2023 Kenya Short-Term Trip
In July 2023, Bethany Church commissioned a team of 5 people to fly to Kenya to serve with our missionaries Dave & Joy Meuller with Kenya Hope. The team consisted of co-leaders Brian & Kathie Denison, Pac Gines, Valerie Marks, and Stephanie Willis. Throughout their week the team will be working working with women & children in our adopted village of Nkoisusus, doing VBS for kids, supporting widows and working on the water well.
Kenya Update #1
Today the New Hope and Bethany team arrived in Nairobi after a day of travel. New Hope arrived @ 1 AM with the Bethany team arriving @ 3 AM. Following breakfast and a brief time of singing worship songs the teams went to visit the Hope Center in Kibera. Kibera, is the largest slum in Africa, the Hope Center provides meals, and a safe place for kids to learn about God’s love. The singing and story time (when they learned about the Armor of God) with the kids was an exciting time of singing praises to the Lord for both the children and adults. It is a beautiful time when worshipping God crosses age and culture. Kibera is a bleak place, and man’s sinful nature is strangling the people there (estimates are between 200k - 500K). Pray that God’s love and protection to descend on this tragic place.
Kenya Update #2
Supa! That is the traditional greeting of the Masai people and boy were we were welcomed by them today! Most of the community was at the school compound waiting for our arrival. There was singing and dancing and hugs and so many beautiful smiles! There is nothing like a Masai welcome!! Today we left Nairobi at 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Nkoisusu around 3:00 and everyone is excited to finally be here! We settled into our tents and are prepping for the VBS/Sports camp with the kids starting tomorrow. Please pray for our first day of VBS. The team from New Hope Church that has joined us is amazing. They have already fallen in love with the people here and the kids are in for a GREAT week! Lots has changed over the past 4 years around here. The trees we planted 4 years ago have grown, there are additional structures on the property and the teachers have planted a giant garden filled with vegetables.
The people of our village are so excited to see us back in their community and it so good to see our friends here again. They missed us!
Thank you for sending me…I am blessed to be here! Kathie
Kenya Update #3
Hello from Kenya! Today was the first day of our VBS program with the school here at Nkoisusu. About 300 children ranging from 4 to 18 years old were here enjoying our program. After we observed their morning flag ceremony, we split the students up into 3 groups to participate in crafts, memory verses, games and sports. The theme of today was “You are Loved”, and the children learned how God as the Good Shepherd loves them individually.It was such a blessing to witness the kids singing worship songs, reciting Bible verses, and generally having a great time during VBS. In addition, some of the men worked on building a water tower for the village. They erected scaffolding and are working on welding the support for the base of the tower.
We also had the opportunity to bless the families of the village who are in dire need. Kenya Hope works with the community to identify the neediest families and give them dry food. We helped to bag up staples like flour, beans, sugar, and milk and then distributed them to women who carried them home. The drought has made it difficult for families to have enough food.
