We can't, but He can

We can't, but He can

Anonymous Student

In our last day of Vacation Bible School at Bondeni, we taught the story about Jesus walking on water. In a place that has been devastated by flooding, this story of faith couldn’t have been more prevalent.

Being in the slums is nothing other than the Twilight  Zone. We walk out of the metal gates that surround the loving, carefree, and safe school environment then be bombarded by the poverty, devastation, and destruction of the slums. Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 4 rang like an ever-present gong inside my head, “Again I observe all the acts of oppression being done under the Sun.” At first glance it seems as if it is a fallen wasteland, without the hope and future that God promises us. But by visiting with families and hearing their stories, we soon learn that God’s perfect promises still remain true. Hope, joy, and peace are overflowing by people that have all the cards stacked against them. Through this the Lord is declaring that God’s kingdom is not limited to those of a certain race, status, or tax bracket, but to all of those who take up His cross daily and follow Him.

Understanding where the kids come from makes VBS so much more special. Although I was teaching a room full of 9 year olds, I was startlingly aware that they were not simply children. These were people who have had to take on the role of the parent - for themselves and others. To have lived in the slums their entire lives, I was the last person to be teaching them about faith. They trust in God for food, shelter, and health on a daily basis - not knowing what each day might bring. With their intense love of learning, every student embodied the scripture “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

After VBS, we took Snyder’s sponsored children on a field trip to nature park called Paradise Lost. We went boating, hiked a waterfall, and went spelunking (for those of you who aren’t as outdoor minded - that just means we explored a cave). All the children were so excited. It was such a relief to see these kids simply being crazy kids who were excited (and maybe even a little scared) about our adventures, yet still the most respectful and loving people I’ve ever met. With millions of hugs and high fives exchanged, I began to wonder why …

Throughout this trip, and even when I previously went in 2022, I have struggled with our purpose here in Kenya. How can a bunch of Americans, who could never dream of life in the slums, be able to effectively minister and encourage these families? We can’t. By ourselves we can’t. There’s nothing that I’m good enough at to make up for my lack of understanding. But I know the One who does - I know the King of Kings who holds the future in His all- encompassing hands. I know the Lord of Lords who understands where these people have come from and their dreams for the future. I know the author and perfecter of our faith who can reach across every language, cultural, and background divide to serve His ministry!

It is not simply about us, because His work is so big and so mighty, that we may never be able to fully comprehend. It is about us serving our risen King and savior. And that’s not something you can only do in Kenya. It’s something we can do in our schools, homes, and businesses. It is something we should be so excited about, that we will shout it from the rooftops! And it is something that shouldn’t cease until our dying breath.

1 Comment

Tom Hatch - June 12th, 2024 at 11:55pm

Thank you for articulating what I have been thinking…..when you don’t have “things” all you have is yourself, the people around you, and most Importantly God!