Recently, I had the immense joy of joining my son and the rest of our team from New Hope Church on the trip to Open Arms Village in Kenya. Almost immediately I was struck by the poverty we witnessed that translated to long faces of despair. Then we entered the Village, and I was impressed by the joy and fullness exhibited by the kids. My son and I went down to the soccer field and were swallowed up by the kids we came to serve.
Our project of assembling the play structure went extremely well with many hands, not the least of which was several local Kenyans adding tremendous help. In spite of some language barrier, we shared a common language of hard work and humor. Undoubtedly, the payoff was the ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony with all the kids getting the opportunity to crawl all over the play structure!
One evening our team was broken into groups of two or three with each group joining a different family for dinner. My son and I were lucky enough to join Tom and Emmie in their house, called Ushindi (Victory). Hearing their stories of commitment to the health and growth of the children was moving. There is so much love and it is so obvious that these kids are alive and thriving only by God’s hand through the work of OAI.
Everyone we had the opportunity to work with was eager to help and offer support wherever they could. It’s just the way it seems to be in the Village. Our team came together and enjoyed a closeness that only brought more praise to God. We had daily devotions amongst our team and even a few with the villagers in addition to experiencing one of their church services that underscored their love of Christ.
This community is so full of joy, so full of love, so full of life. My work back home that dominates my time was completely on the back burner and something I definitely didn’t see coming. This was such a memorable trip and one I am so eternally grateful I was asked to join. A few of us on the team are now scratching the surface on another project we are hoping and praying God will bless and see through to benefit the Village.
With any luck I’ll get the chance to drop everything and race back.
- Team Member, Kyle B.