Mercy in its essence is simple. It is Christ. Mercy comes in many forms—in a caring touch, in a kind word, in a smile. It may come in the form of medicines, money to pay for hospital bills, food and the basics of life.
This trip, mercy most tangibly comes in providing clean water to hundreds of people whose lives have been marked, by water borne diseases, including typhoid, cholera, ameobas, giardias, salmonella….causing diarrhea, fevers, stomach aches and rendering people almost helpless. For children under the age of five, the effects of drinking dirty water can lead to death. In fact, this is the number one killer of children in developing countries. For adults, getting a disease such as typhoid means hospital bills, medicines, missed days of work—all costing money and creating physical and emotional stress. The Kenyan people know intimately the cost of drinking dirty water.
In partnership with the For One Another Foundation, we have brought hope and life to hundreds of Kenyans. Carrie Beth Bowin, the director of For One Another has helped to lead the efforts here in Kenya. The Kenyan women love her enthusiasm and her demonstrations of the simple water filters we have brought with us.
As in my past trips to Kenya, I have worked most closely with the women here, in particular, the deaconesses who provide mercy to those who suffer in body and soul.
We have met with several women’s groups—mostly lay women who serve the Church by caring for the widows and orphans, and who also care for the pastors, evangelists and deaconesses. These women, know firsthand the effects of drinking dirty water—most of which is gathered from a local stream, river, swamp, borehole or rainwater. Just looking at the water is enough to know it is dirty. It is often the color of the red dirt that is such a
part of the Kenyan landscape. Even the rainwater collected contains dirt and small red worms.
As this water is put into the bucket, run through the filter, coming out clean and clear, there is a collective murmur of astonishment, followed by giddiness and clapping. As the demonstrations of the filters continue, the women, intent on learning how to put the filters together, how to clean the filters, overcome their shyness in learning the process and then become the “expert teacher” in the front of the room. There is a lot of practice to ensure their understanding of how it all works.
At the end, each women is given a bucket with a hole drilled in it, a filter kit and written instructions. The joy on their faces when they take the buckets—it is like being given a million dollars. We watch them put together their filtration system and make sure all is well. Then they take their buckets, lift them high, some on their heads to sing and dance with a joy that is so pure and so beautiful—it is their mercy to us—it is them showing us Christ by their joy and hope. They understand that this gift of life is a gift from God. Yes, we are the conduits—we meaning all the donors—but mercy comes from Christ. We share with these beautiful women (and men, for we have given filters to pastors as well), the mercy of Christ.
Our common faith binds us together. Our compassion flows from the compassionate One. They get that—this is not social justice or a “nice thing to do”—this is Christ and His Church coming together to bring life and hope. These women mirror this reality to us—that is the greater gift that is given and for that I am ever so grateful.
via Always Mercy http://alwaysmercy.tumblr.com/post/59403947300