Reverend Tim’s Trip to Kenya

What immediately comes to mind when you hear that someone has journeyed to Kenya? They saw exotic wild animals, perhaps in a safari like environment? They interacted with people in a tribal culture? They visited communities that live with far less luxuries than Americans? If that is what springs to your mind you would probably be correct on most counts. But for 31 people that traveled to Kenya this past June, we went for a much more eternal reason. We went primarily because we knew we would interact with people who did not know Jesus Christ and be able to strengthen those that do know Him as Lord and Savior. With the help of the Kim Usery Foundation that is exactly what I and 30 other people, most who were from Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, IL, were able to do.

We traveled to Africa Hope, a mission headed up by Tim Mantai in Narok, Kenya. Tim was a Maasai warrior meeting a Christian missionary in the late 1990’s and ended up giving his life to Christ. Tim then came to the States to be educated at Seminary and returned to Narok with his life’s mission to help more and more of the Maasai people to come to know Christ. His goal was to follow in Jesus’ footsteps by ministering to the people in a holistic way; helping them with health, education, lifestyle and most importantly, using those things as a bridge to supply their real need – Jesus. He has done over the last 20+ years so well that he has established the ministry of Africa Hope complete with a conference center, dormitory and have planted dozens of churches throughout the Narok region.

Many times on this trip I was driven to tears either due to joy or due to seeing heart rending need.

A few days before our group went out to the “Bush” where the Maasai live in mud huts without electricity or clean water, we were blessed to worship with the Kenyan Christians who work at Africa Hope. This was one of those joy-filled tearful moments. What a treat. To sing, study and pray with fellow believers who live 8000 miles away from me. This was so awesome and inspiring. I was filled with His Spirit as I listened to their prayers and songs. It reminded me of the fact that you, Oh Lord, love ALL NATIONS!

The next day our group went to the bush. There we were able to visit the Elangata school and minister to some of the families with very small children. We were all told before leaving the States not to take gifts or money unless we had something for everyone. Sometimes those on mission trips think they are helping by giving families trinkets and material things but that often leads to hurt feelings because not everyone is able to receive something or it builds a sense of entitlement.

In the community of Olosirua we met several hundred Maasai and saw living conditions that to the average American would be described as deplorable. Little children with open sores covered in flies, huts built from cow dung and mud, water that was used for both bathing (by both human and animals) and drinking! Yet, for these people, having missionaries come was the highlight of the year. Not because we were bringing material goods but because we cared! We did supply some basic hygiene needs, built school desks for the local school and held a Vacation Bible School type program where the biggest “hit” with the kids was that each child in the village received a tennis ball! Our ministering to the “least of these” brought many questions about the spiritual side of life and we were blessed to lay somewhat of a bridge so the Africa Hope team could come later to talk to the community about Jesus. It was wonderful to think we may have played a small part in changing someone’s eternal destiny, maybe even an entire community!

Our trip lasted 10 days. Through that time we were able to minister to dozens in the bush but also strengthen the Christians that live and work at the Africa Hope center. Maybe the highlight with them was our last session. Tim Mantai asked the Americans to each think back at how many of our generations had proceeded them that knew Christ. We all said that we were at least the 4th or 5th generation of Christ followers. Then, Tim asked the Kenyans the same question. We were surprised to find out that out of the 16 Kenyans, 5 were second generation Christians and 11 were the first ones ever in there family to claim the Lordship of Christ. Everyone of them said their greatest purpose in life was to build a generational bridge to help family after family be able to say they know Jesus. What an amazing thing to be with such a genuine and excited group of natives that are truly “Great Commission” people!

What a joy and what a trip. While we may never know what our presence meant in the bush and at the Africa Hope Center one thing I am certain of… That the support the Kim Usery Foundation gave was well spent, reaping eternal benefits!!

Africa Hope:
Crossroads Christian Church: