Just over a year ago I visited Kenya in Africa. It was there that God revealed a few important things to me. He taught me that here in North America we have our wants and our needs very confused. He showed me that I don’t fight for my passions as hard as I could. He told me that I need to appreciate and not take for granted the family, things, and opportunities I have.
Leigh Janssen and I visited Kenya to film some of the youth curriculum that we have been watching at theUNDERGROUND. Neither of us had been overseas, and we had no idea what to expect. We visited a running academy in the western highlands of Kenya. Here we met really incredible teenagers who are gifted in running, and hope to attend the school to get an education so that they may take whatever opportunities their future successes may bring. Many of them want to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers. They dream big, they don’t let their circumstance hold them back from hoping and trying. They know that God can work miracles. We spent a few days there, training alongside them and getting to know them. We got to see their homes, meet their families and see how different their circumstances are from our own.
These kids have no choice but to run. They live in the most rural parts of the highlands, they have to run to school, train before school starts, focus on academics for a few hours, and then train again after school before running home. The endurance, passion and motivation that these kids have is inspiring. They run in hopes of winning races and marathons in order to get money for their families to improve their living situations.
I don’t have to raise up gardens and livestock to eat. I don’t have to run for 30 minutes just to get to a store to buy necessities. I don’t have to wear shoes with holes in them that have been worn by someone else previously just to be able to train for what I want to do to.
These teenagers showed me that they are just as hardworking, responsible, and disciplined as any adult I have ever met. They don’t have iPods or play video games, they work the land and take care of the livestock. They take care of their siblings, and pool any money they get into their families funds. They spend their race winnings on things like trees for shade, vegetables and their siblings school tuitions.
After being home for a year and thinking back on my time spent at this academy, I realize I’ve needed this reminder again to work harder at my passion and my relationship with God, and be more self disciplined.And I will be reminded yet again when I see their faces on TV after winning an important race or marathon, or an olympic gold metal. They deserve it, and I will praying, and cheering them on from over here on my side of the world.
– Rachael Bawn