Today I walked the muddy streets of Nairobi, Kenya. I stumbled over the rocky path littered with filth and entered the home of a young mother, named Caroline.
She kept her small one-room-home that sleeps six, tidy and greeted her guests with a warm smile, holding her one year old on her hip. She wiped the corner of her baby’s mouth with the edge of her dress as she explained how the Compassion Child Survival Program had made an enormous difference in her life.
She’s not so different from me, really. Sure, our worlds are like night and day, one American living in opulence, the other African, living in squalor. But there is a chord that binds our hearts together: we are both mothers.
(her daughter, Eunice)
I recognized the look of fierce love in her eyes for her children. I understood the bent of her back as she knelt and stirred the charcoal fire she used both to provide food for her family and roasted peanuts to sell for income. I saw her heart and it beat for her babies.
As I walked the streets with the Kenyan Compassion workers, who visit the mothers and babies in their program monthly, their words pierced my heart. “We are like social workers, caring for every part of these people: their emotional, physical, socioeconomic and spiritual well-being. We are social workers like Jesus.”
Jesus was the great social worker. He walked the roads and encouraged. He cared about the hunger pangs of children, the fishing careers of the disciples. He wasn’t afraid to get His hands dirty. He touched the people, healing their blind eyes and opening their spiritual ones.
Compassion does the work of Jesus.
I saw Him today in the slums.
I recognized Jesus in the eyes of Caroline, no truer Proverbs 31 woman have I ever seen. She toils day and night, investing her shillings carefully to plant an amazing garden outside her home to feed her family.
Selling peanuts she carefully wraps in plastic bags and sells for five shillings, doubling her money. Caring for all four of her precious children and believing God to meet their every need.
Water is the life of these villages. The people work so hard to haul it, store it, preserve it. Caroline and her children have tasted of Living Water. It is evident in their home, their beautiful smiles and the joy that radiates from them.
But so many are thirsty. The water they carry won’t quench the deep thirst of their souls. Through Compassion International, their physical needs are met and they are taught about Living Water.
I believe we cannot ignore the thirsty. Jesus’ message is clear to us in Isaiah 58:6-7 on how we should live: “What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on,and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way.”
YOU can be an answer to the prayers of thousands of mothers in Kenya today. 3,000 Kenyan children are waiting on a child sponsor today and for the cost of just over $1 a day, you can change a life.
Would you consider sponsoring a child today? Children are waiting.
You may or may not be a mother by flesh and blood, but I believe God gives every woman the instinct to nurture. From one woman, one mother, to another, if we walked in Caroline’s shoes, we would hope, pray that someone would hear our voice in the world.
by Kristen Welch, We Are THAT Family
If you sponsor a child with Compassion now, you’ll receive a $30 gift certificate to DaySpring.com, including the (in)courage shop! Just click here.Leave a Comment
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
I love this: “You may or may not be a mother by flesh and blood, but I believe God gives every woman the instinct to nurture.” Amen.
I see Caroline as a woman in a similar life stage as myself and I can’t help but wonder,”Why was I born here and not there?”
My family and I will do more than consider sponsoring a child, we will choose one to sponsor!
Thank you for this, Kristen. You and the entire Compassion team have my prayers.
Beautiful post! Beth Moore calls them “spiritual offspring”!
Keep sending us photos! Compassion broke my heart with the last trip they made to India and so many children were sponsored because of it!!
What a fascinating post. Wishing you all good health and sending love to you over there.
Adoption Mama says
Great post….as an adoptive mother of 4 children, this story grabs my heart.
She is an inspiration to me…if she can do this very difficult task, why am I complaining with all the luxeries I have at my fingertips.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Mandy Roberson says
Reading the posts from you and Jennifer (MckMama) makes the need in Kenya seem so much more real to me. I am thankful for the chance to experience it vicariously! Thank you for sharing your heart in such a powerful way!
Melissa Multitasking Mama says
So moved by every post I am reading about this…thank you for sharing the journey!
I can’t help think as I go about my daily routine with my 4 kids, that so far away in Kenya there are so many doing the same thing, but with so much less to meet their needs. I’m humbled to see that so many of the mothers in Kenya are caring for their families with much more grace and gratitude than I do. Thank you for opening my eyes to this lesson today.
