How’s that for a sunset?
On Easter weekend we travelled about three and a half hours south west of our home to the city of Kisumu. Now that is driving time on Kenyan roads. It’s only about ninety miles. The city sits on the shores of Lake Victoria. We went to visit new friends and to see an area of Kenya that we haven’t been to previously. We had a remarkable weekend.
The couple that we were visiting have lived in Kenya for the past decade. Previous to that they lived in Costa Rica. They are super fun, were great to my kids, and made us feel completely at home.
They work at a Christian NGO in Kisumu called Agape. Agape is the Greek word for unconditional love. That unconditional love is what Agape heaps on the city’s street children. We spent part of our weekend at the home for boys. There is also a home for girls but we didn’t visit there (this time). These homes are for children who have lived on the streets and range in age from six to eighteen. Some have been on the streets for long periods of time and some have just arrived. Drug use and prostitution are common. Some come from abusive families and others come simply from utter poverty with no one to care for them. Agape provides physical, emotional, and spiritual counseling. They provide tutoring services to try and equip the children for a return to school. They try to find family that is willing to take the children in or otherwise find a children’s home for them to go to. It is through God’s love that these children begin to see alternatives to their current life circumstances.
So my kids did what they are great at, they hung out with other children and loved on them.
They colored with children who had never held a crayon.
They played checkers with bottle tops on a board painted on a table top.
They swung on the tire swings.
They just hung out and talked.
That was how we spent most of our Saturday. It was a great time.
On Easter Sunday we thought we would mix things up a bit and we went for a boat tour in Lake Victoria that highlights the hippopotamus that live there.
The boat on the left was ours for the morning.
We were given life vests that seemed like at some point in the past may have provided some degree of buoyancy.
The hippopotamus watched us set off from shore.
It wasn’t long before our boat bailing skills were called into action.
I’m not kidding.
Thankfully we are all good swimmers so I was able to enjoy the sights and the scenery.
After an hour on the Lake we came back to shore and returned to Agape for an Easter Sunday worship service.
That’s how my kids were dressed. No special dresses this year. No suits and ties. It was an Easter Sunday service that I will never forget. Not until I was sitting with the boys and listening to the worship leader did I begin to realize that for some of the boys this was their first time ever in any Easter Sunday service. In fact the worship leader began by asking the boys if they knew what day it was. Some boys replied that it was Sunday but not one boy knew that it was Easter. To listen to the worship leader tell the story of Jesus, a lightning fast summary of his life, death, and resurrection, and to know that this was new for many of these boys was surreal to me. But I smiled and I tried to show the love that Jesus has for them. Then it was time for the Easter festival that had been planned for the afternoon.
There was something akin to a three legged race that involved being tied together into a group.
There was tug-of-war.
And who knew that Ryan’s unicycle riding skills would come into play?!?
“Do not let your hearts be trouble,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me.” – John 14:1