Unbridled Generosity

Unbridled Generosity

Guest Post | Personal Reflection

This is a guest post by Gina Jacklin. Gina serves as our Administrator and Sponsorship Coordinator. Recently she was in Kenya and Tanzania visiting two of newest partner projects, and witnessed first-hand the impact the Hope Story funded projects impact the lives of the children in those communities.

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While in Kenya we had the opportunity to attend Sunday worship with the local people of Kikima, the staff and children from Creation of Hope. Though the service was delivered in the local language of kikamba, it was an incredible experience to worship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Before leaving to church, Eric suggested that perhaps Dennis might want to spend a little extra time with us on our ride to church rather than go in the van with the rest of the kids. I asked one of the caregivers to ask Dennis if he wanted to come with us but to make sure he felt like he didn't have to if he didn't want to... well it didn't take long for him to vigorously nod his head and take my hand so he rode with us to church. Ever since then, he and a few of the other kids have grown close to me, wanting to hold my hand as we play. I'm not sure who has been enjoying play time more though...me or the kids...anyways I completely digress.

During the service, there was a couple things that struck me...first it was the style and length of worship. There was an upbeat flare in the worship music and dance components which really appealed to my Latin roots. What was also surprising was the length of the service, which ran for about 3 hours. The concept of time here is so fluid, that the idea of being late or early is so elusive and it seems that most people are really in no hurry to get to and from anywhere. Though this has its disadvantages, in many ways I found this pace refreshing during the service even though I had little idea what was happening, I primarily just enjoyed the fellowship, song and dance aspects. For a moment, it felt like time stood still and I was able to reflect on scripture teachings from a relatively new perspective (we were following along with an English bible) given the unique cultural, socioeconomic and geographical surroundings.

What was most amazing and remarkable to me was the unbridled generosity of the local people. During the offering part of the service, there were 3 separate offering calls for various causes. One of those causes was for raising funds for the creation of Hope children's home.

With a small congregation of about a 100 (give or take) that day, the approximate equivalent to $320 CAD was raised just for creation of Hope alone and I believe it was an equally impressive amount for the other two offerings. It is hard to put into context how incredible this is as the level of extreme poverty seen in this area is unfathomable to many who have not seen it first-hand. In some cases, the poverty is so extreme that it is quite common for extremely poor members of the congregation who have no money, to offer the first fruits of their crops instead, as we witnessed that day.

Offering your first fruits of perhaps a limited selection of crops, is such an incredible act of trust and thankfulness. To me, a symbolic act of trusting God to continue to bless through the provision of food throughout the rest of the harvest season. To put in greater perspective the level of unbridled generosity of the local Kenyan community in this area, in 2017 the approximate equivalent of $53,750 CAD was raised by 171 churches currently present in the mbooni region where creation of Hope is located. That means an astounding 47% of total support is now being raised by local Kenyans living in poverty for this program.

This is a remarkable example of how deeply God's word and love for the vulnerable has been actively reflected, lived out and shared through the generosity of the local people and their concern for one another. I feel both challenged and inspired by the example that has been set before us from this wonderful community that is so faithful in their generous ways.

"As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4. 

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