It’s July 1st and our fourth week here is coming to a close. Before we left for this trip I had a great big vision of what God was going to do here. I envisioned communities being revived after receiving new water filters, children being educated through our partnership with the staff at Lenkai Christian School, and much needed resources being built such as an animal pen, bookshelves, and a perimeter fence for the school grounds. Now let me take a deep breath before I say this… That vision was TINY compared to what God actually had planned for us and what we are experiencing now. Brian, Matthew, and I continuously talk about how God is opening our eyes daily to new wonders.
Our first water filter distribution took place in the heart of the Amboseli region. We distributed twenty Uzima water filters to a Masai community. The Masai people are part of one of the most historic tribes here in Africa. These people continue to preserve their tradition and live out their culture in the midst of a country that is rapidly becoming modernized through technology. It was a privilege to be a part of the team that was helping out this particular community. Amy, the leader of Just One Africa, was applauded throughout her speech to the men and women who were going to receive these filters. She educated them on waterborne illnesses, Uzima water filters, and living a healthy lifestyle in general. Because a translator was used to communicate between the Just One team and the Masai people, we were able to hear the gratefulness in the responses of the Masai. However, a translator was not necessary to see the gratitude and love these people had. This could be seen through the smiles, laughter, and claps they gave Amy. I had previously thought we were going to a downtrodden community in dire need of sustainable resources, but found out that this community was already alive and vibrant with the little they had. Yes, the water filters will be a great help to them, but the lesson I took from this experience was that a vibrant community is built on friendship and love (not the materials they have), something I can show more of to those in my own community back home.
The students at Lenkai just finished their midterm exams and are headed home for a short break. For me personally, I have the had the most fun working with the students at Lenkai. I have been teaching lessons to the students in computer skills, mathematics, and Christian religious education. Although the students each vary in personality and academic talent, they are all extremely eager to learn and have their own gifts. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these students will grow up to achieve their dreams; whether it is Nixon who wants to become a doctor, Sandra who wants to become a professional recording artist, Brian who wants to play in the English Premiere League, or Olivia who aspires to become the president of Kenya. I have learned not to doubt these kids. A person’s word means much more in Kenya than it does in America. Therefore, if you say something, you must keep your word, or else your respect will be lost, and each one of the students at Lenkai has done that. Nixon, a fourth grader, is the brightest student I have seen at Lenkai and therefore I have no reason to doubt that he will become a medical professional. Sandra, an eighth grader, leads worship on Sundays and God continues to use her in filling our church with the Holy Spirit as we prepare to hear the Sunday message from Pastor John and Pastor Dave. Brian, a fifth grader, makes the older students look silly on the soccer field as he sets out to dominate every game he plays as if a Manchester United scout were carefully watching his every move. Olivia, a fifth grader, is the most well-rounded student at the school. She seems to carefully examine everyone she crosses and takes the best qualities from them in order that she may become the best she can be. She dominates the eighth grade students in Bible trivia, knows how to make people laugh, and is always a step ahead of everyone else. Nixon will become a doctor. Sandra will become a famous gospel singer. Brian will play for Manchester United. Olivia will one day become the president of Kenya. I have no doubt in my mind.
I came to Lenkai thinking I would bestow my academic knowledge upon them, but I have quickly realized that they are bestowing more upon me than I could upon them. Through the students at Lenkai, I am learning that you don’t need state of the art facilities and private tutors to be successful in the classroom. You just need a willingness to learn and a hunger to obtain that dream you hope to have.
Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to something new everyday. Thank you for stretching me and pulling me in new directions. Thank you for showing me how big you are and how small I am. My visions can never compare to yours. Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may be led according to your will, and not my own.