American youth team serving in Kenya
This trip I have an American youth team with me. They raised all their own money to come including money to put play equipment at Beat the Drum. Tye following is an update I sent their parents. These kids are representing American youth very well. Dear parents and grandparents of the American youth team, I feel I need to send you an update myself as I can tell from their updates they are not going to be able to tell you the some of the things about themselves. Last night the Partners for Care team held a what if? event in partnership with a large church here in Kenya. All the Partners for Care team wore their what if? shirts and hats and so did the American team. The kids looked great in their shirts and wished they could write on the back of their shirts “we are with the band”. The event was in an open area near a market. Many people gathered to hear the what if? message of HIV/AIDS prevention. The band sang as the crowd gathered. The kids were great clapping and dancing! It was funny for the crowd to see the American team. After the band (Temples of Worship) draws the crowd Pastor Omondi speaks about AIDS telling the crowd how following God’s plan of waiting and abstinence will stop this disease. He calls them to test to know their status. The kids had agreed to go to the stage and introduce themselves and tell the crowd that no matter a person’s color, no matter their country or their tribe HIV/Aids has affected everyone and must be stopped. Christian had agreed to be their spokesperson. He was so confident in his speaking! The kids looked wonderful on the stage in an open market area in Kenya with all Kenyans as their audience!
The pastor who organized the event introducing the American team
A section of the crowd that was present
The crowd received their messsage well. When it was time for us to give the audience the opportunity to sign committment cards that say “I will do my part to create an HIV free generation – test, wait and be faithful to one partner” the kids went to the crowd asking people to sign the cards. God had placed a burden in Christian’s heart for children with AIDs many years ago when he began to support two little girls who are infected with AIDs – Rebecca and Faith who live at Beat the Drum. The other kids also have seen first hand the devastation of this disease as they held the children at Beat the Drum who are all infected with HIV/AIDs. And, at Community Transformers they have met and held two year old little Elizabeth who has Aids and fights everyday to just live as her little body fights a disease that destroys her immune system. She takes a handful of pills everyday just to survive. And, the team has begun to integrate with the Partners for Care team here in the house. Every night at dinner the kids had sat together at the big table where we eat our meals. Last night however they announced they no longer wanted this segregation and arranged everyone “black/white”. I noticed some of the Partners for Care team looking sort of amazed at the joy and laughter of the kids and how they seemed so comfortable. We spent the next hour around the table laughing and sharing. We ended in prayer as we prayed for a woman at the what if? event who told one of our team members that she was already infected with HIV/AIDs and that her pastor had thrown her out of the church. She had no shoes and no food. She will return today to the second day of the what if? event. The team is taking shoes and food to her. All of you should feel very proud of your kids. They are mature beyond their age, love the Lord and have the capacity to feel in their hearts compassion for others. I have been blessed to be with them and honored that they have allowed an “old person” in their conversations. They now are asking me more why are things the way they are in this nation of poor people and what can they and others do to help. Blessed to serve with this American youth team, Connie
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