Cullman Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 17

Kenya Relief in Action by BENJAMIN BULLARD KENYA RELIEF “In 2015, we passed out Personal Energy Transportation (PET) devices – personal three-wheeled trans- port that’s propelled by your arms instead of your legs – to hundreds of people,” he says. “We coordinated it here with PET International, and got them shipped over there. There was one day when we passed out 145 at once. Kenya Relief’s missionary focus means it has functioned, so far, with a seat-of-the-pants spontaneity that often eludes nonprofits structured to move at the speed of a corpora- tion. It’s that spontaneity that allows missionaries to take action when unforeseen opportunities to do some random good present themselves. “What we do, as a faith community, doesn’t always make sense from a business perspec- tive,” explains Kenya Relief Founder Steve James. “It’s something we are going to have to ad- dress as we get bigger and new people; new partners, join in. To build a hospital – some- thing we’re working toward – you need one pretty darn big master plan, and we don’t always go about it in that manner,” he laughs. “We operate by faith a lot!” But it’s the nimbleness; the ability to seize op- portunities recognized, that gives Kenya Relief so much of its momentum. A special needs child shares a moment with a missionary at Kenya Relief ’s campus near Migori. Volunteers inspect one of several water purification sites Kenya Relief has helped install in the region.  “People came on crutches. They came crawling on their hands and knees. They were carried. People who for decades may have been outcast from a basic human activity came dragging themselves across the ground for the chance to have access to mobility – for the first time in their lives. “That is life-changing… for them, and for us. “It was the greatest day of my min- istry. It was the greatest day of my life.” Visit Kenya Relief’s YouTube channel to check out “Caring for people with disabilities,” a short documentary commemorating that day — and to learn about Kenya Relief’s many other projects — at Cullman magazine | FALL 2017 17