OPEN HANDS

The moment I stepped off the plane in Kenya, there was a pure sense of welcoming.  From the smiles that greeted us to the “Jambo” signs overhead, there was not a moment that made me feel like an outsider.  I had been told about the contagious joyful and hospitable spirit of Kenya and I was so excited to experience it for myself.

The second day of our trip stands out to me because I had the joy of experiencing something that would forever etch itself into my mind.  Our team arrived at the church where we would be attending a Sunday service, walked inside, and were quickly seated in front.  We were a little early and the pastor was leading the pre-service service - yes, they have these.  After the children were shown to a smaller room and the worship portion of the service began, I stepped out for a moment and was pulled aside by one of the center staff.  He explained to me that the children felt left out because all of the “Muzungus” were in the sanctuary and invited me to spend time with the children and bring a lesson to their Sunday school class.

Before we left for this trip, I promised myself I would step out and be bold.  So, feeling nervous and unprepared, I stepped into the small room full of expectant children. The teacher introduced me and I began racking my brain and teaching them a few songs. We sang “Jesus Loves Me”, “This little light of Mine”, and “I’ve got the Joy”. Then, I got to learn one of their songs “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.  This song is interactive and it was so much fun to see the children sing those words while smiling and being silly with one another.  When I realized the children were receptive to even my singing voice, which I can promise is nothing anyone wants to hear, I gained a sense of comfort and realized I had so much I wanted to share with them.  We went on to memory verses, bible lessons, and discussion and before I knew it our time together was over. 

We took a short break and the teacher passed out a snack to have before we joined the rest of the congregation.  During snack time, I was talking with the teacher and in the corner of my eye, i saw a group of the children standing up and waiting for my attention.  When I looked to them, i was left speechless.  These children, many of who had empty bellies upon arriving to church, wanted me to have one of their cookies. The next meal isn’t always guaranteed for these children, however they were lined up waiting to give me some of the only thing they had as a token of their appreciation.  One little girl leaned over to me and said “Thank you for coming to our country” and reached her arms wide for a hug.  I was left teary and overwhelmed with emotion as the children exited the room, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how sweet and pure their hearts were. It was at this time that I realized how unblemished love could be and how Jesus is a common thread for all of the word.

As I opened my hands to what God had planned for me in that Sunday school room, the children opened theirs and showed me a degree of generosity that I have never seen in my life.  I will always remember that morning and I hope I will never forget how saying yes to being bold for Jesus brought me one of my greatest blessings.