Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
Sitting in the Global Bag Project sewing room in Kenya, I can hear the click-click-click of the treadle sewing machines. It is the rainy season; last night we conducted a Global Bag Project Kenya board meeting in the dark. The people here are used to these interruptions. Last night, I woke, flipped on the light to check the time, and realized that the generators to the Kijiji Guest House had been turned off.
The rain has been heavy—two days ago, after visiting a project for severely disabled children, I splashed through red-clay water puddles in the Logolo Slum. The rushing muddy ground flow covered my walking shoes, and the rain water soaked my hair. The deluge flooded little one-room shanties, making a nearly unbearable existence for many even more unbearable.
The machines in the sewing room have a different sound; the eight that have been recently purchased have a bass sound—chul-chul-chul—and the older machines, donated to the Project earlier, tap out a mechanistic alto—click-click-click. Again, as I take notes (the power just flashed off, flashed on) the seamstresses—those who work with the Global Bag Project and those who are being trained—keep on with their sewing, pumping their treadle machines, which were bought with power shortages in mind.
One of Hannah’s children is here in her school uniform—the girl is one of six siblings, which includes two sets of twins. Hannah, for obvious reasons, is a hard and steady worker. The Global Bag Project seeks to serve vulnerable women raising children without a man in the home. Because of GBP income, Hannah has been able to quit her salt-hauling job. Looking at Hannah’s little girl, bright-eyed and neat in her school uniform, I feel this spreading warmth beneath my breastbone. A gladness is in me that through selling bags, we have been able to help.
Two other children are here: a three-year old with a very runny nose, and his sister, who is perhaps six. Their mother is learning to sew. The little ones have been inordinately well-behaved, sitting patiently at the cutting table, heads resting on their hands and arms, but they now are growing restless. We obviously need a basket of toys, coloring books, sketching tablets; perhaps soft toys made from scraps for the children who come with mothers learning to sew with the hopes that they will be able to make income enough to feed their families, pay their rents, buy school uniforms and books to send their children to school.
The woman who is the sewing trainer and the women being trained talk softly; a low mumble of voices speaking Swahili floats in the room and the children have begun to run around the large cutting table (the power has just flashed off and on again). One of the sewers is humming under her breath. Every now and then, a joke is told (in Swahili) and the women giggle together.
A swooping rush of reality floods me; I am filled with a deep appreciation for the incarnational implications of the Gospel. Christ came among us; His flesh was handled, He heard and was heard, saw and was seen. It is one thing to know about the desperation of the world. It is another thing to walk among it, to get your shoes wet and muddy, to hear the stories, to look into the bright eyes of the children whose mothers are willing to grab at any small chance to do something, to make something of themselves.
We can’t see Him, but I know Christ is present. He is here among us as we work to create something—sewing projects—that give dignity and skills to women like Hannah.
When I walk through the slums, I feel such love. When we talk with our driver, Faragi, who is a Muslim, that love is in my heart. When I sit in the sewing room, with the sewing women click-clicking on their machines (or chul-chuling) this loveliness fills my being; this is a love that has been given to me. I know it is a gift coming from outside of my own emotional capabilities.
It is the rainy season in Kenya—but even when there is drought, the power comes and goes. The sewers are unfazed because they have treadle sewing machines, and I am experiencing love originating in a Source of Life that does not come and go. Christ is here. He is here.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.