Have we not all at one time or another asked ourselves what we would grab if our house were on fire and we had only minutes to get out?  Spending early morning time today with the Daily Office and reading Barbara Crafton’s meditation left me pondering these words from Hebrews:  “Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have…….. ”   What do I value the most in my house?  What would I try to save?  Well, of course, I would see that Claude was out and certainly James, but what material things would I want?  I sat in my favorite chair for quite some time looking around my office, “The Room of My Own,” and I like everything in it ~ my computer, books, leather chair, baskets from Africa,  an animal skin and a batik of women in Africa with baskets on their heads, pictures of my children and loved ones, a beautiful table that belongs to Jessie ~ very little of which I could take with me.  And what does all this have to do with Karimu and Tanzania?  I’ll try to tell you.

Along with preaching this coming Sunday in Wilkesboro, NC (Diocese of Western North Carolina) I’ll be sharing the Adult Forum time with a woman who is preparing for ordination to the diaconate.   She will talk about our vows and I will tell of some of my experiences as a deacon.  All of which has sent me back to the Ordination of a Deacon.  Some key words said by the bishop are: “You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world……and at all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself.”  The bishop also reminds us that we are to serve ALL people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely.

Now with television and the world wide web I hardly need to tell  you the needs of the world and I no longer have a church but I think it helps to hear it first-hand from someone who has been there and has seen it with their very eyes.  As we have said over and over, it is shocking to see the poverty ~ it will break your heart.  I read once that a broken heart is a whole heart.  These are God’s children.   Teyva said to God:  “You must love poor people because you created so many of us.”

By the grace of God Jessie and I went to Africa ~ it could have been Costa Rica, Botswana, Haiti, Appalachia, anywhere in the world, but it was Tanzania and it is important now for us to help the people that we know.  “Bloom where  you are planted” goes the saying.  We hope by “telling our story” your hearts will be touched and you to will want to help.  If you have ideas about money- raising projects, please tell us.  Jessie will have two benefit art shows, one in New York and one at St. Mary Magdalene’s Church in Seven Lakes  in the spring and early summer.  She is painting like mad.

We have already heard from Sandy back now in Africa ~ they were without power when she returned, hence no internet but she was able to go into an internet cafe in Dodoma to let us know she was back safe and sound, minus her luggage containing computers and $300.00 worth of ink cartridges and personal belongings.   In this case personal belongings that were important for the schools.  We sent money back with her from our Karimu account to help in rebuilding Pendo’s home that was damaged in the torrential rains, and money for rice.   Pendo means Love in Kiswahili.  Our second newsletter is out.  If you did not receive one please send us your e-mail or call us. 

Looking around one more time at things I cherish and value ~ these are what I would try to grab if my house were on fire ~ my seven paintings by Jessie Mackay.