Today begins something called the 40 Day Fast, and you can click here to learn about it, and here to get the full roster. I tried to put a widget-linky-thing on my sidebar, but it doesn't work. This is onaccounta I'm a doofus.
Everyone involved wants to see God's Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, and we're convinced that sponsoring a child through Compassion International is a great way to help make that happen.
Below is something I wrote while visiting our Compassion girl in the slums of Nairobi. (You should watch the last two minutes of that video, if you haven't already...)
I didn't get to take Jesus into the slums. He was waiting for us.
(First, before today's entry, let me note that I'm typing to the strains of a tuxedo-clad young Kenyan on the piano in our hotel. I'm sitting in the lobby, and he's regally playing -- of course -- "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille", by Kenny Rogers. Many things don't translate cross-culturally, but -- make no mistake -- Kenny translates. Kenny crosses all boundaries.)
Susan leaned over, from her seat in the van.
"Notice where the children are playing -- look out the left window," she said. Susan knows this area well; she's worked for Compassion for years.
They were playing next to a pile of trash that's well over their heads, and seems to stretch for miles. The stench hit us immediately.
"They put all these schools next to the dump. All of Nairobi dumps its trash here," she said. Children of Dandora -- another sprawling, Where-the-Streets-Have-No-Name-type slum -- scavenge through the refuse, looking for food, or something to sell. Anything.
We stopped, and walked in a Dandora Baptist Church, where children at a Compassion project were singing. Their voices bounced off the walls, singing praises to God. Then we met about dozen people in the church who are suffering from AIDS. The whole community is suffering -- every family, one way or the other -- from AIDS.
A young man -- they called him "Timothy" -- stood up to introduce himself to us.
We could look out the windows to the right and left as he spoke, and see children in the filth. We could see dozens of vultures flying directly overhead, over the trash, over the dirt, over the disease-riddled, dark cardboard homes. Welcome to Dandora.
"Welcome to Dandora, where God lives."
Where God lives?
Circling vultures. Men, women, and children crying out with disease, children searching through stinking trash for anything...where God lives.
Timothy has lived his whole life here. Someone sponsored him through Compassion International, when he was four. He's now in his twenties. He now has a degree in Computer Science. He now teaches kids in the program about computers.
He knows where God lives. He knows God does not run away from suffering. He moves closer. Dandora is suffering, and God gets His mail here.
He also teaches the children -- who are where he once was --about the love of God.
"I understand the love of God. I understand how a God, whom I have not seen, can love me. This is because someone, whom I have not seen, loved me enough to sponsor me. I understand the love of God."
Where God lives.