down to the river below.
The sewage pipes emptied onto that hill and flowed down into the river. There were other houses towards the bottom of the hill and the sewage would just run around the house. Chickens were trying to drink out of the sewage. Kids were washing clothes (with I don’t know what kind of water) sandwiched between the sewage and the river.
Something else that surprised me was that there were kids at the top of the hill playing in the dirt as happy as could be.
After Harry and Mike finished the training session for pastors, we went to a school for needy children. When we pulled up, we could hear a group of kids singing. As we walked in, their faces filled with joy and they sang for us.
We introduced ourselves to them and Adam gave his testimony.
Afterwards, we spent some time playing with them. I did some flips for them, Adam and I did some balancing games with them, and Nereida and Lisa sang some songs with them.
Something that stunned me was that the kids were asking to touch our hair. When I would be standing in front of them, they would come up to me and feel my hands.
They would ask Adam about his freckles. I don’t think they had ever seen people with appearances like ours. They looked at us like we were from another planet. It really showed me how different the lives of these kids are from those of us who live in the U.S.
It’s crazy to think that kids have lives like these (way worse than what we complain about in America), yet they are still running around with big smiles on their faces like nothing’s wrong.
We’ll never fully grasp the hardships that the people of Nairobi face daily, but we will pray and tell their stories about having hope and love in a place you wouldn’t expect as often as we can.
We hope and pray that all is well at home in Chicago! We miss seeing each one of you but we are having a very blessed experience here in Africa. We were able to see so many beautiful things of His Creation today and would love to share that with you all!
Our journey began at 6am Monday morning and as we had the best opportunity to see the various animals at that time.
It isn’t always a guarantee to see a lion on a safari but we were fortunate to have come across a pride of them!
The ostrich is a strange and quite fascinating animal and saw many of them throughout the park. My understanding is they are capable of doing serious damage if need be.
During the break, we had a lot of photo opportunities, we stretched out our legs, and Brian showcased his Ninja warrior skills!
We continued throughout the park and saw many giraffes up close and personal.
Right before exiting the park, we came across a rhino which an enormous and formidable beast!
We finished the day with fellowship and food at a Brazilian steakhouse where we shared much laughter and appreciation for each other’s company. The crocodile meat was a real treat!
Our Kenyan brothers and sisters have been incredibly hospitable and loving the whole time we’ve been here. We thank them and you for pouring into us and appreciate you immensely!
Apologies for the delayed update but we do have a great synopsis for you all about our Sunday at Kahawa Sukari Baptist Church and other activities that took place during the day. Each team member wrote a summary from their perspective.
Met a church member who was 103yrs old and a very sweet lady. Mama Betty took Me and Nereida sight seeing. We went to a hidden gem down by the river a beautiful garden. Then we went to the Blue Post Hotel and saw a waterfall. We had chocolate covered figs from Greece.
Harry and Kathy
Harry preached. We attended a couples group, had lunch together and great fellowship.
I joined members of my host family on a walk to the Cardinal M. Otunga playing field where many of the men from church played each other in a futbol match. I met Frank and Jackie, who actually spent time in the states. He attended college & university in Georgia. She graduated from high school there. They have three children: Keke, Shawn & their youngest, nine month old Georgia. She’s a cutie. Coach Frank leads the basketball ministry at Kahawa Sukari Baptist Church. I really enjoyed sharing stories with many who watched on the sidelines. Adam and Brian played on opposing teams. They did alright.
Had a wonderful morning at Kahawa Sukari Baptist Church worshipping with our fellow brothers and sisters. At lunch was able to spend time with my host family and engaged in some deep conversation as if I was one of their own. I was challenged, encouraged, and prayed for. It was an excellent day and God was glorified.
Tomorrow we’ll give you a rundown of our Safari and all the other fun stuff we did today! Blessings to you all and thank you for your love and support!
On Saturdays, the church offers the youth in the community Sports ministry where they can learn about the Gospel, the fundamentals of basketball, and teamwork lead by Coach Frank and Coach Chris.
A highlight of the day was when one of the kids came up to us and began sharing with us about his background. He told us that he came from Russia when he was 3 years old and is now 9. He enjoys playing basketball and soccer and is fluent in English, Swahili, and Russian.
Brian and Brian spoke Russian to one another as our Brian’s grandmother has done ministry work for many years in Russia and the surrounding region. It was a pleasure seeing them connect so perfectly in His Love.
We have learned a tremendous amount this far about the love and desire the Kenyan people have for God and it’s been both palpable and irresistible. We are excited for church service today and will have plenty more to share soon!
The team has successfully transitioned from the first leg of the trip and are now on the second part of the journey to Africa. We will be arriving at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in approximately 5 hours.
Hamad International Airport is a masterpiece. The details and design are remarkable and I highly recommend spending time walking around and seeing all of the amenities. Sadly for us, we had about one hour from gate to gate and saw most of it in a rush!
We’ve been very blessed this far on our journey to Nairobi and we met a group from Wichita, Kansas that will also be traveling to the slums of Nairobi. It’s my understanding they’re on a medical mission but have done work in the past with the Southern Baptist Convention.
The outpouring of messages and comments we have received have been a great joy and comfort to us all. Even though we’re now on the other side of the world, our hearts are still connected…now and forever.
We are all very excited today to leave for our overseas adventure to Africa! It is a great blessing to travel across the world to share God’s love with our brothers and sisters in Nairobi, Kenya.
We made it to O’Hare Airport without a hitch, dropped off our luggage & checked in, and had time for a bite to eat at Tortas Frontera in Terminal 5.
While in Nairobi, Mike and Harry will be leading young pastors and sharing their expertise of Biblical studies and ministry teaching experiences with them. The rest of the group will be assisting the churches and the community. We were given a large amount of donated books to hand out to the kids in city as well.
Our deepest gratitude for our friends and family who’ve supported and prayed for us all along the way. Many thanks for the love and encouragement you have provided throughout the preparation of the trip as well.
Today we were blessed with a day of preparation all the while enjoying laughter, fellowship, food, and most importantly love.
In both morning services, the English/Spanish language congregations prayed over us at Armitage Baptist Church and bid us farewell. Soon after, we held a meeting one last time to make sure we are ready for our departure later this week.
We were able to converse and spend the day making final preparations for our departure on Thursday at 6pm CSTfrom Chicago O’Hare Airport.We will be taking the Blue Line train and our luggage will meet us there thanks to Nereida and the generosity of her mother’s time and effort.
Our leader Harry Walker informed us of many logistics about traveling to new countries and provided an abundance of knowledge from 40 years of him and his wife Kathy serving as missionaries across the world.
Pastor Jeremy and the Crowe family joined us as they have been a great part of the organization and planning of this trip throughout this year and last. We laughed, shared openly about our concerns about being a new country for 12 days, and then departed for the day.
We know a big challenge lies ahead of us but we agreed that we will remain faithful in God’s love and strength.
That’s all for now but stay tuned for an update later this week!