Our pastor and children's minister are leaving on Wednesday to explore first-hand the opportunities for our church to engage in a missions project in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. As most are well aware, the AIDS crisis has left millions of orphans in the continent of Africa. Nairobi is no exception. Dr. Harrison and Janis will be visiting in one of the worst slum areas (shantytowns) in the northeastern portion of Nairobi near the city dump. A pastor there runs a school that is meeting the needs of some 80 students each day--providing them a good meal as well as an education and sharing the love of Jesus with them. We made the connection to this ministry through two groups--CBF and Buckner Orphan Care International.
The pastor laid out just a general description of the trip and the needs in his message yesterday morning which focused on Jesus' giving of the new commandment to love one another. He made the excellent point that while the needs in Africa are absolutely overwhelming and many say that nothing can be done in the face of such pressing needs, we can at least do something. He and Janis will be meeting with the pastor of this school and exploring ways in which our church can assist this ministry among the "least of these."
In his absence this coming Sunday, I'll be preaching in the morning service on "More than Abundant Grace," using 1 Tim. 1:12-17 as a text, and springboarding into the message with an introduction based on the movie "Amazing Grace" to be released this coming weekend. The movie, in case you haven't seen the trailer, tells the story of the efforts of William Wilberforce to eradicate slavery in England, influenced by John Newton, a former slavetrader himself and author of the hymn "Amazing Grace."