I loved this sight as I walked out of the office the other day. There was a school sports day happening and hundreds of kids flooded the area. These kids thought that sitting on the wall was the best place to watch the game.
I was sitting beside the pitch yesterday, watching the boys practice, when two little sisters came up to me and struck up a conversation.
They didn’t speak english but their swahili was simple enough that they could talk and I could understand and even respond a few words here and there. (Actually, at first they didn’t think I was white. They thought I was a Kenyan because I could speak swahili back to them. At some point, a group of about 10 school came over to analyze me and see if I was truly a white person or if I was an Indian. It was quite humorous listening to them debate and watching them stare at me intently.)
I was reading a book that had a picture of a shepherd and a sheep on it. They asked me, “who is this?” I told them, “It’s Jesus. Do you know Jesus?” The older girl said, “Ah yes. I am a Christian, Islam is not good.”
I just smile and nodded.
Then the younger sister started asking about Jesus. The older one started to explain to her about Jesus, loving Him, and knowing that he is the only way to get ‘up there’ to heaven.
“And Satan?” the younger sister asked.
“He will eat you!” The older sister scolded her.
I burst out laughing. And so did the little girls.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Kelvin and I had gone to visit one of our players, Zizou, who had just had a baby. We brought them a big supply of food stuffs and baby things to congratulate him and his wife. To my delight, Zizou brought Saumu (his wife) and baby Nikole to their game yesterday! (Yes, the baby is nicknamed Nikole. I am assuming it is named after me since Nikole is not a very common name in Kenya).
Zizou was so cute carrying his baby across the field and over to where I was sitting. He just plopped the baby on my lap and went to get changed for the game. Saumu came up and greeted me with her huge, beautiful smile and sat down beside me.
Baby Nikole loves to cry! Saumu kept telling me how she never sleeps at night and when she is awake she only cries! I got to experience it first hand as the baby cried on and off for a good 2 hours at the game.
I was so blessed to have a girl to hang out with. Saumu and I chatted the entire game. I spoke english and she spoke swahili but we managed to understand each other (for the most part) and have a wonderful conversation.
I remember the first time Kelvin took me to Kongowea. We passed this dirt pitch in the matatu and I had a little vision. I envisioned Kelvin running soccer programs with tons of young boys every evening. I envisioned myself sitting on the sidelines chatting with all the girlfriends or any girls from the community. I saw us becoming mentors and ‘parents’ to these kids slowly introducing them to Jesus.
I don’t think I realized how my seemingly small and insignificant vision has come to pass. I never thought that this is what we would be doing. Sure, it isn’t exactly what I had envisioned but it is sure close. My dream of reaching the girls sort of faded after realizing that the boys never bring their girlfriends to the pitch (maybe thats only a Canadian thing) nor do they really even tell us about girls that they are interested in. However, I never thought about their wives! (My original vision involved more young teens not like the young men we work with).
I hope that Saumu comes to more games. Her and I had a great conversation that I would love to continue. She is a muslim. Notice the markings on the baby’s head? Those are put there so that the baby is protected from evil spirits or ghosts. Saumu looked at the large Baobab tree behind us and shivered in fear. She told me that ghosts come out of those trees and she didn’t want them to get her baby. I then opened up about my belief in Jesus and how He is greater and stronger than anything in this world so I don’t need to fear these spirits. He lives in me; I believe in Him.
‘The trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord…” 1 Chronicles 16:33a