The Flying Toilet and Teenage Missionaries

On November 8, 2014 by Jeff Heglund

Eldoret VBS“Pastor Jeff!  I gotta go!” was the pitiful cry being emitted from a boy in my youth group.  He was contorted in such a way that you knew that he was about to blow.  He was peering out from behind a small mud walled make-shift stable with a corrugated metal roof that we were using as backstage to our gospel skit.  I am quite familiar with this plea on our trips to Kenya.  In fact, I have much sympathy because for the first several years that I traveled to Kenya I spent  a lot of time spotting the choo, Swahili for bathroom.  The travel, the food and strange environment can be very troubling to American digestive tracts.

The problem on this particular evening was that we were visiting Kamukunji an estate of Eldoret in Kenya where there are no public “choos” available. And, it was getting dark.  Seeking relief, we rushed down a lumpy dirt path between mabati  (corrugated metal) structures to what appeared to be a garbage pile so this poor soul could get on with his business, constantly harassed by several chickens, a small goat, and what we called a “dooster” , an odd morph of a duck and a rooster.  Ah, the joys of being a youth pastor!

I remember as we first walked into Kamukunji, our guide was a man named Peter who is now the pastor or our Kwa Njenga slumheadquarters church. As he led us to the place we would set up speakers to do our gospel skits, he described how it is not uncommon on a Saturday morning to see a man who drank himself to death on “Chana” (an Africa homemade alcohol that can contain things like jet fuel) lying in the ditch.  Needless to say, Kamukunji has some very desperate people living there.

Kibera slum KenyaI shared with the bathroom needy young man that his plight was not uncommon for many who live in Africa especially in places like Kibera, Mathare Valley or Kwa Njenja,  where we have churches.  For many there is no running water which means no plumbing at all, even in their homes.  This has created a need for the “flying toilet”.  Essentially, you save a plastic bag that you acquire to use as your bedpan.  And, since there is no place to dispose of it, at some discrete (or maybe not so discrete) moment, you let it fly!  According to wikipedia, in 2009, Rift Valley railways blamed one of Flying toilet bagthe derailments in Kibera on the “flying toilet”.  As we have spent time reaching out and establishing ministry in these places it is not uncommon to see these “flying toilets” and many “necessary inventions” resting on the corrugated roofs of the slums.

Kwa Njenga WalkingThis is only one of the many sobering realities that our kids get to witness/experience first hand as they travel to Kenya.  There is very little economic vitality, many are sick and hurting.  People are selling the same used t-shirts or three tomatoes on every corner.  There are villages with only one automobile, whereas we may have two or three parked in our driveway.  In all of this they can begin to appreciate how comfortable their life really is.  The blessing to me is that though they recognize it is more comfortable in America, they can see that it is not making them better.  They see first hand that prosperity does not help them be more thankful and to know God more.

Eldoret Kenya DramaThe teenagers always do a great job learning skits and encouraging the members of our churches in East Africa.  I am impressed by the life and zeal of our teenagers.  They are always very sobered to see people who are living very differently than Americans.  Some return home with an appreciation and gratitude for all that they have.  Some of our kids have returned to Kenya for extended stays (some as long as six months) in ministry roles.

Kenya VBS kidsWe take these trips with our teens and adults primarily to encourage Eldoret Kenya missionsthe churches that we have started in Kenya but the impact goes far beyond Kenya.   We have seen an increased compassion for the lost and hurting and a greater desire to give of our lives to make Jesus known to a dying world.   This is a part of the vision from the book of Acts that Pastor Star R. Scott has had for missions.  Part of this vision includes having the missionaries we support come home to rest instead of itinerate for weeks.  They get to come home and sit under teaching and fellowship to be refreshed to go back onto the field.  We support our own missionaries and have trained local pastors to lead the churches in East Africa.  WeTeenagers Nakuru have now have many national pastors overseeing the churches and caring for the men and women that God has drawn.  I have included some pictures from our most recent missions’ trip to Kenya.  If you would like to know more about Calvary Temple missions please visit www.calvarytemplemissions.org or contact us through our home church website.Nakuru Football Outreach

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