Several weeks ago, nine from our church in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, met 14 from Orlando, Florida, for a medical mission trip in Nairobi, Kenya, sponsored by World Hope. A medical clinic was held in Hope Church. We also interacted with the World Hope Academy students who were next door.
God was stretching me. It had been over 10 years since my last mission trip out of the country. I am almost 57 and was feeling old-ish. I told Him, "I will do WHATEVER You want!" and I meant it, really I did, until I found out my Kenyan duties.
My first job was not a problem. I would triage patients in the morning. I could do that. I LOVE people and LOVE to ask questions!
But, in the afternoon, I was scheduled for "field play" at the school. Clearly, I had not noted in bold marker on my paperwork: "MS. DAWN DON'T RUN!"
My name was listed first on the schedule, but that did not make me in charge. The others on the "field play" team were 20 years younger than me. We needed a plan, and I needed to transfer all in charged-ness to someone else ASAP. Before lunch, I found Hector, one of my "field play" partners. He told me Darren had some games. They had heard there could possibly be 90 students. I pictured rows of kids and relays. I went back to triage relieved that they had a plan.
In the afternoon, I walked from the clinic to the school yard. Hector was there, and Darren, too. He had an enormous duffel bag filled with game-playing treasures. I couldn't wait to see what wonderful things were in there. It was going to be awesome! When I reached the guys, Darren said he had frisbees, jump ropes and kites. I bit my lip. Not very exciting, I thought.
We found out quickly that "field play" is Kenyan for turning all the children out at once on the playground. Kids ran everywhere screaming with sheer delight. They were everywhere!
A handful of girls close to me grabbed frisbees, and ir was on! We had so much fun! I bent, jumped and ran around like I was 37. My face hurt from smiling and laughing! Kids with kites squealed as they ran through our group.
I taught the girls how to catch a frisbee by doing a crocodile chomp with their hands. For 35 minutes, we zinged the discs to each other as fast as we could, and no one was seriously hurt. I did hit one little boy who was passing by right between the eyes, but that was an accident.
At the end of field play, I hugged the girls, trying to learn each name and promising to be back the next day.
I had a hard time going to sleep that night. How could such a small thing - like throwing a frisbee - bring such joy to both them and me? I can't help crying as I remember.
Each day, as the medical clinic carried on, I had the absolute privilege of playing with a bunch of girls who live in the Kawangware slum. It was the best time ever.
At home or away, no matter your age, no matter your wheelhouse, God can use you as an instrument in His hands!
Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at email@example.com.