Monday, March 8, 2010
So, its taken me forever to get these stories out. Keeping up with school this time of the year has been tough. I also admit that my Bible reading through Levitical law and Numbers hasn't really been inspiring me to blog. I know its important, but I don't always know what to do with all that information! So, now to Randy's story from our trip to Kenya. Randy is a 15 year old boy that lives in the Kibera Slum area of Nairobi. The Kibera slum is the largest slum in Kenya and it is the slum that has received the most attention in American media. While the attention is good in some ways, it is also negative, since many of the people are either leery of or dependent upon aid and relief. We first saw Randy as he completed a marching presentation as a boy scout for our welcoming. I couldn't help but notice the infectious grin that lit up his face. We found out later that we would travel to his house in the slum for a home visit. As we followed Randy to his home, I couldn't help but think...this is his walk home...every day. Each day he walks through the rows of tin homes that are literally built on top of one another on the dusty dirt streets that also serve as latrines in some places. The thing that struck me the most about our walk there was that even among these terrible conditions, Randy wasn't ashamed to take us to his home. He was proud. He walked with his shoulders back confidently as he led his honored guests down his familiar dirt streets. When we arrived at his home, we were welcomed in the door by his father Frederick and his mother, aunt and younger siblings. It was so dark when we first entered, we couldn't even see where we were stepping to get into the home. I admit a cat that scurried behind my back in the dark gave me quite a scare. We all squeezed into this small maybe 8X10 home as this family graciously welcomed us in. (A sidenote...the monthly rent that was difficult for this family to come by, was approximately the same amount we had individually spent on lunch that day, approx $11). A small lantern lit the room, but it was not the only light there. The other lights came from the proud glow on the face of a father who was so proud of his son, and a son who has hope in his future. We spent time with the family and prayed for them. Again, I just kept thinking about how gracious and proud they were to show us their home. How thankful the parents were for what Compassion has done in their son's life. Randy again, walked us back through the slum to the compassion project. The slums can be disorienting, as everything looks the same and the sights and smells are abrasive to your senses. But we followed Randy as he confidently guided us back through his neighborhood. Randy is a product of Compassion. I have no doubt that Randy will do great things in his life, and hopefully bring change to the Kibera area. The only sad part...Randy doesn't have a sponsor. Randy represents thousands of children around the world who are faithfully attending the Compassion program and who are patiently waiting for someone to invest and pour into their lives. To these children, a sponsor isn't just someone who provides monetary support (although that is seen as a blessing) a sponsor is someone who believes in them, someone who tells them that they love them, someone who encourages them to chase their dreams. Randy, along with thousands of others are waiting for someone to start making a true difference in their lives. Will that person be you? If you are interested in sponsoring a child, let me know or visit www.compassion.com. If you are already sponsoring a child. Take time this week to write your child a letter. Tell them how much you love them, and how proud you are to be their sponsor. I promise...it really does make a difference.