Sunday, June 14, 2009

Update from Pamela: Lutheran Kenya Deaconess Training (Part 2)

Part 2
(Continued from Part 1)
From Pamela Boehle-Silva

Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and All Whom I Love,

(continued from part 1...) I am trying to process all that went on yesterday and find the tears close at hand. Usually I wait until I am home, but I am immensely touched by the suffering we saw. It is not only the people who suffer, but the deaconesses as well as they bear the burdens of those they care for.

It is not uncommon for a deaconess to walk 3 hours to visit someone. Then, in the words of one deaconess, "(They) have to sit for another hour to catch their breath and rest because they are so tired" before they can minister to the person they are visiting.

The deaconesses think they come empty handed because they have nothing tangible to bring those in need. (My hope is that we can instill in them the reality that they bring Christ to those in need and this is no small thing. If we can accomplish that this week, I will be happy). One of the women we visited, Paris, lived in a crumbling mud hut. When it rains, she has no shelter. She sleeps on the dirt floor with no bed, no table no nothin' except a couple of chickens. The deaconesses were hesitant to bring us to see her because they were afraid that we might be ashamed of it all (I prayed the Kyrie a lot during that visit), but the woman was in good health and was very happy to have us visit here. Some of what we saw is unimaginable - and did I mention how hot it is in the Kenyan sun? I would guess it was in the 90's, very hot.

(continued here, part 3)