Volleyball In A Slum
Bridgette has done a great job of explaining one of our programs here in Kenya…girls volleyball. This morning I listened to John Maxwell’s DVD on 5 Levels of Leadership – position, permission, production, people development and pinnacle. Pinnacle level of leadership means being a leader people follow because of who you are and what you represent.
I was reminded how Partners for Care is about helping young people here develop their God-given abilities to be pinnacle level leaders. Leaders people follow because they are followers of Jesus – the greatest leader of all times and because they do as Christ commanded – care for the orphans and the children and serve the poor.
Do all the good you can – wherever and when ever you can and do your work the best you can undo the Lord. That is what Bridgette and I have seen the PFC staff doing here in Kenya.
One of the programs at Partners For Care involves sports-particularly mens’ soccer and ladies’ volleyball. Because of our relationship with Peace Passers (www.peacepassers.org), which I found out about through a dear tennis teammate in Atlanta…the men’s soccer teams have been equipped with uniforms, cleats, etc…. Obviously, the girls’ volleyball team does not require as much; however, the more equipped they are, the more confident they will feel.
While here, I have had the pleasure of getting to know the middle school age girls on the team. These young ladies are at such impressionable ages, and their coach Justus (one of the PFC Temples of Worship musicians), has invested much time and energy into their lives. For that reason, I have seen and heard amazing stories of the bond being created both on and off the volleyball court. They are sharing their faith, their friendships and their struggles…and Justus is teaching them how to be pure sexually, faithful spiritually and committed to get their educations no matter their circumstances. Their stories bring me to tears ( she told me not to cry!) as they live day to day for their basic needs to be met. Life is incredibly difficult for these girls…yet they are stronger and more disciplined than many adults I know. I am in awe of their resolves…and can see how the sport of volleyball is building so much more than athleticism among them. I listened as they shared how they scraped together 10 schillings each to help a teammate in crisis…or how they took turns around the clock coming to Justus’ bedside and praying when he was very sick this past spring.
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of going to one of their matches. As we drove deep into the village where the match was to be played, I was shocked at how badly these people were living. All that came to mind was “Our slum’s better than your slum!” Its all relative, isn’t it? I mean, we compare our “stuff” to others all the time, right? We’ve all heard the saying…One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. But as I stood there in the middle of a slum in East Africa watching these girls play with simple t-shirts and no shoes…I was reminded just how important this program is on so many levels. You see, to them, it didn’t matter the conditions around them or the fact that they had no shoes to wear. They were playing their hearts out and loving every minute of it!
After the game/match, Justus used this opportunity to talk to them all (including the other team) about character, perseverance and personal growth through education, etc…. By modeling this lifestyle himself, he is changing the direction of these young girls lives forever. We played a movie on the projector that Connie and I brought from the U.S. (on a concrete wall) and we popped maize over an open flame for snacks. You should have seen how much fun the girls were having! It will indeed be one of my fondest moments here as I have formed lasting relationships with several of these girls. I can’t wait to see how God will use them to be a shining example for others…all because of a simple sport called volleyball in a slum in East Africa!