Spirit in the Slum
The poverty present in Kibera—the largest slum area in Africa—was not simply something we’d seen on TV, it was before our eyes!
In Kibera, disease is rampant, due to open sewage and dumps and non-existent sanitation. Fifty shacks share a hole in the ground for the toilet, and when filled up, young men dig everything up to be dumped into the river. Most men are unemployed while most women are either widowed or given a burdensome responsibility. Some orphans run barefoot and play all day while fortunate ones are educated by a local orphanage. Healthcare is way beyond the reach of the people who live here. Life expectancy in Kibera is 30 years of age, 60% of the population has HIV/AIDS, and 20% of the children die before the age of five.
Laughter Amid Poverty
Working with the organization, “Blessed the Children African Mission,” on a team with 20 individuals of diverse cultures, races, beliefs, and values, our purpose was to serve humanity in some of the most impoverished countries of the world.
Difficult as it was for our team to walk through Kibera, yet in the midst of the slum we visited an orphanage that radiated an indescribable joy and hope. The hearts of the children were so pure. We saw a young girl selflessly give a piece of her tiny bread to all her friends without hesitation. She willingly sacrificed her own portion! My teammates and I were dumbfounded at how SATISFIED, JOYFUL, and SELFLESS these children were. They had lost their parents and have almost nothing, but even so, they still laugh and give away their little as if they had everything!
Though overwhelming,the experience at Kibera taught me much about God’s burden and pursuit for the impoverished, the forgotten widows, and the abandoned orphans. He opened up the eyes of my heart to truly see His heart and His cry for the nations to come into relationship with Him.
In Tanzania, our team worked in an isolated area called Misi Village, partnering with African nursing students to set up a health clinic. The clinic consisted of triage, dentist, health screenings, pharmacy, eye glasses, and health education. Seeing hundreds of patients every day, I put forth my best, caring for the patients through medical means and serving them with the love of Christ.
Because I was with a team of both nonbelievers and Christians, God called me out of my comfort zone and empowered me to rise up and reach out. During lunch and packing time, God led me out of the clinic to sit among the Africans and share about the transforming power of Christ on the cross. I was often surprised by my own boldness as God revealed to me gifts I’d never discovered before in the States. His presence was so intimate and strong as He used me to preach His Word, lay hands on the sick, pray over the brokenhearted, and shine the light of Christ in their darkness. As people came to know Christ, I could only praise Him with all my heart because I did absolutely nothing. It was His penetrating light that shined through this jar of clay!
7-Minutes Onto Faith
My encounter with Lea was definitely orchestrated by God! After talking to a group of about eight women and finding out that none of them had heard the name Jesus, I was approached by Lea who asked for prayer. As translated, she had been having chronic knee pain for a very long time which disturbed her sleeping and walking. Even though I felt absolutely inadequate and was completely faithless that God would heal, I decided to take a step of faith, laid my hand on her knee, and opened my mouth. At that moment, I felt the Spirit take over my mouth and a surge of power moved through me. After the prayer, in amazement, Lea proclaimed that the pain was completely gone. I asked her multiple times if she was joking, and she assured me she was completely healed.
The Spirit had opened the door for me to share the gospel with Lea! I emphasized that Jesus healed her physically as a means to pursue her heart. I shared the gospel with her, and she surrendered her life to Christ. Her face LIT UP with overflowing joy. It was so obvious that the gospel had done a mighty work of transformation.
The Spirit prompted me to ask Lea to share her testimony about Christ’s work on the cross to the crowd of villagers who had started circling around us. At this moment, the 7-minute-old believer PREACHED IT at the top of her lungs as her passion literally exploded to the whole crowd. I saw the church in The Book of Acts played out before me as she spoke so confidently about the healing, restoration, and love in Christ. Yes, this—from a 7-minute-old believer! The next thing I knew, Lea was leading the whole crowd in a prayer to surrender their lives to Jesus. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh! It was so amazing!
Until the Whole World Hears
I’m back in the States now and I know my love for Christ and the lost world has increased—especially for Africa, a place where I felt so at home. Lea remains close to my heart, and I often intercede for her.
“Lord I want to feel with Your heart,
See the world through Your eyes;
I want to be Your hands and feet;
I want to live a life that leads,
To shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night! "