There are four houses here at Beat the Drum orphanage where I have been living now for four days. Beat the Drum is in the midst of the Great Rift Valley and going purely by scenery, it is paradise. Cattle walk in the fields grazing, people ride bikes on the side of the road dodging tree limbs, and the sun disappears in a orangey haze every night behind a mountain of which I still can't figure out the name. And that is where the door of Nyumba Mbili (House Two) opens. Outlooking the most beautiful sunset that I truly might ever see. But all of this, all these sights, they do not compare to what they hold. They hold twenty children in four houses and these children are slowly changing my life.
In my house there are five children and one auntie, Auntie Lucy. There is Baraka, Emmanuel (who we call Emon), Simon (who is called Karioki), and Eric. Baraka is twelve years-old, in Class 3, and he is the quiet one. I call him Obama from time to time and it makes him smile and laugh. Emon is seven years-old, in his last year of Nursery, and he smiles like a hockey player. He has yet to master the art of blowing bubbles, I believe his technique is the harder I blow the more bubbles I will see...it is pretty ineffective. Then there is Karioki who is six years-old and is also in Nursery. Karioki (pronounced Karaoke like the game) is a name given in Kenya to remember an earlier sibling who has died. He loves to laugh and, unlike Emon, is a pro and bubble blowing. Lastly we have Eric. He is fourteen years-old, in Class 4, and the best way to describe him is just random. Kind of a sad adjective that doesn't do justice but if you met him I bet you would say the same. Auntie Lucy is a servant to the core. I think all the aunties here are, but I get the most time with her. She makes my bed, washes my clothes, heats my bucket bathes, and pretty much everything else. I'm pretty sure I am just another nine year-old in her book. I love it though. And that is kind of what I want to tell you about in this post. It is what God is teaching me through these joyfully simple wtoto. (To clarify before I go on, I make my bed each morning but I still don't meet her standards so she remakes. She is excellent too, the top of the sheets folded back, perfectly perpendicular to the bed, tucked in on every side even with the mosquito net as an obstacle. I'm going to try to get it down pat but I am not sure if I can make it a masterpiece as she does.)
I think if these kids were allowed to skip school they would spend every second of each day holding hands, having tickle wars, and playing with their bucket lids as they try to roll around the orphanage with bent wire. Left... then right... then up... then down...They are simply happy. And I am plain jealous. I watch them laughing and loving the simple and then realize I am cynically thinking they know nothing else. They wouldn't be this happy if they knew what I did. They do not know how impoverished they are. They do not know they have HIV/AIDS. They do not know what its like to live a normal life. A "normal" life. Wow. Who am I to say what a normal life is? How prideful am I?
Are we not suppose to live like this?
Could this be what humility looks like?
The Word saves me. It steals me from paralytic thought.
"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
I don't have this verse memorized. I knew Jesus said we were suppose to be like children. But He could not have stolen me from my thoughts with any more specific words. We are suppose to humble ourselves like these children. They pray the same prayer everyday; when they wake up, before they eat breakfast, when they get back from school, before dinner, and then as they go to sleep, so much I almost have it memorized...and it is in Kiswahili. But, oh do they mean it each time! They cry when they are hurt, they eat until they are full, they play until they sweat, and they love. Their hearts are bigger than mine. I am jealous. It is my prayer and it is the prayer I will ask you to pray for me and possibly even yourselves.
"Humble me, Jesus. Humble me to be like one of these kids. They have nothing. They know nothing. They completely lack dignity and they are dirty and sick. Humble me like that."
Gosh if we could be as children again. The world would be enormous but it would be our playground. Jesus would not be a chore. He would be so evident we would make telephones out of string and cans to pray. We would not care about impressing him, at least as we do now, we wouldn't know what dignity was. All we would care about was loving Him and Him loving us and what the next game would be when we played. When we were hurt we would cry. When we were happy we would sing. And when we wanted to dance, well of course, we would dance. When we listened and read Bible stories they would be more real then gravity. This kind of world should be more real than gravity.
So this is this a little excerpt from my life. I am just a dude that loves Jesus, trying to follow Him. I am blessed. I am prideful. I am jealous of these children. They are joyfully simple.