Daraja (Swahili): A bridge.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” –Matthew 7:7
Words cannot describe the infinite blessings I have received over the past few months. My heart has been made fuller and fuller by the day, and last night, it finally runneth over. My handsome husband and I were able to see and worship with the Daraja Children’s Choir of Kenya and Uganda. Two hours with them passed by quickly, and we were entranced by the voices and stories of these beautiful children. Before I talk much about the evening, let me give you some brief background information about this amazing group.
Straight from their website, here is a partial history of Daraja:
“In 2007, Lanny Donoho (founder of BigStuf and The 410 Bridge) had the idea to bring a children’s choir from Africa to the United States as a partner ministry of The 410 Bridge. At that time, The 410 Bridge had already been serving several communities in Kenya for 2 years. The 410 Bridge was sending committed Americans to Kenya to serve and build long-term relationships with partner communities. Now, it was time to bridge Africa to the U.S.!
In 2014, Daraja plans to have a choir of Kenyans & Ugandans traveling together. We are excited to see these two nations join in one voice of worship with churches across the U.S. We believe, as we connect and serve each other cross-culturally, that God is glorified and the body of Christ is made stronger. We can’t wait to see what God is going to do next!”
Western North Carolina is so blessed that the Daraja Choir visited Meadow Grove Baptist Church in Hayesville, NC. These children captivated the congregation with a few traditional Swahili songs and then some worship music familiar to many of us. They put their hearts and souls into every note and movement, and it was all for the Lord. They made us want to stand with them and shout to the Lord as well. Several times, I was brought to tears by these children and their withstanding faith that never falters despite all that they go through back home in Kenya or Uganda. One little boy was more enveloped with the spirit of Christ than anyone else I have ever seen. He looked up to the Heavens with each breath, and service and devotion were written all over his face. I could not keep my eyes of off him, and I prayed that one day I would be able to worship with complete surrender like he did. Another child, Evelyn, shared a bit about herself with us. Part of her daily routine is walking one hour to and from school. She happily spends her time singing or reading scriptures. By the time I lay to rest on this earth, I hope to have one once of the faith that child does.
Throughout the service, God stirred mine and Colby’s hearts to move in His direction, in their direction. By the end of the night, His instructions were crystal clear: sponsor a child with the 410 Bridge Ministry, an organization that partners with Daraja. We chose a child named Shillah. She is 12 years old and is from Uganda. Because she is part of the choir, we got the opportunity to meet her. We learned that she really loves to sing and is in grade 5 at her school. Since she is joining our family, we felt like she needed to see the other important member of our family, Dobby. She smiled at the sight of him. We could feel the love pouring out from her hug, and we cannot wait to write her and receive her letters. We cannot imagine how richly she will bless our family, and we are so glad God allowed us to enter in relationship with this special young lady. Below is a photo of us with some of the choir children as well as Shillah. Isn’t she beautiful?
God is working in our lives in so many ways. As teachers, Colby and I have the unique opportunity to disciple people who might not experience Jesus’s love at home or anywhere else. We have the chance to let our lights shine in a secular institution and model grace and mercy as it has been shown to us. As travel fanatics, we are able to take the love of Christ with us wherever we go. Throughout our lives and our marriage, there is no telling where that might be. Through our union, we are able to exhibit how God works for the good of those who love Him, because we have been given so much in our short three and a half months of marriage. We cannot wait to see what is next. We are open to God’s guidance, because we trust Him and know He fulfills his promises.
If you are able, please consider donating to the Daraja Choir or the 410 Bridge Ministry. Their websites are darajachoir.org and 410bridge.org respectively. I can think of no better or more deserving ministry.
“Amani Utupe Na Ustawi” – “Grant us peace, give us courage.”
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” –Isaiah 6:8.