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Humphrey for President

19 Mar

Boys in Africa in front of mud hut
Me with my new friends Hudson, left, and Humphrey

Humphrey for President

Shooting for the stars from a mud hut in Kenya

Dear Family,

Biases and prejudices are often formed due to lack of knowledge, education, and exposure. We often base our expectations on appearances and environmental factors placing limitations and restrictions on individuals that often are unwarranted and ill conceived. I am no stranger to this behavior and recently had an opportunity to take a step back and have a closer look.

Setting out early one day, I went to check on a few of the cases we have been assisting and discipling in rural west Kenya. I traveled with John Opar, a partner of the Disabilities Ministry. We visited a school serving physically disabled children, the hut of a young mentally disabled woman who conceived as a result of being raped by her uncle, and a husband and dad of 5 who was stricken at a young age with polio. Our usual journey involved a trip on the main road to the center of a typical East African small town, where we then traversed a rutted road desperately in need of repair, and finally trekked on foot on a sometimes-challenging path to our destination.

Arriving in the gathering of about 5 huts we were greeted by a plethora of inquisitive children dressed in tattered clothes, the youngest being naked or close to it. They kept their distance, apparently pondering why John brought this crazy-looking short white guy in tow. John soon quelled their apprehensions in a banter of Swahili.

Then two young men emerged from a thatched mud hut—Hudson, 16, and Humphrey, 14; brothers-and-pretty-much-regular-teenage-guys other than the significant humps protruding from the center of their backs. We then discussed their time and experiences at Joy Valley School for the Disabled (a privilege for which they are most appreciative of you, because they know your donations to Heaven’s Family’s Disabilities Ministry make it possible).

During our meeting we discussed favorite subjects at school and the fact they have to share a bed. Humphrey, upon questioning his plans regarding the future, quite matter-of-factly expressed his desire to become the President of Kenya one-day. Upon further query he clarified: “To make a difference, effect political change, and improve life for the people of Kenya.”

I pondered: how does one facing such challenges focus on such high expectation? I then realized that I was exercising bias based on physical appearance and perceived ability. I read Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me,” and came to realize that so often when I set out to disciple others I am instead discipled by them.

Boys with hunchbacks in Kenya
As you can see, their disability can be a source of ridicule, misunderstanding and, yes, easily cause others to underestimate their value

Contemplating the current needs of these brothers, and the desire to assist them, it is apparent that staying in school and better housing are two priorities. The boys have no mother, and are no longer able to reside in their father’s house now that he has remarried, they are past the age of puberty, and they have been circumcised (local custom that must be followed). John, able and compassionate, recommended a 3-room brick house that can be built for about $3,500. Shelter, protection, and comfort for brothers who love life despite the trials they face. That is a reasonable request, and after spending time with those guys I think Humphrey for President is a reasonable aspiration (I seem to recall another Humphrey thinking it was a good idea, too). If you would like to take part in meeting this need, please click here.

Thank you to all of you who partner with this ministry—and indeed, make it happen. We can help change lives one set of brothers at a time. May God continue to be in their lives and help them to fulfill their dreams!

Because of Him,

Signature of the Director of the Disabilities Ministry

Carmen Parise
Director, Disabilities Ministry

Click Here to Give to the Disabilities Ministry

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