Thursday, March 19, 2015

Redemption: Full Circle

With his mother gone for 3 years and his father in a freshly dug grave, how would he live?

The question pierced George’s 13-year-old mind like a dull needle pushes in and out of a shabby cloth, trying to mend a tear that ruined its usefulness. That’s how George’s life was becoming – unfixable, useless. He constantly felt pricked by thoughts of abandonment and rejection. No one claimed him. His father’s older brother took advantage of him, selling off the land, claiming he would use the money to pay George and his brother’s school fees. He didn’t. Instead he threatened the boys with a machete, chasing them away from any sympathy a villager might want to show.

George was an orphan. So many orphans already fighting for opportunity, for attention, for acceptance, for love, George needed to find help.

By avoiding his crazy uncle, George worked odd jobs, earning enough to pay school fees. A few village mamas’ secretly help him. Afraid of the Uncle's wrath, they hid food in the bushes for George and some collected shillings to buy him a pair of used shoes. He survived, strengthened by the village mamas’ mercy and prayers.

Years passed and now George is a man with a family of his own. He works a full time job as a ground’s foreman at an orphanage. He attends night school, studying to become an accountant. When the crazy uncle died, it was George who organized the funeral and paid the bills.

God heard the village mamas’ prayers and saw the acts of kindness they showed to George. He has become proof that compassion in Jesus name brings redemption.

Full circle.

Today, the mamas’ that aided George in his distress are old, some widowed, many caring for orphaned children. They belong to the Kajulu Group – a collection of beautifully real women who face hard lives with soft hearts.  George connected us with them. It’s his way of saying thanks for their provisions and prayers so many years ago.

Our symbiotic relationship with these mamas offers sweet fellowship over roselle tea, stewed kuku and millet ugali. Together we’ve learned to make liquid soap for them to sell.  We’ve found small market for fireless cookers.  We’ve cleaned media to fill biosand water filters. We share God’s Word. To see George sitting with these mamas, laughing, talking, planning for the future... God's miracle.

This hope-filled story of reciprocal care is not Kenya’s norm. 
  • For the average two million orphans, 9 out of 10 live in poverty and never complete their education.  
  • 40% of children age six to 16 are part of the work force.   
  • Women make up more than 50% of the population, but many are poor and illiterate. A large number are still affected by customary practiced that perpetuate oppression, especially among widows. Coping strategies for these mamas involves exploitive labor, including forced sex work.
Our goal is Kenya is to encourage mutual care in the name of Jesus. The poor, namely orphans and widows can thrive in their communities if three things continue to happen:
  1. Building biblical foundations for family sustainability.
  2. Teaching skills training coupled with discipleship for healthy Christian living.
  3. Praying for wisdom, mercy and grace in service to one another.

Like Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:9 – 24), God offers us all opportunities for redemption.

Full circle.

How do you share your redemption story? Be sure to pass it on.

asante sana for your prayers, support and encouragement,
hugs from the haugers