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KEN06a - Moriah School of Discipleship: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: August 15, 2014

Report from BHW Field Director Following Visit in July

 

Recent Events

just graduatedOn the 11th of July the latest group of young people graduated from the Mt. Moriah discipleship programme. A large group of people gathered in Maseno to wish the 15 students well and to hear them make statements that their intention is to follow Jesus.

It has been an interesting year for the young people. Most of them were not believers when they began the year and by the end of it they had all been baptized and become involved in Christian ministry and missions. They are all now resettled back in Nairobi, although a number of them are planning to go back to the areas they were involved in for practicals to continue helping until their next stage of training commences. 

Just before the teams went out to their practical programmes, the leader of the programme resigned and went to work for another ministry. This left them with major issues to contend with. Rogers, head of the OVC work in Mathare, went out to fill the gap and a newly hired young man, Dinen, was transferred to take over this work.  

 

Personal Stories

Dinen Ouma

new leaderDinen Ouma is the new leader of the programme. He joined the MCO team in April. He has studied law for four years at university but is most interested in development and discipleship. After completing his law training, he trained in discipleship for one year and then joined Trinity Fellowship and worked with them for three years. He then worked with Missions of Hope doing one year in Kenya and two in Rwanda, working with university students. He was also involved in establishing sustainability projects in Rwanda. 

Dinen is 32 years old and has been married for just 2 months. He comes from a family of three siblings. His father works for a sugar company and his mother has a garden.  

 

Students 

We were able to interview three of the students who had recently graduated from the course.

changed lifeWinnie Omondi is 20 years and her father died when she was 10 years old. Her mother struggled to care for and educate her eight children. Last year her mother returned to the family village and Winnie now lives with her married brother in a very small home near Mathare Valley. She doesn’t have her own bedroom and sleeps in the small living room. Winnie became a Christian when she was at high school.  

One of Winnie’s sisters had done a discipleship course and was encouraging Winnie to also do one when she completed Form 4. She didn’t want to as her friends told her she would suffer. Then one of her friends told her it would give her something to do instead of sitting at home with no job and getting bored. So Winnie decided it would be a good idea, applied and was accepted. 

Winnie has completed the course this year and is very thankful she was able to do it, it has changed her life. Her world view before was very self-centred and now she says all of her life is so different. The discipleship course has helped her change her selfish attitudes and equipped her to know how to handle the struggles and challenges she faces.

She liked learning more about how to seek God and pray and meditate. She now confidently shares her faith with her friends and prays they will also become followers of Jesus.

The challenge of living with the other students was sometimes hard and this also helped her to love and accept others and deal with her judgemental attitude towards them. All the students shared the responsibility of being on a roster to cook meals. This was a big challenge at first. Then Winnie realized God says to serve others and not expect others to do everything for you.

The missions experience for three months was not easy and she was very nervous when they arrived in the village to stay with strangers and work in their community. Then she appreciated learning a lot and is thankful for the experience.

The farm work experience at first was very difficult because she had never done anything like that before. She learnt to dig, use a hoe, plant seeds, weed and be satisfied when the garden produced a good crop. At first it was tiresome work and she didn’t like her hands getting spoilt and getting blisters. Now her attitude has completely changed and she appreciates how growing a garden helps you to survive and can be a very good way to earn money.

Winnie suggested it would be helpful if there were cooks to do the meals and then the students would be able to attend all the lectures. Also having some computer lessons would be beneficial as part of the discipleship course. Having more social times with the other students would help them to get to know each other and be fun and relaxing.

Since Winnie graduated from the discipleship course she is sitting at home and unable to apply for jobs as she has a debt from school of 28,000 shillings (US$320) for her unpaid fees. Because of this she is unable to get her school leaving results. Her family are unable to pay her debt and she is unable to get a job. Winnie believes God will help her. She is very thankful that she went to the discipleship course because this helped her to change her lifestyle and attitudes and trust God more.

Her dream for the future is to study nutrition for four years. The other career she also wanted to study was community health and nursing. However Winnie shared that job opportunities in the community health and nursing sector are hard to get when you graduate.

future social workerMichael Odhiambo is 21 years old and lives with his dad, stepmother, stepbrother and stepsisters. This is not easy as his stepmother is sometimes unkind to him. His dad has HIV+ and is not very well. Michael is very concerned about his father’s health and praying his father will become a follower of Jesus. He became a Christian when he was 16 and this has helped him love and accept his stepmother and his attitudes have improved. 

Michael heard about the Moriah discipleship course from others and thought it was a camp and wanted to go. The course broadened his understanding of who he is and how to trust Jesus to help him with his challenges. Now he loves reading his Bible and praying. He has also developed the habit of fasting and praying. He now knows more about his skills and leadership abilities and developing a mission mindset. 

Before he attended the course he had developed bad habits with some of his friends and he was drinking too much beer and was using some drugs. He now knows bad company can corrupt you and draw you into bad habits. He still sees some of his old friends but refuses to partake in their bad habits. He has now got some new Christian friends. 

