For the 5th year, a Gathering of churches who send teams to Maua Methodist Hospital in Kenya met in Houston on Nov.9-10. 31 churches from 9 states were represented. It is a yearly East Africa Love Fest! At home the attendees struggle to articulate the power of a pilgrimage to Maua but it’s easy when you are with 50+ other like-minded people. This year there was consensus that we should refer to our trips as pilgrimages and not as Mission Trips. WHY? A pilgrim is defined as a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. Friends of Maua Hospital completely agree that the hospital and the work that is done there is sacred. And as pilgrims who travel there, we are blessed long after we return.
Christian Washington, who is a lay minister at Chapelwood UMC in Houston has written a powerful essay entitled, “I’ll Never Be the Same After Kenya!” In it he beautifully articulates what I’ve felt in Kenya: I receive far more than I give. He says, “I learned that my “material wealth” is actually worse than their “material poverty” because it affords me the opportunity to forget that I need God. What a dangerous luxury that is! The people of Maua showed me what it looks like to be saved by the grace gift of God alone and not of ourselves.” I receive more when I travel to Maua because in Maua, it hits us right in the face that material poverty is only ONE kind of poverty. What about spiritual poverty (how many people do you know who don’t have a personal relationship with God) or poverty of affection (how many in our society only know violence as a way of life). In Maua, I know that I need God and I need Him every minute. It is indeed a very dangerous bubble that we 1st world people live in. It’s so very easy to forget that we cannot save ourselves; that we are not saved by our wealth or our education or our good deeds, but by God alone.
For more information on Friends of Maua Hospital, check out our website: friendsofmaua.org.