March 7, 2016
In December I had the opportunity to spend some time with Francis Odour and visit our four centers in Mombasa. It was incredible to see our dreams of expansion come to fruition, and I was in awe of the great work Francis and the center staff have already accomplished in such a short time.
One of the centers is in a community called Changamwe. According to the pastor of our partner church, there have been so many well-meaning non-profits that have come in and out of the community that the residents have built a culture reliant on and expectant of donations. Francis experienced this firsthand during his first day of home visits with center staff in Changamwe.
Francis and John (the center's Spiritual Counselor) were walking through the narrow streets of the slum when they heard someone calling to them, saying “What have you brought us?!”
The man calling to them was sitting in a tree along the path. Francis looked up to the expectant man in the tree and replied “Jesus.”
The man eventually climbed down from the tree to chat with Francis and ended up coming to the local church that week to learn more.
The two things that strike me so profoundly about this encounter are the simplicity of it all and the fact that these men effortlessly made the time for form a connection with a stranger.
It is rare that I allow the flexibility in my schedule that this encounter necessitated from Francis and John. It’s a good reminder to me that the most significant moments of our day are generally not on our calendars when we wake up in the morning. It’s also a good reminder that I don’t need to be perfectly prepared for every chance encounter in my day. If the man had called down to me from the tree, I would have frantically searched by bag for at least a granola bar or bottle of water to give him. But Francis knew intrinsically that, despite the culture of reliance in this community, this man needed more than what he was asking for.
Isn't this the way the Lord deals with us so often? I always find myself asking God for one thing and getting something so much better. There is a quote by Mark Batterson about asking God for bigger things that we love at CARE for AIDS:
"Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn't offended by your biggest dreams of boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If you prayers aren't impossible to you, they are insulting to God...if you don't take the risk, you forfeit the miracle."
My hope for all of us this year is that we will break out of whatever habits or expectations we have grown comfortable with, and ask God for something big, not with open hands, but with open spirits.
During this season of lent we want to invite you to join us in prayer around specific topics. We have created a prayer guide that you can access here.