Sparks fly in Nairobi as DR volunteers teach welding

Originally published in Western Recorder –

Nairobi, Kenya–Two Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers spent five days in March on the outskirts of slums in Nairobi, Kenya, training a group of nationals to weld. Two-thirds of the group that they trained were women.

Through Baptist Global Missions and Kentucky DR, and by partnering with a local pastor, church and school, Bruce Bayes and Matt Stickel taught the group of 13 some of the basics of welding. They will, in turn, use their training to not only support their families, but also to draw an income for their church. The group works and operates cooperatively for the good of their church and community.

The nationals learned to build concrete construction forms that they can rent out to construction companies that are working in the area, as well as other smaller and simpler welding projects.

The missions project was similar to the welding training Kentucky Disaster Relief conducted in Mozambique last year.

“The biggest barrier was the language,” Stickel said. “You’re kind of hesitant to throw them (the women in the group) into a rough setting, but they wanted to do it.”

Although the welding was hard and dirty work where they would from time to time get burnt by flying chips and sparks, and in their culture “they’re not usually the ones out there doing that stuff, they’re fully capable,” he said. “I was really proud of the three I taught.”

Most of the nationals were believers, but a few were not, Stickel said. He, Bayes and others led a devotion each morning.

Coy Webb, director of Kentucky Disaster Relief, said that the goal was to “enable these national partners to better support their families and ministries, as well as open doors for the gospel.” (WR)