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All Souls in Kenya | Trip Update
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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017

Dear Friends,

We've described our trip to Kenya as a vision trip. Unlike other trips to KDS in the past, we haven't been at the schools each day. A good chunk of our time has been spent with the staff of KDS in what could best be described as a conference or even a college class. We'll tell you more about the things we've learned in the coming days. We have been thrilled with this opportunity to get to know the staff better and to learn about Kenya, it's medical and educational systems, and about KDS and how it meets the people of Dandora in the midst of their community.

On Thursday, after two days of “forums” with the staff, we headed back to the Secondary School, which is equivalent to American high school. Rather than grades 9-12, Kenya has Forms 1-4. For the next few posts, each of us would like to share about connecting with particular students at Kinyago Dandora Secondary School.

Jackson

Approximately five years ago we (the Fosters) began sponsoring a child from KDS.  The journey began simply enough - with an expressed need for help.  Mission-minded people from our church let us know that there were 30 or so students who were still without sponsors.  Other children would have what they needed to attend school and receive meals and health care, but these 30 would likely not.  I felt that our family could afford to fill this need, at $38 a month, so I looked at the profile sheets and quickly picked Jackson - he was our son’s age, a 4th grader, and born in the same month.

Little did I know then, that five years later, after writing letters back and forth (sometimes more regularly than others), sending some Christmas and Easter care baskets, and exchanging a few photos, that Jackson and I would get to meet face to face.  The delight in my heart at this prospect was one of the propelling factors in my joining the 2017 Kenya team!

I looked for him at the church service the first day we arrived, and thought of him the day we visited the primary school, still picturing him as the adorable 9 year old in the photo I had received of him at that start.  And finally on Thursday I met him!  We were touring classrooms at the secondary school, and I looked around the 9th grade room, trying only minimally to contain my excitement.  At last, there he was, in one of the desks at the back of the room.

I went over and said hello, “jambo”, and told him who I was.  He and his good friend Martin were stunned to meet me, but so polite and happy.  They agreed we should take a desk selfie. :-)  I explained we would visit later when all the sponsored kids would be meeting in the conference room…

Anise and Jackson

Jackson walked in and I realized with joy that he was no longer a little 9 year old, but just like my Gus, had seemingly grown overnight to be towering above me! He was smiling shyly and neither one of us knew exactly what to say.  But it didn’t take long and we were talking about our families and our lives.  He knew about our loss of Brett, and told me that he was missing his own parents.  He’d been living for a long time with just his siblings.  His parents were stuck in Sudan after what I could gather was a mix up with his mother’s refugee status.  He said he had been writing his mom and that she had said she hoped to visit him in March, maybe bring a bike for his birthday.  His quiet hope touched me and my heart ached along with his, wondering how likely that reunion would be.

He told me he had been completely surprised to see me and was happy I came.  When he opened the gift bag I gave him, he pulled little things aside, thrilled to share with his siblings, “I’ll give this to my sister,” and “my brother can have these socks and I’ll take these.”  But the biggest smile came when he found the packet of soccer trading cards I had included (his favorite sport).  He opened them with excitement, then flipping through, found a card that lit up his face.  “This is my very favorite player!” he beamed.  I beamed too, and we talked about how God so specifically loves each one of us.  We couldn’t believe that in a little pack of eight soccer cards, that particular player was there!  God alone knew what would speak specific love to Jackson.  The details matter to Him.  We are seen and not forgotten.  

Jackson believes this and is thankful.  And I am thankful for the gift of sponsorship - a relationship that is a gift of love to both of us.

Anise Foster

Jackson with his soccer trading cards
Stay tuned to hear more about our sponsorship visits. If you'd like to sponsor a child personally, see the list of unsponsored students on the KDS website.
Copyright © 2017 All Souls Kenya Trip 2017, All rights reserved.


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