A group from Green Bay Community Church arrived in Kenya this week to work with Vapor Ministries. Desirae Nachtwey, who is part of the GBCC group, has been providing updates on the trip:
Today we were treated with an African Safari, elephant orphanage, shopping at the market, and a home cooked dinner by our local hosts.
I had a chance to send photos from our safari to my friends and family back home. My grandma responded with, "Makes me think of Job chapter 39 where God's majesty is seen in describing some of the beings in nature." The beauty of the animals and African landscape truly took our breath away. At one point we were surrounded by zebras on all sides. It felt unreal.
There were more moments that felt unreal today too; taking our breath away in a different manner. We passed by the largest slum in Africa while traveling on the highway. It was the second time today that something felt unreal. It hurt the heart.
Our life is a vapor. We don't have much time here on earth in comparison to eternity.
God created this world to be so insanely beautiful so that we might have deep joy and appreciation for His craft. God gave us zebras, giraffes, water buffalo, ostriches, crocodiles, elephants, baboons, and gazelles.
He made mountains and valleys and you and me. Although there is beauty and lots of time to spend enjoying His creation; we have an important mission; The Great Commission. God has commanded us to meet the need, feed the soul, and elevate Him. Life's a vapor, don't spend yours on the sideline.
"There's always room for one more."
We lost power last night but it was another fun-filled day.
We began the morning with a work project. We were split into four groups and each group had a different focus area in the center.
We repurposed the entry walls, spread fresh dirt and arranged rocks near the front gate, and hauled gravel. It was a pleasure to work alongside Vapor Staff, who truly knew what the center needed the most. They were helpful and encouraging as we worked and again showed sacrificial service; this time in leadership form.
We had lunch on a mountainside where we could see for miles. We watched sheep climb the hills, followed by their shepherd, the Massai. We went back and rested to prepare for a Safari Day.
Today was a day of sincere beauty. We visited the Gichagi center that sits peacefully on the side of a hill -- a refuge among the community. The children greeted us warmly. The Vapor staff spent the entire morning preparing meals that we would eat for lunch inside their homes.
It was today that I was in the middle of talking to Shari, another person in our travel group, about how I couldn’t shake the awful feeling of being the “rich” white person walking around handing out candy. I felt disgusted with how I thought the Kenyan people were interpreting our visit. I had been praying that God would open my eyes and remind me why I had paid so much money to travel to Kenya.
At this EXACT moment in my conversation with Sheri, a group of children, who were running for track practice came and took us by the hands. They pulled us along hand in hand -- they just wanted to be with us. They wanted to run the race together. I remember taking off running with them, one little hand in each of mine. It felt like we were running toward heaven together.
It was as if God took the pedestal I had put myself on and, with running feet and two small hands, reminded me to leave myself to chase Him in a full sprint -- together with His children.
That’s what this trip is about. Meeting needs -- feeding souls -- together.
Today was our first full day in Kenya. We woke up and had breakfast, were led by our Vapor leader in a devotional time and then set off in the bus to the Kawangware Vapor Center.
There we walked through the slums, played soccer as a group and with the children, had lunch with and spent time in community with the local Vapor employees, experienced some aerobic exercise led by Vapor staff, and shared lots of joy and laughter together.
Overall, today had a lot of emotions wrapped into it. What stuck out the most?
The humility and servant hearts of the Vapor staff and our hosts. Their lives are dedicated toward serving Christ along with everything they do. And we went to bed with a new, sparked desire to try and do the same.