By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times | Bryce Homes Program International
I have never been enthusiastic about short-term missionary work that uses the “drop and run” method of handing someone a gospel tract then heading home never to be seen again. While God can use any method or technique to plant seeds of truth that later can be germinated by the Holy Spirit to produce good fruit, God has led Understand The Times in a different way. The way this has happened is truly a God thing. We did not come up with an idea or method and then put it in action by human means. By simply being led by circumstances divinely appointed, we came alongside nationals who are already strong believers and discovered they had a desire to reach their own people but lacked the means to do so.
This is exactly what has happened in Kenya. While Christianity in Africa is tainted (to put it mildly) with “every wind of doctrine” known to the Body of Jesus Christ (largely thanks to Western teachers), the contacts to whom the Lord introduced us were not only like-minded and grounded in the Word, they demonstrated themselves to be ministers of the gospel who operate with accountability. This is the first prerequisite that must be fulfilled in order to put together a team for implementing a program with an organization that is based halfway around the world.
As I have mentioned previously, the obvious lack of food required for nutrition for orphans and widows was the first indication to me there was a physical need that had to be addressed if we were going to be effective as ministers of the gospel in the country of Kenya. How do you tell someone about the wonderful salvation provided by the grace of God when each evening he or she goes to bed with hunger pains so intense sleep is not even possible? While those of us who live in developed countries have no idea what this kind of experience would be like, for the poor and desperate in Kenya this is just everyday life.
Further, while in the areas we are attempting to reach there is the possibility of producing food such as maize, beans, and rice, widows who have been left helpless by the loss of their husbands also have a problem with the lack of regular water supply. They are held captive by a hopeless situation. Since nutrition is one of the main factors relating to health and growth, illness is common place in Kenya. This further adds to the woes of fatherless families who are attempting to cope with life.
The first phase of our outreach program in Kenya was to provide nourishment to the families we incorporated into our program on a monthly basis. This is done as our three leaders purchase the food in bulk, pack it in bags according to the size of each family, and then deliver it by hiring drivers and rental cars.
The supplies not only include rice, maize, and beans but essentials for cooking including salt and oil. Soap for washing and cleaning bodies is a luxury that most had never experienced, but now they have this too. The next phase was to provide blankets, clothes instead of the rags they were wearing, and mattresses for the widows so they did not have to sleep on the mud floors. Click here to continue reading.
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