I just returned from Nakuru, Kenya, where I took 10 people to visit the church and Compassion International project that we have been partnering with for the past three years. My wife and I sponsor two children in that project and got to spend time with both of them. What a blessing. While there I was preparing an introduction to a series through the book of Nehemiah that I am beginning at my home church, City on a Hill. The series is titled “Ordinary People” and the point is that God does crazy things through Ordinary People who have the characteristics of Nehemiah.
My introduction pointed out four of those attributes in Nehemiah. A Desire to be used by God. A Direction of what he was to do. Dependence in prayer. A Determination not to quit. As I sat in my hotel room in Nakuru each night working on that message I couldn’t help but see the application in Pastor Wallace, his church, and what they are doing in their community.
Pastor Wallace is an ordinary man and his church is filled for the most part with poor people from the Community. But He wanted to minister to the people of extreme poverty in his community. How does a poor church minister to the poor? God provides when the heart is right.
Eventually, Compassion International came to him and asked if his church would become a Compassion International Project site. He agreed. Compassion does its work by going into the community and finding the children who are most vulnerable and at risk because of poverty and they recruit them into the program. They come to the center all day on Saturday where they are fed, taught, and receive medical check-ups twice a year and then help with any medical issues that are discovered. They do this with the $38.00 per month that sponsors provide for each child. The Church must provide the space for the project. Classrooms for 350 children was an issue for the church. But they put up simple, rudimentary rooms as much as they could. It wasn’t enough but they trusted God for provision.
Eventually a church in Australia provided a cinder-tile block one-story building with five more classrooms. It still wasn’t enough. When we entered the partnership we provided $60,000 to build two more floors on top of that. While we were there we got to participate in a dedication of that building! Now the classrooms issue is solved. But not all the issues.
In Kenya the public school is not paid for by taxes but by the individual family. If you can’t pay, you can’t go to school. All of the Compassion children got to public school and sometimes compassion has to help the family to pay the tuition. But what about the other children who can’t even go to public school? Pastor Wallace opened a school at church for them! They pay 50 Kenyan schillings per week. That is about 60 cents per week!!! With 120 children in the school that isn’t enough to even pay the teachers. So how can the school be kept open for these poorest of the poor? That came through water.
Water is a huge problem in Africa. The poor have no running water but draw their water wherever they can get it. Often it is disease ridden and people die from it. Pastor Wallace petitioned World Water, an organization that drills wells in needy areas. World Water agreed to drill a well on the church property. It was tested and found to safe, pure, water. The church sells the water for 3 Kenyan schillings per 20 liters (Over five gallons). That is less than three pennies for 5 gallons of safe water! Four things happen with this income from the water well.
1. Right off the top they give 10% to Kenyan missions!! They are a mission giving to missions!
2. The small profit from the sale of the water supplements the teacher’s pay so the church school can remain open for the children who cannot afford public school.
3. Approximately 50 families use the well as a business to support their families. They purchase the water for 3 schillings per 20 liters (typically they will have 5 to 6 of these 20 liter containers hanging from their bicycle). They peddle into the community and sell it for 7 schillings per 20 liters and the profit provides for their family. It is their sole income.
4. Approximately 150 other families purchase their water from this well and provide safe water for their families.
The point? God uses Ordinary people who Desire to be used. Have a Direction of how to be used. Will Depend upon Him for provision. Who are Determined not to quit!
If you see your “ordinariness” as an obstacle to making an impact for the Kingdom you are wrong. It is your greatest asset! God loves to use “Ordinary People”!