I had the rare privilege last Monday to drive four young women to a placement in Mt. Kenya, three of them were beginning their first year of apprenticeship and the fourth one is beginning her second. The programmes team is quite thin at the moment and we all stepped in to help where we can. The journey was unique in the sense that I had not done one of those in a while but I enjoyed every bit of it. The girls had amazing stories of their backgrounds, the anxiety about what to expect was evident in their eyes and in the conversations.
Here are a few reasons that made for the day and perhaps speaks into the year ahead for Evelyn, Ruth, Mercy and Promise. They taught me a great deal about life and ministry.
1. They were ready. Our journey started late from the office. We were to leave very early at 7.00 AM but I had a few matters to attend to, so I was delayed. The girls had been in training for the previous two weeks and when I arrived, it was evident they were ready. All their bags were packed and they were looking forward to the mission ahead of them. I did not have to wait for any of them - not that I would have minded to wait, but I did not need to. They were ready to go. My mind goes back to the illustration the Lord used on readiness. These women were clearly ready - "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning" Luke 10:35
2. They were organized. Way before the journey begun, the ladies asked that we take the Probox because they had lots of luggage.Clearly these ladies did not travel light. The car was packed out full of anything imaginable - cookers, thermos flasks, shoe racks, carpets and who knows what else. They were not taking any chances about their forthcoming mission and they were prepared to face it. They had had traveled from their homes with almost everything they needed for the task. These were gospel women who understood the task ahead and were well organized to take it on.
3. They knew what they wanted. I think one of the biggest challenges in life is knowing what you want. This is clearly a lesson many take long into their lives and some miss it altogether. After we had driven for nearly two hours (having stopped at Kasarani to pick even more luggage - I really feared the police might stop us and I would have a lot of explaining to do), I thought we should have a snack break so we stopped at Kenol. I asked them to choose what they would like to have for a snack and after some consultation they settled on something that told me they really knew what they wanted. These were not pushover women who were taking an apprenticeship because they had nothing else to do. An array of options had been open to them but being the straight-shooting, fresh graduates that they are, they choose the path of service.
4. They had a sense of mission. We arrived in Kerogoya - ADS Wanguru station shortly after one PM. We were ushered into a hall where a management training workshop was going on. And then the time for introductions came and one after the other they said what brought them here. They were not intimidated by the newness of the place or the people who were there, yet they were respectful. They had come here on purpose and they wanted to roll up their sleeves and get to work. They did not want to waste their lives but wanted their young lives to count for time and for eternity. Mission is in their hearts. Here was a bunch of risk-taking women, leaving behind their homes and dreams and coming out to serve the Lord they loved in a different part of Kenya.
5. They adorned the gospel. It is not everyday that I get to ride in car with four young women in their early twenties and the conversation is enriching. These girls were not chatting away on Instagram or tweeting. They engaged in meaningful conversation. They had been very patient with me and seemed to have confidence that I will deliver on my promise to take them to their placement. They were respectful and there was not a hint of familiarity even after spending the better part of the day together. As I was leaving in a rush to try and beat Nairobi traffic on my return leg, they all came to the car to express their thanks for the ride and a day well spent. A friend had once told me that at the heart of sin is ingratitude. Most, if not all of our relational struggles even in ministry result from an ungrateful heart. Not so with these young women. I left thinking what gifts these young women have? How they beautifully adorned the gospel (Titus 2:10, 1 Peter 3:1 -6) and what fruitful ministry lay ahead of them if they carry on in that path?