Kenya (MNN) — Kenya's exotic plant and wildlife draws tourists from around the world.
Sightseers can spend up to $1,000 USD per person for a Kenyan safari, and the safari business reportedly pumps over a billion dollars a year into Kenya's economy.
Africa Inland Mission church planters are using the same "attractions" that bring millions of foreigners to Kenya to draw the nation's children to God.
AIM missionaries Shel and Kym Arensen serve over 20 churches among the Dorobo tribe and are involved in both church planting and discipling. Kym Arensen came together a few years ago with fellow missionaries Miriam Smith and Mim Grooms to tackle environmental challenges threatening both the ecology and economy of Kenya.
Eden Environmental Clubs and Camps are their weapon to fight these issues by engaging the next generation.
Taking place after school, Eden clubs are aimed at helping students develop a love for God's creation and help solve the environmental issues around them. One such issue is safe cooking fuel.
Millions of people worldwide, including the women of Kenya, cook over a three-stone fire with little or no ventilation. Smoke from these cooking fires causes respiratory illnesses, leading to two million deaths annually.
With these facts in mind, Eden Club members experimented with a variety of more fuel-efficient stoves and learned how to make fuel out of waste materials. Using these recycled briquettes eliminates the need for firewood and reduces the risk of deforestation.
In addition, Arensen, Grooms and Smith found a local company that sells Jiko Poa stoves: cooking units that require only a few small sticks of firewood to cook a whole meal. Because they're designed to burn clean, illness-causing smoke is eliminated.
At a recent parents' day, Eden Club students showed their parents how to cook on the Jiko Poa stove. As a result, the entire community came together and bought over 100 stoves.
Pray that more communities will change as kids share lessons like this with their families.
Eden Environmental Camps are another branch of the women's environmental ministry. These weekend excursions invite kids from difficult backgrounds to meet with God and experience the wonder of His creation. Campers come from orphanages, rescue shelters, homes for street children and schools for the disabled.
A group of young girls recently got to see and hear the gifts their heavenly Father had placed in the Lake Naivasha area. A trip to the Little Owls Sanctuary dispelled their beliefs that owls are something to be feared, sent from God to bring bad omens. A boat ride on the lake allowed them to see hippos, buffalo, waterbuck, zebras, and other wildlife.
Pray that kids will be in awe of the Creator as they experience His creation.