Well, we are finally at the end of our last day in Maua. We said our farewells to the work teams yesterday, and passed through the gates of the compound at Maua Methodist Hospital for the last time...for this trip. Today, we spent the day at a school in the area and we worked with the Hospital to conduct a Medical Camp. At this camp, all of the children were given worming pills and a sucker (to help with the medicine’s taste...spoonful of sugar and all), while the adults went through a serious of medical screenings. These screenings included eye glasses, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, etc. The purpose of the screenings is to funnel all medical needs through the hospital...not to treat at the camp. Very wise.
When we arrived, we were met by a multitude of children eager to play games and make silly faces for the cameras. They were a delight! At each location we were at, the children had much the same reaction. They loved having their picture taken (most of them), and loved even more seeing their pictures on the screen.
Each night of the trip, we meet for a brief devotional and a few questions to lead us through processing or decompressing the events, thoughts, and emotions from the day. Tonight, we began by singing the hymn, “Open My Eyes That I May See.”
Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That will unclasp and set me free.
Open my ears that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear.
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee
Ready my God Thy will to see
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine.
Our first point of discussion jumped right to the point and asked where we had seen or heard God’s truth. As I reflected and pondered that point, my mind went to the children. You know....out of the mouths of babes. I’ve also been reminded of one very obvious fact while here in Kenya. We are very different than virtually everybody else. Suffice it to say, that in a country of darker skinned individuals, our pale white skin would be easy to pick out of a line-up. For many of the children we were with today, if they have seen a white person up close, they have not seen many. They were so intrigued that they kept gently touching the back of my arm and running away just to see what white skin felt like.
Here’s the point. Our visit to this school today thrust that community, and especially the children into an environment where they interacted not only with a stranger, but one that could not be more different than them. What I found of note was there reaction and response to meeting someone so different. It was not a reaction of fear, opposition, animosity, or even division. It was wonder! They were fascinated, not fearful. Perhaps from these children we can learn a lot. Our society in America has come to a place that tells us that if someone is different than we are, then they are our enemy. Why? I think it’s because animosity from a place of fear is much easier. What if we took the time to get to know those that are different from us? What if our response was one of wonder rather than division? Honestly, if we were to hack away at all the layers we would find that we have far more in common than we think. And, if we can spend our time celebrating that which we have in common and learning from each other, then the rest would come to matter less and less to us.
My prayer is that we can come to a place of fascination rather than fear...of celebrating our differences rather than fighting over them. We are all in this together. God has more than enough love, mercy and grace for each of us, and there is nothing we can do to gain any more of that grace over others. So, why don’t we put aside the petty arguments and take a lesson from these beautiful Kenyan children. What can we learn from those different than us?