2019–2021 Mission Grant #1 “Water and the Word for Rural Schools in Kenya” $80,000

Water and the Word for Rural Schools in Kenya

By Shurie Scheel with Eden Keefe, Mission Editor

The first time I stepped off the airplane in Nairobi, Kenya, I fell in love with the people and culture. As you often hear, that first trip was life changing for me. The poverty is unbelievable, but the people, their deep sense of faith and trust in God, and the work God is doing there are equally inspiring. 

It started with Rotary grants and working with schools to collect and filter rainwater. While in the country, we visited schools to bring soccer balls, books, school supplies, and washable sanitary pad kits to the schoolgirls, in an effort to keep them in school. In fact, the first grant received from LWML was a district grant that paid to ship sanitary pad kits to Kenya, a major expense for us over the years. 

The 2019–2021 LWML grant funded ten schools and much more. We worked closely with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK), knowing that we must be very intentional in relationship building at every level of the church. Our contractor, Isaac, spent a lot of time and effort, holding meetings in each of the five dioceses, or regions/districts, of the ELCK. He has trained pastors in each area about clean water, and they are all on-board with the project. The ELCK also chose only two schools in each diocese, in an effort to not show partiality — to make it fair to all.

In those ten schools, we asked the students, parents, and staff to help with the project and take care of the equipment. We worked with a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), Running Waters International. The Running Waters team takes care of initial school visits, installation, and education sessions with staff and students, as well as helping to facilitate a project commissioning. 

ELCK — working with the LCMS Office of International Mission — provides schools and support. A church worker or pastor makes a school visit periodically to check on the water project and leads students in a Bible study or preaches a sermon. This helps to ensure the success of the water projects and allows the children to hear biblical teachings from a trained pastor. The grant reimburses the expenses of the church in this effort. Due to financial restrictions, pastors aren’t often able to visit the churches and schools under their care. The children have been blessed immensely by LWML mite donations! 

Because the groundwork has been done and the relationships built and cultivated, any funds raised now can go directly to help another school or orphanage. The Kenyan church is so excited about the project. They have already raised enough money to fund one more school! This truly is God’s work, and He can do great things! Our plan now is to just start adding schools and rotating dioceses as we raise funds. Please pray for us. It’s only with God’s guidance and support that we are able to do this work. Please join us! All donations are welcome and greatly appreciated, and there are ways to volunteer. 

Shurie Scheel is the grant administrator for Water and the Word in Kenya. She is involved in LWML at St. Paul Lutheran in Thermopolis, Wyoming, has served as a YWR to both a district and a national convention, and has served in various offices — currently as the LWML Wyoming District Human Care Chair. Email Shurie at shuriescheel@gmail.com for their address or follow them on the Water and the Word Facebook page.

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This story was originally featured in the Spring 2022 Lutheran Woman's Quarterly. Order your subscription here.

For more information about this mission grant, view the individual mission grant page here.

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