One night at camp last summer, I awoke in the middle of the night. It wasn’t too loud, but I guess it was enough to disturb my dreams. I heard him from across the room whimpering in his sleep. I guess he was overheated from sharing the bed with his brother. He had thrown the blankets off in his slumbering fit. I rolled over. He was going to be fine... I, on the other hand, couldn’t get back to sleep. The mosquitoes started flying in and out of my ear holes...
In the morning, I awoke to find my room filled with kids from all over Kenya. But it was OK: they were supposed to be there. Some were Indian kids, who had grown up their whole lives in Nairobi, some were Missionary Kids, who had grown up in the countryside surrounding Nairobi, and some were the children of businessmen and women who moved to Kenya knowing that they would leave within a year or two. But, for that week, they were all just kids. And God had put them in my cabin.
That’s the calling God has given me. He’s placed me here to work with the kids of Kenya. Not all of them are Kenyan, but they all need to know Jesus. My calling is to spend time with the kids here, sharing stories of Jesus and sharing stories of who he has made me. Sometimes that means living in a smelly cabin with 7-12 kids for a week. Other times it means leading a Bible Study at 7:00 am with 4-6 kids before school starts. And still other times it means going to countless basketball, soccer, field hockey, rugby, and volleyball games, just to show the kids that I care for them.
It’s not always fun. It’s often quite challenging. A lot of these kids have spent little to no time living in one place for longer than two or three years. What that means is, they don’t have long term relationships with almost anyone except for their family. What that means for me is, they don’t just want to be my friend as soon as I meet them. I have to earn their trust, or break through all of the hurt feelings they have built up from past friends that they left or left them. And on top of all of that is the ever present knowledge that I am going to leave in a year or two. Which means I will be leaving them just like everyone else.
That’s why I have to share what I know about Jesus with them. For the rest of their lives, people will come and go, and they will have to make friends and say goodbye. But Jesus will be with them even beyond the rest of their lives. My calling is to share the complete and everlasting love of Jesus with kids who spend their lives seeking acceptance, or, on the other hand, never even trying to be accepted for fear of getting hurt again.