Reflections from Patty Prasada-Rao, on the Message of Kupenda Heard in a Small Church in Kenya today
“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” ~ Luke 14:21
I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my face. Why? I’ve heard the Kupenda story over and over again and have told it myself countless times. But hearing Leonard and Cynthia share together at church today with love and passion for these beautiful children moved me to the depths of my soul. I’ve been praying for the children of Kupenda for 12 years and at last have the privilege of meeting some of them in person – what a gift!
As Cynthia and Leonard spoke on the parable of the great banquet (Luke 14), I could see Jesus moving in the hearts of the local body of believers, reminding them of our call to go out and find these special guests to come to the feast – “the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.” We came here because there is a young girl in this area whose family is having a hard time providing the care she needs, esp. when she is home from the Gede Special School. Cynthia shared about her plight and then Leonard asked how many of them know her. We were surprised how many of them raised their hands. Cynthia and Leonard encouraged them to come alongside and support this young girl and her family. Then their pastor stood up and charged them as a church to take action and do their part in whatever way they can, not just for this girl, but for any others who are in need as well. He was convicted by Cynthia’s message, that even he had overlooked those with disabilities in the ministry that he began for underprivileged children. And now he wanted to take responsibility himself by asking if they find anyone with disabilities to let him know and the church would come together to offer support.
Cynthia closed the message with a story she shared a few years ago of hearing the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” at the end of a conference and seeing a vision of the children of Kupenda at the gates of heaven – the lame getting up out of their wheelchairs, the blind lifting their eyes to Jesus and those who could not speak, singing praises to God. But this time as she shared, she saw them welcoming her father into glory as well. And at that moment, these church members and I got a vision of the kingdom of God’s love on earth as it is in heaven. It is God’s love in Cynthia’s dad, which he passed on to her, that she gives to every Kupenda child. Richard Bauer lived his life inviting the very ones Jesus loved to the great banquet. As we follow his example in sharing God’s love and invitation, we can get a little taste of that feast even now here on this earth, and say with him “it is well with my soul.”
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