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Imagine with me for a minute that you are standing under the hot sun, and a plague of flies are swarming around you, attacking at every angle. Then under the sweat of your brow you see your mother, sister, brother, or young child picking through mounds of smelly trash. They are simply looking for their next meal, whether that be a rotted watermelon, avocado, or a half eaten dirty orange. It does not matter what they find, because it will fill their bellies for the moment. How do you feel about this picture?
This is a reality for hundreds of people living in the Kitale slums here in Kenya.
A few weeks ago we had the privilege of visiting the Kitale trash mount. It was a totally unplanned, and organic mission. Completely Spirit lead. That day Charlton, myself, Reagan (a local brother in Christ), and Tim (a brother in Christ visiting from America) planned on visiting the slums of Kitale and meeting, as well as creating relationships with, some glue boys. As most of you know, the Lord has broke my heart, and Charlton’s heart for orphans and vulnerable children many years ago. The closer we grow to Christ, the more the desire to help these children is growing. Ultimately we are willing to open up our hearts and home to a child/children who are in need of a home. We want to lead our community in the “Forever Family” model the Lord has revealed to us.(See previous postings for more details regarding Forever Families.)
Well, that morning the four of us headed into town, chatting away, not really knowing what to expect. Except Reagan, he lived in the slums over ten years of his life. He has an amazing testimony that I will be sharing, with his permission of course, very soon. When we arrived in Kitale, we made a pit stop at the grocery store. I like to carry bread in my purse whenever I am in town because of the amount of children begging for food or money.
It’s hard for me to just walk away from a shoeless child, even if they are barely conscious from the amount of glue they have been inhaling.
So when Charlton and Tim went into the store to buy bread, Reagan and I hung out in the car. A boy from the slums came to our car window trying to sell us some electronic chargers. Clearly stolen. Reagan asked this boy about himself, and if we could go and talk with his parents. He was very unresponsive and told us no. He did tell Reagan where he lived, but he was not used to others talking to him like he was human being. Then we saw a police officer walking down the street, and the boy ran away. Once the guys came back to the car a group of boys formed, and we started handing out bread. Most of the boys hide their glue, but one boy did not, so Charlton asked him for the bottle in exchange for bread. When we drove off, that boy flipped us off, which honestly, is not a very shocking thing here.
We then drove to the slums, and parked a little ways down the street. As we started walking we saw a group of people walking into the slums. A bunch of nuns, as well as a few white people. We decided that we did not want interfere with their visit, or have people confused that we were with that group. So we got back in the car thinking we would come back later. As we got in the car we noticed a huge trash mount about a mile away. And we all decided that we wanted to visit, and see if we could talk with any of the people there. On the way to the trash mount, Reagan suggested we stop at a location where some of his friends hangout, and meet some street boys. Sounded great! So he directed us to a street, and we parked next to some local businesses in a part of town that I was unfamiliar with. Completely unknown to us, we were about to walk into the lions den. The four of us walked over, and started talking to a group of rough looking men. The smell of alcohol was overwhelming on these guys, and guess what, Reagan’s friends were no where in sight. Some young boys came up to me and asked for food. They were a very rough looking group children. I gave them what I had, and some of the men seemed appreciative, but then the drama started. Apparently, some of the “leaders” started getting upset with Reagan, and called him selfish. They thought he was getting paid to bring the white people to their hangout. We never paid Reagan a thing, he is a brother in Christ with a heart for these people…but there was no explaining… before we knew it Reagan was telling us that we needed to leave, and then someone actually tried to punch him in the face! Praise God they missed, and we started heading out of the lions den. What started out as a handful of people turned into a very large group before our eyes. (It seems that many people here tend to have a mob mentality, if something is going on everyone jumps in.) The men started getting aggressive, and all I could think of was, “Get Me Outta Here… I’m gone!” I was totally frightened. I do not think I have ever experienced a fear of people like I did in that moment. Finally we were all together, safe, and we left that place.
Gangs like the one we encountered, actually use the young homeless youth, to steal and do their dirty work. In exchange they offer protection, and the closest thing to a family these boys will ever have. I was very disappointed in how our first little mission to the street boys turned out. But more then that, I was disappointed in myself, in the absolute fear that rose up in me, that I had no idea even existed. The Lord does not give us a spirit of fear. So please pray for me, as He is molding me into the good and faithful servant that will please Him.
Reagan felt really bad about how everything went down. Poor guy had no idea what was going to happen, but once we reached the trash mount he switched up his game. He had us all wait in the car, while he walked over and checked out the situation. He told the people in the trash, that he had a group of people with a message to share, and that we don’t want any trouble. The people were receptive, so he came and got us, and we walked in the the garbage dump together. The people that greeted us were men, women, and children. I saw babies on their mamma’s backs, and middle aged men… all of these people were so poor that they had to find food at the dump to feed themselves and their families. It was very sad. The smell, and the sheer amount of flies was enough to make me lose my appetite. But this is a sad reality for many people around the world.
We greeted everyone, and Charlton gave a little introduction about why we were here and the message he wanted to share. Reagan was our translator, so once the people understood, Charlton got started on sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom. The sermon on the trash mount, as I like to call it. :) He did a wonderful job, and I know that the Holy Spirit gave him a special anointing. A few people sat patiently the whole time and listened, others were just coming and going. It was hard to tell in that setting who was really understanding, and getting it. After Charlton was finished, we talked to the people, and one lady opened up to me about how she feels like satan has a hold on her, and she asked that I pray for her. We all laid hands on her and prayed, and I know that God is calling her out. A few people wanted us to come back and share more, the consensus was that we just meet again at the trash mount that following Saturday, because meeting in the slums could cause a disruption… is what they told us. So that following Saturday Charlton, Reagan, and another disciple showed up, and Charlton read the Sermon on the Mount! How appropriate! The other disciple that came with Charlton had actually said he never heard, or read that sermon from our Lord before! Not only did it impact the people, but it impacted Him! Praise God! Since then, two or three disciples have been going to the trash mount every Saturday. God is doing a big work, and it is very exciting. In fact, in just a few weeks, they plan on baptizing a small group of people… so I want to be there… camera in hand!
Please pray with us for this group of people who have shown interest in the words of our Lord. Pray that God would protect this gathering, and that they will grow in Spirit and Truth! Through them, the slums of Kitale can truly be reached.