I am so thankful that God brought Beth Ann Berkman into my life and ministry. Beth Ann graduated from Baylor University and is a marketing associate with Westrock coffee (great coffee that empowers farmers in Africa). We instantly connected because we both have a burning passion for God and the people of Kenya. Beth Ann started taking her trips to serve in Nairobi during high school and previously spent a month teaching the “Teach the Whole Bible” curriculum in the Kiberia slums. She traveled with us this summer, along with her mother, Tammy Berkman to help us teach that same curriculum in our partnering schools. What a blessing she is! Beth Ann serves on our Go Near Ministry board and is presently helping us develop our first Go Near Ministry summer internship program in Kenya. You’ll be hearing more from her in the future. Melody
From Beth Ann
This past summer I had the great privilege of taking my fourth trip to Kenya, and while this wasn’t my first time going, it was my first time with Go Near Ministry.
On this trip, I experienced new parts of Kenya, full of different faces and needs. As we walked into a different slum, different schools, different children’s homes and different villages, I couldn’t help but pull myself back and just watch as all the people who had traveled with GoNear before found familiar faces from previous trips.
I loved seeing the Newtons, Danny and Claire, hop off the bus to see the kids they grew close to over the years run to their sides screaming for their affection or to watch Penny Smith literally walk off the bus into a leadership role among her peers.
Watching the joy that spread across everyone’s faces as we piled off the bus at different stops and hearing the names chanted from the children as they searched for their buddies – this was a feeling that can’t be explained, only experienced.
On trips like these, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the experience of the place, the new culture and the hard sights. If you ever get a chance to go, I would encourage you to go with an open heart and open eyes to fully experience the vastness of God’s love for his people in a place that is so foreign to what you know.
As I sit here now to write this, I think back over the time spent with Go Near in Kenya and reflect on all that I saw on this trip. I can’t help but feel a strong sense of thankfulness as I recognize how serving a God, who is far bigger and so much better than we could ever imagine can use people like us on small trips like these to take His love to His people on the other side of the world. He can use the people of Kenya to remind us to hope and trust in Him. He shows us that He loves each of us uniquely and draws us to Him in parts of the world that are so different to us.
Beth Ann connected quickly with students we visit every year at our partnering schools.
Danny Newton and his daughter, Claire are on their third trip. They return back to Kenya every year to be with these children. They are so happy to be reunited and sending a photo back to Margaret Newton (Danny’s wife and Claire’s mother)
Beth Ann (far left) and Go Near team members are adorned with jewelry from the Maasai community as a thank you for visiting and for Go Near’s partnership with the school.