Connie’s 5th update from Kenya
Sunday I heard Bishop David Thagano preach two of the most passionate and powerful sermons I have heard him preach. The first sermon was Sunday morning in the Makuru GOA Church. There we witnessed two football players accept Christ as the two young men knelt on their knees at the alter and the Bishop and Pastor Murimi brought them to the Lord. The one boy had earlier told the Pastor he had never been to church.
The second sermon was that night when he preached at the end of the four day tournament to 10,000 people. As the sun set and it got dusk he made the call and the hands went up as 27 stepped forward to accept Christ as their personal savior. The Bishop was wearing the white Reach-a-Miilion t-shirt fitting for the football players stepping forward in their uniforms. Pastor Matthew interpreted for the Bishop and later said how thrilling it was it interpret for the Bishop as he passionately brought the young men to Christ. As they stepped forward the Bishop told them they were needed to help this Nation of Kenya heal.
Then the prizes were awarded. If you remember I told you this would be the first tournament in five years to actually play the final game and have prizes awarded. Earlier when the teams played for 3rd place the team that won ran immediately from the field to a brick wall that was at the end of the field – and together with the crowd behind them and hands on their shoulders knelt in prayer and thanked God for the win. They knew before they could celebrate the win with the community they wanted to thank the One from where their receive their blessings. I was blessed to witness this powerful act of faithfulness of young men who live in a slum but worship a God they believe gave them the win. Their team name is Vision.
Awarding of the prizes was amazing. Even though it was getting dark and the slum is not a place to be after dark the crowd insisted on order and God protected us through them. At one point some people began to rush the stage to get the Peace Balls and our team immediately moved to establish a barrier between the platform and the crowd. But the crowd themselves addressed the problem by joining hands in the front of the crowd and people were telling others to give order and respect to people who had come to help them.
The highlight was when the first place girls team received soccer shoes! They were shocked to receive such a gift and shouted and hugged all of the team saying thank you and telling us they loved us. We also gave them track suits. The only other women team was a team of middle-aged moms – infected with HIV/AIDS. They received track suits. I still would like to see them get soccer shoes as this was the team that played in flip flops and one played with no shoes. The winners received uniforms and trophies. These prices mean so much to these young men who are so poor.
If I didn’t understand sports evangelism before this event I understand it now. And I understand why GOA has sports evangelism under the ministry field of church planting. And, I understand why SN tells me a ball is not just a ball it is a a way to draw people to God. Yesterday I could see that GOA will Reach-A-Million with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention and the gospel.
For four days we came to this slum. We bought medicine in a chemist, chapati in a restaurant and everyday we took the long ride through the slum to the football field. We met the people who live in this slum – the football teams, the 500 small children who the team played with and gave biscuits to. The HIV-AIDS women group of 100 women infected with the virus. They asked to meet with us. Their greatest need is access to their ARVs and food. We met some of the hundred street boys – how I have grown to hate that word. Does anyone really think about what that means. Children who at night when it is dark sleep outside – in the cold, the rain and in the morning do the daily search for food. That morning n church the Partners for Care team sang Remember Me. While the song is a call to God to remember me it also spoke to us as a call from the street boys to remember them.
Today I will tell the Bishop I will support Daniel if the CCRC board approves his admission. I don’t know that there is hope for this young man – 12 years on the street, so addicted to the glue after six years of using it that he openly sniffs it most of the time except when he asks you to help him go to school or he says he is hungry. But then I have witnessed a miracle with Rebecca, Faith and now Diga who is speaking Swahilli and writing the English alphabet. Being in this slum for four days I was reminded when Jesus said the harvest is plenty, the workers are few. GOA pastors are the workers but they cannot do it alone. They need our support to help them harvest the least of these – the orphans, the hungry and the sick. GOA went deep into this slum – and as He promised the harvest was great.
Blessed to be here, Connie
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