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)