Friday, August 30, 2013

Painting a school in the Kibera Slum is about WAY more than the paint.

If you have been following this blog you are probably aware that our family has a HUGE heart for the kiddos in the Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya. My dear hub and I, along with a sprinkling of our kids, usually make an annual trip leading a team to see, experience, grow and FALL IN LOVE with these precious people.

This year one of our projects was to paint the newly acquired school building. This is an additional location to the original school. With this new (to them) building they have doubled in size in the last six months which leaves them at almost 520 students. YOWZA! Can you imagine? The doors of Saviour King Academy first opened just 5 years ago and now they have over 500 children enrolled.

The education and hope these children receive by these priceless teachers will no doubt change the face of life in the Kibera Slum. With the wealth of love and encouragement deposited into these kids at school they have dreams of being Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Nurses, Pilots...they have BIG dreams and they KNOW they can achieve them with God on their side.

These two schools in the slum are doing an amazing work of bringing hope for a different kind of life outside of the slum. This school building we would be painting is more than just a building where they learn - it is a safe place where the love of Jesus is at the very center. It is their is their hope.

walking to the new school building

As our team approached the school on our scheduled paint day we instantly noticed many of the students & teachers just waiting inside the doors ready to help. As always when you arrive on the scene of Saviour King Academy you are first greeted in song and worship. Today's welcome would not leave one person disappointed.

Once the music and dance came to an end it didn't take long until side by side the team members, students and teachers were busy dipping their brushes in paint and giving the worn metal siding a face lift.  The fumes of the freshly brushed oil paint in the warm stagnant air was creating a bit of a dizzying effect but was still oh-so worth every breath as the relationships of those working side by side were building, the pride in the school was swelling and the love of Jesus was shining. Not one person would have traded  a moments fresh breath for the precious time spent in the slum on this beautiful day. 

There was a moment when Dave and I were painting the handrail and a deep, overwhelming emotion hit me like a tidal wave. I was flooded with memories of a multitude of prayers over the years. Six years prior we were dreaming & praying with precious friends there would one day be a school - then we watched with eyes wide open and hearts rejoicing as it opened it's doors in May 2008 with 100 kids. 

Each year Saviour King Academy would continue to grow at a very rapid rate. As we visited  year by year we watched it become absolutely packed to the brim with kiddos. (When I say packed you may envision a classroom with 30-40 kids in it? Well, try to wrap your brain around this... A normal size class room divided by rough plywood dividers into 3 classrooms with wooden benches for desks containing a total of 90-120 kids - now you have a better idea of what packed looks like.) With the abundance of kiddos and limit of classroom space our prayer requests would soon change to the provision of a new building with more room. 

Classroom in original building in 2012

Right about here in the story is where you find me overwhelmed with God's amazing ability to accomplish far more than we can ever even is where you find me on my knees painting what seemed like the impossible dream. Here is where you find me in tears, humbled that God would allow me to take part - or to even witness first hand His majesty, His love, His provision...His plan. This is a chapter in His story of LOVE that so perfectly represents his heart to sweep in and rescue, provide for and bless those who he loves so dearly. (and those He loves are EVERY SINGLE ONE of his children)

There are more stories that could be told here - stories in the details of God's amazing provision, His abundance - His "blow my mind I couldn't even see that coming because it was more than I could ever imagine". Those are for another time. For this moment I will just say this building represents a lot to our family - it is a very, very personal reminder to us of God's faithfulness even in times of trials, tragedy and division - that every dip into the valley is for a very specifically designed purpose. It is a reminder to us that when God calls you to move forward blindly like he did Abraham it is time to simply trust & follow His lead... for He is trustworthy.

Along the way I think we are all learning that the journey isn't really about checking off OUR tasks and accomplishing OUR goals - for those by themselves will lead to pride and disappointment in the long run. This life we have been given is really about how we love others while we check off tasks and accomplish goals. In the end if we don't have a lot of check marks showing our accomplishments - let us make sure loving others was at the top of the list and was our first priority. Love never fails.

Our team didn't get to completely finish the painting project (hey, it's a BIG school) but our heart mission of loving others well was most definitely accomplished. We laughed, we sang, we played, we danced and we painted...we LOVED WELL! 

Here is a photo of what the school looked like the day we left. Doesn't it just amaze you how it stands tall and proud? 

Colossians 2:6-7  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

This school building is not completely purchased yet, they still have a balance due. If you are interested in helping make a difference in the lives of many feel free to leave a comment with your email and I will get you the information on how to make a donation.

          -Simply Sublime

1 comment:

  1. “This year one of our projects was to paint the newly acquired school building.” – That’s very nice of you. I hope they were able to fully purchase this school building. Education is the best hope you could offer to these people. I hope many people out there would reach out to help them. Keep up your charity, Kimber Ryan! Oralia @