Kevin & Eric helping students

Poverty and Illiteracy; Breaking the Cycle

On this post I am sharing “Go and Do likewise; A story of Hope” Chapter 2; After the Excuses. The picture you see is of Winnie O. Winnie came from a very abusive situation. Her start in life was very difficult. The GAD Kenya folks placed Winnie in a Boarding school even though her academic scores were very low. They had faith in her.  Mostly they placed her there to protect her from the abuse. Winnie was able to stay in this protective situation, along with other students, not all who suffered abuse were girls and not all in Boarding schools suffered abuse. All students were able to continue in their education because a number of people made the decision to support the efforts of Go and Do Likewise through GAD Kenya to educate the rural poor. The people who have and do support these students have gotten past the place of making excuses.

Monday September 19, 2016 Winnie will be entering University in Kenya on a Government tuition sponsorship.  Once safe Winnie began to rise to her potential. She took extra classes, worked hard. She accepted the opportunity to break out. As I point out in chapter 1 of the story, excuses are easy, I think we all use them. Usually excuses, as in my case, are a part of our own learning, if we are willing to see.

“Hope, education means a different future, but we need to stop making excuses and help.”


Chapter 2

After the Excuses

Early in our journey to help others, Go and Do Likewise received the suggestion that Susan could use some help. Susan was a single mother working as a church secretary and caring for her teenage daughter. Susan’s income was steady yet limited. As soon as the suggestion was made, I asked Pete, the leading handyperson in the group, to visit her and figure out how we would help.

We had been told Susan had a patio-cover issue—a small leak that was a problem when it rained. Some shrubbery might be trimmed, plus a few other minor handyguy items could be taken care of. So Pete was dispatched. After his visit Pete reported on what it would take to help Susan. The tasks were pretty simple, and he was sure we could accomplish them.

The next few moments are very clear in my memory. Pete said, “But what she really needs is to have her house painted.” He went on to explain that the exterior of the house was in extremely poor condition. Paint the house. I could only imagine what it would take. I had no experience with such a task; I was in operational “no mans land.” So I asked, “Can we do that, Pete? I mean odd jobs are one thing, but painting a house?” His simple response to my uncertainty was, “Sure, buy some paint, some rollers and brushes, and find a few people to help us.” So we did. Susan picked a color. We secured the necessary ladders, rollers, and brushes. We found a few people to help out. And we started our first attempt to paint a house.

Painting Susan’s house is significant, because it opened our eyes to the ways of volunteers helping others and serving God. We spent two days working on Susan’s house. A number of people came to help. The roof and patio cover were repaired. The house took on a whole new look. Because the results were obvious, the volunteers felt good about their efforts. Everyone was in a positive and joyful mood as we wrapped up the final touches.

Almost everyone else had left Susan’s by the time I walked across the patio and noticed her in her kitchen. She looked like she was crying. Cautiously, I entered the kitchen and, sure enough, she was in tears. I asked her if something had gone wrong. Then she looked up at me with tears streaming down her face and smiled. She gave me a hug and said, ”I have been praying for over a year for this house to be painted, and now my prayers have been answered.”

I learned that day and many times after that this faith journey humbles us. God uses the willing to answer the prayers of his children. The people we helped almost always offered gratitude and thanks. Yet this time, Susan confessed she had been praying about her specific need. We painted Susan’s house in the first quarter of 1997. Terry had first started working on me about helping others about one year earlier, March or April of 1996. Susan had been praying while I had been making excuses.

To be Continued;

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