22 Jul They encouraged us more
The trip to Kijabe and our time there was a trip that left me with many things to think about. It was a wonderful experience and we have been in contact with some of those we met since returning home. There was so much physical need there and yet the ones we worked with had such a strong faith in God that it was hard to say that they needed anything.
One of the churches we attended was a Maasai church in a very remote area with no water. The building was made of mud and sticks and the termites were eating the sticks. When our son Wes preached and their minister translated, it was an amazing experience. The music was very worshipful and energetic. The young children stood during the service because there were not enough seats. They were very well behaved. They wanted to be near us and to touch our skin and rub our hair. Pastor Simon has such a heart for his people and is truly like the first Christians, going into areas where the Maasai still practice witchcraft and have never heard the gospel. Like Paul, he goes back to the converts to be sure they are staying true to the Gospel of Christ. He has begun a total of 13 churches. His mother was one of the first Christians in the area where they are in and two of his brothers are elders in the church.
The maintenance crew we worked with gathered in their maintenance shed each work day at 8 and spent an hour in devotions. One morning a week was a Christian leadership study, one was spent totally in prayer and the other mornings were spent either in Bible study or just singing praises. Most of the songs they sang were the old hymns I grew up with and it was truly amazing to worship with them in this way.
Early on, I realized I was not generally worth much on the maintenance teams (I am a good painter and did that pretty well!) so some of the time after devotions, I went to the children’s hospital and either visited the children at their bedsides or in the playroom. The deformities were certainly things I had never seen and most of the children at the hospital spoke no English. I learned a few Swahili words and all children respond to a smile and calming words (and legos and coloring books). Pastor Phoebe went with me to their bedsides the first day I went and let me pray with some who did speak English. While Kenya is predominately Christian, it is bordered by Muslim countries and many of the children who come there are Muslim. The hospital staff all work hard to show the love of Christ and Pastor Phoebe works to make sure that the children and their parents or guardians all hear the gospel before they leave.
[pullquote style=”right”]When they started singing, “Our God”, it was extremely humbling to hear them raise their voices with, “our God is greater our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other……” [/pullquote] We also went to an IDP camp, an orphanage and a children’s extended care program for orphans that still live at home with a relative. Everywhere we went the children were glad to see us and wanted to be with us. On the second visit to the IDP (internally displaced persons) a group of girls wanted us to sing with them. I did know several of the songs they wanted to sing so we sang standing in the barren areas between where the corn grew around their tents or homes that Habitat had built and where the boys were throwing a football to each other. They have no water, no electricity, they have lived here for 3 and a half years and are just now able to start back to school and then only for the mornings because there is no food for lunch. But they could still sing praise to God…..
There are so many ways that we want to be able to help them, but I think they encouraged us more than we did them. We were with people we would have had nothing at all in common with except the love of Christ and that bond with them was immediately strong. We do continue to thank God in “all our remembrances” of them (Phil 1:3) and hope to visit them again.