Check us out at the new mission blog: www.kenyasports11.wordpress.com
We’re all safe and sound back in Nairobi from our safari. We’re making the preparations for our departure now so please keep us in your prayers. This is most a post to let you know we’re alright, I’ll be coming out with more details once we are in America.
Thanks for all your prayers and support,
Kenyan National Training Academy
Kenyan National Soccer Team Match
Men & Womens Basketball Games
EARLY this morning our wake up call, Wes Yeary, popped his head into our room with a 15 minute warning until the buses were leaving. Our very long last day in Nairobi began at 5 a.m. with Pastor Boniface. As you may recall we worked with him last week feeding street kids but today was different than last week and a bit more challenging. Boys were fighting and the group did not receive bread because they have been misbehaving, leaving them with just milk. Despite the chaos, we found throughout our conversations that many of them desire to get off the streets. Those that can still go to school want to, some want to go home, and others have goals of getting jobs. Although there was a language barrier we came together by praying for opportunities for the people in hopes they can break their addictions of inhaling glue. Once we got home we had a two hour break and most of us used it as a much needed nap time.
The group met up again to have a talk with Walter. He explained more to us about his ministry and how he got it started. He encouraged us about the impact we have had on people we have come in contact with this week, and how to let those people impact the rest of our lives. Everyone was deeply touched by what Walter had to say to each of us because it seems like we have all grown so close in a short amount of time.
Afterwards, we headed over to the largest gymnasium in Kenya to compete and fellowship with the volleyball team from the Kenyan National Training Academy. We have 5 volleyball girls on the trip with us so it was a great experience. We did win, but to us the more important thing was the relationships we built with a few of the girls after the game. We had some one on one time with the players and asked them if they knew about God and how we could pray for them. One of the girls asked Ashlie how to accept Christ into her life. It was a very touching moment and we felt that our time of service was paying off. The competitions continued as the soccer girls played the Kenya National Team. The girls definitely had a challenging game, the team was very experienced, but most of all they loved getting to know the girls on a deeper level and getting the opportunity to pray with them. Following soccer was the girls basketball game. Our team took on a championship winning club team but pulled out a win. Again, we spent time after the game to learn more about each player. Last but not least, the boys played the basketball team from the church the visited Sunday. After a grueling four quarters, the game ended in a tie. Most importantly the guys were able to put their competitive attitudes aside and sit down with the men of the opposing team and pray for them. Our day was full of competition but our main goal was to spread God’s love to our opponents through our love for the game.
Jordan Rice, Bri, and Brooke
The journey to the Olympic primary school today was an experience just going to it. On the out skirts of the 2nd largest slum in the world there were lines of trash and people picking through it looking for food and clothing to survive. Having already gone to a slum earlier in the week, I thought I was reasonably knowledgeable about slums. But, when we reached the school that over looks Kibera I saw how vast the slum was and I realized that know matter what I thought I knew life in a slum with over 1 million people was even more difficult than I previously imagined.
The children at Olympic school rushed to us like they had before and began to climb all over us. I believed that today was going to be the same as it had before, but I was wrong. I was more discouraged today then I had been this trip and I believe some others felt the same way. The children were extremely nice to us like usual, but to each other they were mean. They hit and pushed just to hold our hands. At one point a child was holding my hand and another threw him down just to grab mine. I felt discouraged until I saw a child probably only 8 years old, while we were doing a drills he picked up both soccer balls and brought them to me, which doesn’t seem like much but usually kids did not get want to chase down any balls. This encouraged me to seek God for the strength to minister to the children. There really were some special kids in the midst of the hurt and need around us.
After the first school we went to the Moi girls school to have basketball, soccer, and volleyball clinics. This was an eye opening experience because we went from extreme poverty to a prep school. While there Jessica and I were talking to two girls and they asked if we were saved and we replied yes, and one said that she was in the process of becoming saved. This meant a ton to me because I truly did not know how much good we could do at a prep school, but then I understood there are many people that we need to minister to not only the impoverished. While playing soccer the choir was practicing outside, their sweet voices were very calming.
