The 2019 Neema summer team returned from their trip just last week and after a sweet experience meeting the girl she sponsors and her mother, Susie wrote a reflection on her experience in Kenya:
When God called my husband and I to become Grace Partners, I was all in - writing letters and praying for the opportunity to go to Kenya to meet Susan. Last year, I attended a Grace Partner gathering and saw a picture of Susan and her mom, Alice. I heard the story that Susan’s mom made the effort to get to Neema to pay a portion of Susan’s National Dressmaking Certification Exam fees. She was beautiful and you could see strength in her face. I saw that she gave Susan her smile and her strength - just by the pictures I’d seen of Susan and the letters I’d received from her. God put it on my heart to meet Alice.
When the 2019 team was formed we were each asked what was one thing we wanted to experience at Neema. I wanted to spend time with Susan’s mother. My hope was to meet her in her home, talk to her and pray with her. I wanted to thank her and encourage her.
A few weeks ago I arrived at Neema and was eager to greet Susan. The shy Susan I’d heard about, the one who wrote and told me she prayed for me and my family daily, was amazing. Her smile - so beautiful. An athlete - who was not shy while playing netball or in balloon relays. A competitor - who shyly hid behind her hand and laughed as she won the game of Mafia! Who led singing at one Morning Glory early in the week and who I found out was part of the leadership team, responsible for organizing prayer and worship during each day’s Morning Glory at Neema. A leader. A good friend. Unassuming - always letting me come to greet her or make eye contact with her first. Letting her friends steal my attention. Just being her - loving her God, her friends, and me.
Then came the day to meet Alice, Susan's mother. I heard stories of what Susan was like before Neema. A girl who would leave to be with her friends without telling her mom. Alice shared, ”She was shy, afraid, and unhappy but now she’s content, happy, open, and comfortable. I am so happy for what Neema has done for my daughter!” She was a girl who couldn’t finish high school because her mom couldn’t solely support Susan and her 7 other children and grandson. Her mom thanked the Neema Program Manager, Winnie, and Susan’s House Matron, Irine, for the changes in Susan. Alice prayed a blessing over me and over the Neema staff and program. She prayed that Neema could expand so more girls, girls from their part of Kitale, could also go to Neema and have hope for their future. She thanked God for His hand in sending me there to meet her, and for the other Grace Partners partnering with her to give Susan a bright future.