“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Bible, Hebrews 11:1)
Faith often gets tested when personal will or plans do not match Divine Will. Faith on the frontlines often occur when one finds himself or herself in circumstances that are totally undesirable, horrid and terrible. The pandemic is a great example of troubled times. Battleground spirituality is how to get through faith tests. The pandemic has tested many people’s faith. One thought on battleground spirituality is sitting with the duality : Incomprehensible Nature of God’s Will (How can so much trouble be happening all at once?) versus Faith in God’s Loyalty (He will get me through this as He has Done Before). Battleground spirituality includes circumstances that are so difficult, there are sometimes two choices: give up or lean in faith in God as exemplified by the statement “Trust God and take the next (helpful) step.” I added the word helpful. Faith in God is a powerful sustaining force in the storms and crises of life. Faith gives meaning and sense of purpose in navigating life circumstances.
The entire world has been hit hard by the pandemic, especially, the continent of Africa. A article on 8/3/2021 by CNN states that the delta variant has contributed to an increase in 80 % in deaths in Africa over last month. According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 has severely impacted African countries, in terms of economic, social, health and education sectors experiencing devastation. There is discussion of under-reporting of COVID-19 cases in African Countries due to the fragile health care system. Numbers tell an important story. But so does the personal experiences of people. Faces of people and their humanity speak to the urgency of the needs in these communities. I believe that there are communities all over the world with such critical needs unmet.
I reached out for an interview with Jackline Ouko, director of the Kenya Volunteer and Community Development Project. I and my family met her in summer 2018 during our family trip to Nairobi. I immediately connected with her due to her kind, humble, optimistic and giving nature. She is a woman of service in facilitating school programs, foster homes for orphans and providing economic opportunities for widows. She is also a woman of strong faith. This is a post on faith on the frontlines when you are persevering on faith and hope despite the world turning upside down. I know many people who have experienced this phenomenon on faith on the frontlines. It is also a post on Jackline and getting help and resources for the community she loves and serves. My prayer is that readers will reach out with resources for Jackline’s program to support the community in Bondo.
In 2018 when I first met Jackline, she was very optimistic of the future. When I interviewed her earlier today, she stated that much of the developments that the program had done in serving her community since 2018 have been impacted negatively by the pandemic. She talked about the effort of persevering and keeping her program open for the children is a struggle. She stated that her program is serving the community in Bondo, which has been deeply negatively impacted by the pandemic, with international and national programs shutting down, loss of jobs, children orphaned as their parents died in the pandemic, growing rates of suicides, conflicts in families, food insecurity, and homeless families and youth. She talked about people in her community losing hope, especially children who blame themselves when sponsorships for them stop. She discussed scarcity of the COVID-19 vaccines in Nairobi. She stated that she cannot close her program no matter what because she has to be there for the children, who bring her joy. She also talked about leaning on her faith that “God will not abandon her and her community.” It is difficult when our faith is tested. She is truly a shero with her courage, dedication, sheer perseverance, remarkable faith on the front lines in serving the most vulnerable people: children.
Please view her interview. I have also listed Jackie’s contact information and contact for donations, with Jackie’s permission. Please feel free to spread the post to other readers who may wish to donate or contact her. Big Thank You to Readers.
Please note that I misspelled her last name, Ouko, in the video clip. My apologies for that.