Tonight Wes encouraged us to sit and pray in groups of two for different situations. I prayed with Lindsay and through our talk we grew closer to each other, which will help our relationship with the Lord.
Today had its ups and sadly it had some downs, but through it I was able to seek God and grow stronger in my faith.
Today was probably my favorite day. Don’t get me wrong, every day has been incredible, especially with this group of people and the things God is doing here, but today was extra special for me and a few of the others that were on this trip last year.
Last year we got to interact with the kids from the Olympic Academy twice. And for some reason the guys I had in my group at that clinic seared a mental image into my mind that stayed with me all year. As I walked into the school today, they ran up to me, “Do you remember us!!? We played futbol together! Remember?!? I still have the jersey you gave me!” Haha, and I’m thinking, “Of course I remember you guys, but how in the world do you remember me?”
The teachers and coaches we meet always tell us that these kids will remember us forever. And I guess up until now I’ve underestimated that statement because I didn’t see how we could do that much by playing one game of soccer with them. But today I saw how true it is. It was a cool feeling to see that the people who impacted me so greatly were influenced by me as well. Rachel Stepp said it best when she turned to me after reuniting with a kid she got to know last year and said, “I’m just so happy right now.” That’s the best way to sum up my emotions today: I was just happy.
Going into a mission trip, you don’t expect to get attached to these kids. You expect your life to be changed, because people tell you it will. You expect to feel sorry for the people you meet, because how could you not when they have so little? But you don’t expect to love them. You don’t expect to spend just a few hours with them and have God keep those kids on your heart for an entire year. But what an incredible feeling to see how God’s love can leave such a mark on these lives.
Thanks for all your support! We’re heading into our last day feeling a little tired, but still eager to serve. Please continue to pray for us, we’re not done yet.
P.S. Lotto and Brittany – two girls kept asking me about you two today, they were sad you weren’t here, but I promised them I’d let you guys know they missed you!
P.P.S. Nicky – you would be so proud of me, I made several little kids laugh today (as Nicky witnessed, this was quite a struggle for me last year haha)
Kizito Child Care Facility
Amri Best Care
We woke up this morning like every other morning, with a wake up knock from Wes and his heartwarming voice saying, “It’s a great day in Africa!” The excitement in his voice is always enough to get us motivated and ready for the day. We knew this day was going to be amazing, not only because we were going to be hanging out with little kids, but also because the girls last year had mentioned that this was one of their favorites. After today, it was completely obvious why this day held such a special place in their hearts. Our van pulled up to the Kizito Child Care Facility and one would not be kidding by saying that the kids were hanging on the fence and peaking through every crack in excitement for all of us to come. The smiles on their faces were contagious and showed no evidence of the conditions they came from. The second we entered the gate, pretty much every person had three kids hanging on them ready to receive the affection that we were ready to give them. The teachers were just as excited and thankful to have us there and made it feel like home the moment we arrived. They had tea, bread and fruit waiting and had no hesitation in serving us. It was obvious that they had been preparing for us to come and spend time with them because each class had a song/dance ready to perform. We had the opportunity to see the children at work in their various classrooms. We spread out into different groups and watched these young’s minds at work. The kids truly valued the time they had in the classroom and embraced the chance to learn. We had the opportunity to get close to our kids, which made saying goodbye a very heartbreaking task. The only thing that made this task bearable was in knowing that our next stop was going to be their sister orphanage, Amri Best Care. We were the first people to enter the gates of Amri Best and immediately felt like the most popular celebrities in the world. The kids had a pathway made for all of us to enter (red carpet style), however when they saw us “mizungu’s,” (white person) the pathway dissipated and they came running to us like a swarm of bees. Although we were not able to stay at Amri for as long as were were at Kizito, the worship songs, dancing and reciting of bible verses made this short trip a meaningful experience for all of us. It is amazing to see God’s work at hand in these volunteer staff members, from the pastor to the teachers, and the ongoing ministry we are building with these two orphanages. It was a humbling and learning experience for us to see kids so content with their lives despite the fact that they have close to nothing. We felt as though we learned and were touched more from these kids than we taught them. We learned what it means to be truly happy and content with your situation no matter the circumstances. God’s work is so apparent in these kids through their laughter, smiles and glowing eyes and they will forever be etched into our hearts!
