This is post 7 of 10 in the Broken:Beautiful series.
The words of Isaiah in chapter 67 are words of reality. They are words that recognize and acknowledge that the current state of the world is not as it should be. Not as God intended it to be. But they are also words of promise. They are words that speak to a time when the world will live as it ought to. When the vision of our Creator will be fully realized through the coming redemption and ultimate restoration through his Son.
In our (myself and James') work in Africa, we are given a peephole into the vision of Isaiah. Everyday, we are able to see individuals and communities break out of how the world is and begin to see and practice how it can be - how it will be one day.
Here is the story of two individuals:
Milton and Fred Ochieng’ are two brothers from Lwala, Kenya. Because of their academic promise and their parents’ support, Milton and Fred won scholarships to Dartmouth College and then Vanderbilt Medical School. Sadly, while the brothers were in college they lost both their mom, Margaret, and their dad, Erastus, to AIDS. Milton and Fred took this as a call to action to provide access to primary care in their home village of Lwala and in April 2007, after years of fundraising and an initial gift from Blood:Water Mission, they opened a small clinic. Five years later, that clinic has become a hospital. In a place where Milton and Fred’s parents died without HIV care, we now have more than 1,300 of their friends and neighbors enrolled in care and treatment. Forty more patients are added each month. The Ochiengs are now young doctors, living proof that the future of Africa is to be shaped by Africans. In them we see a vision for a new continent.
And here is the story of a community:
There's a large peri-urban community in Zambia of about 60,000 people. Because the location was known for its filth, crime and disease, the community's name was Chapulu Kusu, which literally means cursed. Every year, they were stricken with the water-borne disease of cholera because they lacked clean water - which perpetuated the sense that they were truly cursed. Our local partner in Zambia began working in Chapulu Kusu and community members began to make changes in and around their homes: latrines were constructed, broken hand pump wells were repaired, new wells were drilled and biosand filters were installed in their homes. The community began removing large piles of trash and cleaned the area. These physical changes led to dramatic health transformations. After these events, the community, for the first time in its history, had no case of cholera during the rainy season. Slowly by slowly, brick by brick, the cycle of disease was broken and people were filled with hope. Newly transformed, the people of Chapulu Kusu legally changed the name of their community. They are now known as Mapalo, which means blessed. In Mapalo, we see the hints of a new earth.