In June/July of both 2011 and 2012, I had the great pleasure of participating in a UMC mission trip to Kenya. Last summer’s team had 16 members, including our leaders, Jim Monroe and Sue Owen (both recently retired UMC ministers from Oregon). Jim and Sue have led teams to Kenya for each of the past seven years, and now are full time volunteer missionaries in Maua, Kenya. Many of us have felt compelled to go again, so it’s easy to understand Jim and Sue’s commitment to the Kenyan people. But, it’s hard to convey in a few words just what made this experience so special.
Our work focused around two towns, Maua and Meru, which are located in central Kenya, to the northeast of Mt. Kenya.
In association with the Maua Methodist Hospital, we built a 10 x 20 foot house for a family orphaned due to AIDS, mudded walls for a new residential building for hospital staff, funded the installation of wells in drought stricken areas, and visited inspiring young men and women who have turned their lives around through the Hope Companions program.
We visited many schools and supported their efforts in various ways – through physical work, funding of projects, or just letting them know that somebody cares.
We stayed one week at an educational farm, where we got to build a fence, plant over 1000 trees in little black plastic tubes, and participate in a training event at a working farm.
The accommodations were less than cozy, the schedule rigorous, and the experiences often heart-breaking, but this was without a doubt the best experience of my life! Amid all the hardships, I got to see the amazing resilience of these people, and their seemingly limitless sense of hope and faith that God would take care of them. I saw the impact that our “first world” society has had on them – some good, some definitely not. This has inspired me to take more responsibility for my actions and choices here at home. It touched my soul in a way that nothing ever has before!
See some of Renee’s pictures here: View photos