Kenya Report -- August/September2006
Thanks to Our Supporters!
As always, our thanks goes to all those who financially and prayerfully supported the ministry of Crossing Bridges. We are only able to participate in
these ministry opportunities as God provides the necessary funds through the faithfulness of our friends, colleagues, and churches who share our
vision of bringing hope and encouragement to people with disabilities around the world, through direct ministry and through training those who work
with disabled persons in the countries to which God calls us.
Our ministry in Kenya this year did not occur exactly as planned, but the major activities we intended to carry out were completed. This report
provides some detail about the three primary tasks:
- Working with Joni and Friends Wheels for the World
- Teaching at Nairobi Great Commission School of Theology
- Presenting a seminar on special education through Acorn Special Tutorials
Your participation with Crossing Bridges has helped brighten the lives of many disabled Kenyan citizens, create awareness of the spiritual and
physical needs of persons with disabilities among Christians in the greater Nairobi area, train future pastors for ministry in Kenya, and improve
teachers’ understanding of students with disabilities. May God richly bless you for your support of our ministry.
Wheels for the World Kenya
We arrived in Nairobi a few days before the rest of the team and were on hand to greet them when
they arrived at the Gracia Guest House where we all would be staying for 10 days. The team was
made up of 13 folks from 10 different states -- from Hawaii to New York. Most were new to a
“Wheels” outreach, but the team quickly bonded. Some team members were physical or
occupational therapists who served a "seating specialists" and gave direction to the mechanics
and their assistants regarding adaptations needed to each wheelchair so that it would meet the
needs of its recipient. Florence Anderson and some other women on the team provided general
support -- recording information about those who received wheelchairs or crutches, and providing
spiritual and physical hospitality to the recipients and those who accompanied them from the
hospital or their home.
Wheelchairs were “fitted” to physically disabled individuals from The Spinal Injury Rehabilitation
Hospital. Kikuyu Hospital, Kenyatta Hospital, and the Association of Physically Disabled Kenya. A
number of pediatric wheelchairs were included in the shipment, which enabled us to also adapt
chairs for children from Acorn Special Tutorials. Nairobi Baptist Church hosted the distribution.
It was truly heartwarming to see the expressions of delight on the faces of the wheelchair
recipients as they left with their prized possession (even a used wheelchair might cost a year’s
wages in Kenya).
|WFTW Team, Evangelism Team from
Nairobi Baptist, and some wheelchair
recipients from Kikuyu Hospital
The evangelism team from Nairobi Baptist Church assisted with translation when necessary. After each person received his or her wheelchair,
they heard a brief gospel message and were presented with an English Bible (NIV) and Swahili literature explaining who Jesus is.
David Anderson, team leader Byron Sellers, and team member Alan Allday each preached several times at Nairobi Baptist Church. David and
a few others from the team also spoke to children from Nairobi Baptist Church who were attending a Vacation Bible Club during the week of
the distribution, Each days’ talk was to a different age group. The focus was on disability awareness, and was linked with the overall Bible Club
theme of being a missionary.
Nairobi Great Commission School (NGCS)
The week of August 14 was spent at Nairobi Great Commission School in Langata, a
suburb of Nairobi. David again taught a Christian Ministries course on Spiritual
Warfare. NGCS has 23 students in the diploma/certificate program, many of whom
face significant trials and hardships while preparing for ministry. Principal Dennis
Okoth invited David to teach this course early in the students’ curriculum to help
them prepare for the spiritual battles they will face, both during their time at NGCS
and in their future ministry.
Before taking the course, many of the students thought spiritual warfare was simply an end-time event, or a battle in which only the “spiritually
powerful” engaged. Many expressed appreciation for their new understanding that, though all Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare, we are
not left to fight in our own strength but have been given “the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6). The students, ranging in age from their 20s to 50s,
are a bright group of committed Christians who will serve the Lord well in various areas of Kenya.
We also had opportunity to visit the NGCS extension campus in Narok, in western Kenya near the Masai Mara Game Preserve. This campus, in
addition to dorms, classrooms, and offices, also houses a Christian hospital, a primary school, and facilities for warehousing food stuffs to share
with Maasai families in times of drought. While in the Narok area, we attended worship at a newly established Maasai church where David’s
message was translated into Swahili and Maasai.
Acorn Special Tutorials
A four-day seminar/workshop was presented at Acorn Special Tutorials focusing on “Basic
Concepts of Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficits,“ August 27-30. Because the local schools
had called their teachers to report early for the new school year, we were left with only five seminar
Most were teachers in private preschool or primary schools in the Nairobi area. Ben was on a study
sabbatical from his work at Kakuma, one of the large refugee camps in northern Kenya for people
who have fled war-torn Sudan. He works primarily with children and adults who are dealing with
serious emotional problems as a result of the trauma experienced in their homeland. He, along with
most of the other students at the seminar, are now beginning the Acorn Diploma Program through
which they will receive training in special education.
Acorn Special Tutorials. a private school for disabled children and youth, was established and directed by Eva Nyoike, David’s former student
when at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Unhappy with the lack of preparation of teachers to work with special needs students in Kenya,
Eva created the Diploma Program several years ago. David serves as a consultant to Acorn. This is the seventh time he has presented a
seminar or workshop for Acorn Special Tutorials since 1998.
Other Opportunities for Crossing Bridges
► While in Nairobi, we met with the Director and Principal from PREMESE Africa Development Institute, another private school which offers training
in early childhood education, Montessori training, social work, business, community development, and several other areas. Dr. Francis Mulwa and
his wife, Ruth, are interested in the possibility of collaboration with Bethel University that might include professional development for their teachers
(“training of trainers” model) and external validation of their final exams. PREMESE offers both distance learning programs and a full time program
in Nairobi. They anticipate several hundred graduates at the 2007 commencement. David has been invited to come next May to provide an in-
service course to teachers and to be a part of the graduation ceremony. Depending on the dates, and on funding, this may also allow David to be
present at the next commencement of the Acorn Diploma Program.
► Several discussions occurred between David and Gebre, Outreach Pastor at Nairobi Baptist, regarding disability awareness and ministry
training for church leaders which could be done during next year’s Wheel for the World outreach in Kenya. Email “conversations” will continue in
the interim toward this end. Praise God for Gebre’s growing interest and involvement with the wheelchair outreach!