138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
On our last Sunday in Kenya, we spent the majority of our day at Zion's three church services. We are still intrigued by the scheduling of events in Kenya; the services have starting and finishing times listed in the bulletin, but they seem to begin without warning and to simply "happen when they happen." This is starkly different from the way that services are conducted in the United States, but we appreciated the spontaneity of church today nonetheless. If a day at church is scheduled a certain way, we can be one hundred percent certain that the day will not play out in that manner.
The church's choirs, bands, and musical groups gave performances, and we enjoyed worship led by Alan, Zion's singers, and John (for a song or two). Then, we split up to give lessons to various groups in the church. In the main service, Alan delivered a message on tithing based on the passage in Luke in which a poor widow gave the last of her meager resources to God. He spoke of sacrificial giving, the excuses that both Americans and Kenyans devise to avoid tithing, and the idea that Jesus must become greater as we become less.
Ben and John worked together to conduct the teens' Sunday school lesson and devotional. First, Ben opened with a message using 1 Timothy 4:12 to convey to his fellow teenagers that the time for doing God's work is now, not just during one's adult years. John used Living Grounded to lead a devotional in a similar format to junior high and senior high small groups at the Bible Chapel. The Kenyan teens were not used to being called out at random to provide an answer, but John was able to break the ice thanks to his years of experience in the junior high ministry.
Matthew, at the specific request of Reverend Wambua, preached to the young adults about the role of men in God's family. He spoke of leadership, discipline in maintaining purity and one's daily walk with Christ, and being assertive in supporting families. He received a round of applause (or, as the Kenyans say, a "clap") from the females of the young adult group when he discussed the difficult fact that modesty is not encouraged by culture.
Eric addressed the married men's group about the responsibility of men to be leaders in their families and in the church. Based on Ephesians 5:21-28, Eric encouraged them to step up, speak out, stand strong, stay humble, and serve the Lord. He was glad that his talk generated interest and several insightful questions.
After the church services, the team reconvened and met with the committee that runs Zion's outpatient clinic, which gives free vaccinations and treats common ailments faced by the people of Mathare. We stocked the clinic with medicine donated by medical professionals at the Bible Chapel, which was greatly appreciated by the clinic staff. The clinic is also working to launch free maternity services; please pray that they are able to find resources to purchase the equipment necessary to launch the ministry.
Finally, the team worked with the church staff to perform a "children's crusade" in the slum. We set up a portable stage, danced, and blasted loud Christian music until a crowd of children and parents assembled. Ben gave his testimony, Matthew told the children about the story of David and Goliath and how God can use the young for great things, and John led the children in the sinner's prayer. We were glad to be able to plant the seeds of the Gospel in the children who assembled, as well as to showcase the spiritual joy in our lives in the middle of the slum, which is often a gloomy place. The team returned to the hotel for dinner and closed their day together by remembering their favorite episodes and songs from Veggie Tales. "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything," "Cebu," and "Where Is My Hairbrush?" were our favorites.
Throughout the day, we were all reminded of Pastor Moore saying that "the longest distance in the world is the eighteen inches between your head and your heart." This idea applies to believers in the United States as well as in other nations. Only God knows whether the congregants at Zion or the children at the crusade will take the messages we delivered and apply them to their spiritual walk. Pray that the people of Mathare and the congregants of Zion are inspired to grow deeper in their faiths. Pray that the teens treat their faith as a relationship between themselves and Jesus instead of as another school subject like math or science.
(Written by Ben Zeisloft, on behalf of the team)