Thursday, November 29, 2012

Refugees, seed projects, tea, sacrificial love, coffee, and turkey!

Kakuma Refugee Camp.  Home to over 100,000 men, women, and children who had to leave home.  Homeless because of war and persecution.   

WGM and Kenya's Africa Gospel Church teamed up to present a Samaritan Strategy Vision Conference.  Phil Renfroe writes, "Many of the participants expressed surprise and gratitude for what they learned about transformational community development.  They asked us when we would return to teach them more!  I marvel at the potential of what God can to do both in the Kakuma camp and in many nations across Africa when these refugee church leaders are given the opportunity to return to their home countries! "

Church leaders from seven different African nations attended the 4 day conference.  Attendees represented the nations of Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Kenya, Congo, and Rwanda.  Each group made a plan to implement a seed project - using what they have to meet a need in their immediate community.  Pray for each group as they implement their plan and as they see Kingdom math in play.  2 + 2 in God's economy equals much more than 4!

Community Health Evangelism training continued with the Akot and Tonj communities - 20 change-agents preparing for community transformation!

Sometimes class is outside - where it's easier to catch a breeze.

And sometimes it's inside.  Despite the heat these students did a great job of focusing on the lessons presented.  CHE is taught in a very interactive way which makes learning fun and memorable.

In one session CHE teams made presentations about the seed projects they accomplished since their training last July.  Pr. David's group from Aduel talked about showing the teachers at the primary school where he teaches about tippy taps.  By using a cooking oil container and some rope there is a way to easily wash your hands after using the toilet, before cooking or eating, or whenever your hands are dirty.  Pretty nifty, eh?!

And there's always time for a quick walk to Tonj town for a cup of kerkede (red hibiscus tea) at the end of the day! 

Whitney is making friends with the tea makers.  Pray she'll have opportunities to speak truth into these girls lives.  

Cataract Clinic ~ Tonj
218 surgeries performed in 4 days!
Teams from Tenwek Hospital, In Deed and Truth Clinic, and several visiting volunteers worked tirelessly throughout.

The story about this couple touched everyone's heart.  It was almost time to pack up on the last day and the team prayed for just one more patient.  In walked two.  This man could see with one eye and for four days he walked with his totally blind wife to Tonj, hearing there was help for blindness there.  They carried a stick (to fight off wild animals), a mosquito net, and a little bit of grain.  That's it.  They slept on the road.  Both were operated on as you can see from the post-op picture below.

They had never heard about Jesus before.  I can't even imagine - never, ever?  The local chaplains had opportunity to tell them about Jesus!  They listened with interest.  

When the bandages came off the following day the man could see in his previously blind eye.  His wife however could not see as she had a more complicated disease process going on.  What impressed the team is the way the husband lovingly cared for his wife.  Since she was totally blind she relied on him for everything. The Kenyan men on the team told me on their arrival back in Kenya, "He even helped her wash her face.  He really loved her!"  

As this couple walks back to their home where there are no Christians or Church pray with us that the seeds of the Gospel will take root in their hearts and minds.  And pray that a follower of Jesus will come to their village to share more.  The team was impressed by the sacrificial love of the husband as he meticulously cared for his wife.  Our desire is to see this couple, and many more like them, experience the overwhelming and sacrificial love of their heavenly Father.

Team Time
As I've mentioned before it's rare that our Mango Ministry team is in the same place but a few weeks ago we were and that's always a treat.  We visited Adhanom and his family as they had just been through a difficult time.  We were treated to good Eritrean food and a coffee ceremony.  

Here, Adhanom's sister-in-law, Martha, begins the ceremony by roasting the coffee beans over charcoal. Billy Coppedge and I can't wait and eagerly watch. 

After roasting, grinding, and boiling the coffee, the first round of coffee is poured.

Adhanom, Billy, and Tim enjoy their first of several cups of great Eritrean coffee! 

Thanksgiving Time

Teammates:  Whitney, Helen and Adhanom and their girls Shamna and Fasika, Terry and Karen Duncan, Tim, and Joy (and Robyn - taking the picture!)

People sometimes ask how holidays are celebrated in Africa.  Taking holiday traditions overseas is a fairly simple thing to do.  Since there is no Thanksgiving holiday in Kenya we celebrated last Saturday but with all the American fixings and family recipes.  We sang a rousing rendition of "We Gather Together" and gave thanks for God's goodness in our lives this past year.   I'm thankful for you!  

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