Echoes of Laughter

January 15-20

Tuesday: Today we went to a school for those who are physically disabled. It was a mixture of excitement and joy and nerves as the team walked into the school. But immediately it was amazing to see the smiles on these kids faces. They had more joy than any other group of children the team had worked with so far, despite their disabilities. The motto of the school was, “Through our disability, we get to know our real ability!” We were honored to sit in on one of their classes, where they were learning to bead purses and bracelets. One girl  really impressed the team by doing it with her feet, since her arms were severely contracted. Joanna joked with her that she did better with two feet than we could with two hands, and her smile could have lit up the sky. Our program was met with rambunctious laughter, thunderous applause and passionate singing. Afterward, we got to play ball with them, sing with them, and hear their stories. It was amazing to be let into their world, and to be taught the unending joy of being human.

Wednesday: This day was a real adventure. We were honored to go and visit disabled people in their homes. The organization that we worked with had over a hundred and twenty different people that they served. And the woman who founded the ministry was disabled herself: mute, deaf, and wheelchair-bound. But she was amazing, with total joy, spunk, and positive attitude. And it was definitely a new experience to push a wheelchair up and down a Kenyan back road, navigating the rocks, cornfields, and giant potholes. But it was one the students took on with eagerness, understanding the honor of providing that transportation for the founder of the ministry. We were able to go straight into the homes and talk and pray with these people as well as deliver water filters. Despite their difficult circumstances, the joy and laughter of the people we visited was contagious.  Although there was a plethora of sunburn, exhaustion, and heat, it was all worth it to see the smiles that we brought and to see God’s joy that was already in the homes of the people to whom we ministered.

Thursday: The first half of the day we spent cleaning the base. We swept the dining hall with wicker hand brooms, helped cook lunch, and cleaned the bathrooms, toting large water buckets to clean the concrete floors. In the afternoon, we worked hard on our ministry preparation, practicing songs and teachings. In the evening, we had the honor of meeting with the youth at a school for the blind. There were around 20 teenagers there. We were able to join their vibrant worship, then have good conversation about dreams, religion, and difference in culture. The evening ended with us praying with each other.

Friday: The morning started with excitement as the team banded together to make Chapati (a flat bread cooked over the live coals). That was followed up by vibrant worship and intercession. In the afternoon, we went to a girls highschool with around 200 students. During our program, the girls were alert and respectful, listening intently to the message. Afterward, we got them into groups. About 30 students per team member. We prayed intensely for them, and they opened up about their lives and their concerns for their country. Melanie stated “I must have given over 100 hugs” As we were leaving, we had about 100 girls following us, wishing us safe travels home.

Saturday: Today we had the honor of ministering in the women’s prison. As we walked in, we were greeted by loud, passionate singing. Around 50 women were waiting for us, passing the time by praising their God in loud voices. We were able to worship with them, dance with them, perform a skit about the power of prayer, hold their children, and preach to them. Roseanne gave a beautiful message about their value and worth, and the power of Jesus’ blood. Afterward, we prayed that God would bless them and their families, and they would understand their high worth in the kingdom of God. As the team looked glanced back, we got one last view of these women and their children: held back by prison walls but free in the love of Christ.

Sunday: Our last day of ministry in Kenya started with children’s church. We were able to do two separate programs with the kids, and received a lot of “hug attacks”. The older children were open to receiving a message about hearing God’s voice. In the main service, we were able to sing a song for the church and Emma shared her testimony. We were amazed with the passion and vulnerability that was displayed through the church’s worship, although we all agreed that the music volume was a bit too high for comfort. Regardless, we enjoyed dancing and singing with the congregation. After the service (which went almost 6 hours), we enjoyed talking with the teenagers about their hopes and dreams, and praying over them. For lunch, we were able to have fried chicken, which was the perfect end to our ministry here in Kenya.