We sing a song in Kenyan churches that has quickly found its way into our heads each day. The lyrics are: "When the Lord is on your side, things are very better. Mambo sawa sawa." I asked some of the girls at school on Monday what "mambo sawa sawa" means, and they told me it means "everything is okay."
These simple lyrics have begun to characterize each day this past week. When we are teaching a class full of students, everything is okay. When we are peeling potatoes with the kitchen staff, everything is okay. When we are coloring with the pre-schoolers and painting with the high school students, everything is okay. When we are washing dishes and attempting to help Sha' cook, everything is okay. When things don't go the way we expected them to (this happens often), everything is okay.
But everything is not okay because every single thing in Africa is good. We have seen and heard of more poverty, disease, and desperate situations in the last 19 days than I have in the last 19 years of my life. Everything is okay, because as the Kenyans sing, things are very better when God is on our side. The Lord is on His throne, so all is well.
In a typical day at ICF, we teach Form 1 and Form 2 (freshman and sophmores) Bible and Art. We have been going through a Bible study on hope and talking about how despite the circumstances of our past, the mistakes we have made in our past, and the mistakes others have made that have affected us, there is hope when we look to Jesus. Some of the stories that we hear are much, much different than we will probably ever hear in America. There are some stories, however, about placing their hope in things that will fail them that remind me very much of my own story. And I am reminded that each person in each country will only find true hope by seeking Jesus.