The Words of the Ward Family
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We highly recommend this excellent project for our Youth - sponsored by WFWP. Please consider. Mrs. Ward's letter and reflections are below.
To: all Blessed Families in America
I am pleased to inform you that WFWP, USA is in the process of developing the second annual youth service trip to Africa. This year we are planning to travel to Zambia, to support the food project that supplies soybean flour to undernourished children. Established in 1994, this project served 21,800 children by the end of 2006. We will also support the WFWP school in Zambia.
The trip will include one chaperone and five young women. The dates are August 1-14. The trip will include an orientation, a 5-7 day service project, and site seeing. We are working on adding visits with Zambian families, as well as visiting one or more NGOs. The cost of the trip is estimated at approximately $3,500 per participant, including airfare. Although we are not able to financially assist the participants, we will be pleased to work with them to raise the necessary funds.
Mrs. Yasue Erikawa will personally be meeting with Japanese missionaries to Zambia, as well as with leaders of WFWP, Japan, in Tokyo, on June 1, to work out the details of this service trip. She will then travel to Zambia to make the in country arrangements.
This trip is open to young women, age 16 and older. At this time, there are still several openings for this trip. If you are interested in considering this trip for your child, please communicate directly with Alexa Ward.
In August of 2007, we launched the first youth service trip to Africa. Five young women, under the leadership of Joan Mwamlima, traveled to Kenya for two weeks. The focus of the trip was a service project at the Handow Secondary School in Marakusi, about eight hours from Nairobi. Four classrooms received fresh paint and new concrete floors. The group also visited the homes of Kenyans who lived near the school, enjoyed a game park, and donated blankets to an orphanage in Nairobi. These young ladies were deeply touched by their experiences in Africa. We have attached excerpts of their reflections for you to read.
During the national assembly, we were able to show a very special documentary of the 2007 trip to Kenya. It was prepared by the Camins family in Northern California. Here is the link to a site with that documentary: ourmedia.org/node/401618. This site requires special software.
Thank you. We look forward to working with you to make this trip a meaningful experience.
With warm regards,
I was able to have so many amazing experiences during my time in Kenya. Also I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to come and work here and meet the people and really get involved in a project that was much greater than myself. The actual service project was a small one, but it was physically hard. I felt that the people were just so happy that we, as Americans, were really willing to help them. I realized that it wasn’t our physical labor itself that moved them, but the heart that we put into our work and into embracing the community that was the real reason for all the gratitude and love that was shown to us.
I myself always wanted to go to Africa because of my parents’ missionary work there. I feel now that I am able to understand my parents more. I also feel that I have a better understanding of African-Americans and the reasons for many of their problems in America. I am so grateful that I was able to go on this trip. It really was the most amazing thing I have ever done and I hope that in the future more people will be able to have a chance like this.
After I was able to see and experience the kind of living conditions of the Kenyan people, I realized how much I had to be grateful for. I really learned to treasure what I had been given in life, especially after working and helping at the school. I was able to see how very serious the students were in their studies and how grateful they were to receive an education. It made me realize that I have taken my education for granted and that I should really work harder in school. I also saw that the school had very little resources. The library had very few books, the floors in the classroom were uneven and rocky, and they had no plumbing. I never thought before how lucky I was to have all these things.
This trip has also given me a stronger desire to help those less fortunate than myself. I was very moved when we went to visit the orphanage. They have done so much to help children with HIV/AIDS and to give them a better life. I want to do something like this that will be able to help many people.
I think that one thing about this trip that we didn’t like was that the service project was too short. I think that if we were given more time we could have accomplished so much more. Because of this experience, I hope to do more service projects in the future. Maybe even join WFWP.
I was so impressed with the Han Dow Secondary School. It was not what I expected. It was better. I could see how hard the school board, the committee and the staff worked together to ensure the success of the school and help it to excel. I heard so much about the WFWP African schools and I was really able to understand more clearly the goal and vision for these schools through doing the service project. We painted walls, and helped put in a cement floor and the board and the students were just so appreciative and grateful that we were there. I really enjoyed putting our words into action. It was an action of service, love and unity. I felt this really unified the community where the school was located. It was indeed hard work and at times I thought I was about to die, but I can say that I really enjoyed it.
I knew that there were poor in the world but to see it with my own eyes was something unbelievably unbearable and heartbreaking. I suddenly became so grateful for everything that I have and had taken for granted before. It just opened my heart and created in me a desire to do more for these people.
I felt really happy that I was able to gain so much from this trip and that I was also able to learn about WFWP’s history in Kenya and their wonderful service to the world. I am coming back home with a bigger heart and determination to help and make an impact in Africa and the world like WFWP does. I was also especially able to appreciate the work of the Japanese WFWP members who have risked their lives to help the African people.
This service project was more than just painting a schoolhouse’s walls or pouring a cement floor but it was an expression of love. It was God working through us to show the Han Dow School and the community how much He loves and cares for them. We must continue to help and give everything to these people. I can’t wait to go back home and continue to do more to help Africa.
Being able to see how these people struggled to survive and yet at the same time to see how happy they were and how eager they were to share what little they had with complete strangers almost brought me to tears.
If there was one thing that I could change about this trip, it would be to make the time that we spent at Han Dow School longer. Though we were able to finish our original goal, there was still so much left undone. Pouring the concrete floor for the school was an excruciating long process. Even though we only helped with certain aspects of it, I know we were able to make their work a lot easier. I only wish that we could have laid floors for all eight classrooms instead of leaving half of them undone.
I know that all of us are sad about leaving Kenya, but the good thing is that we will never forget this experience. I feel that my work here is not quite done but in fact has just begun. The principal of the school has asked me to send him some things from America, because he felt that I, as a teacher, was his colleague. So, once I return to America, I will be on the lookout for a camera, an economics book and fifteen soccer uniforms. By sending these items, I can continue to help the school.
Also, our visit to the orphanage there and seeing all the American volunteers really inspired me to return to Kenya or Africa itself at some point and stay for a much longer time.
I would like you to know how very much I appreciate being given this opportunity. I have always been interested in service work and this trip reinforced my passion to continue doing it. It allowed me to re-evaluate my life and realize how much I have taken for granted. This project needs to be continued, for I am sure that it can affect others as much as it has affected me.