FaceBook IconTwitter IconYouTube Icon


Kenya Teams/Zebra Academy

Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church has sent 6 to 18 members to Kenya, Africa on eight different missions to construct buildings and gain better understanding between the two cultures. Funds and volunteers are always welcome for future missions.

Please visit the Photo Gallery for more pictures from the many Kenya Mission Trips!


Zebra Academy

Several members of our church are members of the Fidelis Kappa chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, a national teachers’ sorority.  This chapter has written a proposal to be considered as the World Understanding Project for the coming biennium.  The winner will be selected from the top three proposals by a vote of all Alpha Delta Kappa members this summer.  The Fidelis Kappa proposal would fund the building of a school across the street from the Tendo Valley Teachers College.

The primary goal of this proposal is to build two buildings that will house a school that will provide a site where generations of children can receive an education that will allow each of them to achieve their dreams.  The school will also serve as a laboratory school where the Tendo Valley teachers-in-training will have the opportunity to observe qualified, experienced teachers in a classroom setting.  There is no student teaching component in Kenyan teacher training.  The proximity of the school to Tendo Valley will also allow the future teachers to practice their teaching skills under the tutelage of experienced teachers.  This is a very economically depressed area and this school will serve as a catalyst for growth in the community.  Some of the parents of the students will be able to gain employment while the school is being constructed and after completion there will be a need for men and women to cook two meals a day for the students.

This project will impact the lives of the students in this school, the teachers-in-training, and the people who live in that community.    Educating the mind, feeding the body, and encouraging the soul of children---what greater goal could Alpha Delta Kappa hope to achieve for children on the other side of the globe.

"When I applied to graduate school, I wrote an essay about how Rev. Misheck Kanake, his school, and the community of students and educators and Christ followers he has developed changed my life.  They are testaments to the impact that vision, dedication and passion can make in a community.  I am honored to support Rev. Kanake’s next vision, Zebra Academy.  Rev. Kanake is always thinking ahead to the next thing his community needs to continue to move forward, improving the community  for those who call it home.  Zebra Academy is that next step." -- Erin Welch Robbins

"Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “12 Years a Slave”.  In her acceptance speech, Nong’o spoke these words:  “…no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.”  I would like to pose this question to each of you:  Will you make the dream of an education come true for the children of the Murera community in Kenya?  Will you build a school for these children?  The future of these children is in your hands!" -- Mackenzie Rodgers


2013 Kenya Mission Trip

In 2013, a team of twelve traveled to Kenya to work at a new location.  Six of the previous seven trips were centered at the ARI School.  This year, the team worked at Tendo Valley Teachers College.  Rev. Misheck Kanake had established this college in response to a need for teachers in the district.  The college is located several miles down the road from the ARI School and was established in 2011.  To receive accreditation, the college needed a library.  The 2013 team constructed a stone building that will house a library and computer lab.  The building was dedicated the last day we were there. During one of our work days, we were asked to meet with the second year college students.  There were four teachers or retired teachers on our team.  These folks shared classroom experiences and offered words of encouragement to the teachers in training.  After we returned home, we received an email informing us that each of the graduating students had passed the national teachers’ examination.

"What do the children of Kenya do to anyone who has visited their country?  They change your life and touch your heart.  That is what they did to me!  These children changed my views on life and helped to shape my appreciation for my own education.  The second that I stepped on the school grounds at ARI in 2007 and again in 2013 and the first hand grabbed my hand, I knew that what was going on at this school was something serious.  Their love and passion just radiates from them.  It pulls you in and draws a similar passion out of your own heart.  They have the power to make you sing and dance as if no one is watching.  They make you smile, laugh and cry tears of you.  I look forward to returning." -- Mackenzie Rodgers

"I cannot express to you the effect my trips to Kenya have had on my teaching career.  Every time I step foot in the classroom in Kenya and see the passion with which their teachers teach and with which their students learn is contagious.  I have taken each of my four children to Kenya, not so they could see a wild elephant, but so they could see what it meant to truly value the educational opportunity provided them.  They appreciate what they have more now.  I have also had the chance to join two former students on a trip to Kenya.  I know how important it is to me to see the importance of education and share that experience." -- Scott Rodgers

"I was very blessed in July 2013 to be part of a mission team that went to Kenya to help Rev. Misheck Kanake build a library at Tendo Valley Teachers College and as a result of that library, the college is now accredited.  This was a life changing event for me, as it was the first time I had ever traveled to a third world country.  I am a spoiled American that witnessed firsthand how hungry the Kenyans are for education, how hard their daily lives are, how hard they work for opportunity, and how grateful they are for what we consider the bare necessities." -- Lynne Royal





