Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the Campus church at the Bible College there are four fellowships groups. Every Saturday these fellowships visit one of its members in their houses and worship there. I used to attend Majois fellowship. It was the fellowship in which I came to know Mama T. (I just put the initial of her name.)
Her husband worked at the coffee plantation near the area Majois. We used to see her in the church and the fellowship, but not her husband. When the fellowship was held in her place, I saw how poor she was. I heard that she had more or less ten children. Some of them used to attend the Sunday school, walking all the way from their place. If it rained on Sunday morning, they still walked to church on the muddy road. In the fellowship Mama T used to share a prayer item for a financial break-through to feed the children and send them to school. However, I saw her adding another child to her family.
She used to complain about her headache and ask for prayer for healing. One day she said her eye sight became so dim. A couple of months later, she lost her eyesight. Since then, she was not seen much in Sunday worship or in Saturday fellowship. It must have been hard for her to walk all the way from her place to the church. Even her children stopped coming to Sunday school.
Someone helped her financially to have a check-up in the hospital. They found a tumor in her head. Married young, living in a slum area, making a living for many kids, with a constant headache, and now a tumor? People felt sorry for her and visited her. Though the situation seemed very bad, she was calm and rather cheerful. She said, “I have faith that the Lord will heal me.” A fund was raised and she had surgery. The tumor was removed and no more headache, but she remained blind. Since then, she occasionally came to Sunday worship with help of her children. This happened a few years back.
Recently, Mama T said she wanted to go back home. Home, she meant, was the land where her relatives lived. She spoke up and said she needed money to build a house to live in there. So another fund was raised for building her house. People were kind to her. As for me, I was wondering “fund raising” for a house in church? Anyway, a few months ago she left Majois to go to Kitui, her home.
Someone told us that Mama T wanted the Saturday fellowship in her place. The Majois fellowship members were willing to visit her (some pictured left). They prepared their fare and organized a vehicle. Eventually one Saturday morning we left (surely we left one hour later than we had planned) to Kitui where Mama T had settled down. Nearly two hours on the asphalt road and another hour on the dirt road by car. The dirt road was so dusty and dry. The drought I saw in Kitui was very serious. Only one match stick might be enough to set fire and finish all the dry forest in the twinkling of an eye.
“How can people live in such an environment?” This question came to my mind. To make my surprise worse, Mama T and her children were living in a house of mud brick, even half completed, standing so lonely in the middle of the dry field. It was the house which was built out of the fund raised in the church. I learned, on that day, what hardship is when people say it is hard, what is drought when they say it is so dry. Poor Mama, how come her life is so hard like that? Nevertheless, Mama T was cheerful and gave us a warm welcome. We worshipped together and her neighbors cooked lunch for us. I asked myself, “If I were in her shoes, would I smile in the way that she did all the time? What did I do better so that I live as a missionary with this healthy body in a better environment? The opportunity to serve the Lord is so precious,” Anyway, Mama T didn’t forget to pass on her message, “Tell the church we are hungry here.”
I hope you don’t take this story as common life of the people in Kenya. There are mature Christians, rich people and highly respected and well-learned people in this country. It happens that I serve in a church, in which the members are from slums nearby the Bible College of East Africa. That is the reason I hear these kinds of miserable stories often. Many are poor and struggle to make a living. At hearing and seeing such situations, why not extend help? On the other hand, their prayer requests have been almost the same all the time: Prayers for healing, children’s school fees, job opportunities, rain, peace in the country, God’s intervention for the teachers’ strike, etc. But when can I hear a Christian testimony from them?
Missionaries are sent to Muslim countries and Buddhist countries. They must confront uncountable challenges to share the gospel and win souls to Christ. In a place like Kenya, where many claim to be Christians, what will be the role of missionary? In a place where Christianity is found a hundred miles wide and an inch deep, worship choruses are sung everywhere, Bibles are taught even as a curriculum in schools, nevertheless so many thieves, single mothers, corruptions, and orphans are rampant. What should be expected from missionaries?
Surely there are times when I feel tired of the lukewarm spiritual atmosphere. I feel even affected sometimes. But this verse captures my attention, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring fruit and your fruit should remain…” John 15:16
In His Service,