I have been privileged to do some cool things in the course of the church work we have been involved in here in Tanzania and it is always exciting to see buildings, programs, and churches grow. As much as I am not one for big events, lots of fuss, etc. it is still exciting to see how many people come out for a big event or to see a church that is only two years old have to move because their current space is just too full of people. However, it is often the normal, boring, quite things that I think most show God’s love for His people.
A few weeks ago we had the privilege of being involved in some of this normal, everyday stuff, that will hopefully turn into a great love story at some point between God and a little boy. One of our churches in Tarime has a ministry of presence with the street children in Tarime. Basically we have some church members that keep tabs on them, keeping track of who is coming and going, how they are getting money for food, and being a surrogate parent when needed. It is not a ministry that we get to be involved in very often because of our crazy schedules and traveling. However, this one time the relationship between church leadership and these kids found that one of them has sickle cell and his blood count had become dangerously low. We were called in to see what we could help with. We contributed a little bit and he was able to go to the hospital and be tested for his blood type so that we could know if anyone in the church was a donor match. It turns out that I was a match. Long story short I was able to go to the hospital, donate blood, make sure he got some other medicine to help him produce more blood, and he spent three days resting and recovering at our house. It was nothing special, and we certainly didn’t act alone. He joined in with our other kids in playing and eating and on Monday of the next week we were able to reunite him with his grandmother, though there is still tension at home and still work to be done in restoring that relationship and the things that made him run to the street in the first place. That is where the church ministry is stepping in to help make this transition possible, and hopefully as they continue to learn the church can continue to reunite families and children.
In the end it took some time, a little bit of money, but mostly being available to do the little things in the midst of big plans, meetings, and other “more important” things. It was a simple act to welcome another child into our home, it seems like on some days, between our children, Derrick’s friends, and visitors we have a pretty full house anyway. One more was not a stretch for us, and he did his own laundry J. We can only pray that this ministry, of which we were able to be a part, will result in a life long relationship of love between him and his Father. I pray that you can also find ways, ordinary, simple, right in your own home, ways to Be the Church.
**no picture posted for obvious reasons
**If you want to head over to another blog that we facilitate you can see how you can support the Tarime UMC street children ministry, and other ways that the church in Tanzania is trying to Be the Church. www.dontgobethechurch.com Check out the especially the T-shirt section.