It is very easy to live a comfortable western life and not think much of poverty and the thoughts of hungry and needy people. I have always thought I was sympathetic towards the poor and did my little bit here and there to help out, donate to causes, put money in the coin box etc. etc., thinking that was fine.
However, then I spent a month in Kenya with Agape in Action and this has really made me rethink my position and attitudes. Amongst other things in Kenya, we did many sponsorship visits, visiting small homes made from mud and sticks and saw firsthand the poverty of our brothers and sisters. It was heart- wrenching and eye-opening. Families with more than eight children, many adopted, barely enough clothes to go around, malnourished bloated bellies and some having had nothing to eat all day. Even everyday injuries can end up a huge problem. One boy had gotten his hand caught in a bike chain and what would have been a small injury had become so infected and swollen that he could barely use his hand. Without any income to be able to go the clinic, things such as this will just go untreated.
When I arrived in Kenya, I was given the local name of ‘Nanjala’ (meaning ‘hungry’) as it was the start of what is known as the ‘hunger season’ in which they have planted their crops and were waiting for harvest. Brother Justus informed us that inferior quality seed supply and flooding meant that prospects were not good for the crops and thus this year they will not get much, if anything, at harvest time. Our Brothers and Sisters have many reasons to be depressed and bitter, yet they all received us with open arms and warm hospitality, excited and hopeful at the prospect of sponsorship and praying that God will ‘bless our pockets’ in order for us to help them out with at least a little to eat.
This has made me realize how important our help is to them and how true the words of Christ are, ‘if ye have done it to the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me’ (Matt 25:40). The need is real. If we have the opportunity and ability to help out, let us do so with a joyful spirit of generosity and compassion- ‘ as ye have been freely given, therefore freely give” (Matt 10:8).
After returning home, I decided I would like to return to Kenya and spend a full year teaching in Agape in Action Academy, and this is where I have been for the last couple of months. I am loving living here and working with these amazing people, looking forward to updating throughout the year!