This past Wednesday evening I had the extreme priviledge of meeting Pastor Benard Ondiek from Wachara, Kenya. Talking with him left me speechless and in tears. An incredible man of deep, deep faith.
To give you a little backstory, my dad went to Africa last May with a few other pastors from the Kalamazoo area. They visited various missions and schools that had been established in Africa and mainly in Kenya and Uganda to help children orphaned by AIDS. During this visit they met Pastor Benard and visited his school for young children and also the seminary school he started to train pastors for churches in Kenya. My dad came back from that trip a changed man. He said that he had never seen anything like the poverty in Africa. All of the kids... just everywhere you looked there were children with no parents or grandparents to watch or take care of them. My dad also couldn't stop talking about Pastor Benard and what a incredible man he was and how he had made such an impact my dad.
So when we found out that Pastor Benard was going to be in the states for a book tour my dad snatched him up to come and visit our church so that all of us could meet him. We all gathered in the sanctuary at 7pm Wednesday night to hear about everything Pastor Benard is doing. But my dad started by asking Pastor Benard about his faith story. Benard didn't find Jesus until later on in life. And he said that he only went to church because a friend of his hounded him for months on end. But that first time he attended worship, he found his Savior. He became a pastor and started to help children and families who had been affected by AIDS.
There is much more to his story than just that, but I can't even begin to tell all that he said about God's faithfulness. Pastor Benard found himself in so many situations where he needed help to continue to help the children but he didn't know where else to turn. He relied on his faith in God and knew that God would always keep His promises. I began to think of my own faith. How tiny and small I felt. Looking at the problem of AIDS and poverty and all the cruelty in this world and all I can do is sit and cry for those children. Cry for those who are abandoned, for those who will never feel loved. The ones who will starve...
God promises that He see each one of those children. 2 Peter 2:9 says, "The LORD knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgement." God knows all wickedness in this world. Nothing will go unnoticed by our God. I believe God has a deep love for all of us, but even more sensitivity for His little ones. He will be the great Protector.
After Pastor Benard was finished speaking about his story and the work he is doing (and I have never witnessed a more humble speaker) we had a chance to meet and talk with him. I waited in line to have my book signed. I introduced myself as Pastor Mark's daughter and he looked at me with so much love in his eyes and told me how wonderful my dad is. As I spoke with him about the kids in his school about how right now the government is shutting down the kitchen they use to feed them every day (because it's not up to their standards, yet the government won't do anything to help all the starving people) he looked straight into my eyes and I could see such a strong, deep faith. Faith that never waivered. He knew God would provide a kitchen for those kids. It was like looking at the eyes of Jesus. My eyes started to tear up and I could feel myself starting to lose it. I looked to my husband for support (which I think he was thinking "you're crazy woman") and I told Pastor Benard just that. You have eyes full of faith!
I will be forever changed by Pastor Benard. To see someone that has so little but by faith is able to do so much is just amazing to me. Something that only God can accomplish. I'm currently reading the book written about him. "Benard's Vision - The Quest of a Kenyan Pastor" and it is wonderful. For more information about Pastor Benard and the wonderful things he is doing in Kenya please visit http://www.benardsvision.com/
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,