“When I was a boy I used to think that strong meant having big muscles, great physical power; but the longer I live, the more I realize that real strength has much more to do with what is notseen.  Real strength has to do with helping others.”  Fred Rogers in The World According to Mister Rogers

 Rubes sent me a couple of great books (from Hallmark) in different pkgs and I’ve been perusing through the Mr. Rogers book at bedtime over the past week.  (The other book is by Kermit the Frog, you know, he was boyfriend in third grade, maybe that’s why green is my favorite color?)

The above quote struck me last night and I thought I’d share.

I know that my stories from my trip to Eldoret and to the IDP camps are slow in coming and for that I apologize.

I have seen strength unlike most I’ve ever seen.  I do not want to shortchange those with mighty inner strength that are in my life, but please let me focus on some of the people whose stories I have learned in the past month or two.  I will try to keep things vague enough as to protect identities.  Names are not correct.

Rose lives with her young son (about 10) and prior to the elections her neighbor was murdered at their front gate.  She lives in an area of the city that was not terribly safe during the heat of the clashes and yet she took people in and prayed and believed fervently that the Lord would protect them all.

Hannah broke her arm while gathering firewood at and IDP camp.  We took her to the hospital and she got just a bit of pain killers and cried a bit (not screams of terror and pain) while they set her arm.  We were able to go back and see her a few days later and she was smiling, showing her us her cast and her swollen little chubby fingers.

John is almost 100 and we saw him just sitting outside a church where he had taken refuge.  His home was burned.  The church made the most sense to him as a place to go.

George is the pastor of that church.  His life was threatened because he was welcoming people of another tribe into the refuge of his church.  He left briefly and then returned boldly to stand in the gap for his fellow Kenyans and Christians.

Jill is living in a very comfortable home in the heart of America and has been touched by the suffering of people in Kenya.  She gives above and beyond in numerous ways to further God’s work here by giving financially to God’s work through me and to the work with IDPs.  She helps educate people in her circle of influence and questions her own choices.

Pastor Bob is the head pastor of a large church in my neighborhood and he bodly invited people representing all the 42 tribes of Kenya  to the front of the congregation over a period of a month and led prayers for unity.

Matthew is a Kenyan with a young family in Nairobi.  His job often takes him away from them to the heart of the turmoil.  He openly loves and embraces people of all tribes.  I don’t know that I have ever seen much, if any, prejudice in him.  He is open and questioning rather than closed, cold and judging.  A few weeks ago he was in physical danger until a collegue spoke up and said what tribe he was from and he used it as a teaching moment – you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Lucy is a gramma who volunteers to work with about ten or so orphans in her community. 

Elizabeth is a little girl in a family of six that Lucy looks after.  These siblings live together in a small shack near a step-mother and ten half-siblings.  Her father, mother and one of his other three wives all have died.  She does not go to school because there is not enough money for each child to attend, only one or two do.  The two oldest boys sell firewood and haul people’s purchases to help support the family instead of being in school themselves.  These children have enormous strength.

Strength is not measured by how much weight you can benchpress.  Strength is not measured by how many people you have beaten or killed.  Strength is not measured by how much other people fear you.

True strength is inside and only measured by actions of courage and bravery.  Actions that are not absent of fear, but actions inspite of fear.

I pray that each of you may find your inner strength and use it for good.