Rehma Boys

If you were to drop a soccer ball in the streets of Kongowea, kids would rush to play with it. A child in the West would pick the ball up and ask whom the ball belongs too. Instead, kids in the streets play with it until someone pipes up and claims it as theirs. There is a need for that ball. There is a need for kids to be in the field. When kids are busy with soccer, their minds are off drugs, sex, alcohol, AIDS, violence, theft. Instead their minds are focused on
Duty:
getting to the field to play.

 Jambo from Kenya!
I am excited to write to you about a new opportunity I have been given to empower some incredible young boys. They are the Rehma boys, as they like to call themselves. Rehma  is the Arabic word for ‘mercy’. They are a group of about 25-30 boys ranging from the ages of 15-20 years old who come from the ‘streets’ of Mombasa. They all have one thing in common: a love for soccer.
Soccer is popular all throughout Africa. Young boys grow up playing barefooted on dirt pitches. They spend their free time at the pitch getting exercise, socializing and staying out of trouble. Local leagues are packed with players who crave a chance to get some time on the field. In the evenings, crowds gather to watch young boys play before they head home for the night. Unfortunately, these boys lack the proper training and equipment to make it big in soccer.
My partner, Kelvin, and I have been asked to take a leadership role in the team. Kelvin is an experienced soccer player and a trained coach. He also grew up in the ‘steets’ so he knows where these boys come from, what their lives are like, and what they need to keep their heads straight and out of trouble. Kelvin’s style of coaching is whole-life. He was trained by Ubabalo, which is a South African organization that has created a whole-life coaching curriculum for various sports. 
à For example, one lesson is on short passes and trying to keep possession of the ball within the team. They must stay connected to one another while passing the ball back and forth. Likewise, they are taught that it is important even in life to stay connected with others. They are shown that you can do much better in life if you do not try to live life on your own but to live it with a team of companions. It encourages interdependence and inter-relational skills. This is just one example from over 40 lessons on community, responsibility, service, sacrifice, courage, etc.
Kelvin has already started coaching the boys and they are responding really well. Even his numbers are increasing daliy and he has to split them into several teams. There is a great need for such coaching and leaders who care for their players!
Life in the “streets”…
They live in the “streets” of Mombasa as they like to describe it. It is an area called Kongowea. According to Western standards, the area is very much a slum. But for thousands of Kenyans, including the boys, it is home. Squatter houses are squeezed
together creating little space for a yard, a garden, proper infrastructure, or a place for kids to play. Five to six families live in these houses at one time. They each get one room and share a common corridor, pit latrine, and bathing area. They lack a source of water and a proper sewage system. The rent for these houses range from $20-$40 a month. The area is known for it’s market of fresh produce, clothes, and pretty much anything else one would need for everyday living. On average, families in Kongowea earn a monthly income of $100 or less. The area has been stricken with poverty, drugs, theft, HIV/AIDS, alcohol, violence, and prostitution. If you walk through the small, dirt alleyways of Kongowea you will smell a mixture of aromas, which may include sewage, urine, fish, and deep-fried foods. There is no proper garbage disposal so trash is thrown outside to be burned. However, you will notice that you are walking through a thriving community. People will be chatting and greeting one another, others will be working in their local shops or washing their laundry. Mamas are cooking over charcoal grills. Young kids are running around barefoot outside laughing and playing. Young guys are found at local shops where they can play video games. For them, it’s the only life they know. These boys need guidance and a positive activity in order to break the cycle of poverty, drugs, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, etc. This is why providing an encouraging and loving environment is cruicial in keeping these boys out of trouble.
A letter from the captain…
Rehma youth is a football club found on the streets of Mombasa in a location of Kongowea. It was found in the year 1994 August 14, the date has not been really confirmed since that most of the founders members had disappeared from the streets. The club has been lucky sometimes back after most of the parents committed themselves and they do promoted the club with at least balls or a ball. Since then the club is runned senior players who will everyday run door-to-door looking for help as a fund for materials.
Achievements:
The club has won the District Kenya Youth Soccer event which was run by an Italian businessman. The team had also produced 4 players who were scouted by the best youth team in Kenya based in the city of Mombasa, which was run by the same great businessman. So far on player had an opportunity to feature the team which presents the country in the Danono Nations Cul hold in Paris, France while another had two appearance of the National assignment under 17 Cecara qualifications. And since the club is preparing for the division 1 league which will kick off early November the team is lacking balls, jerseys, and training kits.
Believe me one day we would wake up with a good leader, sponsor who will brighten our future Amen!
Your sincerely,
Captain Nicky Okoth
Sponsor a player…
This is where I need your help. As you know, a team cannot play if they are not equipped with the proper attire. Most of these boys play without shoes, socks, or shin pads. The team also needs a good set of matching jerseys and shorts. For practice, they need a couple of balls and some cones.
The total cost for sponsoring 1 player is only $100CAD! This will equip them with a good pair of cleats, socks, shin pads, a jersey, shorts, a ball, some cones as well as transport money for games. This is where we are asking for your help!
For 20 players we will need $2000 to fully equip them with everything they need.
If you would like to be apart of this project, please contact me at nikolemacgregor@gmail.com. I hope to start a blog soon that will give you updates, introduce you to the boys and allow you to be apart of their lives.
Asante sana (thank you very much) for continuing this journey with me!
Nikole MacGregor

