Friday was our last day in Bondeni and it was both happy and sad! Before I share the events of Friday, however, I need to give you at least a few highlights from Thursday. It was an absolutely amazing God filled day that could only have been possible through His provision. Our team had a mountain top experience and a deep valley experience with everything in between all in one day. Members of the medical team helped repair the deformed hands of a woman and her two daughters. When the woman saw her hand without the deformity for the first time in her life, she shed a tear and said, “now I am beautiful.” I think those of us who were present shed a few tears along with her. This was the mountain top. Meanwhile, our physical therapist, while doing home visits, encountered a family with a mentally disabled teenage girl who is kept locked in a shed by herself with a paint can to use for a toilet. This was the valley. The rest of the team had a phenomenal day, seeing a huge number of people from the community and praying for every single person that came through. This was everything in between. The team meeting at the close of the day was filled with heartfelt testimonies, tears and prayers.
Friday began, as every other day this week has begun, with a wonderful breakfast at Grace House. We dropped one member of the business development team off at Pengani to wrap up the week’s activities there. The rest of the team went to the school in lower Bondeni for a short tour and to meet the children and teachers of that school. These children are five to six years old and they are going to school in conditions that are unimaginable. Their devoted teachers are dedicated and very effective at teaching them solid moral values and strong fundamentals of faith in Jesus, along with reading, writing and arithmetic. What they are achieving is truly evidence of the hand of God at work!
After leaving the school in lower Bondeni, we walked through the community and to the the school in upper Bondeni, which is where we have been working all week. There really are no words to describe life in this community. I, for one, did not think that reality could be much harsher than what we saw on Monday in Pengani, but it can. People in Bondeni live amongst mounds of trash, raw sewage and a stench that permeates the air until it is almost hard to breath. The adults, at best, appear to be surviving, and at worst, are self medicating with drugs or alcohol. Despite it all, most of the children are smiling and happy, though few appear to be very healthy. The only words that come to mind at this time is heart wrenching.
We spent the morning at the school in upper Bondeni, seeing patients and praying for them. After lunch, our gracious hosts put on a celebration fit for royalty. There were speeches, singing, dancing, a delicious cake and, of course, gratefulness to God for all that He blessed us with this week. We will miss our friends in Bondeni until we see them again. They gave us the following scripture as a final gift before we left the school: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these bothers of mine, you did for me.” Matt. 25:34-40, NIV
Mary and Wallace Kamau, the founders of Missions of Hope International, invited us to their home for dinner. We were once again reminded that we’re not in Indiana anymore when we saw a monkey sitting on the roof of their house when we arrived. Dinner was delightful and the conversation was even better. The relationship that we are building with MoHi is inspiring and God driven. We eagerly look forward to more opportunities to advance His kingdom in Bondeni and wherever He leads us! Mungu Nimwema Sicuzote! (God is good, all the time!)