Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Man Named Samuel

A few weeks ago, Adrienne and I took the boys up to Brackenhurst for a snack and to let the boys run around a bit. We had our usual fun, and then began the walk back home. (I thoroughly enjoy the walk home from Brackenhurst more than the walk there, as coming home is all downhill!) On our way home, we stopped to buy some bread at a duka (small shop) by the road. An older man was sitting outside the shop, and asked us something in Swahili that we were not able to understand. He repeated himself, and as we were about to simply say "Pole sana" (very sorry!), A younger man came by and translated for us. After answering the question, we began talking with our new translator.

His name was Samuel, and he looked no older than I do. He was walking with his son, who was named Isaac. We walked down the road as we talked, and I asked him where he was from. He said that he was from Western Provence, and that he was in Limuru looking for work to support his son and himself. He asked us what we were doing in Kenya. I answered that we were missionaries, and had come to share the message of the cross. His face immediately lit up, and shared that he was a believer as well. He said that he had already found a great church in the community, and loved going every Sunday. I thought, here is this guy who came looking for work, but even before he found a job, he made sure he found his church. I knew then there was something special about Samuel.

As we walked toward our home, Samuel began talking about how it was wonderful that we were following God, even when he called us away from our home. He reminded me about Abraham, and how he was called apart from his family as well. He encouraged me to stay strong in the Lord, to remember that if we tried to do the work using our own power, we would fail. It would only be in relying on the power of Christ that we would succeed. Here I was, in Kenya to encourage the Body of Christ, and I was being ministered to myself. I thought to myself, and then said it aloud, God is good.

One of the best parts for me was that, as we went our separate ways, Samuel did not ask for help. He had just been talking about how God will provide for our every need, and it appeared that he wasn't just talking the talk, but was actively living what he shared. We are often asked for money, simply because of the color of our skin. But here was a man that has not been able to find work, who was simply trusting God to provide for him and his son. I later thought about his son Isaac, and the example that he has in his father of what it means to be a Christian man.

I was deeply encouraged by our short conversation we had, walking down the road from Brackenhurst. I was stirred up in my spirit from seeing this man's faith, and from seeing the way his son looked up at him as we walked. His son looked like he was proud that Samuel was his father. I looked down at Christopher, whom I was pushing in his stroller. I hope that one day, Christopher and Josiah will be able to look up to me with that same pride.

Neema na Amani,
Jonathan, for the Ferg4


Sherry McAnelly said...

What a beautiful and encouraging story!! God is so faithful :) I wish I could meet Samuel!

Alison said...

I am sure Josiah and Christopher will definitely look up to you and Adrienne w/ that same kind of pride! How awesome of God to provide encouragement when you didn't expect it!
-Mike and Alison