Hey everyone! It’s time for another update, I’m still not doing as well as I would wish about getting these out in a consistent and timely matter but I am getting better and hopefully can work it into my weekly routine here in the office, maybe every Monday or Friday. That will help keep them shorter too ;)
The last month or so has been pretty crazy and busy here in Nairobi. We finally moved all the way into our new offices, we recently procured a 6,000 sq ft space on the top(6th) floor of a new building in an area of Nairobi called Diamond Plaza. Within this space we have built offices for all of the different “departments of our ministry”, that being Youth, Camp, Community, and Adventures. We are also building a space here that will be setup as an amphitheater/stage where we can hold our weekly youth group events for Jr/Sr High School which will be great because right now we meet at a different place every week and are kind of limited in what we can do.
The biggest thing happening with this space though is that we are building an indoor rock climbing gym, there are currently less than 10 in Africa and all of them are in South Africa except for one in Egypt. Our’s will be the only one in East Africa and will be an awfully big deal. We hope to use the gym as a place for students to come and hang out, hanging out in Kenya doesn’t really work for kids because they can’t drive until they are 18 and often there parents are never around to take them anywhere. The hope is that with a centralized place and our ability to run around and pick kids up that we can create a place where they always feel safe and comfortable at.
We also hope to use the rock gym to expand our ministry, currently our primary focus as a ministry is on multinational and international youth, with the Adventures piece(the one I manage) focusing on the Corporate/NGO/Government world which also is made up of multinational and international folks. We have come to realize that our talents as a ministry and God provided opportunities lead us to work with these multinational and international people, yet we have noticed a gap in the fact that we deal with only youth under 18 and organizations. The rock gym should bridge this gap and allow us to witness to people of all ages, specifically those in their 20’s-30’s. There is already a lot of buzz and all of our friends around our ages are incredibly excited for the rock gym, many of the workers at the UN who desperately need Jesus can not wait to come and spend time and build relationships with us there, the same feeling is echoed with the Mountain Club of Kenya which also consists of people from all over the world with varying religious beliefs.
This all sounds pretty amazing right? That’s just the beginning though, the real kicker is the location of our offices, God has placed it on the heart of Kim Pace, our Director of the ministry, that we should be working in greater ways in the Indian community within Nairobi. This has been a prayer of Kim’s for the last 2 years since two of our team members who had made many connections and invested deeply in the Indian community, decided to move back to the states. God has provided in a mighty way, our new offices are located at Diamond Plaza as I mentioned before, but what I didn’t mention yet is that Diamond Plaza is like Little India. This is THE community that the Indians have in Nairobi, everyone congregates around this place, they have temples around/in DP, they have all of their shops here, everything that an Indian does in Nairobi revolves around this place and God has put us on the 6th floor of their new building to be as a lighthouse in all of the darkness that is here.
The Indians are loving us already, they are very adventurous and the rock gym can not come soon enough, also they have been amazed by our attitudes. On the day we moved in we had to carry so much furniture in from about 6 vehicles, desks and tables and chairs. Afterwards while I was walking around the building I had multiple people come up to me and say they were amazed that the white people were working moving things and that we also were smiling and enjoying it. They said they could tell we were going to be great neighbors and friends and that they are eager to get to know who we are. Praise the Lord.
That’s a lot of background about big picture stuff that has been happening lately, there are a couple very important events/details that have happened lately however since this email is so long already I will just share one for now. As we were calculating all of the costs and everything that needed to take place for us to get the rock gym built we estimated it would take $200,000. In the beginning of August we began paying rent on the new building even though we had only raised about $2,000 so far and were not in a position to continually pay rent for the next year. We were at the coast of Kenya on the typical 5 day vacation after camp ended and we needed to unwind from living with 40 people 24/7 for 3 months. On one of those evenings we got a phone call from our stateside director and found out that we had received a $100,000 donation. God provided in the largest of ways, not only were we in a position to pay rent we now were in a spot that we could begin to purchase materials to build and set up the new offices.
Yesterday we had the first section of supplies for the rock gym show up, 180 sheets of 1/2 inch thick 4 foot by 8 foot plywood. Lucky for us the elevators were not large enough to fit the plywood in, this meant carrying the plywood up 6 stories, one at a time, 180 times. We enlisted the help of about 16 Kenyans to help us carry everything and after 3 hours of hard work we finally brought up the last sheet of plywood. The gym is beginning to take form and we are so excited.
If you want to be partnered with us in these ministries or projects(especially the rock gym), or even just helping me with personal support please let me know and we can talk about ways that can happen. There are two ways you can support, obviously you can be praying for us. Please pray that funds for the rock gym would continue to come in, please pray that the hearts of the community in Diamond Plaza would be opened more and that we can be a light in this darkness, please pray for the youth here and our programs with them, and please pray for me that I would continue to seek and serve the Lord that I would be a reflection of His love for the various people I am ministering to here in Kenya.
I miss you all lots and will see many of you in one month. There is so much more that I need to and want to write but I don’t want it to be overwhelming so I will just note them to myself and send another update out next week to highlight some of those things, hopefully that will get you all caught up on whats going on. Sorry I fell behind and was not communicating as well as I should be! Also, I am attaching a couple of pictures of stuff that has happened lately. One of them is the spirit tunnel we made for the last sheet of plywood after our long day carrying them, another is the first All Staff meeting that I lead for our team in September, however only about half of our team was there because many of them were in classes at their universities in town.