Kool Kids Forever

On May 21, 2022, a dear friend, Leeroy Gotami, passed away from an epileptic fit while in his sleep. The following morning, Saturday, 21st May, 2022-- friends and family were notified of his passing. I've written and rewritten this blog post, but I think it's important for me share the impact that Leeroy has had on not only the lives of his peers, but my life in particular. 

I don't remember exactly how I met Leeroy, but I do have a specific memory that started our friendship. Sometime in early February after the 11:30AM service at Chroma, a group of us went to Nandos for lunch. There was about 8 or 9 of us in total. I got in a car with Ben and Leeroy and we drove to the Nandos in Fosse Park, which is a shopping center just outside the city. I sat in the back seat while Ben was driving and Leeroy was in shot gun, which made him DJ. 

I have to tell you the joy and simultaneous shock of the selection of songs that were played during this car ride and how BOTH of these guys, who are 20-years-old knew EVERY word to EVERY song. These were songs that filled my teenage life and I was in AWE! We all sang on the top of our lungs and I couldn't believe that they loved and enjoyed these songs! I laughed so much! There was a moment, I sat back taking it all in and thanked God for this moment. The Lord is so kind for bringing me here-- to Leicester, England, to Chroma Church to meet these lives-- to behold their hearts. I sat in that backseat letting the drive, music, and people set and ground deep into the core of my memory. I should mention that Leeroy and Ben had multiple sing-along sessions like this WAY before this magical moment, so it was so special getting to be a part of it. 

When we arrived to Fosse Park, Leeroy and Ben swore me to secrecy and that I could not mention this to anyone. Even though I am sharing this, I will not share the songs that were sung on this blogpost in order to keep The Kool Kids legacy alive. Later that day, I told Ellie (LOL). 

A few days later, Ellie, Ben, Leeroy and I were standing in the lobby of Chroma Church. At this point, Ellie had not fully experienced this karaoke joy ride, so Leeroy then suggested that we initiate Ellie into the group. I jokingly took them to the side of the lobby, only about 8 feet away and brought them into a huddle. Ben and Leeroy understood what I was trying to do and we talked over each other making this "meeting" meaningless as possible. All the while Ellie was laughing at how ridiculous we looked. We would whisper and look up at Ellie, then whispered again, then quickly shook hands. We would then test Ellie to see if she could be initiated. 

I don't fully recall where we were going, but I can only assume we were (in the words of Benjamin Hunter) in the right place, the right time, the right people, and the right resources.

And thus, the Kool Kids was born. We, very soon after this, created a group chat, which was named accordingly to the Kool Kids, but has now been changed to Kool Kids Forever. 

It has been difficult and sad processing and interacting with the news that Leeroy is gone, but knowing that he gets to worship King Jesus has brought comfort and joy. As for now, it's been so beautiful getting to see the fruit of a community choose Jesus and knowing that I know that I know that God is faithful, true, and kind remains the foundation-- always-- a holy communion of two separate, but tethered realities of celebration and mourning of a friend. It's weird, but the Lord is in it. 

Leeroy always brought so much joy, depth, and fun. He was always willing to wait and stay with the one that needed help, time, and great tunes. He was a great friend. I am incredibly grateful to have met Leeroy and to see the community he's created around him. 

If you are moved to donate towards Leeroy's family at this time, you can do so at this link, here.

I pray that the Holy Spirit covers and fills you as you say YES to today and that you see another part of Jesus' face. 

Much Love,

MJ

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