Six months ago today, I was in a park in Kenya, in the presence of my sponsored child, Dorcus. In so many ways, I want to skip ahead of everything else that happened in Kenya and tell that story, but that would be like having a book and reading the last chapter first, so I want to go right back to the beginning.
I don’t really remember much about when we first arrived in Kenya, apart from feeling incredibly overwhelmed and being notably out of my comfort zone (something that made me think back to when I first arrived in India). If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t feeling excited. I wanted to go home before I’d even arrived and it took so much effort not to distance myself from everyone (and everything) there. I remember arriving home from India feeling empty and broken, and while God did some amazing things out of being in that place, I wasn’t prepared to be back there again just yet.
On the first morning of our trip, we had a beautiful opportunity to visit the Compassion Kenya office and share devotions. They were so welcoming and we had a beautiful time worshipping with them and spending time together. Hearing them speak so passionately about the work they do was so uplifting and encouraging – I wanted to find a way to bottle up their passion for the work they did and bring it home with me!
After spending a couple of hours at the office, we travelled to a Child Survival Program to spend time with some mums and their little ones. They greeted us with an incredible song and dance, and let me tell you, it was loud (in the best, Jesus-worship sort of way).
When we got into the church, we were welcomed with more songs, and one of the precious little girls went down our entire line where we were sat and shook everyone’s hand. She was so beautiful, and even in that little moment, she brought me so much joy.
(I also share this photo of her every chance I get – she’s just so beautiful!).
We then had an incredible chance to break up into small groups to go and visit the home of a family who are benefitting from the CSP. Rather awkwardly, I can’t remember the name of the mum, but I think the little girl who attends the CSP was called Ruth. She slept on her mama’s back for the short walk there and for the whole time we were in their house. I couldn’t believe how welcomed we were made to feel. We were given the sofa at one end of the house while the children sat on the floor and mama perched on a little stool with Ruth on her back. We also had the chance to meet two of mama’s other children, who sang us a beautiful song they had learned (in perfect English!).
Spending time with this family was so eye-opening, in the best possible way. It was so difficult learning of the struggles that families in this area face, but hearing of all the amazing opportunities they have because of Compassion was such a beautiful reminder that these children aren’t just names and faces on a website, or photos on my fridge. These children and their families have real lives and real struggles, but we also serve a real God who wants us to work alongside Him to rescue these precious little ones. This family is making a modest living through making and selling coal to those who live in their area, and mama’s dream is to own a house one day – one that isn’t made of corrugated iron. I loved listening to the dreams that she has for her children, and it was such a privilege to be able to pray for her too, that God would be her Provider.
After the home visits, we made our way back to the church for lunch, and for a chance to have a better look around the CSP. For your enjoyment, have some (more) photos of some of the most adorable littles you will ever see.
Having the chance to write this and think back to my day spent at the CSP, I’m reminded of just how vital their work is. The Child Survival Program is doing just that – helping these children to survive. It breaks my heart to think that programs like this even need to exist – that these children need a program to help them live. But I’m so thankful that God has equipped the men and women who work alongside the CSP to help caregivers provide for their little ones the best start possible, and it was so humbling to see this work in action.