To most of us here in North America, a home is the place we go to after we finish working. In many cases it is a safe place, a place of refuge but to others it is a millstone, a black hole or a money pit. It is something we all need to have, something we strive to have – a man’s home is his castle – but so many times we acquire one just for prestige, for appearance, to keep up with the Joneses.
In Kenya, owning a home is beyond the hope of most, or at best it will be a mud and stick home constructed by hand to keep the rains out or roughed sawn wooden boards packed tightly with newspaper or cardboard to keep out the winds and covered with thin iron corrugated sheets. For most of the rural pastors that would be the best they could hope for if very lucky; if their congregations grew or if the crops were successful. After toiling for 40 or more years, shepherding their flocks, growing God’s kingdom, living in the church home, they would be asked to leave immediately because they were now too old and the new younger pastor was moving in. There were no pensions offered by the church to look after their needs. After years of having their families do without just so one of their congregation might get a bed to live out the last years or give food to feed an ever growing household of a single mother they would find themselves on the street, without a home, a place to sleep or get out of the rain. Not for doing a poor job, but simply because they were too old according to their denomination.
But knowing this did they leave the ministry and go and find another kind of work? No, they in fact worked harder and took on other areas of ministries – running nursery schools in local ghettos or looking after orphans or the young people in the local prisons or some of the neglected seniors who had been thrown aside (just like these pastors were slated to become).
Harbour saw this and knew this wasn’t right and took steps through its Launch Leaders Ministry. PACE Ministries saw this and knew it wasn’t right and together they bought land and together they raised funds to buy building stone and cement and sand. And once the local people saw what was being done to help their pastors, they realized that they too could help. And they came by the truck load, or on donkey’s or matatus, or simply by walking, to help in the digging and the mixing and the lifting and the construction. Some rode in delivery trucks to the local quarries and hand loaded the rocks into the trucks then rode on top to the construction site and unloaded the trucks. Some of the local businessmen donated tools and nails and other building materials. And one wealthy farmer, who recently accepted Christ as his personal saviour at a very old age wanted to celebrate and donated a mature tree out of which all the wood for the roof rafters and the ceilings were sawn.
And so the first house was completed and the second house was planned. A general meeting was called to form a team to assist the pastor in fund raising and so many people showed up to be on the team that many had to be sent away.
It has become a source of pride – not just for the pastor and his wife who gladly show the many visitors through their new home, not just for their children who know that they will always have some place to return too, but also for the many locals who point out with pride the house with the bright orange roof that love built. God has been using Harbour and Launch Leaders and you to change a life for a few families. That’s a home!