Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Who is Sufficient for these things?

…from Kimberly
Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place.
For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish;
 to the one a stench from death to death; to the other a sweet aroma from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
2 Corinthians 2:14-16
Our field of ministry
I came across these verses in my personal study time and as I was considering what the passage was saying, the words,’ “sweet aroma” and “stench” brought images to my mind.  They were recent memories of walking through Mukuru Kayaba slum with Kamau as we visited the venues where the Hope Bible clubs will be held.  I remember that my mind was alert as I beheld the scene around me.  The slum was teeming with people engaged in all types of activity from keeping their kiosks, chatting with friends and cooking, to children obliviously playing in filth.
It had rained recently so the ground was slushy with mud and puddles; I found myself stepping carefully in order to avoid slipping and falling in the muck.  I was especially alert for suspicious looking plastic bags that might contain human waste.
 ( Kamau seemed to take perverse pleasure in warning me about them with a smile on his face.) Accidentally stepping on one of those would have spelled disaster for my state of mental well-being at that moment! 
The smells of rotting vegetables, cooked food, refuse, urine and others that could not be identified intermingled together and was made even more pungent because of the dampness.  It was a stench.

Children by open sewers in Mukuru Kayaba

 I was actually about to congratulate myself for keeping visible signs of revulsion at bay until someone carrying a bag of wet charcoal bumped into me and soiled my shirt. Oh great!  I struggled inwardly with feelings of fussiness and began to try and brush off the sooty mess.  Annoyance was beginning to stir as I wondered how I was going to be able to remove the stain. 
Kamau smiled at me in sympathy and I began to berate myself for behaving in this way.

How can such  hardness of heart set in that will not be touched by a baby like this?
“What is your problem Kimberly?!”  This is your mission field and where you will be serving the Lord.  You are being squeamish and cranky about a shirt when all around you people are suffering in squalor.  Seriously?!  You know Jesus would not be acting this way.  Why can’t you be more like Him?  

Look at your husband.  He used to live here for years and had to deal with the ugliness of the slum day in and day out and God gave him the grace to bear it without complaining. 
Girl, you need to go to the Lord right now and ask him to change your fussy, wicked heart so that it can be more Christ-like!!!!

I tried to argue with the voice in my head by saying to myself that after all; the Lord gave the children of Israel explicit instructions on how to dispose of their waste by burying it.  He said that it was because He walked among the camp and that it should be holy.  He did not want to see an unclean thing among them which would cause Him to turn away.  I felt that the Lord probably understands how I am feeling!
So these are the thoughts that I recalled to my mind as I reflected on the passage in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.

The words gave instruction and comfort to my conflicted heart about the hope that is available for me to be changed.  I can know that in spite of my squeamishness… God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of his knowledge in every place will bring this about in our ministry to the children of Mukuru Kayaba slum.  For those who are being saved, those whose hearts are being prepared by the Lord even now, the sweet fragrance of Christ will be evident.  It will be living and fresh among the stench of doom and misery.  How grateful I am that it is all God who is sufficient and His work in the lives of the children in the slum will not be hindered by the fussiness of His child.

We have exciting news to share!  Hope Clubs will be starting next week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  We will have clubs twice a day to begin with.  One location is close to the place where Kamau lived with his family, the other is a little further away but still within Mukuru Kayaba. 
We will be team teaching with Kimberly teaching the Bible lessons while Kamau translates into Swahili.  We have been busy planning activities for the club and learning Swahili songs to teach the children.

Prayer Requests
These items for teaching clubs are first donations that Hope Anew has received
**As you have read earlier, there is an apparent need for our hearts to be expanded with the compassion and tenderness of Christ.  Pray that we would see those in the slum the way Jesus does…as sheep without a shepherd in need of a Savior.

**We are concerned that we could be overwhelmed with children.  Pray that should many children come, God will cause there to be order and not chaos.  Pray that the teaching of His Word will not be hindered in any way.

**We need wisdom as we interact with the children, especially if it is a large group.

**Ask God to help us to make the club fun for the children.

**As children come to the Lord, pray that it will be lasting fruit for the Kingdom of God.

**Pray for protection and safety.

**Pray that the Lord will send godly volunteers that want to serve Him by joining us in reaching out to children.

** We want to be able to provide mandaazi (fried doughnuts) and bananas to the children.  Pray for God’s provision of this need and also for the funds to rent the places that we are using for the clubs.

May the Grace & Peace of God rest on you,

The Kamaus