Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:
Been pondering my future almost full time for the past few days, and realized that for the first time in some time I have optimism for said future. I am looking forward happily. (Johnny's Facebook status)
I thought I would spend a couple of posts talking about this optimism and in particular why I am feeling good about different aspects of my life even though sometimes it looks like I should have anything but good feelings about my life. Let's start with the mission, the why I am here in Kenya in the first place and how I feel good about that.
There is a passage in Luke chapter 4 which describes Jesus' calling which I attempt to emulate in my life that goes something like this:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,Because He has anointed MeTo preach the gospel to the poor;He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to the captivesAnd recovery of sight to the blind,To set at liberty those who are oppressed;To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Actually it goes exactly like that as I just copied and pasted. This is why I am here in Kenya, and it is what gives me such hope in the future of my work. Helping the poor, brokenhearted, those held in bondage, giving sight to those blinded by circumstances, giving freedom to the oppressed and repressed, these are things that I love doing. They make one feel good to do them, because they are good. Preaching the gospel of love. Expanding the Kingdom of God one hungry person at a time. (I am not talking about proselytizing. Instead I am talking about loving someone just as they are, exactly as God does. No requirement for the person needing help to convert to any belief I might possess in order to get help from me. No attempt at conversion is ever made. There are many honest conversations about faith, but without any conversion agenda.)
When we made the move to The Shire, the off grid almost 12 acres of land in rural Kenya that we have lived on for several years now, it became more and more difficult for me to maintain a high level of community work in Nakuru. To be sure it still happened, but the focus was more on developing the land and caring for the orphaned girls that also moved out of town with us. Part of the purpose of purchasing this land was to be able to grow and provide food for those that needed it. That has happened, albeit not on the scale I had imagined. Just over the past few weeks I have been able to give away a pretty good number of pumpkins, which is great. However growing said food requires a lot of time and a fair amount of effort. Being off grid means that the farming is completely reliant on weather, which is never reliable. What I am trying to say is that living out here has slowed down the work I am supposed to be doing. That took away some of my joy in life.
I have always been more or less random in my approach to working with the poor and sick. Just helping those that come into my life or those that I have found that need someone. My thoughts now are to narrow the scope and minister in particular to sick single mothers or grandmothers caring for grandchildren. Many of these women are so sick that they are bedridden. Unable to work and therefore unable to care for their children or their children's children. Over the years we have had much success with this type of assistance, which gives me the assurances that we can make a big difference in many lives.
The help will still be given to individuals. While there might be a need in the world for big organizations helping hundreds or even thousands of people, that is simply not me. I am one person and work best with a more limited pool of folks. Besides the almost daily visits that can lasts hours that some of these women need, well they take up a lot of time. The good news is that for the most part it is not that expensive to assist these ladies, for the most part. (I do have Kenyan partners who I walk alongside with in this community work. We have found it works better when you can focus on a smaller group of people instead of passing out beans to two hundred people.)
My goal is to get as many of these women out of bed and back to as productive a life as they are capable of living. If that cannot happen then end of life preparations and a proper burial will be carried out.
There are tons of details that I am not typing out now, but I wanted to express part of my hope in my future. This is a big part, a huge part in fact. It is not something new for me, but rather a refocus from off grid farm living with it's time consuming responsibilities, back to my love witch is a more relationship based ministry where the aid is tailored to each individual.
Thank you for coming with me,
P.S. More details will be forthcoming about the future of A Future and a Hope now that Kate and I are divorced. She recently sent out a newsletter talking about some of those changes including her brand new project, Kate Ellen Adventures. You can read that newsletter here.
P.S.S. Expect more posts in the next few days about why I feel so good about the future. You might even get a rare glimpse into my personal life, I mean a glimpse that I have provided and not someone else.
P.S.S.S. If you would like to help me financially follow this link. I have not yet added it to the donate page, in fact so much of the blog needs to be updated, but Wave is a great way to send money. If you want to use Wave then send me an email and I will give you my phone number which you will need to send money through Wave. ([email protected])