Today we split the team in two. Ten of us went to a clinic in a town called Bahati and the other six were doing construction work on an older man’s home in Gituamba. The houses there (except for the couple we have built) are just mud and sticks with tin roofs. They are probably somewhere around ten by ten or ten by twelve, sometimes divided into two rooms inside. There is no glass in the windows, just a curtain and this time of year it can be quite cold at night. There is no electricity or running water – so obviously there is no heat or air conditioning. A huge problem with this type of house is that they are termite magnets. The termites simply destroy the wooden corner posts and eventually all the rest of the posts if left unchecked. The house eventually becomes unlivable and must be torn down and another erected in its place. This older man is quite sick and can hardly even come out of his small home much less do any repairs on it. So SWOK has started to rebuild it while he is living in it! The reconstruction began before we got here with replaced the termite eaten corner posts with steel. Eventually this home will be transformed into an indestructible steel dwelling where the old man can live comfortably. He is in bed a lot of the day but he is so grateful for our presence and for the work being done.
The rest of us began the vision project in Bahati. This was a special opportunity as we were working with the Bahati Rotary. This particular chapter has an abundance of younger adults in it who have a desire to improve health conditions in their area. They are already involved in clean water projects and have now launched the Kenya Eyecare Project 2019. We all met and were introduced at the clinic this morning and then set up to meet as many vision needs for glasses as we possibly could. We saw very small children, we saw the elderly and every age in between. One woman we examined had on her i.d. sticker that she was 109 years old! Probably not true but probably not to awfully far off either. At the end of a very long but very productive day we had examined 203 patients, and given out 174 pair of glasses! This is amazing! Dr Chris told us that an extremely busy day in his practice may sometimes hit 60 patients but 203 was absolutely unheard of! By the way, Dr Chris has been an unbelievable blessing to this team. I’m not sure he runs out of energy – in fact, he seemed to gain energy as the day wore on. This is the blessing of doing what God has gifted you to do. So many people go to jobs they despise day in and day out, simply to get a paycheck. The truest blessing is to be able to do what motivates and drives you. Thank You Lord for the gift of vision that we have been able to facilitate on this trip – it has been an incredible work to be a part of. We will return to Bahati tomorrow and possibly to a school on Monday.
Every evening we gather after dinner. We have worked hard and we have been blessed to see the fruit of our labors. We are often tired enough to sleep sitting up but we debrief the day – someone leads us in a short devotion and then we simply ask, “where did you see God moving today?” This deepens our group, often spiritually and always relationally. By this time of the trip we have been together – very together, for six days. We have traveled here together; we have ridden in vans for hours on end together – we have worked together and we have seen God move together. God is now building this team into a community. I can’t totally explain it, but its real and its amazing. It is His desire that we would live in this awareness and closeness as His people – as the church – the church on the move. This happens to every team, every year and it draws us closer together both here in Kenya and when we return as well. There is a comradery that is built that doesn’t seem to fade easily. Admittedly, its easier to live in this community when that’s all you have to do for two weeks but I firmly believe God wants us to intentionally strive for deeper community all the time. We are, at the core, relational beings even if we feel like we are loners or desire to be alone more than we desire the company of others. The earliest verses of the Bible tell us that we are made in the image of God and God dwells in perfect community, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Something has gone amiss when we desire to be alone more that with others. This is especially true with men and its especially true with Americans. We hold the rugged individual in high esteem in this country – often to our detriment. Yes, we admired the explorers and the pioneers but even they, when they got where they were going, for the most part, established communities. A sense of community is something that betters us all especially if we belong to God. The greatest commandment, Jesus told us, was that we would love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30,31).
So God is building a small community here among 16 people from various beliefs and walks of life. He is challenging us to come together in ways that would never happen if we had all said no to this trip and stayed in America. Our time together is not yet at the halfway point and already God is building us into something special.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).
Be sure to also check out Jim's team blog here.