By Karina “Keeky” Smith
MONDAY, FEB 12TH, 2018
The boys and I enjoy our school days on the island; especially during the week each month when the Vroege family joins us! Lessons are interspersed with going to the shore to collect food for rabbits and goats and a lunch of posho and beans with SHIM members. (“Posho” is fine-ground maize-corn boiled until it is almost as thick as play-doh.) The kids study science, history, geography, etc together. This year we are “Exploring Countries and Cultures.” FUN!
Our lives as well as our house are chalk-full every waking minute from sun-up to after sun-down here on the island! We have many visitors all throughout the day, who of course do not call ahead. They just show up on our door step or peer in the windows, “Kodi, Kodi!” (like “knock, knock”). I think every meal this whole week we had people showing up while we were sitting down to eat as a family! Mostly they don’t come in the house any more without permission, which is a big improvement from when we first came. We are interacting with people- whether SHIM members or villagers, continuously throughout the day from shortly after we wake up until we go to bed at night.
Today was made special when the SHIM boat arrived, carrying the Vroege family (minus their mom Stephanie who is visiting the States), Mama O, Imaculate, Pr. Grace, and Ronnie, Stella and Yasha Kakaire. Ronnie was mobbed by his friends, the “footballers” (soccer players) of the island who had been waiting eagerly for his coaching in life and sports. At dinner he shared, “I am so amazed how these boys open up to talk to me about their lives. I learned that for some, their only meal is lunch at school. It’s an honor to sit as they share things they’ve never been able to discuss before.”
For instance, he learned that Asuman Babi, whom we have sponsored for years, is actually an orphan, living with his aunt. We never knew that. His Aunt has always called him her “son.” During their conversation, Asuman asked Ronnie to pray with him to receive Christ. “Will Jesus actually want me?” the teenager wanted to know. I can imagine the tears in Jesus’ eyes as He looked at His nail-pierced hands and reached down to embrace Asuman and welcome him into the Family!
TUESDAY FEB 13TH, 2018
Four days every month are devoted to Pastors’ Training School (PTS). About 25 pastors and church leaders come from nearby islands to attend. Pr. Grace, Pr. Fred and Immaculate are former students who are now helping teach. While Andy was gone, Justus and Gert-Jan Vroege took over the leadership. “There are several things they are doing now that are better than before I left!” Andy exclaimed. “It is exciting to see the affection and attentiveness these students have for their teachers.” Bob Peterson and Robert Wafula also contribute so much to the class whenever they come.
Pr. Grace told of several students who decided to remain on the islands, despite the drought and poverty, only to continue their Bible training. Mama O walked the mile over the rocks on several days, just to impart wisdom to some church leaders struggling with their own marriage and family relationships.
The Smith and Vroege families are very happy that PTS is currently
just on the other side of our island. It is so nice to have the Daddies home every evening and morning! That gives Andy and Gert-Jan the joy of helping the boys with their animal projects and with learning to shoot bows and arrows!
This evening we invited Lingira Living Hope Secondary School teachers and all SHIM members for popcorn and tea at our house. We actually met in our yard since our mud brick house of approximately 20’ x 20’ is a bit small for several dozen! The circle of chairs in our yard kept growing larger and I wondered whether I had made enough. By the time the last person passed through our house, the last chapati and remaining popcorn disappeared! We enjoy such evenings as opportunities to encourage and appreciate our teachers and staff. Their dedication is changing the islands!
Every dinner during the week is shared by whoever is on SHIM base. Thanks to Peace, we enjoy a great meal together and then have time for testimonies, prayer requests, and worship. Nearly every day this week we heard of someone who had given their heart to Jesus through the ministry of various SHIM members. Even the kids get the chance to share praises and prayer requests.
(Click for Part 1.)