Gratitude in Suffering – Kenya 2017

There are days when I can barely move my body. The pain that shoots through me brings tears to my eyes at times.  There are days when the pain that shoots through my mind causes me to writhe in pain.  In my weakness God makes me strong. I am grateful.

There are times when I look around, I look into the faces of the smallest of the small, and am nearly overwhelmed with the suffering that reflects back at me.  No child should suffer…ever.  No child should be hungry. No child should be homeless.  No child should be shoeless.  Here in Kenya, the most vulnerable are hungry, homeless, shoeless and suffer.  In my weakness God makes me strong. I am grateful.

Job asked, “Why God?”  I echo his words.  God’s answer is the same, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4)  I hear His words and stand in awe of He who created us all.  I stand in awe of His great mercy.  I seek to serve those in need, yet they serve me.  I am blessed and rejoice in it.  I am grateful.

Here is the latest news from the various missions and people who we serve:

St. Irene’s Orphanage & Educational Center:

  • A new van was purchased and it will be used to transport children to and from school.

 

  • Sunday it was a true blessing to present Fr. Constantine with the precious relics of St. Catherine.  He said, “God is good all the time.  I read and talk about relics and specific saints, but now the reality is in my mission work. I feel more spiritual and energetic.”

 

  • Fr. Constantine took me to visit my Godson, Chrysostomos, who is ill.  It was good to visit and pray with him. Fr. Constantine anointed him with holy oil from St. Nectarios. Though we went to minister to Chrysostomos, it was I who was ministered to.

 

St. Barnabas Orphanage & Educational Center:

  • The fundraising program for the miraculous opportunity to purchase two acres of land for a permanent location was kicked off this week.
  • Vespers was served for the first time ever at St. Barnabas.  The boys were introduced to a monastic form of the Jesus Prayer and the Rite of Forgiveness was presented to them as their new evening prayer rule.

Orthodox Africa Nairobi Board of Directors:

  • We met and had a blessed and profitable time together as brothers in Christ. The priests of the Board are not solely interested in seeing individual missions developed but missions that can have a larger impact on the Diocese and country as adolescent Orthodox Christians are nurtured in their faith through secondary school.  Fr. Methodius, speaking for all, said, “There was a time we felt alone. Now we feel the Church cares.  We are not alone in the struggle.  The sense of unity in OA Nairobi is unprecedented.”  Fr. Constantine said, “A strong Orthodox secondary school is most appropriate.  We want the children to be well established and strong in their faith, to guard it and be self-reliant in the future.  They will then propagate the Faith.”

As you can see, there is much for which to be grateful.  Many blessings are found, even in brokenness and pain.  God is the Potter. We are the clay, often broken and chipped.  When we give ourselves to Him with a heart and soul asking to be used for the good of others, He heals the cracks and wounds.  The crack is still there. The wound is scarred over.  Rub your thumb over them.  You can still feel them.  But, we are healed by He Who made us.

And for that I am grateful.

~Fr. Silouan

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