Mighty Missioners Return from Maua Methodist Hospital Work in Kenya

Date Posted: 8/27/2015

A team of 10 from Memorial Drive UMC developed a unique bond by working together to make life better for others.
Sixteen days in Kenya bonded a team of 10 from Memorial Drive UMC for life. “The 2015 Kenya Mission Team may have been small, but it was mighty,” shares team leader Scott Brown. With five Kenya Mission alumni and five new missioners, the team traveled in July to the Maua Methodist Hospital (MMH) to work on projects to make life better for some Kenyans and to share the love of Jesus Christ. Adds Scott, “We were blessed to start every day at 7:30 a.m. in the chapel on the MMH campus.” On the first three days, the team built a two-room home for a family of five without a dad. One of the highlights, he mentions, “A little girl who had never swung a hammer before turned into an excellent worker helping us build her new home.”
Medical Missions: A Moving Experience
Linda Jenkins, parish nurse from Memorial Drive (MDUMC) taught several classes on patient advocacy at the hospital.  On day five, the team added their donated medical supplies to those of the hospital and went to a village 20 km from Maua and performed a medical “bush” clinic.  Says Scott, “We helped the hospital staff screen over 550 adult patients for all sorts of ailments and then walked to an adjoining elementary school, and a high school and administered de-worming treatment to 700 school children – it was an amazing day!” Linda also went to the home of “Baby Angel” who was terribly burned at four days old.  Team members report that the MMH staff did an amazing job keeping Angel alive and then the UTMB medical students studying at the hospital helped make the connection with Shriners Hospital in Galveston where Angel spent 9 months. Linda was measuring Angel for protective headgear that will be specially fabricated by Cranial Technologies, a firm that is donating their services.
A new member of MDUMC, Linda was deeply touched as a first-time Kenya missioner.
“With many years traveling to different countries, serving those in need medically and spiritually, this journey to Kenya was my first there and the beginning of a new relationship,” she shares. “I stand in amazement and admiration after witnessing and caring for these people, in how they demonstrated their strength amid diversity, their respect for themselves and others, their resourcefulness with limited resources, and their beautiful spirit that prevails over and over again, no matter what life hands them.” Adds Linda, “As I reflect on this beautiful journey, understanding the incredible foundation these church missions have laid, I was able to gain a respect for what has been, and what the future can hold, with and for the people of Kenya.”

ZOE Relationships Expand and Deepen
Day six started by unloading a 40’ container of books that MDUMC’s Dana Gary had helped to arrange. With the help of 30 students from the Maua Polytechnic School, the missioners unloaded 10,000 books -- enough to start five libraries. Adds Scott, “We then went to meet the Zoe Faith Family Work Group in Ndoleli. This is the family work group that the Memorial Drive UMC contemporary worship service, The Journey, sponsored for the last three years. These empowered youth have now all graduated from the Zoe program and are successful entrepreneurs, supporting their siblings and their communities.” Missioners helped them harvest and then enjoyed time watching and participating in a time of dance. One of the Zoe graduates, the chairman of the group, is a very successful tailor, adds Scott, so team member Marcus Gary ordered a custom-made suit from him.
Investing in the Young
The team attended church on Sunday at the Methodist church in Athiru Gaiti for 2 ½ hours. “On Monday we went back to the church because Stanley Gitari, well known to MDUMC, had started a school for preschool aged orphans and vulnerable children behind the church. We added stones to the foundation of the new classroom we were funding for 3rd graders; we organized books in the “makeshift” library that had been set up; and we planted yellow tomatoes in the school garden where the children are taught farming and animal husbandry,” shares Scott. “And our ladies played with the 250 students by blowing bubbles with all the children in the playground.” Advocating for the Kenyans, the team and MMH also concluded an important agreement with the local county officials to rehabilitate 25 water wells over the next five years.  
Notes Scott, “After 16 days we returned to Houston filled with so much love from the Kenyan people. We all consider it a privilege to work with them. They could not thank us enough for the courage they felt we showed in coming to Kenya. MDUMC was the only team to stay in Maua this year. As our Kenyan brothers and sisters say every day…God is good all the time; all the time, God is good!”
Bess Rice, another first-time Kenya Missioner was personally impacted by the experience. “I will never forget the Christian love that I felt from the people we met in Maua on the 2015 mission trip,” she shares. “I truly felt blessed by God to have had the privilege to be there, and look forward to returning!” 
Michael and Bernice Hick have traveled to Maua more than 10 times, collectively. Adds Michael, “We built an Aids orphan shelter, paid for and assisted in a bush clinic where over 750 people were served, and completed numerous tasks in and around the hospital,” he reports. “But seeing their faces when people from Texas actually turned up and gave hugs and encouragement to the young people in ZOE made it all worthwhile. This invaluable work is totally appreciated by the people who will never forget the Christian love given to them by the people of the Texas Annual Conference!”