Sunday, May 22, 2005

Soap and Bleach

I woke up this morning and made myself a pot of coffee with clean, filtered water. Two hours later, I was on my way in the Land Cruiser, bouncing through a neighborhood in Obala, where water is dangerous.

Cholera, apparently contracted from wells in the area, has killed a number of people in Obala (see previous blog); and Leah and I had overseen the purchase of a number of cholera prevention kits on Saturday. This morning, I delivered them to Sion United Methodist Church.

After preaching and serving Communion to 150 people in Pastor Simeon Nomo’s church, I asked everyone to leave the sanctuary while we set up tables and supplies. Twenty Scouts, most of them members of the church, arrived clad in yellow T-shirts and red-and-white striped scarves. They helped move boxes and unload supplies.

Then we opened the doors and let the public in, one at a time. One member of each household received handouts about cholera prevention and the United Methodist Church, a plastic bag, bar of soap, bottle of bleach, and bottled water.

Word got out, and neighbors came from near and far, causing a mini-crush at the door, but the Scouts kept everyone in-line.

I circulated through the crowd, trying out my wretched French and taking pictures of children. In the end, we passed out 225 kits.

As I drove away, I was left with a good feeling. This is what the church is all about. This is the kind of thing that makes the kingdom of God shiver with delight. I know this because Jesus always seemed to respond to sickness and disease with a certain kind of compassion and action.

While handing out soap and bleach today, I couldn’t help but think that we were responding the same way.