This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not
that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Take heart; God has overcome the world!

Perhaps it was the culmination of several events.  Maybe it was the feeling of helplessness in the midst of situations far out of my control.  It could be the anger felt towards those who bring pain into the lives of innocent children.  Whatever it was, it made today harder than most.  I had no unusual expectations for the day, although I should clarify that my usual expectations for a day in Kitale are vastly different than my usual expectations for a day in the States.  It’s impossible to explain the difference, but let me just say that a day here involves seeing poverty and hardships most Americans can’t even comprehend—at least I couldn’t before I came here.  

When the girls arrived at Oasis, we walked into the office to find Leila crying.  She told us that Dennis, one of the kids who regularly comes to Oasis, had died less than two hours before.  Having lived on the streets for the past three years Dennis, his brother Samuel and a friend had been renting a small house in the slums of Shimo.  In order to pay their 500 shillings rent (which is equivalent to $6.25) the boys had been collecting scraps of metal.  It was a very rainy morning and Dennis was collecting metal as he made his way to Oasis for the day when he was electrocuted by a nearby power line.  The loss of Dennis has deeply saddened the Oasis family—both the staff and the students.  It’s never easy to lose someone, especially someone so young— Dennis was 13 years old.  It’s moments like this that I have to trust in a God that is much greater than I am.  I might not understand why today was the last day of Dennis’ life, but I understand that through this God is going to do powerful things.  He is and will continue to reveal himself to the children at Oasis.  I firmly believe that God will change hearts during this time and he will bring joy even in the midst of sorrow.  It's moments like this that challenge me to continually and openly share the love of God with absolutely everyone.  We never know what today will hold and we never know when our time on this earth will come to an end.  As James says in chapter 4 verses 13-14, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."  This life of mine is so fleeting and for this reason I should not focus on myself; instead, I should focus on glorifying God and making his love known to all people.  I want everyone to know what God has done in my life.  I want you to know that God loves you so much, and in his great love for you he sent his son Jesus Christ to save the world.  Because of his relentless grace God chooses to show mercy on each one of us despite our fault and failures.  We simply have to believe that Jesus, in laying down his life, paid the ultimate price for our sins and that in him we have redemption.  I would also like to ask you to pray for Oasis of Hope and everyone who has been affected by his death.  Please pray that through this people will come to know the love and hope of Jesus Christ.  

I wish I could say that the day only got easier from there, but that just isn’t true.  Over the last month and a half, I have found that children here rarely get to experience the joys of childhood.  In fact, most kids experience a ‘childhood’ where they fight for their survival and incur terrible abuse along the way.  Dorcas’ story is no different.  It is not a pleasant one.  With no parents to care for her, Dorcas has been forced to live on the streets where she struggles to live.  Although she has been able to find a place to stay for now, this place is far from safe and last week Dorcas was severely beaten by the woman she was living with. Her wounds, because they remained untreated, had become severely infected.  We knew that the only way she could experience healing was to completely remove the infected scabs on her back.  My stomach ached.  I knew that this process would be excruciating.  I don’t think I will ever be able to fully describe the heartbreak I felt as Dorcas screamed in pain.  Despite the pain she let us clean her wounds.  She must have known that proper healing would only come once the old, infected scabs had been removed.  It's incredibly sad that at just 14 years old she has been so abandoned and abused.  As I look at her childhood, which has been dominated by imperfect people, I realize that God is the only one who offers perfect love.  He is the only one who can show her what it means to be truly loved, and that— although she has been abandoned and abused — he will never abandon or abuse her.  God's love is everlasting.  People will fail us, but God never will— his love is beautifully perfect.  I love how David describes God's love in Psalm 100:5, " For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."     

As today comes to a close, I am remembering John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world."  I find so much comfort in this verse as I meditate on the fact that God has overcome this world.  I am so thankful that God is bigger than any troubles we might face.  In the midst of the hardships I experience here in Kitale, I will continue to remind myself of this fact.  Praise God that his love prevails over all things in this world!


  1. "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. " Eleanor Roosevelt

    Jenny, God with you. Emmanuel. Please take the best of care of yourself so you can continue caring for others. Stay hydrated & get enough rest to do your body good!

  2. We're sad for the loss of Dennis. And praying for Samuel, his brother, and their friend with them when this happened. Jesus must have felt the intense pain swirling around Him, when as we learn in John 11:35, "Jesus wept" over His friend Lazarus. Praying the Lord's comfort tenderly surrounds you.
    " . . . God will tenderly comfort you . . . 2 Corinthians 1:7

    Thanks to you, Jenny, for sharing this passage with me shortly before you ventured to Kenya. And reminding me that Jesus felt intensely His emothions even though He knew the outcome would be good. -- Jesus knew that, in a matter of minutes, He was going to be raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44). - - The best is, indeed, yet to be through Christ Jesus!

  3. Elyse, Melinda, and Gene pray for you Jenny. We pray that God heals you and protects you. We pray that God heals the sick and broken that God puts before you. We praise God for the gfts that we have and that includes you.
    Gene Neves