For me, one of the most exciting parts of the mission work we do in Meru, is the opportunity I have had to develop relationships with the HOPE team and others of our Meru community. In August of 2010, I made my first trip to Meru and I must say it was life changing. There were so many surprises from experiencing a depth of poverty I had not anticipated, to the indescribable warmth of the Meru people. It was life changing.
This past winter, the CHERISH Kenya team decided to send Peter Mburugu back to Meru to again for summer work with the HOPE team. We planned in fine Presbyterian style and prepared goals and objectives for his trip.
Summer came and so did some new surprises. The Mburugu children, Joy and Justin were able to travel to Meru. Together with John Ikiugu, they visited several of our sponsored children. They saw schools and homes, gathered letters, took videos and had some amazing experiences. Through them, we were able to experience our ministry with new eyes.
And then came the Sunday in early August when I decided that I could no longer resist the invitation I had received to attend the wedding of my Harriet, a young woman I had sponsored for several years and with whom I was still in close contact. The thrill in 2010 was to be able to hug her for the first time, and though only a few weeks away, I could no longer resist the call to go to this most special event of her life.
On August 24, with Josephine Mburugu at the helm, I found myself on my way back to Meru ! Being a tag along with Peter and Josephine on this mission trip, meant I would just blend into the woodwork and melt into everyday life ….be a fly on the wall as we say. (My husband just laughed at that intent knowing full well it was not possible.)
What a treat it was to be able to attend the HOPE annual seminar as an observer. Classes were held for the sponsored students and their families. I had the opportunity to wander between them and watch as the names I had known so well on paper, became real people. I heard the testimonies of sponsored students as they spoke in front of their peers telling them about how fortunate they were to have the opportunities provided them because of sponsorships. One young woman told the students that there are lots of stars in the night sky. She encouraged to each try to shine and be the brightest !!!
Visiting the members of the HOPE board and friends on a personal basis was a particular honor. From Esther’s home where we ate and sang, switching from electrical lights to candles as it was “one of those days” in Meru, to Elijah’s, the Mburugu family home and a very wonderful visit to the family home of John Kirimi Ikiugu, I felt so blessed.
Of course my main calling and the reason I had decided to travel to Meru in the first place, was to attend the wedding. An all day affair, it started with a gathering and meal at the bride's home in the morning and lasted into the late evening at the groom's family home. Pictures can only begin to tell the story !
The highlight for me was a moment I will never forget. I was given the honor of presenting an offering of roasted meat to the groom family as we process into their home.
As many of my friends can attest, I can go on and on with stories of my experiences in Meru. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to facilitate this sponsorship ministry. I am learning more than I could have imagined in this journey with the CHERISH and HOPE Mission partnership. My understanding of mission is expanding. With eyes opened, I have learned to sense that my perspective of the world is just a beginning. In an attempt to tag along, I found myself swept up into new opportunities and understandings that God is offering to me if I let go and trust myself to listen to His call.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
For it is in giving that we receive. For it is by faith that we believe.