Friday, August 26, 2011

The Least of These...

Matthew 25:37- 40

 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
sunset over the rail line as we drove north

This week I had the privilege of joining Rick up north for a few days as he started his 12 days of seminars and training the pastors. Tendai and I went up with our colleague Andy, to help Rick and Dwight hand out the Orphan Care packs purchased last year during our Unique Christmas Gifts campaign.

The children who recieve these gifts are either orphans or vulnerable children. Many have been abandoned, all are struggling to survive in whatever situation they find themselves. Most do not receive more than on full meal a day, will have to travel five hours by foot followed by several on a boat to recieve medical care,  and attend a school where the highest available grade currently is grade 3.
this is part of the bike/walking bush trail that the pastors widened to make it passable for trucks like ours!

The village Rick and I went to is called Chireza, it is located about two hours past the end of the planet. Or at least that is what it felt like! We left the highway and drove three and a half hours on a dirt road then it was two hours on a dirt track/sand road, and finally, after crossing a rather interesting bridge, we drove nearly an hour on a bush trail. We wound in and around rural villages, small herds of cattle and goats, women pounding maize, and thru many dry riverbeds.
the bridge. those rocks are about the size of footballs and basketballs.

Once we arrived in Chireza we were greeting by the entire church and community singing and clapping as we drove up to the Pastor's home.  I wish I could upload the video of I have of them surrounding us and reaching out to shake our hands.. it was such an amazing moment.
a granny recieves her certificate for completing books one and two in the training program

After initial introductions and organization we had an hour of teaching, and then handed out the certificates for the pastors and church leaders studying in the mission's extension Bible Schools. I was so impressed by the number of women studying in the Chireza school. Young women, mothers, grannies looking after orphaned grandchildren- all of them recieving top marks in their studies! 
Rick hands out the soccer balls, rice, etc to the Pastor who runs the Orphan Program.

Once the seminar portion was over, we started with the main event- handing out the Orphan Care Packs!   We gave out 80 packs in this community. One to each of the children registered in the church's Amore Orphan Program.  These kids were so excited to receive new backpacks and all the goodies inside of them. 

 when we asked these three what their favorite thing in the pack was, not one of them could pick just one item! They just kept saying "all of it.. its ALL my favorite!"

Its cultural here for people to be rather reserved when receiving things, and when having their pictures taken. It usually takes a while for the real excitement to shine thru. It was fun to watch as the day continued on as the kids discovered new items in each pocket of the packs! These packs contain probably the only gift some of these children have ever gotten. We are so grateful to all those who purchased items thru our Unique Christmas Gift campaign last year- the joy those packs brought to these kids is impossible to describe, but they really did make a difference. Jesus' love came to Chireza this week in the form of 80 backpacks lovingly purchased by God's faithful!

 everyone wanted to save their Maheu (drinkable fermented porridge) in their new Water Bottles. Maheu suprisingly tastes a lot better than it sounds.... its maize meal and water made into a porridge and then covered and left to sit (ferment) for three days. Then sugar is added and its left for one more day. Then you drink it. yeah. not on my list of things to learn how to make but the kids sure seemed to like it!
Tendai tries Maheu for the first time. mmm. :) lol

 Tendai really enjoyed her rice and beans for lunch- someone fed her while we werent looking!
 a little girl (one year old) enjoys her lunch
(quite possibly the cutest kid on the planet. next to mine of course)
(children from the surrounding area came to see what all the fuss was about)

One of the hard parts of handing out packs it that inevitably children from surrounding communities or areas will come to see what all the fuss is about. We only bring enough packs for those registered in the programs so sometimes it is hard to see a child who you just know is wishing he too could have a pack! We try to bring enough for the orphan program that everyone present can have a good yummy lunch, some juice and this time we brought popcorn as well- so at least everyone got a treat of some sort!

cokes and fantas purchased for our lunch. these cost as much as a working mans daily wage! so humbling!

It is just such an amazing feeling to see how happy the children, grannies, pastors and everyone around was to have visitors, to have fellowship. We know that they sacrificed a great deal to have us visit- they honored us with a chicken lunch and even gave Rick a piece of gazelle meat that they had orginized to be hunted and prepared for him since the pastor knows Rick loves to hunt. The pastors young son gave Tendai an offering of a live chicken (a typical gift to show gratitude for visiting someone's house).

I am constantly reminded here of how much I have and how much I take for granted. It is an incredibly humbling experience to be given so much but those who have so very little. As we drove away we were once again surrounded by singing and clapping people, faces I will never forget. 

The next day we visited another community where Rick again taught a Children's ministry seminar, and I fellowshipped with the women and took pictures. I was invited to dance with the women as they sang a traditional song- again, a memory I will never forget! (sure wish I could upload the video of that as well, though my attempts at dancing with them are not that pretty to be sure!)

If you would like to check out some more of the pics from our trip, you can check them out here-

I also want to share with you an amazing story of God's protection over us. I ask each and every time I post a blog for prayer, and I allways tell you how much we appreciate those prayers. Sometimes I think people must think im nutty- I say the same thing every single time it feels like, but I want to tell you that we honestly depend on those prayers. 

This is what the vehicle Andy, Myself and Tendai travelled home in looked like by the time we got back to the farm. It was an absolute miracle that Andy was able to maintain control of the truck (not ours, we were driving Ron and Barb's truck)! As we came up over the crest of a hill there was a large fully loaded semi in the middle of the road, barely moving at all- no brake lights, no fourway flashers! Had Andy not managed to slam on the brakes and swerve to the side we would have slammed straight into the back of the truck. As it was Andy kept both the truck and the heavy trailer we were hauling on the road and all of us safe. The entire passenger side front quarter panel and mirror are destroyed, but had we hit even 2 cm over we would have had the full impact on the truck frame- and that would have been much much worse. We KNOW that those prayers and our amazing God kept us safe! Thank you so much for all your prayers, please keep praying. We need them!

In other news, TOMOROW is the Golf Tournament- We are praying that it goes well!  

Rick will be up north until next wednesday, so Tendai and I are alone here till then. With Dwight, Rick, Joao and Francois & Alta all gone from the farm, it is rather empty! Again, we appreciate your prayers!

God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai

( I just realized I didnt post ANY Pics of us preparing the packs in this post! oh well. I guess ill post some at a later date and it will all just be a bit backwards! haha)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather, this is Ed Schroeder, i just finnished reading your blog page for today. truly humbling to see how people live on so little and yet so happy, our prayers are with you and the entire team. you wondering if you ever did get my email i sent at least 3 weeks ago?