The first time I visited Calvary Church and School [in Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya], I felt every emotion there is to feel. As I was walking through Kibera to get to the school, my heart started beating extremely fast, and I felt dizzy. I guess this just happened because I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know what a slum was really like. When we got to the church and heard the congregation singing, I immediately started crying. I thought, “How could these people be praising God when they’re living in circumstances like this?”
Later in the week, graduates from Calvary Youth Hostel [several of whom Mocha Club sent to college!] joined our team for dinner at our hotel. I sat next to a man named Samuel. Our conversation first started out by him telling me that he wanted to become a pastor. He showed me his pastor training book that was created by African Leadership and taught me a little bit about how to read it. He asked me if I was a Christian, and when I replied with, “Absolutely,” he beamed. Later that night at dinner, he told me a little bit about his story. He had grown up in Kibera. His parents had died when he was young, so he did not have a place to sleep. At night, he would go to Calvary and sleep there on cardboard. After telling me these things, he ended it by saying, “But God has been so good to me and kept me safe and well. He is faithful.”
He ended up graduating from Calvary and living in the youth hostel. He is now studying to become a pastor. His hope and faith have been an inspiration to me. Samuel praised God and thanked him while sleeping on cardboard without any parents. This was a wake-up call to me to praise God in the hard times and to be extremely thankful for the life that I have. I will continue to pray for Samuel and the rest of the graduates that had dinner with us, and I will pray that God will change my heart and give me the faith that Samuel had.
Editor’s note: Hattie H., age 16, was on the African Leadership Kenya trip in July 2009.
View more trip photos here.