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Kenya is a beautiful country with warm and friendly people who love relationships.
Our family just returned from a trip to Kenya. myself, my husband and our two teen daughters went We had several reasons for our trip, one was to visit and encourage our dear family friends who have moved there to open a business and share the gospel through their work and lives. The other was to visit Kids for Christ, an organization that our church has begun partnering with. Several of our church families sponsor these beautiful children, providing food, clothing, education and more. Although the surrounding area of where these children live and go to school, the foot of the Ngong Hills in the Rift Valley, is absolutely beautiful, the living conditions are quite poor. The picture above is with our sponsored child and her family, along with two of our daughters, my husband and myself. What a blessing it was to be able to visit her home, mother, and sister and see where she lives, the dirt roads (muddy roads, when we were there. It was the rainy season) she walks to get to school, and the area in which she and the other children from Kids for Christ live. We now know specifically how to pray for her and her family.
We have gone on three family mission trips in the last six years, San Jose, Costa Rica, Yucatan Peninsula and the Mayan people, and Nairobi, Kenya area. They have each been life-changing for all of us. We begin our trips with plans or what we will do and who we will serve, and although each time we have done what we planned, God's plan has always been bigger!
While in Kenya, we also visited an orphanage for abandoned children. It just broke our hearts to hear the stories of how these babies came to live at this particular orphanage, Makimei Children's Home. Most were abandoned at birth, left to die. Four adults care for and love 65 children, twelve of them being under two years of age! The needs are great here as well but despite this fact, we were able to see that they are well cared for and loved. Spending a couple of hours learning about the home, the adults who care for them, and each baby's story and how they made it to the was orphanage was good, but our favorite part was loving on and playing with these precious babies.
Although we have gone with plans and ideas of how we would help and encourage the missionaries and people we served, we have come home encouraged and changed, being reminded again and again of how abundantly blessed we are here in the U.S. We meet people who have so much less, struggle just to survive every day and still have smiles on their faces, encourage us, and want to share from the little that they have. The Christians in these places have all told us how blessed they are and how God has provided for their needs. They don't look at what they don't have. They appreciate what they do have.
When our oldest daughter was in high school I came up with the idea that I or my husband would go with each of our children, before they graduated from high school, on a mission trip. It hasn't happened quite the way I envisioned it, it has been better. All six of us went on our first mission trip. Such wonderful memories were made! The places, people, and experiences we had together will always have a special place in my heart! Our two youngest have been able to travel with us on our last two. My oldest daughter spent over six weeks on a mission trip herself in Portugal. I'm so glad God intervenes and works it all out for our good.
If you plan to travel abroad as a family, I strongly recommend doing it as a family mission trip. You are able to experience the country and places with the people who live there. The foods, the cultures, the struggles, and joys of the people are all so much better learned when you "live with the people" whether it be for a week or a month. Each time we have gone we have also spent a day or two doing the "tourist" thing and experiencing the "fun" of that country.
We have tried to teach our children by example, that giving (a mission trip and serving) is better than receiving (a trip just to satisfy our wants) and I think we have done a pretty good job.
This is what one of my daughter's had to say about the trip.
Here are some things I learned in Kenya, Africa:
1). The rules of the road are completely optional.
2). The people of Kenya have the BIGGEST hearts and smiles❤️
3). Kenyans are very hard workers and show that in their day to day lives so beautifully.
4). Kenyan Kiddos (and adults) love to touch long, blonde hair!😂 (hence the photos of the cuties feeling my hair).
5). Life is so much more fragile and short than we really truly know.
6). Safaris can actually be really muddy. It’s not just dry dirt like I imagined. Oh, and if you do go into the mud, your car will get stuck!
7). Kenyans are just as grateful for the little things as they are for the big.
8.) True joy has little to do with the circumstances of our life and everything to do with the God of it.
Kenya, I cannot wait to come back and see you soon!
Are you interested in learning more about Kids for Christ, sponsoring one of the children or helping them reach their monetary need to build six new classrooms to better help children who live in the slums? Maybe you would be interested in meeting one of the many needs at Makimei Children's Home, please send me an email and or comment below. I would love to share ways you can help.
I hope to write about each of our mission trips in the next few weeks and give you a peek into our family's lives and how we made these trips happen.
LaToya left a question in the comments and I thought that many of you might have the same question, so I am adding it here for you to see.
"What avenues do you recommend for raising the funds for a family mission trip?
For each trip, the money has been raised differently. I am planning to do a blog just on that in the near future, but to partly answer your question without writing a blog in the comments : ), this last trip we knew when our friends moved, a year and a half ago, we wanted to go visit them. So we started planning and saving back then. It was extremely helpful to not have to pay for food and hotel while we were there. But this trip to Kenya was by far the most expensive mission trip we have taken. Plane tickets were the biggest expense. My husband's job allows him to work overtime pretty much whenever he wants to so that helped quite a bit. It came down to priorities and how we would spend and save our money. We had a goal. Hope that helps!
Enjoying the journey,
Michelle Osborn the founder and owner of Yellow House Book Rental, a service to homeschool families. She is a 21-year homeschool veteran of four, two married, one in college, and one teenager at home.
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