Saying Good-bye

Throughout my many trips to Kenya, I have come to a deeper understanding that joy and sorrow are always intermingled.  With Christ, there is always joy, often hidden in sorrow. It is the way of the cross. The way that makes no sense to the world, but the way that leads to life and peace in the midst of suffering and despair.  In 2012, we made a visit with Deaconess Agnes to a man, John, who was sick and suffering. I wrote about him last year. John was a strapping man, who looked much younger than his 63 years. He was a husband, father and a lover of God and soccer.  He was also in immense pain and his recent “health passbook” indicated he had probable breast cancer.  We visited John several times during our time in Kenya last year, bringing the Gospel through the words of the pastor and deaconess, through the gift of pain medicines, and also through the gift of clean water with a water filter.   Saying good-bye was difficult as we had come to know this family and love them.  Many people were moved to donate money to help John and throughout these past few months, we were able to send money to cover medicines, hospital fees and other essential needs. John had the simple joy of getting clean water to drink each day. He and his family also understood the joy of Christ through the help received from those close and far. Deaconess Agnes and Pastor Joseph faithfully visited this family. They brought Christ’s healing words of mercy and compassion. They brought hope as they stayed faithful to this family in their time of need.  Late June, 2013, I received word that John had died at home.  While not surprised, I had selfishly hoped he would hang on until I made it back to Kenya.  I cannot explain how this man, and his family crept into my heart and became family to me. It is the mystery of the faith.  The news of his death struck deep, and one of the visits I knew we had to make this year was to see John’s family.    And so the team (Pastors, deaconesses, Carrie Beth, AKA water girl) made our way to see Helen and Owen (John’s wife and son).  We were greeted with hugs and words of gratitude for all that had been done for John. There were many tears as we talked about John and his journey home.  There was joy in the midst of sorrow as we shared the love of Christ. There was joy as the water filter system was brought out and still working so well.  Little things make a difference. Mercy makes a difference: being present. Bringing the Word of Christ. Bringing medicines, clean water, a simple touch, a crucifix.  

Deaconess Pamela and John, July 2012

August 2013—Carrie Beth, Owen and Helen.

Deaconess Agnes and Pamela, Helen and Pastor Joseph (August 2013)

via Always Mercy

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