Category Archives: Thankfulness

God With Us

82563335_185438952851788_8590227727812919296_nOur chaplain led us down the dirt road to the humble homestead of our neighbor. During our first visit, we came with pastors from across the world to pray for the old man. Lying on a thin mattress on the floor of his home, he was covered in layers of wool blankets hiding his catheter and frail body. Unable to move, a visiting pastor knelt beside him and shared the words of the 23rd Psalm.

We returned to see the man a few weeks later. His wife explained that he was getting worse and that they had thought they lost him the night before. He was still lying on the thin mattress, covered in blankets, unable to move. There wasn’t much more medically we could do for him. He didn’t want to be admitted anywhere, he just wanted to be home. Our chaplain then turned to me and asked if I could share a few words. Immediately the words, “God with us” came to my mind. I began to share with the old man and the others in the room of the day Jesus was born and was named, Immanuel, God with us. In that moment, lying on the floor, with nothing else to offer the man, all I could encourage him was that God was with him in this second, in this place, in his suffering and pain, in his final moments, in his heart and mind, in the mud walls on the thin mattress. God was with him – ready to bring him home. My prayer was that, in the final moments of his life, he would experience the intimacy of God with him.

He passed away a few days later. I have no idea what he felt in the days, hours, minutes, and seconds before he died. What I know was that God was so near to him then, and that they are now together in heaven.

When we ponder the ways that Hope Matters has grown over the last year, we can truly say that God has been with us. We’ve seen God’s hand on the many patients we have treated including Alex, Jescah, and Baby Caleb. From the hospital walls being built and the tiles laid, to the rose bushes being planted at the entrance to the prayer garden. From treating hundreds of people in unreached communities, to helping a mother understand her child’s down syndrome diagnosis. From the communication towers being put up at our clinics as our receptionist learns our online patient management system, to breaking the news to patients that they have cancer. From the water pump being repaired after hauling water for days, to doubling our staff in a matter of months. This last year held a full spectrum of life experiences and healthcare encounters. We watched small babies show up for their newborn check-ups, and we received massive traumas on our front steps. From watching the sun beam through the leaves outside our clinic, to entering the homes of our neighbors who are on their death beds, God has truly been with us.

As we enter 2020, we know that God is still with us. And while we prepare to open our hospital, double our staff, increase in capacity and care, and so much more, we know, without a doubt, that God is indeed with us.

– By Nikole Opiyo, Hope Matters Missionary

When Giving Thanks is not Easy

IMG_3617.JPGb“Mungu ni mwema” (God is good) she said with a small smile as her eyes met mine through her tears.

Sometimes giving thanks is not easy. Sometimes it’s downright hard. For Susan, this week was one of those times. Over the last few years she’s transitioned from being merely my patient, to a good friend. To say that her life has not been easy would be an understatement.

As I arrived at her mud house for our scheduled appointment this week, something felt off about her. She shared the latest developments of life with me, and my heart ached. I found myself asking “Lord has this woman not been through enough already?” And yet through her latest hardship she could lift her eyes, smile and make the statement that God is good. She loves and trusts him. Even on the hard days. She has been an encouragement and an inspiration to me. And I was blessed by God’s timing. He allowed this latest challenge to walk into her life on the same morning that I was coming to see her. And because of that, I was able to not only pray with her, but to tangibly help her through this latest difficulty.

I have to confess that in this past week I myself have not felt abundantly thankful. My husband and I have faced a string of deaths in the last few months. The day before Thanksgiving we found ourselves sitting in yet another burial service, this one for a cousin who died at just age 32. Several of the people we minister to and work closely with are facing very difficult challenges during this season. This year I’m treating patients and working in the office on Thanksgiving day.  I’ve faced some pretty tough personal struggles and losses myself in recent times. And yet when I sit down and really think about it, from the depths of my heart I have to confess that God truly is good. I’ve discovered that when we seek him, we find him. That in the cold and dark hours he is the lifter of heads and the one who sees and saves our tears. He knows our personal pains and he cares.

I’m learning more and more that thankfulness is not about being happy or having a perfect life. It’s about being able to recognize and identify the gifts that God has given and appreciate them. I’m learning that even when the heart is heavy, and circumstances are difficult, that it is possible to say mungu ni mwema from the heart and really mean it.

I don’t know where you are at on this American Thanksgiving day. But I do know that God is there with you. Today may be a day filled with fellowship, fun, and good food. Or your day may be lonely and perhaps even a bit desperate. Either way God is there with you. He longs to hold you in his arms and show you his heart of love and compassion. He wants you to see and know that he truly is good and there is always something that we can thank him for.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17