by Jack Copeland, age 17
Last night we safely landed in Nairobi and arrived at Grace House. It felt incredible to finally arrive on this trip I had been imagining for months!! However, I knew that even with as many youtube videos titled “Top 10 Tips for Visiting Kenya” I had binged prior, nothing would prepare me for the actual trip.
Haha that sounded dramatic, but to sum up our first day, here are some highlights from last night/today:
-an incredibly friendly staff at the Grace House who upon our arrival offered fresh fruit juice (delicious!) and refused to let any of us carry our bags to our rooms
-a delicious and filling breakfast which included tea and Kenyan coffee, which is like, really good (and thankfully so because jet lag is real !!!)
-a great prayer session before leaving for orientation at the Pangani School
-a fun little fender bender less than five minutes after leaving 🙂
-meeting a man named Raphael and learning about the impact and origin of Missions of Hope International (like the fact that today, money from sponsorships allows about 18,500 kids in Kenya and South Sudan to attend school and transform their and their families’ lives, up from the 50 taught by founder Mary Kamau in the organization‘s first year in 2000)
-walking through the slum nearest to Pangani school (which caused all kinds of emotions: sorrow for all of these people-mothers, fathers, sons, daughters- who live in conditions worse than I could ever imagine, an appreciation for all the things I take for granted on an everyday basis, like shoes, clean clothing, or private toilets, and an appreciation of the fact that God had allowed me to travel across the world to experience something that truly cannot be put into words)
-entering into the home of a Pangani student to listen and pray with their family (I experienced the inspiring hospitality of the Kenyan people firsthand, learned that although these people look, speak, and live in a way different than I, we truly are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and that the power of prayer is infinite)
-(on a lighter note…) we shopped until we dropped at the gift shop (Phyllis is an amazing saleswoman)
-we had a safe, yet bumpy, ride to Mary’s – the founder of MOHI – for a delicious dinner and tea
-and finally, a great night’s sleep (much needed) after our first full day
Overall, before coming I think I had this idea that we were coming to serve these people and it’s cliche to say, but I’ve learned so much more from these people than I think I could ever imagine teaching them.
So far, being here I cannot help but feel grateful and so blessed to have been given this opportunity to travel across the world (!!!) to meet and connect with our many brothers and sisters in Christ.
The first day was exciting and a little tiring, but I cannot wait to see what the rest of this week has in store!!