Support Letter

Since I was a little girl, Africa has consumed me. It was strange as no one in my family had ever been to Africa, I didn’t know anyone who was from Africa or who had any other skin colour than white, I never learned about it in school or saw it on the news but I knew Africa existed and I was captivated. As I grew older, the calling to be in Africa strengthened and I began to pursue this passion. I headed there as a naïve 17-year-old, then a 19-year-old college student, and eventually resided there for 10 months as a 20-year-old short-term missionary. As I pondered where my life was going and what my next steps should be, nothing fit. I planned to do other things, but my ambition faded. I felt pressured by the standards of our society and what the “right” or “normal” life was. Eventually I broke down. That’s when God stepped in and reminded me of my great love for Africa. He has placed this immense passion for Africa in my heart so that I would pursue it for His Glory

So finally I said, “Yes, God” to pursuing a life-long calling to Africa. 

In April, I stepped foot onto a Word of Life compound just south of Mombasa. I was put there unexpectedly due to circumstances in my work. I did not know that these 3 weeks would open new doors for me. At the end of my time there, I decided to pursue becoming a part of this ministry. Word of Life is a worldwide youth ministry. They work in 56 countries around the world training, investing in and building up the next generation of youth. If you would like to learn more about their work you can visit www.wol.org

In January, I will be starting a short-term bible course offered by Word of Life in Nairobi. Once I have finished, I will move back to Mombasa and work with the team there for the rest of the year. I will be involved with their various bible clubs, youth camps, schools, outreaches, and concerts. I am also looking forward to creating more relationships with young girls and continuing the relationships that I made last year. I am beyond excited to be back in Kenya, to be a student, and to mingle amongst the people I love.

One thing God has put on my heart is to be more connected to people back home. I have found a passion for writing and telling stories of the people I meet, the things I experience and the ways God is working in lives across the world. I have created a blog (www.movingwithcompassion.blogspot.com) to keep you frequently updated with the happenings of my life in Kenya and will also be sending out my regular email updates.

But I need YOU! Would you please consider being a part of my support team? There are two ways you can support me.

1. Prayer/Encouragement – This time I will not have security issues so I am able receive/write emails more. Would you commit to praying for me? Or writing me an email of encouragement or a phone call every once in a while? If so would you send your email address and mailing address to nikolemacgregor@gmail.com. If you would like to be a part of my prayer/encouragement team, could you start praying for the following items?

