Monday, 9 July 2012

Background to forming Free Spirit (Part 2)

After my trip to Kenya in 2011, I began getting many prophecies about being a mum to Africa, and to the broken, being involved in work like Heidi Baker, really working with the broken and the needy and so on. There were many that came up along the way that really made me know that Africa was where my heart is, and to work with the poor but also because God put it there. Reading about mission work and working with the poor stirred me, grew my passion and made me eager to build God's Kingdom, and to see many great things happen, for lives to be transformed, I wanted that, even if it meant going to great lengths to achieve that! 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1

For the next 10 months God grew my passion and heart for Kenya so much through the work we were doing with the charity for the boys in Mombasa, and also within my course. As part of my university course (Tourism Management) I have a placement year where I am required to go and work in the industry for a year, I always wanted to do my placement year abroad, Australia was always my goal but after coming back from Kenya that all changed! I came back determined to do my placement year in Africa, or Kenya especially, I searched so hard to find one, emailing and sending letters to many companies in Kenya, but I heard nothing. I then had an interview with a placement in Mozambique but that also fell through, as well as a placement in Ecuador. My friends by this time though I was way out of my league and were telling me I need to accept that I wont be going and apply for “normal” placements in the UK like all the other people in my course, time was running out people were getting placements on my course so I begun to apply for UK placements, but I never got nothing back, not even an interview, I then knew it wasn’t right and the door was being closed, I had faith and just knew I had to find a placement in Kenya! I just had to go back I was so determined! I then happened to go for a weekend away with the CU and got talking to a friend and she told me she had a cousin in Kenya who worked for a tourism company and told me to get in contact with him, of which I did but never really got a reply. After a couple of months I was put in touch with his wife, she emailed being interested; we had Skype interviews etc and then the waiting begun which just killed me! I was told that I would get an answer the following day, but 2 weeks had passed and I heard nothing, I then was so frustrated I just called out to God saying I want to have an answer and know by tomorrow. The next morning I checked my emails nothing…again! I was like, I knew it! Then like an hour later I checked again, and there it was an offer to come and work their company for 6 weeks, God answered my pray, it was really happening I was going to Kenya!! Everyone was so surprised and couldn’t believe it, after being so discouraged I knew to keep having faith and it really happened. I then faced problems at university of it being approved, people worried I wasn’t going to a good job with a good salary like everyone else, it was dangerous etc all the rest of it as well as it being Christian! But I trusted in God that he provided this placement, and that it would all work out. And it did. I was off to Kenya!

I was to be that I was only meant to be with the company for 6 months, and I would have to find another placement elsewhere but within a couple of weeks my company were so happy with me that they made me the offer of working with them for a year which I was more than happy to accept! God really had it all in hand, and provided me with what was the most incredible year of growing in God, his heart and my heart and passion for the needy. Really learning how to develop the right principles of helping people, and the Kenyan community in particular which has really been achieved with seeing the theory and knowledge put into practice with the number of projects we work with, and the problems that occur along the way. Really understanding development and how to empower the community to a larger effect. It can’t be put into words of how much I have learnt and gained for what is being built in me for the future.

During my time in the first 6 months I really felt my love for children grow and became so deep within my heart, people telling me how amazing I was with the children it was a shocking statement to hear, from having hated children all my life until God changed that in 2010 when I came to Kenya and spent time with the boys at the children home. God gave me such a love for them was where it begun, growing to really love children and wanting to fight for the rights of children giving them what they were entitled to, my heart was breaking for children especially those in less unfortunate circumstances.

