My name is Natalie Montag and I went to Soweto, Kenya in August 2012. It’s been five months since returning from Kenya, and I can honestly say not a day has gone by where I don’t think about the amazing experience I was blessed with. Whenever I’m having a conversation and the opportunity arises to bring up my trip to Kenya, I never hesitate to ramble on! I get such a warm feeling inside and I am immediately filled with immense joy. It is difficult to completely put into words the experience I had with the children and people from Soweto, because it’s something one has to experience on their own. I just wanted to share one of the many special moments I had while I was over in Soweto.
I would say the most heart-warming thing was seeing and feeling all of the love and kindness. In America, we are often taught to not talk to strangers and not to branch out of our comfort zone, but in Soweto it was the complete opposite. Pulling into the village of Soweto our van was chased by beaming blissful children yelling “How are you, How are you”. As soon as we stepped out of the van, the children were glowing with happiness and wrapped their arms around us. This happened every single time we went into the village. The amount of love in the air was immeasurable, and it’s a feeling that one must feel for themselves.
Before this whole experience I would always think, “What do they need? What can I buy them to bring?” but I learned what they need most is not material things, but love and hope. Don’t get me wrong, they are in need of new shoes, uniforms, school supplies, medicine, etc., but what a lot of these children lack is a stable family filled with unconditional love. Many of the parents are infected with HIV/AIDS, or the father’s are alcoholics, which often result in many of the children neglected and left to fend for themselves. It is heartbreaking thinking about the disregard for the children and poverty they face, but what Pastor Samuel and We Are Kenya have been doing at Provision Education Center has changed so many lives.
I have been in contact with Earnest, Pastor Samuel’s son, through facebook every once in awhile and he has been able to keep me updated about the children and what has been going on at the school. He said they recently tore down a few of the sheet metal walls to make the classrooms bigger to accommodate more students. It is wonderful news that Provision Education Center is taking on more students, but the space is very limited and was already tight. We Are Kenya hopes to eventually raise enough money purchase more land to expand Provision Education Center. The places that we tend to think that God is not present, whether due to Soweto’s lack of resources or harsh living conditions, are really the places that God’s love continues to shine brighter than ever. His overwhelming peace and love truly fill the hearts of the children who seemingly have so little, yet really have so much. The love that they shared with us during our short visit brought the gospel to life and reassured us that God is alive, active and moving in the hearts of people around the globe. Thank you for partnering with us in this mission. Hearts are forever changed and God is glorified evermore.