Four of us woke early to watch the sunrise over Africa.
Roosters crowed and birds chirped in harmony. Kenyans chanted and drummed from a distance in the wake of a funeral. Randy proclaimed quietly and assuredly, “The sun rises every day, but today we watched it.”
It was a crazy busy day by American standards. From morning till night, we worked, prayed, worshiped and fellowshipped with Kenyans. It was so, so good.
After a breakfast of homemade African pancakes at Kehfa’s house, our team made our way back to Pride Rock for worship. We sang, did devotions, and prayed over three team members who were sensing specific need for support.
Then it was time for our first round of listening prayer. What’s listening prayer, you ask? We sat quietly, reflecting, praying, waiting and listening for God to reveal something to each one of us in His still small voice. Then we collectively gathered the words and images that came to our mind during prayer. The goal? To determine HOW we were going to spend our morning.
Randy jotted our collective words and images on notebook paper…white, boy in a blue shirt, rolling ball, children, dorm done, Juma new shoes, boy down a hill playing ball, wind coming in, washing feet, down, into the village.
Ultimately, eight from the group felt led to play and engage with children at the orphanage. Children arrived in three waves. They played soccer, both casually and competitively. They played frisbee, red rover, held babies, took walks together, and braided hair. It was a fabulous opportunity to release tension and really get to know the children at the orphanage.
Nate and I prayed further and felt called to leave the orphanage and go DOWN INTO THE VILLAGE. John, a pastor and staff member at Shangilia Orphanage, joined us to translate. On our walk down into the village, we found Francis (a man wearing WHITE) and Shadrach, cousins who are providing each other company in hard times. Francis has been orphaned for nearly 25 years. He is building a house, but has no job and no finances to finish, and doing all the work by himself makes the task even more daunting. Shadrach’s left eye and left ear don’t function at all, so he makes do with his right ear and right eye. He went to the doctor in Nairobi and was referred to an eye hospital, but doesn’t have finances to follow-up with care. We prayed for Francis and Shadrach and made our way further DOWN the valley. We came upon a group of three homes nestled in the deep. I engaged with and had fun photographing the large group of children outside the homes. Inside, we found Beatrice, a 78-year-old woman whose Bible was worn and torn from years of use. Her husband died years ago; two of seven of her children passed away far too young. “God loves me,” she said, as she showed us her Bible. After praying for Beatrice, we went next door to visit her son, Salamba, who has been ill, out of work for a month and unable to walk due to a significant wound on his foot. He showed us his foot, wide open, right there on the table. It was deep, large, an obviously infected wound in need of care. We prayed for Salamba, for healing, for wisdom, for clarity amidst his significant confusion about what to do. We left reluctantly, feeling clear that this man needs medical attention as soon as possible. We knew the rest of the group must know about Salamba’s situation.
Nate, John and I returned, meeting the group for a lunch of noodles, beef, and cabbage and Kehfa’s house.
After lunch, we made our way back to the new boys’ dorm to begin planning an afternoon of Vacation Bible School with the children. It rained. There were some delays. Kenyan staff delivered mattresses, blankets, sheets, pillows and furniture that had purchased for the new boys’ dorm scheduled to open tomorrow. Quite a bit of VERY EXCITING work had to be done to get the dorm supplies in place before we could begin engaging with the children. But it was all good. Oh so good. We made a dorm full of beds. The girls from the orphanage came in to sweep and wash floors. After all that, we divided into small groups and did Vacation Bible School. It was a hit, a huge success. The children loved it and were fully engaged in each station we set up. The rain subsided for the most part. It was good. Oh so good.
New furniture displaced supplies of clothing, shoes, socks, underwear, toys and school supplies we’d laid out in the new boys’ dorm living area. So our team decided it was a perfect time to distribute the underwear and socks to the children.
First, we brought out the girls socks and underwear. All the girls from the orphanage gathered and got in two lines – big girls and little girls. Three from our team and two Kenyan staff divided supplies accordingly, then we distributed socks and underwear to the children, one by one. The children came humbly, waited patiently, and were so grateful – for socks and underwear. I thought of all of you, those of you who so generously donated socks and underwear for the children. If only you could be here now. You would know how much your gifts were and are appreciated. After girls’ distribution, we moved to boys. Dark was closing in, so team members had to break out flashlights so we could see. Yes, it was amazing, absolutely incredible. One of my favorite parts of the day. God is working here.
Our evening ended with dinner of potatoes, cabbage and ground beef at Kehfa’s house followed by a team debriefing and planning for tomorrow. Half of us stayed up extra late working a few more hours in the boys’ dorm, making last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s dedication and opening of the dorm.
For the second time this day, I felt like a mama preparing rooms for her children. These orphans are not our biological children, but they are our children. We have the great privilege and responsibility of caring for them and loving on them while we’re here. May our work be pleasing to God and pleasing to the children. May they feel our love and care with each hug and tuck of a blanket.
Tomorrow is a big day. The new boys’ dorm will open. We will dedicate the building and the children will move in. It will be glorious. Wonderful. God breathed. God ordained. God given. Thank you for this day. And tomorrow, too.
Amy & Team
This blog post is part of a series I’m writing about my journey to Kenya, Africa, with the nonprofit organization, Love for Kenya, in the fall of 2015. Click here and you’ll be directed to the landing page where you can read ALL the posts from the series. If you haven’t already, read the post I wrote when I announced the trip. Otherwise, scroll to the bottom and you’ll find ALL the Kenya posts listed and linked for your reading enjoyment. Thanks for joining the journey, friends.