The least of these

Dr. Darrell Tate

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren you did it to me.”

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to spend several weeks in Kenya, Africa. The beauty of the landscape and the diversity of the people groups were truly inspirational. My eyes were opened to African culture, faith and community. The most enlightening, as well as heartbreaking, experience of my trip was the many days I spent alongside the people who lived in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.

The Kibera slum is the largest slum in the world with over one million people living in one square mile. Residents here earn less than one dollar per day. In this place hope has long sense given way to despair. Tin and cardboard shacks crowded side by side in the sweltering African sun are little more than oversized ovens but provide the only source of shelter for some sixty percent of Nairobi’s population. Shallow ditches of human waste snake their way through the fowl, poverty-ridden neighborhoods. The lack of basic sanitation breeds a myriad of disease including typhoid and malaria. The violence and crime have reached such an epidemic proportion that no one dare venture from their stifling tin shack after dark. With no health care, no money, little food and clean water, all energy is spent simply trying to survive another day with little hope for tomorrow.

To walk the alleyways of Kibera and see the nightmare of utter hopelessness, and smell the stench of human degradation one cannot help to be moved to tears knowing that these are people whom much of the world has forgotten. Beautiful little children wandering in the garbage filled streets hoping to uncover their next meal from the bottom of a mound of refuse. Men and women, boys and girls created in the image of God living as castaways in a forgotten land.

During much of my time in country I taught through the book of Daniel for a group of bible college students. The friendships I formed are still precious to me today. Due to my teaching responsibilities I was unable to travel to a few of the places the rest of my group traveled. One such place was a children’s orphanage. When my wife returned from spending the day at the orphanage she shared with me the hope and joy that filled the beautiful faces of the children she met. The joy on the faces of these children left an eternal impression. In humble surroundings, without any of the modern conveniences of the western world, these children lifted their voices and sang praise to the goodness and majesty of God. From this very orphanage come some of the children who form the Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa.

The word Daraja means “bridge” in Swahili. The Daraja Children’s Choir travel around the world sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ through music in hopes to “bridge” the divide of culture.

For the past few years Highland Park Baptist Church has hosted the Daraja Childrens Choir. Once again, this year our church family will open our hearts to an unforgettable evening of worship and inspiration on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. The music begins and the drums beat as the room fills with the sound of the Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa. Dressed in their vibrant costumes with radiant smiles on their faces, the children express the joy and hope they have found in Christ through African song and dance.

These 23 orphaned and vulnerable children have journeyed all the way from Kenya and Uganda to bring a taste of African worship and praise. This Choir will inspire you with the hope and love they have found in Jesus Christ, in spite of the severe hardships they have faced. Their performances are a blend of traditional African song and dance and contemporary Christian music, which shares that hope in a unique and powerful way. This year, we will be blessed to have Daraja celebrate with us the birth of Jesus Christ with their first Christmas Concert. Bring your family and join us as we worship and celebrate the greatness of God.

Dr. Darrell Tate is minister at Highland Park Baptist Church.

Dr. Darrell Tate

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