Kenya Journal August 2022 Edition 4
THE MIRACLE IN MATHARE – Only God can make slum dwellers smile.
God has used Pastor Kennedy and his amazing staff to raise an amazing 4 story school complex in the Mathare (Nairobi) slum. But more than raising a building, they have raised the hope of a forgotten people. 800,000 people. No running water. No indoor toilets. No police patrols or security. And for most…no hope. Humans are amazing creations. We can last for days without a drink of water. We can go for well
over one month without food. But, we cannot survive the night without hope.
At the miracle in Mathare, hope comes in hugs. It comes in bold of porridge, hot, heaping bowls of rice and beans and corn. It comes in the classrooms. It comes from the structure and discipline that is foreign to any other part of these children’s lives.
I watched our team today as they met our staff and children. After wading through the sewer to get to the school, your mind is just not ready for joy, singing, and excitement. It just seems so out of place in this otherwise hopeless slum.
But God is never distracted by the external appearances…He sees what can be in and through Him. His nostrils never recoil at the stench (physical or spiritual) that mankind lives in. He knows it is nothing a little soap and water and salvation can’t wash away.
God just plain shows out in the slum.
There is no explanation for what He has done here. It’s just Him, doing what only He can do. Pastor Kennedy and Faustine are an amazing couple. But, they aren’t amazing enough to explain what I saw today. You guys are incredibly generous. You gave the money to build the structure we stood in this afternoon. But, your money wasn’t enough by itself. The staff, the teachers, the cooks, our security team
—all amazing! But, not as amazing as God.
It is good for me to visit the slum. I reminds me that we are never beyond God’s grace or provision. There is no stench he cannot erase. No stain he cannot cleanse.
I know these things. But, my intellect and understanding can’t produce faith and hope. I need both. I get them when I turn the corner into the slum and see the beautiful, glistening school. When I hear the voice of children singing. Singing…in a slum. Who does that?!?!
I’ll tell you who does that. Those who have been rescued. Those who have found a refuge in the place of refuse. Those who once walked with eyes down and faces with frowns. Those who now walk by faith…because of their sight. They have seen the hand of God. It is His hand that feeds them daily. He sends them their teachers. He provides their medicine. He puts new uniforms and sweaters on their bodies. They have seen Him. The staff at Mathare are “Jesus with skin on.” No one can ever convince these children there is no God. They know Him and they know He loves them.
This school cost a lot of money to build. This school costs a lot of money to operate. Feeding
these nearly 200 street children every day is laborious and expensive. That’s OK. God’s got plenty!
And He seems to especially enjoying sharing his plenty with the poor. He always has. He always
So, I’ll keep going to the slum.
I need my nostrils to burn with the stench of sewage. I need to fight that gag in my throat as I walk these slum paths. I need to feel the haunting looks of hunger and starvation as the children outside our school watch us pass them by. I need to see the desperation of life in abstract poverty. Because if I don’t see it, taste it, touch it, and smell it, I’ll simply change the channel in my mind to my rich, American suburban view. And, I’ll believe that my life is the way the rest of the world lives.
Well, they don’t. They just don’t.
You and I are filthy rich. Slum dwellers are just filthy.
I can’t balance the books on poverty.
I can’t feed all the hungry in this one slum, much less the world. Neither can you.
BUT…we can do what we can do what we can, with what we have, where we are.
And we (this ministry) are neck deep in the sewage of the slums of East Africa.
It’s not our fault that we are rich Americans. But, it is our responsibility.
Dinner is always a bit difficult on the nights after I visit the slum.
An early wake-up call tomorrow morning. A short flight up the Great Rift Valley to Kisumu on Lake
Victoria. Then a drive into the mountains to the Kisii region.
We go from the pit of poverty in the slum to a virtual garden of eden in Kisii. I can taste the
pineapple already. But…I still smell like the slum right now.
Welcome to my world.
Welcome to the world of mission work.
Humbled to join the Father in His work. Thanks for sending me.