Thursday, July 7, 2016

Safely Home and Thanks

We arrived home safely on July 4, exhausted and joyful from an incredible journey. We traveled over 20,000 miles (round trip) to embrace a community extremely different - yet beautifully similar - from ours. The Nambale Magnet School was welcoming, loving, and filled with life. The outpouring of love from their students to ours was overwhelming. We witnessed deep pain, deep strength, and deep faith in our ten days there, and then we got to witness the vast beauty of God's creation on safari a couple of days later. We witnessed the abiding presence of Christ in everything we did, and in everyone with whom we interacted. 

We are eternally grateful to God for giving us this opportunity, and we are grateful to all of the people who have prayed for us and for the school during our time away. We are also grateful to those who were able to support our journey financially, and for those whose outpouring of generosity will lead to more great things at NMS in the form of a substantial financial donation (keep contributing!). We all hope that this is just the beginning of our relationship with the Nambale Magnet School in Western Kenya; instead of "Goodbye" we instead told the kids "See you soon."

God is good all the time. All the time God is good, and that is nature; Wow! God is Great!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Journey home

We are safely in Zurich and waiting for our flight to San Francisco. We can't wait to see you all!

Day 10: Maddie

Today we woke up feeling bittersweet. We were excited as always to get to work painting and playing with the kids, but we couldnt help but feel sad about the fact that it was our last full day at the school. We ate  breakfast and met Dr. Marangi outside for our last session of painting. We worked on a new wall, getting down the base coat as well as finishing up the lower half of the guest house. It was another fulfilling day of productive paint work. 

After lunch we took a little bit of time to rest before joining the kids at recess. We played tag and soccer for a while before we grew tired and joined some of the younger kids who were waiting in the shade for their parents to pick them up. While the boys (Joey, Duncan, and Bayard) were running around with kids on their shoulders, we had our hair braided for the last time. During this process we were surrounded by kids with papers and pens who wanted us to give them our contact info to stay in touch, which we did. It was hard not to feel like some kind of celebrity signing autographs with a bunch of people crowding around you like that. After our hair was done we played some more tag and soccer before the kids had to head back to their rooms. 

Later that night, after dinner, the kids started singing their usual worship songs and I noticed that I was able to sing along to almost all of them. After the songs we prayed, and then Gama got up to say a few words to the students and to us as well. He thanked us for coming and being with the kids, but what stuck with me most was how he said that were not saying "goodbye", were saying "see you next time". Afterwards, Evalyn said a few words and then it was back to the rooms for the kids and us as well. A lot of kids, particularly the P5s, wanted us to join them in their classrooms to hang out with them. I was in one class that asked me to teach them something from America. I thought about it and settled on what I believe to be the single most important thing these kids should know about: basketball. Using the blackboard, I taught them about the NBA and all the different teams and players. I taught them how to play the game itself and what big things had taken place in the basketball world recently. Most importantly, I taught them that out of all the teams in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors should be their favorite. 

After "class" and what felt like a thousand hugs goodnight, I said goodbye and went back to the guest house. There, Dr. Marangi, Evalyn, and Gama were assembled with everyone. Both Evalyn and Gama said a lot of nice things about us and the work we had done both with painting and with the kids. They each called up Mike and Riley and presented them with beautiful art pieces made by the Paint Doctor as a thank you. The pieces were each a black background with designs mounted on in straw, each depicting african women at work. They were very intricate and the craftmanship was striking. 

As a group we talked about what we had taken away from the experience at the school. Each of us agreed that experience had been inspiring and life changing; one that we would never forget. A few of us mentioned coming back to the school in the future; after all, it wasn't a goodbye, it was a see you next time. 


On safari

Safari sunset

Power Play