Lubbock Christian University President Tim Perrin and First Lady Lucy Perrin recently spent a week visiting the East African country of Kenya. While in Kenya, the Perrins were able to experience firsthand the great work that is being done by LCU.
Q: What inspired your trip to Kenya?
A: Lubbock Christian University has had a long relationship with East Africa and Kenya, and we wanted to explore opportunities for deeper involvement there by faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Each summer, our students have the chance to do internships in Malindi, Kenya, in connection with the work of one of our professors, Jim Beck, who spends the majority of the year there. We wanted to see firsthand the work of Kenya Widows and Orphans (KWO), a wonderful ministry out of Midland, Texas, that LCU alumni Terry and Cherie Creech are deeply involved in.
Q: Who did you travel with and what is their background and connection to LCU?
A: We traveled with Terry and Cherie Creech of Midland, TX, who are LCU alumni and good friends. More than a year ago, Lucy and I were talking with the Creeches about LCU’s future, and I told them that I thought LCU should be doing more in East Africa. They told me about KWO and we committed then to making a trip to Kenya together. It took us a while, but we finally made it happen! We also traveled with Dr. Daniel Hatch, LCU professor and director of our nurse practitioner program, so that he could explore opportunities for LCU nursing and nurse practitioner students in particular. And, in Kenya, we met and traveled with Tim Neale, who directs KWO’s work in Kenya. Tim spends about 12 weeks each year in the country.
Q: Which organizations did you work with upon arrival?
A: We started at Made in the Streets (MITS), a powerful ministry to street kids that is located just outside Nairobi. Our son had spent part of a summer at MITS, so it was great to be there and to meet the leadership of that wonderful ministry. We spent the majority of our time visiting orphanages, schools, and rural health clinics supported by KWO. We visited four orphanages in Western Kenya. And we traveled to the East coast of Kenya, to Malindi, to visit Jim Beck and to see the remarkable community development projects that he supports and empowers.
Q: What were your first impressions?
A: We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the country and the gracious hospitality of the people. We were touched by the joyfulness of the children we met who have all faced more adversity in their short lives than one should have to endure in a lifetime. We were amazed by the compassion of the Kenyan churches that have stepped up to the challenge and are seeking to serve and support the large orphan populations in their communities. We were impressed by the leadership of KWO—Godly men and women who are faithfully serving in powerful ways.
Q: In what ways did this trip impact you?
A: We were reminded that the most important things in life are not the material things that so often consume our thinking. We saw evidence in Kenya of crushing poverty, lack of healthcare, problematic violence, and government corruption. At the same time, we were inspired by the resilience of the human spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit through the believers in the local churches, who themselves have few resources, but give generously and work tirelessly to care for those who are in greater need. We left Kenya wanting to go back, but more importantly, wanting our students to have the life-changing opportunity of serving and learning in that part of the world.
Q: In what ways do you think students and the university will benefit from working with the organizations in Kenya?
A: Our students will benefit by having the opportunity to experience another culture, one very different from their own. They will benefit by using their gifts and abilities to serve, whether by providing basic healthcare, by teaching English, or by sharing the good news of the gospel. They will benefit by beginning to understand just how big God’s kingdom is and to see the faithful witness of their brothers and sisters in Kenya.