We have just arrived home (our “new home”) from our first day at camp. We were all kept very busy today… we have about 50+ children at camp this year and many activities to do over the next few days. Camp will be ending a day early as this Friday there will be a funeral and burial service for Wachira’s mother, Mama Wachira. The teachers and staff at PACE want to attend so we will be releasing the children from camp on Friday morning and immediately proceeding to the AIC church in Nyahururu for the service at 10:00 followed by the burial at the Wachira family home just outside of town. Please keep Wachira and his family in your prayers.
We had a good weekend… on Saturday we met with the staff and teachers for a meeting to go over the plans for camp. It was good to meet with them, get to know them, hear their ideas for this year and spend time praying with them for this week. So far, God has been faithful in our desire to plan a time that the children will enjoy! Later on Saturday, we worked again in the PAST library with Mr. Kago. We enjoyed this work very much as well as getting to know him. Of course, he and Phyllis hit it of immediately as she is a librarian at her school so they had lots to talk about and share.
On Sunday we were privileged to attend two churches… first, Wachira’s church… the AIC Church in Nyahururu then we headed right out to the Happy Church (that’s the name of the denomination) at the other side of town, closer to PACE. Our team had an opportunity at each church to introduce ourselves and greet the church with a word of encouragement and/or a scripture in some cases… then we sang as well… I must say, our prayers were answered as we didn’t sound too bad! It was a real joy to be back in these churches and we expressed our greetings on behalf of Harbour as well. The Happy Church service started at 10:30 and we were out by almost 1:00… then a couple of the ladies in the church escorted us to a room just outside of the sanctuary and laid out a table of Chai tea (boiled milk with tea) and buns. Pastor Macheria joined us shortly after and the team enjoyed a time of getting to know him a little better.
We arrived back at the guesthouse at just after 2:00 for our lunch. Then we quickly packed and off we went on the big blue bus to move into our new home. The house we are staying in now is about a 5 minute walk from PACE and allows us to get up, have a quick breakfast here and be at camp by the time the children gather for the morning assembly at 8:00 am.
Today we began with morning excersises… that’s like a little PE class with 50+ kids, and then a time of devotions led by the head teacher, John Mathenge. Then we broke up into smaller groups, teens and younger children (6 years to 12) for an our of Bible teaching.
The younger group, who Franklyn and Phyllis sat in with, did a lesson on obedience, based on the book of Jonah. Mary, Val and I sat in with the teens, and the lesson today was “Making Wise Choices.” It was very good… a mix of Biblical teaching, a little African political history, and very practical instruction to help these young people understand the value of having a vision for the future… being intentional about their growth and development in all areas of their lives. The instructor, one of the national teachers, made a point of telling the students how the average African Christian’s faith goes a “mile wide, but only and inch deep,” and how that needs to change if Africans, as individuals, communities and as a nation, wants to grow to maturity and be a force for positive change. It was very good to hear hear and begin to understand these issues from an African point of view and I am looking/waiting for opportunities to talk further with the students as well as the staff about these things.
The rest of the day was filled with different activities. Phyllis (assisted by Val and Franklyn) led the team in an object lesson about the cross to introduce the craft we had for the children to do. It was a great success and the many of the children wore their crosses for the rest of the day. Then we taught them “Capture the Flag.” That was a hit to… a few of the children were asking at lunch when we could play again. I think part of the attraction was getting their faces painted so we could make the two teams. We had a few of the teenagers take that role on… I feared they might go overboard on painting the children’s (and each other’s) faces, but they managed to restrain themselves for the most part! That was a relief as I’m not sure what the Kenyan teachers thought of this idea at first!
After lunch, there was mdazi to bake ( Kenyan donuts), horses to ride, games to play, then later in the evening… we gathered around some “gikos” (little coal fire pots) to roast sweet potatoes. As well we knawed on sugar cane. Yummy, but kinda messy! The kids love it though… it’s a real treat for them. The boys I sat with were asking if we brought the marshmallows and were thrilled when I told them we’d be enjoying them tomorrow (Tuesday) evening! (Thanks Leona, Madeline and Ben!) 😀 The children will appreciate them so very much!
The ladies were all pretty tired tonight after we got back in. It’s about 10:30 as I write and everyone is in bed… but unfortunately not sleeping yet. You see, we have this dog, which I believe is practically right outside Mary’s window… and it has been crying and yelping for the last hour or so. We can all hear it, but Mary is getting the brunt of it… for the second night in a row! Last night it had settled down right about now… maybe closer to 11… I’m praying that it will settle soon, so Mary can get to sleep! Last night I said… “Welcome to rural Kenya!”…. you just never know! Other than that… and the fact that Phyllis has yet to have a warm (forget hot) shower… the accommodations have been pretty comfortable. The house we are in has 5 bedrooms, all singles save for one that Val and Franklyn are sharing.
It is made of cement… walls and floor, but considering that, it is fairly warm, even when we get up in the morning. We have running water, which is very reliable here and though the electricity is out on Monday’s and Thursday in the whole district… it has not really affected us much as it is generally off from 6 to 6… so we just plan for the outages… get all our batteries charged, etc… early!
So, though I still here puppy outside, I think I will attempt to get some sleep myself! We are anticipating another busy day tomorrow! Then Wednesday will be a long… long day as we take the children on an all day field trip… which we are 99% sure will be to Nairobi. That will mean up at 4:30/5:00 am… and not back till after dark… but we trust the children will have a ball… they have all been talking about “the trip!”
The team all sends their greetings to their family and friends and I can tell you, they are having the time of their lives! So many new experiences, so many new people, young and “old” to get to know. Oh… a couple of times, when we have had some fairly physical activities, it’s fairly obvious that we are getting winded quicker than the locals… a couple of times today, I heard Mathenge, the head teacher, reassure whichever team member he was consoling (who was about to pass out from running around)… “Don’t worry, you are old!” Hmmmm… not sure how to take that. Yes, we admit, part of it may be age… but the air really is thinner up here at 8000 feet… we can really feel it! Look out when we come down… someone challenge Mary to a race… she very well may beat you by the time she comes home… all this training at a high altitude! She’s been involved in it all…. the crazier the better! One teacher nudged another earlier today and said, “Doesn’t Mary remind you of someone?” and a couple of Kenyans… young and “old” replied, “Mark!” Mary has so much love for these children… you can just see it flowing out of her! God has given her such a big heart for these people, especially the children… you can see it filling her with an energy that I don’t even think she knows she has! It’s so much fun to see her play and interact with the kids of all ages… she is having the time of her life!
Well… time to say “lala salama!” (Good night) Please keep the team in your prayers… oh… the puppy is quiet… praise God! Please continue to pray that we will be effective servants in what ever it is the Lord calls us to do in over the course of our time here serving alongside our Kenyan brothers and sisters!
We hope to be able to write again soon! Have a blessed week!
With love and in His service,
Sheryl, Phyllis, Mary, Val and Franklyn