Lord, Thank You for Sending Me

17 Feb

Lord, Thank You for Sending Me

Picture of sunrise in Bungoma, Kenya
Sunrise in the town of Bungoma, Kenya. “Thank you Father for allowing me to begin a new day!”

Lord, Thank You for Sending Me

Carmen’s first trip blog from Africa

Dear Family,

In the book, African Safari for Jesus, Herman Bauman tells the story of a young missionary’s prayer: “Lord send me anywhere to do whatever I can to share the message of Your love.” God’s reply: “Would you go to Africa?” His response, “Oh Lord, please, anywhere but Africa.”

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had that conversation with Jesus, but the cool thing is you can serve Him in Africa, through the Disabilities Ministry, without ever leaving home! (Of course, if the Lord actually wants to plant your feet there, I don’t want to stand in His way!)

Together, you and I have been serving in Kenya for several years now, with ever-increasing presence. With each visit I discover warmer welcomes, brighter smiles, and more love than I deserve. More than once I considered moving. The strength and endless ability to overcome hardship, while maintaining prayerful thanksgiving, are truly remarkable traits many Kenyans possess.

As some of you know, I was unable to travel in 2019 due to personal matters. But that didn’t stop East Africa from calling out to me, loud and clear, so it was time to travel once again!

So, after 4 flights and 30 hours enroute, I arrived in Saboti, Kenya, last week. Saboti is a small rural village 250 miles northwest of Nairobi, the capital city. Here I am privileged to partner with a great man of God with a heart bigger than the country itself: Cleophas Makona. Bishop Makona oversees dozens of churches throughout the country, and always invites me to deliver God’s Word in as many as will fit into my schedule—all the while I’m remembering that travel between each is always over rutted, washed-out dirt roads littered with bone-jarring potholes that are more like landmines.

Before each service we meet and evaluate several disability cases. Gathering background info, reviewing medical records and recommendations, discussing next steps, and finally ending in prayer. Every case is a unique challenge accompanied by a loving individual created in the likeness and image of our Lord. I wish you could be here with me and look into their eyes, hear their stories, smell the filth they often are forced to live in due to extreme poverty, and sense their simple joy in the Lord despite their desperate situations. My heart’s desire is to help each and every one—as long as God provides the financial resources through wonderful friends like you.

Picture of school and special needs child in Kenya
At left, my friend Cleophas Makona; at center, Cleophas took it upon himself to name his school in Saboti “Heavens Family”; and at right, Newton, a 12-year-old boy with mental and physical challenges, has 6 siblings. His mom requested tuition, room and board for a special needs school. We have elected to assist with daily transport, and a bit for lunch, so that he can continue to live at home with his family rather than in an institution.

After a few hours of that we wind down the cases, and then the service begins! Today’s message at the church in Kimilili: Your faith journey is much like my career as an airline pilot. You cannot “take off” with salvation, “leave the controls unattended” in disobedience, and expect to arrive at your intended destination. My message was interrupted many times with amens, shouts, and praises going up (that was encouraging feedback in Africa, where so many are preaching false messages such as, “Sewing seeds of prosperity”).

Assisting with physical needs, while serving spiritual growth, is pretty much God’s will. I think this is the reason I love Africa so much. Thanks so much for making this ministry to the disabled possible. Please watch for my next trip blog.

I covet your prayers for my continuing travel through East Africa.

Because of Him,

Signature of the Director of the Disabilities Ministry

Carmen Parise

Director, Disabilities Ministry

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