Mary's story

May 28, 2018
Lauri Alward
3 min
Spiritual life
Mary's story

She spoke somewhat reluctantly, this jewel of a woman. Weathered and straight-backed, she carried herself with a certain elegance, in the middle of this drought-ridden African land. The deep lines on her face spoke of laughter, of depth, of hope and humility. It was all there, as she graciously endured our obtrusive microphone and began to talk about someone she would rather have not: herself.

There was something incredible in the way she told her story. A woman of strength… of deep faith and profound vision — the stamina of a lioness, and the quiet humility of a hummingbird. In her poverty-stricken world, where all the odds were stacked against her, it seemed that she knew who she was. The beloved child of a servant Saviour. Born to embrace all that she had been entrusted with for the sake of the Kingdom…for the sake of Christ.

Mary lives in Western Kenya — to be precise, in a small village called Seje. When Mary arrived here, it was hills, rocks and trees. It was struggle and hunger, pain and loss…but here she found her purpose. The very thing she had been created for. It began with her making the long two-hour hike down the hill to the river to fetch water for her family…every day…up and down. Over time, her nurturing heart grew troubled by the many children who occupied some of the other huts on the hillside. The poorest of the poor, with little or nothing to eat, and no opportunity to receive even a primary course of education. This visionary knew the critical challenge this posed to their future, and she began to pray.

As she prayed, God revealed the work He was doing through her. At the same time, He spoke with great clarity to a pastor from the neighbouring city about Seje and compelled him to go there and, in Jesus name, disband a group of satanic worshipers who were gathering on the hill. He declared their meeting spot “the house of the One True God,” and so it began. The hut became a school, a teacher arrived, and Mary began her grand adventure of faith. Believing in God’s call on her life, she determined to be the one to deliver fresh water each day to the school, along with a hot breakfast meal of basic porridge for the children. Her life became an endless routine of walking up and down the hill several times a day carrying heavy buckets of water, enough to provide for the ever-growing school. For nearly two decades, this had been her life.

When Hungry For Life arrived on the scene more than 10 years ago, she donated her land to build a proper school structure, and alongside our partners in Canada, a school was built. Today, there are more than 200 students that attend every day. And, an extensive water system was built in 2015, ending the need for Mary’s day-long ritual.

But, if you go to His Blessings School in Seje today, somewhere before 8:00 am you will see Mary arrive at the outdoor kitchen, pots and dishes piled high on her head. She will begin drawing water from the spigot and lighting the fire. And, around 9:30 am, Mary will serve each child fresh water and a bowl of porridge.