We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Compassion (com·pati)

com·pas·sion. com·pati. com·passus. co-suffering

Our English word, compassion comes from the Latin words "com" (with, together) and "pati" (the one who suffers, from which we get the word "patient" and "pity"). It is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as the "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." It is to love together. The Swahili word is "huruma."

Last week we saw this word in action. The people at BMCC (Beacon Mission Christian Centre), a TAG church we work with in Nyegezi,  are compassionately serving their community in their desire to see people released from problems and all types of poverty. They run a nursery school, have been working with street kids since 2010 and with children with albinism since 2013. They recently teamed up with Compassion (Child Sponsorship Program) and it was their Compassion project for children in poverty that we specifically went to see last Saturday. Friends of ours in Tadley who work with Compassion UK were speaking at our church in Tadley last Sunday and they wanted some first-hand information and recent photos. So we went and Remmie (the Projects Director) told us more about the work they are doing.

Compassion kids learning about malaria
With Pastor Mbuke (centre) and Remmie (left)
So far, they have 201 children from families in poverty who they are helping through the Compassion partnership. They seek to help the children in four major areas: spiritual development, physical development (health and nutrition), social development, and intellectual development (income generating projects, education and skills training).

Many of these children are underweight or malnourished. Diets at home are poor and help is needed to help and teach the mamas about nutrition and balanced diet. Many of the children are often sick; every week Remmie says that over 20 children are at home sick. This is often due to poor hygiene and sanitation. Teaching is given on clean water; mamas have been told to boil water, but they say that they don’t own a big enough pot to boil the water in and it uses too much valuable fuel. Children that have been orphaned and are living with relatives are often abused or badly treated. BMCC teaches about the rights of children, their right to be loved and protected. They work with the government on child protection issues and are able to intervene and help children in harmful situations. They are able to pray with these children and their families. Sharing in the suffering and helping to alleviate it. And they are seeing suffering alleviated.
Uji time!

It is so encouraging to see the love and passion of God's people shared with others in the midst of their suffering; people demonstrating true compassionPeople who are not selfishly thinking of their own desires and avoiding suffering. But looking at Jesus who embodies the word compassion. People who are joining with (com) other people, seeking to understand their situation, showing love and kindness, especially to those who are suffering (pati).

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
And so from the above verse, we see that all this compassion ends in com-fortis (with strength). A good place to finish. How many ways can we think of to show compassion and to give comfort?

Outside the BMCC church building
On another note, here is a recent news report from CBC which looks at the need for fuel-efficient stove projects! Good to see that CBC agrees with us! http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2753661

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