Kenya, Africa Mission 2010

The Kenya Team…Rick and Delinda Rodgers, Scott Rodgers, Justin Rodgers, Ryan Ingram, Spencer Phillips

How much work can five adults and a ten year old accomplish in a week? Physically, we did a little painting, cleaning up construction debris, and sanding walls but spiritually we did more than will ever be measured! This year’s Kenya Team was the smallest that has ever made the trip. In terms of what we saw and the lives that touched us, only God will be able to measure that work. ARI School is prospering in terms of children being educated scholastically, spiritually, and ecologically. They continue to score near the top in the national exams that are administered to the eighth graders. They are strong in their belief in God and their love for Him. ARI School is teaching all of them to be self-sufficient. Each child is growing trees to plant and some of them help in the garden or work with the animals.

To see students who were orphans or who had been abandoned by their parents live each day with a joy and love made us realize that the Kanakes have certainly answered God’s call to serve Him. But outside the walls of ARI, Misheck is working to develop churches and schools that will serve localities that have never seen either. We attended churches that on Monday through Friday serve as schoolrooms. These buildings would have been condemned in the US but those folks were just happy to have a place to worship God.

The faces of the children will long live in the hearts of Spencer, Ryan, Justin, Scott, Rick, and Delinda. We will cherish the Swahili words that they taught us. We are challenged by the questions they asked us about our faith. We will smile when we think of them and hope to remain to touch with children whose names are Doreen, Elvis, Davis, Kelvin, Daisy, Moses, Pius or Georgina.

Hearts are touched. Lives are changed. Join us in 2013!

We left June 23, 2010 from Charlotte on our way to Maua. We arrived June 25, 2010 to an overwhelming place full of life and full of faith. Very few people we ran into did not follow Christ passionately. The next day we arrived at the ARI school. Misheck gave us a tour of the school and then invited us in his house for tea. Around three the children's classes ended and we got to meet them for the first time. I will never forget their joy in their faces, all of them so happy for us to be with them and play and share the love of Christ. I immediately because friends with a boy in grade eight named Davis Mukasia. Our friendship grew throughout the days we were there and I hope to stay in contact with him for years to come. Each day we came to the ARI school we did whatever Misheck wanted, whether it was working on the new classrooms being built at AIR or traveling to churches within his ministry and seeing what Christ had done for people in the surrounding communities. The thing that stood out most in my mind however was that at every place of worship we encountered, school, church or shack, the people praised Christ with every inch of their hearts. It brought tears to my eyes to see just how little they had materially and just how much had spiritually. Kenya has been an experience that I can and will never forget. All the people there, all the places we've been, and all the unforgettable memories that were made will live in my heart forever.
- Spencer Phillips

I would like to take this time to tell you about the spiritual growth that occurred on this trip. By God's grace alone, we were able to read Scriptures every night. We were blessed to see a central reoccurring, and constant theme. I believe the crux of this theme could be found in 1 John 1:5. See, we are all sinners, we all fall short. But while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. On the cross, Christ endured all of God's wrath. All of God's wrath. The wrath that was meant for us as the consequences of our sin. For His names sake Christ put death in His grave for us. We no longer have to endure the sting of death, we are freed from the consequences of our sin. And just as He rose, we were risen with Him. We were given the gift of eternal life, we become called to lose our lives, and live for Him. We were freed from the world, we are no longer slaves to money, to cars, to big houses, to status, but as Paul often says, we are slaves to our Savior, Christ Jesus. As He was risen, to all who believed, he removed their heart of stone, and replaced it with a heart of flesh. A heart centered around Him, a heart that hates sin, and flees from all darkness whenever it appears. A heart that wants nothing more than to glorify Him, and praise Him, with all that we do. So fervemtly on this trip we prayed that our Father may search our hearts, find all blemishes and expose them to us. Convict us so that we may change, so that we may become more like Him. To teach us how to truly worship Him with all that we have. To understand the meaning of the Gospels, and to appropriately live our lives in a manner that reflects the beauty that took place on the cross. I invite you to join us in this growth, and pray these prayers along with us so that we may all be sanctified and conformed to the image of our perfect savior. And come to an understanding of the meaning and implications of Paul's words as he says "To Live is Christ, and to die is Gain."
- Ryan Ingram


30th Anniversary Celebration
of the Partnership between Mount Olivet and Misheck Kanake
May 2007

    In the mid 1970’s, the Mount Olivet minister Rev. Lewis Gibbs applied for and was accepted to participate in the first pastoral exchange between a pastor in our conference and in a Third World country.  Rev. Gibbs and his family went to Kenya to become the pastoral family to approximately sixty churches. Rev. Misheck Kanake, his wife Jennifer, and three-week old son Jonathan came to live in our parsonage and serve as our ministerial family.  During the summer of 1977, Misheck preached sermons, visited in the hospital, and shared meals in our homes.  He even got to sit on the stage at Lake Junaluska with Oral Roberts.

