SAGE Returns to Kenya One Last Time

SAGE volunteers returned to the Masai Girls’ Rescue Center in Kajiado, Kenya, for the third time in September 2022 and built a home for the school’s dean.

This is a bittersweet mission trip experience to Kenya as it is the last of the planned mission trips for the current generation of SAGE volunteers. SAGE, Seniors in Action for God with Excellence, has participated in 25 domestic and international mission trips over the span of nearly three decades.

Bob Grady, retired SAGE president

There are now 22 new buildings on the campus, three of them built by SAGE. Soon the kitchen/dining hall will be torn down and replaced by a beautiful new, state-of-the-art building, the campus will be landscaped and the school will be able to serve its mission more fully.

Larry Moody, SAGE building superintendent, originally had a crew of nine, until two came down with a mild case of COVID-19 and had to quarantine for five days. That meant the remaining members had to work harder, but they were able to finish the dean’s home in time.

The medical team, headed up by Bill and Sharon Barretto, included four American nurses, one nurse practitioner, two national doctors and two additional national medical personnel. They treated over 1,100 patients as they went out to different villages each day.

Carol Hargreaves and her four helpers told more than 200 enthusiastic, wiggly children that Jesus loves them as they held two Vacation Bible Schools a day for six days.

Phil Vecchiarelli, pastor, held daily evangelistic meetings, which resulted in 84 baptisms on the last Sabbath.

At the nearby prison, a national chaplain prepared another 33 men and women for baptism, and SAGE members attended the baptisms there.

Maranatha had built an open-air chapel (poles and roof) in the men’s prison where the chaplain held meetings, and the women said they wished they could have a similar chapel on their side of the prison.

The girls who come to this center have run away from home to escape genital mutilation and child marriages. They miss their mothers, especially, so volunteers who come to work there are like mother or father figures to them.

One evening as the group was eating dinner at Tumaini Gardens, where they were staying, the male servers came in singing and dancing, bearing a delicious-looking cake. As the rhythmic song continued, the leader came to where Bob Grady, SAGE president, was sitting and pulled him to his feet to join the dance before presenting him with the cake in honor of his upcoming retirement!

Of course, no trip to Africa is complete without a safari to see all the exotic animals and birds created by God on this continent. Riding an ostrich, feeding a giraffe and cuddling a python were part of the fun enjoyed by team members before bidding farewell to this center that holds such a special place in their hearts.

Featured in: January/February 2023