July 23, 2012
This morning we went and met an incredible godly man named Jeffery and his wonderful wife, Jane. Jeffery is a pastor in the slums of Lunga Lunga. He had previously been a pastor in the AIC church here in Kenya, but as I’ve written before the church here is not Gospel Centered, and Jeffery quickly realized this was not God’s calling on his life. He could have prospered greatly financially in the church here, but he couldn’t get past the true calling that had been placed on his life. Can I just say that the slums of Lunga Lunga were unbelievably difficult to look at? These slums are in Nairobi and the population is 4 million people. 2 million people, half of the Nairobi population, lives in the Lunga Lunga slums. What makes this statistic even sadder is the fact that these 2 million people take up only 5% of the land in Nairobi. These slums have no sewer system, or trash pickup, or running water. You can see in the photos below how streets have a small latrine that runs through them and it’s basically the sewer. The smell is overwhelming. The organized crime there can also make this a very difficult and dangerous place to live and exist. The people there seem to not care about anything.
Pastor Jeffery has started a preschool where 100 children come to learn more and be educated. They have three school teachers and meet in a single room. There is also a tiny room for little babies, whose moms need to leave and go find work. The room is very small and the babies are usually dropped off around 6am with one bottle of milk and they will have one meal of porridge and that’s it until their parents pick them up around 6pm. It is the same for the other children in preschool. The babies have one house mom to take care of them all. I would guess there were around 15 babies in this one room. To us it would seem those ratios and conditions we horrendous, but this is the only hope these children have. Here at these preschools, the children are learning so much. Pastor Jeffery explained by using the analogy, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” He explained the current generation is almost unchangeable, but if he can get in here with these younger ones, he could possibly be used by God to change the course of life for these people.
We enjoyed our time with Pastory Jeffery. I’m not sure how he has done the work here that he has. We learned that he has struggle greatly and faced much persecution here. He has received many death threats from the organized crime here, because of his integrity, in refusing to pay them a cut of his money in order to secure their protection of him. He trusts in the LORD’s protection and lays his life on the line every day he works here. Pastor Jeffery is dreaming of feeding all 100 of these children lunch as well. It would cost around $26 US dollars to feed all these children each day. We are praying the LORD quickly lets this happen. Pastor Jeffery’s dream is to also buy a piece of land in the slums that is much larger where he can actually build a legit school for these Children. The land would cost around $5,000 US Dollars and then the building would cost $15,000. Some of our sweet Village Church friends who were here in Kenya not too long ago, fund raised and this morning they received a call here saying they raised over $20,000 for Pastor Jeffery so the dream and vision he has for these children can begin materializing. We were overwhelmed with gratitude at the way the LORD constantly provides. He is so good.
We noticed right away when entering the slums that there was a very small boy and a little girl who were glued to Pastor Jeffery’s hip. The little boy truly enjoyed Crew’s company and continuously held his hand and wanted to be around him. Crew was so loving to him. We didn’t get a too much of a chance to speak with him or share the Gospel with him, but Pastor Jeffery said he was going to be talking to him soon. Be praying for this boy, Abdul. He is a Somali refugee and lives here in the slums. He is seriously skin and bones. He is positive for HIV and then they also found over a month ago that he tested positive for TB. We aren’t clear if his mother regularly gives him his retro anti viral drugs, so they were going to make sure they checked in on his family and made sure he was getting the proper care he needs. He was too precious.
While we visited the children they welcomed us with cheering, chanting and singing. It was too sweet. I’m not sure if they had ever seen a white child before so they literally swamped Crew. At one point I saw panic in his eyes so I literally had to lift him up out of the crowd and hold him. They loved petting his blonde hair. Crew was such a trooper and was deeply moved by the conditions these people live in.
After we got back to Naomi’s Village, Crew led the bed time devotional one last time. We read Daniel in the Lions Den and then Crew led the discussion questions as well as shared what Jesus did on the cross for them. He also led them in some singing. Of course there was also more loving on the sweet babies here and then we went to tuck the boys in and say prayers with them. They were precious as usual and what a blessing to pray with them.
We came back to our rooms and began packing our bags. We start our travels home in the morning. Here in the room we found all of our 4 kids horribly sad this is their last night. They have struggled processing all the excess we have at home vs. the absolute nothingness the people have here. The people here still have so much joy, in spite of their circumstances too, which makes it even more difficult to wrap our heads around. We had a lot of good conversations tonight. It was a sobering night, where we could all be moved to tears easily. Eager to be home and see the rest of our families, yet feeling like we are almost leaving a dream here, because could people really live like this? Is this even real? We are so thankful to GOD for his sovereignty in placing us here right now. There is no where else we are supposed to be.
To GOD be the glory, great things HE has done.