The Beautiful Shimba Hills


Yesterday I came down with a bit of food poisoning.  I made a wrong choice to consume some Casaba chips that were cooked by some local boys.  I was sick today but we went to the Shimba Hills to Visit the YWAM base there anyway.  I threw up 3 times on the way.  I suffered but we were so glad to be there to see what is happening.

Four years ago we went with a couple named Martin and Judy Heath to a remote area in the beautiful Shimba Hills.  We went with them to see a farm owned by the YWAM base.  The place was so dilapidated that it looked like a bomb had hit it.  It was bad!  4 of the buildings had been burned in a major brush fire and all the building were in horrible shape.  Somehow as we walked around the perimeter of the property Martin and Judy felt called to go there and restore the place. So we prayed for them and had a strong feeling that it was the will of God.  Compared to them we are not missionaries at all.  You cannot believe what they have done there in the past four years.  The vision that God has given to them for community development is so powerful.  They decided, from the get go, that they could not help the farmers in the area by trying to introduce American farming practices on the farm.  When someone offered them a tractor they said “No”, because the locals didn’t have tractors and they were trying to help them, not help themselves.  So they bought 6 oxen and plowed their 25 acres by hand.  Following that they plowed the land of the neighbors around them.  Now 30 families are in a “Plow Share” situation where they help each other to plow their fields using the oxen from the base.  For some reason none of the Kenyans in the Shimba Hills have ever thought of helping each other, working together, or sharing resources.  You would not believe the good will that the base has with the locals.  Including the Muslims who live the area.

There is no water in the entire region except the rain water that is caught in the cisterns beside some of the houses and the flood waters that come at the rainy season so the base is going to start digging a well, by hand, which will serve the entire community.  They are expecting to have to dig 150-200 feet.  Several years ago we paid for a hand dug well that went down 90 feet.  We looked down the hole and we couldn’t believe it and the workers lowered themselves down into  the hole by climbing down a robe that had knots in it.  200 feet?  It’s mind-boggling.  We prayed over the place where the well is going to be dug, asking God to bless this very spot with fresh water at a reasonable depth.  Martin is a teacher at a School of Agriculture in England.  He is in the process of planting gardens to show the locals how to increase their yields by as much a 1000 percent.  People are coming from everywhere to see how it’s done.  Now that’s the way to help the poor people of the rural areas of Kenya.  You help them to help themselves.

We went into Martin and Judy’s home.  It was an African style home.  They have chosen not to fill their home with nice things from town.  They believe that God has sent them there to show Kenyan’s what they can do with what they have.  The place was clean, but it was very much like living in a large grass hut.  Martin told us that in the world he came from, he and Judy would never have dreamed staying in anything but a 5 star hotel and now, after four years of living in the remote hills without electricity, running water, flush toilets, refrigerators, and washing machines, they were just about as happy as they can be!

I was so touched by the love that Judy and Martin had for the 15 Kenyans who are helping them on the base.  I have seen so many missions works being done there in Kenya where love just doesn’t exist.   From my experience, unconditional love is the most important thing, if you want to have an impact on a culture.

Please pray that I fully recover from my food poisoning.  Valerie is doing very well and I know this is due to your prayers.

We love all of you back home and pray that the Lord will bless you

Richard