I woke up early on May 24. I was eager for my second visit to Gitombo B, Kenya to begin. Soon my friend and fellow traveler, Judy Kroonenberg, came. My husband, Bill crammed all our gear into the car, and drove us to DIA. There, we boarded Delta and OFF we went! The flight took 23 hours- with stops in Detroit, Amsterdam and finally, Nairobi, Kenya. We traveled 8,000 miles, left on a Tuesday afternoon, and arrived on Wednesday at midnight. Wanji’s 2 sisters Ruth and Eunice were there to welcome us. When we saw them, we were no longer tired-just eager to start doing our ministry for PAAV!
Ruth opened her home for us-and we expected to stay just a couple of days before going to the village. We rested, changed dollars into shillings, picked up safari tickets, and bought 3 sewing machines and sewing supplies. After all that, we were ready to be driven to Gitombo. There, Wanji was to introduce us to the people, the school children, the 2 teachers, and the caretaker, David. That all DID happen, but not until much later.
You see, God’s plans were different! He first had to help deliver a baby girl! After some delays, baby Daniela Wanjiru Mukunga, Wanji’s first grandchild was born! Emmy and Ricky, her parents, joined us in thanking God for this precious gift! They called her Daniela in recognition of how God rescued her at her birth same way he had done for Daniel in the Bible.
By now, it was Saturday, and we had time to attend a seminar in Nairobi sponsored by Ruth at a Country Club- the same venue where she has a ministry for children. On Sunday we joined some of the Mukunga family in worship. Our spiritual appetites were fed there by the singing, prayers and sermon. What a wonderful JOY we felt after those 5 busy days–now to be told that it was time to go to Gitombo!
Upon arrival, Mama Hannah was on the front porch with open arms-ready to receive us, her Denver, Colorado guests! We spent 5 days and 4 nights with her. The language barrier was overcome, with lots of laughs and gestures. This Mother is a perfect example of a Christian who entertains strangers.
Now, I must tell you briefly of our ministry for PAAV at Gitombo B.
We saw that the water project for the village was running well. We marveled at the well-built home God has blessed PAAV with. It’s size and appearance was impressive. The new entry road, the entrance gate and the grounds all spoke of the man power and time taken to improve the property. The colorful exterior painting was attractive, as well as the tidy yard, banana trees, and new fence! But, as we heard the sound of the children singing, we knew we were in the right place at the right time! We could teach and love others as God had done to us! What could be hard about that, we reasoned!
From now on, my memories of our 19 day mission will be titled: “IT WAS GOD”!
You see, IT WAS GOD who provided the money for the 3 sewing machines: Denver women, to be exact!
It WAS GOD who led us to the right stores, and who helped nephew Kush deliver them to NEW HOPE.
IT WAS GOD who kept us safe as we rode cars and taxis through the city streets. Buses, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians all needing to get somewhere vied for space, reminding me of New York city.
But now, on Monday, May 30, 6 days after arriving in Kenya, it was our time to get to work! The machines were set up in a sunny room, the 7 Mothers and baby George were waiting. Judy was ready to teach basic sewing skills.
Picking the patterns, pinning, cutting and then sewing. All went well until 2 of the 3 machines refused to work. Help came in the form of a man tailor who lived nearby. He soon had them fixed and the sewing went smoothly. The women came for 4 days with only 2 interruptions. One had to go home to milk the cow. She became the capable leader of the group. See from the pictures, the sewing projects were completed and all were impressed with the results. Now they are on their own and the “sky is the limit”! Please pray that their skills will increase, that the machines will work, and that they can gain an income from their new found skills. IT WAS GOD who gave me the desire to tell the school children the story of Noah and the Flood. They made colored rainbows and a Noah puppet complete with a 3D umbrella! As a retired teacher, I marveled how God has blessed PAAV with 2 Christian teachers. In January, 2017, a 2nd grade will be added, and I hope you will pray for God to give a new teacher for that, a new classroom and the $80.00 a month salary. Is this something you could help with? Call Wanji or me if so. On our last day, IT WAS GOD who brought 25 women (the 3G’s) to spend a few hours creating 25 necklaces. These were women I had taught 3 years ago, and I had a joyful reunion with them. I have these necklaces with me to sell for them. All the proceeds are given to them to better their lives. Call me at 720 208 6848 and I will gladly show you what I have left. They are all unique and affordable, and make lovely gifts. IT WAS GOD who brought the caretaker David and his wife to PAAV. He served as my interpreter in the classrooms and they cleaned up the rooms after our sewing and art and jewelry classes. They served us tea and snacks on our last day. Their joyful Christian pride towards the New Hope Property was very evident. They are hard workers who love to keep everything clean and neat, all on a $100.00 a month salary. Judy joins me in remembering how GOD used Mama Hannah, her daughters, sons, grandchildren and their spouses to smooth the way for us. Without them, we would have had to find our own lodging, hail down taxis, or thumb our way to find Mama’s coffee trees, and 2 airports.
Judy and I were honored guests at family dinners hosted first by Wanji brother Mbugua and his wife Lydia, and later by Wanji’s sister Eunice and her husband Benson.
We ended our stay in Kenya with a 3 day and 2 night safari near the border of Tanzania and Kenya. We marveled at the animals like elephants, giraffes, hippos and lions, all free to roam in their natural habitat. A clever baboon tried to enter our lodging rooms via the open balcony. When he found our doors and windows locked, he chose to climb on top of our roof and sit there. He probably felt sorry that he had no sugar cubes to devour, or passports to chew on! Our last 4 days were spent sightseeing in London. There too, we thanked God for Anne, our kind hostess. She drove us to train stations, to Stonehenge, Bath and Buckingham Palace. She inspired us with testimonies of how God is caring for her during, and after the sudden death of her husband, Chris. This lovely country with its rolling hills and friendly people was a fine way to end our 19 day adventure. Even on the London Eye, we felt like being on top of”14 footer” in Colorado! But, too soon it was time to fly home to Denver! My memories of this PAAV trip live on in the photo books and in my mind!-never to be forgotten. Perhaps I have not flown those 16,000 miles twice without whetting your appetite to do the same! There is much more to be done for PAAV in Gitommbo B, Kenya. Will you pray for, and give to, and work for this project as God leads? IT WILL BE GOD who paves your way- “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength”! Isaiah 30:5 He did it for me and Judy, and He will do it for you!
Written by Glea Rietema-Scholten