I just had the most wonderful conversation with Mary Bunyasi, the director of Omwabini. I have to admit that since coming to Kenya I have missed the continual references to God and our dependence on Him that was a constant topic in Uganda. This could be because I have been attempting to orientate myself to the new school atmosphere here, but also because this organization is accustomed to accommodating whites. Now I am not being egotistical in saying that I miss the attention, but after seven weeks of people going out of their way to say hello to you, it is a little difficult to re-adapt. I now find myself in the situation where in order to have a conversation I must search out someone to talk with. Conversants do not come out of the woodwork here at Omwabini like they did in Tata. To learn about the working of the organization you must find a willing party to pester with your questions.
Well, over the course of our hour-long conversation, I was given the “brief” version of the history of Omwabini. Despite the length of the short version of the story, I was encouraged to learn that our views were very similar on how such projects should run in a community. She spoke of God and how all this work is not because of her or her ability; it is all because of God. She explained that she was employed in a job working in several communities in western Kenya where she was confronted with many needs- needs that were not attended to in her current job. She therefore left that job and began training communities in what it means to be a community and to work in community development. The communities began assessing themselves, determining the places where they were most at need, and developing action plans. In this way, Mary and the communities were able to assess that their most important areas of need were the orphans, the widows, and the poor. Mary strongly pointed out that this school and this community based organization were not simply placed here for no apparent reason, but because the need for such a place was recognized.
Her passion for doing the will of God rang in her voice and could be seen on her no-nonsense face. This woman is on a mission for her God. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour” (Luke 4: 18-19). To Mary poverty is a form of imprisonment. And I agree. God has called us “to look after the orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). For, “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5). One day, when Mary stands before God and the Almighty points to these commands found in the Bible, she informed me that she wants to be able to say, “I gave everything I had to help those you have called me to help.”
Her rousing words struck me deeply. Am I doing all I can for those God is calling me to help? Is there not more I could do, more I could be for these precious children? Could I not be more compassionate? Could I not be more welcoming? Could I not love them more? Yes, I am busy. Yes, I have a “life.” Yes, I am in school. Yes, I am young and inexperienced. But are these acceptable excuses? I don't think they are. I am guilty of not doing all I can. I am guilty of becoming distracted by the trappings of this world. I am guilty of falling into the materialist trap whereby the purpose in life is to go to the best school, get the best job that you can so that you can earn as much money as you can that so that you can retire and live a life of ease and comfort. I am guilty of thinking only about myself and not the commands of the God who has given everything for me. Who of you parents could even begin to think of sacrificing your only child for an unrighteous person- not even a good person, but one who sins over and over and over again?
I want to be able to stand before this amazing God one day and hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”