Many years ago, Audrey and Menzo Fuller, former Seventh Day Baptist missionaries to Africa, inspired me to dedicate my retirement years to missionary work. So it was with both humility and excitement that I was privileged to participate in Pastor Steven James’s mission trip to Kenya in June 2015. Our group brought varying backgrounds and skills to Keera, as well as different expectations and desires on how best to demonstrate God’s love to these incredibly warm and friendly people.
Pastor Steve and Pastor Kory Langley did an excellent job of teaching the elders and preaching. It was fascinating to watch Pastor Benard Mose translate not only with words but also with body language and expressions. Debbie James taught sewing techniques, and the ladies produced beautiful quilts and stuffed animals. Marleigh Fjako worked on music with the leading musicians of the churches. Amanda Langley taught the children and showed great kindness and dignity to all. Although my job was undefined, I was able to counsel several who were infected with AIDS. I am a “late bloomer” and did not have the wonderful blessing of being taught from the Bible about God as a child. I prayed constantly for the Holy Spirit to direct me, waking each morning to ask God, “How can I help today?”
Keera is located in the mountainous region of western Kenya. Census figures from 2015 report that approximately 20,000 people live in this undeveloped area, with about 7,000 adults, 6,000 children, and 7,000 within the two AIDS camps. These numbers indicate that over a third live in the camps, while many others are HIV or AIDS victims. As of 2015, the population of the entire country is over 49,715,318. Over 75% are under the age of 30, so the vast majority are of childbearing age. Obviously, they are in vital need of AIDS awareness education and supplies for prevention.
The current SDB leader in Keera is Pastor Benard Mose, who took over when his father died 14 years ago. Since then, he has added four other churches, spending all his days in outreach and teaching. A strong sense of community is vital among these churches. I told Pastor Benard that I had a great desire to work with infants and young children, and he replied that the church was longing for a children’s home. He showed me an area of church property that could be used, with access to a fresh water stream and adjacent to the public school. However, in this area there is no public water, sewage system, or electric power. They cannot afford to hook on to the electric lines going through the town.
The Daytona SDB church (FL) has now joined the Keera churches (Kenya) in their vision to build a small home and a community center at the most vital spot in Keera — complete with electricity and access to the internet. Along with a projector, this could be used at night to educate the populace about health issues, reforestation, tier gardening, composting, and water filtration. The need is great because of the high concentration of people who are sick and those who will become sick without intervention and education. I implore you to keep Keera in your prayers. May God soften your hearts and open your minds to this vision of a lasting mission to the Lord’s children in Kenya.
– Caroline Snyder, SDB Church of Daytona Beach, FL
- For the April 2016 Sabbath Recorder click HERE