On the 5th of February, 2019, Sarah Maria was born at a small “clinic” and promptly became a “statistic” when her mother abandoned her moments later. Weighing less than four pounds, Sarah entered the world already struggling to survive, and her condition was compounded by the events that followed.
Normally a case like this would be reported to the police right away and we would have been called to collect the infant as soon as possible.
But in this case the clinician had a dark side, and he promptly contacted a lady who was known to be involved in child trafficking. For seven days these people schemed to get counterfeit paperwork in order to “adopt” the baby as they also looked for a willing buyer.
In most of these cases, an infant in this situation will end up being sold on the black market and used by street beggars, or worse.
Thankfully, in Sarah’s case some neighbors noticed the newborn and reported to the police. The man and woman were arrested, and MpM was called to rescue the week-old baby girl. When the police raided the home they found fake paperwork that was ready to transport the baby out of the country.
Sarah came to MpM and thrived as she quickly gained weight and overcame many hurdles. Eight months later Sarah was freed for adoption and went home with a wonderful, Jesus-loving couple to her own Forever Family.
We often get pictures of little ones after they leave MpM, but it is few that we get to really connect with again. In May 2022 we received a call from the mom letting us know they wanted to come visit us. We were excited to see Sarah again, and her parents let us know that they were praying about how to start the process of disclosing to her that she was adopted.
Disclosure is always a challenge for adoptive parents. And even more so here in Kenya where the culture still frowns on the adoption process. We encourage our adoptive parents to start the process slowly and simply do life as they look for opportunities to start sharing little bits of a child’s story. They had said nothing to Sarah up to this point.
But after a couple hours’ visit, as we were saying goodbye, Sarah (not her name now) climbed into Dave’s arms and stated to her mom and dad that she wanted to stay with her “other” mommy and daddy for a little while. More than a few tears were shed as this precious 3-year-old girl revealed that God was already at work in her young life!
Visiting Africa was something I thought I would only experience through books, movies, and pictures. However, that changed when my church took a mission trip to Dave and Jen Bell’s rescue mission for abandoned babies. I had the opportunity to travel to a fascinating land that would allow my boundary lines to fall in safe places by traveling with experienced leaders and friends to Mahali pa Maisha where I saw firsthand some of God’s precious babies that had been rescued and given the opportunity to life.
The MpM compound is an amazing and beautiful place! Each day was like stepping out into a summer day with the warm sunshine and birds chirping everywhere. Dave and Jen Bell both have been given a unique, specialized skill set that allow this rescue facility to be effectively managed. How do you care for 14 babies at a time? Ask Jen to help you organize a schedule! The baby center provides tender loving care that let infants thrive. Our team would help with feeding time each day – it was a privilege to help the women who care for these babies every day. It was clear from the workers’ faces that they loved every one of the these babies!
How do you keep a property efficiently maintained AND help your surrounding community become a better place? Ask Dave because he keeps things running like a well-oiled machine and has a heart for building relationships for the Kingdom. When our team was not helping at the compound, we enjoyed meeting many different people in the community. Whether we visited the local Maasai men and women, or children in the orphanage or village, the common factor with all of them was the joy that radiated from their faces, voices, and music. This joy is what my Western world needs.
Every day brought work, fun, and fellowship. I loved the experience of going to church and being moved by the Spirit eight thousand miles from home. We ended our trip by going on safari - seeing so many zoo animals outside the zoo was awesome…and fun! However, the highlight of each day for me was dinner time when Dave, Jen, Ethan, Selah, and Shaddy would join us for supper. Nothing replaces food and fellowship with God’s people. It is an encouragement to see what God will do when His people are obedient to His calling.
Amy Roeder 2022
Faith came to us in October 2018, She started her life by being dropped in a 15 foot pit latrine only moments after her birth. She was found wrapped in cloth and paper, and the umbilical cord had not been clamped. As if that wasn't bad enough, her throat had been slashed and she was likely strangled in an effort to kill her. She also had many wounds on her body from the maggots eating her flesh.
In December of 2018, Brea and Sandie Oravec were blessed to join the Bells for two weeks at Mahali pa Maisha. A lot of time was spent loving on the babies at the Infant Rescue Center.
A highlight of the trip was being able to help with a health clinic in the Inkito village. We were able to share the Christmas story with the children from the point of view of the shepherds, being that the Maasi are shepherds.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED YET LEFT ON HERE SINCE GOD HAS DONE SOME INCREDIBLE THINGS IN JESSE’S LIFE. READ ALL THE WAY TO THE END TO SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE!………Jesse came to us the 6th of May, 2015 at one month of age. He was given up by his parents as they were cousins and thus the conception and birth of Jesse was very taboo. The family and community tried to kill the baby so thankfully the parents made the right decision and offered him up for adoption.
When Deborah first came to us in July she was two weeks old and weighed just over 4.5 pounds. Her mother is an alcoholic and left her alone most of the time. It was reported that at times the mother would give Deborah alcohol to quiet down her cries.
Although the infant rescue center is the focal point of Mahali pa Maisha, there are also other ministries that radiate outward. One of those is working with area villages to help establish a fresh clean water supply for the children and the rest of the village.
In 2013, my husband Kim and I traveled as part of a mission team from our church to Kenya to serve alongside the Bells. After two weeks of falling in love with the ministry and babies of MpM, the rest of the team left and Kim and I stayed for a few days longer. The joy I witnessed the day after our team left will forever remain one of my sweetest memories of the trip.