We visited six schools, each with 200+ students. My heart was drawn to the kids who praised God with smiling faces, even though many of them were orphans and had little or nothing of their own.
It was easy to be drawn to the kids. They were quick to jump onto my lap, to hug me, and to dance around, urging me to take their photos. But my attention also turned to the leaders, men and women who gave so much of themselves for the sake of these children.
I met pastors and their wives who lived in small houses and made beds for orphans in any available space.
I met teachers, many who taught without knowing if they’d receive an income that month. They had few books and materials, but their passion for learning was contagious. I met one school supervisor named Kennedy who oversaw one of the schools in the Kibera slums.
The school was neat and clean, especially in comparison to the conditions around it! It was a single room and four levels of students met in their respective levels in each of the corners. Most of the students had uniforms and all of them were polite, welcoming us visitors.
While meeting with us, Kennedy told us his story. He’d grown up in the slums but had managed to get out and attend high school and university. He’d graduated with a degree, but instead of finding a good job, he returned to the slums to help children. He hadn’t forgotten where he’d come from.
Over and over I heard the same thing from these dedicated adults, “God called me here. He called me to care for and teach these children.” These men and women are giving their lives for the sake of others, and their example is beautiful to me. They are beautiful to me.
The children I met knew the Word of God. . . because someone took the time to teach them and train them.
The children I met loved Jesus… because AWANA is doing what it can to reach children around the world.
The children I met are impacting their community. They are taking God’s Word to their families and friends who live in the slums. They are a light in a dark place with the help of men and women like you and me who support AWANA and the AWANA missionaries who reach communities around the world.
When I returned from Kenya my heart was forever changed, and I asked myself three questions:
- What can I give to impact my neighborhood?
- What can I give to impact my community?
- What can I give to impact my world?
I started with my neighborhood first, because what good is my giving if I don’t reach out to those closest to me? Then my vision grew from there.
1. Impacting My Neighborhood through Small Group Study
Before leaving for my trip I talked to my neighbor, Laura. She had been read my book Lead Your Family Like Jesus and was interested in doing a neighborhood study. She said a few other families on our street were interested too. I was excited, and John and I are putting that on our calendar.
What about you? What can you do to connect with those on your street?
2. Impacting My Community through Teen MOPS
Every week during the school year I help lead a Teen MOPS (Mothers’ of Preschoolers) on Thursday nights. Just like Kennedy returned to the slums to help those in need, I reach out to teenage moms because I remember what it was like being one.
What about you? Where have you come from? How can your story encourage and inspire others? Who can you impact in your community?
3. Impacting My World through Giving
After seeing the work that AWANA International is doing around the world, I knew I wanted to financially support them. There are wonderful organizations like Compassion International and Feed the Hungry who are meeting physical needs, and AWANA is the spiritual component. When I returned to the United States I became a monthly sponsor for AWANA. For $10 a month one child can be discipled through the AWANA clubs each month! I’ve decided to sponsor 5 children a month… that’s 60 children a year! I can’t wait to see what eternal rewards will be reaped from this financial gift. Some day in heaven there will be stories to rejoice in! Lives to rejoice with!
Friend, I know that you most likely give in many ways, but would you consider becoming a monthly sponsor of AWANA International? For $10 a month another child will hear the good news of Jesus and be disciplined through adulthood. How amazing is that?!
To donate go to: www.awana.org/donate You can choose what region of the world to give to.
As parents we influence our children most; we model giving for them.
Consider today how you can model for your children how to impact your neighborhood, your community, and your world for God’s glory! Give your children big, generous footprints to follow! And together, in heaven, we’ll all have on our dancing shoes to celebrate — no matter where we’re from!