This week I have been in Kenya again with Turning Point. This is probably something like my 6th visit, and yet as I reflect on it I realise that I am coming away even more inspired and humbled than ever before. In this short reflection I will try to capture something of the essence of that.
As we spoke with the staff I was struck by how they describe their work. Many will say how they thank God for the opportunity they have been given to be involved. And yet they are working in enormously difficult and challenging circumstances, far beyond anything I experience day to day. We serve the children who are the poorest and most vulnerable in Kibera. On a previous visit I came in to our centre in the middle of the slum early in the morning, in the pouring rain, to witness children coming to us to get some breakfast – they were as young as 5, were on their own, and they had no proper shoes or protection from the rain. Often those who are supposed to care for these children cannot – for all sorts of reasons. Our social workers have the job of finding out their circumstances and determining which children will get a place in our school – and which will not. And once the children are in the school, our staff are faced with the task of supporting them in becoming the people we believe God made them to be. The love that the staff have for the children is infectious – they have a passion for this work. And they are themselves mainly members of the Kibera community – but they love their community and the people in it, and want to see it transformed.
We had a long discussion this week with the management team about the work we do. We passionately desire for these children to have hope for the future. We work hard to help their parents and carers take their part in that. And where those people cannot, we decide to stand with these children and help them anyway. This is our call – our mission. We know that all these children are – like us – made in the image of God. And we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. What I have been privileged to see again this week is our team doing this for real – it is tough, it is demanding, it is long term work. But they are passionate about it. And we do see lives changed – one at a time.
I learn so much from these visits that I would never learn without coming and meeting these people – my life is enriched beyond measure. Each time a little part of me gets left behind in Kenya, and I carry a little part of Kibera with me back to the UK. My hope and prayer is that we will be able to continue and grow this work in the years to come, so that more lives can be changed – forever.