It is almost impossible to tell you about the GOA Children’s Conference but I really want to try.. I hope you will read this update and even share with others as it shows how God is working in a mighty way. I thought it would be best to give you a sense of what happened if I share what the days were like for Lorri, Kimberly and me. There were 448 children from many parts of Kenya including as far away as Marsabit, Eldoret and Samburu and many tribes were represented with children speaking different languages. We woke everyday at 5:00 am and felt blessed for the thermos of hot milk, cups, instant coffee and sugar Njokie had left us so we could make coffee. . We were sleeping in a room that Lorri likened to being assigned a cell block – cement walls and wooden beds so small we were suprised we fit in them. Remember we were in a secondary school that was converting to a training center. We needed to hurry to wake up as Lorri and Kimberly would start making 550 butter and jam sandwiches for breakfast. I was to meet with the 40 team leaders for worship, devotions, prayer and planning for the day. Devotions in Kenya begins with first singing to God to worship Him. While Pastor Mathew and I were meeting with group leaders 40 “.Moms and “Dads were already helping the children prepare for the day Children slept on pads on the floor – two to three to a pad and up to 50 children per dorm room. It was cold and blankets were shared. Not one child complained of their accomodations the entire conference. Oh for the gift to be able to sleep anywhere. The Temples of Worship team was up every morning for devotions with the team leaders so by 7:00 am as the children were filing in to take their seats on little wooden chairs and benches sitting smallest in the front to the tallest in the back they were leading praise and worship.
Kids love their new bandanas, backpacks and t-shirts, and other supplies
The children led by their group leaders came for breakfast – chai from huge buckets and a sandwich of jam and butter.. After breakfast the children did presentations – singing, drama, memory verses, etc. As we watched we got to sit and hold little children who would come to sit on our laps. That was one of the best part of the day just holding the children. Then time for the children to have hot cereal. Once again the children lined up in an orderly fashion for food. During the conference we served almost 10,000 meals and snacks!
At 11:00 the children went to small groups with their leaders. The groups sat outside and inside – it seemed everywhere as the leaders took the children through their journals – how to change themselves so they could change the world. It was beautiful to watch the children in small groups – colored shirts, bandanas on their heads, their journals and new pencils. Back inside for lunch and and then 3 hours for games. The reason for the red, yellow, blue and green shirts was for the games. The games are group games like tug of war with points awarded over the week to the the color winning the different games. Doing it this way creates team spirit and every child is included. The intensity of the cheering during the indoors games rivalled the super bowl! Children took their seats again as the worship team sang. When kenya children worship it a sight to behold. They dance, raise their hands to the Lord and shout praises. It is amazing to watch little children worshipping like this. Then time to line up for dinner – cabbage and ugali served from buckets. You have probably never seen the chopping of cabbage for 550!. Everyday children were encouraged to think about ways they would change so they could change the world. And the program Choosing to wait was introduced by Charles from CT. The first day Matthew asked him to do in the main session but that didn’t work as well because of the different ages so the next days Matthew had the 13 and above children meet with Charles. Some of the teens said one of the highlights of the week was meeting with Charles. The last night we hung a large cross at the front of the room and the room was dark except for the candles lighting up the cross. Sam from Community Transformers talked to the children about how it all begins at the foot of the cross. He asked those who hadn’t given their lives to Christ to come forward to the cross. The children filled the stage and the front of the room. Pastor Matthew led the 150 children in the repentence prayer. The children were very serious as they repeated the prayer. Then all 448 of the children were asked to write on a piece of paper what sin they wanted to get out of their lives. Then the group leaders led their children outside to a bonfire where they threw the paper in the fire.
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