Tuesday, June 30, 2009

changing things up

So for the last couple of days I have been thinking about changing the way that I do blogs a little bit. I know that people seem to enjoy my current style of Blogging, but i am going to try something a little bit different, and see if it works.

So this is what i am going to do: I am going to use this blog to post some of my thoughts, things I've been reading, little blurbs on things, and the such. I will try to add at least something small every few days. Then one to two times a month (like i have been doing before) I will put up a big report of what i have been up to.

Does that sound like it will be ok? I think it sounds alright.

So instead of contacting people via email and facebook whenever I update, since I plan to update more often, I will only do so when I write the longer report things.

What do you think? Do you think that this could work?

much love,

Monday, June 22, 2009

PSS, so many youth, and electrocution

My friends,
I feel like I am constatnly apologizing in the first sentence of each blog, but once again I am sorry. I keep telling myself "Self, update that blog!" but then I don't. But today, I will. I will do my best to update more often, of that I promise.

Life is still treating me quite well. I feel more and more comfortable each day, my kiswahili is coming along well (I find myself understanding more and more words when listening to others speak and can count to 39 without thinking about which language I am speaking in - which I feel is a good step), and I am becoming better at working in an office. I have learned how to manage my time and fulfill many jobs within one day.

This month has been filled with activities for PSS (Psychosocial Support - as discussed in my last post). The TYS (my boss) and I have been spending a lot of time and energy to revive this program within the Salvation Army. There are a lot of members and facilitators, but when no one from headquarters talks to them for over a year they get discouraged, feel unappreciated, and stop volunteering their time (which is what has happened). So we have tried to spend time with these people, call them, visit them, encourage them, write them letters, and so on. And I must say, God is so good. We are seeing a huge rise is PSS activities; just within the last month the activities have more than doubled.
On the 6th of June, I went to a PSS meeting in Kisumu and had the opportunity to learn, teach, and encourage facilitators and new members as they planned on starting new programs in their area. I like PSS because it works for mental and relational healing in youth through counseling and play. That's right, play! During the PSS seminars we play lots of games. We become childlike in order to win children for Christ. I like it. We shout, run in circles, sing rediculous songs, shake the bootay, and all that fun stuff. I really think that this is a good program, and I feel like this is one of the reasons why I am here. This program is important and God wants to see it vibrant again in this place, and so do I.

Two weeks later there was another PSS meeting but this time in my hometown of Kakamega. This meeting was two days long and sought to teach counseling techniques, how to start Income Generating Projects (which PSS uses in order to raise money for school fees for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC's) that they work with), Kids and Youth (KAY) Clubs, loss and bereavement, and so on. This was a great time where i learned a lot. We had plenty of opportunity to dance and play here as well.

During this seminar we were playing a game where our family was being attacked by lions and we had to cross over an electric fence, there were twelve squares, but each square could only be stepped in once, so some of us "strong" men (and yes of course I was included) were used to carry the twenty others over the electric fence. All was going well until my corps officer, with his 250 God-serving pounds of flesh, decided for us to send him over the fence as well. Needless to say, I should not have been a strong man. I failed horribly resulting in the "electrocution" of myself and my corps officer.

This month I also had an opportunity to take part in a Praise and Worship seminar. The seminar was ok, but God was good to us during the Crusade which followed the seminar. There were only about 30 youth there, but we decided to take our PA, keyboard, and bodies into a field in the middle of the small town we were at and started to dance and sing. This was, by far, the best worship experience I have had since coming to Kenya. We all danced and the people from the stores and houses started to come and dance with us. But then it started to rain, but we kept dancing. One person held an umbrella over the keyboard and we put the flag over the PA, but we kept dancing. After about 15 minutes the rain turned into a huge storm and we were forced to quickly end and run for cover before our equipment was damaged. Singing in the Rain (ha) is great. But dancing in the rain is better, you should all try it. (Sidenote: be careful when having a PA system outside in the rain for obvious reasons. While trying to move the PA I was electrocuted, but it was ok, it just felt like my hand was moving incredibly fast)
Many other great things have happened this month: I have preached the last two weeks and feel fairly good about the messages, I know God uses even me; I marched in a parade for the day of the African child; I somehow became the Deputy Bandmaster for a Divisional Band (even though I told them no and I wasnt there, they voted me in anyway); and many other things.

I have found that I am slightly allergic to a vegetable called cow peas and to perfectly ripened pineapples. The latter is very upsetting news. My tongue gets prickly and itchy. But I am still fighting the pain to enjoy the deliciousness. I heard a story of an American who came here and ate 3 entire pineapples in one sitting. Hit tongue started to bleed, but he still wanted to eat more. Americans are great.

My friend situation is becoming incredibly solid and I thank God for sending me some young guys to be my friends here who keep me from going crazy and working all the time. We pretty much just talk about soccer and band, they sometimes talk about girls but I try and stay quiet. They all make fun of me because my soccer team is West Ham United (Ian and Green Street Hooligans have hooked me).

Please continue to pray for:
-The Youth Section finances and calendar
-Living alone
-The PSS program to revive
-My family at home
Much Love,