(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last of a three-part series about a three-week missions trip taken to the town of Karen, near Nairobi, Kenya, in April by the Revs. Wyatt and Gail Jones-Timmins, pastors to St. Peter's Community Bible Fellowship of Sullivan County, along with the Rev. Danesta Whaley, Yokefellowship Prison Ministries northcentral regional director).
Perhaps the most refreshing and promising aspect of life in Karen, Kenya, and the surrounding rural villages is that there is no government dole. People work or look for work until they find it. Friends and family take care of those without work and ... the system works.
What I observed inside this community was a very responsive and charitable community spirit at work. When people are left alone to do so, it is so much more life-giving and cost effective. It allows people to thrive.
From top, a storefront; the Revs. Danesta Whaley and Wyatt and Gail Jones-Timmins; children in Karen, Kenya; an interior classroom; a Kenyan church baptismal.
If you want your children to be educated, you send them to school. But the schools are not funded or run by government. There are, of course, basic requirements for teacher certification but they are not cumbersome regulations.
Neither do they dictate that one belief system be taught or embraced while others are prohibited. If you want a secular school that teaches for instance, the notion of an evolutionary origin and no Creator, it is there.
If you embrace Islam, you may send your child to a Muslim school. Want a Catholic or Protestant school? They are there.
Missing are lawsuits or bickering about what a child wore to school on a T-shirt or what book they brought to school. There are no mandated, single-system teaching methods to war over.
Some schools are expensive, run by private enterprise. Not all can afford these schools for their children. One alternative is a school such as the primary school on the church property where we were.
The people of the congregation support the school and many children they serve cannot otherwise pay for their schooling.
But here is where this school and the ministry that supports it sets itself apart from the norm. The church and ministry are not in the business of simply handing out from their limited resources.
The charity that begins in the primary school at Eternity Gospel Academy turns into empowerment as the children grow older. They empower the people by providing micro-loans for start-up businesses or for example, purchasing a trash truck in order to provide a means of work for people.
A little store front is opened on the outside wall of the church that employs people selling tea and fruit to others passing by. Others work at making clothing with the sewing machines that the church purchases.
They now need the older, working laptops that we in our country have sitting around because they run too slow or do not have enough memory or storage space, etc.
These are much-needed for their students and for the next endeavor they are pursuing to empower people to work and make a living.
They will train young people to refurbish and recycle some of these older laptops if people will donate them when they have moved on to more modern notebooks and lighter units.
An endless vision
The property spoken of earlier, in the desert mountain land of the Masai, is where they plan to build the next schools.
Once again, the servant's heart fuels the vision and it will culminate with yet more empowerment as they will grow their own food, teach others in the process and have some for commerce.
The school will be strategically located since the community watering well for the animals is on the property. They will provide free and unlimited access to the water and the people of this mountainous region will have a school to which to send their children.
There are mission opportunities all over the world. Many of those mission efforts put a Band-Aid on a never ending problem.
This vision, this desire to educate and empower others stands out from most because it is a working, functional model of what can be done, what must be done and what is being done.
They are helping people to help themselves and, then, those begin helping others. This is what we experienced. This is what these incredible people are doing.
What lies ahead?
For me, this mission has unknown years ahead because I simply cannot be connected with so many remarkable people and not be affected and inspired to become part of it.
Asante Yesu Mission Agency, here in the United States, works to help the Eternity Gospel Academy and Church in Karen, Kenya. We are seeking opportunities to present this functional model of service and empowerment. It is an ongoing mission that is worth getting involved in.
But this missions- model is not just something they are doing in their little village.
Incredibly, Bishop Charles Kaloki has launched this vision into seven surrounding nations and recently has launched into South Africa as well.
They are open and hungry for the arts in education programs that Gail Jones-Timmins has taken there twice. They are hungry for the teaching in the Bible School in which I and Rev. Danesta Whaley were privileged to participate and they are hungry to help others to learn to help themselves.
We desire to take it to these things and more to the rest of the countries they have launched in to as the vision grows.
Contact information for those interested in hosting a presentation or to learn more about how you can become part of the ongoing mission can contact Rev. Wyatt and Gail Jones-Timmins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rev. Wylie and Melly Norton at email@example.com