Getting Closer

Kajthum Posted by Kajiado Meta 2012 on Sat, 09 Jun 2012 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

On the 15th June, 15 members of St Paul’s Parish, Lisburn begin their long journey to the Diocese of Kajiado in Kenya to help add the finishing touches to a new church being erected there. This journey, however, is not so much a physical one, as one in the spiritual sense, and one that we hope will not only bring us closer to God, but also to our brothers and sisters whom we go to meet.

For over a year, team-members, their family and friends, and members of the parish have been working hard to raise enough money to build a church in Imberikani, Kenya, which falls within the Diocese of Kajiado. The shell of the church is all but completed and all that is required now is to breathe a bit of life into this new house of God. This will involve team-members, in partnership with the local community, painting its walls, constructing its seats and furniture, and joining together as one people in the dedication of the new church.

“Stealing the limelight” by finishing the church, as one friend put it, is not our only concern however. Team members will be dispersed to the local community to visit schools and the local Mothers’ Union, hold seminars with the local clergy, and provide much-needed mechanical maintenance to vehicles in the area.

To get to this point has taken a lot of dedication, time, and effort from everyone involved in the parish, CMS Ireland, and many other people across the community. In fact, you could almost say the whole journey started back in 2007, when St Paul’s was in the planning for its first mission to Kajiado, which took place in 2008. Ever since, the parish has wanted to build on the good relationship that the first visit established, and this latest project could be described as an extension of that.

The process then for this latest mission started in the summer of 2011 with the interviewing of potential team members by CMSI and the first informal meetings of all those who would be involved. What followed were months of fund-raising to find enough money to start the construction of the church, in preparation for the team arriving in June of this year. The fund-raising took on the form of car-boot sales, bag-packing at local supermarkets, vintage car rallies, sponsored walks, dinners, and generous donations that people simply made when they heard of the mission’s purpose.

In amongst all these activities were several training and team-building exercises, led by Ronnie and Maggie Briggs of CMSI, that brought the team together and helped us learn of the environment that we were going out to. These sessions included information on cultural issues and awareness, practical aspects such as what we should bring or not bring, and general health information, which without doubt, caused a few of us to wonder what we were getting ourselves into! It was also important that we started to get to know one another at this stage rather than wait until we arrived in Kenya, and to that end there were a number of Team Identity exercises to help us. There is little doubt these exercises were useful, for although you might recognise people within a congregation, it can be surprising just how little you really know about them.

One of the most important points to come out of these meetings was that we were going out as a team and not as individuals. After all, “two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). If two are better than one, what then does that make 15 of us? In addition to this, every team needs a name, and given that the purpose of the mission is to build a church, nothing could be more fitting than the simple swahili translation of ‘build’ – thus our new team name became ‘Kujenga’.

The departure date for the Kujenga team is fast approaching, and the closer we get to stepping on that aircraft, the more we contemplate what we want to achieve from this mission. There is of course the physical aspects of finishing the church and visiting and assisting the local community and clergy, but there is also a spiritual one that is arguably more important. During the team-building exercises we each put forward reasons why we wanted to make this journey, and there was an almost identical response – that we wanted to be closer to God and strengthen our faith by helping others. It’s also about cementing the relationship and partnership that has been established between the two communities, and in recognition of that, the new church in Imberikani will also be given the name of St Paul’s.

It’s important, however, that we do not let the objective of this trip be about helping us feel better as individuals and believing that we’ve “done our bit”. To do that would only be a failing in our Christian beliefs. As Romans 15:1-2 states “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up”. That’s not to say the people of Imberikani and Kajiado are weak physically or spiritually – far from it – but there are ways in which we can help to support our brothers and sisters in their faith. If by helping to fund and build this church, we have helped to bring them closer together as a community and to God, then we can allow true happiness into our hearts.

God Bless!
The Kujenga team

KAJIADO 2012

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Comments

Jim Carson said Mon, 11 Jun 2012 07:12PM
Please pray for the team travelling Jim and Heather, Stephen and Jennifer, Stanley and Oriel, Chris and Rosemary, Jackie and Pauline, Richard, George, Steven, Cheryl and Natalie. Pray for ‘journeying mercies’ and safety there, for the extension of God’s Kingdom in Kajiado and St Paul’s Lisburn and that God would grant his Blessing on all the projects the team is involved with. Folk in St Paul’s Lisburn will be praying on Wednesday 20th and 27th in Church at 7pm for the team, C.M.S.I. and Kajiado Diocese. May God Bless you.

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