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Prisma’s Adventure in Kenya – Summer 2015
Dear Prisma Ohana,
Thank you to all those who supported our Kenya fundraisers and who prayed with us and for us during our trip! It was an incredible experience and was a very full 2.5 weeks! We taught hundreds of children and met so many amazing people! Christianity is a big part of the culture and community of Kenya and so we were always very warmly welcomed. We stayed half of our trip in Nairobi (and it was very cold) and the other half of our trip in Mombasa (which was very hot). We planned on hosting a 2 day camp at Word of Life in Nairobi and sponsoring 100 children to attend. The sponsorship included meals, lodging, facility rental, staff fees, and supplies. We ended up with over 130 children coming, some from the slums, an orphanage, the local community, and from far away. They were all so excited. We told the children from the slums (with Anno’s Africa) to bring blankets because it was so cold but around 40 children did not have blankets to bring and so they ended up sharing beds with kids who did have blankets. Some were excited to take showers in the dorms but didn’t have any soap and had to ask to borrow/use soap or not use any at all. It was really eye opening to see some of the basic needs we take for granted not available or easily accessible to these children. Some of these children had dance experience with Anno’s but for many others it was their first time being exposed to ballet, acro, and art. It was definitely a challenge, and rather chaotic at times, LOL, to transition 130 students through the different classes and feed them but we (and all the adult volunteers) were very flexible and at the end of the two days the children didn’t want to leave and wanted the camp to continue for a week! The letters that they wrote and we brought back were so touching (I have been bringing the letters to classes and so if you haven’t seen them and would like to, please let me know). My hope is for our dancers to be able to pray for them and to write letters back to them.
Overall, I felt like this trip was to spread the love of Jesus through dance and art and to expose and inspire the children to see how they can use their gifts to praise the Lord and to believe that with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! All the schools (we went to over 8 schools) wanted us to come back and work with their children longer. We will have to prayerfully consider how to spend our time on our next trip as many doors were opened this trip and there was much need and desire for encouragement and partnership.
I couldn’t have asked for a better or more amazing team! Each person played a key role! Jordan was our “body guard”. Whenever we were walking in crowds he would always be in the back making sure he could see all of us girls in front of him (that was such a blessing!). At the first school where we danced one of the boys asked him if he was “supernatural” because he could lift us all up so high LOL! All the children LOVED Jordan and were constantly climbing on him (much like at our Kalihi studio). Joanna was our “travel mom” and looked after all the bruises and cuts we got from dancing on different surfaces and when we got sick (which each of us did at different times) she was the one who would check up on us and make sure we were taking our medication and getting enough rest. When Joanna taught art the children were so attentive (which was amazing with so many different ages and such big groups) and eager to copy what she was drawing. Rachel and Jessica were our dynamic SOCIAL DUO and quickly made friends with EVERY child and youth/young adult they met! I feel like every person befriended them on facebook (which we know is the “official way to become friends”.. LOL just kidding). All the teens and young adults were so blessed to connect with them and one young minister said that he was so blessed to see such Godly young women! They were also the most amazing helpers and troupers. I am sure I will be known as the “slave driver” Prisma Leader LOL because I kept everyone on such a full and busy schedule and often times we didn’t even have time to eat lunch (good thing we always packed Cliff Bars!) and many times in the car rides I would look around and see everyone passed out sound asleep! LOL. Overseeing a group was a much different experience than my last trip to Kenya by myself. I learned so much and am so thankful to have had such a gracious, willing, and strong team with me! I loved every moment!
Below are some short testimonies and highlights:
One of the most precious moments of the trip was seeing little Simon standing and walking!!! Simon is Monica’s son. I have been financially supporting Monica’s two girls to go to school and helping with food expenses (their dad works but uses all his money to buy alcohol and leaves the family with literally nothing to eat). Last year when I saw Simon his legs were so weak that without medical assistance he would not be able to walk. Earlier this year with the help of a temporary leg brace his legs have grown strong enough for him to walk and stand! God is Faithful! I praise God that something so affordable (about $40) can make such a BIG difference in the life of a child!!! I am honored to have played a small yet profound part in this little guy’s life! I love you Jesus!
One of the things I learned is the POWER of affirmation… How a simple word of love and kindness can transform how someone sees something and feels about something. During our last Dance & Art Camp we had the children pray for a word or picture to share with children in Hawaii. The students, eager to have their artwork travel around the world with us, began wholeheartedly drawing and writing messages. Every few minutes a little child would RUN up to me, holding out their art piece, and crying “Teacher! Teacher!”. Their little face would look at me with eager expectation to my reaction. With INTENTIONAL LOVE I would look straight into their little face and exclaim “It is BEAUTIFUL! I LOVE IT!”. Full of satisfaction and affirmation they would run back and contentedly continue working on their project until a few minutes later they would run up to me exclaiming “Teacher! Teacher!” and the whole process would begin again! I felt so much love for these children and such a strong conviction to being INTENTIONAL to edify their lives and to believe IN THEM and WITH THEM for their DREAMS! Every little child matters to the heart of God and every little child deserves to be LOVED!
1 Thess 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
God’s NOT DEAD, He’s SURELY ALIVE, He’s LIVING ON THE INSIDE… ROARING LIKE A LION!!! During our trip we taught every group of kids the dance to “God’s Not Dead” and so we’ve been roaring like lions the entire time hehe.
So we went on our first SAFARI and our greatest desire and prayer was to see a LION! We woke up early and began our adventure. We saw a few distant animals (a giraffe… a buffalo, etc) and then our guide talked with two other safari guides with their vehicles and then off we went to scout out another area. Within minutes we slowed down and there right next to the road was a LION!!!! YEP… it was just hanging out waiting for us LOL! The lioness was close by and we got to see her for a few minutes before she walked off into the brush! We asked our guide how likely it was to come upon a lion and he was like “you never know if/when you will get to see one and that close is very rare!”. Isn’t God SOOO GOOD! This is the scripture that came to mind: Matt 7:11b …how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Seeing Mercy (my Compassion child) for the second time was, again, one of the most impactful and unforgettable days of my life. It was like a moment encapsulated in time that was so full of love, generosity, hospitality, thanksgiving, and joy that it felt like Heaven on Earth! This time I was able to meet her father and reconnect with many of her extended family members, including her great grandmother who is over a 106 years old and still full of youthfulness and humor. Compassion had some new staff since the last time I visited and I got to experience firsthand their passion for Christ and love for the children in their community. We were blessed with the opportunity to share our dances with them and when Mercy joined in the dancing I saw her face light up and every feeling of shyness slip away and she was smiling ear to ear…. it was amazing! Dancing is such a beautiful way to communicate and express ourselves! I really have a hard time finding words to express that day… it was such a beautiful moment in my life and so full of the Holy Spirit’s love that I am left speechless and just in awe of our loving Father in Heaven who calls us His kids! The first time I visited we planted a tree in honor of that day, and in this trip we planted another one! My prayer is that one day there will be a whole row of trees planted around the whole church in honor of all the days we spent together! I hope these pictures will help to highlight the beautiful people we met!