It has occurred to me that I have not provided many updates on the happenings at Omega throughout this past year, even though much has happened.
For instance, on the night of December 11, 2017, there was a bad accident on a bridge in Kamukuywa that made national headlines the next day. While there are differing reports, it appears nineteen souls were lost, nine of them related.
Roughly a month before (November 17), on his way in a taxi to a funeral for his grandfather Gabriel’s brother, the tire suddenly burst and Mark was involved in an accident approaching, yes, the very same bridge. No one was injured. I did not realize this connection until today while writing this post, but going through past emails, I noticed Mark had mentioned his accident was near “the big bridge”.
All sorts of trials come to the people of Omega. And I wanted to detail those, and some of the successes as well, with pictures Mark has sent me over the past year.
Mark has completed this fence now, but was for some time using small amounts of money (earned from transporting beans to market) to buy the materials over the course of several months, if I recall correctly.
The younger children are pictured here learning. The first photo is from May and the others October. In Kenya, October is their last month of school before a two month break; school resumes in January.
Mark acquired our first three chickens in July, 2017.
Backing up to March of last year: after singing and testifying of Jesus at a nearby radio station, the children (43 in number) were attacked by bees as they were leaving the building.
In Mark’s words (edited for clarity), “When the children finished their memory verses, they prayed and prayed, and as we were about to leave the radio station we were attacked by bees from nowhere.”
Mark was urged by some to press charges against the radio station, but declined, saying, “I corrected them in love, that as Christians we do not go to court. We worship the King of Kings who saved me with the children.” He added that when he recalled the event, he had to weep in thankfulness to God for his goodness.
Along those lines, two months later in May when Mark decided to take a different route than usual while returning to the orphanage from the hospital, he was jumped by people he’d never seen before. They beat him and tried to rob him, but he cried out and some people came to help him. If he had been returning from the bank, it’s likely they would have taken his money as well.
His reason for going to the hospital was to admit a young boy, Samson, who was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease that month.
Death has struck the relatives of Mark and his wife, Miriam as well, with Mark losing his step-mother, great uncle and nephew, and Miriam losing her uncle who was like a father to her. One of the workers also lost a child.
Mark adopted a little boy (pictured below), and his wife is expecting another child soon. There are 101 children now at the orphanage.
There were denials of support from churches in the area, both Mark’s church and a group of believers who insisted that he accept their doctrines if they were to offer support. The government also withdrew their support just before I met Mark because he refused their offer to buy the orphanage.
A little boy, John Wafula, had his hand severely burned by his father as a punishment for stealing and was subsequently given to the orphanage by the police.
There are two young twin boys who seem to always get sick together. Severe sickness (usually malaria) is common at Omega and malaria has struck Mark’s daughter Joyline (pictured below) at least once.
The workers requested that they be paid in 2017, but as it did not seem possible, they committed to volunteering instead.
One of the workers, Samuel, unknowingly purchased a stolen cell phone and was faced with either paying a fine of $70 or going to court. The perpetrator was never found, but Sam is now free.
There has been new construction. A building collapsed and was built up again.
And this past Christmas, as it is customary for him to do, Mark invited the poor of the community to enjoy some of their food–even though the population of the orphanage is high.
In the eleventh chapter of the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul leverages his tremendous sufferings to appeal to the mistrusting Corinthians.
In their foolishness, they had gladly received ministers who brought them into bondage, devoured them, took from them, exalted themselves over them and slapped them in the face (2 Corinthians 11:20).
But of himself, Paul declares very specific instances, many near-death experiences and a myriad of unparalleled trials in which he had no benefit to say the least, in an effort to convince them that he, not the phonies, truly cared for them and was God’s messenger to them.
Who could say after such an exposition that a man who suffered so much to bring the good news and care of Jesus Christ to them, was not God’s man? Indeed, a message of truth coupled with suffering validated him.
Paul followed in the sufferings of Christ, who had, as a forerunner, proven himself through suffering (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8, 9). He had become “perfect” because he remained submissive to his Father at all times–even through suffering.
As I reexamine the things that happened over the past year at Omega, I’m reminded of their sufferings and how many of them remain committed to helping. Mark has certainly fixed himself for the care of all who reside on that 1/4 acre plot, and, through suffering, proven himself upright, honest and committed.
Known only to God are the things yet to come for us.