We Will Tell the Next GenerationPosted: May 9, 2014
“…we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.”
Early on Easter morning, we began assembling. By ones and twos at first and then by groups until there were about forty of us. We gathered together briefly to worship the Lord through singing and reflecting on a devotional from God’s Word. We prayed and then boarded the hired vans and began our day long journey through the stunning landscape of the Rift Valley. The vehicles went higher in elevation as we headed to our destination. Six hours later As we drew nearer, we entered the town of Iten, which is the home of world famous athletes that come from the region. I could understand why the champion runners would have such endurance; the hills and valleys where they trained were phenomenal. As we descended deep into the Kerio Valley, we finally reached our destination. We were to spend the next six days together at the Cheptebo Conference Center, working on a task that seemed to us at the time, monumental. (And even now, upon reflection).
A couple of weeks earlier, my friend Anne, had casually asked me, “Did you receive a phone call from anyone?” I answered, “No, I don’t believe so.” She then told me that she had given my phone number to her sister- in-law, (the National Director of Scripture Union, Kenya), who was working on some children’s materials for Bible instruction and that I should expect a call from her. Days later I received a call from a representative from Scripture Union who explained that they and a coalition of other ministries were working on a project that involved developing Bible curriculum for school children from grades one through eight. He provided a letter which invited Hope Anew Ministries to participate and also explained the rationale for the project. In Kenya, since 1968, the government has perceived the value and need for children to be instructed in the tenets of their faith. They made provision through legislation, for children to be instructed in Pastoral Program Instruction (PPI) once a week in doctrines specific to their faith. Whereas other faiths had well developed materials for instruction, the Protestant branch had materials that were out-dated and not relevant to the current happenings in society and they could not be accessed by the schools. Teachers used this valuable time for other subjects because of inadequate materials that could not aid them in preparing to teach PPI. Imagine. Such a significant opportunity for the Word of God to be taught to ten million children in the Kenyan school system, is in danger of being squandered. After learning about this situation, the weight of what we were being invited to take part in, settled on us heavily and we felt that there was no way we could decline to be involved. This is what Hope Anew Ministries is all about: “…So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful refusing to give their hearts to God. Finally, we reached our destination; this was to be home for the next six days! We made the decision for me to attend and to invite my new found friend, Damaris, who is an indigenous missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship, to come along. The day after we arrived, we met together for introductions and to be briefed on our assignment. Among us there were pastors, teachers/educators, missionaries, youth workers, and even a person with a background in forestry! As I listened to the introductions, I was greatly encouraged to find myself in a room of over forty brothers and sisters in the Lord who were passionate about seeing generations of children come to know Jesus as Savior and become discipled in his Word. We were divided into eight groups and given instruction on our goal for the week; we learned that the scope and sequence of the curriculum had already been prepared. The charge was given to us to develop 33 Teacher’ Guides and 33 Learner’s Books for each of the eight grades. In six days, we would need to complete a total of 528 lessons! To say that collectively, we felt overwhelmed by the task and in awe of the potential impact our endeavor could have on millions of children, is an understatement. Together we worked on lessons for students in class two! We are holding our certificates of appreciation. Damaris with one of our team mates We divided up the lessons among the five of us that were assigned to develop the material for second grade children. I had never been involved in an undertaking such as this one and I felt totally inadequate as I tackled the first lesson . I was reminded that in God’s Kingdom, this is the best condition to find oneself in order to see that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. We all worked diligently on our lessons, at times not even wanting to stop for scheduled breaks and meals. This continued right up until the night before we were scheduled depart the following day. We could never have completed the 528 lessons in our own strength, wisdom and ability, but God infused us with his and the task was completed on schedule! It was such a privilege to be involved in such an effort that will impact generations of children and their families. The next stages of the project include bringing in curriculum specialists within Kenya to edit the material that we prepared, approval from the curriculum development office within the Kenyan government, printing the materials to conduct a pilot test in select schools, training teachers and volunteers in the use of the materials, and final printing to be ready by January of 2015 for distribution in schools throughout the country. All of this will need much prayer and financial resources, but we are confident that God will be faithful to clear the way!
The long awaited arrival of the Maisonville family took place on the 29th of April. It is always exciting to see dear ones at the airport, rolling their carts of luggage and earnestly looking for us as they clear immigration; we were especially delighted to meet Mark, Maureen and Kristopher. This is the culmination of a long journey that had begun in 2008 with our initial meeting at the Villages of Hope in Zambia. We could not have known at the time that it was God’s plan for us to be co-laborers together ministering to the children of Mukuru Kayaba slum here in Nairobi.
God has answered our prayers for their safe arrival with all of their luggage and the provision of a home to live in close to us and within walking distance to the center! Now the work of setting up their household, transitioning into the culture and ministry begins. We are all filled with joy at our reunion and the anticipation of the things God will do!