The community has been waiting and praying and hoping for 4 years for us to return, and are beyond excited and thankful for us to be here. Your support of our team and Kenya Hope is a blessing to many Kenyans. Stephanie
Kenya Update #4 Hello from Nkoisusu. Today was an exciting day for us here! After breakfast, we hiked to the family compound of Sampai (a Masai gentleman who guards our compound at night). While at his home, he showed us his goat herd. We were taught how to milk a goat and several of us excitedly participated in that. We were then invited to the home of Sampai’s mother. They were very gracious hosts and treated us to the finest chai that I’ve ever had. After returning back to our compound, all of us went to teach in VBS. The children are learning a Bible verse each day. Yesterday we focused on highlighting how much Jesus loves them. Today we focused on forgiveness of sins and the importance of confession. The children absolutely love their time at VBS. Brian has been helping Dave Mueller and the local workers build a 20 ft. The water tower. After lunch, we were treated to a cultural presentation. Several Masai warriors in their traditional garb demonstrated to us their cultural dances. Many of their dances involve the warriors jumping as high as they can. We were invited to join them… it was an enjoyable experience indeed. It important to the Masai to share their traditions and hospitality with us. Later that afternoon, we visited the family compound of another Kenyan man. There was construction going on a new home being built for this gentleman’s mother. By Masai tradition, only women are allowed to participate in the construction of their homes. Kathie, Steph, and Valerie eagerly and excitedly took part (more details when we get home)! We returned back to our compound where Brian and Pac participated in the construction of the water tower. The women took well deserved showers (construction is dirty work). Pacifico
Kenya Update #5
Another glorious day at Nkoisusu, each day we have been able to serve the community through improvements of the school compound, meeting and sharing with the local women, and explaining God’s love through VBS. The kids lesson’s today was that Jesus loves them. During individual conversations with the children, heaven was discussed. Many did not know of heaven, and asked what “it” was. When they found out that when they trust in Jesus, that heaven is the place that they will go to after death and be able to see all the people from Bethany and be with Jesus they were so excited!!! Many will recall, Bethany provided Kenya Hope the funds to drill a well for the community and school. The water from this well continues to have a significant impact on the community. Sickness due to unsanitary water has gone away, and infant and child survival has improved significantly. The community is ever so thankful for the investment that Bethany has made through this well. Work continues on improving the water supply. Today, the water tower was “topped” by placing a 500 pound water tank 20 feet up by just a couple of ropes. While this has been done at other locations by Dave Mueller, for me (Brian) this was a very tricky and challenging endeavor with many opportunities for disaster. Why create such a large tower? Unlike in Long Beach, water pressure is developed by gravity. While the well that Bethany supplied to the community brings abundant water, the pressure is not sufficient for the school’s needs. God continues to use Bethany in significant ways in Nkoisusu, thank you all for your prayers and support.
Kenya Update #6
Today was very busy with a lot going on. It almost felt like the pace of city life! We have seen God working through Kenya Hope to bless the people of this rural community - where life has been extremely challenging with a 4 year drought and shortage of food. Today 20 families, who lost all their animals during the drought were each given a goat to help them get back on their feet. Bethany Church was the hands and feet of Jesus as the gift of these goats were a tangible act of meeting the basic needs of life. It is amazing to see so much joy in the face of such hardship. We have enjoyed learning about the culture and becoming friends with the people here. Dave and his team are still working hard to resolve “plumbing” issues and are making progress. Joy interviewed several more widows. Pastor Francis from another rural community came for a visit. We had an enlightening conversation about the challenges of integrating the Bible with cultural traditions. He spoke about how difficult it is to be a pastor here because there is no financial support. Every pastor has to support his family with “a side job”.
I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for sending us here. The people have been asking for us and hoping for a team to return. You are part of that huge blessing to this entire community. I wish you could see their smiles and experience their joy in being remembered by Bethany Church. Blessings -Kathie
Kenya Update #7
The week flew by, a week full of ministering to the kids, families, and widows of Nkoisusu. During the week, the team was able to show God’s love to over 300 children.
Bethany teamed up with New Hope Community Church of Travis City Michigan. The New Hope team was a tremendous group of young men (4) and women . They organized a wonderful VBS program and were a joy to serve with. The premise of the program was God’s love. Tying together Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross with God giving everyone purpose in life. The children were so excited with the stories, crafts, and games. A thoroughly profitable time. In addition, Bethany provided 20 families who had suffered the most in the recent drought (those who lost all their livestock) with female goats. There were many tears of appreciation. On Friday, there was a community gathering at the school. Kids, parents, community, school and church leaders all gathered to dedicate the two new classrooms, and to thank Kenya Hope, along with Bethany and New Hope. During the festivities, the team was able to hand out 192 audio Bibles; and that did not cover the line of people desiring one. In addition, a water tower was built that will help continue the distribution of the water for the school and local villages. It is now a beacon (being the tallest structure for miles and miles) for the Hope Center that Dave and Joy Mueller established many years ago. The well and water tower that Bethany supported brings thousands of gallons of clean water to this community. Bethany’s support for Nkoisusu has had a far lasting impact on the community. Thank you all who has supported Bethany’s missions.