Dec 14, 2016
I had a long conversation today about relief and development. Do you know the difference? There are many people who could explain it better than I, but the brief answer is relief is short-term to relieve an immediate need while development is long-term to develop people and empower them and their community.
Keep that in mind as I tell this story. We have something to celebrate as a church.
I was asked in 2008 to add water ministry to my list of duties in rural Maasailand. I replied I would need to hire someone, as I knew little about it. The money was promised, so I hired a man a few months later; John Keshe. Yes, that’s where our relationship started with him as a church. John and I worked together in water ministry from 2009-2014.
Before John and I really began we decided that we needed to address the spiritual needs of the people as we addressed the physical need of water. We would do both of these in the context of the CMF clinics addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis. Connection Pointe’s vision trip in 2007 to Maasailand had determined that the little town of Talek could benefit from medical mission trips annually to work alongside the clinic workers there. By 2009 we had our three-point approach: water, medical, gospel. All was centered around Talek.
Tomas Pesi was recommended by the neighboring Maasai churches to come to Talek and oversee the spiritual outreach, John Keshe traveled around working with communities to develop their water resources, and Juma and the CMF medical staff at Talek cared for the people affected by HIV/AIDS. Connection Pointe was the primary donor for all of this. Connection Pointe sent teams annually, sometimes two.
After all those years, here’s the result.
- Many communities were developed as water became more available, water-borne diseases went down, HIV/AIDS leveled off and the stigma weakened.
- The clinic became a health centre.
- The Talek Church was re-planted.
- Both clinic and church have new buildings.
- The Talek church has planted other churches under the co-leadership of Tomas Pesi and the neighboring Maasai church leaders.
- I was told in June that there are now three churches planted, with two more to be started before the end of this year.
This is what happens when we think beyond relief. We bring in the Living Water, address health issues and introduce people to The Healer – Jesus Christ. Connection Pointe stayed the course, continued to give and continued to send teams to support the ones who were there day to day. Development happened, communities were empowered, and the love of Christ spread to many villages.
Well done church! There are hundreds more in God’s Kingdom because of your faithful commitment. Celebrate!