BOWED OUT FOR THE AFTERNOON
As is often common when traveling to foreign countries, I picked up a bug yesterday morning. It's too bad too, because I have loved the food, and it took me out of afternoon tea and a fish dinner last night. But, alas, I am back on my feet. When I was here 8 years ago I caught something that put me out for three days and caused me to plead with God to take what life I had left and get it over with. So in comparison...I'll be just fine.
The past two days we have been working with a handful of youth workers who are making an impact in both their churches and communities throughout eastern Kenya. I got a chance to talk to them about mentoring and counseling students yesterday. I talked with them about confidentiality, empathy, listening, curiosity, humility and false promises. Their young people are being furiously chased by hopelessness. It's pushing them towards drugs, prostitution, theft, alcoholism, etc. It's painful to see people with such promise throwing in the towel because it hurts too bad to keep going; or even more, that they would need to sell something as personal as their own bodies just to eat.
But it doesn't need to stop there...and the youth workers in this picture have committed to making a difference. They have talked indepthly about the importance of relationship, compassion, patience, perseverance and faith. And they are excited. I wish you could have been in the room when these Kenyans lead each other in traditional songs prior to our meetings. It was beautiful to see them beginning to return to their own roots, and leaving behind some of the restrictions introduced by colonial Christianity that has swept their nation; and in many regards, ravaged their cultural traditions and freedom of expression. I am seeing them coming alive again, and the light of hope in their eyes is beginning to burn brighter as it lights their way one step at a time.