Simone Lake is a teacher at Payson High School, and the minister of education and administration at the Church on Randall Place in Pine. This Rim Country teacher became the pupil, learning life's best lessons during a week in Kenya. The following is the first-person account of her visit.
"Jambo!" a Swahili greeting from cheerful voices rang out in the early morning air. Bright-faced children of all ages ran alongside our vehicle, waving as our driver turned into Manyani village in Kenya, Africa.
"Jambo! Jambo!" I replied from the van, waving and returning their kind gesture by giving them a rich greeting, saying it twice.
This was our daily routine of greetings and welcome upon our arrival at the village, 20 minutes away from the Americanized hotel where we were staying.
We were in Kenya to serve Wateule church and the Manyani village community.
I first learned about the people, church and community in Kenya about three years ago. I immediately fell in love with the people, and developed in my heart a great desire to go to Kenya to serve them and help fulfill the many needs they had.
All of my desires became a reality in October 2005. I had the opportunity to serve Manyani on a short-term mission trip. The mission made me feel overflowing joy.
The poverty was intense, yet one of the most memorable and profound lessons I learned came from seeing their unbridled joy of life in the midst of their daily adversities, and their great hope in Christ. The knowledge they had of the Bible was another quality I admired about the people of Manyani. The community had zero resources, yet the residents had such a hunger to learn.
It was nice to see the healthy, balanced mindset of the Kenyan people. They believe people come before material things, value is placed on eternal issues rather than temporal, there is great joy in the simple things on earth, such as love for one another.
Many joys and blessings happened during this mission trip. Among them:
- Bringing $6,000 to purchase land and to build a church;
- Bringing multiple supplies and resources of Bibles and Biblical curriculum to create a church library;
- Teaching Bible conferences;
- Counseling and prayer;
- Healings and baptisms; and
- Electricity came to this village for the first time.
We worked from 8 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. daily, nonstop until our driver returned to take us back to the hotel to rest and prepare for the next day.
Pastor Samuel and other leaders of the church, as well as the community's residents, were so moved and touched that people from America cared to come and serve them.
One of the resources brought was a map of the U.S. and a map of the world. The majority had never seen a map and were impressed and amazed upon seeing one.
Overall, it was a successful missions trip. Wonderful things happened and God, through His Son Christ, was glorified greatly.
Asante! (Thank you) to all those who supported me prayerfully and financially.
Editor's note: Lake is currently working with Lifeway International, planning and developing a Bible conference for Kenya in 2007, when she plans to return. For more information, telephone (928) 472-6439 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.