Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Place for Dessert

I'm back to recount Wednesday's VBS day... 

We woke up and walked to school on this morning. By now, both of my feet had blisters on them from the only 2 pairs of shoes I brought. We were told to bring shoes suitable for rainy weather, so I brought 2 pairs of crocs and a pair of (what I thought would be) comfortable flip flops. I guess no matter how comfortable a pair of shoes seem, when you walk 3-4 miles in them everyday, it changes the picture a little. So after applying a couple of band-aids, I was good to go.

It started to rain when we got there, so we hung out in the school and under the sheltered areas for awhile. Eventually it died off, and we headed out to the soccer field for VBS. Within minutes, blue sky was visible and the sun came out. We circled up for songs, and then enjoyed being taught by Leah, Katrina, and Tyler. The skit was fully equipped with pom pons, and the craft on this day was to make someone special an encouragement card. The activity was a scavenger hunt, and everyone had fun walking around the school area finding items such as "something to ride on," and "something orange."

After lunch, the other half of our group went to visit the compounds. It started to rain, so we had the task of entertaining 200+ kids. It sounds daunting, but all you would have to do is sit down with a book, and you would have 30 kids surrounding you as you read to them. Some of the teachers sat down with us and translated for the kids. We also got out coloring books and crayons; they LOVE to color.

We finished relatively early on this day, and so afterwards we walked back to the New Life Center. David invited Dru's "son" Kafuti over for dinner, and so we really enjoyed having him with us. (He is pictured in the graphic at the top-- in the red). I was asking him some questions before supper about his family and the culture. I asked him about food and what they ate a lot of the time. Then my eyes lit up.

"What do you have for dessert?" I asked

My question was met with the biggest laugh I have ever heard from Kafuti. He was beside himself. He shook his head. 

"Most do not eat dessert," he explained. It was then that I realized that with his surroundings, most were lucky to have one meal a day, let alone dessert to top it off. 

He wasn't offended; just entertained. Then he told me that they eat a lot of ice cream, and also sometimes marshmallows. I also noticed that in Africa, they have really delicious chocolate and cookies.

I love dessert, I really do. I was mainly just trying to ask a cultural question, but instead was met with a reality kick. It is definitely a luxury here in America that I get to enjoy, but am definitely not entitled to. 

After supper, Kaufti told some of us his "story." Up until this point, I had been doing really good keeping my emotions in check... it seems like whenever I have a lot to process, I have the ability to store the harder things away to think about at a later date so I don't get too overwhelmed. However, as I listened to Kafuti share about his childhood, his hardships, and his journey to finding God, I found irreversible tears in my eyes. 

Kafuti talked about how he was abused in his own family, out on his own at a lot of points, and how Dru came into his life when he needed a mother figure the most. I was mostly astonished by how he had been through so much, had no spiritual upbringing or background, yet still had faith in God and knew His comfort. So I asked him a question at the very end...

"At what point did you learn about God?"

He was silent for a minute, and then said that he really never did. No one taught him about God. He just remembers laying there one night and sensing that there was a God, and that he should pray. And that is when he started praying. Since then, many of those prayers have been answered.

It hit me how fortunate that I am. I grew up in a loving, Christian home with parents that care for and support me. They never abused me, neglected me, or accused me of lying. They never kicked me out, rejected me, or abandoned me. I went to Sunday School every Sunday and learned about a loving God. By God's grace, I made the decision to follow Him at a young age, but I had to think of how many people grow up in this type of environment and still refuse to believe. They embrace the comfort of it all but still reject the most important thing, even having been taught it since birth.

And here is Kafuti, tucked away in Africa, having grow up in a family and environment that is anything but what I just described, and he just "knew" there was a God. And he prayed to Him.

Could it be that the desperate, the broken-hearted, and the neglected have an ability to connect with God that far surpasses those of us who live comfortable, easy, and materialistic lives?

Tony finished up our evening with a nice devotion, challenging our perspective and outlook on the trip. Of course, we had more popcorn. I topped off my evening with too much caffeine, though, and was wired... so I ended up staying up way too late.

I'll be back (hopefully) tomorrow with Thursday's recap. Love you all.


1 comment:

Jill Foley said...

"Could it be that the desperate, the broken-hearted, and the neglected have an ability to connect with God that far surpasses those of us who live comfortable, easy, and materialistic lives?" That question just punches me in the gut. I think I have to say yes. Because for most of us living comfortable, easy, materialistic lives, we feel most connected to God when we are feeling desperate, broken-hearted and down...that's when we "need" God.