Today was our most restful day thus far, and boy was it needed!
This morning, most of the group headed to a church to meet with the SOHI team here in Africa for an update on the work they are doing, while the rest of us stayed back to relax for a little.
Steve Ricco updates us:
Today several of us attended a meeting of the 4 committees. Education, spiritual, water and economic development. Each committee gave a report of their previous activities, current activities and events planned for the future. Great success has been made since the committees were created last year and the reports of progress were impressive.
The economic development committee spoke about the use of water pans. As of a year ago October, they had 62 in place, as of today they have a 150 that have been dug. Those households with water pans its made significant difference in their crops and in their livestock having drinking water. The water pans are mostly being used to raise fish which provides protein and an income source. (As an example,pastor Michael bought 100 fingerling fish for 3 shillings, He can sell those fish when grown for 600 shillings)
The water committee shared next and explained that there are 19 wells in the area that are currently working and that the members of the water committee or have been trained to repair the wells also.
They also reported that a 180 bio sand filters have been created delivered and installed which includes training the families. They’re finding with the bio sand filters that they can be shared among several households.
The education committee reported that they’ve met with 41 schools in the area and have set up several teacher and educator training sessions. The schools are reporting their biggest needs are latrines and then also additional classrooms. Their immediate the request was several computers and printers so that they could print out practice exams for the older children. The spiritual committee reported on the youth conference they did in August and the crusade that just completed this week. Spring of hope bought 1000 bibles to be distributed to those who accepted Christ at the crusade. Names were taken for follow up and discipleship.
It was mentioned several times by others and David that much progress is being made. Each committee meets monthly or bi monthly and is very committed to the processes and moving forward to eradicate poverty and improve the lives of those in the region.
This was the first time all 4 committees had met all together and they all felt that it had great value… David ended the meeting by challenging the committee members to stay engaged, continue their hard work and to leave a legacy of community transformation for themselves, their kids and future generations.
Back to Alicia’s update:
We all met up after the meeting was over, and headed to Raongo Primary School. As always, we were welcomed by all of the kids (k-8) with a song. We then experienced more of that incredibly humble, servant-hearted hospitality of Kenyans in the form of FOOD! We sat down to eat as the teachers at the school served us lunch. They started with trays and trays of fresh pineapple, watermelon, avocado, and oranges. Thinking this was going to be the whole lunch, we all filled our plates to overflowing! When we had eaten about half of the food in front of us, David kindly decided to inform us at that point that this was only course 1 of 3–you can imagine the look on our faces upon realizing we had to finish the food in front of us (it’s highly disrespectful not to clean your plate), and then eat that same amount 2 more times!
When we were thoroughly stuffed with delicious food, we joined the students outside in the hot hot sun (can you say meat sweats?) and split them into a big group of girls, and a big group of boys. The boys talked about Jesus and guy things (whatever that means), and then played a huge game of football. As for the girls… Bri and I work part time for an events company as entertainers, aka we are part time princesses! So we brought along Anna and Elsa costumes (from the movie Frozen…for those of you who don’t have daughters under the age of 13), and along with Shelbi and Emily, we taught the girls about what it means to be a TRUE princess: they are daughters of the One true King, and because of THAT, they are princesses. They are princesses not based on their families, what they wear, or what they look like, but they are princesses when they act with kindness, courage, humility, and love, just like Jesus does.
We sang with the girls, they taught us one of their songs, and then we got to shake hands with every individual girl and tell her that she is a beautiful daughter of God. We then got to spend about 20 minutes completely surrounded by dozens of girls touching our hair, holding our hands, and rubbing their faces in the glitter of our dresses–today was an unforgettable day.
And I want to also encourage you with the message we shared with the girls! I don’t care if you are a man, woman, boy, or girl, you are a child of God. He is a good good Father, who can never be anything other than good to His children. He loves you, He cares for you, and He only wants the best for you–and the best for you is an intimate relationship with Him, the Father who desperately wants your heart.
So Father, we love You so much, and we thank You thank You thank You that You are a GOOD Father, who loves and cares for His children–ALL of them, in America and in Kenya. We pray for all of the children we got to meet today, that they would know how much You love them and how desperately You want them. We pray for their safety, for their health, for their education, for their families; we pray that You would exceed all of their expectations for Your provision, because we know that You are able to do immeasurably, abundantly more than they could ever ask or imagine. We love You, Amen.