Monday, August 1, 2016

From the Jericho Road to the Jerusalem Road

Sometimes he would knock, and sometimes he would just march in with bright eyes and a mischievous grin, demanding his daily banana.  He enjoyed the simple Bible stories that Mama Anna read to him and then began desiring to read for himself.  Despite his interest and intelligence, there was not much hope in his life.  His father had abandoned the family, his mother worked long hours, and his older siblings had a reputation for being thieves.  The family could not afford the moderate fees needed to enroll him in a school.  And so, this 6-year-old boy was left at home every day, with no one to watch him and nothing to do.  Nothing, that is, except to wander at will, trying to entertain himself, and getting into trouble by following the examples of his older siblings.  He went from playing pranks to petty thievery, and our hearts ached over him, thinking of the life that lay ahead of him.  What hope was there for Davi?

My wife and I were riding into town one day on the local “dala dala” discussing ideas about Davi, once again wondering what would be the best plan.  It is good to give assistance, but one needs to be careful to help in a way that does not hurt.  To help in a way that enables the person to contribute to the plan.  In other words – “to help them to help themselves”.  In this case, Davi needed help getting into a school, and his contribution would be in putting forth the effort to learn his lessons.

“Bonface!” I exclaimed, “I wonder if Bonface can help him.  He is a teacher at the Compassion Centers; working with troubled and disadvantaged children and he knows a lot of people.  I think he could give some advice and make some connections for Davi to go to school somewhere.”

So, I called to ask that he stop by to discuss what could be done to provide the boy with an education.  Several visits later, Bonface’s kind assistance resulted in Davi being enrolled in a local Christian school and the fees being paid by a sponsor.  And he offered to personally check on Davi and to send us regular progress reports.  Recently we have heard that Davi is a happy boy, doing well in school, and thriving in his new role.  He has become one of the Children of Hope.

Bonface actually directs a compassionate ministry in southern Kenya called “Children of Hope”.  His years of work with Compassion International in Mwanza, Tanzania gave him the necessary skills and training to start a legally registered ministry in his home village.  I have written about him in the past with an article entitled “Children of Hope, Children of the King” (August 2015 – you can look for it in the archives of this blog if you want to get the full story).  Even though Davi’s story took place in Tanzania, this is a fine example of what Bonface’s vision is about: giving vulnerable children a hope for a better future through education, nutrition, vocational and spiritual training.

It has been our privilege to have visited with Bonface’s family in Kenya to see what is taking place there.  And it has been our privilege to host Bonface in our own home here in Kentucky for the past two months.  It never ceases to amaze us to experience God’s provision for our lives.  Just a few years ago, it would have been almost inconceivable for us to imagine visiting someone in a foreign country and then to have them come to stay in our home also.  For Bonface as well, it has been one miracle after another that has enabled him to join us in our ordinary living – to live as family with us.

The Gospel of Luke records for us Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan: the man who found someone in trouble along the Jericho Road and cared enough to give assistance. He was not required to stop and take time to help, as evidenced by the ones who hurried past without slowing down.  It was a heart of compassion that compelled him to take on the bruised stranger as one of his own family; finding the proper care and solution to the man’s pressing needs. “Good Samaritans” exist today; many of us have known one in our own lives.  Bonface is lifting children off the side of the Jericho road and placing them on the Jerusalem road:  the one that leads them to a future with our loving Father in heaven.  We are grateful for the privilege of joining with him; contact us if you want to join with him too.

May the peace of Christ be with you,
Brother Nathan

Davi in his new school (front left)

Bonface stopping in to check on Davi's progress

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