Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home Visits in Kibera (July 9)

Thursday, July 9,2009: Today we did home visits for the first time in Kibera. Purity, Carol, Wycliffe, George, Josh and I were able to go. We followed one of the little girls from the school to her house to visit her mother. The way was windy and sometimes very narrow, through mud and piles of trash, jumping over streams of water beyond dirty. The path took us through a large market road with a variety of shops on both sides, so different from our usual walk through neighborhoods into Kibera.
We walked through a corridor of homes and found Sarah cooking chapatis outside. Sarah picked up her baby and welcomed us into her home. It was a small room, with a few chairs and a bench around the sides. The curtain that was hanging down from the ceiling near the door was pulled back to let us pass and let in some light. A few pictures and calendar hung from the tin walls. Other than a cabinet and table, the room held little else. We sat down, made introductions, I prayed for her, and Wycliffe shared Psalm 62. Carol translated for us and shared that Sarah is HIV+ and attends the Church’s Support Group Bible study. Sarah’s family had been dealing with a lot of sickness recently and she asked that we pray for her man, who many not be born again. We were told that the community Sarah lives in is predominately Muslim, a difficult place for her to be as a born-again Christian. I shared Ephesians 3:14-21 with her and said we’d be praying for her; that God would strengthen her, heal the family, and I encouraged her that God is a great God who can do big things-nothing is impossible for Him to accomplish. *Pray that God would protect her from persecution, that she would know God is always with her and loves her, that God would use her to reach out to her community, and that her man, whether her husband or not, would put his faith in Christ if he hasn’t already.
The next path we took was in a much worse condition. The path was narrow between homes, trash and dirt everywhere, and a darkness that was more than just a lack of sunlight. I was so confused when we met a man in the narrow passage, talked with him and then we were guided in through a small doorway. It took a while for my eyes do adjust to the darkness. I felt like I was entering a cave. The floor was uneven and I had a hard time keeping my balance. I scooted over to sit by Carol on a bench. I saw an older woman sitting on the bottom of what looked like a tiny bunk bed. Purity sat near her on it, then Carol, George, Josh, and I sat on the bench, the man sat across from us and Wycliffe stood in the doorway. There literally was no room for anyone to fit in this room. It could have been the size of a closet. A little table stood in the middle of the room.Black and grey rags covered the lumpy dirt walls. The tin roof had tiny holes that let in little streams of dusty light. Finally I discovered that these were the parents of Tina, a little girl who attends the school in baby class and hangs out by the Church a lot. She was the little girl I had met my first week who had been abandoned at birth and adopted by this family. The parents spoke no English and so Carol and Purity talked with them a lot in Swahili. Carol told us they were not born-again and that she didn’t need to tell us what they needed prayer for; it could be plainly seen in this room. That broke my heart. Never before had I seen this kind of poverty, this hopelessness that they lived daily in, unaware that they have a creator who is a loving Father. Carol asked us if we had any encouraging words to give them. She repeatedly asked us as she continued to tell us that they had just lost their grandbaby from a daughter who was not married, their 12-year-old daughter had run away, and the father had serious headaches. I was at a loss for words as I found it hard to process what I was hearing and seeing so quickly. To think that there are millions more living in this kind of poverty of life without Christ and horrible living conditions was heartbreaking.
Carol told us that we had something to learn from them. They had done more and sacrificed more than we have done, as believers, by adopting Tina. Matt 25:31-46 What you do for the least of these you do for Christ. They already had children of their own and barely any means to support them yet God used them to bring life to this beautiful little girl. It was an incredible picture to me of how God has adopted us as his sons and daughters. We were helpless as babies, bound to die, when God reached down into our filth and mess, our sins, and lifted us to life and to be his sons and daughters. He gave us His name, His love, provides for all our needs, and gives us an inheritance of eternal life.
I was encouraged to find out that Tina’s father had been to Church the previous Sunday and Tina’s mother had been to Bible Study on Wednesday. It was so amazing to see how God has used Tina going to school here to bring her parents to Church. Pray that God would continue to work in Tina’s family to lead them to salvation.
As Purity prayed, I prayed for their family and thoughts kept racing through my head: Carol telling us she didn’t have to tell us what they needed prayer for, did I have any encouragement? I forced back tears with all these thoughts and remembering truths of Christ’s love in the midst of it all. We left with hand shakes and a good-bye, silently walking back to the Church.
At lunch I tried to talk to the kids. Victor, a third-grader, is really good at speaking English, so I talked with him a lot and he would translate for me with the other kids when they didn’t understand me. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He told me he wanted to be a policeman to protect people from robbers. Elsa, a 2nd grader told me she wants to be a doctor. Others told me they wanted to be drivers and pilots.
In the evening, the team met to talk about our days. Lydia shared stories she had learned today from Purity and Carol. There are 6 boys living in the Church. One of them, Kamau I think, was kicked out of his family for being a Christian. Kennedy had been missing for a year and thought dead, but was now back at the Church. John and Joseph are brothers who live in the Church and the brothers of Sarah and Lucy from Shuname Shelter. Lydia also told us that one of the little boys, Ronaldo, 8-years old, who hangs out around the Church all the time, is HIV+ and he doesn’t know it yet. I had met Ronaldo the first day we were in the school and he had always tried to get my attention and we were pretty good friends. He had recently received new clothes ad a Bible and had showed them off to me so excitedly. He would point at his new shoes, shirt, and Bible and I told him how good they looked and good it was that he had a new Bible of his own. It was hard to find out he was positive. *Pray that Ronaldo comes to know God as his Savior soon and that when he finds out his status, that he would put his hope in God.

3rd Grade boys (Victor on the far right)

Ronaldo and Tina

Tina and I

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