Praying for you…
What an amazing accounting of your travels. Thank you for this heart-wrenching look into the very fibers that bind the worldwide club of motherhood together….
Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama says
We are walking with you, Kristen. Thank you for being a window into Kenya for us!
My husband and I support a child in India, yet I am so removed from his life there that I often take for granted what we have and seldom think about how he lives. Does his mother struggle to keep him fed? Does his father toil without much to show for it? Thank you for this post – it serves as a reminder of the needs of others and the sacrifices these mothers make. My heart goes out to them and their children, and my prayers are turned towards them today.
its so true. the evidence of Jesus is so alive in Africa.
Thanks for your post.
Kim Moir says
Praise God, our son, a college Junior, is going to Kenya to work at an Aids feeding project, in Nakuru. His heart is aflame with passion about how he can help these people. We are trying to think of how we can support the children from the feeding project and help them continue on.
If you are interested in learning more about the Dundori Orphan Project, write firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless all those who go, and those who stay and give!
Marilyn Norton, LCSW says
I am a Social Worker by training and was never so proud to hear Jesus named as a Social Worker! I believe he chose me from birth to do this work and today and each day forward my pride in walking in his shoes glows! Thank you so much for this article and the work you do.
My life has been a reflection of my own belief that Jesus was,in fact, my mentor and remains so.
Lois DaCrema says
You are doing great work….but Jesus was not a social worker. To call Him that is misguided. He is the Son of God; came to earth not to be a social worker but to die for the sins of all and give us Grace thru His Church.
Cecy Wilder says
Yeah, this is true, but is true also that Jesus’ heart was for the poor of spirit the same as for the people in need.
I mean He cared not only for their souls but for their entire beings, didn’t He?
God our Father bless us all in everywhere!
Love in Him
Lois, you are right on. While we are to care for the poor, have compassion we are to share the good news of Jesus. This gets too close to the social gospel and away from the real meaning of why Christ came and walked among man.
We are THAT family says
Thanks Lois and Michael and Cecy for your thoughts…I am in NO WAY suggesting only a social gospel. I was really just using a play on words from a real social worker. I fully understand and subscribe to Jesus first offering LIFE by his own sacrifice. But he also cares about the physical needs of people who have a harder time hearing the message with growling bellies.
Thank you for your reply! I agree that we, who call upon the name of Christ, are called to care, show compassion and volunteer our resources, time and efforts to help those in need.
I am glad that you have this great work to do but please do not call Jesus a social worker–He is God…the Son…the Prince of Peace…King of Kings! His work was not to feed people but to be the Lamb of God—to free people from their sins. You may say you only were using the line that someone else said but you have made a proclamation by titling your post with Jesus-The Great Social Worker.
We are THAT family says
Sue- I agree with you about the reason Jesus came to seek and save the lost. But he also took the time to heal and feed the hungry…even providing the food miraculously.
I do not believe calling him the great social worker reduces his holiness. I also refer to him as the great physician- does this diminish his great work on the cross? I beleive if He physically walked among us today, we’d find him with the poor and the lost.
Vicky Kan says
Jesus came to be our Saviour and to offer us salvation. But He also showed us different aspects of the character of God. Compassion ranks highly as one of them. The fact that someone chose to highlight Jesus as her example of the Great Social Worker is doing God’s work. She is using the gift that God gave her and it does not diminish the message of salvation…in fact it is love in action. I commend her for that and for inspiring many others!
Nancy Ngigi says
I wish to comment on the statement by Kirsten that “today i walked the muddy streets of Nairobi” which gives the impression that Nairobi is one big dirty muddy slum. Like cities all over the world, there are different facets. Nairobi has slums, but it also has great places too. In as much as we appreciate the help offered by those that sponsor women and children in third world countries, at times the way these people are potrayed causes resentment. Let us strive to lay bare all facts not just what will evoke emotions.
Adura, Nairobi, Kenya.
I actually find that interesting. I’ve been following your blog for a couple days now and I truly enjoy what I see. Keep up the great work!
Friday Words of Faith – Jesus: the Great Social Worker | A New Kind of Normal says
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