Yesterday, our KTA volunteers officially started helping out and working alongside Action Ministry down at Blessed Camp. Our overall goal and objective with our volunteers is that, by the time they leave, they will have had tons of opportunities to spend time with and get to know Action Ministry and the heart behind what they do. Today went very well considering it was the first the day and they were easing themselves in. But after today, I am feeling confident that new friendships are budding and lives are being enriched.
Here’s a little update on what each volunteer had to say about their first days!
“I continue to be impressed with the quality of leadership at Action Ministry. Peter Ochiel and his team are doing a tremendous job. It is also wonderful to see the progress that has been made in just a few months on the Blessed Camp compound.” ~ Karin Carlson
“This being my second first day working with Action Ministry, since I was a volunteer before, it was great seeing the progress with the new addition to the tailoring shop. I am excited that the crochet skills that I am teaching will go hand-in-hand with the objectives that Action Ministry has set. I am also excited about the new ladies in the class and getting to know them and their stories.” ~ Kim Docter
“I really enjoyed getting to know the teachers and students. This being my first time to Kenya and with Action Ministry, it is a challenge, but I am excited to see the heart of everyone there and to serve alongside them.” ~ Kaity Parrott
On Wednesday, our two newest volunteers arrived in Mombasa, Kenya.
For Kim, this is her second year in a row coming to work alongside Action Ministry. As for Kaity, this is her first trip beyond the borders of the US.
Both are excited to be here and to spend some time getting to know the Action Ministry team better, learning about the culture, and allowing God to use them to assist in any way they can.
Volunteering is a great way to grow as a person. By surrounding yourself in a new culture and environment, it allows you to be stretched, gain new perspective, and serve others.
Here are our volunteers’ initial thoughts on their trip:
Says Kim: “I’m excited to see the growth that has taken place in Action Ministry over the last year and getting to minister to the ladies in a creative way.”
Says Kaity: “I’m so excited to be here and experience a new culture and help out in any way that I can.”
On Monday our friend Karin left for home after spending 3 weeks with us in Mombasa and 3 weeks with Bringing Hope to the Family prior to that. Karin had a fantastic trip and is quickly planning her next trip.
Last week, prior to Karin’s departure, the trio of Karin, Katie and James continued with their interviews and conversations with residents of Blessed Camp. The team visited around 10 more families this week. The time they had to spend with each person was often challenging, even with a translator, but extremely rewarding.
Katie mentioned to me yesterday that these visits had helped her better understand the heart of Action Ministry, as well as, the overall heart of the community. The community members that have had leprosy are all well in to their 60’s and beyond. The ministry that Action Ministry provides to them on a personal level is truly from the charity stand point. Most of these individuals are not in any position to learn new skills or hold down steady jobs. Most of them still regularly go to town to beg, but that is the extent of their occupations.
The 2 overall repeated requests from these individuals were that Action Ministry would continue to do the 2 things they are already currently doing.
Request One: “Please help us have regular meals.” (Action Ministry currently does this through their daily nutrition program in which each of the most needy leprosy victims and their children and/or grandchildren receive one meal a day.)
Request Two: “Please help our children go to school.” (Action Ministry raises funds to help their children go to school through Know Think Act.) To help these children go to school follow this link: https://www.knowthinkact.com/needs/834
Action Ministry is committed to taking care of these elderly community members and helping them have as comfortable life as possible, as well as, having a peace of mind that their children and grandchildren will be taken care of. Ultimately, the goal is that the younger generation will earn an education, secure steady jobs and break free from this cycle of poverty that they are currently stuck in.
We are excited to stand with Action Ministry in this work and appreciate them all the more having seen a closer glimpse into the heart behind their efforts.
On Tuesday we took our volunteer, Karin, to Blessed Camp to begin working on her project for this trip. While she is here she will be interviewing the families within Blessed Camp in order to provide Action Ministry with better background history on their target group. The Action Ministry team has a pretty decent understanding on the history of most of the communities members, but their is still a lot of parts in each families’ story that is a mystery to Action Ministry.
At first we weren’t sure how these interviews were going to go. James, from Action Ministry went with us to interpret and facilitate these conversations. Honestly, I was not sure if the community members would be comfortable opening up with us muzungu’s there. To my surprise each of the community members we interviewed were quick to share their stories with us. They shared about their struggles with leprosy, rejection, poverty and family life. It was sadly apparent that this community is starving for someone to listen to them. Having been rejected and labeled an outcast there hasn’t been many people in their lives that are interested in them as an individual.
Sadly, we as a society, especially in the US, rarely take the time to listen to the stories of the generations that have gone before us. We miss out on the wisdom that we can glean from them and the relationship that we and they need. Now putting that in context of the leprosy victims that are 60+ years old and have lived an extremely challenging and rejected life and I can only imagine how much they crave conversation.
Karin is very excited to continue to visit with these families over the next two weeks and I am sure that her making them a priority will speak huge volumes to them. It doesn’t take much to share Christ’s love with those around us. We simply have to be willing to put out the effort.
Angelina showed us one of her most prized possessions, a photo of her with her daughter and grandchildren.