5 months have passed since my trip to Kenya, and although the memories are a little bit fuzzy now, my heart still warms at the thought of my time there. I realized that life kinda got away from me and I never told you about Nicodemus and Jeremiah…it would be a shame not to know their stories.
On our first work day, our team was divided into 2 groups, one group went to the primary school to help the kids with their studies, and my group would be carrying bricks and water. The bricks were to help build the interior of the high school. We were told that the bricks were up the hill, and we needed to move approximately 700 to complete the work. Luckily, some of the highschool students were going to be helping us with the task at hand, and this would be our opportunity to connect with them. Unfortunately, the mindset of Americans and of the Kenyan people is very different when it comes to getting things done. My team took off, walking the quarter-mile up the hill, while the students took their time. I think we finished 2 trips before the kids ever made it to the top of the hill. We paused and realized that our mission was not about building the wall, but about building relationships.
During one of the many treks back and forth on our first day, I befriended Jeremiah and Nicodemus. The boys wanted to talk about my life in the US, and we spent a lot of time talking about President Obama. We talked of the ocean, about our families and the fact that I wore a different outfit everyday. Trying to explain a washer and dryer proved difficult, but those conversations laid the groundwork for our friendship. My time with the boys also revealed part of a much larger story in their community, and that is the lack of male role models. So, any men out there that are looking to make an impact on a community, I recommend you look into a trip to Kenya. Huge need there!
I was lucky to spend the next two days working alongside Nicodemus and Jeremiah. One day, the entire group took several trips to the watering hole. And after we finished, Jeremiah said that he thought we should take one more trip. Jeremiah, Nicodemus and I walked the mile to the watering hole by ourselves. It was on this walk where Jeremiah grabbed my hand and asked me if I would forget them. My heart stopped. I looked at him and thought that there was no way my heart would ever forget their names. I told him that I wouldn’t, and we walked the rest of the way in silence. Here this trip had made such an impact on me, that I don’t know if I was ever really aware of what my being there would do to them. When we returned, I grabbed my notebook and wrote down the bible verse Philippians 1:3, which is, I thank my God every time I remember you. I gave each of them a copy and promised them that I would always remember them, and pray for them.
Our last day in the village, we were to take a hike up a “hill” with the secondary students and some of the women we met. For the record, that “hill” was more like a mountain…we were not prepared. I remember beginning the walk hoping that I would have a chance to spend some time with Nicodemus and Jeremiah again, and then I felt someone grab a hold of my left hand. Nicodemus. When we came to a clearing, the group stopped so that the mzungas could catch our breath. Nicodumus perched up on one of the rocks, and I followed him. He pulled out a piece of paper that had my name, and his favorite bible verse on it. It also had a Nike sign on it. I remember feeling like God had created this moment just for me, giving affirmation of my time in Kenya.
Acts 2:28 – You have made known to
me the paths of life; you will fill me with
joy in your presence.
I sometimes find myself wondering what the guys are up to, and hope they know that they are loved by our heavenly father, and also by me. I hope you know that as well.