The Second Annual Prayer Breakfast for Kenyan Kids was held Saturday morning (April 12) at the Salvation Army Kroc Center to support the orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya, Africa. It was a unique opportunity for those in attendance to make a monetary contribution to send care packages and supplies to the Kenyan children.
Proceeds from the breakfast will be used to support the Maua Methodist Hospital in rural Kenya and its outreach programs to the community, including AIDS orphans. Medications and medical supplies will be delivered to the hospital in July.
The prayer breakfast also was the setting of an art exchange exhibit between the children of Caldwell Guthrie Elementary School in North Memphis and the children at the ECD Clark School in Maua, Kenya. More than 100 supporters attended the breakfast and exhibit.
Michaels, an arts and crafts retail chain, is making a contribution to the Kenyan children this year. Two of its stores in the Memphis area have donated about seven boxes of art supplies to the children at the ECD Clark School. Supplies include crayons, glitter, paper, etc.
Cheryl Simmons, a teacher at Caldwell Guthrie, said the artwork, which was displayed, inspired and motivated her students. They'd ask about the children in Kenya and about going to the country themselves, she said.
The mission team is from Germantown United Methodist Church (GUMC). Those who plan on going to Kenya in July will take care packages and supplies and deliver the artwork from the Memphis children to the children in Maua and bring back their artwork.
Last year the art exchange was based on a theme. This year's theme is: "Where do you want to go when you grow up." Once the children from Memphis and Kenya have completed their artwork, it will be displayed at the next prayer breakfast in 2015.
"A lot people would like to go to Kenya, but have other obligations," said former state representative and former city councilmember Carol Chumney, who made the trip last year. "If they can't go they still can purchase a ticket to the breakfast or do something to help the children in Kenya. If not, they can give us their prayers."
After state Rep. John Deberry prayed, the Rev. Birgitte French, senior pastor at Cross Roads United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tenn., spoke about her experiences as a missionary in the Congo, Algeria, and Kenya.
The Rev. Richard Smith, pastor of GUMC; the Rev. Derek Talbird, pastor of Living Word Ministries; Bishop Dr. Dandridge Wilborn, pastor of Golden Leaf Cathedral; and Pastor David Lewis also prayed for the children of Kenya and those in attendance.
While in Kenya, French worked with the refugees from the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi. She spoke of children in Kenya pressing their hands against the glass windshield of her car and then saying, "Mommy, do you have any food for us?"
Valetta Brinson, an opera singer and educator at Southwest Tennessee Community College, also delivered remarks about her work in the AIDS outreach effort, recited a poem about the tragedy of AIDS, and sang a song. She formerly played the role of Coretta Scott King in "The Promise."
Chumney spoke as well about her experience last year as a mission team member to Kenya. "It was amazing to meet the children. The people are so friendly in Kenya and are very happy despite all of the country's problems," she said.
"They have no running water. The health care by our standards needs a lot of assistance. And there are parents of children with AIDS. It was an amazing experience, a life-changing experience."
Chumney said she helped to build a house for a homeless family, painted dorm rooms for doctors that the Maua Methodist Hospital had hope to recruit, and took 17 orphans to a bio-intensive farm to learn better farming techniques that they can share with hundreds of other youth. She also helped to build a fish tank and painted a pigpen on the farm.
"We built the house on top of a mountain," Chumney recalls. "Climbing the mountain was tough. But a woman about 70 years old, who climbed the mountain every day to get water, had to help me up the mountain."
The next mission team will participate as well in patient care, hospital physical plant improvements and construct a small home for a family of children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. Part of the trip will involve working with AIDS orphans who are part of the Hope Companions Empowerment Project that teaches sustainability skills to these youth.
"If we can love the kids in Kenya, we ought to love each other in Memphis," said Chumney. "It's one of our challenges."
Helena Chemicals, Crosslinks, Republic Coffee, More Than Closets, Raleigh Pediatric Group, MECA, and others sponsored the prayer breakfast.
(For more information about the next mission trip to Kenya, contact Carol Chumney at 901-634-6540.)