Emmanuel’s Story (Churches Inc in Kenya 2018)
Kerry, Trevor, Pastor Shadrack, and Pastor Davis ran a Churches Inc training trip to Elburgon, Kenya from the 7th to the 17th February. You can read blog posts from the whole trip by following the links at the bottom of this article, but here's one story from Kerry of their time with a young boy and his family which really shows how Churches Inc's training is transforming attitudes, supporting the work of Wheels for the World, and helping improve people's lives.
Emmanuel is 7 years old. He lives with his blind grandmother and his auntie because his own mother ran away due to his disabilities. Emmanuel was given a wheelchair from Through the Roof’s Wheels for the World programme. However, it is not possible to use this wheelchair inside his tiny house, and sadly, his family are reluctant to use the chair to bring him outside the house, due to shame, stigma, and community attitudes.
Pastor Davis regularly visits this vulnerable family. If he lets them know he is coming, they will place Emmanuel in the chair outside to show that they are using it. They're grateful for the chair and other support he provides such as special formula from the hospital for malnourished children. But if Ps. Davis arrives unannounced, he always finds Emmanuel inside. Inside the house is not a good place for Emmanuel to be. It is very dark inside - there are no windows.
Emmanuel’s house has been badly constructed using sticks and mud. The floor and the walls are crawling with insects. When I visited, I was told not to lean on walls or sit anywhere. But Emmanuel cannot walk or move away. He is being regularly bitten by bed bugs on the old cushions where he sits. This is still an improvement from lying on the dirt floor as he did when Ps. Davis started working with the family. Emmanuel will be left to sit on these cushions all day while his auntie works to ensure the family can survive.
When I met Emmanuel, he was so desperate for interaction he moved with difficulty to bring his enlarged head onto my lap. He wanted touch and eye contact. He wanted to be loved.
This is why the Churches Inc. training trips are so important. Emmanuel already has a wheelchair, but unless attitudes are changed, he won’t be brought outside into the fresh air where he might see other people and be a part of the community. Churches Inc is working to change the attitudes that hold disabled people back, and it's a great fit with Wheels for the World's work bringing physical freedom.
He knows that other families who have relatives with disabilities behind closed doors will hear about Emmanuel’s house and come out of hiding. Pastor Davis will not be able to build them all new homes, but he will be able to help them in other ways. His heart is to transform the whole community.