Sunday, December 2, 2007

Kenya Update - 2


• 9am – 2pm – Attended Church
o I was picked up by Willie and we went to Ruiru Baptist Church
o Sylvester introduced me to tons of people and I felt overwhelmingly welcomed from the moment I stepped into the church. I was struck by the fact that I was the only white face as far as the eye could see but not one person looked at me and showed any signs of surprise or judgment or anything negative…I got the same welcome from everyone…that was so cool!
o I attended Sylvester’s youth class and had an opportunity to introduce myself and give an overview of what I’ll be doing at the camp
o Sylvester gave a challenging message about the cost of discipleship…he talked about how we need to be willing to sacrifice everything to follow Christ…It was so humbling for me to see a guy who has “nothing” from the world’s perspective challenge his students to stop being so selfish and give their all for God’s glory. (I was wishing the whole time he was talking that I could have gotten that talk on tape to share with students in America when they’re bummed because their I-Pod broke.)
o After the youth class I attended the main service and couldn’t believe how many young people were in the audience…I mean there were probably 200 people there and I would guess probably 75% of them were under the age of 25…So much for the Gap that exists in American Churches translating into this Kenyan church! (Majority of churches in America have a gap between ages 18-30). The young people led singing, prayed, gave testimonies and all kinds of things in the service…They basically did everything (and this was a regular service, not a Youth Sunday or anything)…and then the Pastor came up to preach. I sat in the back and watched as Sylvester beamed with joy as “his kids” ministered. I was reminded again at why YMI is so important. Because of our training Sylvester is not only equipped as a Youth Pastor but has the skill, talents, team, and respect of the rest of the church to play a critical role in the church’s existence! I also found out later that the churches in the area are calling on Sylvester to help organize area wide youth events with their youth as well, because he is one of a very few professionally trained Youth Pastors in all of Nairobi!
o At the end of the message Pastor Christopher invited me to come up and introduce myself and share a little bit about my ministry, again I felt very welcomed!
o The service started at about 9:30am and I got back to the BTL at about 2:30pm – These people don’t just go to church, they DO CHURCH…Together!

• 2:30 – 5:30 – Rested at the BTL
o Called Bonnie and found out while I was enjoying 75 degree weather Rochester got a snow storm. (That always happens when I’m gone…last year when I was in Ukraine, they got several feet!)
• 5:30-8pm – Went back to church to help the Youth Leaders set-up for camp
o When I arrived I saw Sylvester with a machete in his hands “cutting the grass” so that the campers would be more comfortable when they arrive…I walked up to him and said “hey what you doing?” to which he replied “playing golf…ha ha” – He is such a hard worker and his kids really respond to him because he’s earned the right to be heard.
o Sylvester gave me an opportunity to address his youth leaders and I was amazed with the fact that of the 30 or so leaders he has on his team (all between the ages of 19-30) the majority of them have grown up in the church, and under Sylvester’s leading as their Youth Pastor (He’s only 29 years old and has been leading in his church since he was a young boy!)
o I met 2 young orphan boys (Kevin & Michael) who are at the camp on a scholarship (each camper has to pay to come, it’s not much but they work from the philosophy that if you pay for it you appreciate it more) but they allowed these 2 boys to help with the work of setting up in exchange for their camp fee…My heart broke as I listened to Sylvester tell me Kevin’s story…He lost both his mom and dad recently (within the last year) and Michael lost his dad (not sure about his mom) about 2 years ago. 2 of Sylvester’s youth leaders work with a local orphanage and have been ministering to these boys. I asked if I could visit the orphanage while I’m in Kenya and they said they would set something up.
o I also met a guy who started a teen discussion group called “Be the Change” that meets each Sunday afternoon under a big tree in the center of the church property. He’s one of Sylvester’s youth leaders who got tired of hearing his fellow Kenyan’s complain about this and that, and all of the world’s ills…so he started this weekly gathering where young people come and sit under the tree and talk about what’s wrong with the world and pray for God to help them “Be The Change” that the world needs!
• The camp starts tomorrow
o I’ll be helping Sylvester and Willie get supplies in Nairobi in the morning and the teens arrive around 3pm
o I’ll be giving a 15 minute devotional and overview tomorrow night, then each day after that I’ll be speaking twice each day to the teens and leading a seminar with the leaders in the afternoon.

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