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8th June 2011
Visit to the Maasai in Kenya
In March 2010 I went to the Maasai region of Kenya.
We were invited by Pastor David Kereto of the Maasai Evangelistic Association (a strategic partnership of churches across existing denominations aiming to incarnate the Gospel through holistic mission in the rural areas).
We were a team of 10 persons connected to St George’s Church in Lincoln:
2 ordained, 1 reader (me), 1 church warden, 2 parish lay ministers and 4 young persons aged from 12 to 22.
We went to see a nursery school project and a water borehole project funded from Lincoln. The Christians are serious about bringing the Gospel to their people and transforming lives and communities with the love of God in Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit. In addition what we witnessed assured us that the Christians in Kenya are involved in all the areas which have been named as priorities in the Millennium goals:
1. Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. Churches were involved in food distribution during the severe drought
2. Achieve universal primary education: The nursery school has children 87 aged 3 to 10, two teachers. It was built in Dec 2009 and opened Jan 2010!
3. Promote gender equality and empower women: The Pastor had himself risked his safety to rescue a female member of his congregation from forced marriage and his homestead housed orphans and women at risk cared for by his wife.
4. Reduce child mortality: The school aims to provide one cooked main meal a day. Since our visit a kitchen has been built on the site. The water borehole will provide clean water.
5. Improve maternal health: See 3 above. Women were valued as part of the Christian teaching in the churches compared to their servant-like status in the traditional Maasai culture.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases: We saw a clinic run by Christian Medical Fellowship where children were vaccinated and mothers were issued with mosquito nets.
7. Ensure environmental stability: One of the church overseers showed us the tree-planting by the government and the importance of the Mara River in supplying Lake Victoria and eventually the Nile. The water borehole project is a means of preventing the threatened mass exodus from the remote plains into the towns because of the death of cattle through the increased frequency of drought.
8. Develop a global partnership for development: The personal contact through this visit was highly valued on both sides. One Kenyan said through a translator ‘what really means so much to us is that you’ve come all this way to visit us’. We took with us clothes and hand-knitted items as well as school equipment and tools as a gift.
We all learned a lot through this visit. We witnessed the strategic ministry of the Maasai Evangelistic Association as an example of bold and courageous outreach in tough conditions. We learned to transfer our skills into a different culture to present Bible stories, songs, puppets and drama through an interpreter and using non-verbal methods. We appreciated the deep, sacrificial and joyful love and witness of African Christians in their communities and towards us. It was such a privilege and blessing to be part of this team. They worked so hard to take care of us and show us the fruit of the Gospel and their beautiful country. There is so much more to tell. I have only scratched the surface.