Living with the other students helped him to understand boundaries and sharing and caring for one another. Sharing the cooking roster was a big responsibility and this made it difficult to keep up with the assignments and lectures. 

The mission experience was at first a big challenge and he didn’t feel like he was prepared enough for it. Before he went to Garissa he thought all Moslems were bad and were not educated. Living at Maseno helped a lot with the time he spent at Garissa.

Learning to grow gardens was an encouraging thing for him to be able to do. It was not easy at first and he didn’t like having to do it four days a week for two hours. He now realizes that farming the land is profitable and people can become rich as a farmer. It gave him a lot of satisfaction seeing the garden produce vegetables for them to eat.

Michael is very thankful to have had the opportunity to do the discipleship course and how it has changed his world view and mindset. Since he graduated from the discipleship course he has been unable to receive his certificate from high school to do further study because he has a debt of 10,500 shillings (US$120) for unpaid school fees. His family is unable to pay his debt.

Michael would like to study environmental management. Then he wants to get a degree in social work because he sees the need for more social workers at Mathare. He loves interacting with kids and wants to help them with their challenges. He also wants them to know how Jesus loves them and they can also be followers of Him. 

changed lifeJackline Akinyi Oliewo is 20 years old and has two sisters and three brothers. Her father died last year with a brain tumour. Her mother is a tailor and struggles to care for all the children. The family miss their father a lot.

At Kariobangi school Jackline became a Christian. She is thankful that she had the opportunity at school to be taught the Bible and do Bible studies.

Jackline graduated from the discipleship course this year. The studies on being intimate with God and learning to draw closer to him at the beginning of the course were very encouraging. She now loves reading her Bible and praying every day.

Before the discipleship course she was easily influenced by her friends to go to parties and drink beer. She doesn’t have any desire to do that now and knows that this is not the lifestyle she wants anymore. After reading her Bible she realizes that the partying lifestyle is not pleasing to God.

The farming experience at first was a burden to her doing it for four days for two hours. After a week she realized it was worthwhile and is glad she now knows how to grow a garden. She knows the value of growing gardens and if she can’t get a job in the city she will go to the family village and grow a big garden.

The mission experience at Garissa at first was hard. She was scared and had heard that the people were fighting all the time and lived in grass huts. The students were able to teach the Moslem children at school the Lord’s prayer and other Christian songs. One 16 year old boy became a Christian and after telling his family they disowned him. For his safety he had to go and live in another village. There were tribal clashes during the first week they were there and she was scared they might get hurt. After praying a lot the tribes reconciled and someone paid a fine. This was another lesson in how to trust God. Jackline would like to have another opportunity to stay in an area with unreached people and work alongside them. 

Since graduating and returning home Jackline continues to meet with some of the other students she studies with and they encourage one another. They are all part of regular Bible studies and she is thankful to have someone still mentoring her.

Jackline has a debt of 60,000 shillings (US$680) for unpaid school fees so hasn’t received her certificate since finishing high school. Her mother is unable to pay her debt. She would like to do a hairdressing course for eight months and doesn’t know how she will be able to get some money for the fees. 

 

Partnership's Influence within the Community

According to the MCO team, the community out at Maseno is very encouraged by the programme despite their disappointment that the children’s hostel (KEN06) has been closed down. 

The parents of those in the programme are stunned by the changes in the attitudes of their children, they cannot believe it. This augers well for the future, but the real test will be the long term impact on the young people.

 

Ideas for the Future

The strategy is to run one six month course per year although they really want to do two. However, I think it is worth them taking their time to get it sorted out before expanding it. 

Dinen feels the course content requires some review and the team are currently doing that. Some of his observations are:
1) The current course is unbalanced with two months training and four months on practical assignments. They plan to change it to three months foundational training, one or two months in the field and then either one or two months back in debriefing and training. 
2) They want to give the students a break in the middle for a week or two
3) They want to introduce more skills training, especially Foundations for Farming and computer skills
4) They want to change the size of the practical teams and put a leader with each group
5) They want to put in a resident couple at Maseno to look after them
6) They want to develop better leisure time activities at Maseno and develop partnerships with some other organisations

The first year they had 25 students and discovered this was too many. 15 is about the ideal size for a group.

Dinen wants to develop a better follow up programme with the alumni and as many of their family members as possible. On the 22nd August they are having an overnight prayer meeting for all those who attended the first two courses. 

 

Current Issues and Challenges

1) Finding stable leaders and getting a couple to become residential house parents for the programme
2) Following up with the students
3) Most of the students cannot easily go on to further studies because of school debt and financial constraints

 

Prayer and Praise Points

1) That the young people have great intentions to live for Jesus
2) That there has been significant change in the lives of all those who participated. Pray that the impact will continue and they will understand the need to continue to live disciplined lives. There is a lot of pressure on young people in this place. 
3) That Dinen was available and already on staff when the previous leader left

 

Comments

This has been an interesting second year and some good developments from year one. I think it is worth doing one more year before deciding if we should continue our commitment to it.