Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 8: Worship and Rest


What I have been struck by all week is that rarely I remember it is Christmas time. There are almost no Christmas decorations and one has to look hard to find one. Where we have seen a sign of Christmas has been the shopping center where ex-pats and tourists shop. It has been so refreshing to not be bombarded by the commercialism and overabundance found at home.

I asked some of the children what they do for Christmas. They said some go to church and everyone who has enough money has chicken to eat then they walk around. I’m so grateful to be reminded that Jesus came under similar circumstances of poverty and simplicity. I pray there will be food to eat for everyone this Christmas and everyday.


Exams were over and the school term was completed in Kenya prior to our arrival. Kids here typically have December, April and August off. Ray of Hope follows the same schedule as the Kenya school system, but they usually stay open an extra two weeks during these vacation times so that kids can play catch up, enjoy some “enrichment” activities, and have a place to go and food to eat. Once Ray of Hope kids attain a certain academic level AND have a sponsor, they can move into the public school at Kileleshwa. Ray of Hope provides them with daily transportation to and from school several miles away, and their doors are open to Kileleshwa students during vacations and after school for further tutoring and loving care.

There are at least eight students who are now ready to move to Kileleshwa in January, but they are without sponsors. Public education requires fees for uniforms, food, books, transportation, and other items. We were told that 8th grade exam results in Kenya chart the course of the student’s occupation and livelihood, determining which students will be eligible for which occupations. If the Ray of Hope students do not receive sponsorships by the beginning of the school term in January, they must remain at Ray of Hope for another year, making their future that much shakier.


With Riruta friend
We worshipped again with our friends at Riruta United Methodist Church. Their faith in a God who will sustain them even in the midst of poverty and disease is inspiring. It was humbling to be invited to preach for a second week. The thing I enjoyed most about the preaching moment was sharing it with Rev. John Makokha, Riruta's pastor. I would say something in English, and then he would translate what I said in Swahili.  There was a rhythm that began to take shape as we spoke back and forth.  In it, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, communicating between the lines we spoke aloud.

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