“You Raise Me Up” by Rafiki Kenya
One week in and where do I even start? Being the first update I wish I could squeeze every detail and situation we’ve seen into this singular blog post but I’ll save you some daylight for that. I arrived last Sunday and due to some travel delays, the rest of the group ended up in Nairobi, Kenya early Tuesday morning. Flying into Kenya and taking that 45-minute drive to the village by myself was an incredible time for self-reflection. To take a step back and realize I’m flying into a new continent, in a new country, in a new place, with new people that I have never really met.
I woke up Monday morning to a group of Rafiki Kenya choir students outside our cottage saying “Justin, Justin come out and play”. No better way to start this experience. Hazy-eyed and groggy after the flight the night before, I walked out and into their choir practice for their competition Wednesday. As I sat there still nervous, hesitant to make a good first impression they began their first song. The popular “You Raise Me Up”. It was absolutely amazing and I can still feel the Goosebumps throughout my body as I think back to this moment.
Leading up to this trip I thought myself and the other MOAM missionaries were going to be the impact made on others, but I realized right there that it would be the opposite. The joy, gratefulness, and unity that this small choir showed was a small representative of the entire village. They were in unity, disciplined by their teacher Mr. Agoofa, and truly enjoyed the company of each other the entire time. That’s the beautiful thing about this village. Orphans just by title, they represent every meaning of what a family truly is. Their teachers and “mamas” provide them discipline to carry out their chores, projects around the village, and things as simple as table manners. The children are each brothers and sisters, united by one village and people that care about their well-being and future. With gratefulness for each meal and day that they’re given, it runs through you like wildfire. Our MOAM group has had a great time buying in to the Rafiki way and building on these relationships just as another member of their family.
With God presenting this opportunity to us and Rafiki inviting us into their home with open arms, I am truly excited for what is to come over the next couple of weeks here. My only hope is that our impact on them can be half of the gifts that the village and these children have already given to us.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. That is what these kids do. They love whether it’s their brothers and sisters, or a visitor or “Wageni” as they call it. No matter what, they truly raise each other up. Also, that small choir got 1 st place Wednesday and is another step closer to the national competition. Kwaheri!
-Justin D'Apolito, West Virginia Men's Basketball
To God Be the Glory!