Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Connecting with Kenya #3

YMI East Africa Director, Sylvester Onyango is visiting the US in a few weeks. In 2007 I spent 3 weeks in Kenya, so the next few posts are dedicated to some of the journal entries from that trip...

• It’s been a while since I last blogged and a lot has happened this past week… I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and write, but I’ll try to capture as much as I can from memory.

My time at Kenya Baptist Theological College was awesome! I was able to rub shoulders with some amazing Youth and Pastoral Majors who really have a heart to serve the Lord in Kenya!

• On Thursday I spoke in chapel and was very well received by the students and faculty…God was working as I shared with the students…thanks for all of your prayers.

• Randy and I spent a lot of time with the School Administration and several professors regarding the future direction of the school (they are working towards becoming Kenya Baptist University), and YMI’s part in continuing to provide the training for the youth majors within that context. Everyone we talked to and interacted with absolutely loves YMI and what we’re doing with the Youth Majors, and it was so great to be a part of strategizing with the top leadership about the future possibilities.

• The Youth Majors are incredible! I met one graduate of our program who is from an Island in Lake Victoria which is bordered by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania…she told us that 65% of the 30,000 people who live on the Island are

HIV positive! I can’t even imagine that…she has such a strategic ministry to people who desperately need the hope that our God gives! Her name is Jane, please pray for her and the kids that she is reaching! I talked with the Pastor of her church about doing some ministry when I’m back and he was very excited about some possibilities.

• Sylvester has done a really good job with teaching these students, and it was also fun for me to hear stories about two of our guys that helped pave the way for these students to receive their Youth Ministry diploma…Frank Mills and Scott Dishong had a great ministry with these students as well, and it was awesome to see the fruits of their labor as I sat on stage next to Randy at the Graduation ceremony! Thank God for dedicated Youth Trainers like these guys! I was reminded again how important it is to train the trainers of Youth Ministry…the legacy is continuing in Kenya!

• The graduation service was a fun atmosphere to involved in…I thought I’d be sitting somewhere in the congregation or maybe even outside looking in one of the windows like many of the people had to do because it was standing room only in the auditorium. As we were taking pictures with graduates and talking with several students the Principal of the school (equivalent to the President) called us over and told us to join him at the front of the procession and sit on the stage with him and the other leaders! It was such an honor to be a part of that!

• The service lasted about 3 hours and was full of songs, scripture, testimonies, an African choir and a challenging message…the highlight for me was seeing our graduates step up and receive the announcement of their degree in youth ministry and seven of them receive the YMI certification to be able to take our informal materials and go out and teach it all over Africa! It’s a big deal, and you could tell that they were so proud to have been given that confidence, authority and license to take our materials and train others in it!

• After the service I got a chance to mingle with several more students and encourage them to go out and make a difference.

• After the service was over Randy and I checked out of Brackenhurst and headed into Nairobi to stay at the Hampton House for the evening.

• On Saturday morning we checked out of the Hampton House and went to the Safari Park Hotel where we’re staying until Monday morning…talk about extremes! This place is amazing…beautiful grounds, Five star accommodations, incredible food, cascading water falls and like 5 pools! It’s a lot different than what I saw at Kibera! We are having a great time here, but I must admit I keep thinking about all that I have seen and experienced up until this point…I’m glad I got to see and be a part of all of it and not just this part!

• I had a great talk with Lincoln again…(he and I have really clicked and have had some incredible strategy sessions under the tree, in the dirt, on the steps etc.) I asked him what part of the youth ministry training he really
enjoys, and he said the materials that help him understand how to reach the street kids and kids that live in places like Kibera! He said he could see himself living among and ministering to the kids in Kibera some day! I was blown away, here’s a guy who has such a heart to reach kids in the slums that he is praying about taking his training right to them and living among them to reach them!

o There are a bunch of other guys like Lincoln who would love to get their degree in YM but don’t have the funds…it costs about $60 a month for 3 years to give a youth leader a full scholarship to KBTC in Youth Ministry! (The total cost for the college is about 45,000 shillings per year – which is about $725 a year for 3 years)…That $60 a month might as well be 6 million a month for these guys, and the reality is most of them can’t afford it without some help form others…It is my prayer that God would lay it on people’s hearts to help sponsor one or more of our students who want to get trained as Youth Professionals in this culture. I’ve met a ton of great investments here in Kenya!

• Today (Sunday) Randy and I went back to Ruiru for church as he spoke in the Youth class and also in the morning servi
ce. It was fun to be a part of the service again and interact with the kids and the leaders. Randy did a great job speaking and the people really responded to his challenge…at the end of the sermon he gave an invitation to receive Christ or rekindle your faith in Christ and many responded! The Pastor then asked me to come up and pray for the people who responded…it was a great joy to do that!

• At the end of the service Sylvester and his youth leaders came up front and thanked me for my ministry with them over these last 3 weeks, and dedicated the closing song to me…They sang “Friends” by Michael W Smith, and of course I was very moved by that, it was a special moment that I will always remember!

• I hung out and talked with the youth leaders and the kids for a while and then it was time to leave…as we were leaving I remembered something…during one of the songs that the youth leaders sang in the service (again everything in the church service was run by the youth and the youth leaders!) One of the guys up there singing was Kevin (he was one of the orphan boys who was at camp on a work scholarship and had accepted Christ during the camp week)…there he was up front smiling and singing with all his might! God is at work here in Kenya!

• Randy & I along with Sylvester and Willis (yes, after a week of thinking his name was Willie I found out it’s really Willis – oh well) went back to Safari Park to have lunch and celebrate all that God has been doing these past 3 weeks.

• Tomorrow morning Randy and I fly out of Nairobi over to the Western part of Kenya (Masai Mara) to go on the safari! I’m really looking forward it!

No comments:

Post a Comment