  – All the pieces to be put into place before I leave in less than a month!
  – My family as their daughter heads to Africa YET again
  – God’s ultimate provision of everything I need
  – My heart as I leave my family and friends, I become a student again, and I return to the nation and people I love.
  – That my ministry in Kenya would continue to be fruitful, that I would be receptive to the lead of the Holy Spirit, and that God would work powerfully in and through me.
2. Financially- As the organization is a faith-based organization, I am required to raise my own support/salary. My budget for this trip will be 12,000CAD that includes my airfare, tuition, room and board, pocket money, immigration fees, and administration fees. If you feel led to financially support the ministry in Kenya, you can fill out the form at the bottom of the page and send your gift to the address listed. If you would like to make an online gift, you may call Elisabeth Dineen at 518-494-6360 (Schroon lake, NY) and she will be happy to set that up for you!

Thank you for being apart of this wonderful journey with me. My prayer is that you too would be blessed by what God is doing in lives of people across the world!

Ubarikiwe, (Blessings)

Nikole

“But when He saw the multitudes,

He was moved with compassion for them,

 because they were weary and scattered,

like sheep having no shepherd.”

Matthew 9:36

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Moving with Compassion

“But when He saw the multitudes,

He was moved with compassion for them,

because they were weary and scattered,

like sheep having no shepherd.”

Matthew 9:36 (NKJV)

One morning, as I waited for my mom to get ready, I sat in my living room and turned my TV on. I opted not to watch the saturday morning cartoons. Instead, I was captivated by the World Vision commercial on the following channel. I was so overwhelmed and consumed with compassion for the children I saw being profiled that my eyes started to well up with tears and soon the tears were strolling down my face.
Ever since I can remember, my heart has broken for the poor, the needy, the lost, the orphaned of Africa. My pastor once told our church that he was planning on building an orphanage on the coast of South Africa. As we left the service, my mom said to me, “There you go Nik, you can go work in that orphanage.” My response was, “No Mom, I am going to go build it.”

A few years later, my compassionate heart moved me….all the way to Africa.

At the tender age of 17, I left home and ventured to Kenya. I didn’t know what was I was getting myself into.

3 days into my trip, homesickness kicked in and I was miserable. I didn’t understand. This was my life-long dream, this is what made my heart flutter, this was what God had put on my heart at a very early age. And I hated it. I cried out to God for days and days to bring me home. But He didn’t. He had different plans.
And boy am I ever glad that He did.

Meet Mercy Jepcosgei.

She is a dear friend of mine. She caught my attention right away. Everywhere I was, I was always looking for her. We didn’t talk much. She was (and still isn’t) a very outgoing young girl. But she was captivating.

One night at devotions, I sat in a gazebo and listened to 50 orphaned children belt out some familiar swahili chorus’. I was sitting on a bench and looked up to my right only to see Mercy. I watched her clap her hands, sway back and forth, and sing aloud with all her heart. Those familiar tears welled up in my eyes again. I was moved with compassion for her. I didn’t know where she came from or what had happened in her life. I didn’t know what her dreams were. I didn’t know what she was good at. I didn’t know her favorite colour or her favorite food. But I fell instantly in love with her. Compassion overwhelmed my heart once again.

As I sat beside her, I wondered how I could show her how much I loved her. How do I put this love and compassionate heart that God has given me into action? How do I move with compassion?

One night, I was in her room (that she shares with 11 other girls) when I noticed that she was feeling a bit down. She was lying on her bed watching the other girls dance and play around the room. I asked if everything was ok and she said that she was fine. I then overheard her telling her friend that she had a cold. I simply reached over and started to rub her back.

This time, tears welled up in her eyes.

At that moment I could tell that she knew that I loved her.

The next morning, I got up very early and headed back to see her. She was in her room, folding her clothers. I said to her, “How are you doing today?” “Fine” she replied. I then walked across the room and put my arms around her.

At that moment, tears welled up in both eyes.

This is a picture of Mercy (left) and I 4 years later. I have been to Kenya every year since then. Most recently, I spent 10 months in Kenya serving with Africa Inland Mission. I have gone to visit Mercy 8 times. I am so excited to see the girl that she will grow up to be. I am excited as I watch her learn to move in the ways of the Lord. I am excited that she is one of my best friends.

I am heading back to Kenya in a few short months.

I am still moving with compassion.