Since its inception in 2006, GOYA Ministries has been providing life-saving basics in a slum called Mitumba. Basic needs like clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education and the gospel of Jesus Christ to children like Kamau. Kamau is HIV positive and his father is so physically abusive that he had to be removed from his parent's home. When he first came to our center in Mitumba he was beaten so severely that he couldn't speak. After months of counseling, and encouragement, he eventually began to share his story. He came to know Jesus, and eventually became a leader in the scouts and the youth choir. Children and families in the community have clearly seen the life-changing power of Christ at work through GOYA Ministries. Since 2006, our school has ballooned from 30 children to over 450, and the church has grown from zero to over 150. Kamau is just one of countless examples of individuals GOYA has served in the Mitumba community over the past 5 years.
At a time when things couldn't seem to get much better tragedy struck. Church attendance was at an all time high, school attendance was at an all time high, 36,000lbs of food was being shipped to fight a famine, and the community was growing and thriving like never before. Mitumba is one of numerous informal settlements (also known as slums) in Nairobi and although it is one of the smaller slums, approximately 30,000 people call Mitumba their home. But on Saturday, November 19 at approximately 7am, all of that changed. The Kenyan government sent 6 bulldozers and back-hoe's into the community and in just a few hours completely leveled everything including the GOYA church, school and orphanage. 30,000 people lost their homes and nearly all of their belongings.
The video below shares a few of the details about the demolition and the immediate aftermath:
Nearly half of Nairobi's population is believed to be living in slums like Mitumba. In the past two years two disasters have occurred in Nairobian slums and the government is trying to eliminate informal settlements that could result in future disasters. Mitumba is situated near Wilson Airport and the government feared that a plane crash could create a major disaster.
However others (including our Executive Director) believe the demolition was to make way for a fast growing, nearby condo development. Corruption runs rampant in Kenyan politics.
Devastated, the church members and children from the school began working with GOYA's Kenyan staff to immediately begin serving their neighbors throughout the community. Armed with little more than the Hope of Christ, they began serving food, provided clothing, they cried with one another, and prayed with those that wanted it. Many of these brave young children, having just lost their own homes and belongings, did the only thing that made sense; they began to selflessly serve others.
Life in Mitumba will never be the same, and neither will the families whose lives were so deeply impacted by GOYA and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Hope of Christ is something no government can take away and it is our mission to continue spreading that life changing hope throughout Kenya! The residents of Mitumba, the members of our church and children in our school are still without homes, but will be forcefully scattered throughout 3 other informal settlements. Prayerfully, we believe this is God's way of calling us to a radical new beginning. But starting over will not be easy and we will need your help now, more than ever, in order to continue impacting lives of children just like Kamau.
Check out this video outlining some of the ways that GOYA Ministries is radically changing the slums of Nairobi with the love and hope of Christ:
The model GOYA has developed for ministry through our primary school has worked phenomenally. However, it's hard for anyone to get a job with only an 8th grade education. We have now bought land and just built a high school! We hope to begin classes soon and develop a job-training center as well. We also want this facility to include a church, medical clinic, and missionary housing. This complex acts as our 'home base' to train up and send out Kenyan nationals as missionaries. It also serves as a place of refuge, outside of the slums with emergency classrooms and housing should another disaster like the Mitumba demolition ever occur.