(I should have posted this last month... oops)
The other day, I was a zombie turkey. "Why on earth were you an undead fowl, specifically the type of fowl that represents the plenty and bountiful produce of our existence which we celebrate annually?" is what you're probably asking me in your minds right now.
Why? Let me tell you.
For those of you who don't know, Thanks-O-Ween happened upon us on Nov. 4th. This isn't the most celebrated of holidays, but it's on the rise (at least in Nairobi). We took the first Sunday of this month to celebrate the combined holiday of Thanksgiving and Halloween by opening up our recently finished (but not yet refined) climbing gym to the HighSchool and MiddleSchool youth in Nairobi. Why am I telling you this? Because this was a great time of thanks, and what better time to give thanks than during this the season of Thanksgiving.
I looked around me at all the kids God had brought into the rock gym, into his domain, and I was thankful. I was tired. We had 41 MiddleSchool kids running around our gym. But I was thankful. I can't find the words to describe how I feel in the midst of ministry. Sometimes, it breaks my heart. Other times, I'm elated by the knowledge that I am doing what God created me to do. More often than not, those feelings float by me, good and bad, and I forget to give thanks. So bear with me as I share my thanksgivings to the Lord with you. You need to know the things that bring cause for thanks.
I'm thankful for the space God set apart for us to declare his kingdom in the midst of the darkest place I've ever lived. Every day on the way to the office, I see beggars and orphans walking the streets. I walk past a little hindu temple tucked into a corner shop. I walk past gods available for sale not too far from that temple. I hear the Islamic call to worship blaring over the food court bathing the entire complex in a reminder to pray to Allah. I go up to our floor and enter into Rest. God is predominant in that place. I'm so thankful for it.
I'm thankful that God brings kids into his domain. They join us every Sunday, kids who know God, kids who don't care, kids who long for more, kids who just need someone to love them. All types. They enter into that place and know the love of God through our ministry. Whether they profess faith or not, they are meeting with the love of God. I'm so thankful for that.
I'm thankful for silly games like "toilet tag," which is really just freeze tag except you have to pretend to be a toilet when you're frozen and someone must flush you before you're unfrozen. They break down barriers and allow kids who otherwise would never interact with us, or each other, get over themselves and dive into life in community.
I'm thankful that God decided to give me a lesser portion of shame. Self-Deprecating humor goes a long way when making new friends with MiddleSchoolers.
I'm thankful for God's continual, humbling reminders that our plans aren't always his. I'll lose it over the breakdown of a vehicle, or a bratty kid, who "I was in NO way like" when I was his age. But God, he uses those to his glory always. e.g. We have a great relationship with our mechanic & I'm learning what it was like for my youth pastors to love me when I was in MiddleSchool.
I'm thankful for the prayer and support I receive from you, my friends and family back in the States! Being away from home for a year and a half has taken its toll on how well I know you, but even so I know you pray for me and the ministry I'm doing. I know I couldn't be here without your support. I'm so very thankful for you. Knowing I'm backed by the body of Christ to be here, spreading his Word and love is a blessing to me that I cannot describe. All I can say is that I'm thankful.
I'm also thankful for the opportunity I have to share with you my prayer requests. I often forget to share my prayers with anyone, so I'm making a special effort to include everyone back home in the goings on here in Kenya.
1) On a grand scale, Kenya as a whole is ridden with corruption from the top down. Pray for the Lord's work to transform the nation. It's a "Christian" nation, but that can only be said in quotes.
2) For BlueSky to be unified in its ministry. We have a lot of personalities on staff and that creates good and bad differences of opinion. Pray that no matter what, we unify under the banner of Christ.
3) Pray for confidence as we make our presence known on school campuses, but confidence in humility. Pray that we don't damage the name of Christ through our attempts at outreach.
4) Pray for God to soften the hearts of these lost kids. They are hardened, callous hearts. So much of their lives are spent in transition that they almost never let people get close enough to hurt them when they leave again. We want to share with them the only one who is always with them. Pray for God to soften their hearts.
5) Pray for my personal support and BlueSky's as a whole. Right now, I still have some
reserves, but my monthly support is at about 40% of my minimum requirement. So, your prayers will be appreciated. Any special support gift during this time would be greatly appreciated! Go to our Website BlueSkyGlobal.org to find out how to support and to learn more about our ministry in Nairobi.
Thanks again for your friendship and investment in me and the work God has called me to here in Africa.