United Methodist Church of Livonia, NY

Kenya Update January 17

Termites, Tech, Teeth, and Stuffed Animals

It rained here most of the day which is very unusual for this time of year.  This curtailed much of the normal outdoor activity.  But the children still seemed to play outside and didn’t seem to really care.   One really interesting thing happened as a result of the rain.  The termites which reside in the holes in the soil were forced out by water.  We watched literally thousands emerge from the ground and fly away.  This attracted the attention of the birds who had a field day.   The children were also highly entertained and spent time chasing them around.  We are told that are also considered a snack.  Uck!  

The dental team continues in their work.  One interesting thing is the team has found the children’s teeth in surprisingly good condition.  It turns out the water from the bore hole on the property is naturally fluoridated.  In some ways it was a tough day for the team.  Two children were so scarred they were crying and ultimately it was decided to not press them.  So some cavities went uncared for.  Of course everyone felt awful, both that two children were so upset, and about the missed opportunity to take care of the cavities.  Dave made presentations to about 170 children throughout the day on how to brush your teeth.  He used a video and a stuffed lion named Simba to demonstrate.  Just one more day of work for them.

Several of us spent the day in the classrooms teaching lessons in our areas of expertise.  One of the group led an art project where the children made colorful crosses used to make a necklace.  They wore their crosses proudly.  Some read stories.

I spent most of the day working with the IT person preparing a workshop for the teachers tomorrow on how to use their new computers, digital projectors and smart board.  We even reached out to Doug Young for some advice about the smart board.  When we finally got things straight and working the IT person was grinning from ear to ear.  His smile was the high point of the day. It was a great feeling to be able to help him learn how to use the equipment and build his confidence.  I reached out to our tech gurus, Jim and Clay today.  I needed help identifying what cables we needed which they did. Ten cables will arrive by January 29 from the Kenyan equivalent of Amazon. I am no Jim or Clay but even my meager experience has been helpful which has been very gratifying.

Annabelle gave us one of our high points.  She brought little stuffed animals for each child. Each was labeled with a child’s name.  In the late afternoon the children gathered to receive their animal.  The smiles were glorious.  Even the 8th grade boys were happy to receive their stuffed animal.

This evening our devotional was centered on the story of the rich young man who asked Jesus what he must do.  Jesus replied sell everything and return when you are ready.  We all know the man went away sad - the cost was just too high.

There are several big name preachers who teach what is called the Prosperity Gospel.  The basic message is, the more money you give to God, the more you will be blessed monetarily.  The more you give the more you get.  

I suggested to the group that they had made some sacrifices, whether they be, the financial cost of the trip, time with family, or even lost wages. I then asked them to talk about what blessing they have received through their experience.  New relationships, thanks from a teacher, satisfaction for work well done, hugs, and fist bumps are the blessings we received and are far more valuable than what the Prosperity Gospel promises.

The final question asked, in what ways can we multiple our blessings and pass the blessing on to others?

I hope you get dug out soon.

Peace,Hoyt W. Brown
Pastor, United Methodist Church of Livonia

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