The first experience of Kenyan culture occurs miles away from the Kenyan border. In fact, it begins whilst queing at the boarding gate at Amsterdam airport. Different skin colors, different hair styles, different languages, different smells, different ideas of cabin luggage size……we were definitely in the minority! In December, we spent almost 3 weeks in Kenya, training kids leaders, running kid programs and speaking in churches. This was Christine’s first time to Africa, whilst John has previously been several times.
We spent 2 days teaching at the Bible Collage to 30 – 40 Pastors, student Pastors and Kids Leaders. Topics included ‘How kids think and learn’, ‘the state of kids today’, and the theory and practical workshops on communication, games, memory verses, object lessons and story- telling. As well as feeling very welcomed, our teaching was widely accepted and appreciated. Many people said they had never heard these things before and were quite excited by them.
The church also includes a Vocational Training Collage, which currently trains in hairdressing, dressmaking, computers, and has plans to extend and involve more trades, such as metalwork and motor mechanics. Over 1000 people attend the church. John’s preaching on ‘Let the Children come to Me’ was well accepted, especially by the leadership.
It was an interesting journey via the main highway, which included speed humps, pedestrian crossings, people walking down the middle of the road trying to push things in your window to buy and wild zebras grazing in the emergency lane!
For 2 days, we were involved at a Kids Camp to around 100 kids. The kids love dancing and will do this for hours. They dance in praise, they dance in presentations, they have dance off competitions and they dance in worship – they just intuitively dance! When they say ‘white men can’t jump’, it should be added that they can’t dance either! The down sides to such exuberant dancing? Indoor dust storms and a dramatic increase in body temperature!
Other activities included speaking at Sunday church services and the chance to meet and encourage their kid’s leaders. It was really good to see some of the guys John had previously trained. Although the original team have now split up and spread across Kenya, each one is beginning new ministries with the kids in their new locations.
It took another interesting journey to travel to Kisumu – 17 people plus chickens, bags and our luggage (which we had bought a seat for) all squished into one 14 seat matatu (or minivan) for 5 hours!
Here, for 4 days, we trained 150 kid’s leaders from all around Mbale. Included was a spontaneous program to 400 kids. Fortunately we had 2 willing junior helpers – Deborah and Joseph, who grew up in Kids Works in Australia and are now missionaries with their family in Mbale. As previously, no specialised kids training had been done. Again, our training was appreciated and well received, complete with invitations to return in 2009 and continue more in depth training.