My week away from Mombasa was absolutely fabulous. Although, I am now back at the beach but lying in bed thanks to a wonderful cold that has wiped me out. It was worth it though. I got to spend time in the nice cool weather of Nairobi. It felt like the beginning of fall. It was a lot of driving but this country is so beautiful that I enjoyed all the scenery. I think the coolest thing I saw was a huge heard of about 20 camels on the side of the road! I have only ever seen camels on the beach for the tourists but these ones were in the wild!
On friday we journeyed to the great rift valley to a girls school with over 850 girls. It was a hoot. Wow, lots of girls all in one place and boy did they ever have energy. We had a weekend challenge with them which involved some preaching, presentations, question and answer time, group discussions, a rally, and just time to hang out with the girls. I encountered girls with ALOT of burning questions. I had a few come and tell me their heartbreaking life stories. I prayed with many concerning family, finances, school, friends, faith, and other things. It was such a blessing to be able to make myself available for these girls. I could see some of them just wanted to talk to someone they could trust and pour their hearts out to. I was happy to be that person for a few of them.
Yes that is my buddy Peter! He was only 1 of 2 boys who accompanied us for the weekend. He and I were leading group discussion for all the form 1s (gr. 9). There were probably 200 girls involved. They had many questions that were so diverse. We talked about everything from music to boys to Muslims to prophets to family to friends to facebook. Ha. It was a blast. We were all late for lunch because the questions just kept coming.
We also had a question and answer time with the whole school. Girls wrote down their questions anonymously and placed them into a basket. There were a lot of questions on boy/girl relationships as well as the christian faith. There were also some really funny questions like, "When I go swimming in the ocean, can I get pregnant from the sperm swimming around?" and "Does Deuteronmy 23:1 say that all men are going to hell?" (ha you have to look that up for yourself; it's hilarious). Then there were some heartbreaking ones like, "I was raped as a young girl. Am I still a virgin?" and "My parents are forcing me to marry when I finish school but I don't want to. What should I do?" So we tried to answer as many as we could with the little time we had. However, amongst all the questions, there was one girl who wrote this sweet note to us that really makes everything worth while.
I don't remember her name but she was cute. She had questions about Canada. She wants to study there along with half of the other girls once they found out I was from Canada. I think they were hoping I could get them a free ticket to Canada's universities. Sorry girls. I told them to search the internet and pray.
We had a group of about 15 girls host us for the weekend. They did an amazing job of cooking for us, heating water for us to bathe and getting us anything else we needed. They escorted us home one evening and we invited them in for a chat. They know one of our work colleagues who also happens to be a singer. They love him and wanted to talk to him. So we called him on speaker phone so we could chat. The young girl, Maureen, came and sat right next to the phone convincing our friend that once she is finished school she is coming to be his girlfriend so he must tell his current girlfriend and then be ready for her to come to him in a few months. It was hilarious. We all laughed till we almost peed our pants. It was such a sweet moment with these sweet girls.
"Higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, higher, Jesus, higher" Kenyans have actions to most songs so here are all the girls singing, "cast your burdens unto Jesus..."
The highlight of my weekend was running into my sweet friend, Gabriel. He is one of the children from my 'home' in Ilula. He is in a boys boarding school just down the road and his school was invited for the Sunday service. It was such a surprise. I was taking pictures when all of a sudden I heard a voice say, "Nikole?" I turned around and saw this handsome young man that I have been able to watch grow up over the past 5 years. When I first met him, he fit under my armpit but now he is almost taller than me. We got to chat after the service about life. I am so proud him.
On Sunday, we had 8 other schools join us for the service. It was so cool being surrounded by over 1000 students. It was such a wonderful weekend!!