We had a fantastic weekend at the East African Refugee Retreat in Karen at the Scripture Mission – Northwood’s third year sending a team to the retreat. Our time together ran from Thursday through Sunday and there were about 60-70 refugee friends young and old from the fellowship. Jason, Sarah and LaVonne helped with the adult sessions with Jason (aka sheik Jason…because of the beard) teaching and Sarah and LaVonne leading the ladies breakout discussions. Andy helped with the youth group (ages 13-23) and Claudia and Mark had fun with the kids ages 12 and under. The theme was John 15 where Jesus says that He is the vine and we are the branches and we are to abide in Him. One of the hardest parts of the teaching concerned the often painful pruning process we all go through as branches. This was a particularly difficult subject to talk about given the painful experiences our refugee friends have been through. We were all honored to hear their stories, deepen friendships, laugh and cry, worship and pray, play football and frisbee and even dance together. It was an amazing time and we have all learned so much from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We even ate some great meals that featured camel and goat. Delicious.
This week we’re in the Mathare Valley Slum in Nairobi and working with our friends at Mathare Community Outreach. We are recording the Kariobangi Choir in the mornings from 10-noon, eating lunch with the kids and staff from Mathare, and then leading an Inverted Arts Camp in the afternoons with classes in music (Mark and LaVonne), photography (Andy and Sarah), and video (Jason and Claudia). Our first day was great and we’ll write more about it soon.
We’re all getting along well, keeping healthy and even getting some sleep on occasion. Last night the monkeys on our roof kept us up. Keep us in your prayers for strength, health, and open hearts and minds for what God has to teach us in the week ahead.