When I tell people I’m leading a mission trip to Kenya most people tell me that they have always wanted to go to Africa. In fact it’s one of the most talked about places I go. People want to know what it is like. People want to know what I see when I am over there. Everyone wants to know about Africa.
Africa is exotic. Africa has rhinos and lions. Africa also has more people affected by AIDS than anywhere else in the world by far.
According to the UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic released in 2012, Sub Saharan Africa has 23 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS. In the entire rest of the world there are 11.5 million people with HIV/AIDS. That means two out of three people with HIV/AIDS live in Africa.
Mission Discovery’s work in Kenya brings us face to face with this staggering reality. It is in the faces of widows and orphans who have lost loved ones to the AIDS pandemic. It hangs like a cloud over the entire community of M’bita. Everyone knows someone who has the virus. Everyone has lost someone to the virus.
As we sat in Vivian’s small one room shack she couldn’t contain her excitement and curiosity. “I’ve never had foreign visitors.” She was honored by our presence. She wanted to know where we were from and why we had come so far. For us it was a different kind of honor. We gladly shared part of our story, and then listened as she told about the struggles of her life. Having lost her husband to the virus she was having a hard time providing for her family. Many women who lose their husbands are cast aside in this society. Since their husband’s are not alive, they inherit the full shame of their spouse’s sins. They look for any kind of work to provide, but there are not many opportunities for widows. At the end of our visit, we asked if we could pray for her. She gladly accepted. We prayed for provision and for God to give her hope. As we said Amen, she asked if she could pray for us. What followed was a humbling experience that brought us to the feet of Jesus Christ. As this strong woman who had endured so much began to pray, our entire group felt God’s presence. Africa is always an adventure, but I go because of moments like the one in Vivian’s house.
People tell me that they would love to go to Africa. My answer is always the same. “Then you should go!”
Mission Discovery will return to Kenya in the summer of 2015. We need individuals who are simply following the call on their heart to go explore what God is doing. We will join efforts already underway to help and support the local community of M’bita. A Mission Discovery trip to Kenya brings you close to the very heart of God as you care for widows and orphans. You will find yourself building a new home for a widow, or entertaining local children through games and stories. Most of all you will share your story of how someone from so far away chose to get on a plane and travel to this remote corner of the world. You bring a story that sparks hope and dignity in people who need both.
Come to Kenya.