Coming into this trip, we were told not to have any expectations of what our three weeks in Kenya would entail. It’s a good thing I didn’t because so far, this trip has exceeded anything I could’ve possibly expected. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time from these kids that it’s almost hard to fathom. The trip started out with some minor travel delays which caused four of the five of us to get into Kenya later than we originally thought. While we were catching up on sleep the first day, I woke up for a minute to the sound of the best rendition of “You Raise Me Up” I’ve ever heard. I didn’t find out till later that it wasn’t a dream, and that our cottage was right next to the choir room. Justin wrote about it in his blog but it was such a great way to start our time here.
These kids have absolutely blown me away with not only their knowledge of God’s Word, but their unwavering love for Christ and even for each other. They may be called orphans, some with completely different background stories, but they love each other like brothers and sisters and it’s incredible to see. I’ve been reading the book Toughness by ESPN analyst Jay Bilas and he talks about what it takes to be tough in sports and in life. While I’ve been reading the book, I’ve been fortunate enough to see a real life example in front of my eyes of how to truly to be tough. I don’t mean they are the physically strongest kids in the world (although some of the older ones might be), but everyone of them has gone through more adversity than I ever have leading them to Rafiki. Each one of them has a beautiful smile on their face and thank God every single day for what He’s done in their life and they grow closer and closer to Him every single day. Overcoming adversity to not only even be living but to be shining examples of Christ-like love is amazing to witness. To me, that’s real toughness.
It’s hard to narrow down what my favorite thing has been of this trip so far, but one thing that sticks out is the nightly devotions in the cottages. We’ve gotten the opportunity to sit in and participate a few nights a week and it’s the coolest thing in the world. We start off with a hymn or two, (or five with the older boys) and then move into a time of scripture. After reading, every kid says what they learned from the passage and it’s not your typical Sunday School answers, they amaze me with how much they learn from a few verses. I think the thing I might miss the most is hearing these kids sing. They have every single verse of all 100 hymns in their book memorized and none of them are scared or hesitant to sing and sing loud. After the devotion is over, we get some time to connect with the kids and answer any questions they have or just talk and have fun for awhile. That time is where I was able to teach all the kids in one cottage the Iowa State school song in a little over fifteen minutes.
That brings me to the last thing I’ll talk about. These kids are like sponges and just soak up everything you tell them or teach them about sports. During our short time, it’s been amazing to see the improvement in all the sports we’ve introduced. They strive to get better at whatever we’re going over and are so excited to do it again the next day even if it might not be some of the most exciting drills. Heck, the youngest group of boys loved doing up downs which was probably one of the worst conditioning things I had to do growing up playing football.
I’m incredibly thankful and grateful to God and Managers On A Mission for giving me the opportunity to come to Kenya to teach these boys and girls a thing or two about sports. It’s hard to put into words what this trip has been. Eye opening and life changing only really seem to scratch the surface. While we’ve been teaching about sports, I think I can speak for my group when I say we’ve learned so much more from these kids about life.
-Tim Pollock, Iowa State Football
To God Be The Glory!