Monday, March 26, 2018

When the Storm Swirls, There is REFUGE!

About a week ago, it rained... and rained... and rained.
We'd actually been praying for rain!  

But, the result of our prayers being answered ALL at once was devastating to many homes built in slum areas here in Nairobi.

As we woke up throughout the night, with the rain pounding hour after hour on our tin roof, I couldn't help thinking about our neighbors whose houses were undoubtedly flooding.

The same homes flood every rainy season.  It's the newest families that move there - during the dry season.  Usually the poorest of the poor, as the rent there is very low - for obvious reasons.  Often these families don't have any furniture - which makes the flooding all the more devastating (nothing is off the floor).  The rising water also affects every pit latrine, so the flood water is not just rain water... not even just muddy water - but water filled with sewage from these overflowing outhouses.

As soon as the rain slowed to a drizzle, Brad and I met a pastor and set out to visit the homes that we knew must have flooded.

There were many, each with their own story - but I want to tell you about one.

As we approached the home, a mama peeked her head out the door.  She had already washed the family's beddings and hung them out to "dry"  - the continuing showers made the prospect of anything actually drying hopeless - but she was doing the best that she could!  Her two children were stocking footed on the cold, damp cement floor.  
They were all just standing inside.  
There was no furniture.  
No place to rest.  
Nothing dry to cuddle up in.  
The only "mattress" was the less than 1" thick piece of home, dripping on the line outside.

What haunted me after we prayed with this little lost family was the look in this mama's eyes.  My heart felt the pull of her hopelessness.  How would anything dry for tonight?  Obviously, there were no funds to run out and buy some new blankets.  Then, the promise of rain the next night and the next and the next were surely very high (it's rainy season after all)!   Would her children get sick?  How would they survive this situation?

I left with a deep, deep sorrow....  

But GOD had also seen this Mama's eyes.

As Brad and I talked, trying to discern our own next step, God literally had me bump into someone who had a bed to offer this family!  By that night, she and her children had a "safe" place to sleep - even if the flooding came back, their bed and new mattress would stay dry!

Most importantly, this MAMA knows - GOD saw her - cared about her - and miraculously brought HOPE into her situation!!! 

The water line on the tin wall shows how high the water had gotten overnight.

I've had a mental picture of this little family in my mind for the last week.
They felt so alone and forgotten.  They literally had nowhere to turn!
They didn't ask for help.
But GOD saw them.
He chose to lead us to their home.
He longed to bring HOPE to this Mama in a tangible way!

And we pray that this God - encounter will bring this family to HIM!

God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea.
 Let the oceans roar and foam.
    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! 

Psalm 46:1-3

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When the HIV test comes back positive.

Last Sunday morning, the worship song repeated over and over…
“The earth is filled with His glory”
“The earth is filled with His glory”

I couldn’t sing along.  All that kept going through my head was the pain and suffering that seems to be filling every corner I look into.  I wasn’t sure where that glory was hiding!  It seems that the earth is filled with …just plain HARD… UNFAIR… HURT… SUFFERING…

Then today, I was asked by a pastor to join him in taking a very sick mama to the hospital.  Another story of horrible grief.  Gang raped… abandoned by her husband for another… And so sickly that when I met the mama, fear gripped me - I don't know if she will live!  

I sat in the small, stuffy HIV testing tent with her as we awaited results.  

The doctor returned with the answer...  Positive.

Where is your glory God?

Her tears… her questions… her main concern - my baby is too young for me to die!

Oh God, where is your glory in this situation!

Then, I looked around the benches.  A pastor and 2 mamas from the church were surrounding her with compassion…  

God was bringing his glory through their eyes and words - through their LOVE!

A minute later, a familiar face walked into the clinic, a friend who has experience with HIV for some time.  I choked up as I watched her interact with a new victim of this dreaded disease.  She walked her home… promised to visit tomorrow… prayed… and most of all, offered HOPE - you won’t die!

God was bringing his glory through someone's own story of suffering - through her offer of HOPE!

My favorite photo of the day... one mama walking a very sick mama home
I knew the mama was too weak to care for herself in any way.  I learned that 3 ladies from the church are taking turns checking in on her, cooking and caring for her.  

God’s glory being proclaimed through their SACRIFICE.

I’m no theologian… just wondering…

Maybe God’s glory isn’t forced on this earth.  Actually, when the world just goes its own way, God doesn’t usually receive a whole lot of glory. 

Maybe that’s just up to me… up to you… up to all of us, who feel suffocated by suffering but need to breathe hope into one life, one situation, one home, one person’s eyes.

And bring glory to God.

I think perhaps we need to rework that worship song a little - and I’m not a poet either… or I would.  
This earth isn't filled with God's glory... until we, God's people bring His HOPE, His LOVE, His SACRIFICE into dark places.