“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee” – John Donne
Although these words are centuries old, they still ring true. We are a piece of the whole here. Despite the cultural divide between us and the Samburu we feel we are intertwined to the fate of the people in this place. We can not separate ourselves from what we see, dismiss the suffering or shield our eyes and hearts from the sorrow, any more than we can dull our sights to the beauty and magnificence of life, the wonder of creation or the resilience of spirit in this place. We look for ways to help, to uplift, to come alongside, to share laughter and humanity while wrestling together the circumstances of poverty. We look to find hope, to tap into resources, to harness the strength of mind, body and spirit we see so evident which rises above and celebrate life, even life lived in the shadowlands of suffering. The thread of redemption is so evident here. It screams at us in stories like Marasaio’s or Ntalado “the lost & found boy”, it sings to us in the nightly morani serenade floating upon the night air, it surrounds us in the wind that whips over the brow of the mountains. Redemption. deliverance… whispers and screams of Hope
.A smile spills out, peeking from underneath bright brown eyes. Marasaio has returned. He responds softly to my Samburu greeting and then looks around with one word on his lips, “Jesse”. Jesse comes to greet Marasaio, and we remember in thoughts, while not having the words to share, our conjoint journey and efforts on the plane, car, wheelchair and gurney to get Marasaio to hospital. He spent nearly three weeks in hospital at AIC Kijabe. When he left Kurungu, barely a form, crying in pain, having to be carried in a blanket, unable to walk, stand or sit. Infection with TB had eaten away at his hip joint leaving him overcome, likely weeks away from the end. And yet,- he is here now, sitting before me, practising with his crutches in our yard or holding the hand of his small pal, Jesse. What a difference a few weeks, surgery and medicine can make. His life restored.
We overflow with hopefulness, because the healing of Marasaio comes along with the
great opportunity of sharing Jesus with the Samburu. Marasaio’s uncle, the chief of Longerin, returned so impressed by love evidenced at the hospital, by conversations he had with Dr. Mara and the staff at Kijabe that he has welcomed us to come and share the Jesus film with his village of 3000 people.
And it is a simple truth that we face (or spend our lives not facing)- the fact that we all need deliverance. We need that Redemption, the Hope which rescues far more than the trials of our circumstances, the disease or the physical pain we face, it rescues the destitution of our Spirit. There are greater problems than poverty or suffering, (although in the last months we have seen things that have had the potential to lead us to the edge of despair and wonder about themes of mercy, grace and humanity). It is not easy, we face questions, and have few answers, but we do not lack is Hope. We may not have cutting edge philosophies, or cling to the latest humanitarian or social theories on development, but we see clearly, simply the desperate need for our own redemption, and the redemption of the Samburu here, physical, but also beyond healing bodies and treating wounds, the greater needs of the heart and spirit, the need for Jesus.
In the last week, there has been a tune that repeats in my head, again and again,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee….Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All could never sin erase, Thou must save, and save by grace.
Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Helpless but not hopeless. Rejoice with us in Marasaio’s miracle. Pray with us as we venture to Longerin in the near future to bring the Gospel of Redemption.
Thank you to the many who pray, give, and cling to Hope with us.