Sunday, May 10th - Christian Aid Week
Women walking for water in Kenya
Kenya is the focus for Christian Aid during the week starting today. This scene was a familiar one when Jenny and I spent three weeks in Kenya some years back. Travelling on a bus from Nairobi to Mombasa, we saw many women walking in the middle of nowhere to fetch water. Since then, Kenya, like other East African countries has had droughts and most recently devastating plagues of locusts devouring their crops at a frightening rate.
Yesterday, on the radio, I listened to someone from the High Commission in Kenya talking breathlessly about a relay she had just finished, having run through the forest for a mile. She was then passing on the baton to another British High Commission somewhere else in the world. They had decided to use a banana as the baton as it was a common fruit in most countries. It reminded me of the little sweet bananas we were offered everywhere in the towns and villages we visited north of Nairobi.
We were running training days for children and youth workers in churches in the region. We went armed with a parachute, Godly Play stories and Fischy music. They welcomed us with bananas, goat stew and unlimited cheerfulness and hospitality. Some of those attending our sessions had walked miles to reach the venues and would walk miles to return home at the end of the day. We learned together, sang together, ate together, played together (with the parachute) and laughed together.
Time for fun with a parachute
It was humbling to receive their generosity out of their relative poverty. What they did have, they gave us in abundance and with genuine enthusiasm. I hope that during this Christian Aid Week, we can do the same. We are missing the Lenten breadline lunches, the Christian Aid walks, the envelope distribution and all the other events we normally put on at this time. It will be a hard time for all the charities seeking to help people at home and abroad.
Captain Tom has touched a generous nerve in people with his walk in aid of the NHS. Churches are doing their best to arrange online events to raise money for their supported charities like Christian Aid, Tear fund and others.But this year, we are challenged to go the extra mile and give out of our relative plenty to those who face hardship we can hardly imagine, but who face it with amazing fortitude and cheerfulness.
Prayer - from Christian Aid
God of all the world, give us wisdom in troubled times.
As we realise how fragile our systems of security are,
remind us how much more fragile they are for those who have nothing.
As we talk of financial crisis,
remind us of the true financial crisis for those who go to bed hungry.
As we face challenges over our own resources,
remind us that you teach us to share what we have.
Inspire us to live in a Christ-like way,
and to bring your peace to a world in turmoil.
Some children we met on a walkabout
A gift for Jenny from some of the local Sunday School teachers