The book of Isaiah records one of the strongest messages of hope for all mankind. In the sixty first chapter, Isaiah charges the children of Israel to hope for better days where weeping shall be replaced with joy, where mourning was flowing he tells them that God will replace it with the oil of gladness. Above all else for all their suffering he promised them beauty for ashes.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor" Isaiah 61:1-3.
Over the weekend, we bore witness to the word of God coming to life. All roads lead into the slum. Armed with the word of God, hope and a neighbor pack we went in with only one expectation- giving hope where desolation had taken hold of God's people.
Each home we entered drew us more to trust God. What else wold you tell Lucia Wanjiru , who is a mother of one but supports her siblings as they are orphans ? That the world will work in her favor or that her stars will align in due time? She shared her story with us and how the absence of both her mother and father took her to place where she had nothing but mouths to feed and fear for the next day as it never seemed to promise and joy.
Lucia had never given her life to Christ, not because she had not heard of Him but as is the case with many of us fixing her day to day problems was more rewarding. When we told her of the undying love of Christ who is concerned about her and considers her suffering as hi, Lucia could not help but break down into tears. The peace of knowing that she had one closer than a brother and one who was a father to the fatherless. This gave her hope again.
The same would be the case when we entered the home of Tabby, a home that housed 5 girls in a space that would be ideally the size of a pantry. Tabby is the eldest of her sisters, who like Lucia are all orphans.
They lost their mother 2 years ago and as was the case, they could not afford to travel to Tanzania where their mother would be laid to rest. The pain of losing a loved one is unbearable the absence of peace that comes with not even knowing where she was laid to rest is unfathomable. yet still, life must go on. So here is tabby a mother of a beautiful girl and all her sisters who she stays with are all mothers with the exception of the youngest. Suffice it to say many of their neighbors where glad we came as they share the burden of seeing these girls struggle through life young as they were. The truth is no words of earthly wisdom can remedy broken hearts- so we gave the only truth that satisfies Jesus is enough for them.
A story is written in the Bible of the encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. The story goes that this woman was at the well and Jesus who had come from ministering somewhere far off asked for some water to drink. In shame the lady reminded Him of the rule of the land that Israelites and Gentiles where not to interact. Then Jesus in all His love told her of her life and forgave her of her iniquities.
This is the story that came to heart when, we went to the home of Miss Anne Wanjiru, a single mother who washes clothes for a living. Miss Anne's story is one that will encourage many. Living in deep poverty her home seats at the bottom of a valley , her roof has worn out and has gaping holes and her floor has no lacing beside the mud. When we went to the house, Miss Anne was quick to let us in. Her joy was addictive, the challenge was that at 2 pm- she was already drank. Nonetheless, we were on a mission and were convicted to see it through. She shared her story and how she struggled with receiving Christ at the very moment as she was already drank. we shared and were relentless in this pursuit, her heart softened and she received Jesus .
There is a peace that garrisons one's heart when they remember that they have something to give someone. Be it a hug, a shoulder to lean on, a laugh better still a ray of hope on a cloudy day.
We may not brag of our exploits, but we brag in he knowledge of freedom giving truth that allows all men to be free and forget their anxieties. That is a truth we can bank on.