A few days ago we began to feel the burden on our hearts for all the people around us who’ve been displaced by the riots and are now sleeping on floors in relative’s houses or on the floors of churches or on the streets. It seemed like every Kenyan we knew was having to address this issue in one way or another and we wanted to help. So we pitched an idea, with a little prayer, to the missions committee at our sending church, Dulles Community.
We proposed to them sponsoring a Kibera church with whom we have a relationship through some Kenyan friends (James & Truphena) by helping this church to feed the >250 people who are sleeping on the floor there. We were blown away by DCC’s quickness to respond and their generosity in wanting to being involved.
We’ve been working on the details of this project for a few days, and today it all came together. Below are portions from our email to the DCC mission committee we sent earlier this afternoon.
Our hearts are overflowing right now as we just returned from the grocery store and have successfully been able to hand over the first bunch of vouchers to the church. Please forgive us for this very long e-mail, we just have a lot to say! We want to tell you what transpired today and how God opened the doors – to give Him all the glory for His constant provision for His people.This morning, when we got up, we checked the news and found out that the opposition party is planning to rally every day until Kibaki steps down. This made things look pretty grim from our point of view. We were set for yet another day of “lock down” status with AIM. Starting pretty early, our doorbell began ringing, also. People whom we know – those who come to our door occasionally for money or food – were all coming today, desperate for food. We were out of items that we could give and felt very down that we were still not allowed to leave our house. Then we heard that the grocery store (Uchumi) wasn’t even open and that James had to work today, so he was unavailable. We began praying that God would open doors so that we would still be able to make everything work today – so that the people could have a meal by the end of the day.
Truphena came over, and as we talked with her about the dilemma, we were able to flesh out our thoughts about what would be the best plan of action, when and if we were able to go to Uchumi. We finally decided to recommend to the Kibera church that, instead of giving individual families a voucher for Uchumi, that the church should prepare food for the people staying there to all eat together. This would be the best way to make the money last for a long time. We talked to James and he decided, since he had to work, that Truphena should go to the church herself and assess the situation and speak with the pastor and those in leadership.
Truphena left and, not long afterwards, we received notice that our travel ban was lifted and we could go out of the house! We also heard that someone had been to Uchumi and there was plenty of food there! Truphena contacted us a while later and I was able to talk with the senior pastor of the church on the phone. He said how timely this gift is because there are 250 people staying in the church right now and all, including children, are very hungry. He said this is what will help carry them through the ordeal. He agreed that the food should be prepared and served in an organized fashion by the church. I asked them to give us the figures for exactly how much per day would it take to feed all of these people. They got back to us with the figures and after doing the math, we realized that DCC will be feeding 250 people 3 meals per day for 2 weeks!! Is that amazing or what!?
As I was standing there at Uchumi, waiting for them to arrive, I was overwhelmed by the wonder of God’s hand in this. I have never felt more like DCC in Africa – we are living out the vision that the elders had two years ago when we started down the road towards missions. That DCC would have its members spread out across the world, doing the Lord’s work.
I don’t know if you all remember the dream I had when we were praying about going into missions. In the dream, I was in a hospital or something in Africa, and people were dying there of AIDS. Then the scene changed to my grandmother’s house (!?) and there were dying Africans all over her yard and porch. I thought they were dead and I was extremely sad, then I saw one of their eyes open, and I realized that they were all alive and needed my help. I ran inside and was rummaging through the cupboards, trying to find something to give them. I opened the freezer and saw all of the food I had stored in there, and thought, “why is it that the Brown’s have so much and they have so little?” Then my boys came in and got a glass out of the cabinet and said, “Mom, all you need to do is give them a glass of water!” Ever since that dream, I’ve been trying to see what “glass of water” God wants me to give them.
In Mark 9:41, Jesus is speaking to His disciples when He says, “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” This is what DCC has done in helping out this church in Kibera and what it has done for us in supporting us in our ministry here. Thank you so much for reaching out to these people at this time. The mood is truly one of despair amongst the entire community of Kibera. It is sometimes a fine line to walk with giving to those in need here, and still allowing them to keep their dignity. I feel we have been able to do this, by giving the ability to the church to feed its own people. With no “wazungu” (white people) in the middle of it in Kibera. Also, with the Kenyan church doing the giving, it will not create a reliance on an outside source of aid for the individual families. This will help to get them through this time and then they will be able to continue on with their lives as before, or so we pray.
Speaking of prayer, please be in prayer for the safety of those purchasing and transporting the food – that they will not be mobbed. Please also pray for the security of the church building itself. Last night it was almost attacked and burned. The pastor called James and he was able to locate a security officer to diffuse the problem. This is actually a big church, come to find out. It has a school for children, a college for teachers, and an orphanage, among other ministries. This is a big building and the church has an extensive outreach to the Kibera community. Please pray that the church will be safe – both its people and the building. Also, please pray that we will be able to return to get the rest of the money and vouchers over the next two days. Please also pray that this all remains confidential, that our house will not be targeted or any other person because of this ministry.