Numerous baptisms and a new clinic were some of the summer blessings bestowed upon a humanitarian organization focused on Kenya, Africa.
The Maisha International Orphanage received aid from several metro churches during the spring and summer months: Choctaw Road Baptist Church took a group in the spring and in June and July, while Peace Lutheran Church's mission efforts at the Kenyan orphanage took place in early June.
Beatrice Williamson, co-founder of Maisha, said members of Bridgeway Church in northwest Oklahoma City also visited the orphanage over the summer.
“It's kind of like God just put the puzzle together for this community (Maisha),” Williamson said. “That's what gives my heart joy.”
Maisha is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that Williamson, a Kenyan native now living in Oklahoma City, started with her mother who is still living in the African country. The orphanage began as a way to house and feed children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in the Kenya.
Williamson said Maisha now includes the orphanage and a ministry outreach to a neighboring area experiencing blight.
She said the Choctaw Road Baptist Church and Bridgeway Church members helped to build a new clinic for the Maisha community this summer. In addition, she said more than 87 orphans and widows were baptized in June and July when the metro Oklahoma City churches visited Maisha.
The Rev. Keith Falk, pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Edmond, said a group of about 15 members from his church conducted several vacation Bible school sessions for Kenyan children. He said a medical mission team from the church, headed by Dr. Charles Funderburk, provided health care assessments for Kenyans. Another church member conducted a sewing program for Kenyan women interested in learning sewing techniques.
Falk said the congregation has had a pen pal relationship with numerous Maisha children over the years and church members have provided funding for the orphans there. He said the mission trip was another way to solidify the church's long-standing relationship with the Maisha community.