Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 1: Paradise lost and Ruiru vbs

We eased our way into the trip with a free morning. We had our sweet driver, Martin, take us to a place called paradise lost. It was just a few minutes from where we were staying and ended up being the perfect opener for the trip. We walked the coffee farms, watched some locals play a soccer game, tried to feed some donkeys and camels and walked down to a waterfall there.
You could walk behind the waterfall into some caves. The guide was telling us in the war in the 60s hundreds of people would hide in these caves from rebel attack. I cannot imagine hundreds of people piled in these caves, at some points ducking and squeezing through to get to the next opening to wait it out in the pitch black, hungry and afraid. The beauty juxtaposed with the pain always rocks me.
We picnicked and discussed getting our hearts and attitudes ready for the trip and what our hopes and prayers were for the week. It was a restful and recharging morning after a long 20 hour journey.
Then we headed straight to Ruiru, a lower income suburb of Nairobi. The church VBS was expecting 100-125 kids and 200+ showed up. Chasing our van in with excited waves and bangs on the window. At first I could see the discomfort in Reese as she realized that these kids were going to storm her once we got out of this van. It was awesome to see her stretch out of her comfort zone as her shyness began to melt away after a few minutes as they rubbed her hair and kept saying soft! And scratched at her skin as if maybe the white was just painted over someone who resembled themselves underneath.
She finally broke out of her shell after the lesson and grabbed a jump rope and got in with the girls. We got some hand games going in a round and there was laughter and exchanged lessons in different songs and languages.

 I pulled a few girls aside as we played and spoke with them about their family situations, who they knew Jesus to be, and what they enjoy doing. The strength of the children is probably what amazes me most. Some orphans living with grandparents, some abused at home, some with scars all over their body from who knows what, some who's parents have AIDS, etc.

They rarely tell their stories looking for pity but instead tell them just as their story, that they find enjoyment in school, washing dishes, taking care of siblings. I asked a girl named Janice about who Jesus was to her. "The one who died on the cross". Yes. For you Janice. She told me how she talked to him throughout the day when things are hard and when things are good. Then back to jump roping and racing relays. It was soon time to go. I think it always surprises me how resilient my own kids are too. I remember taking Reese and Wheeler to Brazil and seeing them jump right in to a camp that was with kids not speaking their language in a country they weren't familiar with. I can push them far more than I do and they are not bound my the obstacles I am. They can adapt, adjust and jump in. Skin color, language, culture is far less of a barrier for them than it used to be for me. It blesses my heart more than anything else to see my kids embrace other cultures, people who have far bigger struggles then they could ever comprehend, and remind them of childhood, laughter, just being a kid. It was a beautiful day. 


  1. Love reading your posts about the trip. This was my favorite part of today's, "And scratched at her skin as if maybe the white was just painted over someone who resembled themselves underneath." What an awesome picture. We are the same underneath. A sinner saved by grace whom God cares and loves so much! Not bound by race or any other "division" that we have made. Thanks for posting and keep them coming! :)

  2. hey nice post meh, I love your style of blogging here. this post reminded me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: Overcoming Shyness .
    keep up the good work friend. I will be back to read more of your posts.