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Soli Deo Gloria

Written by: Carla

Rather than walk you through each widow visit we had the privilege of doing this morning, I'll focus in on one and leave you to extrapolate as to the other 30some over the past week. My hope is you get a feel as to what it's like to be 'boots on the ground' ... It'll be a long one; sorry, not sorry!

This is the first time a VOH team met Monica and her grandson Tyson; the widows in the Seje area have had 3 visits total already from the 2 field partners and the HFL liaison. Today we all learned she had 11 children, 9 of which have died. She elaborated she did not see it as a punishment from God or that it was her personal guilt contributing to these losses, but she could endure and continued to pray throughout that God strengthen her. She is now raising her grandchildren as a result. She acknowledged the goodness of the Lord and sees how it is Him Who gives them peace. Even in pain He consoles you, she affirmed. He gives a strength which she said is not normal, it is from the Lord. Whenever she goes to church and has the opportunity in her home, she encourages others. She reminded me of the portion of Matthew 12 regarding the tree being known by its fruits: 'For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks'.

She was so happy to report they recently started a Seje women group to study the Bible together. When we dug a little deeper, we discovered both Tyson and Monica both need a Luo translation of the Bible (the Swahili version is too difficult and 'deep' for folks with lower education levels). When we discovered her eyesight was deteriorating, Helen gave her an extra pair of eyeglasses which absolutely delighted her because they made such a huge difference. The VOH field partners had already given them a bed, 2 blankets and a mattress. The males in her family sleep in the simba (a separate hut) with 3 men on one mattress, sharing one small blanket under a thatched grass house roof that leaks. They have to gather the mattress and their blanket when it rains and stand in a certain part of the room and wait until the rain passes. Monica's home needs new treated (to protect from termites) rafters and a metal roof, another 4 mattresses and 4 more blankets for the females of the family. Termites are eating the wooden rafters of the main house and the roof is leaking due to a few holes and the joints of the metal not being sealed. Further questions determined she cooks under a tree so we are proposing to make a kitchen house and use the old metal from her home for the roof on that. She has no wash house and also needs a latrine. Her water is currently being hauled from the river 4 km away twice a day. Her grandsons Tyson, Don or Felix haul the water by bike. We learned they drink untreated river water and confirmed Monica was coming for the educational sessions presented at the upcoming Women's Day where one of the topics deals with the need for and method of treating river water. Monica's shamba is 1.5 acres of land and she plants maize, sorghum and beans. VOH ordered soil tests to be done due to low yields in the past and determined it is very acidic soil and nutrient depleted. This information will be passed back up to VOH leadership and they will decide on the fertilizer and lime needed to increase her yield.

Monica's only soft-spoken request was for post-secondary education fees for her granddaughter so she could continue on a career path; Monica knows her time is short and the biggest blessing would be that her grandchildren would get educated and be able to provide for themselves after she passes. Tyson prays, if the Lord allows, that he can go to driving school (a 6 month course) because there is good opportunity to get steady work with that qualification. One challenge is there is only one bicycle in the home... so if he needs it to get to his classes in the town 14km away, his cousins can't haul water with it and would have to walk. Every decision has so many consequences.

What a privilege it is to again observe the relationship being built with the widows, the wisdom and stewardship mission organizations need to have as they evaluate and pray through the needs they are presented with. The field partners are invaluable; understanding the culture and all the nuances, translating for us and all the while leaving the recipients feeling valued, loved and with their dignity intact is an immense skill set. Please remember Everlyne, Cathy and Aggrey who continue to work for VOH between team and HFL visits.

This afternoon we visited the Seje Glory Centre Academy and read Bible stories to the students, sang a few kid's songs, handed out soccer & tennis balls, frisbees & skipping ropes as well as bubbles & wands. What a joy for us ALL!

Soli Deo Gloria.


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Mar 16

Love love the story for today! Those were how I remember the visits went too. So exciting. Truly a ‘Job’ story: lost so much… has so little and yet she can rejoice in The Lord. Humbling to hear of such grace in her life. May the Lord bless Monica and her grandchildren,

and you the whole team for ministering to them. 🤗🤗❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏

Replying to

Johanna here, BTW!

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