Friday, December 7, 2007

Kenya Update - 12/7/2007


• 8:30am – Sylvester and a new driver picked me up at BTL to head over to the camp
o It was different not having Willie as my driver today, he was on a trip for the weekend but will be back with me on Monday.
o I arrived at the camp and it was a little different today, it almost had a sad, kind of depressed feel to it...the church wasn’t rocking like it has been, so I asked Sylvester what was going on and he said that the reality of camp coming to an end is setting in with the kids…I know how that can be when you really are having a good time, and you don’t want to go home…many of these kids really don’t want to go back to their reality!
o Sylvester invited me to come up and officially deliver the final 2 sessions to the camp and I was up and running…I told a couple introduction stories to kind of lighten the mood and get them tracking with me again and then it was just like the other sessions have been, lots of interaction and laughter and challenge from God’s word… you should have heard the uproar during the first session when I was preaching…I walked to the back of the church and looked out the door at the BTC tree and told them what I thought yesterday when I saw them sitting under it learning how to Be The Change…I told them how I Believe that the next generation of World Changers is going to emerge from under that tree! The church erupted!! Sylvester had tears in his eyes and many of the leaders stood to their feet and looked at their teens and applauded them! It’s amazing how powerful our words can be when they are truthful, filled with passion, belief and encouragement…I could’ve stopped the message right there it was that incredible of a moment! God was really moving today!
o I think if I were to judge the effectiveness of each of the sessions, today would’ve been the best of all of them…I shared the gospel again and invited Sylvester to come up and close the second session however he felt the Lord wanted him to…he gave an invitation to accept Christ and an invitation to commit their lives to serving Christ…as of this writing I know of 3 teens that told Sylvester that they had accepted Jesus as their Savior! One of the orphan boys (Kevin) was one of them! There were many more who responded to commit their lives to living for Christ, and the commitment cards were still coming in, so I’ll give an update with official commitments and salvation decisions when it’s final…God is Good!
o It was raining today so the games were held in the church…the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the campers though, they were really into it again! They had a contest to see who could draw the best picture of me in under 5 minutes…then I had to judge the winner. Talk about difficult! The campers then signed their names on the back of the pictures and gave them to me as a gift to remember them by, so I could pray for them all by name! It was a great gift! In one of the pictures though, I look like Lebron James, it was pretty funny.
o One of the competitions was a rap contest…these kids were really good at that…they are so creative and expressive, they really do everything with passion.
o After the games Sylvester and I went back into Nairobi to get some things and it was packed! There were cars and Mutatus and people and goats and Herds of Longhorns that would make even the biggest University of Texas fan proud…the city was teeming and alive with activity…I found myself surrounded in a sea of people…Sylvester was pointing out various religious & people groups that we saw on the way…We saw Muslims, Hindus, Seiks, Nomads, Rich people in BMW’s and poor people with broken walking sticks, filthy hole filled clothes and bare feet...young and old and even a huge billboard of Tupac Shakur…it was incredible to see so many kinds of people from so many different walks of life all converging on a city that was built to handle about 2 million people but now finds itself struggling to hold around 5 million…to say the least it was a zoo! At one point while we were sitting in the “Jom” as Sylvester called it (traffic jam is what he’s referring to)…I heard a bunch of people shouting in Swahili and then around the front of our car a group of about 10 guys were chasing a well dressed man shouting “Thief, Thief, Thief” and they caught him and starting beating him up on the other side of a bus that was sitting next to us…Sylvester said that that’s one of the techniques of pick pockets these days, they’ll walk the streets in nice clothes so people think they have money and don’t fear them, they will rob unsuspecting woman and take off…this guy wasn’t so fortunate, the civil law kicked into gear and Sylvester said that if the police didn’t get there soon, he’d be lucky to be alive…WOW!
o We got back to camp just in time for me to do the final session of the Leadership seminar…the leaders were really into it again today, we had a great closing session as we brainstormed about ways that they can implement the learnings into their own ministries…it’s so much fun for me to throw out a leadership principle and watch them tackle it & discuss it and figure out ways to put it into practice in their culture…there are some excellent leaders in this group!
o After the seminar I talked with Sylvester for a little while about his thoughts about the camp, and he had the look of a very happy, tired and satisfied Youth Pastor who just saw a ministry that has taken months of planning and preparation come to a successful completion. It was so incredible for me to sit and talk about what went well, what didn’t and what could be improved…he strikes me as a guy who is always striving to get better at what he does, and that kind of attitude towards youth ministry is so contagious, and is the kind of attitude that really energizes me!
o As I was leaving the camp a bunch of the kids from the camp and along the road were waving and saying goodbye…it was a bitter sweet moment for me to think that my time at the camp is done, but because of God’s life changing truths being accepted into lives this week, I’m going to see many of these kids again someday, either on this earth or someday in Heaven!
o My prayer for the kids at the Ruiru Baptist Camp is that they would continue to grow in their faith and take steps each day to Be The Change that this world needs, and stand up for Jesus who is the only one with the life changing power! You know what…I think they just might do it to…Kenyans are Survivors, that’s true but when Jesus is powering the change…they will become more like… THRIVERS! That’s my prayer!

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