Selma-based mission heads back to Kenya

Published 10:18 pm Saturday, August 31, 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya — A mission team with Selma-based Integrity Worldwide landed Friday night in Nairobi, Kenya and will headed to the remote village of Meto for an extended mission trip.

Meto, Kenya is the village where Integrity Worldwide has spent a majority of their mission work in recent years.

The family of Alan and Averee Hicks, who founded the organization, travels there at least three times each year.

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For the next 10 days the group will offer a much-needed dental and medical clinic, one that people in surrounding tribes are expected walk miles for days just to get there and seek medical attention.

The members of the team vary in their skills and abilities, but as a whole, the team was formed to achieve telling God’s story throughout Meto and other places of Kenya.

The members of this Integrity Worldwide mission trip include:


4 Janet Atchison, 60, registered nurse, works at Vaughan Regional Medical Center in out-patient surgery department

Atchison said she is traveling with Integrity Worldwide for her third time, but this is her fifth mission trip overall.

She said Integrity Worldwide is an awesome organization, a powerful organization where Alan and Averee have followed God’s lead from the very beginning.

“I am going to be a part of a growing community,” Atchison said, who went to Meto when it was much smaller, before Integrity started investing in the community. “While I have been going, it’s literally like watching a community grow in front of your eyes. Children are being fed, a library has been built and we are teaching people to open their own small businesses.”


4 Elon Steinberg, 59, retired, lives in Montgomery.

“I’m just going to serve the Lord,” Steinberg said. “ I have had two sisters who have gone on a trip to Meto with Integrity and two brother-in-laws and I just thought it was my turn.”

Elon’s sister passed away in 2008 and had gone to Meto previously where she fell in love with the people there. The library built in Meto two years ago by Integrity was named after her, the Meg Truman Library Center, which houses books and resources for children.

Elon’s niece, Selma dentist Rayne Osborn, is also on the trip for a similar reason.


4 Rayne Osborn, 29, dentist at Children’s Dentristy of Central Alabama

Rayne is going, not only to see the library dedicated to her aunt, but for several other reasons God has put on her heart and mind.

“I have the opportunity to see the library and meet the people she talked so lovingly about,” Rayne  said.

Rayne and her husband, James, are dentists who will be working at the dental clinics in Meto, working with hundreds that walk, sometimes 40 miles, to get dental help.

Rayne said she and James have been on previous missions to places like South Africa and said she wanted to continue that experience together, growing in the Lord and following his commands to serve others.


4 James Osborn, 30, dentist at Children’s Dentistry of Central Alabama

“God led us to Selma when I had opportunities to go into dentistry elsewhere,” James said, and explained the reason for their trip to Meto stems from that. “We felt like we were called to Selma to serve kids in the rural area.”

And they are going to serve hundreds of children this week in a remote area of Kenya, where many have never been to a dentist. At dental clinics run by Integrity Worldwide, tooth extractions are common place.

“I hope we have God’s heart, which is serving His people,” Osborn said. “He calls us to minister to His other children.”


4 Donna Long, 57, director of the Dallas County Family Resource Center

Long said she is going because she first and foremost was called to go to Meto, and for somewhat of a specific purpose.

While the trip is an opportunity to give medical relief to people far away, it is all Christ-centered in love, showing others through physical healing the love God has for his children. long is no doctor, but said she was called to pray.

“I asked God why I was called on this trip and he told me to pray for people,” Long said. “I am praying for people to have a revelation of how precious they are to Him.”

As for other signs and miracles that could happen along the way, she’ll take that too, she said.


4 Matt Sams, 35, forester at Buchanan Timber and Forestry

While Matt said he is partly tagging along with his wife, who is volunteering her dentistry services at the Integrity Worldwide medical clinic, for him this trip is all about his relationship with the Lord.

“My relationship with God has been evolving and my walk with the Lord has been growing so I have been wanting to go even deeper,” Matt said.

And his wife said this would be a great opportunity for them to grow together.


4 Julie Sams, 34, dentist at Julie R. Sams DMD, LLC

Sams said her and her husband, Matt, have always wanted to participate in a mission to Africa and once she learned of this opportunity she jumped on it.

“I always felt I wanted to go on s dental mission and this was the perfect time to go,” Julie said, who uses her dental practice as a platform for sharing Christ.


4 Caroline Bobo, 30, stay-at-home mother

Caroline grew up in Selma and graduated from Morgan Academy, but is now a resident of Birmingham.

Knowing the Hicks family, she has always wanted to participate in an Integrity Mission and once she had a heart for Africa she prayed for an opportunity to go.

“Once I started growing in the Lord I don’t know why, but I really just developed this passion for Africa and this love for Africa,” Caroline said.


4 Steven Bobo, 33, in residency at UAB medical school

Steven, Caroline’s husband, said God not only led him to this mission opportunity but medicine as a whole.

“I think God led me to medicine for missions and I have always felt my medical practice could be a platform for missions,” Steven said.

Through his wife Caroline, he met the Hicks family years ago and has traveled on other missions but none for medical relief. A recent mission of his was cancelled to go to Egypt, but through Integrity Worldwide, another opportunity opened for he and Caroline to go to Meto. This, Steven said, is all part of God’s plan.

“God was able to open another door,” Steven said.

Editor’s note: Former Times-Journal staff writer Ashley Johnson, 23, is also taking part in this mission trip. 

Johnson was invited to go on the trip because God placed a special desire on Averee Hicks’ heart to make sure she went.

Johnson is going to follow the trip as a reporter, taking pictures and gathering stories, but will also be a participant spiritually.