Vision in Kenya | By:Pastor Sophia
When I first entered into Kibera slum in 2010, I felt really uncomfortable with the smell of garbage and dirt. The street was filled with flying toilets (some residents will dispose their discharge in the plastic bag and swing it to the street in the middle of the night). I was making each step carefully. Once again, I brought along rain boots as protection.
As I was walking on the streets in the slum, I saw a few sad faces and desperate eyes. They have been residing in the mud house in years. I also saw a lot of eager eyes as well. They were trying to sell some used clothing and groceries as their living. The children did not wear any shoes or any decent clothing.
Eventually we were led to a bigger house named as Changing Times Ministry. Comparatively this house was built with sheet metal and some bricks.
The needs in the slum
- I was serving the day program for children in the elementary school, which was also a church and community center. I was stunned to see a yellow poster hanging on the wall. It was prepared by a missionary. The wordings in the poster say, ‘What to do after you are raped…’ There were 10 steps to teach the elementary students. As I talked to the teachers and pastors there, I realized that one of the most frequent crimes there was children being sexually abused in the slum.
- Changing Times Ministry has been nurturing 420 elementary students from grade 1-8. Once the children complete grade 8 (aged 14), they are obliged to make money for their families. They are faced with job scarcity and poverty in the slum. Boys will be forced to join the gangs whereas girls will be abused by the bad guys in the neighbourhood.
The RHCCC P.E.A.C.E. has a dream
- To free the younger generation from the giant of ignorance and desperation.
- To deliver the girls from the giant of abuse and violence.
- To unbind the leaders from the giant of ineffectiveness and ungodliness.
- We also believe that we are only finite beings. This mission is Spirit led and the Lord will compel His followers to make this step of faith. The Lord of incarnation will sigh and pray with us along in this vision.
- The Lord instilled a hope for the slum church/ school in 2011. A widow approached the church/ school for a piece of farmland in West Kenya. This widow was sincere to sell off this piece of land due to her old age. Amazingly, the Lord touched the hearts of the PEACE team and PEACE committee. He is indeed Jehovah Jireh! He provides and prepares financial resource, legal advice, and a devoted committee to complete the land purchase. As we visited the piece of land in 2012, we held our hands and prayed there. We are in awe to see that the Lord has provided a way for the students.
- The Changing Times High School is a multi-year project to establish a rural campus for needy children from the Kibera slum. We anticipate in 4 years time, the high school will serve up to 500 students.
- The high school serves as a guiding light for these teenagers to live a new life. They will receive high school education from grade 9-12, which will give them clear direction in their life calling.
- Moreover, the high school will serve as a refuge for the children. The grade 8 students will be relocated to the piece of farm land in West of Kenya, where they will be protected from further abuse. The school will provide secondary education and vocational training. The students will learn to work with their hands on the farmland.
- The high school project will serve as a base for further pastoral training and Bible training centre for mature students, pastors and church leaders. The PEACE team provides for up to 350 pastors and church leaders in leadership and discipleship training.
- P – Plant Church – PEACE team will continue assist the ministry of church planting by training leaders, particularly rural pastors and evangelists in West Kenya.
- E – Equip servant leaders – PEACE team will continue to equip staff and teachers in the school and lay leaders in community. We will recruit experienced teachers to upgrade their knowledge and build their character. PEACE team will also send forth computer professionals to provide computer training to the staff there.
- A – Assist the poor – The Changing Times Ministry has 35 staff including, 4 adult literacy teachers, 2 tailoring instructors, and 3 cooks. The high school will provide a place for the PEACE team to offer literacy and skills training program particularly women in West Kenya.
- C- Care for the sick – The Changing Times Ministry has provided medical care to over 50,000 individuals over the years. Future PEACE team will provide nutrition education to the students and residents in West Kenya.
- E- Educate the next generation – The high school project will serve as a gospel ground for the youths and children in West Kenya. The P.E.A.C.E. team will provide youth mentoring and counselling and host day camp for 250 children annually.
In these 4 years at Kibera slum and West Kenya, the Lord has stretched our beliefs to understand that He loves all mankind. We are only finite beings, but He chose us and called us to be His witness. It is such an honor. We will commit to bring this Hope – Salvation rule of Christ to others. The sovereign of the Lord will overthrow the rule of evil and the dominion of darkness. We will enjoy the forgiveness of sins, the presence of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Despite the poverty, sickness, and ineffective leadership in the slum, we see that the Lord is using the slum churches, representative of Him to demonstrate a spiritual Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in Christ. Christ rules and reigns in the believers’ hearts. We and the Kenyans are working to form a new community. There is no difference between East and West, North and South. We, the church, become a miniature figure of the coming Kingdom. We keep on echoing for His reign of Shalom to immerse in the Body of Christ, the Church community, the society, families, schools, and work places. We pray deeply that churches will live out His justice, forgiveness, love, and grace.
Personally, my appreciation continues to grow as the Lord has revealed His providence and sufficiency to us. It is not how long I will live my life; it is how I spend my life in a meaningful and fruitful way. I continue to ask the Lord to give me the passion and the conviction. ‘For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.’(Phil2:13) (NLT) It is all in Jesus, through Jesus, and with Jesus that He gives us the desire (passion) and power (conviction). Who am I that deserve His working ‘in’ me? He includes me in His plan.