March Madness. For some of you, those words mean nothing, but for those American college basketball fans out there, the excitement is just beginning. 67 exciting games, lots of “working on the couch,” excessive consumption of chicken wings and youtube highlights, hair pulling, and let’s not forget choosing that special upset in our bracket.
For the players, this season is the culmination of thousands of hours of dedication and hard work. Starting from the simple act of learning to bounce and catch a ball when they were young, to the fun of learning to shoot into a hoop, to more formal Phys. Ed classes, Rec leagues, high school games, then for those elite few, college play. The players have trained, their game has been honed and transformed into a thing of beauty, for them to enjoy and display in all its competitive glory, for us to admire and cheer.
The competition creates a story for us fans, but there is no predictable script. The unpredictability keeps us glued to the games, hoping against hope, that even the meekest of underdogs, against all odds, will have their day. The odds of one of our students making it to the “Big Dance,” are infinitesimal, nevertheless we train them too. In this world, they are the underdogs of the story, but through Christ's glorious work in their lives, they will have their day too.
Our Phys. Ed classes give our students the opportunity to play and participate in sports in a safe environment. Through our sports and feeding programs we care for our students bodies, but we emphasize the training of their character even more. Throughout each student's journey, we pour thousands of hours into their academic, physical, and spiritual growth. Finally, at graduation we send them out as adults prepared to compete in the game of life. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV), “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
When you give to eduKenya, you are filling a winning bracket. You are backing a team to the end of the tourney, where a prize awaits those that persevere. Your partnership provides more than an opportunity for the children of Mathare to learn and play sports in a safe environment. It provides diligent shepherding toward an even greater prize - a prize bigger than any NCAA tournament win or man-made accolade, the perfect reward, the crown presented to them as followers of Christ, by the King of Kings.