Christian Yoder recently joined the MITS stateside team as our new Administrative Coordinator. As Made in the Streets grows, we've created more ways to stay in touch with donors and support the work our team is doing in Kenya. We are thrilled that Christian has decided to join forces with us to keep our work with street kids running smoothly. Read on to get to know Christian a little bit better and see why we're so happy she's on the team.
What brought you to MITS?
I actually came across MITS’s website while I was job searching. Having recently moved to Nashville, I was looking to do something that aligned with my passions and gifts. The more I read and the more I began to understand the mission of Made In The Streets, the more I wanted to be a part. So I applied, and a few steps later, here I am! I feel really honored to be on this team and involved in what God is doing through MITS.
What are some words you live by?
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, only wise men are able to understand them.” -my favorite book, The Alchemist.
What does an ideal weekend look like?
I do love a good road trip and a great, thought-provoking lookout (beach AND mountains). But I am content with most things as long as a few of my favorite people are there, good music is playing, and laughter is not scarce.
What excites you most about working for MITS?
The more I have experienced of different people, different cultures, the more I have come to realize we are all really similar as human beings. We all have something to give, and we all have something to learn. I am really excited to give what I can and to learn from this team, from our donors, and from a bunch of really great kids in Kenya.
As we are in the midst of this rainy season in Kenya, one of my favorite things is falling asleep to the rain crashing down on my tin roof. Growing up in California, I didn’t experience many thunderstorms - it was something so foreign to me. To paint you a little picture, the downpour I encounter in San Diego is about equivalent to Kenya’s sprinkle. The storms here are earth-shaking, powerful, yet so beautiful. Through the rains, power-outages, roaring thunder, and chilly nights, I am learning so much. I am learning to both love and endure these storms. I am learning just how powerful and mighty our God is. With simply a whisper, He can call the rains, calm life’s storms, and bring clear skies. Because of this, I am learning that an incomprehensible peace follows the storm and His mercies truly are made new every morning. (Lamentations 3:23).
Our world is a broken place, filled with broken people. Our lives are full of storms and struggles; and our individual storms in life all look very different. Some of our storms involve: feeling purposeless, unworthy, not enough; facing unemployment, divorce, idolatry; overcoming illnesses, addictions, relationship difficulties. These storms can appear without any warning or caution. Similar to the physical storms I’m experiencing in Kenya, life’s storms can also be muddy, messy, and uncertain. They bring fear and doubt. But when the rains cease and the clouds are rolled back, there is immense clarity, healing, and grace. The repercussion of rain leads to cleansing, growth, restoration. The land becomes green, fruitful, and lush. The old is thrown off and a new beginning is created in mercy. My prayer is that we would receive this mercy that He has poured out so perfectly and that we would remember that He is a great provider of refuge when life’s storms prevail. After all, He provided the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I could have our greatest needs met.
We are so excited to visit friends and loved ones across the United States in April and May! Check out our schedule below to see which cities we'll be passing through.
April 5-9 • New York City
April 10-13 • Dallas, Texas
April 13-17 • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
April 17-20 • Denver, Colorado
April 20-27 • Fort Worth, Texas
April 27 - May 1 • Nashville, Tennessee
May 1-4 • Malibu, California
May 4-7 • San Jose, California
Keep track of the nationwide adventures of Brad, Irene, and Monicah as they tour across the United States.
I have diligently begun each day physically with open hands, not gripping, clenching, or holding onto anything; wide open palms asking the Lord to teach me something new. Recently I’m learning that healing comes through divine faith.
Valentine's Day was celebrated this year at the Learning Center with a few students passing out bougainvillea petals, others exchanging notes of admiration, and even more students simply meandering about telling one another why they love and are grateful for each other. What a gift!
