In the late 1990’s, believers in the village of Musese, Kenya had no place for fellowship. It was the dream of local resident, John Wanga, to build a church in that village. John held a fund raiser to raise money to buy land and he matched whatever they gave, including their labor to build the church. The church was built in 1999/2000.
In 2007 Harry Kaufhold, then Senior Pastor of our church, held a teaching seminar called “Preaching 101”. Eric Wanga, who is from Musese, attended the program. As he listened he thought this would be good for the pastors inKenya, so he talked to Harry about going to Musese to train the pastors there. Harry said he would pray and think about it. Harry decided that if Eric came back to see him then it was in God’s plan for him to go. Eric did go back to Harry and plans were started for a trip to Musese! Pastor Harry and Flip Musser, congregation member, traveled to Musese in October 2007, and they came back so excited to share the needs of the people in that village. The women had to walk 5 miles to get clean drinking water and they had no electricity, but they were the happiest people!
The Lititz UMC congregation was asked to sponsor the cost of digging a well on the Musese church property and purchasing 3 acres of land beside the church to grow some crops. The congregation accepted the project enthusiastically and contacts were made to start the well after purchasing the land. Completion of the well was a long process (finally being completed in February 2009), as the Kenya government is corrupt and bribes are a normal part of everything, which we refused to do!
In December 2008 a team from Lititz UMC went to Musese to continue training the pastors and to hold a Bible School for the children and youth. Pastor René Perez, our new Senior Pastor, offered training classes for 3 days and then held an evangelistic service at the market square in the evening. Many people attended and gave their lives to Christ!
The Bible School was attended by 200+ children! They had Bible lessons, sang songs and played games. They were the best behaved children! The church prepared meals for everyone, which was in most case, the only meal the children got that day. Of course, team members had candy to share which was a hit with all the kids!
On a normal Sunday, the congregation sat in for hours on old wooden benches so more comfortable chairs were purchased for the church. All the chairs are numbered and they are rented out for weddings and other occasions. Pastor René, Eric Wanga (who is part of every trip as he is the key to our team’s safe travel) and Flip Musser spent time organizing the digging of the well and electricity hook up to the church. Friendships developed and it was hard to say good-bye!
In December 2009 the team from Lititz UMC was joined by a group from Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Brownstown, where Pastor Harry was now lead pastor. Pastor Harry would provide training, a Bible School would be held for the children, and several members of the team would visit the local hospital and clinics.
By this time, the well was working and the local people were lined up all day long to take turns pumping clean fresh water. We were told the water at the new well was the best around! The church had also raised crops on the 3 acres of land that was purchased.
Many of the children are malnourished and do not get regular meals every day. The church stared providing porridge to the children when they came to Sunday School. Also, now with fresh clean well water so readily available, sickness is decreasing. The water they used to drink was from the creeks which were used for washing and other purposes. A cow was purchased to provide milk for the children and so the church could sell the extra. And then “Standie the cow” had a calf named Sarah!
After seeing the local medical services available, we felt a need to upgrade some of their equipment and start a clinic in the village of Musese. Building a trade school was also discussed so the people could learn a trade and provide an income for their family. After returning home, we shared a travelogue with each congregation explaining the need for a clinic and a trade school. Both congregations were excited and each church raised $10,000! The work of gathering medical equipment to stock the clinic began!
In May 2010, another team prepared to travel to Musese. Prior to the team's arrival, the clinic and trade school buildings were completed. Now the supplies needed to get there! A “sea crate” (large storage container sent by ship) was loaded with beds, isolettes, phototherapy equipment, exam tables, bedside tables, physical therapy, lab and eye equipment, lounge chairs and more! Also, there were boxes of school supplies, toys for the children, and building supplies for a cow shed and a chicken coop. The crate was to arrive the same day the team was to arrive.
Unfortunately, the crate did not get to the village until the day the team had to leave, but some supplies were taken in team member’s suitcases and other supplies were bought in town. The clinic was open for the first time and over 1300 patients were seen! In addition to the clinic, teaching was provided for local women; Pastor René Perez, now lead pastor at Lititz UMC, held pastoral training; and a team went to the local schools to talk to the children. All in all, another successful trip to Kenya!
In 2011, another local church joined the mission effort! Brickerville UMC, along with Lititz and Emmanuel UMC, returned to Musese with an agenda of 3 days of training for pastors and lay people led again by Pastor Harry, running instructional sewing classes for the women, opening the clinic for 3 days, and building a chicken coop! In Kenya, children must wear uniforms to attend school and the mothers were interested in learning how to sew so they could make them. There were 14 women in the class and they learned how to use newly purchased sewing machines to turn pillow cases into dresses! Using these skills, women can make clothing to sell to financially assist their family.
Pastor Harry had about 140 attend his training sessions! The Kenya pastors and lay people are hungry for education.
To support the clinic, a microscope was purchased to do testing for malaria, diabetes and other diseases and the team saw 1252 patients in 3 days! Optometrist, Dr. Harry Wertsch, saw 91 patients! Malaria continues to be the disease most often seen. We’ve started programs called “Adopt-a-Nurse” and “Operation Medication” to assist with the cost of providing nurses and medications. The response received enabled us to purchase medications and bring nurses in from the local hospital. Since March 2012, the clinic has been open one day each week!
While we were there, Standie the cow had another calf- this one a bull named Abraham! They plan to use the bull for breeding, and the extra milk from Standie has been sold for enough money to pay for the food for the cows. The men built the chicken coop- twice the size as originally planned!- so we made many trips to town to get additional supplies. There is no plywood available in that area and no piece of lumber is the same, so they made adjustments as needed. Plans are to sell chicken eggs to raise extra income.
A pre-school was also started in the trade school building for 3-5 year olds, and there are 42 children in the program. Those who are able pay tuition to attend and porridge is provided daily. They are looking at expanding the program. There are 72 children attending Sunday School, which is also held in the trade school building, and they are fed a meal of beans and rice. We had 200 children attend while we were there, and some of our program plans were changed when the power went off and we couldn’t play the DVDs. The children love to sing and dance so you learn to improvise! The trade school was not wired for electric so plans were made to get the building wired. Also, a generator was purchased to use if the power goes off.
The children are very special and it looks like a bigger building is needed so the children can be placed in age level classes. More teachers have been recruited to help with the children and youth!
You can see God’s hand at work in this village! The people are very appreciative of what we do and thank God for their many blessings. The children are precious and they are one of the reasons we keep going back. We have made many new friends and they have become part of our family. This mission is one that will change your life forever!
Teams members who have traveled to Musese include: Pastor Harry Kaufhold, Flip & Deb Musser, Eric & Carol Wanga, Pastor René Perez, Stan & Sandy Kulikowski, Lane Rumsey, Jen Bergner, Dan Russo, Carol Shaw, Jane Imhoff, Ashley Shaeffer, Jim & Pam Daniels, Carol Kasenchek, Sandy Adams, Jerry Kochel, Harry Wertsch, Jackie Fetter, and Bill Lau.
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