You don’t have to hang around The 410 Bridge long before you’ll hear someone say, “It’s all about relationships.” We tell service teams all the time that our Kenyan friends don’t need us to come over and build water tanks, or dig trenches, or build school buildings, etc…. They can do that without us. What they do need are relationships…lasting relationships…for eternity. It’s pretty cool to know that we’re starting to see this vision bear fruit. Here are a couple examples…
Last week we visited one of our largest partner churches – Mt. Bethel UMC in Marietta, GA. We talked about a variety of topics, but most of our time together was spent on “de-briefing” a couple of their recent trips. One of their team leaders (Steve) shared a wonderful story of walking through Kwambekenya and hearing someone from a distance call his name. He had only been to Kwambekenya one other time, but the community member remembered him and was excited to see him again. Steve had the opportunity to introduce his wife and was amazed that others within the community remembered him by name throughout the week.
Another powerful example of the “stickiness” of relationships is with our strategic partner – BrightPoint for Children. Get this… Over the past two years, BrightPoint has had about 1,000 people sponsor kids. Those 1,000 sponsors actually impact almost 3,500 children with basic needs, primary school education and secondary school education. Over 90% of those kids live in 410 Bridge communities in Kenya.
Here’s the sticky part… we all know that the past two years have been anything but an economic party. Times are tough for just about everyone, and we’re all looking for ways to live simpler lives… yet over the past two years only 2.5% of sponsors stopped sponsoring their child. Letters are still being exchanged… words of encouragement… prayers… and hope.
God wired us for relationships. It’s the vehicle we use to administer His grace. Talk to someone who is sponsoring a child… or has been to Kenya to work alongside the community… who put down the shovel… or the stethoscope… or the chalk… and sat with their new friend and shared a part of themselves. They’ll tell you… relationships are sticky!