Our first year here in Kenya went by rather quickly, much of it spent trying to acclimate ourselves to a totally new culture and way of life. There were many challenges for each of us individually and for us as a family, as well as trying to figure out what it meant to be on the mission field.
I entered our second year with some sense of victory, great thankfulness to God for His grace, and a deep desire to do more. Unfortunately, I am pretty limited by lack of transportation, responsibilities for home management and homeschooling, and Marc’s busy ministry schedule. So, both before and after writing this recent post, I began just praying, in earnest, for God to bring me opportunities to serve, to give, and to share the love of Christ with people in my community. I can’t do much, but I can do something. I’m willing, and God knows my limitations, so I just asked. And, as He is so faithful, He has been responding.
First, a neighbor brought a sick child to our house asking for assistance. She had persistent diarrhea and fever. I gave her some liquid amoebicide that we had on the shelf (water-borne amoeba being a common problem) but a couple days later the problem hadn’t cleared up so Isaiah offered to go to town on his motorbike and talk to the local chemist. He returned with a couple of medications, which a grateful Mom administered to her baby (who, coincidentally, was born the very day we arrived in Kenya!).
Not more than a few days later, another neighbor arrived in a rather disconcerted state, explaining that she’d gotten an emergency phone call from a relative in a neighboring town regarding her husband (who is currently working away from home). Unsure what the problem was and lacking money for transport, she came knowing that I would help. I was happy to give her some money for transport and promised to send food for her five children and look after them while she was away.
The next week, two brothers in the Lord came for malaria medicine. One stayed overnight for some rest and nutritious meals. It’s the season for malaria here, so we’re keeping a supply of anti-malarial on the shelf for just such visits.
The past couple of weeks I’ve been focusing on helping Marc get well from his motorbike accident, and we’ve all been encouraged by God’s faithfulness and Marc’s speedy healing. He’s been quite a trooper, and very patient with sometimes waiting for things he needs as other demands are met.
Just this morning, I was praying for God to send more opportunities, as Marc is needing much less of my time and attention. And I was so happy to see Mama Helen come to our back door! Not long after we arrived here, she was a somewhat regular visitor. She is very quiet and kind but our communication is of course somewhat limited by my little Swahili and her little English. I’ve tried to learn about her from others in the community. I think she has three young children and I’m not sure if she’s widowed or if her husband has abandoned her (that is unfortunately common here), but she has little means of providing for herself, from what I am told. A woman we know has shared the Gospel of the Kingdom with Helen using the Two Kingdoms tract, and she had been visiting us every few days for food. However, it has been quite some time since we have seen her and it was rumored that she had left the community. At the same time, our front gate (which was normally kept open so as to be welcoming) had to be closed to keep our new chicken and rabbits safely in the yard. We also got a dog, which we found deterred some visitors. So I’m not sure why she stopped coming, but she was just one thought on my mind as I prayed this morning.
Whatever the reason for her long absence, I was so pleased to greet her and try to find out how she has been doing. What brought her, unfortunately, was a foot injury. I couldn’t discern how it happened but there were a couple of deep cuts, which hadn’t been cleaned or cared for very well, plus signs of infection. I got our wash basin and first aid supplies and did my best clean and bandage the wound. I also gave her a pair of flip-flops for her bare feet. However, it was clear that she needed further care. Isaiah, who had already been planning on going into town, arranged for a piki piki to transport Helen to the local Catholic hospital, and he followed with Sam (a local Christ-follower who is a great help to Marc in the work of the ministry). They saw to her care, and Isaiah reported that they really went “above and beyond,” not only dressing the wound and providing antibiotics, but washing her legs and hands and trimming all her nails as well.
No sooner had Helen left than one of my neighbors arrived, explaining that they were hungry. I could tell that although it was early, she had already been hard at work on her shamba–and without something to eat! (She was one of the happy volunteers who assisted us with planting this weekend.) I filled up a bag for her and she was off for a quick breakfast before returning to her work.
Then Helen was back from the hospital, cheerful and thankful, and on her way again with a bag full of food.
I don’t have great giftings, just a desire to serve. And I’m thankful that God is aware of my limitations and is faithful to bring people right to my door who have needs that I can help fill. Join me in praying that God would likewise bring opportunities for all of us to serve, for His Kingdom and His glory!
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. …If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:7, 11