Post-Safari Update from Rafiki!
As I wait for my 1000-plus pictures from Safari on the Masai Mara National Park/Game Reserve to upload onto my computer, I figured I would write a blog post with an update of our happenings for the past few weeks!
We have been living/working for the past 2.5 weeks on the Rafiki Orphanage compound on the northwestern side of Nairobi, Kenya. Our weekdays have been spent leading GAMES (acronym for games, art, music, enrichment and sports) for the resident children here while they are on their 3 week break in between 11 week school terms. These activities range from cutting out paper hearts and making yarn bracelets to playing soccer (or “football”) and running through our personally designed obstacle courses. We do 1.5-2 hour shifts with each age group of children throughout the day, rotating groups every 30 minutes. We eat lunches and dinners with the cottage households in a common dining room, and it has been a joy getting to know the Mommas during mealtime conversations. The children are an absolute joy to be around, and I regard them as beacons of God’s love and youth to all they encounter! They are full of energy, take nothing for granted, are easily entertained, love to sing, and are well-behaved (for the most part). The past week, each member of our Dep team has seen large improvements in ability to garner respect from the children as adult leaders while still having a fun time and building relationships with them.
The Rafiki foundation is based off of the teachings of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), and is attempting to relate everything – and I mean everything! – they are learning and experiencing to God and his presence as Creator and Sustainer of the universe. I grew up going to BSF, so it is cool to be able to see this in action with so many children on the other side of the world! The staff here has amazed me with their day to day reliance on God. They continually praise God for things I sometimes count as trivial and regular (the coming of a new day, food, shelter, and safety while sleeping/traveling), ask God for mercy and forgiveness because we are all sinners, and eagerly attempt to pursue glorifying God through their daily lives. This is inspiring to me and is definitely something I have been thinking of the past couple years, and plan on putting into practice for the rest of my life! After being here for a week or two, I am positive that God had a specific purpose for me to come here this summer.
Looking forward, we have one week remaining of GAMES, and then the school term will begin next week. We will then begin working in the classrooms as teachers assistants. Our Deputation team is getting along well, having a great time, we are definitely learning a lot about patience and leveling with the needs of each other (1 Cor. 12:26). There are other “mini-missionaries” here sharing our living quarters that have been a joy to get to know them!
We have spent our weekends on excursions throughout Kenya, which have provided a refreshing change of scenery to the busy, weekday happenings here at the orphanage compound. 2 weekends ago, we visited an elephant orphanage, a giraffe center (where many of us “kissed” giraffes!), and the Carnivore (which is an exotic meat restaurant that I personally loved and ate to my heart’s content). This past weekend, we were lucky enough to travel to the Masai Mara National Park/Game Reserve and go on SAFARI!!! After a 7 hour drive (3 hours on very bumpy “roads made in Kenya”), we arrived at our tents of residence for the weekend. We almost immediately went out on our first game drive (at 4pm) to look for animals. It is migration season right now, so Zebras and Wildebeest are everywhere! In the next two days, we saw 40 elephants, 30 lions, 30 giraffes, 20 hippos, 2 leopards, a cheetah, and about 25 other different types of magnificent creatures! It was truly awesome to have the chance to spend 3 days in wonder at God’s creation. We had a great time as a team, took many pictures, created many inside jokes, and made good friends with our driver.
We look forward to many more weekend excursions, but our hearts feel at home with the children here in Rafiki. Upon return from Safari last night, we were greeted with loving handshakes along with smiles and many questions. Today, we went with ~20 Rafiki children and led games at a Special needs school for mentally disabled children. This experience was a unique one, and I was very impressed at how the Rafiki children helped in leadership/assistance there. Today showed me that the Lord has many surprises up His sleeve, and will continue to give us new challenges/experiences as we vivaciously pursue Him in our lives! Pray for us to continue to have energy, patience, and intentionality when working with these children and each other, and to glorify God with our actions every minute of every day of our lives…because each moment is truly a gift from God.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever YOU DO, do EVERYTHING for the GLORY of GOD!”
1 Cor. 10:31