Let the children come to me.

This week has been one of learning, rejoicing, celebration, and growth. Below is a story from Journey Intern, Stephen Van Gorp, about what God has been teaching him this week in our second community!

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We are currently in our second community!  We have been here for the past 3 days. I would first just like to paint a picture of what it is like here.  It is a very beautiful area and it reminds me of the great north woods of Minnesota for all you mid-western folks. The community itself is nestled at the base of the Aberdare Mountains and the vegetation is very thick throughout. It is a strong farming community and the soil is very fruitful for the crops. It rains everyday in the mid afternoon for about an hour or so and at night it gets down to around 40 degrees, which makes tenting very interesting. I for one am a big outdoorsman, and am enjoying the climate, geography, and camping to its fullest.

Our days are normally filled with meeting community members and doing work projects in the morning and teaching with the Rejoice Project in the schools in the afternoon. However, we discovered on our first night that the East African Government had scheduled basic skills testing in the schools for Thursday and Friday of this week. But God remained sovereign and we were able to contact all 3 schools we were planning on going to and managed to reschedule to visit all of them in one day. When I first heard this news I instantly became exhausted at the thought of visiting 3 schools, and teaching 9 lessons to over 500 kids in a single day. But yet again God provided strength for all of us interns and honestly I felt more refueled and charged at the end of the day than when I began.

As a whole we are split up into 3 teams: lessons, hands-on, and games. This month we are teaching over the virtue of God’s Grace. Each team has their own curriculum and fun activity to tie into the teaching of God’s Grace. I am on the hands on team and we have the privilege of taking what the students learned during lesson time and apply it to the real world and also do a craft and paint. Our activity consists of the students painting a sun with the application that it is an object in nature that God created that is free, never-ending, needed on a daily basis. Just like we need God’s free and perfect grace in our lives each and every day.

I am currently studying biology education and love where God has me teaching this summer, being able to get the students to relate God’s attributes to his creation. Seeing the kids understand the comparison when teaching is an amazing feeling and truly inspiring. God seems to reaffirm me everyday in the classroom on the fact of his plan for me to be a teacher. The students here have a real hunger for learning and growing and being able to teach them and then talk and get to know them as they do the activity has taught me a lot. It has really helped me get to know the students on a new level and see where they are coming from. The student in the picture’s name is Robert, He is 15 years old and hopes to one day be a teacher as well. It was such a joy to talk and laugh with him during the lesson and to tell him of God’s grace and how I need it just as much as he does.

It seems to me that each new school we enter is bigger than the one before and the number of students I come in contact with each day amazes me more and more. It reminds of the passage in Mark where Jesus claims that the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these and that anyone who does not have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God. This passage has been on my mind ever since our first day in our first community when I was pulled up on stage at church to dance with the kids. Their joy is unmatched and there eagerness for knowledge both spiritual and educational is abounding. It truly takes these verses to a new level for me.

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I would like to personally thank all of you for all your prayer and support for us as a team. God’s constantly reminding me of all of the people praying for me specifically, and when I think of that number multiplied by each Journey intern it truly blows me away. The Holy Spirit is so evident in each one of us on a daily basis as we face new challenges together and I know we owe a lot of it to you, parents, siblings, youth leaders, pastors, mentors, and friends. We greatly appreciate each one of you and are so blessed by God to have you guiding and walking alongside of us.

-Stephen Van Gorp