To sit where they sit

Ronnie___maggie_3 Posted by Roger Cooke on Tue, 06 Oct 2015 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

‘Four hundred people – how on earth will we feed them?’

We sat down together, with the local community leaders from Oltiasika and our church leaders, to plan a meeting where we would announce the diocese’s intentions for the Maasai Rural Training Centre (MRTC) at Oltiasika. This is the base where Maggie and I hope to work from for the next number of years.

Of course in Maasai culture, the women and men do not eat together! So, we had to set up three outdoor kitchens – one for the local women, one for the local men and one for the invited guests. Three sets of plates and cutlery, three sets of cooking utensils and all at a sufficient distance that they were not visible to one another.

This was the first time that anyone could remember the church and the community coming together to celebrate and plan for the future, to share ideas and to establish agreed objectives for the development of the whole community.

In Maasai culture people are very respectful of their leaders: what they say in a public setting will be how it works out. We were very thankful for the support all the leaders gave us – including the local Member of Parliament, who was born in the area and grew up knowing about the work of the centre. A new phase has been started now in Oltiasika and Bishop Gaddiel has been very influential in helping this process along.

In the end everybody was well fed and went away happy with the day’s work. So, how did we get to this stage of enjoying the support of all the local community?

• It has been a matter of prayer over the past number of years.
• Bishop Gaddiel was willing to take the risk to place us there.
• The local community has a real desire to move forward with their development and they see the church as the best way to do this.

For us, we have been challenged by the words in Ezekiel 3:15 (KJV)…

Then I came to the captives at Tel Aviv, who lived by the River Kebar, and I sat there where they sat seven days, causing consternation among them.

‘To sit where they sit’ has been a real key for us. To take the time to talk to a wide range of people in the community, to listen to their concerns and to share ideas on how we can go about dealing with these issues – not just throwing money at the problems in order to fix them. To make time for people, no matter who they are, has been a wonderful lesson for us.

May God give us the grace to be able to sit where they sit.

Comments

Caroline Mansley said Wed, 04 Nov 2015 08:30AM
God bless you both in this work, for time, patience and discernment as to the way forward. I can picture the scene, too, at Oltiasika!

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