Even though I know as a mzungu I will never fit into Kenyan culture completely, I am sad this morning as we get ready to leave Kitale and head back to Nairobi. Roger and I often share our hearts with each other using SASHES (sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, and/or shame/guilt) to describe how we are feeling in the moment. Roger easily completes his share within five or ten minutes. For me, I have many words…and emotions to share…so often my time can extend far beyond this poor man’s endurance. Although, I must say that he listens intently, eyes focused, even though the testing of his patience must be challenging at times!
Today was like many others. Roger having already processed what he is feeling is ready to tell me exactly how he feels and where he is emotionally and physically. And then, it was my turn. Tears stream down my face, as I reflect on our week. When we are in California it seems the challenges of spiritual and physical poverty in Africa are so big with need upon need looming forever before us. We feel like we are struggling so hard to push and try to do something to bring light where there is darkness and hope where there is despair. We work so hard, yet often wonder: Is anything we are doing making a difference? Is there even a pinhole of light shining through anywhere?
But today is different. I see, no, we will not change the world, Africa, Kenya or DR Congo. We will not rescue every child, dirty, abandoned, rejected and forgotten. But, today, as I talk about our week, it’s a day for celebration. You, who join us as part of Appleseed Ministry Group, are making a difference. You are helping us pierce the darkness, one pinhole at a time, slowly by slowly impacting our world. It’s happening, bit by bit, one step at a time. No big splashes, no loud music…just softly, gently, but powerfully, loving God and loving others and watching to see how God can use a handful of people to change lives.
Reflect with me…
A young, energetic church planter in Kakamega whom we have been working with and training for the past two years is planting MANY churches in that region as well as helping people through small projects. He has a farming project with a group of his churches planting tomatoes, maize and beans. He also has one woman who is already training a couple of girls in tailoring. You are helping us support these projects so desperately needed to provide income for people just to feed themselves and their families.
There is a farming project also in the works under another church planter here in Kitale where a group from a house church network in the slums is coming together. They have rented land and are planting tomatoes…there are women and men involved in this project, working hard together and will share in the profit of their labors. This is a volatile project, as all of them are, dependent so much on the rains, which are not consistent with the typical rainy and dry seasons of the past. You are helping us sow into this; pray with us for success.
Liberty School in Bikeke Village. Where once students met in a rented, tin-roofed structure with barely enough supplies, now 100 students are able to go to school on land we have purchased, with structures divided into classrooms from baby school through grade 5. There is a structure for cooking and administration. There are books, paper, pencils. There is food. Students whose parents can pay are beginning to place their children in this school because of the high scores the present students are receiving. This shift will help in meeting the overwhelming needs of the orphans and other destitute children we are feeding and helping. The children are happy, flourishing. They once stayed home or on the streets doing nothing, sickly and hungry. Now they feel important, loved, and cared about. There are SO many needs yet to be met here, but you are helping us make SUCH a difference with these children!
Church Planters. Whether those here in Kitale or the ones coming from Uganda or other nations, many come to learn, be encouraged, supported and infused. These are passionate, excited young men and women who are out to change their nations. As a testimony to the work in this region of Kenya and solely to glorify God, I want to share what one man said. He told us how much he appreciates how Appleseed operates. He expressed his gratitude saying he appreciates so much that Roger comes underneath and lifts him and the rest of his church planters and trainers up, coming alongside, giving strength, encouragement and blessing…a true father, where others have come and speak down about things impossible and demeaning and demoralizing to them. Men and women are respected for who they are, within their cultures. They leave hopeful, empowered and encouraged.
Please celebrate with me. All of us! People are being empowered to live prosperous lives economically as well as spiritually. I’ve shared what’s happening only in Western Kenya. There is much to celebrate in other areas as well. But for today, thank you for giving thanks with us for what God has done and for his plans and purposes for the future of this and many other nations!