The Book of Team 2: Entry 2
The average American probably thinks Africa is a dry, brown and red country. They know of the savannahs and the greenery around the rivers but what they don't know is that God has blessed this land. Loren and I are staying with a family whose house is right up the hill from the school. Loren took me up to the top of the hill and you can see the entire valley. Lush is the only way to describe the view that was before me. The greenery is only broken up by the strips of hillside farming and the shiny tin roofs of the various houses. The land doesn't change throughout the year and neither does the weather. Seventy to Eighty degrees (Fahrenheit because, as a true American, the metric system is absolutely lost on me) everyday only broken up by the evening rain, carried from the clouds of Lake Victoria. Everyone is friendly here. You can wave or greet anyone you meet and it is expected that they will cordially greet you back. They are not shy to talk to me, whether for conversation or for a donation.
We went to Chotororo today, which is where the seminary in Kisii is located. It is near the border of the Masai, Luo, and Kisii. There are members of all three counties that visit the church, as well as a couple scores of children. We taught them the 7 C's and they were well received. (By the way, if Prof. Roehl reads this, the children here are at a near high school level for the English language classes.) The children seem to be familiar with the lessons but even though they have heard the words, they have not seen pictures. They scramble over each other, crane their small heads, jostle, shove and complain to get better views of the ones our group has brought. The children and adults here also traded songs with us, there are not a lot of shy Kenyans when it comes to belting out whatever tune is in their heads. I'd tell you to imagine a group of school children in the United States but you've never seen singing like this.
We played games with the children and sang very active and fun songs to them. The children showed us their games as well. We ended our visit for the day with more singing, a small Bible lesson, and also a prayer. The fellowship that we show to each other is extremely valuable to both us and them. We retired to the girls' host family and discussed the day and future plans.
God has truly given us a wonderful opportunity to share our faith. God truly doesn't let any of His word fall to the ground nor does He neglect His disciples in other nations. The lessons we teach are valuable but the Scripture and fellowship we bring make our brother and sisterhood in Christ all the more tangible. May God watch over the Mission Helpers as well as the congregations they visit.
P.S. I raced a Kenyan today for about 1k. He fairly decently crushed me in the long distance but for the last sprint he didn't have a prayer, so I'd say it's a split.
So, just a quick comment on my fellow Mission Helper, Matthew's, blog post…that Kenyan may not have beaten Matthew to the door, but he most definitely beat him in lung capacity. The rest of our team was waiting for him inside our (Gretchen, Jennifer, and me) tin roof/one room hut on our host's small farm, when we suddenly heard loud cheering and giggling from a few kids outside the house. Shortly after, a breathless, victorious Matthew was seen hitting the tin roof with his hand—instead of his head for a change—and the Kenyan boy was seen smiling and laughing on his way in. After a round of handshakes, the boy left and Matthew lay flat against the nice cold floor of the hut. After a few minutes, Loren looked at him and said, "Let's hope he's just relaxing and not falling into a coma," to this Matthew replied, "I'll let you know if I do…I'll try to twitch or something." So as you can see…it wasn't exactly a victory, especially since after the boy started beating him in the run to our host's house, Matthew made him wait until they reached the top of the hill to sprint him to the door. But I suppose I'll give him this--Matthew did lose some energy running from our host's house to his host's house before coming back.
After this breath-taking ( ;) ) moment, we tried to catch up on some of our scripture readings, but that soon came to a halt when the sound of the rain beating on the tin roof defeated my skills in speaking…or yelling rather.
Yesterday was our first day teaching the lessons as you heard from Gretchen, and they all went pretty well. My lesson was Catastrophe and Confusion and at the end of the day I brought out two sheets that I had written the passages Genesis 9:11&13 (the promise of the rainbow) on. The kids came curiously and excitedly to see what all the commotion was about, soon finding that they would be putting their painted rainbow handprints onto these 2 ½ yard sheets! The youngest children came first and started in a line to have their hands painted by us Mission Helpers, but soon turned into a crowd of little hands every way you turned. They were so excited and happy to be using paint that when all of the kids had had their turn pasting their prints on the sheets, many of them came up for seconds, or thirds…one kid told us he came back twenty times! When the children had all finished, it was time for the Mission Helpers to get a little colorful, so we started putting paint on our own hands, when out of nowhere I felt a slap on my cheek by the painted hand of none other than…Matthew. I sprinted after him with a handful of paint and in passing he hit Gretchen as well. I came close…ish to catching Matthew but shortly gave up until later when Matthew's guard was down. All of the kids of course thought this was hilarious, especially when Matthew had gotten one of their teachers in the face with paint and she retaliated with a painted heart to slap onto his cheek.
The fellowship and bonding, after being at this school for only two days, has really proven to be an important reason for our being here. It has been wonderful getting to know all of the teachers and children in Etago. They are always so happy and excited to try different things and listen to the wonderful Words that our Savior has to offer. The teachers, all around our ages, have become our friends in these short couple of days, and the children have become more comfortable with us. The teachers even gave me a nickname—Kumi na Kumi. You'll have to ask me about that later, if you're interested. But it is obvious that fellowship and friendship has been one of the main reasons for God leading us to this school. The people, everywhere we go, including those at the church we went to today, are all so happy to see that we came all the way just to share in fellowship with them. Right after our short, yet again cramped drive (in which Matthew challenged my ability to French-braid Gretchen's hair, and lost), we arrived in Chotororo and drove up the hill to walk to the school. Once we got out, there was an old woman standing by a field of sugar cane. She had the most joyful grin I've ever seen on a person's face as she quickly shuffled across the path to greet us. She went around to each member of the group, grabbing both of our hands into her own, speaking Kisii non-stop and bringing us in close to touch our faces to hers. The joyfulness of her heart, seen clearly through her expressions, showed us the gratitude she had in what seemed like a long awaited visit from fellow CLC members. The rest of the time at the church in Chotororo today was spent in teaching lessons; singing songs and hymns such as Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah, Father Abraham, I just want to be a Sheep, and many others; playing games such as their version of duck duck gray duck, our hokey pokey, and other games from both cultures; and listening to recitations of different verses of the Bible. This fellowship has been a blessing to share with those here in Kenya and has clearly been prayed for by the people in these congregations.
One last thing I would like to mention is the main building here in Etago. It is in much need of repair because it is on a steep slope where water is currently, literally, washing it away. The mud and concrete building is being held up the slope by wooden posts and pieces of it easily crumble even when touching the sides of the building. Loren even took a picture of us all "holding up the building" after we did our rainbow hands project. The need for a new building here is quite obvious, so if there is any way you could help to make that happen, please do. These people here are so happy to just be able to have this school and be a part of the Holy Christian Church that we all share fellowship in, but the need of a new building is obvious if they are to continue on for many years with a school here.
Please pray for all of these people here in Kenya as well as those that the other Mission Helpers are visiting. I also ask that you pray for everyone who is still in need of the Gospel message and that you help to share this wonderful gift with them. For earth is only our dwelling place for a short time until we are able to return home to our Savior in heaven. Bwana asifwe! for His blessing of His Son.