Ken is another high school friend. We were in class together in year seven. I don’t think we were friends then, though, mainly because he was a boy, and of course boys are terrifying when you are twelve. I think I can pin down the time we became proper friends to when six of us randomly got together on a music camp in year 8 to play Bach’s Brandenburg Sinfonia together. Also we were both in the Christian group, and then we were both helping to lead it.
I thank God for Ken because of three different things.
Firstly, when we were in school, Ken was really good at prodding and wheedling me into doing things that I didn’t really want to do, but turned out for my benefit. In year 9, my Christian school friends and I suddenly found ourselves in the awkward position of being the underqualified leaders of the Christian student group. Freak out! What kind of skills did we have to do that? Somehow God blessed Ken, with all the maturity of a 15 year old adolescent male, to be a very good leader, in many different ways. Generally Ken was responsible for helping me to realise my potential as a Christian leader. He did a good job modelling what it should look like, and was also very clever at making sure I (and the others too) received good training. Where he could, he would connect us with older Christian leaders who could help us, and when that failed, he just did it himself. After a couple of years of refusing to give talks to the Christian student group (out of sheer terror), Ken finally forced me into preparing and delivering a talk which turned out quite well, and became the first of many. Ken also encouraged to be very prayerful. Following Ken’s example and taking up the opportunites he gave us, we would pray heaps for each other and our school. One year we met early at school every morning for the 40 days during Lent to pray together (Ken’s idea, of course.)
Secondly, as we’ve grown up and remained friends, I’ve really appreciated Ken’s honesty with me in his own plans and struggles and passions. When he shares things that are going on for him, he always manages to point me back to the basics of being a faithful follower of Jesus, which is probably the most helpful thing that any Christian can do for another.
Thirdly, Ken taught me how to play hackey sack. What kind of a Christian would I be if I didn’t know how to do that?
Ken doing a card trick at school.
Every now and then, Ken became an expert at something such card tricks, playing the harmonica, wining at hackey sack or performing his own versions of hit songs on the kazoo. So much talent!