Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.  
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Trip Report from John E. Halgrim Opening

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Trip Recap Nov. 13-23

Nov. 13-14 Thurs-Fri—Travel days

Nov. 15, Sat.  Up early, off to the John E. Halgrim Orphanage in the Pipeline area of Nairobi, near the airport.  At first sight, we saw that God had a lot of work ahead for us if we were to move in the orphans before leaving the next Sat.  The building was dark and unfinished.  Bunk beds were in an early stage of manufacture on the second floor.  George and Miriam’s apartment was only bare walls and everything was a mess.  Much of the plumbing was not hooked up, there was no organization of the workers and cleaning had to be done before any work could start.  We said some prayers and then went to work.  Some of us went shopping to a nearby Nakumatt (like our Walmart to them) for equipment and supplies.  It looked like a God-sized problem that needed a God-sized solution, us working alongside church volunteers and paid contractors, racing against time to get it to a point of moving in orphans the next Sat.  By late afternoon, we were tired and hungry.  Dinner at the Trattoria, thank God.

Nov. 16, Sun.—Off to church, George’s Glory of Christ Church at Pipeline (ground floor).  We arrived about 11:30 and church had been going on 2 hours.  We worshipped until 3:00pm.  After church, we catalogued and photographed orphans.  We identified; corrected spelling of names; interviewed; determined relatives, brothers and sisters; traced family histories; health issues; ages; dates of birth (over 75% did not know their birthdays) and did most of this through Swahili interpreters.  We finished about 6:00pm.

Nov 17, Mon.—Back to Pipeline to work and it was a grueling work day.  Most everyone was covered with dirt and paint, a combo of dirt,white, cream and blues.    There was working, singing and fellowship with the church volunteers all over the building, a time of camaraderie.  God used us to get a lot done that day.  It was a good “tired.”

Nov. 18, Tues—Off to the slum area of Kibera.  We distributed 50 home water filters to the congregation at Bishop Sammy’s church facility after we went on a tour of his 500 student school, bible teaching class for pastors and the local playground.  Joanie Halgrim taught some of the students how to play soccer by scoring repeatedly on “free kicks.”
Then we did a 20 minute walk through the backstreets of Kibera to Amos’ church, Nairobi Christian Outreach Center.  It was on eye-opener that put us very close to the culture of Kibera.  We experienced the sights, smells, sewage, garbage and abject poverty that is prevalent in Africa’s largest slum.  At Amos’ church, HTLOT funds a pre-school (65 kids) and a feeding program (100 kids).  We arrived in time to see the kids eating lunch and afterward, the kids put on a one hour program of singing and demonstrating what they had learned.  They are so smart and cute, learning machines at ages 3-5.  We left computers to be used in the computer skills classes at NCOC and we left soccer equipment, uniforms and shoes to be given to the NCOC soccer teams.  Back to IBS.

Nov. 19, Wed—Big day at Pipeline, getting ready for the dedication ceremony and the official Grand Opening of the John E. Halgrim Orphanage.  More hard work!  By 4:30pm, the ground floor of the building had been decorated, the musicians were firing up and George and Miriam, the caretakers at JEH, were happy, happy, happy.  They began to celebrate and I do mean CELEBRATE.  Glory was given to God for all that had been done and everyone was complimented and acknowledged for the help that they gave.  After 5:00 the kids came in from school and there was a feeling of euphoria by everyone.  The church area was packed with over 200 people celebrating, singing and worshipping.  We sang our theme song “It shall be permanent” for at least 20 minutes.  We glorified God by honoring John E. Halgrim, a true servant of God who had a special, close, personal, intimate relationship with Him before passing on Nov. 10, 2007.  The orphanage was named for John because of his dream of “helping the hungry kids in Africa.”

Nov. 20, Thurs—Eight of our group went on a one day safari to Lake Nakura where they enjoyed taking pictures of all kinds of animals, thousands of flamingos and breath-taking scenery.  They went on a hippo excursion and saw eagles snatching fish from the water.  Four of us went shopping for mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets.  We met the safari group at Spurs, one of our favorite restaurants, for the evening meal.

Nov. 21, Fri—We split into two groups, one to do shopping at Nakumatt Mega for the equipment and supplies for the JEH Orphanage and the other group to work at Pipeline.
Jackie bought a refrigerator and a washing machine for the orphanage and they were delivered along with the mattresses and pillows.

Nov. 22, Sat—Busy day.  We split into two groups again, one for shopping  and the other group for working at Pipeline.  We arrived about noon and started to cover the mattresses with protective vinyl.  We had to wait on the carpenters to finish the bunk beds before we could “dress” the beds.  Each one had a mattress, protective vinyl, sheets, blanket, pillow, towel, wash cloth and personal item basket.  This would be the first night that any of the orphans had ever slept on a mattress.  About 3:00pm we started to assign bunk beds after Miriam “paired” the older kids with the younger ones that they had been taking care of.  God graced us by allowing us to see the joy on the faces of each one of the orphans as they realized that the bed was really theirs.  It produced a feeling of love, satisfaction and a closeness to God that was hard to describe.  He was there, helping everone to feel good while savoring the moments.  We were euphoric and humble all at the same time.

By this time, George had started another worship service downstairs and we gathered for a celebrated send-off.  The service was super, everyone in a good mood, speeches were made, appreciation expressed and a closeness to God felt by all.  Then there were goodbyes, tears and promises made to stay in touch.  By 6:30pm we had to leave for the airport, stopping to eat hurriedly and then to the airport where we changed into travel clothes.  We said goodbye to Bill, Rad and Steve.  Next thing was to hurry to get checked in and then wait for the late night flight back to home.

Nov. 23, Sun—Travel day.  Back home to Florida arriving 4:30pm.