A Chorus of Praise
It was Sunday and we were ready to head out to worship. As we bounced down the road in the bus which had been procured for us, we could hear the singing in the distance. As we got closer we could see that the singers gathered out near the road dressed in colorful garb, singing and dancing their praise to God. As we stepped out of the bus they were there greeting us, reaching for us and sharing with us a generous smile.
This is a congregation which has struggled throughout the fifteen years of its existence, however, it took a crisis for things to change. This region of Kenya is now in its fourth year of drought bringing with it hunger. The church responded with a feeding program working collaboratively within the community and reaching beyond the boundaries of the local church. The result is that this church has been able to help many needy and also lead people who are spiritually hungry to Christ. It was a moving experience to watch the people come and bring their offerings to the Lord. Some put some money in the offering baskets, but what really caught my attention were the brooms laid at the front. A number of women make brooms to sell. They brought in an offering of their brooms. It was what they had to offer to the Lord and they were willing to give, even in their poverty.
This is not the only example of these peoples' generosity for they are also working on long-term solutions to their issues. They have been saving money to purchase 50 acres of land on the outskirts of town which can be used for farming. These people who have so little have raised the equivalent of $4000 to purchase this land. A donor has provided additional funding for a well so that they will have drip irrigation, and fencing to secure the site. If these people can have community gardens and raise crops, not only will they be fed, but they will also have something to share and sell within the community. When families are under less stress their is a decreased chance of violence in the home. Much Gender Based Violence (GBV) exists in situations of stress, when people act out against one another because they are unable to cope. Sometimes simply removing the stressor from the situation can make all the difference.
As we left church on Sunday afternoon the chorus of praise continued as they sang and danced around us all the way to the bus. A joyful people of God amidst difficult circumstances.