I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to many places in the world, both for pleasure and on mission trips. (which is more of a pleasure than a vacation) This trip has shown me an aspect of poverty I have not experienced before. As we drove through downtown Nairobi the contrast between the modern developed downtown and the slum just a few blocks away, where the school is located, is amazing. As on any project in a third world area, things are done thinking of today and not necessarily the future. This can be a little frustrating to someone like myself, wanting to show others how to do as much as possible in the best way. On this trip, as He usually does, the Lord used His children’s actions to point out my weaknesses. I sometimes think I can show others a better way of doing something and my pride tells me that I am doing good by being here serving others. Then the Lord points out in a very convincing way that humility is more pleasing than pride.
There are 17 children who live at the school for their safety and well-being. When the police find a child in a dangerous situation, they ask Pastor Samuel if he can take them in. We were blessed to eat the evening meal with the boarders most nights. It was during these meals that the Lord used a young girl in the 9th grade to show me that I don’t really understand what it is to sacrifice. I traveled to Kenya comfortably in a clean airplane, what little we give to others is out of our abundance, we spend a short period of time working with people who go out of their way to accommodate us, then we go home to our comfortable lives and think we have served others. The girl I mentioned is boarded at the school to protect her from her abusive father and knows that there is little hope of a change in her situation for years to come – if ever. Several nights I watched her carry her plate, with the only food she will see that night, into the small room we ate in, only to give it to one of the younger children, and ultimately herself going without eating that night. I usually try to find an analogy so the person I am speaking to can compare for a better understanding of a situation. Here I will not belittle this action with a comparison, because I have no experience with that kind of sacrifice. I just pray that some day I will be able to give like this young woman and not have so much pride as to call it a sacrifice.
– Steve Burkholder (aka, Baba Ariel)