When the Kanake family returned to Kenya, little did we realize the impact Misheck had had on our congregation or the doors that were opened for him by participating in this exchange. A few people maintained contact with the Kanake family. We knew that he was elevated to the position of bishop of his synod and that he had attended training in Japan.  But, over the years, the contacts became fewer. 
A visit in 1989 changed all of that!  Misheck stopped here on his way home from an international conference.  That night, he shared that one of his biggest disappointments was that no one from Mount Olivet had been to his home.  And that lit a fire in some folks….     

In 1991, the first Mount Olivet Kenya team traveled to Maua, Kenya.  The sixteen-member team began constructing a wooden dining hall with an attached kitchen.  In 1994, a ten-member team went to the school that Rev. Kanake had opened.  We built a three-room wooden dorm that housed about one hundred students.  This was the beginning of our involvement with the ARI School that educates children from kindergarten to eighth grade.  Our 1997 project was one of our biggest undertakings.  The major difference was that this chapel was to be constructed from stone cut from the local hills.  Our ten-member team dug a foundation using shovels and picks, laid block, filled in the floor area with stones and gravel and then mixed and hauled cement for the floor.  In 2000, our project was to complete a dorm that was under construction.  We installed window grates, slung mud on the walls to finish them, and laid a cement floor.  Two of our team members drew murals on the walls of the chapel that we had begun in 1997 and which was now completed.  Our 2003 trip was abruptly cancelled when world situations caused the cancellation of all flights in to Kenya by major airlines.  We returned in 2004 with our youngest member in tow—Cameron was six years old at the time.  He worked along side his father, grandfather, and other team members to enlarge the kitchen and dining hall facilities at ARI School.  The next chapter begins with ripples in the pond…..
The ripples of Misheck’s story continue to reach out.  Several years ago, Dwight McBride set up a website for the church.  He included information about the Kenya mission trips.  A man from one of the largest churches in the WNCC was looking for a place to spend some of his church’s mission money.  He did a web search and what popped up—our Kenya mission connection.  He and his wife were at our church on the Sunday we returned from our 2004 trip.  They witnessed the depth of feeling that each speaker had for this project.  Wesley Memorial UMC has now sent four teams to Kenya—not just to ARI School but other parts of the country also.  They have made improvements to churches, schools, and medical clinics.  Last year, they touched the lives of over 15,000 Kenyans.  In January 2007, they sent a medical team to one of these clinics.  They treated 1,500 people in one week!  Before this team left, they invited Rick and Delinda to attend a workshop to learn to make reading glasses.  In July, we will be fitting adults with glasses so they can study the scriptures.


Previous Expeditions:

2007 Expedition
17 individuals traveled to Kenya in late June, 2007 to see old friends and meet new Kenya individuals plus work on another building construction.

2004 Expedition
The 2004 Kenya team was comprised of ten members. This team had more women than men for the first time. It was the second time that three generations from the same family were represented with a grandfather, grandmother, son, and six-year old grandson being part of the group.
The team renovated a dining hall and kitchen facility at ARI School and began construction of a science building.

2003 Expedition Continued Support
The 2003 expedition had to be cancelled at the last moment due to terrorist threats in Kenya resulting in the decision by the commercial airlines to discontinue flying into Kenya. 2000 Expedition

2000 Expedition
The fourth expedition to Kenya to aid in mission and agricultural work was completed very satisfactory. Major accomplishments included building construction, people to people contact and understanding, and providing funds that enabled the Kenya school to obtain electricity for the first time.

1997 Expedition
The 10 members of the 1997 Expedition laid the stone foundation, built walls, and constructed trusses for a chapel and library on the campus of the African Rural Institute.

1994 Expedition
The 11 members of the second expedition constructed a three-room dormitory at the African Rural Institute (ARI).

1991 Expedition
The first trip included 16 members and constructed a kitchen and dining hall building at a church conference site.



The official Kenya destination website

Kenya Country Book

World Atlas Kenya map

'Go 2 Africa' Kenya map and details