In the mountains of Nyharuru, Kenya, located about 4 hours from the capital of Nairobi, the temperatures drop, allowing even for small amounts of snowfall. The small city is part of the Great Rift Valley where giraffe, zebra, baboons, and hyena can be seen in great numbers even just alongside the main roads. People on foot walk right by the zebra as if they were nothing more special than a dog or a deer. A vulture feeds on a dead hyena that was roadkill. Locals set up makeshift shops along the road selling sheepskin hats and rugs for the passing tourists. The roads make dramatic twists and turns around the mountains which were constructed by prisoners of war in the 40s. Along these seemingly desolate roads are British-owned coffee shops scattered along the way making for a pleasant rest-stop.

Elephant orphanage in Nairobi. Their mothers were killed by poachers and they were found and taken in until they’re big enough to go out on their own.

This is not at all what I expected and is quite a contrast to the neighboring Uganda that I have come to know so well. I can’t help but compare everything I see to that though. My every other sentence starts with “In Uganda…” I have to catch myself. This is not Uganda, and the issues here cannot be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach.

I am spending only 2.5 days on this first trip to Kenya in order to visit a new potential partner, Mt. Moriah Ministries which is an orphanage for 21 children and an extension of a New York based inter-denominational church, both of which were established by its American pastors. I have only a short time to spend with the children and learning about Mt. Moriah’s programs and visions for the future. I am inspired by this couples’ willingness and ability to answer their calling and serve in this way.

Over the next several days, I got to know the pastor couple as well as an American missionary couple stationed in Juba, Sudan but vacationing in Nyharuru during my stay. They bless me beyond anything I expected with their testimonies about God working in their lives, and I am encouraged by their faith. Despite my efforts to seem professional, I let down my guard and receive the blessings of a relationship that I hope will grow for many more years to come. And I leave another little piece of my heart behind everywhere I go. I know I’ll be returning to Kenya soon.

Children fom the village surrounding Mt. Moriah. They want to come in and play too!