An update “from the field” – Kibera

I’m writing you tonight from Nairobi, Kenya – hoping to take advantage of some solid internet access and update you on just a bit of what’s been going on with us the past several days.

Our trip started out with 2 days of ministering alongside Swahiba Youth Networks, our partners in Nairobi in the Kibera slums. On our first day, we visited some of the girls’ familes that are involved in the Jitambue Project. Most homes in Kibera are about the size of our bathrooms, with a dirt floor, a roof made of pieces of scrap metal, and everything the family owns packed inside—which is scarce. Our team of eight m’zungus (white people, in Swahili) wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, but we wound through the maze of small houses led by the Swahiba team. We met the families, brought them common, yet scarce items, such as sugar and rice, listened to their stories, and prayed with them.

I’ve gone into Kibera several times over the past year. The first time, I was wrecked. It’s so much to take in. Each time after that, my feelings have shifted from being heartbroken for their situation to being angry and finding myself just a bit numb to it all. Kibera looked the same as it did ten months ago when I saw it for the first time. And for all the non-profits and ministries that go to great lengths to bring relief and change to the slums, it will probably look the same years from now. The need is overwhelming, and to be honest, on this day it just felt a little bit hopeless.

So, these were the thoughts running through my head as we walked through a front door curtain and sat down in the first home…pretty pessimistic, I know. But we visited a bit, gave the food to the young woman that was the head of this household, and prayed with her. Prayed for provision. Prayed for joy. Prayed for salvation. And in that moment that our partner, Peter, asked God to save this young woman and to turn her heart to HIM, my heart turned hopeful. We couldn’t possibly meet the majority of her physical needs, and just pausing in that thought has me feeling helpless . . . and feeling hopeless pretty fast. But Hope is found in knowing her deepest need: to know the Source from which every other single need is ultimately filled–Jesus.

He is “Living Water.”

He is “Bread of Life.”

He is a “Shelter” . . . and a “Refuge” . . .

and most importantly He is “Eternal Life”

beyond this fallen, broken place we were sitting.

Even our noblest and purest efforts to meet others needs won’t mean much in the end, if we leave them without the Gospel. This is what we love about Peter and Swahiba, and why Passion Partners labors with them. They get it. Whatever other needs they are seeking to meet for the people of Kibera, they begin and end with Jesus, every time. They’re in it everyday and their commitment to Kibera is so beautiful and so authentic – we are continually grateful to do life and ministry with them.

Alright, this was just day one, much more to come. Soon, we’ll recap the Jitambue Conference – a daylong conference that ministered to 520 girls from the Kibera slums. Amazing day . . . we’ll share more soon. Until then, goodnight from Kenya!

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