Spotlight on Project 82 in Kenya
March 29, 2018
By John Freeland, Executive Pastor
What does the face of poverty look like? Poverty is that thing you have when you don’t have anything else. Project 82, our missions partner in Kenya, reaches far beyond poverty and into the depths of human suffering. It is easy to imagine that the people in the worst possible situation are those who have little to nothing to eat, very little shielding their heads from the rain at night, and little more than mud for walls. But there are people in far worse situations, and Project 82 is dedicated to helping them.
Project 82 reaches out to children who have been abandoned, as infants, on a literal trash heap to await death. P82 reaches into the dregs of society to rescue children of all ages whose families have set them aside, exiling them to the streets. Uncles and aunts refuse to rescue them, so in steps P82.
We have seen plenty of commercials displaying the sad faces and malnourished bodies of infants, toddlers, and children. Our hearts reach out to them, but we are repulsed by the ways that some organizations manipulate these images in their advertisements. Unlike these organizations, P82 does not stoop to such levels of solicitation. And the P82 children aren’t miserable or malnourished. In fact, the children of P82 are clearly loved. Their needs are clearly met. The children waiting in line for porridge for their meals are patient and kind to one another. The younger go before the older, who offer assistance as needed. Their joy is clearly displayed on their faces. It is wonderful to interact with these children, who joyfully welcome strangers who look nothing like them. The smallest things amaze them. Watches become a favorite playthings–especially smart watches. Hugs are the most important of all.
Orphanages are not the best solution, but these children have nowhere else to go. Family will not take them. Adoption out of the country is illegal, and few in-country adoptions take place. Thus, P82 becomes the best option. An option worthy of our support. In different locations throughout the world, I have seen the worst poverty has to offer. And certainly, poverty surrounds these children–but it does not overtake them. They know they are orphans, though they may not use that word. They know they have little in comparison to some. But they don’t care. They are loved and they do not doubt that. They are being educated, and they are most grateful for your sponsorship. They may not have parents, but they are well-parented.
My time in Kenya with the Mt. Bethel Missions team was an incredibly meaningful and impactful experience. I saw good work being done well, and its impact cannot be overestimated. If you’re ready for God to work through you in an amazing way to help the lives of these children in Kenya, then I strongly recommend you volunteer for the next Project 82 mission team.
Right now, we are seeking volunteers from our Mt. Bethel Community who want to join the next Project 82 mission team, which will be going from June 19-29. For more information about how you can get involved, contact Heather Wood at [email protected]. Or you can sign up at the Project 82 mission team page.