Our African Cow
I own part of a cow in Africa. I was thinking of her today and what a beautiful cow she is. I haven’t seen her but she is beautiful because of God’s story in her. Like so many of us – beautiful because of God’s story in us.
In June, we went to Kenya to spend time with our friends and our partners. On the second morning, our partner Joel picked us up to take us to the House of Hope.
‘How did you sleep last night, Joel?’ I asked.
‘Not so well. Our cow. She died.’
Thinking my broken English was too broken, I said with the deepest compassion – ‘What?!’
‘Our milking cow died last night.’
Their only milking cow – that they only had one week – got sick in night, bloated beyond help, and died. Joel went up to the home in the night while the children were sleeping to take care of things.
Our team was shocked. We had just mocked that cow the day before as it grazed on the soccer field. We mourned with Joel who didn’t need this kind of blow. Every day he fights to keep his head above water and to care for these 23 children. Now, he was out 40,000 shillings ($400) which can be nearly 10 months salary for many Kenyans. With school fees, food needs, medical bills, salaries to pay and water to buy due to no rain, Joel didn’t have the money. But he never said that. Joel never expressed doubt – only faith. Faith that God would provide.
And God did provide. Through people like you. A few hours later when I knew people back home would be waking up to a new day, I posted on Facebook and put out a tweet explaining the situation and asking for donations. By the time you all were getting the message, I was in a place without phone reception so I had to just wait until the next day. While you were reading and responding, I was thinking and praying – praying for faith that was an ounce of Joel’s faith. Praying for a beautiful story of God’s large Church at work. Praying for forgiveness for my lack of faith – in God and in His people. Praying that we would have some encouraging word to present to Joel the next day so God could honor Joel’s faithfulness.
As we drove into range, I turned on my phone and it began to buzz and ring. We had not gone more than 1 mile when we had the $400 we needed to simply replace the cow. By the time we hit the main road, we had $900. I’m tearing up again as a write this. God made a beautiful thing out of us – a beautiful miracle of faithfulness. A beautiful cow. Each of us added what we could, individuals from two churches in Missouri, and God brought it together to do His work, to bless Joel and to bless the children. With $900, they could not only replace their cow, they could buy a much better cow that produces even more milk to support the children and to sell to meet the Home’s needs.
We own a cow in Africa. And she is the most beautiful cow because of God’s story in her. I pray that every time Joel and the children look at her, they are reminded of the people here in Missouri that love them and the God that makes us family. Thank you for being part of this story and for being an answer to prayers.