Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Building a church in Marera

So far our trip has been very good in every respect, except that we have been plagued with communication problems.  My new modem stopped working after day one, our Kenyan cell phones are acting flaky, and the city has been losing power at very inopportune times.  So, we have had a really hard time sending updates back home.

Anyway, yesterday I was able to grab a few minutes of time at the internet cafe (when we actually had power) and send a quick update via Facebook informing people of a pretty urgent need.  My younger brother, Cody, has been working very hard to raise money for this poultry project, but we didn't budget for any other projects.  So, when the members of the Marera Church of Christ asked us on Sunday if there was anything we could do to help them rebuild their church building, we just had to say no.

This was hard, because this little congregation of about 40 meets under an acacia tree each Sunday.  A couple of years ago a very generous friend of mine graciously donated the funds to build a church building for this community, complete with a concrete floor which is quite a luxury for these rural Kenyan people.  Unfortunately, the Kenyan man in charge at the time was not acting very honorably, and in a parting shot before he left the community, he dismantled the church building and sold the pieces.

I was so impressed by the response of the church at the time.  Rather than reacting in anger by burning the man's home (which is customary here), they responded with love and mercy.  Now that that one man is out of the picture I am very hopeful for the future of this community and this congregation.  There are some very good people here, kind, generous, hospitable, honorable, trustworthy, and spirit-filled, and I am so excited to be working with this group.  That made it even more difficult to tell them that we just didn't have the funds available to build the church building.  Instead we had to advise them that by focusing their resources on these two poultry projects, they would eventually be able to earn enough income to rebuild the building.  In the mean time, they would just have to worship in the rain.

So, as a bit of a long shot, I thought I would post a message on Facebook asking if there was anyone who might be able to help out.  This congregation has been working hard to raise the funds for their own building, and they have already purchased many of the supplies with their weekly contributions.  However, they still lacked about $1700 to finish the building.

My Facebook request went out at 2:00am Central Time in the US (because that was the only time I could access the internet), so I was sure no one would even see it.

But I forgot about my "miracle friend" in Singapore whom I have never met in person.  We actually met through a divinely-directed series of strange coincidences involving Katie Davis, the young missionary to Uganda who has inspired so many (especially me) by her life and writings (http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com).  Ask me about this sometime if you are interested.  Fortunately, even when Americans are still asleep the Singaporeans are up and awake, busily responding to desperate pleas for funds for rural Kenyan church buildings.

So, thanks to the generosity of two people, we have already raised most of what we need for the church building!  We are still short about $700, but my confidence in the Church responding to her African brothers and sisters in need has been restored, and I am confident that we can raise the rest.

If you would like to take part in this project and help the good people of Marera rebuild their church, you can still make a donation for this cause.  Just go to the Huruma House website (http://www.hurumahouse.org/donations.html) and click the "Donate to Marera Fund" button.  Our (woefully underdeveloped) website also tells you where to send a check if you would rather do that.

Well, this is amazing that the electricity has held up long enough for me to write all this, but now Dad and Cody and I need to get out to the site and help build a church building.  The current plan is to repair and extend the old church foundation, and then just put up some wooden poles and a metal roof.  If the rest of the funds come in soon, we should be able to add the walls as well (made of iron sheets).

We have so much going on here that I want to tell you about, but Moses just called and our Kenya friends are waiting for us, so it will have to wait for later.

Your brother in Christ,
Jeff Wilhite

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