My Last Day in Kenya

Day 7 in Kenya

Today is bittersweet, I’m so excited to go home and see my family, but also very sad to be leaving such a beautiful place. I can only hope that God will bring me back here again one day. It was an early morning as we awoke to watch the sunrise over the savannah.

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Our goal was to see rhinos and leopards today, and while that search came up empty, we did see some incredible things today. For instance, we saw a group of four lions, two young males and two females, hunt a warthog this morning. While the hunt looked promising it was ruined by some hyenas who spooked the warthogs.

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We then ran up on three more older male lions. Pretty amazing seeing this big guy.

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After hanging with the lions for a few hours this morning we decided to have breakfast on a hill overlooking the savannah inside the park. Imagine sitting on a hillside eating breakfast while watching cape buffalo chase away lions in the valley below.

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We also got really close to some elephants,

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some giraffes,

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and of course zebras.

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I’m currently 32,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean on my way back home, and I can’t wait to see my wife and kids. It’s been a great trip, but there’s no place like home, and I can’t wait to get there. Thanks to all of you who’ve spent the last week keeping up with me.

Hey, if you just stumbled upon this post, I want you to know I’m in Kenya with Compassion International for a week. I wanted to document my experience to share with my family and friends and anyone else who may be interested. I will be back sharing my thoughts on leadership, church growth, and more next week. If you want to follow along with the blog, make sure to subscribe to get email updates delivered to your inbox each week.

Kitchwa Tembo Safari

Day 6 in Kenya

Today, was a huge transition as we moved from seeing Compassion bless kids, to seeing Compassion bless pastors and leaders. This morning we woke up early to catch a flight to the Kitchwa Tembo Camp in the Masai Mara. Our plane was a bit smaller than I’m used to, but it’s perfect for landing on a dirt runway in the middle of the African savannah.

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The Masai Mara is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and connects to the Serengeti National Park located in Tanzania. It is known for its exceptional population of Masai lions, African leopards, and Tanzanian cheetahs, as well as the annual migration of zebras, gazelles, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti. Upon landing at the reserve we were served tea and snacks before jumping into our Land Rovers to head out on our first safari.

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In just a couple of hours, I believe I saw more wild animals than I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Some of my favorites included the hippos, the zebras, the elephants, the giraffes, the baboons, the hyenas, the crocodiles, the warthogs, and the cape buffalo. As amazing as seeing all those animals was, I believe the scenery may have been the most impressive.

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It’s absolutely breathtaking here. After our first safari we headed to the hotel to check in and get our rooms. We just so happen to be staying in tents, which I love since I’m such an outdoorsmen, but seriously these are the type of tents I want to stay in. Check out the view.

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It’s currently 11pm while I’m writing this and I can hear monkeys howling in the trees outside my tent. Pretty awesome, what’s not so awesome, were the two snakes they found in one of the tents another couple was staying in next door. After lunch and a quick meeting to debrief on our trip, we were back on safari again. What’s funny is that because there’s so many of the animals, you quickly become disinterested in many of them altogether and just concentrate on the one’s you haven’t seen yet.

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For example, elephants. Elephants are amazing creatures, but I bet we’ve seen over a hundred elephants today. So, for our afternoon safari we wanted to concentrate on finding lions, rhinos, leopards, and cheetahs. We ran up on four female lions napping pretty quickly. At one point I was within 10 yards of one and it never even looked up. Our guide informed us that lions are very lazy and sleep around 18 hours a day. He also told us that warthogs are very dumb, because they’ll be running away from a lion then forget why they’re running, turn around, and get eaten.

Cheetahs were a lot harder to find, and you’ll never believe how we spotted them. After a very long time driving a few of the guys decided they needed to…um relieve themselves. So, we stopped the vehicle, let them out to do their business in the middle of the savannah, and when three or four of the guys had their pants down, the cheetahs appeared. Luckily for the guys, the cheetahs were still a few hundred yards away and our guide had eagle eyes. We were never able to get very close to the cheetahs but it was still cool to see them run away from us.

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That’s it for tonight, they shut the electricity off here in a few minutes to conserve energy. Tomorrow, we hope to see rhinos and leopards as we go on our last safari, then board a plane home.

Hey, if you just stumbled upon this post, I want you to know I’m in Kenya with Compassion International for a week. I wanted to document my experience to share with my family and friends and anyone else who may be interested. I will be back sharing my thoughts on leadership, church growth, and more next week. If you want to follow along with the blog, make sure to subscribe to get email updates delivered to your inbox each week.

Meeting Pauline

Day 5 in Kenya

Today was a little different than the past few days because it was Sunday, and Sunday means you go to church. The church we went to was located within one of the largest slums in Nairobi, but you couldn’t tell it by the way they worshipped. What amazes me is how these people can have so little, yet are able to worship God with such passion and joy. It’s something the American church can learn a lot from.

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After church was one of the best moments of the trip, we went to lunch and I got to meet my sponsor child, Pauline. Just to be transparent, I didn’t sponsor a child until I was invited on the trip and learned that I would keep the opportunity to meet her, an opportunity few sponsors ever get.

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I learned that Pauline was called a miracle child. Pauline is currently 5 years old, and didn’t walk or talk until she was 3 1/2 because of malnutrition. Luckily, Compassion stepped in and made her a part of the program. Had they not stepped in, there’s a good chance Pauline wouldn’t be alive today. Pauline lives in the slums with her mother who suffers from epilepsy, and an older brother who makes sure she gets to the Child Development Center each week.

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It’s impossible for me to ever convey the environment many of these children grow up in. Pauline had never drank out of a glass, let alone eat at a restaurant. She doesn’t know any of the Disney characters, she had never seen bubbles before, and she had never even tasted candy. Most of the children’s families that are sponsored through Compassion live on less than a $1.25 a day. When you’re here and you see the conditions these children are growing up in, it can look like a hopeless situation, but there is light coming out of these dark places.

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Take for instance, Jey Mbiro who spoke to us tonight. Jey grew up in one of the largest and poorest slums in Africa. When Jey’s mom was unable to provide food for his family he took to the streets to beg for food and money. He eventually got arrested for stealing and put in prison at the age of 9. In prison he prayed to God for a way out of prison and poverty. Upon his release he thought he would once again have to go back to the streets, until he was invited into Compassion’s Child Development Program. He would graduate from the program, go on to college, and have a successful career in music in Kenya. He is now a youth pastor, and DJ living in Atlanta, Georgia, and also speaks on behalf of Compassion. He is just one of many success stories coming out of the ministry of Compassion.

Hey, if you just stumbled upon this post, I want you to know I’m in Kenya with Compassion International for a week. I wanted to document my experience to share with my family and friends and anyone else who may be interested. I will be back sharing my thoughts on leadership, church growth, and more next week. If you want to follow along with the blog, make sure to subscribe to get email updates delivered to your inbox each week.