450 People Fell In Love With Rosemary Today

Our church recently sent a team of 5 to Sudan with Sudan Evangelical Alliance Partners. This morning we focused our worship service on their long anticipated report. The timing worked out perfectly, as the Africa Director for SEA Partners, Rosemary Khamati, was able to join us too.
Though Rosemary is Kenyan she has worked to serve the people of neighboring Sudan for years. I first met Rosemary 7 years ago while she was working for a different organization, facilitating mission teams from the U.S. in Sudan. I worked with her extensively during the course of 5 such trips to Africa that I was privileged to take part in. During this time I came to know her as a person of focus, determination, and deep conviction. It was fun today to see 450 members of my church come to appreciate the same qualities in her as she shared her heart for the work in the little town of Boma, Sudan. (Rosemary is pictured left with children in Boma)
Though a fledgling organization, SEA Partners has an outstanding long-term vision to work itself out of a job in Boma. This is a breath of fresh air in the world of African relief and development, which frequently creates dependence on international handouts. This dependence keeps people alive today at the cost of their future, and their dignity.
In contrast, everything SEA Partners does is integrated and designed to train people to take charge of their own future. They began with a school, which our church helped fund the construction of. There has never been a school in Boma, but now the next generation will be educated and equipped to rebuild their own community after decades of war. They are also working on health education, church leader training, drilling water wells, and teaching people how to grow their own food.
I am proud of the 5 members of Harvest Community Church who left jobs and families for 2 weeks to serve in Boma on our behalf. Their enthusiasm is spreading. I'm proud of the people in my church, who have enthusiastically embraced the challenge to make a difference in the world for Jesus. And I'm proud of my friend Rosemary, who continues to direct a complex work with a mix of humility, vision, partnership, and determination that inspires me.
I'm glad God has allowed friends like her to enter my family, and to impact my children. When the kids and I dropped her off this afternoon, they knew they were saying goodbye for at least a year. As we drove away Tommy teared up, and when I asked him what was wrong he emphatically stated, "I don't like goodbyes!" I don't either, bud.
But I do like people and experiences that stretch my family's perspective beyond our small little corner of the world. I'm excited to see what God will do in Boma through our church for years to come!

Rosemary with her 4 daughters Prudence, Amanda, Valerie, and Vanessa


Ken said...

Wow. That's awesome. I especially like that they aim to get the village self-sufficient so they aren't dependent on the missionaries.

God Bless Rosemary for doing the work she does, in an area not particularly friendly to Christian Missionaries.

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