Kenya 2016 Fact-Finding Mission: Arrival in Kenya
- Thursday, June 29, 2017
- By Kaitlyn Gibson
In October 2016, a team from Grant Memorial embarked on a 10 day fact-finding mission to Kenya with an organization called 410 Bridge. 410 Bridge (410bridge.org) is a community development organization that seeks to improve the spiritual and physical health of communities in the developing world in sustainable ways.
In this visit to Kenya, the team visited four communities to determine which community best aligns with Grant’s ministry objectives. Once a community is selected, the church has committed to a three year relationship with 410 Bridge and the selected community. This partnership will allow short-term mission teams to build relationships and work alongside community members on projects and through visits in their homes and churches.
What follows is travel log from team member Kaitlyn Gibson.
Arriving in Kenya
by Kaitlyn Gibson
Landing in the Nairobi airport after almost 30 hours of travel is pretty exhausting and an overload to the senses. But within moments of leaving the terminal we found Andrew, the 410 Bridge Kenya Country Director ready and waiting with our driver Bonita and our U.S. Team Leader, Stacy. From there we had a profound sense of security as Andrew, Stacy and Bonita led us from community to community and introduced us to the staff and community coordinators in each village we visited.
Throughout the trip we had a crash course in the 410 Bridge model of ministry and community development. Andrew and Stacy and the whole 410 Team were amazing as they continually reinforced and championed the vision and mission of 410 Bridge.
After each community visit, they reminded us that 410 Bridge is leader-based, not needs-based - that in each community they've entered, they have looked for strengths and leaders who were already there and already finding solutions and recognizing areas for growth and improvement.
As you can imagine, Kenya is a diverse country with over 42 languages spoken, vast areas of savannah, jungle and mountains, and communities as diverse and unique as the terrain they live and work in. So in each community that partners with 410 Bridge, there are tailored projects and community-specific needs. All of these projects fall under the five categories that are 410 Bridge's main area of focus:
5. Economic Development
Churches that are connected with communities work within these frameworks to provide financial and relational support.
One night as the team debriefed with Stacy, a few of us had a similar question.
410 Bridge is focused on equipping and providing resources to communities rather than giving handouts. What is the point of teams from North American churches raising money to fly the distance from home to Kenya, only to spend a few days in the village? Wouldn't it make more sense to simply use the money we'd be using for flights and accommodations to provide practical resource to the community we were partnering with?
Stacy then explained another important element of the 410 Bridge model. She said that without relationships and understanding, the mission of 410 Bridge would be impossible.
It was hard for us to understand what she meant until we began visiting and sharing stories and prayers with people in each village that we entered. It was true - without seeing the communities, without sharing meals and prayers and laughter with our brothers and sisters in Kenya, how could our partnership be complete?
Over the next few weeks, check back on the blog for stories from each day of our trip and discover what it is really like to be a part of the work that God is doing through 410 Bridge in Kenya.