Photos from Kenya 2023
This photo does not due justice to the situation, but it is the best one that I have. I took this selfie at the school in Kairungu while I was preparing to speak to the crowd that was gathered. There were several hundred people gathered at the school to watch us play a game of fútbol (Americans vs. Kenyans), run some foot races, and then listen to what we had to say.
We waited around until the most important person in the town (the village chief) showed up. Once he arrived, the festivities began!
We started with a game of fútbol (we Americans called it “soccer”).
When I saw all of the school children congregated, I thought, “Well, this should be fun. We’ll probably be playing against a bunch of kids.”
But, no. We did not play against a bunch of kids. We played against a bunch of high school students / young adults. And they were really good!
I was not surprised by the fact that they were really good, and it was fun to play against / with them. We really didn’t stand a chance. Most of our team had never actually played soccer—and didn’t even know how to play soccer.
I will say, also, that they definitely had the “home-field advantage”. In the photo above, we are actually standing on the soccer field. It was not exactly nicely mown, green grass. It was hard dirt / clay. There was one patch of grass on the fútbol field, but that patch was occupied by a grazing donkey.
I mean, what legitimate fútbol field doesn’t have a grazing donkey on it?!
There was also about a two-foot rise onto a knoll in the one corner of the fútbol field, so you did have to try to remember to avoid that.
But I don’t want anyone to think that they were not taking this game seriously. They definitely were. In fact, they invited one of their school teachers to officiate the game—and he was REALLY good at it. Clearly he had done this before. They also started the game by lining up the two teams and singing the Kenyan national anthem, which was really moving. Then they asked us to sing our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”. It was a really cool moment of mutual adoration and respect. It is actually hard to put into words how cool this moment was, but I think we all felt it.
Then the fútbol game began.
We were not great.
We were actually quite bad.
We nominated Scott Price to be our Team Captain, but he really did not know what he was doing. Our Kenyan friends from African Christian Missions International (ACMI) quickly realized that they were going to have to step in to help us out.
Our driver, Frank, jumped in and immediately made us a much bigger threat. After being scored on several times, our friend Amos took over playing Goalkeeper. That was a game-changer! Nothing got by him!
Frank was easily our star offensive player until he twisted his ankle trying to get the ball. Thankfully we had some other Kenyans helping us out.
Possibly our biggest help came from a certain Kenyan who also happened to be the official. He realized fairly quickly that we were quite outmatched, and may or may not have called a few suspicious fouls on the local team while overlooking some fairly major infractions from our team.
At halftime our team came back out onto the field, but not really knowing how the game works, our Team Captain, Scott Price, didn’t realize that we were supposed to switch sides. So he nearly started the second half on the other side of the field—with the other team! The official told him that he needs to start on the other side of the field, and Scott replied with a joke, “Well, I thought maybe I would just switch teams…”
We played for another 30 minutes in the hot, Kenya sun, and by something between a miracle of God and the mercy of the Kenyan official, we actually won the game! (It certainly helped that the last play of the game was a penalty kick from our team because of a highly questionable call from the official.)
After the fútbol game we ran some foot races, and the Americans got mostly demolished—except for one girl on our team, Amy. She absolutely rocked her race, surprising everyone in the crowd, everyone on our team, and even herself!
It turns out that girl can run!
Then, after the games were over, our team got to address the crowd. The village chief stood up and essentially said that he had heard about the good work we were doing at the widow’s house, how we had traveled all the way from the United States of America to bless them and to be a blessing to their town. He told the crowd to pay attention to what we have to say, because through our good works we have shown ourselves to be worthy of their attention.
Then Paul Mullet asked me to share the gospel, which I gladly did.
I talked about how we just played a game of fútbol. I talked about how there were two teams on the field. There was the good team (which we can agree was the Kenyan team), and there was the not-so-good team (which was made up of mostly Americans). I said that after halftime our Team Captain wanted to switch teams so that he could be on the good team! They thought that was funny.
Then I talked about how life is kind of like that game of fútbol. There is a good team and there is a bad team. Jesus has invited each and every one of us to be on the good team, God’s Team. Satan wants us to be on his team. Many of us have spent much of our lives playing on Satan’s team, but like Scott tried to do at halftime, we can actually switch teams! God is more than willing to welcome us on to His team!
I also pointed out that we had a great official for the fútbol game, but that he may have been more kind to the American team than to the Kenyan team—which we appreciated!! But in life there is also an Official—a perfect and holy Judge. As much as He may want to, He cannot bend the rules. He is too holy to overlook our sins.
I shared that God created us to be with Him. He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to be on Team Jesus! But unfortunately, we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Our sins separate us from God, and those sins cannot be removed by good deeds.
If a cake is burnt, or if an apple is rotten, you can’t make it better by simply covering it up with something sweet. A burnt cake with beautiful icing is good to look at, but it is no good on the inside. A rotten apple covered with caramel may look pleasing to the eye, but one bite would reveal how truly disgusting it is underneath.
The same is true for us. Sin corrupts and poisons us on the inside, and no outward expression of our own can fix it. That’s why God sent Jesus. He lived a perfect, sinless life, and then took our sins upon Himself, dying a sacrificial death—in our place—on the cross. Paying for our sins, Jesus died and rose again!
God declared that the payment of Jesus’ blood—on our behalf—was complete by raising Him from the grave! Now everyone who simply puts their faith in Jesus Christ alone for eternal salvation will be saved!
You can make the switch from Team Satan to Team Jesus through simple faith. That’s it!
But wait… there’s more! God wants to save us for all of eternity, but He also wants to save us for right here, right now. Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!
That’s the gospel. There are two teams. You get to choose which team you want to be on. There is a perfect Judge who cannot overlook sin, and we ALL have sinned! But Jesus took our penalty upon Himself so we can live forgiven and free on Team Jesus by simply putting our faith in Him alone!
I shared this message and gave the hundreds of people in the crowd an opportunity to choose Team Jesus. Many indicated that they were choosing to put their faith in Christ and join Team Jesus!
And here’s the best part… you didn’t have to be there to join Team Jesus. If you are reading this and realize that YOU have never put your faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, you realize that you are trusting in anything BUT Jesus’ finished work on the cross on your behalf, but you want to join Team Jesus today, there is room for more! Jesus is calling. He is inviting you to agree with the Judge that your sin is bad, and that you can’t fix yourself. But you don’t have to! (And you can’t!) Jesus can. Trust in Him today, walk with Him forever.
This was a highlight of the trip. We did so much that day, and it was just a joy-filled day. What a blessing it was to be there with so many people from that village.