138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Day three was an emotional rollercoaster. The morning began with our team and a handful of Kenyans painting a sheet metal wall that was rebuilt after a slum fire in December; working together allowed us to continue to bond with our Kenyan friends, both new and old. John prided himself with discovering the "speckled wall gator" after a brown lizard scampered through the dripping beige paint. Then, the team split up and served in various capacities for a few hours. Matthew helped the kitchen staff serve lunch, which was composed of rice and beans, to the students. Alan, Eric, Ben, and John visited Classes 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (4th-8th grade) and helped the teachers with English, science, and math lessons.
Along with teachers and staff, the team members were led by a handful of Zion students to their families' homes to share the Gospel and invite the families to church on Sunday. Ben and Eric, on their first trip to Mathare, found the experience of navigating the slum streets to be sensory overload. The slum holds a sight and smell that cannot be forgotten and must be experienced in person to truly understand. Raw sewage and garbage flows through the walkways between the homes, with low-hanging, rusted sheet metal roofs, and there is a pungent smell of diesel fuel, fire, and human waste. Nevertheless, Eric was "uplifted by the welcoming spirit of the people and receptiveness to our visits." One woman said that she knows she is precious to the Lord because He sent our team from the other side of the world to visit her home. The parents we visited shared their struggles, which include single parenthood, disease, unemployment, and making very limited ends meet. We were humbled by the opportunity to pray for the well-being of the households and witness to the parents.
After returning from visiting homes, the team felt emotionally and physically drained. However, they were re-energized when Zion's drama students returned with a massive first place trophy from a local arts competition. They beat thirty-three teams from Nairobi area primary schools in a memorized performance about patriotism and protecting Kenya's natural resources. The students' victory shows that God has his blessing on this place and we are happy that the hard work of the students and teachers was rewarded. The day ended with John leading a workshop designed to equip the church staff with knowledge in using scripture for evangelism and discipleship.
Please pray for the students to continue their education through the difficulties they face at home, as well as for the health of Michael, a student in Class 6 who is afflicted with an undiagnosed condition that causes him to collapse. Tomorrow, we are planning to go on an excursion to the countryside to minister to a group of Maasai tribespeople, so please pray for safety as we enter the bush for the first time.
(Written by Ben Zeisloft, on behalf of the team)