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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Feeding the multitudes

Yesterday was our third quarterly Kwejuna Project food distribution of the year, and though we prepared for a substantial spike in the number of HIV-infected women who would appear, we were still stretched to the limit to serve the 306 who registered. Scott gave a small sermon with five mandazis (local breads) and two real skinny little lake fish from the market as visual aids, and we sensed the same need that Jesus' disciples did for some order in the chaos and miraculous provision from God to pour out His care on so many people. And God did, as He has each time in the past. The Kwejuna Project is a huge team effort, drawing in pastors, elders, lab techs, midwives, patients, peer counselors, community people, and missionaries. And this time, parents! The Elwoods (Nathan's parents) and the Lutjens (Heidi's parents) arrived Weds night, and by Thursday morning they were fully involved in the effort. In the tradition we started years ago with Bethany's dad, we simply asked them to pray in small groups for the women who wanted spiritual encouragement. Several times during the day, as I had to break the tragic news to a mom that her baby's HIV test was positive, I was able to then refer the weeping woman to the sympathetic arms of her peers and these caring prayer warriors who would lay hands on her and pray for God's comfort. In spite of those moments of sadness, the general atmosphere of the day is always that of a celebration. Celebrating continuing life. Celebrating community, that the women find themselves in a large company of people who face the same problems. Celebrating improbable connection across continents as we give calories for survival that have been donated by American friends. And this is a safe place for these women to celebrate with each other the triumph of a baby's negative test (dozens!), the hope of a healthy child to care for them as their own disease progresses in the future, the assurance of continuity in their family in spite of their own impending mortality.


drea said...

Wow!! I have said many times to friends and family "I don't want to waste my life." I don't think that I am, as we have a ministry of adopting orphans and then sharing it with others. But as I read other blogs, including my own with the trivial things of life, then read that you are having to tell mommies of their diseased children, I am brought to a place of stillness and quietness.

What is really important? I don't want to waste my life!! I want to do more...but what? My heart has moved to Africa a 1000 times. But as a mother of 9 (3 one the way from Ethiopia) what more can I do? I really want to know. I don't want to wait idly doing ??? while there is work to be done.

Your ministry is amazing, tiring, trying, glorifyin Jesus, leading, witnessing, it is the hands and feet of Jesus. Praise Him!

Lord, I want to be tired, tried, leading, witnessing for your glory being the hands and feet of you!!!

Thank you sister for some much needed perspective today. If you have any ideas feel free to share them.

Anonymous said...

A couple of posts ago, you blogged about God's presence as a cloud. When I first looked at the pictures from your post today, I was struck at first by the beautiful picture of the women standing in line in front of what looked like a "cloud."...but on closer inspection looks like bags of rice or flour. But nevertheless, God's provision and presence was obviously strong and powerful today. Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful to you two and to your team for your kindnesses and mercies there at the end of the road. Your service lifts my heart because it is such a praise of our God. May the Lord bless you and your work. Judy in HMB

Cindy Nore said...

Just wanted to say I still read your blog and pray for you guys daily. I am always encouraged and motivated by your posts, and ever grateful that God answers prayers, as you so often reveal in your blogs. Praying for you guys as Luke and Caleb get ready to go back to school. With love - Cindy Nore