From Geoffrey to you; Hamster wheels make me nauseous

Monday August 3, 2009
Hamster Wheels Make Me Nauseous
I apologize for not emailing much the last week and a half. I haven’t had constant access to a computer or the internet, but I have a computer to use for the next five weeks and shouldn’t have any more communication problems.
Ears danced to the beat of the bass drums and eyes were enticed by the unison movements of the young men dressed in freshly pressed dark green uniforms. The pride and strength of the marching band caught the eye of nearly every person in Masii, as they marched through Masii hundreds of children eagerly shadowed them and customers poured out of shops to catch of glimpse of this rarity. By the time the band reached the center of town hundreds upon hundreds of men, women and unfathomably wholesome children were piling on top of each other and standing on the tips of their toes. Taking into consideration the fact that Masii has a relatively small population, we had only rented 200 chairs… apparently we failed to take into consideration the sheer magnitude of the God we did all of this for because we needed around 600k for this three day evangelism.
Nothing of this scale or extent has ever been done here in Masii before. We may have grown numb to the idea of a marching band because so many of our conversations have been drowned out by them before and we see them every year on Thanksgiving Day as we recover from the tryptophan induced coma, but here in a third world country it is a captivating and rare opportunity that few are willing to let the talent and hours of practice of this team surpass them. We brought in the soothing angelic tunes of a well known and incredibly humble a cappella team that caught our hearts and whose comforting songs drove us to worship God at new heights. The scales on the eyes of those who have been blinded either by ignorance or pride of STD’s and AIDS crumbled away as the burden and words of those who have taken to heart the pandemic issue of the HIV virus reached their ears, many were tested and many eyes were opened to the reality and seriousness of this illness. Sometimes you have something so heavily weighing on your heart and you feel as though the very core of your being is pushing you and urging you to reveal those words that God himself has pressed onto your heart, we brought in incredibly talented speakers, preachers and pastors from around who all shared in the same heavily weighing burden on their heart that we do, which is to reach out to the unwanted.
The stereotypical judgmental and disassociation of the “unclean” seems to be intertwined with the DNA of the churches here (we aren’t much better back at home though). If you are HIV positive we don’t want you. If you have had a child out of wed lock, we don’t want you. If you become sick or give birth to a disabled child, we don’t want you. If you spend your days drinking away your sorrows, instead of reaching out and, Lord forbid, help you, we simply don’t want you. If your addicted to drugs, we don’t want you. If you are flawed, messed up, a sinner, or blemished in any way, we don’t want you. This seems to be the way that some of the churches here in Masii look into the city. Instead of seeing a great opportunity to transform lives or to shed light into a seemingly pitch black circumstance the religious cling to judgment, condemnation, denunciation and kick the weak when they are down. This evangelism campaign was specifically for those who no else wanted, for the drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes and sick. The world may not want them but with everything in my heart I know that God does, and that is the burden that these speakers, singers and performers all had in common and this unity in loving the unlovable caused lives to be transformed, hope to be found and Masii to never be the same again. I can type for days trying to describe how honored, mystified, humbled and blessed it feels to see the have-nots, nothings, and unwanteds feel loved, be embraced and be told about their worth, but not amount of words these feeble hands could ever type can express it. All I can say is that I feel blessed to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This is one of those scriptures that gets put on bumper stickers and T-shirts. This is a scripture that a lot of youth camps use as a memory verse. It is one of those scriptures that pops into you head when someone is going through a tough time. I think this scripture is incredible but most people don’t finish it.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
This scripture is one of the many parts of the bible where I feel like God is writing to me. This scripture is directed at a group of captives in Babylon who are suffering and going through great tribulations. The words that God gave to Jeremiah was specifically for those people who had no hope and felt abandoned by God. If you were enslaved, persecuted, and hardly kept alive how would you look at life? Would you believe in God? Probably not, the shimmer of suicide and walking away from faith in a God would allure most people.
In their darkest hour and during the time where they felt most abandoned, God spoke to the no ones and the nothings and said I have a plan for you and not only that, but when you seek me you are actually going to find me, and I’ll bring you back from captivity.
Before I came here I felt trapped. I felt like I was confined to this never ending cycle I created for myself of feeding homeless people, leading a small group, and eating ice cream… it became monotonous. They were good things, in fact, great things, but I was missing something. I was serving, giving and loving because it was routine. Without even realizing it I had gone from serving, giving and worshipping with everything I had because I realized and acknowledged that all I had was my faith to being a hamster on a wheel. I’m not sure how it happened but I realized my stagnant faith and cried out to God and the craziest thing happened… He listened. Of all the places and times to be, I am here and the time is now. My personality, gifts and abilities seem more like a puzzle piece than anything else and they fit perfectly with where I am. God delivered me from the captivity of the Sunday to Sunday heartless cycle to joining a marching band dressed in freshly pressed dark green uniforms, an a cappella team, pastors and preachers from Nairobi and the no ones. I feel like I hopped off the hamster wheel and have fallen in love with God all over again.

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