While sitting in the Nairobi airport waiting to board my flight to Uganda, I sat in the Java House coffee shop, reading some document about the situation, but also keeping one eye on the TV news. BBC began to show a programme about children in the Philippines who are dying of pneumonia, even though there exists a vaccine that could save them. The vaccine is out of reach of most parents due to the cost and the government of Philippines can not get international aid support for these vaccinations due to the fact that the country is not considered poor enough for the aid, but also not rich enough to be able to provide it to their citisens. Sad. I sat there and listened to parents who would go around begging for money to save their child, sometimes to success but often to no success. I thought then of my neices, nephew, and children of friends whom I love, and thought what would happen to my emotional or mental health if one of them was dying and I knew there was a treatment that existed, but we were unable to access it. I would be furious, livid, outraged, and helpless. As I sat in Java House, my eyes watered.
The documentary then talked about things that are being done to help these communities by UNICEF, other NGOs, and the communities themselves. In some of the communities, I watched church buildings being transformed into training facilities for women who will become community health workers which then will be able to identify pneumonia early and know what to do to combat it. Hope was coming.
I became to wonder about churches and other faith buildings and how there are used. I began to wonder what would happen if churches throughout the world would allow their buildings to be transformed during the week as schools, community health posts, places where micro-financial institutions could be houses, small businesses could use the space as an office, hygiene clinics, counselling services, etc. Would churches become relevant again? Would they become symbols of hope again? Would faith communities begin to imbed hope not just in words, but in action? Their message taking shape in tears, hugs, help, treatments, inspiration, prayers…
Perhaps God would be proud, happy with with our offerings of action. Perhaps then we will here the words, well done, my good and faithful servant.