Friday , August, 21, 2009 (Mariella)
I still can’t quite grasp the drastic time change, it’s 2:33pm here on the 21st of August and you guys are mostly sleeping, not yet having seen the light of the 21st-weird. Ok, so I’ve been working on this mural with the kids for a few days now, our first challenge was finding paint, then finding brushes (decent ones) and now, giving enough work for the day. We’ve somewhat completed a painting in reference to John 3:16 it just needs a glossy paint finish. We’ve started a second one, the kids painted a panel light blue and yesterday I wrote some of the words the student s gave us for different names of God. Names like, Redeemer, Jehovah, Abba, Messiah, Lamp unto my feet, Alpha na Omega, Rabbi, mwalimu (teacher in Swahili), Jemedari (Lord of Lords), Mola (God), Kiongozi (ruler), Mkombozi (Savior), Mshindi (winner) and Mwenyezi (Almighty) and then they painted it all in with different colors. These kids blow me away with their faith and understanding of God. Yesterday we also worked on the beginnings of a new mural. The kids were asked to take a half sheet of paper and choose a verse from scripture and try to draw something that suits that scripture. Most of these kids don’t have Bibles, so Craig’s small military Bible and a New Testament one that I found had to suffice, I wish I would’ve taken a picture of this moment: About 20 or so kids sharing a Bible and a New Testament bible, scrambling for scriptures that they can relate to. Craig and I watched one really small girl stand in the same spot for over 30 minutes looking to the small print in the bible and then trying her hardest to write it on her paper, it became clear later that she couldn’t even read or write yet, but she wasn’t about to give up that easy. I am constantly amazed at how the people here react to the smallest of treasures. Yesterday I had only half sheets of paper, about 12 markers, a few color pencils, 10 lead pencils, and one and a half Bibles, and they were so excited to write and draw and write some more. I couldn’t help but remember my adolescent years. Even in primary school I pretended to be ill so I could stay home nearly EVERY DAY! In junior high, my sisters and I ditched school at least 2 or 3 times a week, and even now in college, I sometimes chose to just stay home. What a spoiled brat I was. I wish I knew then what I know today. Most of these kids would love to go to school, but school fees and sometimes having to find work get in the way of that dream.
I am not exactly sure what theme or one thing that God is teaching us here. I know I am able to see more clearly the way people really live here and that is an incredibly humbling thing in it of itself. I think you would have to be incredibly hardened to come into Kibera and not leave a more humbled person. I have learned to be thankful for everyday, literally I wake up and thank the Lord for another day and ask Him to be our navigator. I guess what we are here to do is to write about what we see, to share with you our experiences with people and saints around the world, perhaps to encourage some of you to pray for the poor, the hungry, the orphan, and the widow. Perhaps it is so that God would continue breaking us so that we might look more like Him. Maybe it’s so that when I get back home you all hold me accountable to what I’ve seen, and smelled, and heard. I am eager to get home, even though we are only 1/6 of the way through with this journey, but I am also afraid of forgetting. I don’t want to forget to live simply, to give plenty, and to be thankful for everyday and even every minute. I want to pray like Paul, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I CONSIDER THEM RUBBISH, THAT I MIGHT GAIN CHRIST AND BE FOUND IN HIM and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” Phil 3:8.
I want to really believe that. To believe that to me all the wonderful material joys in southern California are rubbish and really the only thing that matters is Christ and become so much like Him that I can only be found IN HIM. When I walk around Kibera, I can see that the dirt roads are made up of dirt and plastic bags and rubbish, there is trash everywhere. Some of it slightly burned up and most of it just becomes part of the road. I’d like to be able to walk around a mall at home and really see it all as rubbish, to see it all as the streets in Kibera. To not be tempted to purchase for the sake of purchasing, I admit this is a total temptation for me, I like to have things. I like to open up a closet and have more than just a few options. Yet another thing to hold me accountable to once we are back home. I love you guys, thanks for reading and telling your friends about the blog (Becky and Hailey), it is incredibly encouraging that you all believe in us and believe in what God is doing here in our hearts and in our lives. Keep praying.