Sunday, December 18, 2016

Waking up Excited!

I woke up excited today! Let me tell you why.

Reason #1

One week from today, late in the evening after all the days Christmas festivities are complete, I will board a plane to Kenya. I am excited because this trip is a longtime dream of mine. A trip to Africa with a purpose for God’s beloved children.

I love kids. If you know me, you already know this. This trip is all about kids. Africa is filled with kids who need so much. How to choose where to go?

Last year in Early January a lady whom I had only met once or twice – at events where I was telling Bible stories to kids here in Australia – contacted me on Facebook. Her name was Carole Platt. Sometime later, I discovered I had met her husband Leon at other family camps where I was storytelling.

While I had been telling Bible stories to the kids, Carole and Leon had been telling stories about other children – the ones they help in their work with Education Care Projects Kenya.

As Carole and I chatted, she began telling me about two schools in Kenya that they were passionate about. Both Schools had children already but no buildings! The children come from various desperate situations and need a safe place to live so they can go to school. Without first being safe, they spend their days looking for food, safety and shelter.

This 'family' of orphans was found yesterday - yes YESTERDAY - in a sugarcane field.

Carole asked me if I would like to go over and tell Bible stories to the children – many of whom have never heard about how much God loves them. There is nothing I love more than telling Bible stories – and no better audience than kids! So, of course, I said yes.

The rest of this year has been constant in conversation and planning. What was originally going to be some storytelling in a circle of kids has turned into storytelling under the big tent with 60+ kids. The kids will be walking hours each morning to come to the week of meetings. We will have one meeting before lunch and one meeting after lunch. Then they will walk home.

I will leave a copy of The Illustrated Children's Bible with each school.
Then they can continue telling stories long after I am gone!

I have asked the local school leader to have a group of older kids ready with a few action songs. They will be my worship team. And I am going to choose a couple of them to be storytellers. Each evening there will be a meeting for the kids who live at the school. So, here’s my plan for the week.

Each evening I will tell two stories to the local school kids. Then they will choose a student to tell each story the next day to the travelling kids in the big tent meetings. In the two daytime meetings, we will have Songs, Story 1 (me), Songs, Story 2 (local kid), songs, question time.

This format will provide an opportunity for the local kids to learn to love telling Bible stories – a passion that never leaves one once it gets you! – and an opportunity for the travelling kids to hear Bible stories told by their peers. While I may be a professional storyteller, I have a lot of things standing between me and the kids – my age, my culture, my colour, my language, my ignorance – while the local kids have walked the same dusty roads as the travelling kids.

This group of local kids love to dance and sing.
Maybe they can lead worship!

I will be able to tell you more about the children after the trip. I am going to meet lots of them. I am going to listen to their stories. I am going to take copious notes. And, then, I am going to write a book to tell their story.

Reason #2

One hour from now I will be selling clothes for $2 each to raise money for the work of Education Care Projects Kenya. We live on a block facing a T-junction – the perfect place to setup a yard sale. I have advertised it all over Facebook and will continue to do so as the day progresses.

All of the clothing – hundreds of items – have been donated by kids from the two schools where I chaplain, Dorset Primary School and Lilydale Primary School. I dropped a note in the school newsletter about a month ago telling them I am going to Africa to tell stories to two schools filled with orphans and disadvantaged kids – I said, “If you have any nice clothes you would like me to take over to them, they will wear them!”

Every day since the request I have come home with at least one more bag of clothes. There are so many! I will take my allotted 30kg of luggage filled with kids clothes. I’ll pack my own clothes in my carry-on. But the other 300kg of clothes are being sold to raise money and awareness for the Kenya kids being helped by Carole and Leon and the Kenyan schools they help through Education Care Projects Kenya.

Those clothes I do not sell today, will be sold later. All proceeds – every dollar – will be donated to ECPK. The clothes that remain next time I travel north to visit my Dad in Queensland will be taken to Carole’s OpShop – where every dollar raised goes to ECPK.

I have been so touched by the generosity
of the school kids who donated clothes.

Merry Christmas (to all)

If you are looking for a way to make the world a better place this Christmas, please consider donating to ECPK.

If you would like to rescue a person from a tip (many of the kids in Eldoret who attend Hands of Hope School are found scavenging on the Eldoret rubbish dump) rather than adding more plastic to a tip (the after Christmas tip trip – you know the one!), please consider donating to ECPK.

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