Today we made the long and perilous journey across town to visit our friends at DANSO. I say “long and perilous” because it was 2 ½ hours of driving though some of the worse areas of Nairobi. Miles and miles of slum areas littered with trash and horrid smells. And don’t think I am exaggerating; it is far worse than I could ever describe.
The end result, though, was worth it. To meet with people we love and whose testimonies have made us realize that what we are doing in Kenya is making a difference. So many of these dear brothers and sisters have been lifted up out of absolute despair to live joyful lives of hope and praise.
DANSO stands for The Dandora Aids Support Network Organization and it is very special to us because it’s the first group we worked with when we started WorldComp. Valerie and I were so touched by their stories and by the enormity of their need, that we came home determined to raise money to support them in their battle for life. All of our other projects sprang up from this first ministry.
Most of the original members of the group are now gone, but for the right reasons. They have become community health care workers, social workers, and vocational training leaders who provide vital services to people in Kenya who are living with AIDS. There is a whole new group now, led by a young man named Peter Hagono and his wife, who are both living with AIDS.
Henry Okumo, who headed DANSO for many years, is now living in another area across town. He is a master tailor who trains scores women and men to sew. He has expanded the influence of DANSO by starting another organization like DANSO that reaches out to people with AIDS where he lives. He is also a social worker who is on call for local hospitals in the area.
Today he took us to a Children’s home that takes in handicapped children, because he wanted us to pray for a 15 year old boy named Samuel.
Samuel was born handicapped and with AIDS. He has had an absolutely horrible life. His parents neglected him and left him alone and rarely fed him. When social services finally found him he was just a skeleton of a boy. To make matters worse, they had locked him in the house and the heat of the house had caused blisters to form all over his body.
Henry came to see him right after they rescued him. He couldn’t raise his hands, or talk and he didn’t want anyone to touch him. Now, after just four months, he can talk a bit, he can feed himself and he reads all the time. He is very intelligent! We laid our hands on him and prayed for him, but after we prayed he looked one of our team members straight in the eye and said, “There is no God! If there was a God, my life wouldn’t be like this!”
I’ll tell you, we were deeply impacted by this. Even though it is apparent that God, in His mercy, has intervened on his behalf, and he is now recovering from the trauma of his life, he hasn’t recognized who it is that is helping him.
All of us, however, had an assurance that this boy will come to know the Lord and that he will be a wonderful testimony to the love and mercy of God.
I know I’ve spent a lot of time telling you about this boy, but our work in this world is not about groups, or projects, it’s all about one boy! I think of Jesus talking to one woman at the well, singling out one man by the pool of Bethesda, calling one little man down from a tree, or looking in the eyes of one woman taken in adultery. And I know it comes down to that one! Today the Lord will put one in your path! Don’t miss them!
One very touching moment was when Kevin, our driver, had to excuse himself for a moment and find a private place to cry because his heart was so touched by this boy, by the children living in this place, and by the many refugee women who were living on the grounds because they had no place in the world to go!
I pray the Lord will give us eyes to see the desperate needs of those in our world.
Yours in His Service,