Saturday, October 23, 2010

Come and See

Today was graduation day at St. Philip's Theological College. Twenty students received diplomas, and two special certificates were awarded. The festive occasion was opened, however, with silent prayer for the family of a graduate who was unable to be present. The mother and sister of Festus Wakula were murdered in their home last week. All of the students and their families (and faculty, as well) have struggled more than most of us can even imagine to simply arrive at this moment in time after three years of study. They understand full well the struggles of their parishioners as they "go into the world" of rural Kenya to love and serve the Lord.

In her moving speech of welcome, Principal Nan Hardison addressed the graduates and visitors. Padre Richard, our college chaplain, then reminded the students about St. Philip's own response to Nathaniel's doubt: "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" -- Philip wisely invited him to "Come and see" (John 1:46). The guest speaker next described the graduates as God's own salt of the earth (Psalm 38:4), called to season the world and be agents of change for the good. As bishop congratulated our students, it was a blessing, indeed, to see all the good that is coming out of a small Bible college, now an accredited theological diploma program in Western Province.
As the graduation ceremony continued, the Mothers' Union members of 31 parishes throughout Maseno North were simultaneously feeding and teaching thousands of children in their Saturday orphan programs. Those tireless efforts bear witness to the lay leadership of this diocese, also inspired by Nan's tutelage.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital... A popular young piki-piki (motorcycle taxi) driver was admitted late yesterday, badly wounded by pangas/machetes. Elphas is stable and will recover from his head wounds, but his severed wrist ligaments will require more surgery. His badly-beaten body was discovered at 6 AM, following an all-night rain and the brutal theft of his motorbike by a midnight customer. Elphas is the sole support of his family, and this is the second time he's been robbed of his livelihood. He cannot replace either of the leased vehicles now, and his family is worried. His body will heal, but will his spirit?
Elizabeth, four years old, was brought to us last night by friends at a nearby Swiss orphanage. They had admitted the child the previous day. Her father is dead, her mother is physically disabled, and Elizabeth is suffering from kwashiorkor. She weighs 10 kgs. and has a profoundly flat affect. Neither touch nor balloons, nor stickers nor stuffed animals, can elicit even a flicker of expression in Elizabeth's dark eyes. Fortunately, her kidneys are still functioning well, so Dr. Hardison believes her facial swelling and pitting extremities will improve with a week or so of improved nutrition. Elizabeth now has a nurturing place to live, but when will she be able to trust like other children?
Come and see... In the face of fear and frustration, pain and poverty, small miracles are happening every day. Asante sana, Mungu God.


Anonymous said...

We are just back from two amazing days with our own Bishop as DioMaine gathered at Sunday River to do its annual work. One guest, who came with greetings from our companion diocese, was a lovely young Haitian seminarian, the first woman seminarian in Haiti, (there are now 4 women in the program) God is working his purpose out in many places - Come and See indeed.

H&L&B, moi

Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny said...

Karibu home!

Yes, and Irma Alvarez, who welcomed our little mission group to El Salvador in 2007, was ordained that country's first female priest last year. She and the new Haitian seminarians are first among the genuine Christian witnesses in our "Southern Cone." Jesus wept, God smiles and we continue to pray.