Yesterday, our team ministered at the Kibera slum outside of Naroibi, Kenya. 1.3 million people live in Kibera in conditions that are hard to describe. All live in mud huts with no running water or electricity. The sewer system that leads through the settlement is open and the smell is intense. There is a stream that runs through Kibera that the sewer empties into. It is in this stream that the people wash their clothes. The sewer runs right next to homes and flows across walkways. The people must walk across the flow to get where they must go. People are scrambling for food and basic resources necessary for daily living. The outskirts of Kibera are fairly safe but in the center of the slum, criminals hold authority – taking whatever they want by force, raping, and controlling the resources. No police presence stops them from their daily activities. The people try to avoid as best they can the evil forces at work there but there are no guarantees. I saw naked children walking through trash to get where they where going, stepping around the goats feeding on the discarded garbage. One young girl stopped ahead of me and pulled down her pants to defecate in the garbage of Kibera. It’s a place where real people live. We touched them and spoke to them.
You can’t help but think that, if not for some decision made above my pay grade, I could have been born in Kibera. What would it be like to live every day in the reality that is Kibera?
You cannot view this and not realize that, no matter how real your problems, someone somewhere in the world is struggling with a like problem or one greater than mine. This realization brings several things:
Hope that I can make it if they can. Courage to face the unfaceable. Compassion to reach beyond myself to those who are in worse conditions. And, freedom from the burden of focusing on myself and my issues. Perspective is important to perseverance. Without it, the enemy can close you in with hopelessness until he cuts you off from all apparent avenues of help, all the while encouraging you to be the one to make the decision that no one will come to your aid – no one will care if you live or die. At this point, death appears to be the only alternative to your situation.
If you are at this point, don’t believe it. Join me in Kibera for a second. The perspective that you will get there will make you realize that things – no matter how bad could be worse. This perspective is intended by God to bring hope, courage, and compassion back into your life. You are alive for a reason. Don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise.
God is at work in Kibera and He is at work in your situation as well. As I walked through the slum, I couldn’t help but realize that, through the Holy Spirit in me and the other believers working in Kibera, God Himself is visiting that place. 1400 people a day in Kibera are being ministered to and feed by the ministry we support in Kenya. Our missionaries have started a school right in the middle of the slum. Kids have a future beyond what they see.
As I worked feeding the children of Kibera, I heard a sound that is unmistakable. It was the sound of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah roaring in defiance of the enemies of the people of Kibera. God is at work in Kibera and in your life.
Pray for yourself but if you feel despair setting in, leave where you are and visit Kibera in your heart. Free yourself from the slavery of self-focus. Trust God to take care of you as you take care of His business.
You will make it through victoriously. God reigns over your life and over Kibera. Do you hear His roar in defiance of your enemies?
It is in the life of all His children. You can hear it unless the deafness of self pity mutes its sound.
Kibera will be saved and so will you!
Through our God we shall do valiantly for it is He who has tread down our enemies! Sing and shout the victory! Christ is King!”
We’ll talk again soon.