CBF Field Personnel

Renewal in Kenya

By Jeff Lee

It has been 23 years. I was traveling to a place I had not seen since I was a highschooler. I have been a CBF field personnel for 10 years. The time has been full of many wonderful things. I would not be here today had I not gone to Kenya the summer before my senior year in high school. It was there that I first felt my calling to vocational ministry. This was the place where it all began for me. So, when my boss asked me to accompany him to Kenya to participate in Kutana with college and seminary students, as well as CBF colleagues, I was excited and nervous. 

I approached the trip with the idea of renewal. I wanted a renewed since of calling. I wanted to renew my passion for my field of service. I wanted to see the renewal of communities impacted by Africa Exchange, the organization facilitating the trip. I wanted renewal, and the trip surpassed my expectations. 

Kenya touches one’s soul. The sights, sounds and smells overwhelm the senses. The people are amazing. The country is full of beauty everywhere. It is inescapable. It is a place of love and hope. 

But it sits in a precarious position. It deals with the threat from climate change, the remnants of colonialism, and new exploitation from foreign influencers. We spent time in the Kakamega Rainforest. This rainforest was once part of a larger rainforest that stretched clear across Africa to the Congo. Years of deforestation have isolated this small piece of paradise. The government is trying to manage and protect this small area, but it is difficult to fight against generations of exploitative behavior. They have a daunting task set before them. 

We also spent time at Lake Baringo. This is a beautiful freshwater lake in the Rift Valley. Deforestation causes excessive amounts of water runoff and threatens the lake. The lake has risen significantly over the past few years, causing the local population to live with the devastation of constant flooding and rising water. 

The final part of the trip we spent on the Maasai Mara. Think of the “Lion King” and you will have a picture of what it was like. Even though this is a protected area, we saw the impacts of human activity. 

You might be asking how CBF impacts these issues. That is answered by the other part of the trip. Every place we went we visited local communities living in these areas. These communities live everyday addressing issues of survival and conservation. They are renewing their community and the surrounding area. They are fulfilling their calling of being co-creators with the Lord. 

Fresh water is a resource that many do not have. One community built a water collection system from the river and pumped it over three miles up the mountain to their school. They are planting trees to produce fruit and protect from erosion. The communities build early child development centers to educate and break the cycle of poverty. 

What can we do? We can act. We can act to renew the earth around us. It is our responsibility to be co-creators with the Lord to renew this world. We can work in communities and build beautiful things. We can protect the environment around us. We have responsibility. 

Peace be the Journey.

Jeff Lee serves alongside his wife, Alicia, as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Macedonia. Learn more about their ministry at www.cbf.net/lee.

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