Jeff Wilhite
Jeff Wilhite campaign leader

A productive visit to Sam's Place

I just wanted to let you know that our mission team's trip to Kenya this summer to visit Sam's Place (our orphanage for deaf children) and other mission projects was productive and successful. There were 15 of us on the trip from 4 different congregations. Several of us blogged about our travels, and the very best way to experience Kenya with us is to take a look at some of our blogs and pictures at the sites listed at the end of this email. Our blogs are more than just travel logs but convey our thoughts and feelings about our experiences there and contain lots of stories to make you laugh and cry.

However, if you want the boring, short summary of the trip, here is my attempt at quick recap.

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Immediately after arriving in Nairobi we started out visiting the Made in the Streets ministry. MITS ministers to the youth who spend their lives on the streets of Nairobi, sniffing glue and sleeping on trash heaps. Larry and Hollye Conway run a facility there in the slums of Eastleigh to provide a safe place for the children who live on the streets to come and play and eat and fellowship. Some of our team participated in a Vacation Bible School for the younger children there, and we all got to venture out onto the streets to meet the homeless children who sleep on the trash heaps there.

Some of the children who come to the Eastleigh facility are offered the opportunity to go live on the farm at Kamulu. We had the opportunity to visit Kamulu the next day. It's a very large facility spanning many acres that offers the children who are rescued from the streets an opportunity to learn various vocations like tailoring, farming, woodworking, cooking, and computing.

Our next major destination after leaving Nairobi was to attend the Kenyan Deaf Prayer and Learning seminar in Sotik. KDPL is an annual leadership conference attended by about 70 deaf Christians in Kenya. Our team got to interact with the attendees and learn a lot of Kenyan Sign Language. We also had a mini-VBS for a few children of the attendees (and about 30 other neighborhood kids who crashed the party).

After leaving Sotik, we headed for Sam's Place, the orphanage and school for deaf children we are building near Kisii. We got to see the construction of the main dormitory well underway, and we held another 2-day VBS for the children in the surrounding neighborhood. At the pace construction is progressing it looks like we should be able to start accepting orphans at Sam's Place by the beginning of 2010. About half of our team stayed at Sam's Place to do some planning and designing, while the other half ventured off to the district of Busia to visit some other works.

Living in Busia is a man named Christopher who is caring for about 50 orphans and 10 widows in his small mud home. Our team were the first white people who had ever visited his home, and the Kenyans living there met us with a grand reception of singing and dancing. After feeding us and entertaining us, we retired to bed in a couple of the mud huts there on his land. The next morning we spoke at length with Chris, the widows, and orphans who live there to learn more about their needs and struggles and what we can do to assist the work there.

Our half of the team then headed to Eldoret where Whitney and Zachary, two of our high-school team members, lead a youth rally for about 350 people. And the entire next day, Sunday, was spent worshiping with some of the Christians of Eldoret under a burlap tent.

Our divided team joined up again in Nakuru for a visit to the game park there before we headed back to Nairobi for the flight home.

We touched a lot of lives there and were, ourselves, touched by the people we met and the experiences we had. For those of you who contributed to the trip, we want to say a huge thank you. And I want to thank each of you for your involvement and interest in the work in Kenya.

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Ok, that was the boring version, now here's the good stuff.

Jeff Wilhite's blog
http://musingsonkenya.blogspot.com

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