Just when I think it can't be anymore powerful than what we have already experienced God moves among us and we are once again awed and amazed. We have bathed in God's grace all day today. It began at the Methodist Hospital in Maua just about an hour east of Meru. We met the missionaries we support there Bill and Jerri Savuto. Their hospitality was once again overwhelming. After a short time with them I felt as though I had known them forever. They welcomed us into their home, fed us, introduced us to another Methodist mission team from Sherman, Texas, gave us a tour of the Hospital and the ministry there, and then introduced us to two young men who were orphaned along with their brothers and sisters by Aids. Their stories alone were miraculous stories of just how present God is in this place. Through a program at the Hosptial their lives and the lives of their brothers and sisters were saved. They are both now very successful and their families have been restored. After a full 3/4's of a day at the hospital we headed to the Lanyru church. I had visited this church before. We were greeted at the gate once again with singing. They welcomed us and shared with us the building of their new church which had been started as a result of our first visit there. They were so incredibly proud. The children at the school shared a poem with us from memory. Brittany shared some inspiring words with the whole community. They have 550 students in their school. They consumed us. It was.......I just can't find the words. We shared tea with them and worshipped with them in their old clap board, dirt floor church. They gave us Kenyan tea to take home with us. We shared gifts with them. We shared food with them because their area has been in a five year drought and starving. They were very excited. We left with our hearts full of joy because they were joyful. You would have never known they were hungry. You would have never known they were poor. We came home and shared supper once again tired but inspired and certain that the grace of God is alive and well in the world. What else could any of us possibly ask. God is good! I am coming to learn the power and meaning of that in a way I never have before. Looking ahead I begin to anticipate our leaving. I am already beginning to grieve. These people are my family. I thank God for them and all they have shared with me. I will share again tomorrow with you. Next up is you know who. I am really glad I don't have to follow her tonight. Bill, Dottie, and Jo say hi. I miss you all.
Welllll hello there! Once again, another exhausting but totally AMAZING day!
I handled the whole hospital thing much better than I thought, but some of it was still heartbreaking. We got to meet the Savutos, who are absolutely wonderful! "Sister" Jerri took us on a tour of the hospital and boyyyy did we learn a lot! The amount of people they have to be ready to serve is about 1,000,000. About 18 die a week. Some bodies are even brought in and never picked up. And guess what? The only people citizens are willing to bury (must be on their land) is people that were married. So all childrens' bodies are disposed of somehow. Any bodies at the hospital are thrown into a pit (at night) where EM, a natural degradable substance, is poured over them. I can't really comprehend that....but it's simply what they have to do. Cremation is absolutely unacceptable here. Anyway, the #1 problem in the hospital is malaria. Next up is diabetes and guess why? Kenyans seem to love American food and they are all now having a problem with maintaining their healthy diets! Hypertension is also on the rise. The hospital also has the only eye surgeon in Eastern Kenya. Their dentist recently died so they have one that works part-time, and they sure are thankful for it! Another obvious problem is HIV/Aids. They advertise prevention methods all over the hospital and have a progressing program for the patients. There are currently 3,000 enrolled and 1,300 being treated. They also provide free testing. Their nursing school is doing well and a lot more is being taught. Some of the previous students weren't ever taught certain processes like dialysis! One of the problems in the hospital is that of machinery. Most of the machines they have are hand-me-downs and are hard or impossible to repair. The hospital also receives about 100-110 patients a day in a 60-bed ward. Even in the maternity ward people are forced to double up...meaning 4 people to a bed (mothers and babies). Miraa (a common drug/narcotic) is becoming a bigger problem, causing violence as well as other issues...hmm sound familiar? ...........well Pastor is telling me to move on :) Gosh there is SO much to say!
Next, we went to the church and WOW that was something else! The children treated me like a rockstar and were bewildered by just getting to touch my hands! The leader of that church asked me to say a few words to the congregation and afterwards the Sunday School teacher told me the class had prepared a poem to recite! It made me feel so special! Afterwards we went to the "old" church and had tea and arrow root (yuck). After doing some praying and talking, etc...they said they had a gift for us! The gave us EACH a 1lb bag of tea from the factory! Here these people are...amidst a FIVE-YEAR drought, with nothing to their name, and at least an 8km walk to the nearest store...giving US a gift! The spirit, hospitality, and presence of God's love was inspiring and surprising. Just when I though I couldn't be any more amazed by this place, I am once again proven wrong! After we gave them the maze, the thankfulness and graciousness of those people was just something beyond explanation.
Well, it's getting late and we have a big day tomorrow so I'm going to end it here. We're lucky to have the chance to blog because for the past three days the power has gone out at dinner. :)
Ohhh, the ways we have been blessed here. Can't even begin to explain. What we've expressed on here is just a mere glimpse. We would add pics but this is a dial-up connection. ;)
Please pray for Joy, from Grapevine...she got pretty sick tonight.
Love and miss you all,