This morning's post is from CARE for AIDS board member and recent Impact Trip leader, Kylie White. During her Impact Trip in January, Kylie spent some time with one of our partner pastors, Regina. Below is Kylie's reflection on her experience with Regina in a community called Ziwani.
It was the first day of our impact trip and we headed to a center called Ziwani to put on a VBS there for the children. We were warmly welcomed by Pastor Regina, her daughter who is also the Children’s ministry director, and Kefa and Lillian, the spiritual and health counselors at the center. Pastor Regina told us about how Ziwani is near a very large Mosque which is active in recruiting for Al Shabab and radicalizing young boys. You could see her heart start to open as she talked about the risk that children face in this slum area. Young girls who cannot afford school fees or who have lost their parents are quickly recruited and trained in the sex industry. Sometimes they are used as child brides for the radical Muslim men. The street boys or vulnerable boys who can no longer afford school are radicalized and trained in the Muslim faith and sent to other countries to carry out attacks.
Pastor Regina saw this problem and had to intervene. She has made a compound on the church property of dormitories for young boys and girls. She even told us how she goes to the streets and “captures these boys and girls” to protect them from this dim future. She also offers high school for little to no cost so these children can have the gift of education.
Pastor Regina also shared with us about the high Muslim population in the CARE for AIDS program at her church. Many Muslim clients were initially afraid to even step foot in a church but are now coming to know Christ. These clients now bring their children to the center and rarely miss a counseling session or empowerment seminar. Its clear that clients are drawn to the care and love they receive through the program in Ziwani. It was so powerful to look around at the children attending our VBS and see many in their traditional Muslim dress. Kefa (Ziwani Center spiritual counselor) pointed out to us the large amount of trust these Muslim women put in the program to send their children to a Christian Vacation Bible School experience. But it didn’t stop with the kids... a group of Muslim women currently enrolled in the program were so encouraged by our visit that they made a snack for our team of Samosas, a meat filled pastry. Their gift of hospitality meant so much.
Watching Pastor Regina and her heart for the vulnerable was so challenging. She takes a very active role in caring for the clients in the program at her church. After meeting with clients individually, she noticed a high number of widows in the program. In response, she created a widows ministry to aid in grieving and support for these women. Regina embodies James 1:27 and Matthew 25:40. She is spending her life for the orphans, widows, sick, vulnerable, and impoverished. She is such a beacon of light in her community. Not to mention, she played goalie for our make shift soccer game in her beautiful white dress! Such a picture of her sacrificial love and service to her congregation, clients, and surrounding community.