Yesterday we visited a new school that no other Kenya team has visited, in the area of our second well (Nkoiswash village). We were prepped beforehand that these children have not seen many light skinned people and they may run away or be scared of us. With that in mind, we loaded into our vehicles and began the 2.5 hour trek to their village.
When we arrived at the school, the students were in their classrooms but I could hear the screams. I wasn’t immediately sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. They soon came running outside and lined up to greet us. I quickly figured out it was excitement mixed with fascination and a bit of fear that had caused the screams.
We ran through the teacher introductions and proceeded to VBS. My team started out with the youngest group and I was amazed at how quiet they were and how well they followed instructions (with the teachers translating). I would soon discover that this was not unique to the youngest group, but that all of the students were this way. Honestly, they were all so well-behaved and polite! It made VBS a breeze and a huge success!
After VBS we handed out de-worming medication to the kids and then to the community. Apparently, word had gotten out about the medical clinic and the community showed up, which was awesome! It was so amazing to not only see the families of these kids get the medication they need, but also to have them experience VBS too!
After the medication had been taken, the real fun began. Anybody that knows me well, knows that I love sports. As soon as the medication was distributed, we played a friendly game of soccer. Mzungus (white people) vs. students. Felix, one of the amazing 5th grade teachers, as well as a few students completed our team. This field was smaller than the field at Ololchura, for which I was very thankful! There was still the problem of cow dung sporadically located throughout the field, but overall it was a very nice field.
We started the game and shortly after, I got the ball and ran up field with it. I was met with some stiff competition in the form of three 5-foot tall 12-year olds and these kids ran a lot faster than me. I realized I was in a bad spot and went to pass the ball to my teammate. As I kicked the ball with my left foot, my right foot slipped on the grass and came out from underneath me and I hit the ground hard. RIGHT IN THE COW DUNG! I think I even rolled a few times. As I got up, the whole sideline was laughing and I couldn’t help but laugh too. As luck would have it, the rest of our team would eventually go down as well and a few others landed in cow dung, so I wasn’t alone. We ended up losing (again) 2-1 but I think everyone had a really good time and I was so impressed with how good those kids were! I walked away with a bruised palm, knee and leg, but the smile on my face more than made up for it!
After the game it was time for us to head back to camp, but not before a mini celebration to end the day. We all gathered together and sang and danced to the Ole song and then prayed. It was so neat to see two communities – Crossroads and Nkoiswash – come together and be united. Kenya is a truly beautiful country with even more beautiful people. Their joy is contagious!
Today we visited the well at Nkoiswash and got to celebrate the official opening of the well with the community. To say this was an emotional day would be an understatement. It was our last day of VBS and our last time with the kids so it was bittersweet, but still jubilant. To see this water well in use after all the prayer that has gone into it was overwhelming. To think that water, something we take for granted in America, has brought this community so much life was amazing. John Keshe, a Maasai missionary we partnered with for this well project, is an amazing man who is so loved by his community.
During the celebration presentations, we were told of a drought a few years ago that was so bad the women had to walk long distances to get water for their families. Some women would leave their homes as early as 2AM and walk through areas where the wildlife also roamed. The chief of the village said one woman left her home and was killed by a lion on her way to get water for her family. They were thankful that they did not have to worry about their family members being attacked now that they had clean and easily accessible water.
I was so impressed with how technologically advanced this well was. The people in the community have key fobs linked to bank accounts that will allow them to pay for their water. So literally they swipe a fob, press a button, and fill their 20 liter buckets with water. They also have piped the water to two watering troughs for their cattle, goats and sheep and planted a vegetable garden of beans, spinach and kale. How cool is that!? They have embraced this well project and are all doing their part to sustain it.
Because of the success of this well, the government has taken notice and wants to study it in order to duplicate it in other villages. And the people in this community will be the first to tell you that all the glory goes to God. It was so humbling to be a part of this project. Being on staff at Crossroads, I remember all the prayer about this well, the many updates from Lisa and even sending the wire to fund the project. To see it in person and to see the impact it is having on this community was incredible. They gave each staff member a tree to plant and I was honored to take part in that. The emotion in that moment was remarkable. I was so humbled to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. Thank you Crossroads family for your faithful giving. You are truly making a worldwide impact and showing the love of Jesus.
