My adventure in Africa began on a pilgrimage with my fellow Wabash Pastors in South Africa. While there, we studied a troubled history of many peoples whose story is punctuated by rivalries, conquest, defeat and victory. This nation is still haunted by sins of her past, yet a new generation, born free, seeks to write a new history of hope.
After parting ways with my colleagues, I traveled alone to Kenya, to survey for myself the work being done at Point of Grace Academy. This was my first visit to 4 Kenya’s Kids, the mission I lead stateside. This part of my trip was truly a blessed opportunity for me to live with my brothers and sisters in Christ, whom I’ve heard so much about. As with my experience in South Africa, my journey began with some disappointments and concluded with renewed hope for the African continent.
To be perfectly honest, my first day in Kenya was quite difficult. Snafu’s at the airport leading to half a day lost reclaiming a bag at the airport was an inconvenient beginning. Being confronted with thousands of people who live in conditions that would be totally unacceptable in the states was a shock to the system. Crippling poverty was accented by crumbling infrastructure due to inept (at best) or corrupt (at worst) contractors failing to fulfill their obligations to the public. All this before I even got to the mission of Pastor and Deaconess Meeker for the children at Point of Grace.
At Point of Grace, I was introduced to, and unconditionally loved, by more than 400 of my best friends. Some were born with HIV. Many are orphans. Most of the students I met are at least partial orphans. All have been given a new lease on life at Point of Grace.
At our school, these children receive a topnotch education. Even though we seek out the destitute and have a disproportionately high number of children with family, social and economic troubles, Point of Grace was ranked in the top 1/3 of primary schools in our area. Education=hope in Kenya, and the schooling these children receive promises to break the cycle of poverty for many families.
These children are fed, clothed, cared for and loved by a diligent staff who labors day and night for the kids. St. James challenged his readers by saying, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18b, ESV) Watching our teachers and staff work, even though none of them would say so themselves, was, to me, watching God Himself care for his children.
This entire ministry is the love of Christ in action! The school was built, the ministry founded and is being sustained by the Savior who loves these children enough to give up His own life for theirs. As His people give of themselves for these little ones, be they teachers, supporters or prayer partners, He is present in our midst!
As I sit in an airport terminal prepared to depart from Kenya, more than ready to see my own wife and children, I am torn. I don’t know whether to weep or rejoice for these children. I want to weep for the struggles they face. I rejoice for the richness of faith they possess, which I surmise far surpasses my own. I weep because I can’t save them from their distress. I rejoice because God already has.
I don’t know how best to serve these children, but I am convinced I need to do more for them. Not for my own sake, but for theirs. Not for the love of Christ, but because of the love of Christ.
Will you join me? Has God called you, through the gentle tug on your heart and whisper of His Spirit, to do what you can to give them hope for today and a glorious future? What are you going to do about it?
Tagged: 2:18, academy, Bible, Catechism, children, Christ, Christian, Daniel, deaconess, Dennis, God, Grace, HIV, hope, James, Jesus, Kenya, Lepley, Lorna, love, Lutheran, Meeker, Meshach, Mission, of, orphans, pain, Pastor, Point, Stella, teacher