Will it Make a Difference? Nairobi Here I come! Part

The Sahara desert

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Cor 15:58 NIV)

Does a simple smile really impact someone who is feeling down? Does it really make a difference when you encourage someone who is depressed?

While in the air en route to Kenya, some of the mission team members began to wonder if spending big bucks for plane tickets to go and build a kitchen and a cistern for a desperate orphanage was really the right way to spend their money. Wouldn't it have been better spent by hiring local contractors to do the building? Would flying all this way really make a difference?

But once they met the local people of Nairobi, all of these doubts were erased. They were greeted with cheers and hugs. They were considered heroes of the faith!

The local people of Nairobi were astonished at how hard every member of the mission team worked. Most of what they know about North Americans comes from movies, and these don't always depict a very nice picture!

Most of the locals believed that North Americans are spoiled brats with lots of stress who work very little for lots of money. Though some of this may be quite true, the mission team revealed to them not only that they were not afraid of work, but also that they cared enough for the people in Kenya to take time off their busy schedule and fly half-way around the world to be with them. As a result, the team established many life-long friendships.

The people in the streets of Nairobi were also delighted to talk with members of the team. They seemed eager to share what they were going through, and they demanded to have their picture taken.

To all these people, that expensive trip to Kenya sure made a difference!

There was one person that the team met who was touched more than anyone by their visit. He was from the slums of Nairobi, and he had always dreamed of leaving the slums to earn an education. He had worked hard and had made it to his final year of university, but then the money ran out. It seemed that there was no way he could finish school. He was desperate, and he confided in the Lord. While in prayer, he received a phone call announcing that he had been chosen by our local church for a special scholarship, one that would permit him to finish his final year of university.

When this young man realized that the mission team had been sent from this same church, he became so emotional that he had to leave the room for several minutes. "It can't be!" He repeated over and over again. "You are really here! You really do care! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

This young man is now working on his Masters degree, and he is currently working as an associate pastor for a large church in the Nairobi slums. His personal goal in life? To bring hope into the lives of those in the slums.

We may not always realize it, but the tiniest action on our part can have huge repercussions in the lives of the people around us. We WILL impact those we interact with, either for the good, or for evil. We can either be a blessing or a curse. It's our choice!

"Should I fly to Iraq or would it be better that I just send them money?"

That my friend is for you to decide.

Rob Chaffart

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