Mombasa: trash dump

We went to the trash dump the day after doing street ministry in another location in Mombasa. 
My experience of the first day of ministry was jarring. This was such an unfamiliar environment. I have interacted with people who were high and had to work to support them in the past but this was beyond my realms of experience. It felt so different to see young boys some looking around 10 sniffing glue. 
One boy to seemed ready to lash out at any moment want seemed like a playful greeting as a manly punch becoming increasingly aggressive as he greeted more people in our team. 
I can’t pretend even for a minute that I wasn’t scared or uncomfortable. I was both of these things and more. But we pushed on. 
We sang, they performed some spoken word for us and a guy in our team shared with them. It ended well. But I was still anxious to leave. 
The following day I thought maybe it would be different. Different people, maybe a different me. I don’t know what I expected. But as I carefully picked my way down to the area where the city’s trash was dumped and burned and was synonymous to so many people’s home. 
I was greeted, as is to be expected by a stench. A stench that once accustomed was definitely bearable. I walked around being asked to ‘encourage’ the people we came across by the guy who was translating for us. It felt forced unnatural and I couldn’t connect. I didn’t like it. And even now – as recount this for you, I can’t explain my dislike. 
I love people. Their situation didn’t disgust me but there was a barrier. And unfortunately for me, at our team meeting many others in our team did not share the same sentiment as me. They loved it, they connected and they wanted to keep on connecting so they chose for this to be another place we made a ‘home’.
So we continued to go back. Every time I battled within myself should I go or should I stay? I mean I was tired I’d been going for two and a half months non stop with no rest. I had been offered a break so I could take it right? Everyday I had the same question, I asked some friends for advice. And everyday – I chose to go. And praise God for that decision. 
On the secondary day of ministry there, I was handed a small crying baby while we were ministering to a restaurant owner. Yes these guys had their own restaurants in the trash dump and they had custom from their neighbours. 
But as I was handed this baby from another child. I fell in love, this baby had won my heart and I felt moved to pray for her. And I prayed for the child who had handed me the baby. 
And as I became distracted from talking to the restaurant owner. I knew that I was there to pray for children. I spoke to the baby’s older brother and encouraged him in his dream to become an engineer. 
My team mates were in other areas ministering to others and many returned with exciting stories of healing and some salvations. 
We held a church service there as our next day of ministry ourselves choosing not to go to church. As my friend shared, we welcomed people to respond to the message of living water and we prayed. 
As I prayed we struggled for translation but we made it somehow. I prayed for two women. One woman had pain and when she went to the hospital she was told there was nothing wrong. After I asked her some questions, she shared that she had lost all of her 8 children. I shared through translation that Hod wanted to take her heart ache away and continued to pray. My translator was no longer available and I didn’t really know what to do. I continued praying and eventually moved on to the next. Hoping that my prayers were not in vain.
A few days later we returned. And some members of my team met one of these ladies that I had prayed with and she had been healed! No more pain. 
I was able to pray for and hold “my” baby. And it was awesome. That day, I spotted a few more children and prayed for them and played with them a little. 
Now this may make you think that I’m so sweet. But I’m sorry I’m about to destroy that image. Although I was willing to play with the kids – I wasn’t willing to allow them to sit on me. They were dirty and I didn’t want to get too dirty. 
But on the second and last Sunday that we were there. This was going to change. God breaks in. He surprises us and changes us in this intense yet completely gentle way. 
On this Sunday there were so many kids many that our team agreed we had never seen before. And God was breaking me for them. I prayed for them and held their hands and I was overwhelmed. I took in their beautiful smiles as I prayed protection over them prayed over them in tongues when I was lead and I waited as some of my team went to invite people to church. 
As I waited another large group of children started to run towards me. And leading the pack was a little girl I had seen in our previous visits but didn’t have much connection with. She ran up to me with so much joy and clambered into my lap! I had no choice in the matter and in that moment how dirty she was didn’t even cross my mind. Instantaneously I had been changed. I hugged her and loved her and we were asked to do something for the children but we didn’t have anything planned. 
God reminded me of the story in Mark 10 of the children being brought to Jesus and I told them of their importance and preached with this little girl in my arms as I sweated in the heat she nuzzled against me and I only felt love for this girl! 
God sent me to that place not for the adults but for the children. For my team and those who lived in the trash dump he sent my team. I know because of a prayer prayed by a man called John who lived there. He told God that our team had helped to take bad thoughts from their minds, and brought them hope. There was so much said in this prayer and unfortunately I can’t recount it all. However, what I can say is I was shocked at the amount of impact we had! His words moved me. They moved me so much that if I ever return to Mombasa I know that I will do all I can to return to that place to check in those people. 
I went from being reluctant to return to desperate to return. I want to go back and I continue to pray for the children their to examples to their parents and lead the way in being the change in their community. 
I honestly believe I am forever changed because I continued to return.  

    
 

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