Dr. Terry’s Story: Six Weeks of Care

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Education, Farming, Health, Village Project Africa, Women's Community

Dr. Terry Horner (known affectionately as Dr. Terry in the village) traveled to Makutano to provide care and medical knowledge to the people of the village. After six weeks, Dr. Terry was inspired by what he saw and the compassion, care, and charity he saw all around him in the village. 

I recently returned from an uplifting and inspiring six-week trip in Makutano, Kenya, where I worked with Village Project Africa. I wanted to go back for my second time, because I saw last year how much work needed to be done to improve medical, agricultural, and educational facilities. I feel it is my calling from God to help the village people, who have spiritually-inspired me and become my friends. We continued Village Project Africa’s mission to help current and future generations of this impoverished village break the chains of poverty. 

Last year, I stayed three weeks with the group and refreshed my childhood farming skills. Over the course of this year, Village Project Africa transformed the school garden into a larger garden with a greenhouse for tomatoes and cabbage. Village Project Africa now has self-sustaining produce that they eat and even sell. To complement the produce, a farm manager now cares for 200 chickens and three cows. 

The focus of this year’s trip was to expand a small medical clinic with one practitioner, who sees 500 students for free. I realized how difficult it can be to care for the children and families when I couldn’t access current technology in a comfortable environment like at home. Village Project Africa proposed a much larger clinic with laboratory services to help treat patients based on a diagnosis, rather than by symptoms. In addition, maternity services with pre- and postnatal care and deliveries will be initiated to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate.

This proposed clinic will serve women who currently deliver at home or have to walk several miles to reach another center. HIV and AIDS patients will also have access to
better treatment options at this facility. Once the plans are approved, we can start construction. We plan to return next year with a larger medical team from the U.S. to provide a free clinic. 

A few days before I arrived, a Kenyan medical student started volunteering at our clinic. His story caught my attention because he lost both of his parents at a young age and he was interested in becoming a neurosurgeon. He told me he struggled with school, but said he remembered his father’s advice that education was the key to success. He paid more attention to his studies and his hard work paid off when he became the only student in his secondary school’s history to receive perfect grades. In addition, he scored 37thon a test among 67,000 students in Western Kenya. Despite being admitted to the medical school at Kenyetta University, he could not pay for more than one semester. 

For the next six weeks, he amazed me at how much he knew about medicine with only one semester of medical school. His potential is great, and he wants to stay in Kenya to become the fourth neurosurgeon in his country. Village Project Africa promised him financial support during seven years of medical school. In exchange, he agreed to stay and practice in Kenya. 

Finally, the local school called the Heritage Academy has been booming. There are more than 500 students now and a new 6th grade will add 100 more children. The government signed off on plans to start building a dining hall/conference center. Among other benefits, it will give children a place to eat out of the dust and rain.

As a physician, I am always grateful for the chance to help someone physically, but this also gives me the opportunity to share my faith through service. I thank all of my patients, colleagues, and friends for their support. Being a part of Village Project Africa has changed my life by showing me the purest forms of compassion, care, and charity in Makutano.

Shelly’s Story: The Trip of a Lifetime Becomes Much More

Written by shelly. Posted in Stories, Village Project Africa

Shelly Clasen, the director of finance and administration for Village Project Africa, shares the story of what first brought her to Village Project Africa and how her life has changed since her first visit.

My husband Kevin went to Kenya 10 years ago with a mission trip from our church.  Ever since that time, he has wanted to take our family back. I think Kenya got into his heart in a way he could not escape! This summer, an opportunity came up at the last minute for our family to join a group from our church going to Kenya, and we prayed for God to open doors for us to go with them. Part of our prayer was for us to be able to visit Margaret and the villages… and God miraculously set things in motion for that to happen. What a life-changing summer for us and our two teenage daughters!

I have never been on a mission trip before, much less a cross-cultural experience like I had in Kenya last summer. I knew that I would be blown away, and I prayed for God to prepare my heart to be changed. But I could never have predicted the extent to which this would happen.  This is a place where God is actively at work!  

