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Missionaries, Kenyans learn from each other

Pastor reflects on recent trip to Africa

Pastor Brian Metke, of Trinity Church in Pell Lake, at work in Kenya.

November 22, 2011 | 08:49 AM
Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part series about Trinity Church's recent mission trip to Kenya. The first, which was about Trinity Youth Director Holly Camalieri, appeared in the Nov. 17 edition.

PELL LAKE — Feeding the hungry, helping build mud huts, developing relationships.

Pastor Brian Metke, of Trinity Church, said these are some of the things which made his recent mission trip to Kenya "one of the top 10 experiences of my life."

"It's important for us as Christians to see those who carry out their faith in different parts of the world," Metke said. "They may do it differently than us, but we are all one. In Kenya, we learned as much from them as they learned from us."

He and nine others from Trinity embarked on a two-week trip to Kenya in August. The Trinity mission team met with the church's youth director, Holly Camalieri.

Metke said she played a pivotal role in bringing the team to Kenya.

Next July, Camalieri will move to Kenya so she can work full-time for Youth With A Mission on a "children's village," a project which will eventually become a boarding school, clinic, vocational training center and chapel. She recently returned from her fifth mission trip to Kenya since 2006.

"Because she has been going there and developing a mission with children who have no parents, we wanted to support her work," Metke said. "Holly is a local person who felt God's calling. … How could we not want to support that?"

This isn't the first time the people of Trinity Church have reached out to people outside the states.

The church still supports the work of another missionary with local ties — Gladys Mungo, who lives in Haiti and operates Haiti's Children.

Mekte said this was his third mission trip outside the U.S. Twice before, he visited Haiti. Metke said it's important for Trinity to connect with people from other countries and cultures.

Although the cost wasn't just for a plane ticket, he said the cause makes Camalieri's future in Kenya important.

"Even though we will be losing such a great youth director, I wanted to encourage and support what she was doing," Metke said.

Help and a safari

The trip in August was a busy one.

According to Camalieri, the Trinity team helped train over 100 pastors and church leaders in the Bethel Series, led 200 children through vacation Bible school, built two mud huts for widows whose homes were collapsing, fed nearly 1,000 people and performed other needed jobs in a Kenyan village.

Metke said the team was "very involved" once they set foot in the African country.

"We fed 600 in one day," he said. "Another day, 200 children. We provided meals for them and also grain to take home and feed their families."

Camalieri said they also provided girls with dresses, boys with shoes and children with school supplies. They helped build a sewing school, kiosk and church. They also helped students of the sewing school to open a sewing business.

Metke said Kenya is a Third World country. The number of those who die from HIV-related infections is great, he said.

They helped to educate and support these people.

"Their government really doesn't help very much," he said. "Here (in this village) are 150 women who are widows."

But it wasn't just about aid. Metke said building relationships was equally important.

One of the most touching moments of the trip for him was toward the end, when the village held a celebration for the team.

Metke said what they did resonated with him.

"They all gave us gifts," he said. "Many would bring a gift such as an egg or a bag of grain, but then they brought us four chickens."

He said for them to even offer these things meant something special.

"Here, we were bringing expensive items — sewing machines and stuff — but we were humbled by what they gave us," Metke said. "That's what was really touched us."

But the entire trip was emotional for him and the Trinity team — from teaching the Bethel Bible series to helping to build a school.

"All of these things, wow, these were significant things for us," Metke said.

Still, one aspect of the trip really drove home the reality of where they were and revealed Africa's beauty.

"To go on a safari, that was like, 'OK, we're really in Africa now,'" Metke said. "That made me feel like we really did it all."


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