That evening, I was blessed to introduce and share Galentine’s Day with a couple of the girlies! Galentine’s Day is a day to celebrate with the girls and women in our lives whom we love, value, respect, and treasure so deeply. It was such a precious evening spent giggling and sharing stories. About half way through feasting on pb&j sandwiches, mangos, and chocolates, one of my sweet students abruptly (and quite out of the blue) announced that Jesus has saved her from sexual abuse on three separate accounts. Immediately, silence fell within this little cottage where we ate. Before questions could even be raised, she unexpectedly jumped into a series of stories of how her Savior has in fact “rescued her from rape.” As she was spilling her heart out to us, the only thing I could think was: How could you let this happen, God? Why would you let this happen? As soon as she was through giving the depths and details of each incident, she quickly looked up, smiled at me, and said, “He saved me. He is good.” Still speechless, the only thought I had now was: Miracles do happen. She is brave. Although, I know there is still much healing to be had, I also know that her strength is immense and our God is bigger than this pain.
Over the past three weeks as a teaching intern in Kamulu, I’ve experienced much joy, strength, doubt, love, belonging, peace, pain, forgiveness, confusion, and divine faith. Jesus is so present in all things and at the center of all things. Our days begin and end with Him.
Last week, I had the most incredible opportunity to venture into the streets around Eastleigh for a base walk. Bases are areas throughout a city where street children will gather to live. It was my first time ever visiting a base and since then, I am forever changed. I loved watching the MITS team enter this base with such confidence and grace. It is so evident how much this team has compassion and adores these street children. It’s absolutely wondrous to see the way these kids are being embraced by the love of Jesus that this team effortlessly radiates.
We visited a base known as “Black Army”. It was a truly a gift being able to spend time with about 15 boys from the Black Army base. This base has no electricity and clean water, and is situated adjacent to a mound of trash that they use for resources. The boys have pitched tarps up against a large brick wall in order to create tents where they sleep. On this particular Friday, the team greeted the boys with open arms as though they were already family. We sat with them and chatted for some time. Next, a couple team members gave a short lesson on washing techniques as well as a lesson on first aid (in case someone gets injured at the base). Teachings like this may seem small, but they are incredibly practical for these boys to know to use in their everyday lives. Finally, other team members read scripture and gave a short message of encouragement for the boys. We prayed, shared snacks, and said our goodbyes.
Experiencing a base for the first time, seeing where these boys live, and learning how a base functions, I am left in awe. I am sure of one thing - these team members love, serve, and care for these boys as though they are brothers. They are the hands and feet of Jesus as they enter these bases. They plant the seeds, and faithfully water and nourish as they continuously come back to establish deeper and deeper relationships with these street children.
Many of the students at MITS were rescued from a base before coming to school here. After spending time with the boys of Black Army, it is overwhelming to comprehend how my current MITS students have come so far in a matter of just 2 or 3 years. Since this walk, I look at them with completely different eyes and I’m able to understand them on a radical level.
Jesus has provided me with strong relationships with many of the students. I have been gifted with sweet talks with some of the girls I’ve built friendships with about what their lives looked like before entering into MITS. We have quickly opened up with one another and have shared precious times giggling, questioning, singing, crying, and simply just sitting. My heart overflows with joy at the transparency within these beautiful connections. They’ve revealed the sorrow-filled struggles they faced on the streets and what base-life was like. My heart hurts for the ways that some of them were treated; and what they went through as a 10-year-old running away from home, jumping from base to base, fleeing when it was no longer safe. These stories capture heavy, unthinkable pain; yet exposed beneath the surface is much rejoicing in their Savior who has brought them out of their old ways of living.
After unraveling my thoughts and feelings, stepping back and examining how much these girls love and trust the Lord after everything they've seen and gone through, I am confident that He is not done working, and for that, I am not done waiting. I wait upon you Lord and trust that You are working and You are present. He has given us life to live to the fullest; and wow is life so full here in Kamulu. Life with Him is dependable and consistent. Because of this, these precious ones are growing into brave, wise, strong, extraordinary sons and daughters of the King.
WE'RE VISITING TEXAS
When you do this for 20 years, you're bound to pick up a few stories and lessons along the way. Thoughts, impressions, news, and highlights from our staff, visitors, donors, students and alumni.