Always mercy

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Fellowship with Jesus is not a commitment to suffer as much as possible, but a commitment to listen with him to God’s love without fear…. We are often tempted to “explain” suffering in terms of “the will of God”. Not only can this evoke anger and frustration, but also it is false.  “God’s will” is not a label that can be put on unhappy situations.  God wants to bring joy not pain, peace not war, healing not suffering. Therefore, instead of declaring everything to be the “will of God”, we must be willing to ask ourselves where in the midst of our pains and suffering can we discern the loving presence of God.  When, however, we discover that our obedient listening leads us to our suffering neighbors, we can go to them in the joyful knowledge that love brings us there.  (Henri Nouwen).

One of the realities Dr. Just keeps bringing to my attention is this—even during Jesus’ ministry, He did not heal everyone.  There were those in the vast crowds who were not touched or healed by Jesus. Yes, Jesus suffered and died for all—and His forgiveness is a gift for the entire world, but not all people will be healed of their infirmities, their poverty or their sufferings. I hold this close to my heart as I walk away from situations that are so bleak and desperate. I often think, “Oh, if I just had a million dollars…..” but I know that even a million dollars would not cure the world of poverty, disease, illness and death.  (But, if someone wants to hand over a large sum of money, I would put it to good use!!).

And while the suffering in Africa is great, the suffering at home is just as great—I am not sure one can “rate” suffering.  As a good friend wrote me, “It may be easier to be merciful in lands thousands of miles away, than to be kind to that person you work with everyday!”  And that is most certainly true. Showing mercy and kindness day in and day out can be challenging.  Being kind to that one person that really grates on your nerves is merciful.  Showing love to that person who never acknowledges all you do for them, is showing mercy.  Mercy does not ask for something in return. We learn mercy from Christ who gave Himself as gift, asking nothing from us. 


So, I am teaching the Gospel of Luke alongside Dr. Arthur Just, the author of the two volume commentary on Luke….how daunting is that?! Actually, I am having fun and love teaching about the Compassionate Christ in Luke’s Gospel to the 45+ deaconesses who have gathered together this week. 

Thanks to all who have offered support and prayers to those in need.

Always mercy,



Praying with a sick woman outside her hut while we were on our way to visit a family.



Harvesting sugar cane for us to eat.  A treat in Kenya.


Pamela with the sweetest girls.


A typical Kenyan kitchen, separated from the main hut.


The kitchen from the outside


Deaconess Mary Nybaro outside a hut in Kisii. Mary is head of the deaconesses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya


Pamela taking the blood pressure of a woman we visited.


Dr. Just visiting with Kevin in front (and his family). Kevin suffers from sickle cell anemia. We purchased meds today to help with his symptoms. Because of Pastor David Chuchu, we got right in to the pharmacist at the “chemist” today.


Breakfast at St. Vincent’s guesthouse in Kisii. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it.


Lunch…. a feast at Deaconess Pamela’s house last week in Katito, outside of Kisii.

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