Greetings, dear brothers and sisters, in the Name of the Lord. I am glad that I can share my experiences on this field with you.
He is called Sh and is now in the Preprimary 2 class of the Bible College Education Centre. He is much bigger and taller, when compared with other children in the same class. In fact, he is older than the others. He had been in another school, a special school because of his autism. His mother, trying to expose him to a more normal school, brought him to our kindergarten.
Sh is special in the sense that he is different from others. The way he perceives and responds is different. He speaks not in sentences, but only in words. There are times when he screams, or idly lies down on the floor of the classroom. He plays alone. Yet, he can be guided by his teacher and pays attention to the lessons. He writes and reads and he even reads with good pronunciation. In another sense, he is special because he attracts people to himself. Most of time, he concentrates on his own space and items, and is not interested in the others around him. But when his name is called, he responds ‘Ah?”, stares at you with his chubby face for a while, then he goes back to his own world. He is so cute! Both his teachers and classmates like him. Their affections are seen when they first come to say “Hi” to Sh. They don’t have problems with him in the classroom or playground. When describing his social and academic improvement his teacher has a big smile. The effort she puts forth in teaching him seems to be rewarded through his positive progress. In fact, his mother is so happy and thankful for these teachers. Moreover, she has made another step nearer to God.
However, I used to wonder, if he had not made such progress in school, what would have happened to him? When certain progress is not made as we expect from someone, that is, our support or care does not produce what we expected, how do we respond? Some may say, “I am doing this much for you, and I expect you to do this and that”. Sadly I have witnessed kindergarten parents with those kinds of expectations, pushing their children to be and do more than they can. Love and expectations look similar, yet are different.
I can’t deny that I had expectations for K, whom I have helped with his school fees. I expected him to study well, finish his course well, and to find a job to make his living. I also expected him to grow in his relationship with God.
I have shared with you, in a previous prayer letter, about K. He was a casual worker in a coffee plantation for years, and he longed for schooling. Eventually, one night he asked for his mother to send him to school. The following day, Sunday, when he was in the worship service, I was the first one who asked him if he will enter school. I had not known anything about his conversation with his mother. On the same day, I visited his mother to discuss about K’s joining school. Then, he entered a polytechnic school in the upcountry. It was quite an experience for both of us, about how God directs His people. With such a testimony in his life, I naturally expected him to be faithful to his Christian walk as well as his school studies; and he had been so during the first two years of his schooling.
It was last July when K returned from school and attended Sunday worship service. I asked him why his friend S (another one who goes to same school) was not at the service. K answered that S was so sick that he could not come. I simply believed in his word. A few days later, I happened to talk with the director of his school on the phone, who told me that K had disappeared from school and didn’t do his final exam. I then realized his lie. K had come home before the friend S, who had been taking his final exam. It pained me much. I thought to myself, “Only a few terms in school, he turns so neglectful of it? Moreover he lied? How easily he changed.” I became disappointed and confused.
I needed to talk with him, and his parents, before any decision were made. I found someone to accompany me on the walk out of the college to the coffee plantation. It was my first time to go out by foot to visit someone since the breakout of COVID-19. I was very much welcomed to K’s humble place. When I addressed K’s behavior in the school, his mother was so shocked. She never knew about it. K didn’t make any excuse but admitted his wrong doing. He said that he had joined the latest term late, helping with a family issue in his hometown, and had not been able to catch up with the lessons, then, had not done the exam. Now, I will just let you imagine what the two of us, his mother and me, said to K for a good while. He kept his head down and remained quiet, probably thinking that it would have been better to be caned than to hear all those words. Anyway, we agreed that he would not repeat it again and that he would continue with his schooling. Though he didn’t do it as I had expected from him, I was relieved when he wanted to finish his course in the school.
Many start their Christian service with high expectations from others as well as themselves. But how many go the way they expected? How many end their ministry as well as they expected? Though we know that God has called us to His ministry, how many times do we worry, become confused, make mistakes, and even disappoint Him? Nevertheless, God is gracious, and He still gives opportunities to continue. I confess His graciousness for me to come this far.
By the way, I saw some changes in K. He put offering into the offering box. It is obvious that Christians are to do such. But when you consider people making their living only by plucking coffee, putting their shillings into the offering bag can be harder than we imagine. Now K seems to have made up his mind about giving to the Lord. One Sunday I also saw him arriving to the service by a motorbike, so that he might not be late for the service. Wow, K pays for a motorbike? There are changes in him, and also in me. When our Junior Youths arrive late or are not seen in the worship service, I used to think, “Whoop! What time is it now? Why aren’t they in the service? What’s wrong?” Now I need to recognize more that things are not in my hands, but in God’s hands. Then I pray, “Lord, aren’t they your children? Please, work in their hearts so that they should treasure the worship service.” 1 John 4:19, “We love him because he first loved us”.
Four terms are operating in both the BCEA and its affiliated kindergartens, in a normal three-term year. It became necessary in order to make up those terms that were missed last year because of the coronavirus. In fact, the government encourages this schedule. Please pray for the educational institutions in Kenya in general, especially the BCEA students and teachers to manage with this busy schedule. Thank you.
In His service,
Bai, Eun Young