Shelly dancing with the childrenFrom our first day at Heritage Academy where the children sang and danced for us (and even pulled us in to dance with them) to the home visits with many of the widows, from the smile of Pastor Joseph to the hugs from the women at the weekly widow’s meeting, from reading and coloring pictures with groups of children in the school to meeting and hugging our sponsored children… this place has captured a piece of my heart that I never want to get back!I will never forget watching my children teach their favorite camp song to the students at Heritage Academy. They had us all up singing and doing the motions!  Everywhere we went, teachers, children, widows, parents, and families expressed their welcome (Karibu!) and thankfulness to us as “visitors.” But I was the one who felt thankful to them.  I was honored by their hospitality, and I am thankful for experiencing their joy and praises to God. My 15-year-old daughter Haley expressed it well when she said, “the less you have, the more generous you can be.” And our family is grateful to the people of Makutano for their generosity to us.

Shelly reading to childrenBefore I went to Kenya last summer, I had trouble understanding how my small contribution to a person
or place could really make much of a difference in changing the world. The needs are so overwhelming
that I ended up doing nothing. I prayed for God to give me a personal connection to someone, somewhere and WOW did He answer that prayer! I saw and experienced how something that seems small to me can bring huge results to someone else. There is a name, face, and emotion attached to the person at the other end of my “sponsorship” now. There is a life that is impacted, hope that is given, and new doors that are opened. In the words of my pastor, I am learning
to “trust God for the needs He asks me to meet… and to trust Him for the needs I
cannot meet.”

We left home on July 23, 2011 for what we thought would be “the trip of a lifetime,” but we came home trying to figure out how to plan “a lifetime of trips” to our new family in Kenya. It will take me weeks, months, and probably years to discover the layers of change that God is working in me as a result of that trip… and I am thankful and excited to be a part of God’s work with Village Project Africa! 

Patchwork Blessings

Written by lauren. Posted in Stories, Village Project Africa

Recently Margaret was contacted by a lady from the west coast of the U.S., Taza.  Taza mentioned that she is part of a small group of women that meets weekly to make quilts. In Taza’s words, “It is a very positive and restorative activity” in itself, but they were looking for a place to which they could donate the quilts so that they would be a blessing to someone else.

Now consider this: We are currently in the process of building a dorm for 20 of our most vulnerable girls.  This dorm will hold twin-size bunks on which to provide these girls a place to sleep.

When Taza first contacted Margaret about quilts, Margaret wasn’t really sure what they could do with them!  Then she thought of the dorm and mentioned the idea to Davis and to Taza.  Davis thought the quilts would be wonderful for the girls’ beds, and Taza’s group has gotten very excited about being able to provide quilts for our new dorm in Makutano.  They have 4 quilts made already, and they hope to be able to send the rest this summer!

If the girls are able to stay in our school through 8th grade, some of them will be with us for the next 4–5 years.  As each girl enters our dorm, they will be given a new quilt of their own that they will be able to use during their stay with us, then keep as a reminder of their special memories at our school. 

God knew the need we will have, and He had already moved in the hearts of these ladies
to meet that need before we even knew it existed!  Just like the patchwork squares on a quilt that are intricately, delicately, and purposefully joined to create something special
and beautiful, so is God purposefully joining His people around the world to take care of His children!

We continue to see God’s blessing upon our mission, and we are thankful to Him and to those of you who faithfully provide our prayer and financial support!

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory!”  Philippians 4:19

A Year End Thanks

Written by lauren. Posted in Village Project Africa

Village Project Africa received approval for non-profit status a year ago this week, and since then has been so richly blessed by God and all of you who have been so supportive of our efforts in Makutano. We set a goal to raise $40,000 in our first year and thanks to all of you, we have more than doubled that goal with less than half a percent of that going to cover administrative costs! As we close out the year, we’d love to end with a solid $100,000 donated.  Whether you can give $5 or $500, all the money we raise will help us continue to fund and expand the programs we’ve offered this year.  You can mail in a donation, give one through PayPal (see our website,www.villageprojectafrica.org for more info), or even donate stock! 

This has been an amazing year because of all of you!  We thank you so much for your commitment to seeing opportunities for change in Makutano, Kenya and helping to
enact them!

 

Happy New Year!

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