When I went back home in December (2011, after 6 months in Kenya) I felt something being stirred in me about starting a home but I thought it was a long shot and such a big idea that was impossible and it wouldn’t be until way in the future if it was to be. When I came back I felt really stirred and having such compassion for street children. I was also reading the book “Compelled by Love” at the time and it really stirred me wanting to have that passion and faith with God, being about the poor I knew it was my passion to work with the poor and yearned to see the power of God break out amongst the poor in Kenya. I then kept getting ‘break my heart for what breaks yours’ it was like God was really breaking my heart for street children. It was then that I knew God was putting it on my heart to start a home for street children, but how it was just impossible so I just pushed it down, but I just found myself having this yearning inside of me and just thinking about it all the time. One lunch time I was talking to Maureen who I work with and she said you have all this in your hands, so what are you waiting for! It then begun! Going for endless meetings, gathering information, making plans and so that is how it all begun!

At the home in August 2011. The boys have truly impacted me more than words can say, through these boys Jesus has taught me what an everlasting and unconditional love really is. These boys will always hold such a special place in my life.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Background to forming Free Spirit

In June 2011 I came to work in Kenya with a company called ACTS as part of my placement year for my degree in Tourism Management, where I am still working to date. My job role has been focused in the Voluntourism sector, by which my work has been very focused within the community working with a number of community projects including a Baby Centre for Abandoned Children, an Orphange, a Pre-School, a support group of ladies with HIV and a School for the Deaf. Through working with these projects God has not only grown my heart, passion, and love for the needy and the poor, especially in my love for children which has become so deep rooted within me, but I have learnt so much about development, the right approach and methods to help the needy and the community through responsible approaches that empower the community in the long term. The book 'Helping Hurts' has been great material that expanded and grew my knowledge before coming to Kenya. Through practical work within the community I have really seen these principles applied, and the cultural problems, and damage that can be caused if it isn't applied. (And so much more!)

Alongside this I have been continuing my work in Mombasa with the boys I have been working with. After my visit to Mombasa in 2010 I took part in setting up a charity called 'Living Hope Africa',  (LHA) with two friends of whom I made the visit with. The charity was set up to support young adults that have come from a children's home, to relieve them from the current situations they are in providing relief and support, with the long term vision of empowering them to be in position where they can support themselves through jobs, or offering further educational opportunities to them which they once lacked.

Morris, Joseph, Myself, Emmanuel at Fort Jesus, Mombasa. (3 of the boys supported by LHA)
During this visit I spent time at a children's home, (of which the boys we came to support through LHA grew up) the short time I spent at the home something powerful happened, I felt so connected to them and I never knew why, I had this strong love for them after just some days and after returning to England that love never went, but the love and passion I had for them and to pray for them daily grew deeper, I know God had done something big and special within me. From this trip God did many powerful things within me, opening my eyes, putting passions and a love in my heart that I once never had but could only be from him, and within time they have continued to grow! Before this trip I hated children! And know children are my passion who would of ever thought it!

At the Children's Home in August 2011.
During my time in Kenya (2011-present) I have been able to build deep and solid relationships with the boys, where I have been able to really have an impact in their lives, helping them with situations, giving them guidance and support in life issues, and within their daily lives, encouraging and helping to grow them in the relationships with God. I have really learnt a lot from my time with the boys, it has been amazing to see them grow, but at the same time there has been a lot of difficult circumstances and situations that have risen, and a lot of drama to say the least, but it has grown me in so many ways throughout it all.

The work within LHA (charity) has been very challenging! A lot of challenges and circumstances came up, and it was when using the right principles to help people in the Kenyan community came to play. From my job working with projects, and really applying principles for development and empowering projects and people, giving a ''hand up'' not a 'hand out', really opened up the vision to the problems that occurred with the work we were doing. I have learnt so much through this, really educating me on the right way to help people, to run projects, and the principles I should apply and how to impact many with the work you do, helping a bigger cause and the bigger problem, rather than just helping a few!
Sometimes we can do things but we don't necessary know the right way, well we can think we do at the time, but we soon learn along the line when things happen maybe it wasn't the right way, and this is really what happened. However I wouldn't change anything as this has been a really valued experience teaching me and setting me up for the work I will be doing in the future. God always has a plan.