This was not what she signed up for...not even close!
Where was God anyway?
She had committed her life to Jesus, turning her back on tradition, and look where it got her.
Homeless, that's where.
It all started to unravel after her husband died. Her in-laws couldn't understand why she declined her inheritance, but she felt she had to now that she was a Christian. They were infuriated and refused to give her any assistance whatsover.
Then her house burnt down, flames licking up every last straw of the thatch of her roof. She lost everything she owned. Not that there was much to begin with, but it was all she had.
She hadn't fared much better with the small house she managed to erect as a replacement. Less than half the size of the first one, this house was big enough to lay down in, but not much more. At least she found some empty cement bags which were the only barrier between her and the ground at night.
Then the rains came. She thought she was making an improvement by using iron sheets for the roof, and while it kept the water off her, it didn't keep it off the walls. Thankfully she and her children were out of the house when the wall caved in.
Still, that's where they slept. What else was she to do? There was no one to help her and nowhere to go.
Then came the last straw. It was her four-year-old who noticed it first, innocently asking what those two lights were. She immediately recognized those lights for what they really were - the eyes of a puff-adder!
These African snakes are responsible for more deaths than all the others. Thankfully they move slow, giving her time to scoop up her baby, grab the hand of her son and run out into the darkness.
She just kept running. There was certainly nothing to go back for. The question was, where was she going?
After a long and sleepless night she decided to make the journey to the village where she was raised. Her aunt still lived there and she knew she'd make room for her, at least on a temporary basis...
This is the story of just one of the homes we built while we were in Kenya. The woman traveled to Kawiti village where our school, OpeN Christian Center, is located.
Traditions in Kenya make it difficult for women, especially those commited to living according to their Christian faith. Following Christ means going against the local traditions requiring sex before just about everything. Plowing a field, planting the seed, harvesting the crops, building a house - these are just some of the necessary activities that require sex beforehand according to tradition.
I was initially confused as to why this widow would refuse her inheritance until it was explained that she wasn't receiving an inheritance, she was the inheritance. In refusing her inheritance, she was refusing to be taken on as a second wife by her brother-in-law.
In a series of events only God could arrange, the widow's aunt had approached the local counselwoman asking for help. The counselwoman had no idea how she could be of assistance until she heard that our team had come and that we were planning to build houses. Of course, we had already reached our limit, but in God's economy there is always enough for one more.
That is how we came to build a home in a village far from Kawiti. While her husband's family still refused to assist her, friends from a widows support group and the local church came to lend a hand. Here (above) they're preparing mud for the walls of the house.
This widow, once living in the worst home in the village, is now the proud owner of the best home in the village. It's the only one in the area with iron sheets for a roof instead of thatch. Plus, she now has a bed and a mattress to keep her and her children from sleeping on the floor. Only God!
The widow and her son are in the center as we prepare to dedicate her house to the Lord!
I think this week's Scripture memory verse is a perfect fit to this story:
(Click here for more information on the Scripture Memorization Challenge)
N - Nothing is too hard for God ~ Jeremiah 32:17b
This is a home we built for a widow back in 2008. (We were very excited to see she added the kitchen seen at the left.) It takes several months for the mud walls of a new home to cure, then a finishing coat of mud and dung is spread on the interior and exterior walls as well as the floor. I've often wondered, "Why dung?" and I learned the dung repells snakes. Given a choice between the two, I'd go with the dung!
Lord, You truly do bring hope to the hopeless! Thank you for allowing me to play a small part in Your perfect plan. I'm so thankful that nothing is to hard for You!