By this time two weeks from today, I will have completed my first full day in Kenya with a Kazi Yake ministry/service team. During the month that I am in country, I will not have access to internet, email, or phones, but I will update this a few times before I go and will use this platform to share stories when I get back. So, as an introduction to what I’ll be doing in Kenya for a month, here is the snail-mail support letter I’ve sent to some friends and family. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more 🙂
Hello! It is a beautiful fall day here near the Rocky Mountains where I have been living and working for the past (almost) three years. This year I took my sense of adventure to new heights as I rediscovered the joys of hiking multiple Colorado “14’ers” (mountains higher than 14,000′), rock-climbing and biking. I am very blessed to be in a place surrounded by such amazing natural beauty and endless places to explore. I thoroughly enjoy working with international university students through my English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching job. I love being an ambassador to these students and helping them find another voice with which to share their stories. All of these experiences have spurred me on to give my time and energy to serve people far from home.
From December 6th – January 2nd, I will be going on a service trip to Kenya. For the last few years, my long-time family friend and mentor, Judy Pitt, has been begging me to be part of her service trips to Kenya. I was never able to go, but kept promising her that if she ever took a trip in December, I would definitely be a part of it, so this December, my time has finally come! Judy has been partnering with the Kenyan people for the past ten years and created a non-profit organization named Kazi Yake (His Works) to further support the work going on there. Kazi Yake’s mission is to serve the people of Kenya through humanitarian aid and spiritual encouragement. The need for both of these is great in Kenya. The infant mortality rate is 49 deaths for every 1,000 live births while the mortality rate for children under five is 85 per 1,000. In the U.S., ours is 7. Many children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Many women are widowed too young by disease and conflict. Having to deal with so much loss and heartache is impossible without a spiritual rock to fall back on.
During the month that I am in country, I will be partnering with a variety of churches, people and other organizations to help meet some of these needs throughout central/western Kenya. Our team will provide midwife training, Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) training, and assistance with the installation of a rain harvesting system in Central Kenya near Nairobi. At local orphanages farther West we will help throw a Christmas Party for 200-500 children and lead art projects, singing, and games. We will also be working alongside local churches and community organizations to meet new members of the communities, “love on people”, and serve in whatever ways they see as necessary. Hopefully in doing so I can be an encouragement to those already serving the Kenyan people. I want my presence on this trip to comfort hurting people, to make children feel special, and to help in the fight against some of the preventable diseases which are causing so much pain. I fully expect to be amazed by the stories I will hear and to be surprised by the unexpected blessings at every step of the way.
This is such an exciting opportunity that I have been waiting to serve with, and yet, I cannot go without a strong team of supporters offering both prayer/good thoughts/moral support and financial support here at home. We need a team backing us up specifically in the areas of safety, health and strength/energy/endurance, and emotional support. Safety because Kenya, just like many other countries can be dangerous at times. Strength, energy, health and endurance because we will be traveling a lot and have many different projects that we will be helping with while in country. Emotional support since I know that many of the people’s stories will break my heart, and I will need extra helpings of grace, compassion, and comfort to pass on to those around me. Additionally, I need a team of financial supporters because I cannot go without the funds to get there.
In order for this trip to happen, I need to raise $5,031 to cover airfare, travel insurance, lodging, food and in-country costs by December 5th. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at https://kaziyake.donortools.com/
Our team is small so all donations will go directly to this trip, you do not need to put my name on the website. Will you thoughtfully consider a gift of $30, $50, $100 or another amount to help this service trip happen?
Thank you so much for your willingness to partner with me on this project. Even though my job brings the world to me, I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to participate in Kazi Yake’s mission to the people of Kenya. Thank you so much for your support, time and prayers! Blessings!