Sharing Life – incarnate words – an idea that we can do life together, cross-culturally, cross-generationally, and in just about any kind of setting. One of our favorite passages in Scripture is found in Luke 15:1-2 where Jesus is found in the presence of “tax collectors and ‘sinners’.” Jesus moved in to the midst of troubled people, poor people, sinful people, needy people, and unlovable people… real people. He loved being where the action was, and where people readily confessed that they did not have it all together. On the outside of this beautiful mess, the Pharisees and teachers sat dumbfounded and dismayed. Luke 15:3 says that they “muttered” or “murmured” that they could not believe this man would welcome such sinners to sit and eat with him. They were appalled.
Theri Kenya is filled with people… troubled people, poor people, sinful people, needy people, unlovable people,… real people. There are also godly people, wealthy people, giving people, proud people, hard-working people,… real people. In other words, our tiny village in rural Kenya is filled with the same needs, wishes, wants, hopes and dreams of anywhere else on earth. So, we have moved into this neighborhood, and called it our own. Emmanne Ministries now shares life with the people of Theri Kenya so that we can understand their context, and they can begin to understand our own. It is messy and beautiful. It is filled with miscommunication, unmet expectations, misunderstanding, and the like. However, it is our place on earth to share the Life of Christ and our best vehicle to do this is to share our own Jesus-loving lives.
Life-on-life ministry is slow. It is fragile. We spent three years building trust so that the key leaders in Theri would believe that we were not there for personal gain. It has paid off with high trust, beautiful friendships, open doors, and great joy in friendship and ministry together.
Bringing Hope – futuristic words – an active, proactive endeavor that places trust in a God who loves us and wants us to care for the hopeless in our midst. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” There are times in life that we are called to raise others up in faith because they have lost that faith in God due to their circumstances. Theri is filled with proud, hard-working people who know of Jesus, but they do not have a hope that He will do anything for them. They wonder if He has overlooked them. It is a symptom of poverty that results in a knowledge of God but not a belief that He cares about each person. We know that God cares about these people and He deeply loves them. They need to see the love of God through the people of God. We want them to put their hope in God, praise Him, and call Him their Savior (Psalm 42:5). This is what we are called to be and do.
We move in to their neighborhood and we act. We bring tangible expressions of God’s love to the people of Theri through benevolent work. Benevolence in its root form simply means, “love in action.” We are bringing hope by benevolent actions that convey the love of Christ. Our words of hope are backed by caring for the widows and orphans. Our words of hope are backed by giving a new pair of glasses or by extracting a decayed tooth. Our words of hope are backed by economic opportunities that we foster through partnership with local farmers and business people. It is a slow process, but it is a process that we intend to carry out so that the next generations will see God and praise Him forever.
Our job is to be:
Catalytic – we can help people to see their own potential. They just need a push start.
Connecting – we can bring the best ideas from both cultures together so that there is the best chance at success
Inspiring – we have been inspired to trust and follow God, and our stories matter. We need to share them.
Prayerful – our dependence on God is evident when we cry out to Him for help in all things.
Sacrificial – it is crystal clear that God wants us to give. We believe you cannot be too radical in a lifestyle of giving.
Hopeful – we are propelled towards greater hope in our Father who never leaves us or forsakes us.