Last Sunday was one of those days that I will cherish in my mind for a long time. One of those days where I am reminded that God is at work in the slum of Obunga. One, where I’m reminded of the love He has put in my heart for this place and these kids. One where I remember the beautiful blessing of fellowship with other missionaries, and where I remember that God speaks. It was also a day where I remembered how great Disney fairy tales are and how I would love to write a screenplay some day.
For those that don’t know, I work in an urban slum community in the third largest city in Kenya. The city of Kisumu has restaurants, grocery stores, cars….and (drum roll please)….a MOVIE THEATER!!! This hasn’t always been the case, but since the movie theater has air conditioning, I am always happy to go there! It also provides good laughs to see advertisements for things like 3-D movies…
Although these things are readily available, many in the city never experience them because they cannot afford it. This is the case for most of our Ndoto students. They might see movies from time to time, but going to the movie theater to see them is something most have never dreamed of doing. It’s always a joy for me to take a few students to the movies (usually some who have never been).
On Sunday, Allison and I took three students to see the movie Cinderella. One of the students who joined us was Rose, a recent Ndoto college graduate. She has been through a lot of very rough seasons in her life, including losing both of her parents at a young age. Her and her brother were forced to become the care takers of all the kids in the family. Thankfully, God provided through Ndoto, and Rose has just finished college with a major in journalism! We wanted to celebrate her accomplishment, so we asked her to join us.
I could not believe it when she told me she’d never been to a movie before. She is a college graduate! Her smile was from ear to ear and she was giggling with excitement as we walked in, got our popcorn, and sat down to enjoy the show. As the movie started, she leaned over and said thank you, and then told me “I remember reading this in a storybook. I never imagined it to be like this!” She watched the story unfold, and was laughing and engaged in a way that was so beautiful.
I sat next to her enjoying the film (it’s great by the way…bravo Disney), and even cried at parts. I cried because the message of the movie was so applicable to Rose! Cinderella loses her parents, and is treated as less than her step mother and step sisters. She never gives up, never grows bitter, and never loses heart. She remembers what her mother always said: “Have courage and be kind.”
When I look at Rose, I see someone who has managed to have courage and be kind regardless of the circumstances that have come her way. She’s always been a sweet girl, but in the last year or so, she has grown into a humble, kind, joyful, courageous young woman! I teared up as Cinderella’s fairy tale came true, not because I believe in happily ever after, but because I know that God has met Rose in her difficulties, taught her to have courage and be kind, and provided in the midst of her circumstances to create a beautiful story of her life! Things will not always be easy, but if we have courage and are kind, and trust in the Lord, we will come out feeling like we have lived a happy ever after kind of life.