On our mantle sits a hand painted African plate from a fundraiser for a girl’s school and orphanage in Kenya. From the time we met the founders, I always knew that one day Jim and I would make the long trek to visit the orphanage.
Maybe it is because I admired how one couple’s obedience to God’s calling could impact so many lives. From its’ humble beginnings in 2004, the orphanage now houses, feeds, clothes and educates over 120 girls. Or maybe the founder wore me down, after repeatedly telling me his girls needed to meet a woman that crossed boundaries into fields like Engineering and Woodworking. Or maybe… after putting it off for over 8 years because of our kid’s college tuition payments and ministry involvement with Awaken-Love, I just needed to trust God.
This month Jim and I went to the orphanage in Kenya and it was amazing!!
A hundred smiling faces greeted us with welcome songs and shaking each of our hands. These girls ages 4-18, are survivors and living testimonies to God’s goodness. The stories of their past include losing parents, having no food to eat, and surviving abuse. The girls are now filled with joy, love for each other and love for Jesus. They stretched me, provided opportunities to share my gifts and to enjoy theirs.
After church on Sunday, I was given the opportunity to talk to the 7th, 8th and high schoolers about sex and relationships. Though the school wanted me to focus on waiting for sex until marriage, I wanted the girls to have at least a basic understanding of their bodies and sex. With 30 girls gathered around me and a piece of chalk, I began by drawing a picture of a woman’s body with her legs apart. As I explained about the 3 holes that we have and their function, I heard the sounds of wander coming from the girls. Drawing the clitoris, I shared that God gave us a part of our body created for no other reason besides pleasure. He wants wives to enjoy sex too.
Asking if they wanted me to draw a picture of the man, enthusiastic replies urged me on. “The front or the side I asked?”
“The front!”, they yelled. After drawing a sketch from the front with a non-erect penis, I continued by drawing the side view with a full erection. Silence filled the room as I talked about how a man’s penis goes into the vagina so his sperm can pass into the woman’s vagina in order to make a baby. I explained how God wants us to save not just sexual intercourse for marriage, but any intimate sharing or touching of each other’s bodies.
All of a sudden, the girl seated at my left, passed me a tiny folded up piece of paper.
Normally I might have just slid the paper into my pocket to prevent distraction, but today God was doing something. I paused from speaking and carefully unwrapped the paper and read out loud,
“People say when you have sex while standing you will not get pregnant”
It was the first of many small notes that would make their way across the room. Real questions, coming from real girls in Kenya. Some asked because of the lie’s boys use to manipulate girls to have sex. Others were raw questions from experiences they had seen or had done. Some questions, were simply things they didn’t understand.
I felt honored that these girls trusted me enough to ask. As my comfort level with the topic of sex set them at ease, an outsider provided the perfect opportunity to find out the answers.
Later in the session I shared about God’s design for sex within marriage. Rather than just telling them “Don’t do it”, I wanted to give them something to wait for. I talked about mutuality, oneness, knowing and that God intended sex as a way to comfort each other.
Waiting for Marriage
Afterwards I shared some tangible ways that will help them wait until marriage to have sex. In the culture of Kenya, these girls face an uphill battle to wait. Many girls get married or pregnant as teens. They will need to trust and depend on God as they make choices. If they want to wait, they will have to avoid situations where men might take advantage of them. Staying focused on education and their goals will have to take precedence over the flirtations of a boy. They must think carefully about what kind of man they want to marry and settle for nothing less. And they will need to help each other by getting into each other’s business, asking hard questions, and reminding each other about what is important.
Whether in Kenya, or the United States, we must provide safe places for girls to learn about sex, hear God’s truth and have their questions answered. Though I was only a part of these girls lives for a short time, I am praying that my talk acts as just another building block in helping these girls understand God’s truth. Who would have thought I would be talking to girls in Africa about sex.