This week was a complete whirlwind—seven days of teaching, reuniting with friends, and obscene amounts of rice. My schedule looked a bit different to Pop and Doug’s schedule for the week. Monday was more of an open day. Pop and I were able to get our bearings, buy some tea from Nakumatt, and meet up with Doug for the Bible school’s afternoon session.
On Tuesday, my Kenyan brother, Dixon took me to Tumaini Children’s Home in Soy, where he and wife Patricia oversee the orphanage and school. Last year, I visited Tumaini (which in Kiswahili means “hope”) and fell in love with the place and the kids that call it home.
The grounds, which are enclosed behind the big blue gate, are stunning. Beautiful landscaping lines the main path that leads to each house, school room, and dining hall. Having only been open for 2 years, the painted colors on each building are still holding their brilliant luster.
I spent Tuesday and Thursday with the kids and teachers in Soy, teaching Bible stories, good hygiene habits, and how to construct sentences in English via games of Hangman…which just so happened to be a huge hit. (Without the hangman!)
To wrap up my time in Soy, I gathered all the teachers to give them a word of encouragement. These teachers are laying the foundations for the kids’ futures, with around 75% of them being orphans with no one to stand with them or believe in them.
In a world that refuses to see the God-potential within others, these children need to know that there is hope! There is someone who believes in them and will help them achieve their big, beautiful dreams. “For who in their right mind would despise the day of small beginnings?” (Zechariah 4: 10)
Wednesday was a typical Kenyan day…we were about 2 hours late for everything. I have found that when travelling within Kenya, you shouldn’t have a tight schedule. In fact, don’t really plan on being anywhere at any certain time—really, don’t even have a schedule.
Friday was a quite an experience. I was asked by Wycliffe, dean of students at the GFE Bible School, on Tuesday if I would consider speaking Friday morning to the students. Seeing as how he asked me on Tuesday, one would think that I would have been heaps prepared to speak come Friday morning.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. In fact, come breakfast, I asked my dad and Doug if they knew what I should talk about because I seriously had nothing. It wasn’t until I was at the church listening to Wycliffe introducing me as the morning speaker that I heard from the Holy Spirit—“Lydia, just finish the story.”
So, I got up and did just that. (The story to which God was referring was about tornadoes that I had begun telling the previous day to a couple of students) Well, 45 minutes later I wrapped up my message and turned it over to Doug.
When I sat down, I was still shocked that the Holy Spirit had just outright spoken straight through me for 45 minutes. Apparently what He had to say was good judging by the feedback I received from the students and staff. Amazing what happens when you step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit wants to do. The Spirit that is within you will minister to the same Spirit within others.
Throughout this week, I have been honored with invitations to come eat in our friends’ homes.
Tuesdays’ dinner was with Willie and Jernice, Thursday’s dinner was with the Omondi’s, Friday’s dinner was with the Bahati’s, Saturday’s lunch was with Moses and Esther, Saturday’s tea was with Jernice, and Saturday’s dinner was with Kevin and Monica.
I consider it a great privilege to eat with someone in their home. It is one thing to be in ministry together, but it’s another thing to actually enjoy the people you do ministry with. Those are the kind of people we do ministry with here. We genuinely want to be around each other. Hello…unity in the Spirit.
Saturday was the icing on our exquisitely-designed-cake-kind-of-week. Pop and I met the GFE team at the church to help pack lunches for the people in the nearby Kamkunji slum. Armed with buckets of brown paper bags containing rice, potatoes, and beans, we set off to literally feed the hungry, to help those who are unable to help themselves.
Walking through the slum, I wondered at who else in this outcast place would one day find salvation in Jesus, join Ben’s team, and become a great leader in the kingdom of God…because around here that is the common story line.
As I sat with the kids on the hillside overlooking the slum, talking to them about Jesus and passing out food, I realized that this is probably one of my favorite moments that I have ever had the privilege to experience.
Sunday morning church was refreshing. I received the honor of preaching in the first service at Ben’s church. After the first service, the church began singing reverent hymn-like songs to God. Then, all of the sudden, the place erupted into a song of joyous, explosive praise. Needless to say, no one wanted it to end and everyone was sweaty.