July 26, 2012
Hello once again from Etago!
As Christiana described in her last blog, singing is essential and especially wonderful here. Recently one of the teachers taught everyone a new song – “With Jesus in the Vessel.” The simple, yet meaningful lyrics, “With Jesus in the vessel we can smile out the storm as we go sailing home” is a perfect theme song for the school kids here, as well as any Christian. Kate mentioned in her blog how incredibly joyous all the children are at the places they have been privileged to teach, and our team here in Etago has discovered the same. Most if not all of the many many songs we’ve been blessed to hear our children sing are about redemption, salvation, eternal life in heaven, and praising God. “With Jesus in the vessel…”
The children here do not have nearly as many earthly things that we might consider “necessities.” At the end of the school day it’s common to see a couple broken shoes left on the ground, and students showing up barefoot the next day. Terrible diseases such as AIDS are so prominent here that with lack of medical resources, many easily lose friends and family members, as one student’s sad poem reminded us. Yet despite all their hardships of life, laughing, singing, and smiling remain constant every day. “…We can smile out the storm…”
Persevering, sailing on to better days, and ultimately heaven, is what these children strive for. They certainly use their gifts and talents to the glory of God, and this is clearly shown in the great success of the school. In 2011, the school was ranked 24th in their district of 143 schools. In 2012, out of 131 schools, standard 8 was ranked 29th, standard 7 ranked 8th, and standard 6 ranked 28th. The Lord has truly blessed this group of young children.
Last Sunday, we traveled to the CLC church in Omotembe, Kenya, and were able to join in their worship service filled with dancing and singing hymns, some of which were Kisii hymns that we are actually getting to know quite well now! J We then presented our ‘Seven C’s’ lessons to the eager and attentive children there. The afternoon was quickly filled with stops at a few homes, many hilarious conversations with our Kenyan brothers and sisters in Christ, and a very interesting car ride back to Etago in the refreshing Kenyan rain. J Thankfully, the rain stopped in time for Jennifer, Christiana, and I to help our host mother prepare supper, which includes (but is not limited to) rolling out chipati, milking a cow, and entertaining our hosts’ 5-month old son.
Monday and Tuesday we were back at school, finishing up our Bible lessons with the story of Jesus’ ascension and doing origami-type crafts. Also on Monday, the infamous blue baseball pants, among other sports uniforms as well, were distributed to the school kids, who all changed into them right away. The place was instantly transformed from a traditional Kenyan school with kids in pink and blue uniforms to a hillside full of several very energetic sports teams. J
Yesterday, our team and our hosts roadtripped to Lake Victoria. We were even able to get a ride out on the lake in a large motorboat (only after our friend in the Kenyan Navy refused to commandeer the unused ferry we found ;) ). Being in the boat, we really couldn’t help but sing “With Jesus in the Vessel.” Our time in Etago is coming to an end shortly, but we still have a couple days to teach and celebrate in the Lord with our new friends here.