While we were at the Rise Up conference in MI, we met a fellow from Nairobi, Kenya. This was his second trip to the US, but his first in the winter time. He helped us to see winter with new eyes. His first question as we left the hotel was, "Why are all the trees dried up?" He wanted to know if the cold killed them. He had never seen autumn and winter or deciduous trees. He was fascinated by the falling snow, but he did NOT like the cold. He slept every night in a sleeping bag in front of the big wood stove in the basement. I am not sure he ever felt warm the whole time he was at our house.
Ishmael is a fascinating man. He runs an orphan ministry in the slums of Nairobi. They no longer desire to build orphanages to house the children in as so many of the children raised in orphanages end up with psychological problems. They have many orphans in Africa due to the AIDS epidemic. What Ishmael and his co-workers have done is build a compound in the center of the slums. They have Christian widows set up households and take in 5 children. The Center provides the children and the widows with food, clothing, school fees, and medical care. The 'families' come several times during the week to spend time together, play, and be taught. They are starting their own school for the children. This year they had a kindergarten and they plan on adding first grade next. They take care of the children's bodies, souls and minds. It is a well thought out work and God seems to be blessing it. If you want to see more about what he is doing, visit the website http://www.shelterofhopekenya.com/ . We know some people who have gone over and visited the center and found it to be a very worthwhile ministry.
We had some interesting political conversations as well. Obama's grandparents are from his tribe. It was interesting to hear an African's perspective on our country.
We did send him off with some winter clothes to use while he is here. He learned to appreciate wool socks and warm gloves. He is excited to go back and tell his family what winter is like.