One of the major things we did during this trip was have a Vacation Bible School (VBS) program for the younger kids at the International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) school in Mombasa. During the program, we did skits for the kids and had crafts or games. It was very similar to what VBS looks like here in the US. And the experience was amazing.
The kids were great. They really got into the singing, and they even sang for us and taught us some songs. It was unbelievably adorable. During the crafts, they were so excited and happy. And that was a humbling and inspiring moment for me. Here the kids were, making octopi, lobsters, fish, or jellyfish out of egg cartons, paper, glue, and string. And they were beyond excited. They played with them. They ran around the room with them, pretending they were in the ocean swimming around. They made a paper craft- something most American kids, including myself, probably would have thrown out as soon as it was brought home, and they played with it like it was the newest video game or IPad or whatever. And I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty and a little humbled.
I felt guilty because I could go home, even “home” to the guesthouse, to more. I could go home where I had a laptop, cellphone, IPod, television, computer and numerous other electronic “gadgets” and otherwise expensive “toys”, that a lot of these kids didn’t have. I didn’t have to be entertained by a paper octopus or a bunch of balloons, because I have Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, and so much other entertainment in the palm of my hand. And I don’t know exactly how much these kids had, but I can’t imagine it was much. Just by looking at how some of them were wearing dirty, ripped, old, sometimes too small, clothing, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. i had so much more than these kids do, and how many times have I complained because I couldn’t get the wifi to work or my phone to update?
And I was also so humbled. Because it reminded me that I should never, ever, take anything for granted. Yeah, my parents aren’t millionaires. They can’t afford the newest car, or phone, or whatever. But we have a car. And phones. And college tuition- a chance at education. Something most of these kids could only dream about. Some of them don’t know where their next meal will come from, not to mention how they’ll afford high school and college. The next time I go to buy textbooks for school, or food, or whatever it is I may need, or think I need, I won’t complain about the very little amount of money I have in my bank account. I may be frustrated that it is so little, and I may think it’s not enough to cover what I need, but I won’t complain. Instead, I’ll thank God. I’ll thank Him for providing for me and giving me something. Giving me enough. Giving me a family who may not be rich, but who is still always able to provide. And I’ll remember and pray for those who don’t have that. Whose family can’t provide. Who don’t know where their next meal is going to come from. Who don’t have enough.
Those kids taught me to find joy the little things. To smile amidst any pain or struggle I may be having. To find happiness in the laughs and smiles of children. To have fun playing with a balloon or a paper octopus. To take every opportunity I have been given. To use what I have been given. To trust God. To live life.