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A Day of Giving and a Day of Receiving

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A Day of Giving and a Day of Receiving

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22 March 2024 was a day of giving and a day of receiving in Nairobi, Kenya.  Elder Ian Ardern, President of the Africa Central Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day  Saints, along with Stake Presidents Denis Mukasa and Frederick Shamola of the Nairobi East and South Stakes, First Counselor of the Nairobi West Stake Maurice B. Nyagwoka, and Young Single Adults from the three stakes visited two old folks homes and one orphanage bearing much needed supplies and equipment.   It was a day of giving and a day of receiving. Giving food and other supplies and equipment, and receiving appreciation and the confirming joy that we are all children of God and that we need each other.

The gift bearing visits were arranged by Young Single Adults from and within the three stakes. 

The first stop was Nyumba ya Wazee (Little Sisters of the Poor) old age home, located in the area of the Nairobi East Stake.  Little Sisters of the Poor commenced serving elderly people in France in 1839 when Sister Jeanne Jugan observed an elderly person begging on the streets.  Sister Jeanne told that person that she would beg with her.  Today, Little Sisters of the Poor operates old age homes in 30 countries on 5 continents.  Seven sisters serve at Nyumba ya Wazee in Nairobi.  Each day, two of the sisters go into the community and “beg” for financial support.  Nyumba ya Wazee recognizes the dignity of every human being and serves elderly of any denomination.

Sister Mary from Nigeria and Sister Anthony from Ireland welcomed Elder Ardern and his party, showed the center, and graciously received the gifts of adult diapers, gloves, detol cleaners, bleach, bathing soap, vaseline, harpic, vim, detergent, handwashing soap, disposable sheeves, sugar, rice, flour, cooking oil, drinking chocolate, eggs, baking flour, and potatoes.   

The group then traveled to Kikuyu area of Nairobi and the Thogoto Home for the Aged which is sponsored by the Presbyterian Church and located within the Nairobi West Stake.  Thogoto is home to 50 elderly people who are cared for by eight staff members.  On the entry gate of this home for the aged are words from Psalms 71:18, “Now that I am old, and my hair is grey, Do not abandon me O God.”  The visit was responsive to that plea. The organizing Young Single Adults learned that the most significant need at Thogoto was for an automated washing machine.  Elder Ardern, the three stake leaders, and the Young Single Adults mingled and visited with the elderly residents and presented the new washing machine and detergent.  Jane Gaturu, the director of Thogoto Home for the Aged, led a tour of the campus. In the food pantry, Elder Ardern asked Jane about the small amount of food supplies stored there and learned of the immediate need for more basic food and hygiene products.  Elder Ardern asked President Mukasa, who is also a Humanitarian and Self Reliance Manager in the Africa Central Area, to quickly procure and deliver cooking oil, rice, adult diapers and soap bars to Thogoto.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ ability to provide needed supplies to Thogoto and many others results from the generosity and tithing faithfulness of members of the Church explained Elder Ardern. 

The last stop in a full day of giving much needed supplies and equipment and receiving the gratitude and joy of those served, was the Jeho Children’s Home in the Pipeline Area of Nairobi.  The Jeho Children’s Home is an orphanage and is located within the boundaries of the Nairobi South Stake.  The orphanage occupies four floors in a narrow building in one of the busiest parts of Nairobi.  It was founded in 2004 and has been at its current location since 2008.  Each child will live in the orphanage until age18.  They are cared for by a staff of 7.  Jeho receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of what staff members call “well wishers.”   The gift bearing visitors were given a tour that included a dorm room full of rows of bunk beds for the 16 boys and another dorm room more full of bunk beds for the 29 girls for whom Jeho is home.  The tour progressed to the 4th floor common room where a number of the children sang and then quoted a remarkable scripture.  “In my father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:2).  The contrast of being in such an humble place, while these beautiful children spoke of their hope for a heavenly mansion was remarkable.  Elder Ian Ardern was seated between two boys.  He asked them both for their names.  “Ian.”  “Ian.”  In his time in Africa, Elder Ardern has not met a single person named Ian, until that Friday, in a humble orphanage seated next to two handsome boys named Ian.  The needs of the orphanage were great so the gifts of food and supplies filled much of a box truck which made its way through narrow, crowded streets to the door of the Jeho Children’s Home.

Elder Ardern, President Mukasa, President Shamola and President Nyagwoka, and the Young Single Adults from the three stakes left the orphanage with hearts full of gratitude for being able to serve and give and for having experienced the opportunity to be with beautiful old and young people during the visits of the day.



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