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By: Jenni hanak

As day 1 of our mission trip to Kenya comes to a close, I am already in awe of this beautiful country and more importantly, what God is doing. We arrived at Gracehouse at around 1:00 a.m. after about 20 hours of flying.  We were greeted by the guest house staff, who not only welcomed us with hugs, but also a full meal. By the time we ate and unpacked, our team probably only averaged about an hour of sleep! I wondered how in the world we could be ready to start a week of serving, but God showed up in a big way!

This first day was spent in orientation at Missions of Hope International (MOHI) learning about their schools and work in the community as a whole. I am so impressed with the work MOHI is doing, not only to educate children, but in teaching skills to help individuals learn how to improve their lives and instilling a sense of dignity. And they do it all in a way that honors Christ and ultimately brings people to Him.

After orientation, we had representatives from MOHI take us out in to the neighboring slums, which is actually referred to as "the community" as a form of respect. I will not forget what we experienced. Young children played by streams of sewage, goats freely roamed, and people picked through trash piles for whatever "good" they could find. Yet despite this, God is good. The smiles of the children who freely ran to us, looking for love and high fives was both sweet and heartbreaking. But what sticks with me the most was a beautiful woman named Naomi who excitedly invited us in to her home as soon as she saw us. Her home can best be described as a metal box, with some random items (maybe trash, maybe belongings? It was too dark to tell) piled in the back. In front of that was a small dirt floor, where perhaps she sleeps, and a single light bulb on the ceiling. But her face absolutely glowed as she told us she works hard to earn money for her rent, and she has three children away studying. She is also a widow, but assured us Jesus promised in the Bible that He would be her husband and she would see her earthly husband again in eternity. She said she has everything she needs and asked us to pray for her children and home. I think her face showed the truest and purest faith and trust that I have seen. And this in the midst of the most dire poverty I personally have witnessed. We are here to serve, but I left today feeling as if she ministered to me. I don't know what else this week will hold, but I pray I can learn to be more like Naomi!