At some point in the course of most of our Impact Trips we host a Vacation Bible School at a CARE for AIDS partner church. If I’m being honest, these are the days of each trip’s itinerary that stress me out the most. Wrangling hundreds of kids to play games is not my favorite way to spend the day, but I push usually through, and the Lord always reveals a beautiful truth to me through the experience.
One of the most profound VBS experiences I will always remember happened in 2014 in a community in Nairobi called Ngando. At one point in the afternoon we had the children spit into two large groups for relay races and games. As we prepared to teach the children how to play duck-duck-goose, we instructed our group to circle up and hold hands in the center of a field right inside the church compound gates. One little girl, Esther, was particularly excited, and grabbed onto my hand, jumping up and down and giggling while we waited to start the game.
As I looked around, taking an inventory of the kids, I noticed a girl standing right at the gates on the edge of the compound, shyly looking in at the fun being had. Esther caught my gaze and looked over to the girl at the gates. She looked up at me, looked at her hand holding mine, and then ran to the girl at the gates. My immediate thought was that we were now one kid down. I didn’t want her to run too far, so I almost ran after her, but before I could even call to her, Esther surprised me.
She grabbed the little girl’s hand and was running with her back into the filed of the compound. Esther ushered the shy girl to my left side and placed the girls hand in mine, then resumed her place to my right, grabbed my hand again and looked up at me. She was absolutely beaming.
Esther was exited before, but including her new friend in the fun increased her joy to exuberance.
This Ash Wednesday, as we enter into the season of Lent, I want to challenge you to run to the gate- to the margins- to those who are standing on the outside of your faith and looking in - and usher them into the coming joy. What Esther understood was that it isn’t a party unless everyone is invited. I believe the same to be true about celebrating the coming resurrection of Christ. We are called as believers to run to the margins and bring people into the joy that we have been gifted. How can you intentionally bring people into joy during this season?
We want to invite you to join our team across East Africa and the US in praying for our clients and their nations during this season of Lent. You can access our six week Lenten Prayer Guide here.