They Will Be OK

I often wonder what will happen to our youth if Kelvin and I end up leaving Kenya for a time. We don’t plan to leave too soon but we know it will happen eventually. I always think about how our youth will continue or if all will go back to the way it was before we came. There are some things that will not continue because the money will not keep coming in and we haven’t quite found someone who has grasped our vision and is capable of taking over. But I would like to think that we made some sort of an impact and that some of the things we have started will continue.

We do have a young man who coaches the boys which takes a lot of pressure off Kelvin to be at every practice and every game. We are able to leave for long periods of time (like last week when we went for the youth camp) and know that practice and games will continue to the standard that we expect.

We also have a committee complete with a chairman, secretary, and members which is all made up of the boys. This committee makes all sorts of decisions mostly concerning finances and the team affairs. Kelvin offers support when needed (and directly mentors the chairman) but they run quite smoothly on their own.

So Kelvin mentioned to me last night that the boys have created their own little soccer tournament. Apparently, they have split the team into two I guess it is quite the competition between the two teams. Every Friday, they play against each other. The winners get money. During the week, they raise this money. I don’t know if they ask people or they contribute themselves, but they get a hefty amount of money (and I am now wondering why I fundraise money for them when they can apparently do it themselves). This friday, they have managed to raise $50 to split. The winners get $30 and the losers get $20. It’s a win win situation. However, there is a catch. The team may have won by 3 goals but if the chairman feels like their conduct was not good on and off the pitch, they will lose and the other team will get the money.

I love it!

I love that they, as a group, created this little system and it works for them. I love that the community donates. I love that they put more emphasis on good conduct than on winning games.

They will be OK if we leave.

Some Muddy Soccer

We are home! We did indeed make it to Kipkaren for a wonderful week of learning, listening, teaching, and fellowshipping. 
I grew up in a small town so I love the intimacy of a small community. Mombasa was the last place I ever wanted to be cause its so big, clustered, dirty, and cramped. Going to the village is like a vacation for me even if I am working all day long. The beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the quietness, the green landscape, the cool weather, the simple lifestyle, the fresh produce, the humble people, and the slower pace of life. So wonderful! 
Our hosts were amazing! They have this swanky guesthouse (which was three times bigger than our apartment in Mombasa) fit with the most comfortable beds and steaming hot showers!! They fed us wonderful meals and let us enjoy their family. We learned a lot from them! They too are a mixed couple like Kelvin and I. They have been doing community development in this area for 14+  years. I picked their brains on so many things like their mistakes, triumphs, difficulties, finances, etc. We were so privileged to work with them. 
 We tried to wake up early every morning to have coffee and do devotions together while the sun was rising. Spectacular! 
The reason we were asked to come up there was to help start a youth program similar to ours. The state of the youth in this community really broke our hearts. I was especially heartbroken for the young women most of whom dropped out of school at an early age and got pregnant either by their husbands, someone else’s husband, or some random men. They really need someone to walk alongside of them and point them towards Jesus their Healer, Forgiver, Redeemer, Lover, Provider and Father.
Above Kelvin was doing devotions for a group of youth and widows in the community. After devotions, we took the youth and did some team building exercises while teaching them a few life skills. 

 Jayden, the son of our hosts, is too adorable for words. Seriously, he melts the heart of everyone he meets. He is a man of the community just like his father.
 Jayden watching as the boys begin to play soccer. 
 It was really really muddy. It poured with rain every afternoon we were there. I loved the thunder and lightening but didn’t so much enjoy standing outside watching soccer in the rain….
….hence the awkward missionary/village/freezing cold fashion. Finally, by the third day of being ridiculously cold, I put away my pride and dressed to be warm instead of trying to look decent.
 We came hoping to find a bunch of youth eager to play soccer. We were told there were many but quickly learned that they only come if there is something they will get out of it (like a ball, blankets, gifts). So our method of reaching youth through soccer didn’t work out so well. The show still went on and Kelvin did what he does best: love on youth and point them to Jesus. Here they are praying after practice. 

 We even brought some swanky cones and balls for them to practice with.
 A seriously cute kid! The best part is that he doesn’t even speak english (even though his Mom is american)! They taught him swahili first which has kind of inspired me to learn so that my kids will be bi-lingual. 
 Kelvin utterly amazed me the whole week. He was in his element doing what God has created him to do best. It was so amazing to see my husband truly THRIVE in what he was doing. I was so so proud of him!!! 
We have committed to supporting a group of youth in the community. About 50 of them have formed a group where they come together to grow closer to God, grow closer to each other, support one another in their lives, create jobs and do income generating projects together. We hope to go again every couple months to mentor, train, walk alongside, and love on them. 

We couldn’t go all the way to Eldoret and not go to Ilula to visit all the kids and my ‘family’. We only spent one night but it was just enough to drink yummy chai, sing the latest hits with the girls, goof around with the young kids, and talk and laugh around the dinner table with the Ronos. To our surprise, Emmanuel picked us up in their ‘new’ car. We had quite the ride to the children’s home. At one point a large piece of metal fell off the side of my door as we were sliding around in the mud. It felt so good to be home….

We are back in Mombasa and will be updating you with some exciting stuff soon!!

On the road again

We are off again tonight. Feels like we travel every month. We have been invited to a village outside of Eldoret, called Kipkaren, to help develop a soccer program for youth in the community. We are so excited for this opportunity! We don’t know exactly how long we will go (probably not more than a few days) and what exactly is waiting for us up there. We know we will be doing a lot of home visits to widows – something Kelvin is very passionate about since his own mom is a widow. We know we will be meeting with youth mentoring them, training them, and playing soccer with them. We know there will be more listening and learning than talking and teaching. I am anxious to work alongside a couple who is like us, black and white, and see how they do community development. I am excited to see some friends who live in that community. More over, I am elated to get out of Mombasa (its heating up again) and immerse myself in village life.

We have also been donated a hefty amount of indestructible soccer balls! Such a huge blessing! A couple in Eldoret is giving them to us so we will be able to pick them up when we get there. You have no idea how precious soccer balls are around here.

Pray for safe travelling. Pray for a wonderful time connecting with the youth and community. Pray that we can discern the amount of involvement we are to have in this project.

I will be back next week with lots of photos and stories!