Monday, December 31, 2012

A Church Service and, Sadly, a Funeral

Two of the national workers here at RVA are heavily involved with helping to establish a church at a nearby IDP camp - a camp for people who fled for their lives in the violence that followed the December 2007 election here in Kenya.

These two guys – John and John – are remarkable and not only help with the church, but they also feed close to 200 children from the camp each Sunday.  What a privilege it was for me and a couple of others from RVA to go along with them to the IDP church one Sunday a little while back.

Church is held under a tree on the edge of a field.  When we arrived, people were emerging from the camp carrying benches and chairs.  A few others cleared the area of manure and even swept the ground with brooms made with dried grass.

As they were setting up, the children gathered together and stood in a tight group for Sunday school.  A man led a short lesson about Adam and Eve as someone else showed pictures from a picture book – the one Sunday school resource that the camp owns.

The church service started with singing and dancing and then different groups of children and adults would go to the front to sing a song.

Then the rain started.  As the rain picked up, people scrunched in tighter under the tree for some shelter.  It was a nice soft rain with no wind, which I thought added to the service.  This service was also the kickoff of a fundraising drive to erect a church building and the rain reminded everyone of why it is sometimes nice to meet inside.  (By the way, if you want to contribute to their church building, let me know and I am sure we can find a way for you to do so.)

Toward the end of the service, the rain tapered off.  As I was standing there, I happened to notice the shoes of the boy standing next to me.  Most all of the kids had shoes, but many of them were not in good shape.

After the service, the children were organized in order to feed them. Usually, hard-boiled eggs are brought and each child gets one, but today John and John tried something new and brought a large pot of beans and rice.  The children were lined up youngest to oldest to receive their portion, but the food ran out when there were about 20 of the oldest kids left.  They took the news well.  There is a strong desire to care for the youngest children, so the older kids would rather go without than for one of the younger kids to not have a meal.

The next day I was sitting in our brief daily staff meeting at RVA when I heard sad news – a young girl from the IDP camp who was at the church service died that afternoon when she was run over by a truck.  I can’t imagine the pain of a family who had to flee for their lives a few years ago to now lose their daughter tragically.  Life can be harsh, particularly here in Africa.


Tom Snide said...

That is sad news Mark. Thanks for the update. Sounds like things are going well. Related to your article, I purge a good pair of running shoes every three months - would it make sense to ship an occasional boxload to RVA? Granted I have 12EE feet, so your typical kid isn't going to fit into them.

CrazyD said...

Hi Tom - Thanks for the generous offer. I will touch base with you and maybe we will find a way to make it work.