I’m reporting in from this week’s summer camp at St. John’s: “Cave Quest – Following Jesus the Light of the World” – also known as “Vacation Bible School.”I’ve been hamming it up with Carolyn Sharp as “Clark Cavern” for the opening ceremonies. It’s an opportunity to be goofy, and share the theme of the day with our kids. On day one, Clark explains that he’s a spelunker in training at “Caving Technical School.” But he also reveals that he is terrible at caving, and that he’s always getting lost. “The instructors have to keep sending out search parties to find me,” he groans. What’s more, he’s afraid of the dark! In the midst of it all, Clark is discovering that Jesus really is the light of the world; that he gives us hope when we feel discouraged, courage when we’re afraid, and direction when we can’t find our way. These lessons are reinforced through games, crafts, an immersive bible story, and…something very special this year: an introduction to Jesus’ work in other parts of the world, like Kenya.
Each day, our children have been hearing from Jackie Ngase who with her husband Victor planted a church in Dandora, just outside Nairobi. This is one of the poorest areas in Kenya, and it has been Jackie’s calling to minister to the many children who live there. Before Jackie began her ministry, many of the young boys were being lured to the nearby city dump where gang members were using them to carry illicit drugs. As her ministry has continued, the mothers have shared with Jackie that their boys are no longer going to the dump…they’re going to church and staying in school!
This week, Jackie and my wife Lisa are inviting our children to share toys, school supplies, and monetary gifts to support this ministry that is bringing Jesus’ hope, courage, and love to a poverty-stricken community.Our children are learning about Kenya and special Swahili words like “Tumsifu Mungu!” which means “Praise God!”But they are also learning about the spiritual and material needs of Dandora’s children. Yesterday, Alea Schneider asked several children what they loved most about VBS this year. Several children said, “I love the Kenyan lady who tells us about her church, and how we can help the children.” Tumsifu Mungu! Jesus really is the light of the world.