Showing Love in the Slums

AE Admin | November 16th, 2016

#World toilet day

Showing Love in the Slums

Providing Toilet facilities in a Nairobi slum

Korogocho is one of the largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya with almost 200 000 people crammed into 1.5 square kilometers of the city.

“We’ve built between 120 and 130 toilets over the years in Korogocho,” said Edward of AE Kenya. “It’s a very poor neighbourhood where people don’t usually have the luxury of a toilet. You rarely find such facilities there.”

Recently, Edward took a team to visit the people of Korogocho and build a set of new toilet facilities for the community.

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The new AE toilet next to the old toilet.

“On this particular incident, we were met by the sheik, the leader of the local mosque – in a Christian context, he would be considered the pastor. He came forward, very excited to meet me, surrounded by many of his followers. They recognized that we were from African Enterprise and they greeted us and walked us through the estates with a sense of providing security. As strangers in that area, it would have been unsafe for us to walk there alone. It really moved me to see people of another faith coming to protect us, showing us love because of the impact we’ve had by building those toilets there.

” It really moved me to see people of another faith coming to protect us, showing us love because of the impact we’ve had by building those toilets there.”
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AE’s gutter system keeps water and sewage from flowing through peoples homes.

I was struck by the friendship of the Muslims; usually we think about Muslims in confrontation and only think of presenting the gospel to them against the Islamic belief in the Koran. But I had never experienced anything like the friendliness that came out of the mosque that day. It still remains with me.”

Edward and his team were shown around the slum and then went to visit a small community of families in a Muslim homestead.

“We were going to officially hand over one of the toilets to a local homestead and we found that the majority of the Muslims in the homestead were women because the men had gone to work. It was just the women at home with the children. They gathered together and as the team leader for AE Kenya, I gave my little speech and talked about how we were handing the toilet over to them. There was quite a reaction of joy! I asked them, ‘Will you allow me to pray?’ and to my surprise they said yes. I told them, ‘I’m going to pray in the name of Jesus, whom you call in Islam Isa’ and they said,

DSC_8164‘It’s fine; go ahead and pray in the name of Isa.’

So I prayed and they quietly listened to what I had to say. I can tell you that my prayer was not really a prayer; it was an evangelistic message. I quoted John 3:16 and talked about God who has loved us to the extent that he has not only given us toilets, but has given his only son that when we believe in him we might have not only this toilet facility but have eternal life!

‘It’s fine; go ahead and pray in the name of Isa.’

I took my prayer as an opportunity to present the Gospel in a non-confrontational way to these Muslim women and I left the place satisfied, happy with a sense of peaceful impact on this Muslim community. That toilet stands there to this day: we went back and installed a hand washing point, and I keep thinking that, whenever they use it they must ask the question, why did these Christians bring this to us? The presence of that toilet must be preaching to them every day about the love of God. It’s one of those silent ways of preaching, a beautiful way of presenting the Gospel without confrontation. There is a place for proclaiming, but there is also a place for displaying the Gospel and I think, in that instance, we demonstrated the love of God.”