Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break any more, we drove to our Compassion project today and saw this…
roof after rusty roof of the Mathare Slum, one of the largest and most congested slums in the world.
Over 800,000 people live within these 3 square miles.
Garbage is piled everywhere and sewage flows freely in between the houses.
And yet in the darkness of this slum we discovered a ray of hope.
We met Eliud Otieno.
Eliud is an 18-year-old Compassion-sponsored boy. His older sister died when he was young.
By 2007 he had lost both his mother and father leaving him an orphan, alone in one of the most filthy and impoverished slums in the world.
Thankfully, Compassion was there to help.
They purchased the slum-shack he was renting so that he could continue living there.
They stepped in and supplemented his food and provided financially so he could continue his education.
Eliud was eager to tell us about his Compassion sponsor, Nick Erskine, who lived in California.
Nick has sponsored Eliud for 11 years.
When we asked if he had any letters from his sponsor he immediately grabbed a stack of papers from the corner of his 10′ x 10′ shack.
One of the letters was written after Eliud’s mother’s death.
It was obvious that Eliud had a deep connection with his sponsor, a connection that continued to sustain him as an orphan living alone in the Mathare Slum.
We asked Eliud what he would say to his sponsor if he ever met him. He smiled and proceeded to deliver a message so moving that it had us all in tears.
As we left his home I noticed something written on the wall above his door…
It was a prayer he said he prayed every day as he left his home.
I was moved with the perspective this young man had while living in some of the worse living conditions I had ever seen. While many would consider his situation hopeless, Eliud recognized that God had graciously provided everything he needed. Nick, because of Compassion’s work in Mathare, is the answer to that prayer.
I think back on all the things I’ve prayed for in the last few years. Suddenly everything seemed so trivial when I stared at that simple prayer written on the cardboard wall of a shack in a Kenyan slum.
God loves me enough to feed me, bless me, and give me hope for the future. Amen.
Amen indeed, Eliud.