We want to thank everyone for their continued thoughts, prayers, and following of the blog. God is doing great things here in Kenya! This is definitely a life changing and unforgettable experience that will never be forgotten!
<3 Allie and Rachel
Michezo Afrika is the website of one of our contacts down here. He is posting pictures and videos of our trip on his site:
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the new post by Kate Harris below
International Christian Center -Walters’ Home Church
Nairobi Stadium – kids in the Nairobi Junior Soccer League
We started off the day with a 7am wake-up call from Wes, “It’s a beautiful morning here in Kenya!” It was so beautiful, we ate breakfast outside, then headed to Buru Buru for a 45 minute clinic with a few of Walter’s teams to get a little muddy before church (especially Ashlie—she had a little tumble in the mud!) Our bus got stuck in the mud as we were leaving and all the kids rushed over to help push it out and it only took one shove with all the hands helping—the power of teamwork! We went to Walter’s home church at International Christian Center (ICC). It was a cool experience—the people seemed to be so open and honest during worship and I really enjoyed that. Everyone was just doing their own thing for God, not worried about what others may think. The pastor was awesome too, he reminded us what a true steward was and that everything we have comes from God. Immediately following, we met the ICC basketball team and presented them with some jerseys and basketballs. Some of the guys on the team were so tall, and two of them were on the Kenyan National Team. Our guys challenged them to a game on Wednesday, and with Big Phil’s moves we are sure to dominate them!
Grabbed a quick bite of pizza before we hit the Masai Market, which was absolute craziness! The vendors swarmed around us the second we set our eyes on one of their items. It took a while to figure out the bartering system, but by the end I was wheelin’ and dealin’!
Then it was back to the Nairobi Stadium, where we coached and played with the kids in the Nairobi Junior Soccer League. A bunch of the boys who toured us through the slums were in the league. They were all so good, and such great boys, and it was heartbreaking to think that they would be heading back to the slums when we were done. I bonded with one in particular; his name was William. He is such an awesome kid and great soccer player. He has so much potential in all areas of his life—he is so positive, self-motivated, and a natural leader. I am so thankful that Walter has put together this league to create opportunities for boys like William to fulfill their dreams and not be set back by their living conditions. Walter’s mission is one of a holistic approach: teach them sports, keep up with the boys’ grades, and teach them about living and playing for Jesus. The league is much more than just soccer; it teaches the boys how to live the right way. It was so sad to leave there today after building relationships with so many of them, but encouraging to know they are in such great hands. I thank God for what He is doing here in Nairobi.
Tonight we went to a restaurant called the Carnivore. The name definitely fit—the waiters brought around several selections of meat on a sword. It was awesome! There was an unlimited amount of chicken, beef, turkey, pork ribs, lamb, crocodile, camel, and ostrich meatballs. Mmm, so good! The meal lasted about three hours and the fellowship was great. I noticed how much more interaction was taking place without the presence of cell phones or ipods to distract us. It was a nice reminder that we can still have great conversations face to face, instead of via text!! (A little exaggeration, but you get what I mean!) I wish we could remember that when we get back to the states, where there are so many more distractions.
I am so thankful to be able to come on this trip. It is only halfway through and I have made some amazing friendships already and know they will only be strengthened by the end. I love the people here and the slower pace of life. I have learned so much in the few days I have been here and can see God working in unbelievable ways.
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and donations. They go farther than you know. Just wanted you to know we are praying for you all too and hope you are blessed as much as us by what we are doing here.