After spending our weekend traveling, we began our first full day of work today. We spent the day at the Watoto Wa Ahadi rescue center. This is the residential facility Sodzo International runs for boys who have been rescued off the streets. They spend anywhere from a few months to a couple of years at this facility while work is being done to reintegrate them with their families. Some of these boys arrive struggling with substance abuse, others are victims of abuse, and others have simply been abandoned to the streets by a family that doesn’t want them or cannot support them. Here they receive housing, food, and most importantly, Christian nurture.
We arrived in Kenya last night to begin a week-long mission experience. Five of us from Bonsack Baptist met up with five others from South Main Baptist in Houston, Texas. We will spend the week working with a ministry called Sodzo International, which works with boys and young men who are living on the streets. They provide housing, education, and job training to these young men, while also working with families in neighboring villages to address some of the systemic issues that led to these young men leaving home in the first place. We will spend some time with the young men and some with the families. Exactly what will be doing with them remains to be seen, but that is part of any international experience. You simply have to remain flexible and be willing to adapt to what the circumstance require at the moment.
I have a friend who is kind enough to grant us access to some waterfront property, so with the church office closed, I spent Labor Day at the lake. It is a beautiful piece of land, just far enough removed from other homes that you have a strong sense of being “out there” in nature. At night there are no competing streetlamps or front porch lights, so the stars shine far more brilliantly than what I usually see at home. During the day the only traffic comes in the form of the occasional boater, so you are much more likely to see the local wildlife make an appearance.
Connie Moorman couldn’t understand why Jeremy’s name kept grabbing her attention. He was on trial for charges related to a double murder, and every time she would hear about him in the local news, she felt a sense of burden about him. A few days later a co-worker asked Connie to please pray for a friend, whose son was on trial. It turned out that son was Jeremy.
In yesterday’s sermon we talked about economic simplicity. Using Jesus’ parable of the so-called rich fool in Luke 12:13-34, we discussed how easily we are controlled by the “stuff” in our lives. The things we own soon own us, so if we want to reduce anxiety and worry and create more space for God and others we need to find ways to live with less. We need to constantly ask ourselves, “How much do we really need?” Truth be told, we probably don’t need nearly as much as we think!
Our vacation this week began with a funeral. My wife’s 94 year-old grandmother died last Friday, following a battle with prolonged illness. I first met Mema 23 years ago when Heather and I started dating. Heather is the oldest of her cousins, so she was the first to bring home a potential mate. That means I was the test case for how her family would respond to such a new addition. I would like to say I passed the test with flying colors, but it was more the case that I was graded on a curve!
I enjoy something about all the seasons, but we are primarily summer people in our household. The long days and warm temperatures make it possible for us to get outside after being cooped up for months on end. We particularly enjoy striking out for the lake whenever we get a chance. When a Saturday afternoon opens up for us, we grab the dog, hook up our old boat, and head out for the water. Sometimes we even take the kids.
In April, Bonsack commissioned Larry & Lynda Brumfield and Larry & Phyllis Perdue to serve for a week in Nickelsville, Virginia at the Southwest Virginia Partnership, a missions outreach that is sponsored by the Baptist General Association of Virginia along with three area Baptist Associations (Clinch Valley, Powell River, & Wise). The Brumfields and Perdues joined over 50 individuals from churches across the Roanoke Valley as they coordinated BookNet, an in-school book donation program for 12 schools in three counties, volunteered at Gate City’s food bank, visited nursing homes, and renovated the Partnership’s dining space to help accomodate future volunteers. Larry & Lynda Brumfield as well as Phyllis Perdue sat down for a conversation to reflect on the trip.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “farm to table” movement within the food industry, which seeks to provide locally grown food for service at restaurants, school cafeterias, and local markets. Bonsack now has its own version of this movement in the form of our community garden.