God has blessed with me yet another opportunity to come to Kenya. I was part of the 2017 team which was my first missions trip. It was perfect in every way, however I was excited to see how God would use me on this year’s trip.
This year I was asked to lead and coordinate VBS. I was filled with excitement and honored they chose me with such a huge responsibility. The preparation for this task took months prior to coming to Kenya. My goal was to focus on reaching the kids in a new and fun way where they can go back home and tell their families and friends how these Mazungo’s (white people) taught them stories of the Bible and how much Jesus loves them.
My other goal as a VBS leader was to also give the team the same experience I had doing VBS last year. I wanted each member to get more than what they put in. I wanted them to experience the same love I did back in 2017 when I was doing VBS for the Kenyan children, a new type of outreach, an outreach to those living in a 3rd world country who do not have the same privileges we in America do.
We put on 2 days of VBS in the Kiamaiko school (Nairobi) the first week in country, and 3 days in 2 villages in Maasai Mara the second week. VBS was a huge success and I couldn’t have done it without an amazing team by my side. About 1,500 kids were graced with the love of Jesus these past 2 weeks, along with their parents and even their community.
Each day we pulled up to a school, the children would bombard our vehicle with excitement. By the time we were able to actually get out of our vehicles, we were so swarmed with beautiful and exciting faces that we barely were able to set up all the VBS Stations or begin the program! The team couldn’t help but give out hugs, hold hands with the kids and take photos filled with Jambo’s (hello in Swahili), muzungo’s and Checka’s (smile).
We finally forced ourselves to start passing out VBS shirts and set up for our 4 rotations. Our VBS rotations consisted of a puppet show, crafts, games, snacks and worship. I had an amazing team behind the scenes who not only had the children on their tippy-toes with excitement but the teachers as well.
Tandi our Crafts lead, Patrick our games lead, Brittaney our worship lead, and Taleah our puppets lead did an outstanding job leading each rotation. Being the VBS leader was stressful, stressful in the sense of wanting your goal to become a reality and let me tell you it was all worth the stress. I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by the abundance of all the children and staff. I was in disbelief and utterly in awe all the days during VBS.
Imagine the enthusiasm the children had when they saw the puppets come out, when we sang and danced- praising God, when we played games they never played before, ate snacks foreign to them and created crafts with materials they’ve never seen before. And I got to be a part of that enthusiasm–each team member got to be a part of that.
There was a feeling of freedom gazing at these children in the school, watching their faces filled with excitement and amazement. I forgot all my sorrows and my anxiety faded, leaving all my worries and pain behind me. I watched each rotation as if everything went mute and all laughs and smiles were playing in slow motion in my head. I completely embraced the deep quiet, the stressless serenity that lulled and comforted me. The scenery of happy children was indeed intoxicating.
Tandi- VBS Craft leader
Leading out the crafts rotation brought me so much happiness over the past two weeks. All ages of students were involved, excited, and amazing! Although the crafts were pretty simple, their engagement and joy were off the charts! We came to bless these kids, however we’re the ones leaving this beautiful country full of blessings!
Patrick- VBS Games
The last day of VBS was bittersweet. The team had worked so hard leading up to the trip, and I found myself in awe that we had reached our final day. For our final day of Games we put on tug-of-war and limbo. It truly was a blessing to work with these students on the last day. Their smiles from ear to ear over things that were so simple filled my heart with joy. Being able to dance with the kids during limbo allowed my team to see the students’ personalities, and the majority of them ‘have moves’! God truly gave us a day filled with love and it’s a day I will never forget. I’ve learned so much from the kids during Games, and what I’ve learned I will hold onto forever.
Taleah- VBS Puppet leader
Puppets were a hit here in Kenya! I loved seeing how all of the people, including the parents and teachers were mesmerized by the talking animals behind the curtain!
Their reactions ranged from fear to uncontrollable giggles! Our puppet team had a blast listening to their reactions from behind the curtain and imagining the expressions on their little faces. It was such a blessing to teach the Word of God in a way that captivated them.